Fun Banded Rainbowfish Facts For Kids

Martha Martins
Jan 05, 2023 By Martha Martins
Originally Published on Aug 17, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Banded Rainbowfish Fact File
Age: 3-18
Read time: 8.3 Min

There are a total of 50 species of rainbowfish in the world and the banded rainbowfish (Melanotaenia trifasciata) is one species of fish in this family. Banded rainbowfish (Melanotaenia trifasciata) are known as jewel rainbowfish, three-striped sunfish, regal rainbowfish, and Goyder River rainbowfish. Banded rainbowfish (Melanotaenia trifasciata) origin is in the Northern Territory and Queensland in Australia and in North America.

Banded rainbowfish (Melanotaenia trifasciata) are primarily omnivores and feed on aquatic insects, algae, and plant material. Banded rainbowfish (Melanotaenia trifasciata) primarily reside in freshwater bodies and they are also a popular fish pet. When keeping banded rainbowfish (Melanotaenia trifasciata) as a pet, it's essential to keep them in a group. They should be kept in an appropriate tank with ample space to move around as well as a lid to avoid them from jumping out. They are perfect for both experienced as well as amateur owners. They are a colorful addition to any aquarium.

For more relatable content, check out monkfish and bonito fish facts.

Banded Rainbowfish Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a banded rainbowfish?

The banded rainbowfish (Melanotaenia trifasciata) is a type of fish that belongs to the kingdom Animalia and order Atheriniformes.

What class of animal does a banded rainbowfish belong to?

The banded rainbowfish (Melanotaenia trifasciata) is a type of community fish that belongs to class Actinopterygii, family Melanotaeniidae, and genus Melanotaenia.

How many banded rainbowfishes are there in the world?

Banded rainbowfish (Melanotaenia trifasciata) are community fish and the exact population size is not evaluated as per data collected. They are classified as a Least Concern species by the IUCN Red List. Their distribution is mainly in Australian regions.  

Where does a banded rainbowfish live?

Banded rainbowfish (Melanotaenia trifasciata) range in freshwater streams environment, tanks, and aquariums. They are a community fish and adapt easily to wide water parameters. They are seen in North America, Queensland, and northern Australia.

What is a banded rainbowfish's habitat?

A banded rainbowfish (Melanotaenia trifasciata) habitat range is in freshwater streams, tanks, and aquariums. These fishes primarily occur at depths from 11.8 in (30 cm) or deeper. Their water habitat should ideally be well-vegetated and their habitat should contain rocks, mud, and gravel.  

Who do banded rainbowfishes live with?

Melanotaenia trifasciata (banded rainbowfish) live together in groups. They are seldom seen as solitary and active beings. Melanotaenia trifasciata (banded rainbowfish) can live in harmony with a guppy, neon tetra, and other similar fishes like the Goyder River (banded) rainbowfish, which is another type of the same species. They are sociable, a community fish. and accommodative towards most water parameters.  

How long does a banded rainbowfish live?

The banded rainbowfish lifespan is four years. They can live a minimum range of three years and a maximum range of five years in most water parameters. The oldest fish in the world was a Greenland shark which lived to 400 years old.

How do they reproduce?

Banded rainbowfish (Melanotaenia trifasciata) are oviparous in nature, meaning they are a egg-laying species. Breeding occurs via external fertilization in water where the female usually attaches eggs to aquatic plants using glue like strong threads or tendrils.  They lay five eggs per clutch. This fish does not have any particular time for spawning during breeding. They may spawn at different times throughout the year. Breeding males and females are not involved in raising the young. The young fry develop by themselves in available water parameters.

These fishes can be bred in captivity as well as long as they are kept in an appropriate environment. However, it's safe to remove adult fishes from the tank where they release their eggs as bigger fishes may pose a threat to the young fry. The young fry collected can be raised in a separate tank until they are big enough to be introduced back into the adult tank. They need a temperature pH of 7.0-8.0.  

What is their conservation status?

Banded rainbowfish are classified as ` Least Concern species by the International Union For Conservation Of Nature IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The IUCN contains a range map with information about their distribution. Public sightings and specimens of such species can be found in Australian museums.

Banded Rainbowfish Fun Facts

What do banded rainbowfishes look like?

Banded rainbowfish are one of the brightest coloration fish in this family. This fish has an arched back and a narrow head. This fish has two big eyes on either side of its face. This fish has two dorsal fins. The fish is seen in a variety of colorations including blue, green, red, yellow, or purple. The caudal fin of the fish is normally yellow to red. Apart from this, the fish has a dark blue to black mid-lateral stripe. They are mid-level dwellers and can be kept as pet fish. Male fish are deeper bodied with intense colors. Female fish have this too, however, they are generally smaller in size. Male and female fish differ in coloration and pattern.


How cute are they?

This fish species is extremely cute, active, and adorable in appearance.  They can be kept with Goyder River fishes in a tank. Goyder fishes are similar species, however, it's essential to keep them in groups. If you are considering adopting, they are a perfect choice.

How do they communicate?

They are effective communicators. They are active yet peaceful beings and should not be kept with aggressive species of fish. Males and females should be kept in proper proportions, if not this could an impact on their populations. They primarily communicate using pheromones with other species in the tank or aquarium.

How big is a banded rainbowfish?

The average banded rainbowfish max size is 3.1-5.1 in (8-13 cm) in length. This is three times bigger than a danio fish with small fins which is 2 in (5 cm).

How fast can a banded rainbowfish swim?

Banded rainbowfish have moderately good speeds and use their fins to move. The fins help them in locomotion. The fish is primarily kept in aquariums or tanks, and so they don't require much speed.  

How much does a banded rainbowfish weigh?

The average banded rainbowfish exact body weight is not known. The largest fish in the world is a whale shark.

What are the male and female names of the species?

Males and females of this species are not addressed differently. However, males and females differ in size, with males being a slightly larger deep body with a more arched back and bright color. Males and females differ in reproductive functions, and males tend to be more territorial compared to females. This species can interbreed and crossbreed.

What would you call a baby banded rainbowfish?

A baby-banded rainbowfish is called a fry and the young develop by themselves in the wild. They can also be raised in captivity. The young fry has a similar diet to adult fish and the juvenile is light in color. They need a water temperature pH of 7.0-8.0.

What do they eat?

Banded rainbowfish can be seen feeding on an omnivore diet. They are seen feeding on live food  including aquatic insects, plants matter, and algae. Bloodworms, fleas, brine shrimp, and white worms are live foods that can be fed to these fishes. If they are not available, you could choose to feed them frozen diet substitutes. As pets, they need to be fed foods two to three times a day in their aquarium.

Are they dangerous?

No, this fish species poses no threat to humans or other fish species. Male banded rainbowfish may be territorial, however, as long as they are kept in proper schools and in a spacious tank or aquarium, they are adaptable beings.

Would they make a good pet?

Yes, they are amazing pets in an aquarium or tank with plants. It's best to keep them in schools of five or more. When kept in a school of five, ensure that you do not mix sexes. They can be kept together in groups of six, seven, eight, nine, 10 or above with the proportion of females being greater than males if you decide to keep an odd number of fishes. They are peaceful beings, so avoid keeping them with aggressive fish. They need to be fed two to three times a day and ensure you only feed what they can consume. Avoid keeping them alone as they get sad.

Place them in a tank that filters water continuously as well as a lid since there is a likelihood of them jumping out. Artificial or reel plants and other materials should be placed at the bottom of their tank to resemble their natural environment. They should be kept in schools of five or more. They are accommodative to both experienced as well as amateur owners.  Banded rainbowfish sale is available online or in selected pet stores. They need a water temperature pH 7.0-8.0 water conditions matching their natural water conditions.

Did you know...

The earliest known record of keeping a fish in a tank or an aquarium was 4500 years ago when the Sumerians kept them in artificial ponds inappropriate water conditions.

Goyder River rainbowfish are found in the Arnhem Land and were first introduced in the early '70s by Wally Muller after a search in the field. Goyder River rainbowfish belong to the same family as the barred fish.

Black-banded rainbowfish is another similar fish fit to be kept in an aquarium or tank.

Why is it called banded rainbowfish?

In 1922, the name origin Melanotaenia trifasciata was proposed by Hialmar Rendahl while describing them as specimens after a search in the field.  After Rendahl, the name 'trifasciata' means 'three-banded' however, the unique thing is these fishes only possess a single band on their body so the name Banded. They are called rainbowfish since they are seen in multiple colors such as blue, green, red, yellow, or purple and seen in the Northern Territory and Queensland in Australia, as well as of North America.

What are the characteristics of banded rainbowfish?

They are mostly mid-level dwellers and survive easily with other peaceful fishes, however, if kept with aggressive species, their instant response is to hide. They don't do well with aggressive fishes. They have the ability to showcase flamboyant displays of coloration. However, this is rarely seen in a community tank if they are placed in since it would draw attention to these species. Banded rainbowfish are resilient fish and have the capability to withstand various diseases which might affect other fish.

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 giant grouper facts and French angelfish facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable banded rainbowfish coloring pages.

Banded Rainbowfish Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Aquatic insects

What Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?

5 eggs

How Much Did They Weigh?


What habitat Do they Live In?

freshwater streams, tanks, and aquariums

Where Do They Live?

northern australia and queensland

How Long Were They?

3.1-5.1 in (8-13 cm)

How Tall Were They?








Scientific Name

Melanotaenia trifasciata

What Do They Look Like?

Blue, green, red, yellow, or purple

Skin Type

Wet, slimy scales

What Are Their Main Threats?

snappers, grunters, and cardinal fishes

What is their Conservation Status?

Least Concern
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Written by Martha Martins

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha Martins picture

Martha MartinsBachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha is a full-time creative writer, content strategist, and aspiring screenwriter who communicates complex thoughts and ideas effectively. She has completed her Bachelor's in Linguistics from Nasarawa State University. As an enthusiast of public relations and communication, Martha is well-prepared to substantially impact your organization as your next content writer and strategist. Her dedication to her craft and commitment to delivering high-quality work enables her to create compelling content that resonates with audiences.

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