Bleher's Rainbowfish

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Chilatherina bleheri - Allen, 1985
Bleher's Rainbowfish


Bleher's Rainbowfish pair, female at rear, humpback male in foreground. MQX


Here is a relatively rare rainbowfish from the western half of Papua-New Guinea, named in honor of noted aquarist and fish collector Heiko Bleher by Gerald R. Allen, who described it in 1985.

Rainbowfishes are active schoolers with many admirable qualities. They are best kept in groups of two females for every male—or larger schools in bigger tanks. The high arch of the back increases with age. These fish are slow to color up, requiring maturity and a mate to reach full coloration. Females are smaller than the males.

Family: Melanotaeniidae

Other common name(s):

Native range:

Habitat: The aquarium should have a layer of floating plants and be aquascaped around the perimeters, leaving plenty of open swimming room in the center. Decorate sparingly with rocks, driftwood, and a dark substrate and a planted backdrop.

Maximum length: 12 cm (5 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 114 L (30 gal)

Water: Freshwater 22 °C (72 °F) - 26 °C (79 °F)

General swimming level: Midwater to top.


Omnivore. Takes prepared, frozen and live foods with equal enthusiasm. It is an active hunter that will capture live prey the instant it hits the water.

Aquarium Compatibility

Tankmates should be peaceful community types that have differing swimming habits and occupy different zones in the aquarium.


Pairs spawn in the morning and scatter the eggs, which adhere to fine-leaved plants and the roots of floating plants. Spawning mops can be used to collect eggs for hatching.


These fish are athletic jumpers; cover the tank securely.

Reference: 101 Best Tropical Fishes
Text credit: KW