Rainbowfish, Freshwater fish, Species

Celebes Rainbow (Marosatherina ladigesi)

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by Jason Matthews



Celebes rainbow is a rare fish that will pique the interest of pet owners and hobbyists alike. Whether you’re a new or experienced pet fish owner, this species will be a fascinating and rewarding pet to care for.

This article will examine the Celebes rainbow’s origin, appearance, size, genders, behavior, tank conditions, tankmates, diet, breeding, and diseases. So, if you want to learn more about this fascinating species, keep reading!


Scientific Name: Marosatherina ladigesi
Common Names: sail-fin silverside rainbowfish
Life Expectancy: 5-8 years
Adult Size: 3 inches (7.5 cm)


HabitatStreams, rivers, and lakes
Care LevelModerate
Tank LevelMid to top level
Minimum Tank Size20 gallons (75 liters)
Water pH6.0-8.0
Water Temperature75-82°F (24-28°C)
Water HardnessSoft to moderately hard water; 5-12 dGH
LightingModerate to bright lighting
Tank MatesPeaceful community fish

Fun Fact Corner

Here’s an interesting fact about the Celebes rainbow: This species is known for its unique courtship display during the breeding season, in which the male will flash its vibrant colors and spread its fins to attract a female.


The Celebes rainbow (Marosatherina ladigesi) originates from Southeast Asia’s freshwater rivers and lakes, specifically in the Indonesian province of Sulawesi (previously known as Celebes). This species is native to the Malili Lakes system, which consists of three interconnected lakes in the heart of Sulawesi. These lakes’ unique and isolated nature has led to the development of many endemic species, including the Celebes rainbow. The Celebes rainbow is a relatively recent discovery, first described by ichthyologists in 2001.

Appearance & Size

The Celebes rainbow’s body shape is elongated and laterally compressed, giving it a sleek and streamlined appearance. It has a highly iridescent coloration with a metallic sheen that shimmers and changes as it moves in the light. The primary body color is pale silver with brilliant green, blue, purple, and yellow hues. The fins are transparent, with red or orange edges. The Celebes rainbow is distinguished by a series of bright stripes that run vertically along its sides. 

The size of the Celebes rainbow is relatively small, reaching a maximum length of around 7.5 cm (3 inches) makes them well-suited to aquariums with limited space. 


The Celebes rainbow is a sexually dimorphic species, which means that males and females look and behave differently. This can be useful for hobbyists who want to breed their fish because it makes distinguishing between male and female individuals easier.

Male Celebes rainbows are brighter and more colorful than females, with more pronounced stripes and iridescent body coloring. Furthermore, males are slightly larger and more streamlined than females. These differences in appearance can be used to identify the gender of individual fish from an early age.

Male Celebes rainbows are more active and aggressive than females, and they may engage in courtship behaviors such as chasing and displaying. This is especially true during breeding, when males may become more territorial and aggressive toward other fish in the tank.


The Celebes rainbow is a lively and playful species known for its dynamic and energetic behavior. They are a fast and agile swimmer and enjoys exploring their surroundings and playing in the water. 


The Celebes rainbow is a peaceful species that can be with various other peaceful fish. However, choosing compatible tankmates in terms of water parameters, size, and behavior is important.

Here is a list of good tankmates for the Celebes rainbow:

  • Neon tetras
  • Cardinal tetras
  • Rummy nose tetras
  • Guppies
  • Platies
  • Mollies
  • Swordtails
  • Corydoras catfish
  • Shrimp (such as cherry shrimp or ghost shrimp)

Tank conditions

The Celebes rainbow is a relatively hardy species that can adapt to a wide range of water parameters in aquariums. However, providing the proper tank conditions is critical to maintain optimal health and promote optimal growth and coloration.

They prefers water temperatures ranging from 76 to 82°F (24 to 28°C) with a pH range of 7.0-7.5 and a moderate water hardness of 5-15 dGH in terms of water chemistry. Water chemistry should be monitored and adjusted as needed to maintain optimal conditions.

A minimum tank size of 20 gallons is recommended for a group of three to six individuals. Larger tanks are always preferable because they allow for more swimming space and provide a better environment for the fish to thrive.

The Celebes rainbow necessitates a high-quality filtration system to maintain clean and stable water conditions and proper aeration to ensure adequate water oxygenation.


The Celebes rainbow is an omnivore, meaning it will consume plant and animal matter in its diet. Small insects, crustaceans, and plant material make up their diet in the wild. A diet that includes high-quality dry and frozen food is recommended in captivity.

Dry food, such as flakes or pellets, can provide a balanced diet, while frozen or live food, such as brine shrimp, daphnia, or bloodworms, can be offered as a treat. Vegetable-based foods, such as blanched spinach, lettuce, or peas, can also be included in their diet to provide varied nutrition.

To avoid overfeeding, feed the Celebes rainbow small, frequent meals rather than one large feeding. A well-balanced diet will aid in the fish’s health and vibrant coloration.


Breeding the Celebes rainbow can be a challenging but rewarding experience for experienced fish keepers. To successfully breed this species, it is important to provide them with appropriate water conditions, a varied diet, and the presence of both males and females.

Typically, the breeding process begins with a courtship dance in which the male displays his vibrant coloration and swims around the female. If the female is fertile, the pair will lay their eggs on a flat surface like a leaf or a piece of breeding slate.

Keeping the breeding pair separate from the other fish in the tank is critical, as they may become aggressive toward other tank mates. The parents should be removed from the breeding tank once the eggs have been laid to prevent them from eating the eggs.

Hatching usually takes 24 to 48 hours, and the fry starts swimming and feeding within a few days. Fry can be fed freshly hatched brine shrimp or commercial fry food.


It is important to remember that the Celebes rainbow, like all fish species, is susceptible to certain diseases. Fin rot, ich, and parasitic infestations are the most common conditions affecting this species.

It is critical to perform regular water changes and maintain good water quality to prevent the spread of disease. Additionally, quarantine new fish before introducing them to your existing tank to avoid disease transmission.

It is important to observe their behavior and appearance for signs of illness, such as a loss of appetite, abnormal swimming behavior, or white spots on their fins or body. If you notice these signs, seek veterinary care as soon as possible.


Jason Matthews

My name is Jason Matthews, and welcome to my website. When other kids were bragging about how their dog could sit and roll over, I was bragging about my latest Betta Fish and the cool sea castle I just added to his aquarium. 

Jason aquariume

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