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Choosing Rasboras

Rasboras are all you need to fill your tank with living color. Few freshwater tropical fish are as bright, animated, peaceable and easy to care for. Members of the same Cyprinid family as tetras, rasboras come from south and southeast Asia where they live in slow moving streams, dense with vegetation. When well-fed (and these little fish can eat a great deal) and in good condition, these fish display sharp bright background hues, that seem to be illuminated from within, and distinctive black markings.


While some dozen species are imported, a few of the most popular and easy to find are the harlequin rasboras, the red-lined rasbora, the scissortail, the two-spot and the pygmy. They vary in color and size.

Rasboras Need to School

Rasboras are schooling fish and so the fish and your tank will suffer from having only one or two. Begin with no fewer than three and, once these are acclimated to the tank, add another few to the school. Seven or eight of these lovely fish swimming together in a well-planted aquarium will be great fun to watch. You may even decide, as some aquarists do, to add to the school and keep only rasboras in your tank.

Easy fish to maintain, rasboras do well at temperatures of around 74 degrees Fahrenheit and don’t seem to suffer if the temperature changes a couple of degrees above or below that. The tank’s pH should be a moderate 6.5, erring, if anything, to the acidic side since the streams they live in are usually choked with decaying vegetation, which raises the acidity of the water.

Rasboras are insectivorous but do very well on fine flake food. They have good appetites but as with any aquarium fish, feeding a little at a time more often is better than giving a lot at once. When that happens, uneaten food sinks to the bottom of the tank and decomposes there.