Barred Rainbowfish - Chilatherina fasciata
Barred Rainbowfish -  Chilatherina fasciata

Barred Rainbowfish - Chilatherina fasciata

The Barred Rainbowfish was scientifically described by Weber in 1913. Its scientific name is Chilatherina fasciata. It was first collected for scientific purposes in 1910 by Van Kampen.

Sometimes, the Barred Rainbowfish is sold under the name Chilatherina affinis.

The Barred Rainbowfish can be roughly 14 cm (5.5 inches) long. The colouration varies between the various geographical, but the Barred Rainbowfish is normally brownish or bluish green on the back, while most specimens have white or yellowish lower sides. The dark mid-lateral stripe is diffuse.   

Most adult males have diffuse blackish bars on their lower sides, right over the front half of the base of the anal fin. During the breeding period, the male Barred Rainbow will intensify its colours and develop a bronze or reddish-orange tint on the top of his head.   

Geographical distribution, habitat and conservation
The Barred Rainbowfish lives in northern New Guinea, including the river systems of Markham, Ramu, Sepik and Mamberamo. It has been found both in lowlands and highlands, up to an elevation of roughly 500 meters (1640 feet). The typical Barred Rainbowfish habitat is a clear stream that flows through the rainforest, but Barred Rainbowfish has also been encountered in lakes. The Barred Rainbowfish seem to appreciate waters exposed to full sunlight, perhaps because it wants to feast on algae.

The Barred Rainbowfish is listed as “Not Evaluated” in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 

Keeping Barred Rainbowfish in aquariums
The Barred Rainbowfish is not tricky to care for and it is frequently kept by aquarists, even outside Australia. Try to mimic its natural habitat when you set up the aquarium and include a lot of hiding spots and sheltered areas. This species is used to really warm water from the wild and the recommended water temperature in the aquarium is consequently 28-32 degrees C (82-90 degrees F). The water should be alkaline, from pH 7.1 to 8.1.  

It is important to provide your Barred Rainbowfish with a varied and nutritious diet in the aquarium. In the wild, the Barred Rainbowfish feeds chiefly on insects, tiny crustaceans and filamentous green algae. Try to resemble this diet in the aquarium, e.g. by serving your fish algae based prepared foods, live insect larvae and brine shrimp. Natural algae growth is also beneficial.  

Breeding Barred Rainbowfish
If you want your Barred Rainbowfish to breed, it is best to keep it a group consisting of at least 2-3 females for each male since the males can be really aggressive towards the females during the breeding period. If possible, chose females that are bigger than the males, since this will make the male aggression less dangerous for them.

Coax your Barred Rainbowfish into breeding by serving it ample amounts of live food and providing it with a suitable spawning medium, e.g. densely grown java moss or a spawning mop.

The Barred Rainbowfish female can release up to 30 eggs per day. If you want to increase the chances of a high survival rate, move the spawning medium with the eggs to a separate container. If you keep the water temperature in the upper part of the recommended range, the eggs will normally hatch within 8-10 days. A lower temperature leads to a longer incubation time. You can feed the fry infusoria and finely ground flake food until they are big enough to eat newly hatch brine shrimp and nibble on whole flakes.  

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Other New Guinea Rainbowfishes

Axelrods Rainbowfish
Bleher’s Rainbowfish
Bulolo Rainbowfish
Higlands Rainbowfish
Silver Rainbowfish
Lorentz’s Rainbowfish
Sentani Rainbowfish
Red Rainbowfish
Spotted Rainbowfish
Sepik Rainbowfish
Tami River Rainbowfish
Ramu Rainbowfish
Lake Wanam Rainbowfish
Threadfin Rainbowfish
Northern Rainbowfish
Ayamaru Rainbowfish
Angfa Rainbowfish
Arfak Rainbowfish
Boeseman’s Rainbowfish
Corona Rainbowfish
Waigeo Rainbowfish
Serong Rainbowfish
Goldie River Rainbowfish
Lake Tebera  Rainbowfish
Irian Jaya Rainbowfish
Strickland Rainbowfish
Yapen Rainbowfish
Lake Kutubu Rainbowfish
McCulloch’s  Rainbowfish
Mayland’s Rainbowfish
Misool Rainbowfish
Mountain Rainbowfish
Ogilby’s Rainbowfish
Oktedi Rainbowfish
Parkinson’s Rainbowfish
Lake Kurumoi Rainbowfish
Pima River Rainbowfish
Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish
Fly River Rainbowfish
Red Striped Rainbowfish
Van Heurn’s  Rainbowfish