Physical description: An elongated, laterally compressed species with a pointed head and a rounded, fan-like caudal fin. There bare two dorsal fins; the first very short, while the second is much longer. The anal fin is long running from the mid-belly region to the caudal fin. The back is usually yellow-brown and the flanks are marked with a broad, bluish band. Another parallel band runs near the belly, although is less intense. The flanks have a silvery to green iridescence. The anal and second dorsal fins are orange-yellow with a black or red border. The caudal fin is white to black with black along the edges. The outmost parts of the caudal fin may be blood red.
Size/Length: To 6" (15 cm)
Similar species: None
Habitat: Inhabits mountain streams in Madagascar.
S: middle, top
Aquarium: A tank measuring 36" (91 cm) with a capacity from 35-45 gallons (132-170 L) is suggested for young fish. Adults require a 48" (122 cm) tank. Leave large open swimming areas and plant along the back and edges of the tank. Suggest bright lighting and a moderate to strong current.
Water chemistry: pH 7-8 (7.0), 10-18 dH (10), 68-75°F (20-24°C)
Social behavior: An active, schooling species suitable for a community tank. This species must be kept in groups of at least four fish.
Suggested companions: Glossolepis, Melanotaenia, Corydoras, Danios
FOOD: Live; insect larvae, worms, crustaceans, insects; flakes; pellets; spinach.
SEX: Males are conspicuously more colorful with a pointed first dorsal fin.
Breeding techniques: Use water with values suggested above and make frequent partial water changes. The tank should measure at least 28" (71 cm) and have some circulation. A small number of brown eggs are laid daily among fine-leafed plants and are attached by threads. The pair spawns continuously over a period of months. The eggs hatch after six to seven days and the fry first feed on roftiers and paramecia. Later the young can be fed with Artemia nauplii. Both the eggs and the fry are ignored by the parents. The fry swim in an oblique position at first, but soon develop normal swimming habits.
Breeding potential: 7. Breeding is moderately difficult and the young may be sensitive to water conditions.
Remarks: The Madagascar Rainbowfish requires clear, clean water.
Difficulty of care: 6. This peaceful species is sensitive to water pollution and requires frequent partial water changes to thrive and keep its delightful colors.
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