Bedjal (Banded Rainbowfish)

Melanotaenia trifasciata

General information: Bedjal is the Yolngu word for the this banded rainbowfish found in and collected from Gulbuwangay a small creek that runs into the Arafura Swamp near Mirrngatja. Mirrngatja is a small village on the South Eastern corner of the vast wetland that is approximately 50 km long and 30km wide. The Banded Rainbowfish throughout this region are all quite similar. The most famous Rainbowfish river the Goyder, Rocky Bottom Creek and Flatrock Creek all run into the Arafura Swamp and the Banded Rainbowfish are all similar to the specimens pictured. The traditional owner of the area where this fish comes from has allowed us to take some bedjal for commercial purposes. The owner of the area is a very traditional Aboriginal person, Mangay of the Guyula Clan, lives off his country and wants the lands to remain pristine. He has no need for most modern conveniences but does have a few improvements to help him manage the large area under his care. A percentage of the farm gate sales of this fish will go to Mangay and his community to help care for his country.

Cultivation notes : Banded Rainbowfish such as Bedjal like to be in flowing water where dissolved oxygen levels are higher than in thickly planted billabongs. It likes to be in a planted aqiarium but prefers a little current and an open swimming area. The water quality where the fish was collected during the month of August, late dry season was temperature 27.1 degrees celcius, pH 7.25, dissolved oxygen 8.10 mg/l, conductivity 50 microsiemens, carbonate hardness 10 ppm, general hardness 10 ppm, turbidity 21 NTU. The water they are cultured in is between 26 and 32 deg, hardness 50ppm, alkalinity 60ppm, pH about 7. They also live in hard alkaline waters derived from limestone springs that feed the Goyder River. Diet in the wild would be ants algae other aquatic and terrestrial insects and micro crustaceans. A captive diet should contain between 30 and 50 % vegetable matter.

Distribution : The Banded rainbowfish is found across the top of the Northern Territory and Cape York, Qld. The red form similar to bedjal is found in the Goyder River, the Blyth River and other rivers and creeks that flow into the Arafura Swamp.

Selling details : Sold as individuals at 4 cm or larger.

Reference: Allen, Midgley and Allen (2002) "Freshwater Fishes of Australia " after. EG "Floodplain Flora, a flora of the floodplain of the Northern Territory, Australia"]