Heiko Bleher

Heiko Bleher
Born (1944-10-18) 18 October 1944
Frankfurt on Main – Germany
Known forIchthyological and Botanical field research worldwide
AwardsChevalier des Grand Ordre Rocamadour du Diamant noir (1993)
Scientist of the year CAOAC (2008)
Fellow of the Explorers Club (2010)
Scientific career
FieldsExplorer, researcher, photographer, film maker, author, editor

Heiko Bleher (born 18 October 1944) is a German researcher, author, photographer, and filmmaker. He is best known in the scientific community for his contribution to the exploration of fresh and brackish water habitats worldwide. He has discovered numerous species of fish and aquatic plant, several of which carry his name or are named in honor of Bleher's family.


Heiko Bleher was born in Frankfurt on Main, Germany. He is the fourth and last child of Ludwig Bleher and Amanda Flora Hilda Bleher née Kiel. Bleher inherited his passion for freshwater fishes and aquatic plants from his mother. Amanda Flora Hilda Bleher was the daughter of Adolf Kiel, who is known as the "Father of Water Plants" and a pioneer of the modern aquarium. Adolf Kiel established the world's largest plant and ornamental fish farm in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, in 1900.

At the age of 4, Bleher's mother took him to Equatorial Guinea, in West Africa, on a research expedition. Two years later, he accompanied his mother on a journey throughout Europe, collecting plants and fishes. From age seven, he and his three siblings joined their mother on her adventurous exploration trip deep into the "green hell" of the South American jungle. During this two-year expedition, his mother discovered many new aquatic plant species, fishes and other animals. At the end of 1958, Bleher's family settled permanently in Brazil and established a water-plant nursery and fish-breeding hatchery called "Osiris" in the jungle outside Rio de Janeiro. In 1962, Bleher moved to the United States and later attended the University of South Florida, studying courses in ichthyology, biology, limnology, oceanography, parasitology, combined with work at Elsberry's Fish Farm and at Gulf Fish Farm. Upon returning to Rio de Janeiro in 1964, Bleher established his own export company, "Aquarium Rio", and continued his research and collecting throughout Brazil.

In 1964, Bleher introduced the Hemigrammus bleheri (the brilliant rummy-head tetra) to the aquarium hobby. It was the first species to be named after him. Bleher contributed to the rainbowfish species community by introducing Melanotaenia boesemani and many of the other almost 100 species of rainbowfish. In 1970, Bleher was the first to collect live Pterophyllum altum from Venezuela.

Taxa named after him and his family


In 2012, Bleher was accused of plagiarising fish images, submitting them as his own for a Practical Fishkeeping article entitled "PFK's Definitive Guide to Channa". In 2019, he was again accused of plagiarism, whereby images of freshwater fishes were used uncredited in his book "Indian Ornamental Fishes Volume 1". The images were, in fact, the property of a well-known blog writer based in India.


  1. ^ 30 May 1968. TASPO Thalacker Allgemeine, Nr. 22, page 4
  2. ^ A. F. H. Bleher. Iténez – River of Hope, 2005, ISBN 88-901816-9-9
  3. ^ Neue Presse from 14 July 1953
  4. ^ Friederike Tinnapperl. Frankfurter Rundschau, 31 December 2005. Die Frau mit dem Tarzanherzen
  5. ^ Bleher, H., 1991. Abschied von Amanda Flora Hilda Bleher, geb. Kiel. Aquarium Heute, Bielefeld, Wien, 4/91: 46–47
  6. ^ 4 April 1955. El Mercurio. Familia Alemana Viviò Singular Aventura en Selvas de Brasil
  7. ^ Bleher, H., 1987. The Most Spectactular Rummy-nose – An odyssey in search of the fiery Hemigrammus bleheri. Tropical Fish Hobbyist, T.F.H. Publication Inc., New Jersey – U.S.A., April 1987: 10–21
  8. ^ Bleher, H., 1989. Die Geschichte des echten Rotkopf-Salmlers Hemigrammus bleheri. Aquarium Heute, Bielefeld, Wien, 1/89: 49–51
  9. ^ (Allen, 1980) aus Irian Jaya. Datz, Germany, July: 274–276
  10. ^ Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine 1986. Collecting the Forktailed Rainbowfish, Popondetta furcata. Tropical Fish Hobbyist, March 1986: 17–27
  11. ^ Practical Fishkeeping Magazine 2013. Discoveries: male, Melanotaenia sp. 5, male Pseudomugil cf. inconspicus, male Pseudomugil, cf. paludicola, male Etna Bay Melanotaenia sp. 2. Practical fishkeeping, Emap Active Ltd., Peterbourgh – UK, Issue 10: 98–99.
  12. ^ Practical Fishkeeping Magazine 2015. "All the colours of the rainbow". Practical fishkeeping, Emap Active Ltd., Peterbourgh – UK, Issue 11: 70–73.
  13. ^ Amazonas Magazine 2011. Aktuelles über "Blattfische". Amazonas Süßwasseraquaristik-Fachmagazin, German, Nr. 42 Juli/August: 14–20 (in German)
  14. ^ Nutrafin Aquatic News Magazine 2003. "Fishes in nature and in the aquarium" – Angelfishes and their history. Nutrafin Aquatic News, Italy, Issue #3: 4–6
  15. ^ Lima, F.C.T., L.R. Malabarba, P.A. Buckup, J.F. Pezzi da Silva, R.P. Vari, A. Harold, R. Benine, O.T. Oyakawa, C.S. Pavanelli, N.A. Menezes, C.A.S. Lucena, M.C.S.L. Malabarba, Z.M.S. Lucena, R.E. Reis, F. Langeani, C. Moreira et al. …, 2003. Genera Incertae Sedis in Characidae. p. 106-168. In R.E. Reis, S.O. Kullander and C.J. Ferraris, Jr. (eds.) Checklist of the Freshwater Fishes of South and Central America. Porto Alegre: EDIPUCRS, Brasil.
  16. ^ Géry, J., 1999. A new anostomid species, Leporinus bleheri n. sp., from the Rio Guaporé-Iténez basin, with comments on some related species (Teleostei: Ostariophysi, Characiformes). Aqua J. Ichthyol. Aquat. Biol. 3(3):105–112.
  17. ^ Aarn and W. Ivantsoff, 2009. Description of a new subfamily, genus and species of a freshwater atherinid, Bleheratherina pierucciae (Pisces: Atherinidae) from New Caledonia. Aqua Int. J. Ichthyol. 15(1):13–28.
  18. ^ Meyer, M.K., 1993. Description of a new Steatocranus species from Luapula River system, Zaire. Zoologische Abhandlungen, Staatliches Museum Für Tierkunde Dresden 47(9):113–120.
  19. ^ Zhang, C.-G., P. Musikasinthon and K. Watanabe. 2002. Channa nox, a new channid fish lacking a pelvic fin from Guangxi, China. Ichthyol. Res 49(2): 140–146.
  20. ^ Géry, J., 1995. Description of new or poorly known Alestinae (Teleostei: Characiformes: Alestidae) from Africa, with a note on the generic concept in the Alestinae. Aqua J. Ichthyol. Aquat. Biol. 1(4):37–64.
  21. ^ Carvalho, T.P. and V.A. Bertaco, 2006. Two new species of Hyphessobrycon (Teleostei: Characidae) from upper rio Tapajós basin on Chapada dos Parecis, central Brazil. Neotrop. Ichthyol. 4(3):301–308.
  22. ^ Allen, G.R., 1991. Field guide to the freshwater fishes of New Guinea. Publication, no. 9. 268 p. Christensen Research Institute, Madang, Papua New Guinea
  23. ^ Bromeliaceae Vriesea bleheri Roeth & W.Weber Bradea 2(38): 262. 1978
  24. ^
  25. ^ "Little escapades from city life: Plagiarism – the sickening truth". 28 July 2012.
  26. ^ "Shankar Balasubramanian on Facebook". Facebook. Archived from the original on 27 April 2022.