Melanotaenia trifasciata Click to enlarge image
A Banded Rainbowfish photographed in an aquarium. The fish was caught at a depth of approximately 0.5m in a fast flowing stretch of the Blyth River, Central Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, October 2002. Image: D. Wilson
© D. Wilson

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    trifasciata
    Genus
    Melanotaenia
    Family
    Melanotaeniidae
    Order
    Atheriniformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The Banded Rainbowfish grows to 13 cm in length but is more commonly seen up to 8 cm.

The Banded Rainbowfish occurs in freshwater streams and waterholes and is a popular aquarium fish that has a variety of colour forms.

Identification

The Banded Rainbowfish has a compressed body and a small head. Its dorsal and anal fins are both long-based.

The species is a popular aquarium fish that has a variety of colour forms. It is often bluish or greenish on the back and sides. The breast, belly and lower half of the head are usually silvery or whitish. The median fins are yellow or red. A dark stripe (sometimes faint) is usually present along the side of body.


Melanotaenia trifasciata
A Banded Rainbowfish from the Dalhunty River, Cape York. This fish is in breeding colouration . Image:  N. Armstrong
© N. Armstrong

Distribution

The species is endemic to Australia. It occurs in freshwater streams and waterholes in northern parts of the Northern Territory and Cape York, Queensland.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums



References

  1. Allen, G.R. 1989. Freshwater Fishes of Australia. T.F.H. Publications. Pp. 240.
  2. Allen, G.R., Midgley, S.H. & M. Allen. 2002. Field Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of Australia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 394.
  3. Merrick, J.R. & G.E. Schmida. 1984. Australian Freshwater Fishes. Biology and Management. John R. Merrick. Pp. 409.
  4. Wilson, D. 2002. A visit with the Djelk Rangers of Central Arnhem Land. Fishes of Sahul. 16(1): 806-814.