Factsheet 10

Melanotaenia parkinsoni. Allen 1980

This is yet another species of fish purchased during our visit to Fischhaus Zepkow in May 2003.

Melanotaenia parkinsoni is medium sized rainbow fishes, growing to around 10 or 11cm S.L. It is a native of Papua New Guinea and is found in an area S.E. of Port Moresby. It is one of the easier species of rainbow to keep and breed. It has no special requirements as far as water conditions are concerned. It has proved to be quite happy in the water conditions prevailing in North Kent. I.e. in excess of 300ppm total hardness and a pH of 7.5 plus. Like all rainbows, they much prefer clean clear water and to this end, often do better in a power-filtered tank. They readily accept all manner of food, and particularly relish all live foods. A certain amount of vegetable food is necessary for their good health and condition. Spawning may be accomplished using the traditional mop method but it is necessary to remove the eggs on a regular basis, as the adults will tend to eat them. I place the eggs in a small container with water from the adult’s tank. Eggs that fungus should be removed as soon as possible. The eggs hatched after 9 days at around 28 deg. C. As with all rainbow fry, they are extremely small. The difficulty with rainbow fish is not spawning or hatching them, it is with raising them. Because of their small size, they require extremely small food. I feed my own brand of liquid food and this seems to be quite satisfactory. After about three weeks, the fry are just about capable of consuming newly hatched brine shrimp. Once they are able to accept this, they progress reasonably well. Feeding with micro worm, then chopped white worm and tubifex promotes good growth. Young rainbow fish in my experience, do not grow as rapidly as many other fish.

After 6 months, my young fish have reached about 4 to 5 cm in S.L. At this stage, the male fish start to show their beautiful orange coloration whilst the females show a normal silver colour. Being a potentially reasonably sized fish, they do need room to grow and to this end, are now in a 5 x 2 x 2 feet tank. Water changes are effected from a very early stage. Now they are approaching maturity, I change about 25% every three or four days. Water straight from the tap is used without any treatment (or heating) whatsoever.

The fish I bought, were quite small, maybe 5cm S.L. They have now almost doubled in size and appear to be still growing. The adult males have quite beautiful orange colour in the dorsal and anal fins and along the side of the body. They make a spectacular sight when kept in a small shoal of 6 or so fish and although the males appear to be a bit aggressive to one another, no fin damage results. They show no aggression to other rainbows or other species of fish. A species of rainbow I can highly recommend to all aquarists.

© Pete Cottle, 2003. This fact sheet may not be reproduced in any form without the permission of the author.