Rainbowfish are among the coolest pet choices nowadays. So small and so hardy, yet so colorful and cheerful. An amazing addition to any freshwater tank!

If you have made your mind and decided to add some joyful splashes of color to your aquarium, you have probably done a bit of research already and know that there are more types of rainbowfish to choose from. More exactly, around 50 of them. And we have done the job ourselves and selected the 10 most interesting.

1. Boeseman’s Rainbowfish

To begin, here is one of the most unusual fish colorations one can ever see. This amazing fish features a white head which develops into a bright orange palette when heading towards the tail. How amazing is that?

They are fairly large for a rainbowfish and can grow to up 4 inches in body length. Therefore, you should ensure them at least 20 gallons of water space. They are extremely peaceful creatures and are the perfect choice for community tanks. 

If you plan on matching them with other species, please keep in mind that Boeseman’s rainbowfish love spending time either at the top or at the middle levels of their tank.  

2. Red Rainbowfish

These carnivorous egg-layers are easy to recognize among any other fish thanks to their super-bright red coloration. Indeed, their entire body is covered in red, as they were on fire. Plus, they feature a horizontal orange stripe which starts at the top of their head and ends towards the tail.

They too are quite large when compared to most rainbowfish, and they can reach a total body length of even 6 inches during their life in captivity. Also, they could be your companions for about 5 years, as this is their usual life expectancy.

As long as you provide your pet with a suitably sized tank of at least 20 gallons and maintain its water parameters super-stable, you should have no issues at all with these cute top dwellers. 

3. Australian Rainbowfish

Australian rainbowfish is a classic species which never goes out of style. With a silverish base color and with greatly colored horizontal stripes all over their bodies, these fish make a beautiful yet elegant choice for any tank. Additionally, they are omnivorous, so this should make feeding plans much easier for you.

They usually grow up to 4 inches in body length, so a 20-gallon tank should again be more than comfortable for them. Furthermore, they are greatly peaceful, becoming soon the ideal tank mates for suitable aquariums.

They do require somehow higher water temperature levels though, so you should plan on keeping these between 77- and 81-degrees Fahrenheit.  

4. Western Rainbowfish

Black Stripe / Western Rinbofish (Melanotaenia australis) – Photo by Mike S Flickr

The western variation of rainbowfish is truly peculiar for mainly two reasons. Firstly, they can be found in various color combinations, from sunshine yellows to elegantly purples, or a cheerful match of blues and reds.

These fish have them all, as rainbows are supposed to. On top of that, they have a very distinctive couple of horizontal blackish stripes, heading towards the lower part of their bodies. All in all, a fairly beauty choice of the tincture.

These fish can grow around 5 inches during their adulthood phase, and they will greatly appreciate all the plants that you can place inside their captivity tanks. Also, make sure to adopt at least 6 specimens to ensure they are getting the safe feeling from their school which they deserve.

5. Wanam Rainbowfish

This is one of the smallest rainbowfish species and never exceed 3 inches in body length. Even though, they still are fairly active creatures and love spending their life in tanks of at least 20 gallons, preferably larger.

They feature somewhat of an olive-green coloration and make a stylish addition to any tank.

Wanam rainbowfish can live either in schools or without them- they are as flexible as that. However, they do tend to thrive in somehow warmer waters, so this is certainly not something to disregard.

Their ideal water temperature range goes from 79- to up to 86-degrees Fahrenheit. If this is met, you should be facing these adorable fish for approximately 5 years.

6. Flame Rainbowfish

Flame Rainbowfish / Melanotaenia Parva – Photo by Dirk Godlinski – (sourceCC BY-SA 4.0)

This is basically a dwarf species and adult specimens rarely exceed 3,5 inches in size. And, as their name suggests, they literally look as they were just dipped into a flame!

They feature amazingly vibrant red, orange and yellow color combinations, and they surely add some life to any dull-looking aquarium.

Flame rainbowfish are extremely active creatures, and they have to live in schools in order for being able to survive.

Ideally, you should start with at least 6 fish for a single school, but feel free to add some more if you can afford the space- your pets will be thankful.

7. Neon Rainbowfish

If you own a small tank such as 10 gallons, here comes an ideal species for your home. The neon rainbowfish is one of the smallest choices available and they usually grow to a maximum size of only 2,5 inches.

Also, they are not overly active, so such tank size should be more than a suitable home for these adorable creatures.

They feature a silverish coloration base and then some amazing neon splashes of blue all over their bodies. Also, they often come with greatly cute red lines along the edges of their fins.

They are expected to live around either 3 or 4 years in captivity aquariums, so this is an excellent choice of pet for those who do not plan on committing for a long time.

8. Banded Rainbowfish

These Australian rainbowfish are characterized by a different range of colors, mostly similar to tiny live rainbows. Indeed, they generally feature gradually changing colors from top to bottom parts of their bodies.

Also, they are quite large when compared to most fish belonging to the family and usually grow around 6 inches in length.

They are very peaceful but being schooling fish of a fairly large size they can sometimes bother and provoke larger fish if placed into a community tank. Nonetheless, a heavily planted tank should help a lot with providing a natural and calm environment.

9. Forktail Blue-Eye Rainbowfish

What makes these tiny beauties so special is not just their amazing coloration, but also the funny shape of their pectoral fins. Indeed, they own two of those and they are designed in such way to resemble almost to wings, being upturned.

On top of that, forktail blue-eye rainbowfish own fantastic yellow stripes over their usually silverish bodies. And of course, as their name suggests, they have vivid blue eyes.

They are extremely small and never exceed 2 inches in body size, but they are at the same time extremely active creatures and require therefore some extra space around their tanks.

If you are aiming to adopt a well-functioning school of 6 to 10 specimens, you should ensure them around 30 gallons of water volume.

10. Celebes Rainbowfish

And finally, the Celebes rainbowfish is a greatly magnificent addition for any peaceful aquarium. They are super-easy to distinguish thanks to the prolonged second dorsal and anal fins, which seem as elegantly floating through the water as they swim. This is much more pronounced in male specimens.

They are fairly small and usually grow up to just 2 inches. Along with a silver-colored body core, you may notice amazingly vivid traces of yellow, or blue, or even red sometimes, and such colors are actually more intense when exposed to natural sunlight. All in all, a beautiful fish species which is easy to care for.

Wrapping Up

After going through our list of the 10-best rainbowfish, you are now probably not able to decide which one is more beautiful. And we have to agree.

Whatever species you decide to adopt, we are positive that any rainbowfish will simply make a wonderful tank inhabitant.

Written by Fabian

Hey, I'm Fabian, chief editor at Aquarium Nexus. I really enjoy the aquarium hobby and love sharing my experience with others. If you have any questions feel free to contact me or leave a comment below.

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