Red Rainbow Fish 101: Origin, Diet, Breeding & More!

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Colorful fish are often in high demand in the aquarium trade because they can brighten up home aquariums. As the name implies, red rainbow fish are among the most colorful species that fish enthusiasts choose. When kept in a shoal, they exhibit some bright reds that really stand out. What’s more, they’re simple to care for, so anyone can add them to their fish tank. They are a hardy and robust species that thrives in a community aquarium. In this article, Healthy Betta will provide you with all you need to know about red rainbow fish.

  • Care Level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Color: Red
  • Lifespan: 6-8 years
  • Size: Up to 6 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Family: Melanotaeniidae
  • Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
  • Tank Setup: Tropical freshwater filled with dense vegetation
  • Compatibility: Peaceful community

Red Rainbow Fish Origin

Red Rainbowfish (Glossolepis incises) is a tropical freshwater fish species in the Melanotaeniidae family, also known as the rainbowfish family.

The Red Rainbowfish Glossolepis incisus is known by many different names, as like other fish. Despite this, you can’t help but notice the word ‘red’ in almost all of its names. Salmon Red Rainbowfish, Red Irian Rainbowfish, and New Guinea Red Rainbowfish are some of its common names. There is no mistaking the impression that this striking fish makes with these names. This species quickly and distinctively demonstrates the rainbowfish family’s allure.

Weber first described the Red Rainbowfish Glossolepis incisus in 1907. It can only be found in Lake Sentani and its tributary streams in the northeastern region of West Papua New Guinea (formerly Irian Jaya), near Jayapura. It is also known as Salmon Red Rainbowfish, Red Irian Rainbowfish, and New Guinea Red Rainbowfish. It is also known as Lake Sentani Rainbowfish and Irian Jaya Rainbowfish. However, this is a little confusing because both of these names are the primary common names for other species, Chilatherina sentaniensis and Melanotaenia irianjaya.

Red Rainbowfish congregate along the lake’s margins where there is vegetation and bog-type wood. Because they live in a hilly area, the streams have very clear and fast-moving currents. These fish eat bugs that fall into the water as well as various plant matter. Both the lake and the streams in which they live are alkaline. Because this area is also warm due to its proximity to the equator, these fish should not be introduced to cold water tanks.

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Red Rainbow Fish Appearance

Red Rainbow Fish Appearance

The Red Rainbowfish is one of the bigger rainbowfish species, growing up to 6 inches in length (15 cm). In adult males, it is a tall, thin fish with a sharply arched back and a very narrow head. Salmon Red Rainbowfish possesses several rainbow fish traits, such as huge eyes, a highly forked mouth, and two dorsal fins. In the correct conditions, mature males exhibit a spectacular blood-red body and fin color. The silver scales on the body are a lovely finishing touch. Females and immature males have consistently drab olive-brown skin and transparent gray fins.

It is vital to note that age, health, mood, water quality, temperature, and school rank all have an effect on the hue and intensity of red in male displays. These characteristics may also have an effect on the overall color of females and non-dominant males. For example, in an aquarium kept at 71.6° F (22° C), all males will be red, while females will be silvery with a yellow tinge. If the water temperature is too high, only the strongest male will show the spectacular reds, while the other males will be reddish-brown.

Behaviors Of RedRainbow Fish

Red Rainbowfish thrive well in a community aquarium with other rainbowfish of similar size but excel in a geographical tank with other rainbowfish. Although they are normally non-aggressive, very aggressive or very shy tank mates will turn them into bullies. For optimal results, pair them with other lively yet good-natured fish. If kept in a tank containing both men and females, the males will keep themselves entertained by flashing their brightest and best red hues and flaring their fins. When males are showing, there may be some chasing amongst rainbow fish, but this is rarely a cause for worry unless a fish is damaged, has nowhere to hide, or is frequently harassed (usually a result of one of the first two).

Red Rainbowfish are schooling fish, and the male-to-female ratio is critical for maintaining decent peace among them when numbers are low. Although single-gender schools may be maintained, don’t expect to see any red coloring in men until both genders are represented. Because properly stocking rainbow fish is a little challenging, we’ve included the following stocking guideline. Choose the type of school and the number of fish you wish to maintain.

Habitat And Tank Conditions

Rainbowfish are not difficult to care for as long as their water is maintained clean. At least 30 – 50% of the tank water should be replenished weekly, more if the tank is highly packed. Poor coloring might be expected if a consistent program of weekly water changes is not followed. More males will show stronger red hues if the tank is kept at a lower temperature of 71.6° F (22° C). These fish may leap if frightened, so a tight aquarium canopy will keep them from flying away.

The Red Rainbowfish is a huge, lively rainbow fish with a lot of activity. Because they are highly active swimmers, the aquarium should be large, with a least of 35 gallons. Adults will eventually require a considerably larger tank, with 150 gallons or more being realistic. The tank should be securely covered since these fish are expert jumpers and will jump if disturbed. To maintain proper water conditions, a high-quality canister filter is recommended. Water should be moved through thick vegetation using powerheads.

Red Irian Rainbowfish thrive and are most successfully displayed in tanks that mimic their native environment. A sandy foundation, thick flora, and bogwood all harken back to their ancestral lake environments. They, like the majority of Rainbowfish species, thrive in well-planted aquariums. The sides and rear of the tank should be planted, with a length of open water in the center. The plants must be strong enough to remain rooted and recover from any browsing.

Using a good red spectrum light will help bring out their hues. Using pebbles and driftwood as décor will also provide a beautiful backdrop for displaying their hues. If you decide to use bogwood, make sure your water is hard enough to prevent a pH decrease. Temperatures around 70° F (21° C) will cause more males to exhibit brighter colors.

Tank Conditions for Red Rainbowfish

Diet Of Red Rainbowfish

In their native habitat, Red Rainbowfish are omnivores that eat a meat-based diet of bugs and insects, as well as a variety of plant stuff. To encourage healthy coloring, they require a high-quality diet. Both live and processed foods are necessary for their survival. Purchase processed foods in modest quantities and on a regular basis, since the nutritious content of these items soon deteriorates past their usefulness. Color food is a term used to describe specially prepared commercial foods that contain colors such as carotene to enhance their color.

Bloodworms, tubifex worms, water fleas, and brine shrimp are also suitable to live feeding sources. As a complement to the prepared diet, these should be served at least twice a week. If live alternatives are not available, frozen (defrosted) substitutes will be acceptable. Rainbowfish are one of the few fish that can digest ants, therefore these are always welcome gifts. These fish should be fed only what they can take in less than 5 minutes twice a day.

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Red Rainbow Fish Care Guide

The red rainbowfish is said to be a simple species to care for. They are quite robust and can accept little changes in their habitat, so even if you make minor mistakes, they will most likely live.

Keeping the environment clean is essential for keeping fish healthy and allowing them to thrive. To avoid the accumulation of contaminants, do frequent partial water changes.

Wipe away any extra algae as soon as you notice it.

By utilizing a water testing kit once a week, you can detect any changes in the water conditions and swiftly correct them.

Because these fish are more likely to jump, keep a tight lid on your tank.

Diseases are uncommon in a healthy tank, but pathogens may infiltrate your Red Rainbowfish if you introduce new stock, therefore quarantining all new fish.

If one of your fish becomes unwell, place it in a quarantine tank to prevent the disease from spreading to the rest of your companions.

Skin flukes, parasites, and common bacterial infections are all potential issues. There are treatments that you may use in your quarantine tanks.

Red rainbowfish/Red Irian/Salmon-red rainbowfish (Glossolepis incisus). Source: Youtube/Dr Andy

Red Rainbow Fish Breeding

A breeding tank should be outfitted with a sponge filter and either a spawning mop or a large number of fine-leaved plants. A healthy adult rainbowfish couple should be introduced. They should be fed living meals and plant-based foods to condition them. Remember, you’re aiming to replicate the richness of the flood season, so feed more and better-quality food than usual.

After the female has laid eggs, the males will put on a spectacular display of vivid colors, direct the female to the spawning spot, spawn, and then relax. If the spawning mop or plants are not removed and replaced after the spawning, the eggs will be devoured. For a few days, the fish will do this every day, with a constantly diminishing quantity of eggs produced. When egg counts decline or the females exhibit indications of weariness, the parents should be removed.

After approximately a week, the fry will hatch and should be given infusoria or a liquid fry meal until they are ready to consume small live things. The fry is difficult to raise until they are around two months old. The fry grows slowly and needs the use of clean water throughout the procedure.

Crossbreeding is an issue to be mindful of. Even when given the option, rainbowfish will not mate with fish of another species in the wild. However, for some reason, rainbowfish from the Melanotaeniidae family may interbreed in the aquarium, typically with unfavorable outcomes.

The fry of mismatched parents loses the majority of their coloring. Because many of these species are uncommon, it is preferable to maintain the bloodlines separate or risk losing the gorgeous colors that nature has worked so hard to establish over thousands of years. Breeding Freshwater Fish provides an outline on how to breed Rainbowfish.

Diseases Of Red Rainbow Fish

Skin flukes, parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.), ichthyobodo infection, parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.), bacterial infections (general), and bacterial illness are all common in Rainbows. Goiters are prevalent in these fish in aquariums and are mainly caused by a lack of iodine in the diet.

Rainbowfish are relatively hardy, and illness is rarely an issue in a well-kept aquarium. However, there is no assurance that you will not have to cope with health issues or sickness. Remember that whatever you put in your tank might cause sickness. Bacteria can be found in plants, substrates, and decorations as well as other fish. Take extreme caution and make certain that whatever you add to an established tank is adequately cleaned or quarantined so that the equilibrium is not disrupted.

The wonderful thing about rainbow fish is that, because of their resistance, an epidemic of sickness may frequently be contained to just one or a few fishes if dealt with early on. It is common for all fishes to get infected even before the first warning signals appear while maintaining more sensitive varieties of fish. 

The best method to prevent disease is to provide your Rainbowfish with healthy habitat and well-balanced food. The closer the fish are to their natural habitat, the less stressed they will be, making them healthier and happier. Stressed fish are more prone to become infected with the sickness.

See Aquarium Fish Diseases and Treatments for further information on freshwater fish diseases and illnesses. This is an excellent resource for illness and treatment information. It is advised that you educate yourself about the most frequent tank illnesses. Knowing the warning signals and detecting and treating them early makes a significant impact. Rainbowfish are quite hardy.

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FAQs About Red Rainbow Fish

Rainbow Red Fish FAQs

What aquarium size Red Rainbow Fish need?

Red Rainbowfish are huge and energetic, so they require a lot of room. A minimum of 30 gallons of water is required, but they will appreciate any extra room you can supply, preferably 50-60 gallons.

Is it possible to keep Red Rainbowfish together?

These fish are found in big shoals of their own type in the wild. They love being together for social reasons as well as for group strength.

Keep them in groups of at least five, but six or more is preferable if you wish to mix sexes. Having males and females in the same tank brings out their vibrant colors the most.

How big do Red Rainbowfish grow?

Males are brilliant red and have a high back with age. Females have an olive-brown coloration. Their colors vary according to their attitude, while subordinate males do not. They may grow up to 15 cm (5.9 in) in length, although most of the time they are about 12 cm (4.7 in)

What do red rainbow fish eat?

In their native habitat, Red Rainbowfish are omnivores that eat a meat-based diet of bugs and insects, as well as a variety of plant stuff. To encourage healthy coloring, they require a high-quality diet. Both live and processed foods are necessary for their survival.

What are the best Red Rainbowfish tank mates?

Red Rainbowfish may be found in a variety of tank settings, including community and species tanks. Mixing them with other rainbowfish species is a fantastic method to show off their colors; the tank will be highly colorful. These fish may also be raised with invertebrates. There are many different types of shrimp and snails to sample. Always do your homework on possible tank mates before purchasing them to ensure compatibility.

Final Thoughts About Red Rainbowfish

Red Rainbowfish is the whole shebang. They are colorful, resilient, easy to care for, and simple to reproduce. They are ideal for anyone who wishes to add some color to their aquarium. Because they can mingle with most species of a similar size and temperament, they are good alternatives for a community tank.

It is simple to design an aquarium around their requirements. They have similar tastes to many popular aquarium fish. Just make sure there are lots of real plants available. Red Rainbowfish is a stunning species that deserve to be among the most colorful fish in the aquarium trade.

To know more about other tropical fish and how to take care of them, you can visit our Tropical fish section. We provide all comprehensive guidance on taking care of popular freshwater fish such as plecos, tetras, and gouramis. Also, you can get some useful tips on creating a healthy fish tank community and much more!

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