Bulolo Rainbowfish - Chilatherina bulolo
Bulolo Rainbowfish - Chilatherina bulolo

Bulolo Rainbowfish - Chilatherina bulolo

The Bulolo Rainbowfish was scientifically described Whitley in 1938. Its scientific name is Chilatherina bulolo. Hilshop was the first person to collect this species for scientific purposes; he collected it in the Bulolo Valley in 1934. It would then take over 40 years before the species was collected again; this time by Allen and Parkinson. They collected the fish from the Erap River in 1978 and shipped a few specimens back to Australia.

The Bulolo Rainbowfish can reach a length of 8.5 cm (3.3 inches). The body is silvery and a black streak can be seen on the upper and lower edges of the caudal fin. Compared to more well-known and commonly kept rainbows, it is fairly dull looking.

Geographical distribution, habitat and conservation
The Bulolo Rainbowfish lives in north-eastern Papua New Guinea. It has only been encountered in foothill and mountain streams in the Markham and Ramu river systems. In these streams the water flows really fast and the Bulolo Rainbowfish can even be found in white water rapids.   

The Bulolo Rainbowfish is listed as “Data Deficient” in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. This means that there is not enough information available to make a direct, or indirect, assessment of its risk of extinction based on its distribution and/or population status.

Keeping Bulolo Rainbowfish in aquariums
The Bulolo Rainbowfish is not common in the hobby and has a reputation of dying fairly soon after being introduced to the aquarium. This might have to do with the fact that the natural environment of the Bulolo Rainbowfish is white water rapids in mountain streams. Treating it like an ordinary backwater / muddy puddle rainbowfish is not a good idea; it must be provided with more suitable conditions in the aquarium. Heavy aeration is a must and the bottom should ideally be covered with coarse gravel or cobbles. Keep the water temperature in the 22-26 degrees C (72-79 degrees F) range. The water must be really alkaline, from pH 8.0 to 8.8. Try to resemble the natural environment of this fish as much as possible when you decorate the aquarium, e.g. by using rocks to create hiding spots and sheltered areas.

Breeding Bulolo Rainbowfish

As far as we know, the Bulolo Rainbowfish has not yet been bred in aquariums.

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Other New Guinea Rainbowfishes

Axelrods Rainbowfish
Bleher’s Rainbowfish
Higlands Rainbowfish
Silver Rainbowfish
Barred 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