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Fish Database - Rainbow Fish

The rainbowfish are a family of small, colourful, freshwater fish that are found in northern and eastern Australia and New Guinea and in the Southeast Asian islands.

The dominant rainbowfish genus and its many species derive their generic name Melanotaenia from the ancient Greek melano (black) and taenia (banded). Translated, it means black-banded, and is a reference to the often striking lateral black bands that run along the bodies of those in the Melanotaenia genus.

Rainbowfish are usually less than 12 centimetres (4.7 in) in length, with some species measuring less than 6 centimetres (2.4 in), while one species, Melanotaenia vanheurni, reaches lengths of up to 20 centimetres (7.9 in). They live in a wide range of freshwater habitats, including rivers, lakes, and swamps. Although they spawn all year round, they lay a particularly large number of eggs at the start of the local rainy season. The eggs are attached to aquatic vegetation, and hatch seven to 18 days later. Rainbowfish are omnivorous, feeding on small crustaceans, insect larvae, and algae.