Fun Celebes Rainbow Fish Facts For Kids

Rhea Nischal
Nov 14, 2022 By Rhea Nischal
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Isobel Murphy
Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao
Discover surprising Celebes rainbowfish facts about its dazzling appearance, diet, breeding, and more.

The Celebes rainbowfish is a magnificent fish that is indigenous to Indonesia and belongs to the family Melanotaeniidae, sub-family Telmatherinidae, and genus Marosatherina. It is also commonly referred to as the Celebes sailfish and Celebes sailfin.

These lovely creatures have a peaceful temperament and must be kept with peaceful species only. This fish species is very colorful, with a variety of colors on its body, including black, blue, yellow, and green.

These colors intensify when natural light hits their body. The Celebes rainbowfish is a peaceful schooling fish that can easily adapt to the settings of an aquarium, given that the aquarium has the perfect water conditions, a good variety of plants, and the correct temperature.

Celebes rainbowfish are quite delicate and sensitive to change, so they must be handled with extra care. A male Celebes rainbowfish, Marosatherina ladigesi, possesses extended second dorsal and anal fins.

During the breeding period, eggs are laid over plants like Java moss. The fry, after hatching, must be fed brine shrimp or live foods.

The diet of an adult Celebes rainbowfish, Marosatherina ladigesi, comprises worms, insects, live and processed foods, and plants. These fish have narrow throats and big mouths, thus they can consume small bites only.

This magnificent species can grow as long as 3 in (8 cm). If you want to know more about the dazzling Celebes rainbowfish, Marosatherina ladigesi, you must continue reading!

If you found these Celebes rainbowfish facts captivating, you will definitely love to read about the rainbow shiner and the piranha too.

Celebes Rainbow Fish Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Celebes rainbowfish?

The Celebes rainbowfish, Marosatherina ladigesi is a sailfin silverside species that is indigenous to Indonesia. This stunning fish is endemic to Sulawesi, which used to be called 'Celebes'.

This species of fish can be spotted in streams and estuaries, freshwater, or slightly brackish water as this fish species has the ability to reside in brackish water. Their scientific name is Marosatherina ladigesi.

What class of animal does a Celebes rainbowfish belong to?

The Celebes rainbowfish, Marosatherina ladigesi, belongs to the class of ray-finned fish, Actinopterygii.

How many Celebes rainbowfish are there in the world?

The population size of the Celebes rainbowfish, Marosatherina ladigesi, has not been evaluated yet. However, the IUCN has stated that their population trend is declining.

Where does a Celebes rainbowfish live?

The Celebes rainbowfish inhabits wetlands. This stunning species,  Telmatherina ladigesi, is endemic to Sulawesi in Indonesia. Interestingly, Sulawesi was formerly known as 'Celebes'.

What is a Celebes rainbowfish's habitat?

These attractive fish can be spotted swimming in slow-moving estuaries and streams of brackish water or freshwater. They prefer waters that have dissolved oxygen in high amounts.

They spend a significant part of their day concealing themselves behind plants. Celebes rainbowfish have their own set of water conditions that they prefer. The temperature must be 72-82.4 F (23-28 C) and the pH 7.0-7.5.

These fish need to be kept in medium-sized tanks with the minimum tank size being 20 gal (90.9 L). These adorable fish are quite easy to care for.

Who do Celebes rainbowfish live with?

The Celebes rainbowfish is a peaceful and small-size schooling fish that likes to have the company of other peaceful fish. They like to reside in a tank in groups of peaceful fish.

How long does a Celebes rainbowfish live?

The magnificent Celebes rainbowfish has a four-year-long lifespan, on average. However, when kept in captivity, their lifespan can be the same as the rainbow shiner (three to five years), given that the aquarium has all the necessary requirements like an ideal temperature of 72-82.4 F (23-28 C), pH 7.0-7.5, brackish water, or freshwater.

These lovely fish are very sensitive, so having the aquarium look like their natural habitat will help in increasing their life expectancy.

How do they reproduce?

It is quite easy to get a Marosatherina ladigesi (Celebes rainbowfish) to breed. You can get a breeding tank as well, which comprises fine-leaved plants like Java moss, Cabomba, Riccia, and Milfoil that help in catching the eggs.

These fish can breed nonstop for months if all their requirements are met.

A spawning mop also can be utilized instead of plants to catch the eggs. Some aquarium owners find it tough to get these stunning fish to start spawning, but this can normally be done by cooling the temperature.

After the eggs are laid, it takes approximately a week for them to hatch. These attractive fish do not exhibit parental care and are known to even eat their own eggs.

After the eggs hatch successfully, the fry must be separated from adult males and females, as they are very tiny. The fry must be nourished with fry foods that are commercially prepared.

These young fish must not be introduced into the same tank as adult males and females of this species, as they are very small and could possibly be eaten by them.

They are safe to reside in the same tank as adult males and females at least five months. The young fish develop filament extensions, that are long in length, of their fins.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the Marosatherina ladigesi (Celebes rainbowfish) is Vulnerable. Their population size hasn't been evaluated yet, however, the population trend of the Celebes rainbowfish is declining slowly.

The beautiful fish has been classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN's Red List of Threatened Species because of the aquarium trade which led to the over-fishing of this species.

To conserve this fish, it is being produced in major volumes on fish farms located in Europe so that wild specimens are not caught from their natural environment in large groups.

Celebes Rainbow Fish Fun Facts

What do Celebes rainbowfish look like?

The body of this fish is gracefully thin and is translucent. Males and females both have striking blue and gold shades on their bodies. However, the male is more strongly colored than the female.

Males and females have subtle differences in their physical description with a male's dorsal and anal fins being darker-colored and more elongated. The colors of these fish become intense when natural light hits their body.

Adult males have thin fins that are translucent. A sail-like effect is created by the two dorsal fins as long filaments stream out of the tail fin. Interestingly, the organ sac of this fish can be seen in the back of the fish because of their translucency.

Wakatobi, South East Sulawesi, Indonesia

We've been unable to source an image of a Celebes rainbowfish and have used an image of its habitat. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of a Celebes rainbowfish, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at

How cute are they?

The Celebes rainbowfish, Marosatherina ladigesi (formerly known as Telmatherina ladigesi) is a stunning and attractive species of fish. It is very cute and has been loved by all aquarium-owners since the '30s. The most mesmerizing feature of this fish is its blue and gold color combination!

How do they communicate?

These stunning fish communicate with each other through their display of colors. The male's colors become more intense to signal that he is ready to breed. Another interesting fact about their colors is that they become pale when the fish is sick.

How big is a Celebes rainbowfish?

The Celebes rainbowfish ranges anywhere between 2-3 in (5-8 cm) in length. The maximum size that they can reach is 3 in (8 cm). Males range between 2.3-3 in (6-8 cm) whereas females range between 2-2.7 (5-7 cm) in length. Their maximum size is the same size of the Congo tetra fish.

How fast can a Celebes rainbowfish swim?

The speed of these fish has not been evaluated yet. However, Celebes rainbowfish are quite active fish that inhabit slow-moving water bodies and swim together in shoals of 100 fish of the same kind. One of their requirements when being kept in a tank is a lot of free swimming space for them to swim around.

How much does a Celebes rainbowfish weigh?

The Celebes rainbowfish, Marosatherina ladigesi weighs between the range of 0.01-0.09 oz (0.28-2.55 g).

What are their male and female names of the species?

The Celebes rainbowfish, Marosatherina ladigesi do not have specific names for males and females.

What would you call a baby Celebes rainbowfish?

A baby Celebes rainbowfish is known as fry.

What do they eat?

These omnivorous fish hide behind plants, where they prey upon insects, vegetable debris, or worms. These fish have narrow throats, in contrast to their large-sized mouth, so their diet comprises only small bits of algae, live foods, and flakes in captivity.

They can be fed micro-worms, bloodworms, mosquito larvae, earthworms (chopped up), and daphnia.

Their relatives, the turquoise rainbowfish and the Madagascar rainbowfish are also omnivores and prey upon insect larvae, algae, and tiny crustaceans. These fish are preyed upon by fish bigger than them, like grunters and freshwater snappers.

Are they dangerous?

No, this stunning fish species is completely harmless to humans.

Would they make a good pet?

Yes, these stunning creatures make great pets! They are an attractive addition to an aquarium because of their stunning display of colors.

However, these fish are quite delicate as well as timid. To ensure they are healthy and happy, their tank must have sufficient plant life.

Some suggest the addition of salt in the water tank, with seven teaspoons of salt for 10 gal (45.5 L) of water, but these beautiful fish do not necessarily require salt.

Even advanced professionals find it tough to keep these fish happy and in the pink of health as they are quite sensitive and are at risk of passing away from curable diseases.

These fish must be kept in medium-sized tanks, with the minimum tank size being 20 gal (90.9 L), to provide sufficient free swimming space for these active fish to swim around. Frequent water changes must be made.

They must be handled very carefully during these water changes. These peaceful fish are compatible with other peaceful fish as well.

Did you know...

Celebes rainbowfish naturally reside near Maros. 'Maros' is the origin of the Marosatherina genus name.

How many rainbowfish should be kept together?

These lovely fish prefer to swim around in shoals comprising 100 fish or more rather than swimming solo. Shoaling is a defense strategy that this fish employs for protection against predators. These fish need other peaceful fish of about the same size to be comfortable.

Shoaling even helps them in stimulating each other. These fish must be kept in an aquarium in groups of six with the male to female ratio being 1:1. When these fish feel comfortable, that is when their color display intensifies.

What fish can live with rainbowfish?

The Celebes rainbowfish, Marosatherina ladigesi are compatible with angelfish, barbs, cory catfish, minnows, discus, gourami, guppies, killifish, loaches, mollies, platies, plecos, and other rainbowfish in a tank or an aquarium.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish from our longhorn cowfish facts or pumpkinseed sunfish facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable celebes rainbow fish coloring pages.

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Written by Rhea Nischal

Bachelor of Business Administration specializing in Management

Rhea Nischal picture

Rhea NischalBachelor of Business Administration specializing in Management

A background in Business Administration and Management from MCM DAV College, Rhea has led her to work for her father's global business. However, her passion for content production, where she manages operations to ensure all processes run smoothly. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the piano and spending time with her one-year-old nephew.

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Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

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Pradhanya RaoBachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

With a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Christ University, Bangalore, Pradhanya's passion for the English language and literature led her to explore the field of content writing, where she has gained extensive experience in writing, reviewing, editing, and fact-checking. She has also earned certifications in Google Ads Search, Google Ads Display, and Social Media Marketing, showcasing her proficiency in digital marketing.

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