Red Rainbowfish

Red Rainbowfish

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Red Rainbow Fish Glossolepis incisus

The Red Rainbowfish is one of the larger rainbow fish species, reaching up to 15cm in length in the wild and about 12cm in the aquarium.

These fish are rarely maintained as they should be—in large, long tanks in schools of 10 or more fish. A school of 20 specimens in a well-planted 6-foot tank is breathtaking. The school should contain both sexes. Throughout the day, but especially first thing in the morning, the males will perform fantastic displays vying for the female's attention. Reports of aggression toward smaller tankmates are inevitably linked to keeping one or two specimens; these are obligatory schoolers and do not do well alone or in small groups.

Common Names: Red rainbowfish, salmon rainbowfish, Irian red rainbowfish, New Guinea rainbowfish, etc.

Type Locality: Irian Jaya Indonesia: Lake Sentani

Range: Irian Jaya Indonesia: Lake Sentani

Taxonomic Troubles: This is the original name.

Size: 15 cm TL (6 inches), males larger than females.

Preferred Water Chemistry: Tropical, moderately hard, slightly basic.

Difficulty: A hardy fish, but sensitive to poor water conditions. Plenty of water changes will help maintain its health and bright colours.

Tank Setup: A large tank is necessary for a school of these heavy-bodied fish. This is not a fish for a 20-gallon community! Tankmates should be of similar size or smaller and peaceful.

Feeding: Primarily a carnivore. A hearty and greedy feeder, this fish will accept all regular aquarium fare.

Breeding: Easy to breed. A spawning mop floating in their tank will soon be full of eggs. Young are small and need tiny foods, but they are easy to raise.


Juveniles and females are olive grey with silver iridescence. At about 2 inches in length the males take on a deep red-orange coloration with gold iridescence. Males also develop a much higher body.