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Home > Fish > 13 Popular Types of Rainbow Fish (With Pictures)

13 Popular Types of Rainbow Fish (With Pictures)

bosemans angelfish

Most rainbow fish are a new addition to the aquarium community, but there are many colorful breeds to be had, and they are peaceful fish that likes large numbers. If you’re looking for a chance to see several different types of rainbow fresh water fish in one place so you can choose the one you like best, you’ve come to the right place.

We’ve rounded up 13 different breeds of rainbow fish to present to you. We’ll show you a picture and give you a few facts about each one. We think you’ll be amazed at variations between breeds. Join us while we look at tank size, pH, maximum growth size, colors, and more, to help you make an informed purchase.


The 13 Most Popular Types of Rainbow Fish

1. Axelrod’s Rainbow Fish

Axelrod’s rainbow fish originated in New Guinea, and they can grow as long as 4 inches as an adult. They’re a white-colored fish with faint black stripes on the side reminiscent of a zebra. Axelrod’s may also have some blue around the gill area. They can live up to five years if properly cared for, but they are sensitive about the pH level and prefer it kept between 7.5 and 7.8. Axelrod’s rainbow fish are happiest in tanks larger than 20 gallons.

2. Banded Rainbow Fish

Banded Rainbow Fish
Image Credit: Karel Zahradka, Shutterstock

The banded rainbow fish is a multicolor fish with a dark mid-lateral band that lightens toward the fins and usually has red or yellow fins. This breed can tolerate a wide range of water temperatures and are peaceful and relaxed, so they make great aquarium companions. The aquarium must have a lid, though, as this breed is prone to jumping out of the water.

3. Boeseman’s Rainbow Fish

Boeseman's Rainbow Fish
Image By: Pixabay

The Boeseman’s rainbow fish is an interesting fish that is white near the head but transitions into a bright orange by the tail. It can reach a length of 4 inches and can live up to five years if conditions are ideal. It will require a tank with at least 20 gallons of water and always likes the pH to be right around seven. The Boeseman’s rainbow fish is peaceful and well suited to community life.

4. Crimson Spotted Rainbow Fish

Crimson spotted rainbow fish has been a popular pet for over 100 years. It can reach almost 5 inches when fully grown, but it is much more common to find them just under 4 inches long. Their fins can vary in color from yellow to red, and a single red dot is present by the gills. The males have brighter colors than the females and are slightly smaller.

5. Checkered Rainbow Fish

The checkered rainbow fish is found naturally in a variety of habitats, including rivers, streams, swamps, and lagoons. They like a well-planted aquarium with plenty of dense vegetation and warmer water between 79 and 91 degrees. They are tolerant of pH and are comfortable if it stays between 6.5 and 8. One other thing to think about before purchasing this fish is that they prefer the company of others like them. The males, especially, will often only present their best color in the presence of competing males.

6. Desert Rainbow Fish

The desert rainbow fish has a sandy-colored body with orange-tinted fins. These fish like to be members of schools, so it’s better to purchase a few of these at a time. They are peaceful and don’t fight with other types of fish and prefer to stay near the top of the tank. A full-grown adult desert rainbow fish can grow to about 4 inches long and should live about five years if they receive proper care and have at least 20 gallons to swim in.

7. Dwarf Rainbow Fish

Dwarf rainbow fish are known for their large eyes and small size. Compared to other rainbow fish that typically reach 4 or more inches, the dwarf rainbow will only get to about 2 inches. The females tend to have yellow fins and be a little smaller with more silver. The males usually have red fins with some neon blue colors scattered throughout.

8. Lake Kutubu Rainbowfish

Lake Kutubu angel fish
Image Credit: Vladimir Wrangel, Shutterstock

Lake Kutubu rainbow fish usually have a blue-green color with a white belly. They are peaceful fish that like to school with other fish and can reach about 5 inches long when fully grown. This breed will typically live about five years if kept in an aquarium with more than 20 gallons of water. These fish like a well-planted tank but will spend most of the time near the top of the water.

9. Lake Wanam Rainbow Fish

The Lake Wanam rainbow fish is a green-tinged breed with a white belly. It’s a little smaller than many of the others and is not likely to exceed three inches in length. They are very peaceful and like to be part of a school, but also don’t mind being the only one in the aquarium. This breed stays near the top and prefers a tank larger than 20 gallons.

10. Madagascar Rainbow Fish

The Madagascar rainbow fish has a green top and a dark stripe down its middle. There may also be more dark colors on its belly. This breed is one of the largest, and many Madagascar rainbow Fish can grow more than 6 inches. Like most rainbow fish, these are like an aquarium that is larger than 20 gallons.

11. Murry River Rainbow Fish

Murry River rainbow fish has an olive to brown body color. Their fins can be clear or red, and they can have light-colored dots. This breed also occasionally has a dark red stripe. It’s possible to find a Murry River rainbow fish that is 4 inches long, but most will only get to be about 3 inches. This breed likes to see the morning sun and requires plenty of space for free swimming.

12. Neon Rainbowfish

The neon rainbow fish is mostly silver in color and get their name from small tinges of neon blue that you can see at certain angles. The color becomes more prevalent as the fish ages. This breed is a peaceful fish that is a little on the smaller size and rarely gets longer than 2.5 inches. Because of their small size, you can keep them in a tank as small as 10 gallons. The neon rainbow fish also has a slightly smaller lifespan than many of the others and is only expected to live three to four years.

13. Red Rainbowfish

The red rainbow fish has a bright red body with a yellow stripe across the top. This breed is large and can grow up to 6 inches as an adult. It’s peaceful and generally lives for about five years, spending most of its time near the water’s surface. It is like a tank of at least 20 gallons and is sensitive to pH, so you will always need to keep it between 7 and 7.5.


Summary: The Top 13 Rainbow Fish Types

Now that you know the top fish for your rainbow fish aquarium, you may start adding to your collection! Most rainbow fish are very friendly and will not cause any problems. Most breeds don’t have any special requirements besides a minimum of twenty gallons and plenty of swimming space. Rainbow fish are hardy and can survive pH and temperature changes without much difficulty. Some breeds like to be part of a school more than others, and some will be unable to reach peak color without competing males. However, it’s not too difficult to find any of these breeds, and they all will make a great addition to your aquarium, providing color and exotic appearance.

We hope that you have enjoyed reading and have found a fish or two that you like best. If you have learned something new, please share these popular types of rainbow fish on Facebook and Twitter.

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Feature Image Credit: Vladimir Wrangel, Shutterstock

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