The Lake Tebera rainbowfish is a captivating species admired by aquarium enthusiasts worldwide. Native to the clear, oxygen-rich waters of Lake Tebera in Papua New Guinea, these rainbowfish are renowned for their dazzling colors and peaceful demeanor. In the realm of home aquariums, they not only add a splash of vibrancy but also exhibit fascinating behaviors that can enhance the dynamics of a community tank. When considering adding Lake Tebera rainbowfish to your aquarium, it’s essential to understand their specific needs, including their diet, habitat preferences, and compatibility with other fish. This comprehensive overview will delve into the key aspects of caring for Lake Tebera rainbowfish, focusing on their feeding habits and suitable tank mates, ensuring that both novice and experienced aquarists can provide an optimal environment for these stunning creatures.

Appearance and Behavior

Lake Tebera rainbowfish, scientifically known as Melanotaenia herbertaxelrodi, is a visually striking freshwater fish primarily found in Lake Tebera in Papua New Guinea. Known for their vibrant colors and dynamic appearance, these rainbowfish typically display a range of brilliant hues including blue, green, yellow, and red. These colors become more pronounced and vibrant in males, especially during the breeding season.

The Lake Tebera rainbowfish is a small to medium-sized species, generally reaching up to about 4 to 6 inches in length. They have a slender, elongated body shape which is characteristic of the rainbowfish family. Their fins are usually transparent or slightly colored, and the males often have elongated dorsal and anal fins.

Behaviorally, Lake Tebera rainbowfish are known for their peaceful and active nature. They are schooling fish, preferring to live in groups, and are often seen swimming actively throughout the water column. In the wild, they inhabit clear, well-oxygenated waters and are often found in areas with abundant aquatic vegetation.

Their diet in the wild consists primarily of small invertebrates and zooplankton, but in aquarium settings, they are adaptable and can be fed a variety of commercial fish foods. They are popular among aquarium enthusiasts due to their vibrant colors, peaceful temperament, and relatively easy care requirements.

Breeding behavior in Lake Tebera rainbowfish is typical of the rainbowfish family. They are egg scatterers, releasing their eggs among aquatic plants where they are left to develop without parental care. The males display vibrant colors and engage in elaborate displays to attract females during the breeding season.

Overall, the Lake Tebera rainbowfish is a beautiful and fascinating species, admired both for its stunning appearance and its active, peaceful behavior in aquarium settings.

Aquarium Setup for Lake Tebera Rainbowfish

Setting up an aquarium for Lake Tebera rainbowfish, involves creating an environment that closely mimics their natural habitat in Papua New Guinea. Here are some key considerations for setting up their aquarium:

  • Tank Size: A minimum tank size of 20 gallons (80 liters) is recommended for a small group of Lake Tebera rainbowfish. These fish are active swimmers and appreciate space. Larger tanks (30 gallons/120 liters or more) are preferable, especially if you plan to keep a larger group or a community tank with other species.
  • Water Conditions:
    • Temperature: Maintain the water temperature between 75°F and 80°F (24°C to 27°C).
    • pH Level: Aim for a pH level ranging from 6.5 to 8.0.
    • Water Hardness: Moderate hardness is ideal, but these fish are generally adaptable to various water conditions as long as extreme changes are avoided.
    • Regular water changes (about 25-30% weekly) are crucial to keep the water clean and free from harmful toxins.
  • Filtration and Aeration: A good filtration system is important to keep the water clean. Lake Tebera rainbowfish thrive in well-oxygenated water, so ensure the filter creates some water movement or consider adding an air stone for additional aeration.
  • Substrate and Decor:
    • Use a fine gravel or sandy substrate, which is similar to their natural lake environment.
    • Decorate the aquarium with rocks, driftwood, and a variety of live plants. Plants not only provide cover and a natural setting but also help maintain water quality.
    • Ensure there’s plenty of swimming space while providing some hiding spots.
  • Lighting: Moderate lighting is sufficient. If you have live plants, ensure the lighting supports their growth while not being too intense for the fish.
  • Tank Mates: Lake Tebera rainbowfish are peaceful and do well in community tanks with other non-aggressive fish of similar size. Avoid keeping them with large or aggressive species. Good tank mates include other rainbowfish, tetras, barbs, gouramis, and small catfish.
  • Feeding: Provide a varied diet consisting of high-quality flake food, frozen or live foods like brine shrimp and daphnia, and occasional vegetable matter. Ensure the food is small enough for them to eat. Also see the next section.
  • Breeding Setup: If you’re interested in breeding, set up a separate breeding tank with similar water conditions and plenty of fine-leaved plants or a spawning mop for the fish to lay their eggs.

Regular monitoring of water parameters and maintaining a clean, stable environment are key to keeping Lake Tebera rainbowfish healthy and vibrant. With the right setup and care, these rainbowfish can be a colorful and lively addition to your aquarium.


Feeding Lake Tebera rainbowfish, involves providing a varied and balanced diet to ensure their health and enhance their vibrant colors. Here are some guidelines for feeding these rainbowfish:

  • Diet Variety: Lake Tebera rainbowfish are omnivores, which means they require a mix of plant and animal-based foods. A varied diet helps meet their nutritional needs and keeps them healthy.
  • Basic Diet: High-quality flake or pellet food formulated for tropical fish can be the staple of their diet. These commercial foods are designed to provide a balanced range of nutrients.
  • Live and Frozen Foods: Supplement their diet with live or frozen foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, daphnia, and mosquito larvae. These foods are especially important for bringing out the fish’s natural colors and are beneficial during breeding season to condition the fish for spawning.
  • Vegetable Matter: Include some vegetable matter in their diet. This can be in the form of spirulina flakes, blanched vegetables (like spinach or zucchini), or peas. Vegetable matter is essential for their digestive health.
  • Feeding Frequency: Feed them small amounts twice a day. Only give them as much food as they can consume in a few minutes. Overfeeding can lead to poor water quality and health issues.
  • Observation: Regularly observe your fish during feeding times. This not only allows you to enjoy their behavior but also helps you monitor their health and ensure that all fish are getting their share of food.
  • Quality of Food: Always use high-quality food to avoid introducing diseases and to ensure proper nutrition. Check the expiry dates of commercial foods and store them properly.
  • Special Considerations for Fry: If you have fry (baby fish), they will need very fine food. Infusoria (tiny aquatic organisms), finely ground flakes, or commercially available fry food are suitable options. As they grow, you can gradually introduce larger foods.
  • Avoid Overfeeding: Overfeeding is a common mistake in fishkeeping. It can lead to obesity and water quality problems due to uneaten food decomposing in the tank. Make sure to remove any uneaten food after feeding sessions.

Proper feeding will not only keep your Lake Tebera rainbowfish healthy but also enhance their bright colors, making them a stunning addition to your aquarium. Remember, the key is variety and moderation in their diet.

Lake Tebera Rainbowfish – What You Should Know
Lake Tebera Rainbowfish – What You Should Know

Tank Mates for Lake Tebera Rainbowfish

Choosing the right tank mates for Lake Tebera rainbowfish is important to create a harmonious and healthy aquarium environment. These rainbowfish are generally peaceful and active, making them suitable for community tanks with other like-minded species. Here are some ideal tank mate options:

  • Other Rainbowfish: Different species of rainbowfish usually coexist well together, given their similar temperaments and requirements. Ensure the tank is large enough to accommodate the active swimming behaviors of multiple rainbowfish.
  • Tetras: Many tetra species, which are also peaceful and active, can be good companions for Lake Tebera rainbowfish. Species like neon tetras, cardinal tetras, and rummy-nose tetras are popular choices.
  • Barbs: Smaller, less aggressive barbs can be suitable tank mates. Avoid larger or more aggressive barb species that may nip fins or outcompete the rainbowfish for food.
  • Gouramis and Dwarf Cichlids: Peaceful gouramis and some dwarf cichlids can also be good choices. They occupy different parts of the tank, which helps reduce competition and stress.
  • Danios: Active and hardy, danios can be a good match for the active nature of rainbowfish. They generally stay at the top of the tank, leaving more space for rainbowfish to swim.
  • Livebearers: Peaceful livebearers like mollies, platies, and guppies can coexist with Lake Tebera rainbowfish. They have similar water parameter requirements and are generally non-aggressive.
  • Small Catfish and Loaches: Bottom dwellers like Corydoras catfish and smaller loaches can be good tank mates as they occupy different areas of the tank and help keep the bottom clean.
  • Shrimps and Snails: Non-aggressive invertebrates like shrimps and snails can also be part of the community. They help control algae and clean up leftover food.

When selecting tank mates, consider the following:

  • Size and Temperament: Choose fish that are similar in size and temperament to avoid bullying or stress.
  • Water Parameters: Ensure all species in the tank have similar water parameter requirements (temperature, pH, hardness).
  • Aquarium Size: Provide enough space for all species to coexist comfortably. A crowded tank can lead to stress and aggression.
  • Feeding: All fish should have similar dietary needs to ensure they all get the right nutrition.

Avoid aggressive or much larger fish that may see rainbowfish as prey or competitors. Regular monitoring of fish interactions, especially in the initial stages after introduction, is important to ensure compatibility and harmony in the tank.


In summary, the Lake Tebera rainbowfish is a splendid choice for any freshwater aquarium, bringing a unique combination of beauty and tranquility to the aquatic setting. Their care, centered around a balanced diet and a well-maintained habitat, is straightforward yet rewarding. By offering them a variety of high-quality foods and housing them with compatible tank mates, aquarists can ensure that these rainbowfish thrive. The peaceful nature of Lake Tebera rainbowfish makes them excellent community fish, capable of coexisting with a range of other peaceful species. Their presence in an aquarium not only contributes to a vibrant visual display but also encourages a harmonious and dynamic ecosystem. Whether you are a seasoned fishkeeper or new to the hobby, the Lake Tebera rainbowfish offers a delightful and engaging experience, embodying the enchantment and diversity of the underwater world.