Melanotaenia splendida

Melanotaenia splendida is a rainbowfish typically distributed in Australia. It can be found in different habitats, including swamps, lakes, streams and rivers.

The specimens display a wide variety of colours depending on location, diet, and natural conditions of the biotope. The base colour is bluish-green, olivaceous to yellowish, grading to white on the lower sides. The side of the body usually has a bluish-green, yellowish-red or purplish sheen. Body stripes can be yellow, green, blue or red. Moreover, the dorsal, caudal and anal fins can be red and yellow chequered or orange-yellow with bright red spots and faint black edges. Females and young specimens have plain silvery bodies and fins that are either translucent or faintly coloured. Instead, males are larger, deeper bodied and more brightly-coloured, especially during spawning.

Submitted by
Natasha Khardina
-12.4292183, 132.9671021
Geographical region
Drainage Basin
East Alligator River
River catchment
Alligator River
Water body type
Water body name
East Alligator River
Water body part
Water body course
Upper course
Water body: tributary of
Tributary name
Alligator River
Type locality
Fitzroy River, Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia
Conservation status/IUCN Red List
Not Evaluated (NE)


Water Chemistry

Water information

Water type
Fresh water
Water color
Clear water
Water transparency
Concentration of sediments
Water temperature
20-27 °C
Water flow/curent

Chemical parameters

5-20 mg/l
Dissolved Oxygen


Standard length
11 cm
Water volume (min. aquarium)
220 l
Social behaviour
Group fish
Behaviour description

Melanotaenia splendida is usually peaceful but can disturb smaller fishes with its movements and larger size. It is a shoaling fish and does better when kept in a shoal of at least 6-8. The males will display their best colours in the company of individuals of the same species. In the biotope aquarium, good mates include other rainbowfish, Craterocephalus, Iriatherina Pseudomugil and freshwater gobies.

Aggression grade
Day active
Sexual dimorphism

Mature males are larger and show brighter colours compared to females. They also develop longer dorsal and anal fins and a much deeper body than females.

Nutrition in Nature

Melanotaenia splendida feeds on algae, insects, small crustaceans and other small invertebrates.


Breeding tank set-up

The breeding aquarium should be large enough for the individuals, and contain slightly hard water with a neutral pH and a temperature of 25-27 °C. There should be sufficient oxygen and water flow. It is useful to include in the tank plants such as java moss, or nylon spawning mops.

Nutrition parents

Melanotaenia splendida will accept most dried, frozen and live foods. Feedings with live food ensure brighter colouration.

Mating type
Spawning behaviour

Melanotaenia splendida is an egg-scatterer and attach their eggs to aquatic vegetation and other submerged materials. The can spawn throughout the while year and for a period of several weeks, laying batches of eggs each day.


Breeding habits
Egg scatterer
Hatching period
7-8 days
Number of eggs in average
Parental care
Fry number
Nutrition fry

The fry require infusoria-type food, before switching to free swimming foods, such as brine shrimp nauplii. Since the fry tend to stay very close to the water surface, sinking foods are inappropriate for the feeding.

Notes on reproduction

Sexual maturity occurs at about 3-4 cm for both sexes.