- Long-finned types of rasboras,
- Wide-finned types, and
- Pencil-finned types.
All the types of rasbora have their own set of unique characteristics, so it’s important to know which type you’re choosing before bringing it home with you!
Rasboras are one of the most popular aquarium fish species on the market, with over 100 recognized species and counting. The rasbora family includes hardy, small fish that come in a wide variety of patterns and colors, making them extremely appealing to both novice and experienced aquarists alike.
You may have heard of more common types of rasbora such as the neon tetra or glowlight tetra, but there are many types of rasbora with more exotic names and exotic coloring.
Despite their popularity as aquarium fish, rasboras are often difficult to keep, especially if you’re trying to breed them.
In this article we will profile the different types of rasbora and their unique characteristics, so you can choose the best type for your aquarium environment!
Origin and descriptions
These types of rasboras are found in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei Darussalam, Myanmar (Burma), Vietnam. They can be used as pets in freshwater aquariums but require oxygenated water with a lot of plants. Male rasboras will fight amongst themselves for territory and females if they aren’t introduced properly.
To make sure you have properly identified your fish, you must know what common types of rasboras there are.
There are a few hundred types of rasboras from the Cyprinidae family, all hailing from either fresh or brackish water. The most commonly kept species are Borneo rasboras, diamond tetras, neon tetras (Paracheirodon innesi), pearl danios (Danio margaritatus) and zebrafish (Danio rerio).
Take, for example, large tetras like glowlight cories and rummy nose tetras – they’re both large enough to be picky eaters but require different environmental conditions than something like a white cloud minnow.
However, there are many more types of freshwater fish that fall into these categories that you can try out for yourself at home; It’s important to note that all these types of rasboras have their own unique needs, though it’s not necessarily an indication of how easy it is to keep them as pets.
All types of rasboras are either from freshwater or saltwater habitats. They’re native to Southeast Asia, India, and northern Australia. Some have adapted to live in brackish water; these types will be more tolerant of conditions that vary a bit more than others—but not by much. Because most are tropical fish (they don’t like cool temperatures), they require an aquarium heater for every gallon you keep in your tank.
Types of rasboras
Rasboras are small schooling fish that come in a wide range of colors. The following is a list of types of rasboras commonly found in aquarium stores. Each species is described, including its preferred water conditions, ideal tank mates, approximate size, and coloration.
All types of rasboras prefer to live in schools, so when you’re looking to purchase some, it’s best to buy more than one fish; a school will do better in an appropriately sized tank than individuals will.
Here are some of the most common and interesting types of rasbora that you can keep in your aquarium.
Clown Rasbora (Rasbora kalochroma)
The clown rasbora, Rasbora kalochroma, is a small species of freshwater fish in the family Cyprinidae. The species is native to Indonesia. It can be found in water with a 6.0 pH, at a temperature range of 24–27°C (75–81°F), and with a hardness level of up to 2 DH.
This fish feeds on worms and insects, including mosquito larvae as well as small crustaceans such as Daphnia. Clown Rasboras enjoy eating foods that float. They are so-called because they have little pronged mouths that resemble those of a clown’s nose and will usually nip off tiny particles of food from surface matter if it sinks beneath their reach.
Exclamation Point Rasbora (Boraras urophthalmoides)
Among the types of rasbora is a small fish, barely reaching up to 1-inch in length, Exclamation Point Rasbora (Boraras urophthalmoides) likes to dart from plant to plant and hide among thickets of java moss. They are rarely seen swimming above ground; instead, they prefer to swim near its surface.
These types of rasbora prefer a heavily planted tank with a mixture of plants big enough for them to hide in! Recently becoming one of most common types of rasbora kept in aquariums today, these guys have been extremely popular with hobbyists, thanks to their cute looks and friendly personalities.
Fire Rasbora (Rasboroides vaterifloris)
These types of rasboras belong to a group called cyprinids, which are known for their tiny scales. They also get their name from kype meaning saw in Latin. These scales overlap to create a rough edge around both sides of each scale, similar to saw teeth.
Rasboroides vaterifloris reach about two inches in length and are a striking red-orange with black speckles along their upper fins.
They have long dorsal fins that resemble trains, which is where they get their common name.
Like most types of rasboras, fire rasboras prefer heavily planted tanks because these plants provide cover for them as well as extra surfaces on which algae can grow. While it is possible to keep them without live plants, you will need several more artificial ones than if you had live plants because these fish tend to graze quite often.
Live plants will not only serve as hiding places but also provide them with extra food sources in the form of algae growing on their leaves.
Chili Rasbora (Boraras Brigittae)
Chili rasboras, also known as brigittae, have gorgeous bodies accented with bright red fins. They’re a great fish for beginners to keep in community tanks—very hardy, active swimmers and fun to watch. The biggest drawback is their small size (only about an inch). But if you can live with that, these tiny fish are a true delight.
I recommend keeping them at least 4 or 5 to an aquarium because they swim in groups when you see them in nature. You may end up disappointed without enough fellow fishies around! Because of their habit of schooling, make sure your tank has plenty of open swimming space; each chili needs six inches or more available.
Blackline rasbora (Rasbora borapetensis)
Blackline rasboras are distinguished by their egg-shaped bodies and tails. Blacklines are native to Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and other islands in Southeast Asia. They do not grow larger than 1.5 inches (3 cm).
The blackline rasbora is a schooling fish that prefers temperatures between 24 and 28 degrees Celsius (75 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit).
In general, they require soft acidic water; however, they can adapt somewhat to harder water. They typically live two or three years in captivity. The species is popular among aquarists due to its hardiness and resilience.
It has even been known to breed in tanks as small as 10 gallons.
As with most borapetensis variants, these fish should be kept only with peaceful tankmates. Tankmates must also have similar environmental requirements—namely, tropical water conditions and a diet based on flakes or pellets with regular algae supplements.
Glowlight Rasbora (Trigonostigma hengeli)
Bright, brassy orange with green highlights, trigonostigma hengeli are a favorite of aquarists worldwide. They are often sold as freshwater bettas to unsuspecting novices because they look like upside-down Siamese fighting fish. However, rasboras prefer cooler water than does a Siamese fighting fish (who thrive in temperatures around 86 degrees F), so if you intend to keep your betta cool and comfortable, try a glowlight rasbora instead.
Glowlight rasboras make good companions for small species such as danios or gobies; they have a peaceful temperament and only reach 2.2 inches long when fully grown. Male glowlights exhibit more orange coloration than females do; their fins also flare up dramatically during mating season. The average lifespan of a glowlight rasbora is 3 years.
The banded tinfoil barb or bumblebee barb is an iconic member of its genus: it’s called banded because it has vertical black stripes across its white body, and tinfoil because its scales reflect light similarly to how shiny aluminum foil reflects light.
Harlequin Rasboras (Trigonostigma heteromorpha)
One of the most common types of rasboras, Harlequin Rasboras are hardy fish that will swim in schools and can be quite friendly to their owner. They come in a variety of colors ranging from red, orange, yellow, blue, black to white. Each color has its own special personality.
You must have live plants as part of your aquarium if you have these as they love hiding among them. The only drawback is they tend to get nippy with each other if kept together in small numbers. It would be good to add about 6 or more for best results.
Your tank should contain at least 15 gallons of water with either sand or gravel on the bottom, some live aquatic plants (Java fern is a good choice), and driftwood branches which add to its natural environment. The temperature range should remain between 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit while lighting should be bright but not too bright so as not to create too much algae.
While they possess many similarities in regards to food requirements (they prefer high-quality flakes over live foods), these fish aren’t recommended for beginner aquarists due to their overall active swimming habits and finicky appetites.
They will often dart around an aquarium quickly in search of small insects that have fallen into their habitat; if you choose these fish, be sure your tank is properly sealed against any potential intruders.
Neon Green Rasbora (Microdevario kubotai)
A stunning, yet unassuming neon green fish, Microdevario kubotai (neon green rasbora) are a low-maintenance species that prefer a community aquarium due to their relatively small size. A four-inch dwarf rasbora can thrive in an aquarium as small as five gallons if cared for correctly.
These fish will do well with other species in a community tank as long as it is not too crowded. Neons will accept flake food but relish frozen or live foods such as brine shrimp or mosquito larvae. As always, when feeding any freshwater fish, care should be taken to only feed what they can consume within two minutes. Most aquarists tend to overfeed their fishes unintentionally.
Overfeeding should be avoided since it puts an unnecessary strain on water quality; these fishes are extremely sensitive and will begin showing health problems if given inappropriate conditions.
Scissortail Rasbora (Rasbora trilineata)
The Scissortail Rasbora (rasboras trilineata) is a native to Indonesia, but has been introduced to other areas in Southeast Asia. They are hardy fish that can tolerate a wide range of water conditions, making them a popular choice for home aquariums. The typical lifespan for these fish is four years. In captivity, they have been known to reach eight years of age.
Averaging about 2 inches long as adults, these tiny fish grow no more than one inch per year during their first two years of life. Females are larger than males and generally have more coloration than their male counterparts; however, both genders resemble their wild form when kept at natural lighting levels throughout their lives. Despite appearances, older fish do not change sex.
These little rasboras prefer smaller schools of 6 or fewer individuals because there will be plenty of food with just a few extra mouths to feed, unlike having dozens of individuals competing over food resources.
While extremely peaceful with tank mates, each individual should still have its own space within the school so they do not feel crowded by others swimming around them constantly.
Dwarf Rasbora (Boraras maculatus)
The dwarf rasboras (Boraras maculatus) is a very small species reaching a maximum size of just 2.2 inches. As their name suggests, they are very rarely seen in large numbers due to their size. They are often sold as one-inch babies at your local pet store, which make them suitable for smaller tanks with less current, but can also be kept in larger tanks if there is enough room for them to spread out.
Adult males have a red tail fin that females lack. These fish should only be kept with other boraras (such as cherry or green rasboras), since they share similar requirements, including water quality and temperature. Like most tropical fish, dwarf rasbora should always be added to new tanks after being quarantined for two weeks; however, some individuals may suffer from disease even after being quarantined properly.
Though not recommended by hobbyists, many keepers feed their dwarf rasboras exclusively flakes because of ease of feeding. However, frozen bloodworms, daphnia, and mosquito larvae will provide more nutrition than flakes alone will.
Emerald Eye Rasbora (Brevibora dorsiocellata)
Also known as Eyespot rasbora, the Emerald Eye Rasbora (Brevibora dorsiocellata) is a small fish that can be kept in pairs or in a species tank. They should be kept in tanks of at least ten gallons with soft to moderately hard water. Use an under-gravel filter, as well as some floating plants for hiding spots.
A diet of mostly freeze-dried bloodworms and brine shrimp is fine for juveniles, but adults may require live foods to stay healthy. You decide to try raising your own worms or insects, however, plan on providing food every other day (or more) if you want them to survive.
These types of rasbora tend to enjoy swimming near plants; a large piece of driftwood will provide them plenty of protection from other tankmates who might otherwise pick on them because of their relatively large eyes.
In terms of spawning, emerald eye rasboras are quite easy to breed when conditioned with tiny foods like microworms; spawning them requires either a single male and multiple females, or two males per group. The most likely outcome is that only one pair will spawn successfully—but either way, once all eggs have been released into their nest in the substrate, remove the male so he doesn’t eat them all!
Lambchop Rasbora (Trigonostigma espei)
Native to Malaysia, Java, Sumatra, and Borneo, these types of rasboras are more colorful than other rasboras, sporting red, yellow, and blue lines along its body. Its eyes are beady compared to other types of rasboras. It grows up to 1.5 inches in length.
The Lambchop Rasbora is generally a peaceful, schooling fish that can often be found swimming in schools numbering in the dozens. This species spends much of its time at or near mid-water levels. They will often rise up to feed if food is introduced into their tank.
It’s best not to overfeed, however, as they are prone to developing bloating issues with excess amounts of food. A diet consisting of high-quality flakes and freeze-dried bloodworms will keep them happy and healthy.
Lambchop rasboras look pretty much like their name suggests—like a little sheep or lamb sitting at the bottom of your tank.
If there’s any downside to lambchops, it’s that they tend to school together as juveniles but scatter once they reach adulthood.
Neon Blue Rasbora (Sundadanio axelrodi)
Neon Blue Rasboras, also called Sundadanio axelrodi, are one of my personal favorites! Their colors are brighter than many types of rasboras. They’re peaceful and make great additions to an established community tank. Plus, they’re pretty easy to care for as long as their water is kept clean and well-oxygenated!
*Did you know? This species has been in pet stores for at least three decades, but it was only recently discovered (in 2005) that it wasn’t simply a color morph of other types of rasbora. Instead, axelrodi is considered its own distinct species by aquarium biologists and experts.
Like other types of rasboras, they love living in small schools—so get five or more if you want them to be happy!
Phoenix Rasbora (Boraras Merah)
The Phoenix rasbora (Boraras merah) is a very small-sized species among the different types of rasboras that there is, growing to about 2.4 centimeters (0.9 inches) in length. In nature, it is found in mountain streams in Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. This is one of many popular dwarf species bred by fishkeepers all over the world.
It can be kept successfully in well-planted, acidic water which should be soft with a pH between 6.5-7.0 and temperature around 76 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Celsius). They are peaceful fish that may not school as well with other types of fish but if carefully selected, they can easily make up an entire tank community on their own with minimal care needed from owners.
The Phoenix rasbora is one of a group of fish often referred to as dwarf rasboras because they are relatively small compared to most other species. A native of Thailand, it was first discovered in 2007 but not given its common name until 2012. This species is characterized by its color, which can vary greatly depending on its habitat.
For example, individuals living in dimmer areas may be darker than those living under bright light conditions or next to an aquarium heater. Like other Boraras, these freshwater fish are peaceful with community members but will sometimes fight among themselves for dominance within their shoal.
Although primarily vegetarian in nature, some hobbyists report that these fish will eat meaty foods like flake food, freeze-dried bloodworms, and brine shrimp. They should also be provided with plenty of vegetation to sift through for bits of algae.
Porthole Rasbora (Rasbora cephalotaenia)
The Porthole rasbora (Rasbora Cephalotaenia) is a very peaceful schooling fish that prefers to live in groups. Although they do well in freshwater, they are perfectly adapted to tropical tanks as well. They should be kept in schools of at least six.
Though not always recommended, sometimes it is possible to keep more than one male with a group of females; however, if you want your female Portholes to live long and healthy lives, you’ll want more females than males, at least two females for every male.
Females also tend to display brighter colors. Remember that most types of rasboras prefer warm water, between 77 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit (25-30 degrees Celsius). These active little guys will do best when provided with good filtration systems, ample hiding places, and regular partial water changes.
Red Line Rasbora (Trigonopoma pauciperforatum)
Trigonopoma pauciperforatum is a small fish, growing up to 4 inches long. They are very shy and will not thrive in aquariums with bigger fish. A tank that is 12 gallons or more in size is recommended for these fish. If a bigger tank is available, then 5 or 6 Red Line Rasboras can be kept together without any issues whatsoever.
These fish prefer filtered tanks with plenty of vegetation such as Java Fern, Anubias Nana, or Java Moss. You should try to keep the water temperature between 73°-78°F (23°-26°C) and pH between 6.5 – 7.0 at all times. The water hardness should fall within 3 – 15 dGH; anything below 3 dGH might make it difficult for these fish to breed, while anything above 15 dGH will cause them stress because they naturally come from soft water conditions.
As one of the larger types of rasboras, redstripe rasboras are a deep reddish color accented by black or red stripes on their sides. While they have more elongated bodies than other types of rasbora fish, redstripe rasboras are incredibly active and social animals that do best when kept in groups with other redstripe rasboras as well as with other fish species. They prefer planted tanks but will adapt to most conditions given enough time and space.
They tend to be shy at first; it may take them several weeks to get used to their new home. Once settled into a tank, however, these fish can be remarkably friendly and outgoing compared to other common species of aquarium fish.
Rummy Nose Rasbora (Sawbwa resplendens)
These types of rasboras have bright red fins, a peppered black body, and a Rummy Nose.
Sawbwa resplendens are shaped as such because it allows for easier breathing. This fish can grow up to six inches in length, making it one of the larger rasboras. Females are larger than males on average.
The Rummy Nose is omnivorous, meaning that it eats both plants and small animals alike. These fish are great scavengers due to their ability to survive on small insects. They are usually peaceful toward other fish, although they may be aggressive with other species like corydoras catfish.
They prefer soft water and will not do well if put into hard water environments. Like all Rasboras, these guys breed easily given soft water conditions and some cover to hide behind while they spawn (like a clump of java moss). Males build bubble nests under heavy cover when they find a mate.
Galaxy Rasboras (Celestichthys margaritatus)
Also known as Celestial Pearl Danio or Danio margaritatus, and as with all other types of rasboras, proper care for galaxy rasboras involves water changes, lots of space for swimming, and a tank protected from aggressive fish species. Galaxy rasboras are peaceful fish that can be kept in a community tank as long as there are no other aggressive species present.
As with all rasboras, Celestichthys margaritatus have a small home range so make sure to leave plenty of open swimming room in your aquarium. This is especially important if you plan on keeping more than one specimen; each has its own territory and they may become agitated when they feel their territory is being encroached upon by another member of their species.
Rasbora einthovenii (Brilliant Rasbora)
This is a new species among the types of rasboras that were only discovered recently. Rasbora einthovenii are similar to most of the Rasbora types, but these fish have a brighter red color with darker brown spots. Males will have additional black markings near the tail fin, giving them a more elegant look than some other types of rasboras.
The largest female will grow to about 1 1⁄2 inches, while males are typically slightly smaller at around 1 1⁄4 inches. These fish like to shoal together when kept in a group. They do well in soft water conditions ranging from low hardness levels to soft water. While they can tolerate temperatures above 75 degrees Fahrenheit, they will be most active if you keep your tank temperatures between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Water current should be moderate; strong currents can rip fins from their sockets if they don’t hold on tightly enough to secure themselves against it. Tank mates should include other small schooling fish; they cannot compete with larger tank mates for food or habitat space.
Rasbora sarawakensis (Blue line rasbora)
The blue line rasbora (Rasbora sarawakensis) is among the types of rasboras that are relatively small, shy, and peaceful. Because it is smaller than most other members of its genus, it does not compete well for food with more aggressive tank mates. Its small size also makes it very appealing to children, who are likely to be drawn in by its bright colors. As with all rasboras, males are distinctly more colorful than females.
It originates from Myanmar (formerly Burma) and inhabits areas around slow-moving streams or ditches with little current. Males can grow up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) long; females reach 2 inches (5 cm). It has a life span of 3–4 years, which is rather short compared to some other fish species.
How to care for rasboras
While most people think of rasboras as simple, easy-to-care-for fish, there are still a few factors you should take into consideration before adding them to your home aquarium. First, make sure that your tank has a lid; rasboras can jump out in search for food or cover from predators.
Also, note that these fish may have difficulty adapting to new tanks; adding them to an existing school may help ease the transition. Finally, be prepared to provide your rasboras with plenty of swimming room; they like long swims and they don’t like feeling cramped or boxed in.
Do rasboras make good pets?
While rasboras are beautiful to look at, they’re not ideal pets for everyone. If you don’t want to spend a lot of time in maintenance and upkeep, these fish may not be for you. And if you have kids or other aquarium pets that might get eaten by an adult rasbora, which is possible but extremely rare, then these fish aren’t a good option either.
Though Rasboras can live harmoniously with other fish species when conditions are right, it’s still advisable to add them into your tank last so they can make first contact with all your established residents rather than vice versa. A safe bet is always to acclimate them in a separate tank filled only with water from your main tank before adding them to your established community.