I could write a book about this man... actually volumes...we have so much to thank him for in the fishkeeping hobby today
He has had the most fascinating life and still has and continues to do so and enrich our hobby.
Here is just a fraction about this wonderful man
- Heiko Bleher was born on October 18, 1944 in a bunker in the ruins of Frankfurt on Main. He was the fourth and last child of Ludwig Bleher and Amanda Flora Hilda Kiel. Amanda’s father Adolf Kiel was the well-known “Father of Water Plants”, a pioneer of the modern aquarium who established the world’s largest plant and ornamental fish farm in Frankfurt.
- At 4, he saw his first discus at an aquarium fish exhibition in the still ruined Frankfurt Zoo. Later he traveled with his mother to Africa then, aged 6, throughout Europe collecting plants and fishes. When he was 7, his mother took him, his elder brother and two sisters with her on his first discus hunt – a highly adventurous exploration trip deep into the “green hell” of the of South American jungle. They reached areas inhabited by unknown Indian tribes, some of whom had killed and eaten 4 missionaries shortly before. They lived with the natives for over 6 months, sampling 60 new aquatic plant species, countless fishes and many other animals. Still a child, Heiko learned to live like the Indians, eating the same food and collecting fishes and plants in the Mato Grosso, He learned about the life and behavior of fishes, and became familiar with the amazing variety of fish that exist in unspoiled nature. He also discovered the wimpel-piranha
- In Rio he opened Aquarium Rio and started his own collecting in Brazil. He first opened several compounds in the interior, others later in other parts of South America. At the end of 1964 he discovered the first new species to be named after him – Hemigrammus bleheri, the brilliant rummy-head tetra, now one of the most widely-sold aquarium fishes
- He also discovered the “Royal Blue”, his first new strain of discus, now world famous along with many other species. Some years later Heiko explored many new, uncollected areas, and by 1967 he moved his company Aquarium Rio to Germany, returning monthly to Brazil and South America to collect.Over the years, generally alone, Heiko penetrated jungles in all South and Central American countries. He also travelled to the Amazon area as many as 10 times a year in search of discus and others species. In the 1970s he expanded his operations to include Africa, Asia and Oceania (Australia, New Guinea, etc.) and began to give lectures around the world. He made his first Discus-TV film, “Expeditionsziel Aquarienfische” with the German ZDF and made many TV appearances in different countries
- His first documentary film “The Wimpel Piranha” was made In 1983, followed by films on freshwater fishes in New Guinea, Australia, Central America and Brazil then four films on discus in the 90s. Until 1997 from Frankfurt he supplied wholesalers world-wide with new species, including new discus variants every year, mostly from his own discoveries.
- Between 1965 and 1997, besides introducing most of the wild discus variants into the hobby – directly or by means of the breeders – he introduced more than 4,000 aquarium fish species he had discovered (or re-discovered). This includes the variants such as “blue-headed Heckel”, “Alenquer”, “Red-spotted greens” from the “Coari” and “Japurá” regions and the famous “Rio Içá” discus, and also rainbowfishes such as Melanotaenia boesemani, M. lacustris and M. praecox (most probably now one of the most sold aquarium fishes), angels such as Pterophyllum altum, dwarfs such as Nanochromis nudiceps and Steatocranus bleheri or Channa bleheri. Among other fishes attributable to Heiko’s explorations are also many loricariids (as many as 800, at the time of printing), new Corydoras species, almost countless tetras and dwarf cichlids from West Africa and South America, knife fishes, puffers and flounders.
- His life is dedicated to fishes, aquatic plants, flora, fauna and the conservation of species threatened of extinction worldwide.
Can you tell.... I'm in love LOL LOL
To read more about this marvelous man - Heiko Bleher
And Heiko if you read this -