Highlands Rainbowfish - Chilatherina campsi
Highlands Rainbowfish - Chilatherina campsi

Highlands Rainbowfish - Chilatherina campsi

Highlands Rainbowfish was scientifically described by Whitley in 1956. Its scientific name is Chilatherina campsi. It was first collected by scientific purposes in 1954 by Troughton.

Highlands Rainbowfish can be about 9 cm (3.5 inches) long. The male fish is olive coloured or mauve on his back and displays silvery reflections. The lower half of the body is whitish. The mid-lateral stripe is blackish to blue.

Geographical distribution, habitat and conservation
Just as the name suggests, Highlands Rainbowfish lives in mountains and hills and it can be found up to 1525 meters (5000 feet) above sea level. It is however present as low as 80 metres (656 feet) above sea level as well. Another remarkable thing about the Highlands Rainbowfish is that its geographical range includes both northern and southern drainage systems. The species can be found in the river drainages of Markham, Ramu and Sepik in the north, but also in the Upper Purari in the south.

The typical Highlands Rainbowfish habitat is clear streams that flow moderately fast or really swift down hills and mountains. Highlands Rainbowfish seems to prefer deep pools and parts of the stream where the flow is not so rapid, e.g. backwaters. The species has also been encountered in flatlands.  

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

Keeping Highlands Rainbowfish in aquariums
Keeping Highlands Rainbowfish in aquariums is not very tricky. It is a peaceful species that can be kept in a species aquarium or be combined with other peaceful species of roughly the same size that appreciates the same conditions. Keep the water temperature in the 22-26 degrees C (72-79 degrees F) range. The water should be alkaline, from pH 7.5 to 7.8.  

Provide your Highlands Rainbowfish with a varied and nutritious diet in the aquarium. You can for instance use dry prepared food for herbivores or omnivores and supplement it with regular servings of live meaty food, e.g. brine shrimp and insect larvae. A monotonous diet – especially if not containing live food – can cause your Highlands Rainbowfish to loose their colours, and it can also prevent spawning.

Breeding Highlands Rainbowfish
Highlands Rainbowfish reaches sexual maturity when it is roughly six months old. If you want to coax your Highlands Rainbowfishes into breeding, provide them with a suitable spawning medium (such as spawning mops or densely grown java moss) and feed them ample amounts of live meaty foods.

Just like many other rainbowfishes, the Highlands Rainbowfish seems to prefer releasing the eggs early in the morning. It is quite a productive species and a 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 temperature in the upper part of the recommended range, you can expect the eggs to hatch within 12 days.

You can feed the fry infusoria and egg yolk until they are big enough to eat newly hatched brine shrimp and flake food.

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