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Red Rainbowfish

(Glossolepis incisus)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Easy   • Temperament: Peaceful   • Maximum Size: 5"
• Minimum Tank Size: 55 gallons   • Water Conditions: 75-82° F, KH 9-19, pH 7.0-8.0
• Diet: Omnivore   • Origin: Southeast Asia, New Guinea   • Family: Melanotaeniidae
• Species: Rainbowfish   • Aquarium Type: Community

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Species Information

Red Rainbowfish native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

Red Rainbowfish (Glossolepis incisus) fish originate from the heavily planted tropical waters of Southeast Asia, New Guinea and surrounding islands. They are a schooling species that does much better within the aquarium environment when they are kept in schools of at least 6 individuals or more. Juvenile Red Rainbows tend to have relatively dull colors that brighten and develop into a much more vivid coloration as an adult.

The top male in the group will display the brightest colors, with subordinate males displaying less red coloration and more silver. Male and females differ in coloration as well, with the males exhibiting a red base color with silver specks, while adult females have a more muted brown and olive coloration that extends the whole of their body.

Many aquarium keepers have found that keeping Rainbow fish in aquariums with darker substrate and plenty of live plants works to bring out the full intensity of the Red Rainbow fishes coloration. Another benefit of keeping this species in a school is that the males will compete with one another for the females in the group, which they do by exhibiting the brightest coloration that they can muster.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Red Rainbowfish in the home aquarium.

When housing Red Rainbows in the home aquarium it is important to provide them with a long (4 feet or larger) aquarium that has areas of plants and plenty of room for these active swimmers to move about. They are also well known jumpers, thus their aquarium should be well covered in order to keep them from jumping out of the aquarium when startled.

Red Rainbow are schooling fish and should be kept in groups (6 or more individuals) as they would live this way in the wild. Keeping single individuals is likely to cause the fish a lot of stress which will lead to poor coloration and more than likely a shorter lifespan. Another important aspect to keeping Red Rainbow fish is to provide them with plenty of planted areas within the aquarium, which will simulate their natural habitat and provide them with cover when needed.

Like most all tropical species, the Red Rainbow needs stable water conditions and good filtration and water aeration. Rainbow fish prefer well planted warm alkaline waters, thus aquarium plants should be chosen that will thrive in alkaline waters with a pH range of 7.2 to 8.0.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to properly feed Red Rainbowfish and provide a healthy diet.

Red Rainbow are an omnivorous species that will readily consume a wide variety of commercially available foods. In order to provide them with all the nutrients and minerals that they need to maintain a healthy immune system, they should be fed foods that contain both meaty and plant based material. A variety of flake, frozen and freeze-dried fish foods fed 2 to 3 times per day is ideal.

Red Rainbow have relatively small mouths and throats, thus should be fed smaller foods that they can easily swallow. Live or freeze-dried bloodworms are a great treat for a school of Red Rainbows to supplement their normal diet.

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