Red Rainbowfish Care Guide: Tank Setup and much more – 2021

Red Rainbowfish


Red Rainbowfish Introduction

Rainbowfish has been the most colorful option in the aquarium trade. With an extensive range of species,  you can always find ones that can brighten up your tank.  Red Rainbowfish is undoubtedly one of the top names on the list if you’re targeting Rainbowfish for your aquarium.

Red Rainbowfish is one of the most popular Rainbowfish that charms people with their bright reds. It’s a tremendous aquarium attraction when kept in the shoal while they’re also easy to care for. This strong and hardy species can thrive and get along with other species well in a community tank.



Category Rating
Level of care Easy
Temperament Peaceful
Appearance Red coloration with silver scales
Life expectancy Up to 3 years
Size Up to 6 inches
Diet Omnivore
Family Melanotaeniidae
Tank size 50-gallon
Tank environment Warm water with dense plants and fast current
Tank Mates Kept in shoals

Kep with other rainbowfish





Glossolepis incisus or Red Rainbowfish is a tropical freshwater species native to Lake Sentani in Indonesia. It’s a member of the Melanotaeniidae family or simply the Rainbowfish family. You might have known Red Rainbowfish with other names like New Guinea Red Rainbowfish, Red Iranian Rainbowfish, or Salmon Red Rainbowfish.


Red Rainbowfish Behavior


Red Rainbowfish is a peaceful species that live in shoals for protection. That’s why they‘re largely found in the natural environment with dense vegetation. Red Rainbowfish can live up to 8 years with proper care in captivity.

As a peaceful fish, you can keep Red Rainbowfish with similar size and temperament species. Their behavior may change when the spawning time comes where they may chase each other but with no harm caused.

Red Rainbowfish is a shoaling species that live in groups so you must not keep it singly. On the other hand, Red Rainbowfish would have a more intense color when kept in shoals. In the tank environment, they may swim around the mid and upper levels most of the time.

You can find Red Rainbowfish venturing the open areas or hiding in the plants you’ve set up.  Even though they may rarely venture the substrate, they’d go to the bottom for the scavenged foods.  Their unique behavior makes Red Rainbowfish more popular among aquarists and hobbyists.


Red Rainbowfish Appearance


Red Rainbowfish can grow up to 6 inches which makes them one of the largest rainbowfish species. You can identify male fish with more developed higher back and red colorations. The red shade in the male’s body is determined by multiple factors including water conditions, diets, mood, and age.

Males typically have a slim, rounded body with silver scales scattered to it. The blood-red through the body and fins are the sign of a healthy adult male. Red Rainbowfish males have pointed heads with large black eyes.

Females share similar shapes except that they have brownish coloration with those gray fins. At this point, sexting Red Rainbowfish would be no problem. Red Rainbowfish is actually a member of active rainbowfish so you can expect them to be venturing tanks while scavenging foods in the bottom throughout time.  Their shoaling behavior could have been the major attraction if you decide to keep Red Rainbowfish in your tank.


Red Rainbowfish Natural Habitat


Rainbowfish is native species to Lake Sentani Indonesia even though they’re also found in Papua New Guinea and Australia. You can find Red Rainbowfish mostly in the swamps, lakes, rivers, and streams. Red Rainbowfish populations in wildlife are threatened by introduced invasive species and hazardous human activities.

Rainbowfish comes into the aquarium thread. Aquarists finally breed this rainbowfish and the breeding itself becomes commercial especially in Southeast Asia and Florida. Don’t worry about endangering the wildlife populations since the Red Rainbowfish you’ve purchased from certified breeders are captivity-bred.


Red Rainbowfish Caring and Tank Guide


Lake Sentani in Western New Guinea is the native environment of Red Rainbowfish that you can resemble in the tank.  In this lake, you can find Red Rainbowfish in the shallower areas with dense vegetation or currents as they hide and shelter from predators, larger fish.

Rainbowfish is a tropical species that lives in warm water. You better condition your tank to resemble their natural habitat to keep their health and well-being.


Tank Setup


Rainbowfish would appreciate areas with dense vegetation so you can add live plants even though it’s a species or friendly community tank. However, Red Rainbowfish may nibble the plants when shoaling so harder or sturdier plants are more recommended.

You can set up the robust plantation on the sides of the tank but leave the open swimming area in the middle. You can replicate the Lake Sentani environment by decorating the interior with bogwood and rock.


Water Conditions


Even though Rainbowfish is an adaptable species you need to keep ideal water parameters so they can live longer and healthier. You must keep the warmer temperature at 70 – 79 F while the pH value ranges from 6.5 -8.5. Set the water hardness at a range of 8 -25 dG.

Despite investing in a heater to keep the water temperature warm, you need to use a robust filtration system. Rainbowfish requires considerably fast water movement so you need powerful powerheads to follow the tank size. Keep the moderate bright lighting.


Tank Size


Rainbowfish can grow up to six inches but you should keep them in a shoal of 4-6 fish in the tank.  On the other hand, Rainbowfish could be very active and need more space to venture and to shoal.  A 30-gallon aquarium is certainly a very minimum tank size but it’s more ideal to use a 60-gallon tank.




Despite a robust filtration system, you must do regular water changes. You can either do a 10% water change per week or 25% every two weeks. If you have a larger tank to take care of, you can use a commercial water changer, gravel cleaner, and water conditioner.

Tank maintenance and water treatment are very important to keep the best water environment for Rainbowfish. These would keep the nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia at the lowest level possible to prevent bacteria and infections.


Red Rainbowfish Tankmates


Rainbowfish has a lot of potential tank mates you can choose from. This rainbowfish can thrive well in a species or community tank with other species.

You can keep Rainbowfish with species of similar size and peaceful temperament. Avoid any aggressive species that would likely bully this rainbow fish. Other rainbowfish species are excellent tank mate choices for Red Rainbowfish.

Not only that they share many similarities but other rainbowfish species would also be a vibrant coloration showcase in your tank.

You can keep Rainbowfish with other species too like shrimps, snails, or invertebrates. However, it’s the best move to always research further about the compatible species and tank mates.

For species tanks, you must keep Rainbowfish in groups of five or size. You better mix male and female fish to bring out the vibrant color of your tank. They’re very sociable species that keep in the larger shoals so you must not keep them singly.


How to feed Red Rainbowfish


Rainbowfish are omnivorous freshwater fish that eat any food that fits into the mouth. In their natural habitat, Red Rainbowfish may eat plants and insects. They’re not picky on foods but a varied diet should be promoted.

Rainbowfish may take everything you put in the tank. You can use flakes, pellets, granules, or other dried foods as a staple. However, you’d need to supplement the diet with nutritious live and/or frozen foods like brine shrimps and blood worms.

As previously mentioned, Rainbowfish’s coloration can depend on their food. You must only use high-quality foods to ensure the health and to showcase their best color. Reversely, unhealthy Red Rainbowfish usually show duller coloration.

You can feed Rainbowfish twice a day with a portion they complete within 2-3 minutes. Overfeeding can overwork their digestive system and leave uneaten foods decaying then contaminating the water. You can always balance their diet with greens or vegetables.


Red Rainbowfish Breeding guideline


Rainbowfish is quite easy to breed in the tank with less intervention as long as you can maintain the best environment for spawning. What you need to do is decorate the breeding tank with leaved live plants.

You need to condition the tank by keeping the water temperature at around 79 F and changing the water partially. A separate spawning tank is highly recommended but you need to treat it first before introducing Rainbowfish.

You can choose the healthiest and fattest pair of Red Rainbowfish to occupy the spawning tank. Spawning may take several weeks to complete where the egg scatterers lay some eggs per day in the plant, substrate, or other surfaces. Within eight days, the eggs would hatch.

Feed your newborns with infusoria for the first seven days. Once they get larger and start swimming freely, you can feed them with brine shrimp nauplii. Since they’re sensitive to changes in water conditions, monitor your water quality closely to prevent the fry from an early death.

If you’re not sure about your first time breeding Rainbowfish, you can research the details further. Consult with the breeder from who you buy your fish and tank mates.