Bleher's Rainbowfish - Chilatherina bleheri
Bleher's Rainbowfish  - Chilatherina bleheri

Bleher's Rainbowfish - Chilatherina bleheri

Bleher's Rainbowfish was scientifically described by Allen in 1985. Its scientific name is Chilatherina bleheri. The fish was collected for scientific purposes for the first time in 1982, by Allen and Bleher.

Bleher's Rainbowfish can grow to be 12 cm long. The body has a sparkling green colour, except for the posterior part which is decorated by pastel shades of yellow to red. The same pastel colours are present on both dorsal and anal fins. The lower side of the body is white and decorated with pale vertical dark markings. The male is usually more flamboyant than the female and displays a brilliant yellow-orange stripe along the forehead during the breeding period. Older males have really deep bodies.

Geographical distribution, habitat and conservation
Bleher's Rainbowfish lives in the lower Mamberamo system in West Papua. It has only been encountered in the lake Danau Bira (also known as Lake Holmes), which is actually three connected lakes, and in small and rocky streams that empties themselves into Danau Bira. The three lakes are fairly shallow and are believed to be really young, perhaps no older than a decade or two. The shoreline contains a lot of plant life. The surrounding environment consists of jungle and is located 430 meters (1400 feet) above sea level. The terrain is mountainous.

Mozambique tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus) has been introduced to the lakes.

Bleher's Rainbowfish is listed as “Vulnerable” in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Keeping Bleher's Rainbowfish in aquariums
Bleher's Rainbowfish is an adaptable species and not very tricky to care for in captivity. It can be kept in a species aquarium or be combined with other peaceful species of similar size in a community set up. Try to resemble the natural environment of Bleher's Rainbowfish in the aquarium and use a lot of driftwood and aquatic plants to create hiding spots and sheltered environments. In the wild, dead tree stumps are often seen protruding above the surface in the shallow Danau Bira. The recommended water temperature when keeping Bleher's Rainbowfish is 25-28 degrees C (77-82 degrees F). The water should be alkaline, from pH 7.5 to 8.0.

Breeding Bleher's Rainbowfish
The male Bleher's Rainbowfish reaches sexual maturity when he is roughly 6 cm (2.4 inches) long, and the female can be even smaller at her fist spawning. Always keep at least 2-3 females for each male Bleher's Rainbowfish in the aquarium, in order to disperse the aggressive tendencies of several individuals. It is also important to make sure that the females have a lot of good hiding spots in the aquarium, especially during the breeding period.  

As mentioned above, the male becomes even more colourful than normal during the breeding period. Give your fishes a suitable spawning medium in the aquarium, e.g. java moss or spawning mops. When the actual spawning has taken place, move the spawning medium with the eggs to a separate container to avoid predation. You can feed the fry infusoria and finely grounded flake food until they are big enough to nibble at whole flakes and devour newly hatched brine shrimp.  

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