Re: [RML] Help Please

Doug Collom (dcollom at
Thu, 24 Feb 2000 16:54:31 +1000

-----Original Message-----
From: Dennis Holmes <dhdesign at>
To: rainbowfish at <rainbowfish at>
Date: Wednesday, 23 February 2000 21:31
Subject: [RML] Help Please

Hi Dennis,

First of all websites for Australian fish. I suggest you go to
which is the ANGFA website, of which I'm secretary.
On that we've got links to every worthwhile native fish site. The best is
Adrian Tappin's 'Home of the Rainbows'. Adrian is one of our committee
members living here in Brisbane.

Basically there are three types of rainbows around SEQ. The usual rainbow
you find in al the rivers is Melataenia duboulayi, usually called the
crimson spot rainbow because of the prominent pink/red dot around its
'ear'. Then in most clear coastal streams flowing into Moreton Bay, and
north to Tin Can Bay, as well as some streams south to Coffs Harbour you
will find Rhadinocentris ornatus, the 'ornate sunfish'.

Then over the range in the western flowing streams you'll find M.
fluviatilis, M. duboulayis cousin, which extends right down the Murray
Darling to Victoria, although patchy in distribution.

The rainbows are interesting in varying in colour, and sometimes shape,
from stream to stream. Up at the top end of duboulayi distribution north
of Bundaberg, they are predominantly yellow and green fish, although one
lot (the most northerly, from a location we don't talk about), have white

Around Cooloola you get ones with very red fins, then the Mary and
Brisbane systems have very colourful red, yellow and green striped fish,
with fin colour variations even in different parts of those systems, In
the Nerang there are duboulayis which are quite blue, the further south
you get back to multi-striped fish, some with yellow fins, some red, some
very pale.

The Rhads are the same, with totally different coloured red fish, blue
fish, combinations at some places, even down to some orange finned ones
down behind Coffs Harbour.

As well as those there are a vast range of gudgeons, purple spotted, which
vary, empires, firetails, and many more. There are also blue-eyes,
pseudomugil signifer being the main one about these parts, varying again
from stream to stream, and P. mellis the honey blue - eye, which is listed
as endangered, although they breed like rabbits, and we have heaps in
captivity. Besides those there are various catfish, and the larger species
like bass, estuary perch, eastern cod, Murray cod, yellowbelly, snub nosed
gar, jungle perch etc.

All in all a smorgasbord.

When you get into it you'll also find many more species of rainbows in
particular around he country, with again wide variations in colours
between different streams. Above the duboulayis, from about Gladstone
north for instance you get the M. splendida rainbows, a more slender
streamlined fish , with many different variations which would have you
believe that they are not the same species.

However you are warned, taking an interest in these matters is addictive,
can be habit forming, costly to the pocket, and a health hazard,
particularly from neglected spouses..

On the subject of reference material, we are unfortunately at one of those
times when all the existing good ones are out of print. Actually after
enquiries from yourself and others, I raised this point at a ANGFA
committee meeting last Friday night, and we began to think about doing
our own to ride us through times such as this. But that of course will
take time.

Buying yourself sufficient ink cartridges to print out all of Adrian
Tappin's web site would be an excellent start.

There is a book by Ray Leggett (again one of us) and John Merrick, which
is out of print, but we have found that a few of the original print run
may be left, and are trying to get hold of them.

Several books by Dr Gerry Allen, the guru of native fish identification
and classification, are around. You'll find them rare in second hand book
shops, and probably at inflated prices. I was talking to Gerry Allen a
couple of months back, and he's finishing off a new book, which could be
out later this year. There is also a book by John Merrick and Gunther
Schmida, brought out about ten years ago, which we know as the 'blue
bible'. You'd be extremely lucky to find one of those!

So websites are probably your best bet at the moment, as well as haunting
second hand bookshops. Incidentally that 2nd hand bookshop on the east
side of the main drag down about Mermaid Beach sometimes gets interesting
stuff in.

How many tanks have you got at this point? A good few less than you'll
have soon I would guess.

Happy hunting