Rainbowfish Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Danielle Lavallo

Danielle has taught computer technology and gifted education classes. She has a master's degree in teaching and learning.

Rainbowfish may be very small, but what they lack in size, they make up for in color and energy. In this lesson, we'll learn about these bright swimmers, what they look like, where they live, what they eat, and how they behave.

What Is a Rainbowfish?

When you close your eyes and imagine a rainbowfish, what comes to mind? Perhaps you picture a brightly colored fish that is shaped like a rainbow. Well, rainbowfish are shaped pretty much like regular fish, but they are very colorful!

Rainbowfish are small, colorful, and energetic fish. They're vertebrates, which means they have bones, and like other fish, they breathe oxygen in the water through gills. They live in tropical places, but you may have seen them in pet shops or aquariums. You might even have some in your own fish tank!

Rainbowfish have colorful scales.

What Do Rainbowfish Look Like?

There are more than 70 species of rainbowfish grouped into several different families. They average about 4-6 inches long, and they have thin bodies. Rainbowfish can be a variety of colors, which vary according to their species. The most common rainbowfish have silvery, blue-green bodies with pink bellies and clear or red-orange fins.

A rainbowfish swims along using its bright fin.
Male Rainbowfish

While rainbowfish are known for their bright colors, they aren't born that way. Rainbowfish hatch from eggs that are laid and fertilized in plants, and at first, they are a plain silver-white color. As they get older, they start to take on the vibrant colors for which they're named, and the males grow to be more colorful than the females. The average lifespan of rainbowfish is about 5 years, but they can live longer if properly cared for in an aquarium.

Where Do Rainbowfish Live?

Rainbowfish can be found in fish tanks and aquariums around the world, but they also live in the wild. They're native to tropical, warm places, including Australia, New Guinea, and Madagascar. They can be found in freshwater bodies like lakes, rivers, swamps, and streams, and some species can also live in salt water.

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