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Maximum size : 8 cm

Wapoga Rainbowfish - Chilatherina alleni : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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Discover the captivating allure of the Wapoga Rainbowfish (Chilatherina alleni), a stunning species that has earned its place as a prized favourite among aquarium enthusiasts. With their mesmerizing beauty and peaceful nature, these remarkable creatures thrive in social groups of six or more individuals, creating a lively and harmonious aquatic environment.

A spacious planted aquarium, measuring at least four feet in length, serves as a perfect habitat for these active swimmers. Here, they can showcase their rapid movements and natural behaviours, captivating observers with their vibrant presence. To enhance their striking colours and create a visually stunning display, a dark substrate is recommended, providing an eye-catching contrast.

The Wapoga Rainbowfish boasts an elegant body pattern, featuring a blend of brownish tones at the front that gradually transition to a striking turquoise hue towards the rear. Narrow stripes delicately separate each scale row in shades of brown or dull orange. An intriguing dark blue mid-lateral band adds an element of mystery, stretching across two horizontal scale rows from the upper rear corner of the eye to the base of the caudal fin. Five white indentations punctuate this band, creating a unique and captivating feature just behind the pectoral fin.

The lower half of the Wapoga Rainbowfish's body displays a predominant dark silver colour, accentuated by an intense white stripe with a lower margin of dull orange. In addition, delicate charcoal-coloured bars subtly adorn the lower side, adding a touch of elegance between the level of the pelvic fin base and the fin origin. 

The fins of these exquisite fish exhibit a delicate beauty. The first dorsal fin showcases a light blue shade, while the second dorsal and anal fins possess a translucent bluish appearance that gracefully transitions to reddish hues along the edges. The caudal fin, with its translucent properties and reddish tones, is a captivating focal point. Meanwhile, the pectoral and pelvic fins retain their predominantly translucent nature. Females exhibit a slightly less intense colouration, with their median fins primarily translucent to bluish, devoid of any red accents.

The Wapoga Rainbowfish's peaceful disposition and vibrant colours combine to create a captivating spectacle in any aquarium. Their presence brings joy, serenity, and a visual feast for all who have the privilege of observing these aquatic marvels.

Wapoga Rainbowfish Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Distinguishing between male and female Wapoga Rainbowfish is a relatively straightforward task, as distinct visual cues set them apart. Males generally exhibit more vibrant colours and possess a deeper body shape compared to females. Furthermore, a notable disparity can be observed in the morphology of their second dorsal and anal fins. In females, these fins tend to be shorter and blunter, while in males, they are somewhat elongated and exhibit a pointed appearance. These characteristic differences serve as reliable indicators when discerning the gender of Wapoga Rainbowfish.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameChilatherina alleni
Year Described1997
Other NamesAlleni Rainbowfish, Allens Rainbowfish
OriginsPapua New Guinea
Max Size8 cm
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 6+
LifespanUp to 10 Years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH7.0 - 8.0
GH5 - 20
75 - 86
24 - 30

Natural habitat

The captivating Wapoga Rainbowfish made its first appearance near the village of Siriwo in 1994 when it was collected from the Aiborei (Aboge) River. This river is nestled within the Derewo River Basin, located in the southeastern region of Cenderawasih Bay in northern West Papua. Subsequently, in 1998, the fish was once again discovered during a survey conducted by Conservation International. This time, they were found in the tributaries of the Wapoga, Tirawiwa, and Logari rivers.

The Wapoga Rainbowfish has been encountered in numerous river systems stretching from Nabire to Wapoga. This species proved to be quite abundant across the survey area, exhibiting a wide distribution from lowland creeks to mountain streams. Notably, they were particularly plentiful in the vicinity of Siewa, populating both small rainforest creeks and the much larger Tirawiwa River.

In their natural habitats, Wapoga Rainbowfish can be found in slow to moderately-flowing tributary streams characterized by a substrate of gravel or sand, often adorned with leaves or log debris. The water in these habitats ranges from slightly turbid to clear or darkly stained, accentuated by log snags and accumulated fallen leaves. Notably, these fascinating fish tend to prefer stream sections that provide ample sunlight exposure, further adding to the charm of their chosen habitats.

The diverse range of habitats occupied by Wapoga Rainbowfish reflects their adaptability and ability to thrive in various environmental conditions. These remarkable creatures serve as a testament to the rich biodiversity of the region, captivating researchers and enthusiasts alike with their presence in both serene rainforest creeks and the dynamic flow of mountain streams.

How to breed the Wapoga Rainbowfish

To ensure the successful breeding of Wapoga Rainbowfish (Chilatherina alleni), it is imperative to establish a dedicated breeding aquarium of appropriate size and equipped with essential elements. This includes a gentle air-driven sponge filter, which provides the necessary circulation and filtration to create optimal breeding conditions. Furthermore, when introducing the fish to the breeding aquarium, it is advisable to carefully select a group comprising three females and two males, ensuring a balanced population.

To facilitate breeding, the tank should be adorned with an abundance of fine-leaved plants or clusters of Java moss, offering suitable surfaces for egg attachment. These features are essential components in creating an environment conducive to successful reproduction.

Once settled in the breeding aquarium, the captivating courtship behaviour of the male Wapoga Rainbowfish unfolds. Engaging in an intricate dance, the male entices the female by swimming in front of her and skillfully guiding her over the lush plant life, utilizing the full extent of the tank. During this mesmerizing ritual, the female deposits a few relatively large eggs at a time, securely attaching them to the plants.

It is important to note that Wapoga Rainbowfish are known as "continual spawners," exhibiting spawning activity over an extended period that may span several days or even weeks. This characteristic presents a challenge for the aquarist, as some adult fish may display cannibalistic tendencies towards the scattered eggs. However, ensuring the adults receive ample food can help mitigate this behaviour.

Experienced fishkeepers have discovered various techniques for managing Wapoga Rainbowfish eggs. Some have successfully transferred the eggs to another aquarium using siphoning techniques, while others utilize spawning mops to collect clusters of eggs. By delicately capturing a cluster of eggs on the mop, it can be moved to a separate tank, facilitating the subsequent collection of new batches of eggs.

Under optimal conditions, Wapoga Rainbowfish eggs typically hatch within 6 to 9 days, with the precise timing influenced by water temperature. Once the fry reaches the free-swimming stage, their diet can consist of nourishment such as infusoria, providing them with their initial sustenance. As the fry mature and develop, their diet can gradually transition to accommodate larger food sources.

With meticulous attention to breeding details and the provision of a nurturing environment, the remarkable life cycle of Wapoga Rainbowfish can unfold, bringing a profound sense of fulfilment and awe to the dedicated aquarist.

Diet & feeding

In their natural habitat, Wapoga Rainbowfish (Chilatherina alleni) sustain themselves by consuming a varied diet that includes small crustaceans, aquatic insect larvae, other aquatic invertebrates, and even select terrestrial insects. Therefore, when kept in captivity, providing these fish with a well-rounded feeding regimen is essential to support their nutritional needs.

To ensure their dietary requirements are met, a combination of live and frozen foods can be incorporated into their meals. This may include offerings such as live brine shrimp, daphnia, or bloodworms, which mimic their natural prey items. These live foods provide a valuable source of essential nutrients and help promote their overall health.

Supplementing the live and frozen fare, it is beneficial to incorporate high-quality granular foods and pellets into the diet of Wapoga Rainbowfish. These commercially available options are formulated to provide a balanced nutritional profile, containing vital vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial additives to support their well-being.

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