Rasbora Fish: A Comprehensive Guide
submitted by Bob Steenfott
March 14, 2023
Rasboras are a diverse and beautiful group of freshwater fish that are popular among hobbyists for their striking colors and ease of care. These small, peaceful fish can add a pop of color to any aquarium and are perfect for beginners looking to get started in the hobby. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about rasboras, from their natural habitat and behavior to their care requirements and breeding habits.
Chapter 1: What are Rasboras?
Rasboras are a group of small freshwater fish that are native to Southeast Asia. They are part of the Cyprinidae family, which includes other popular aquarium fish such as goldfish, koi, and barbs. There are over 100 species of rasboras, with the most common being the harlequin rasbora, the scissortail rasbora, and the chili rasbora.
Rasboras are known for their vibrant colors and peaceful nature. They are typically small, with most species growing between one to two inches in length. They are also social fish, and are best kept in groups of six or more.
Chapter 2: Natural Habitat of Rasboras
Rasboras are found in a variety of freshwater habitats throughout Southeast Asia, including streams, rivers, and ponds. They are often found in densely vegetated areas, and prefer slow-moving or still water.
The water in their natural habitat is typically soft and acidic, with a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0. They also prefer water that is well-oxygenated and free from pollutants.
Chapter 3: Appearance of Rasboras
Rasboras are known for their striking colors and unique markings. They come in a wide range of colors, including red, orange, yellow, green, and blue. Many species also have black markings, stripes, or spots.
One of the most popular species of rasbora is the harlequin rasbora. This fish has a bright red body with a black triangle on its tail and a metallic blue line along its back. Other popular species include the scissortail rasbora, which has a silver body with a black and yellow tail, and the mosquito rasbora, which is a bright red color with black spots.
Chapter 4: Tank Requirements for Rasboras
Rasboras are relatively easy to care for and do well in community aquariums. They are best kept in groups of six or more, as they are social fish and prefer to be in schools.
The ideal tank size for rasboras depends on the species, but most can be kept in a tank as small as 10 gallons. However, it’s always best to provide as much space as possible, so a larger tank is recommended if you have the space.
When setting up a tank for rasboras, it’s important to provide plenty of hiding places and plants for them to swim through. Rasboras are natural shoaling fish and will appreciate a densely planted tank with plenty of open swimming space.
Chapter 5: Water Conditions for Rasboras
Rasboras are adapted to soft, acidic water in their natural habitat, so it’s important to replicate these conditions in your aquarium. The ideal pH range for rasboras is 6.0 to 7.0, with a water hardness of 5 to 12 dGH.
It’s also important to maintain good water quality in your tank by performing regular water changes and using a high-quality filter. Rasboras are sensitive to water pollutants, so it’s important to keep their environment clean and well-maintained.
Chapter 6: Feeding Rasboras
Rasboras are omnivores and will eat a variety of foods in the wild, including insects, crustaceans, and plant matter. In the aquarium, they can be fed a varied diet of high-quality flake, pellet, or frozen foods.
It’s important to provide a balanced diet that includes both protein and plant matter. Some good options for rasboras include brine shrimp, bloodworms, daphnia, and spirulina flakes.
In addition to their regular diet, it’s also a good idea to supplement with occasional treats like freeze-dried or live foods. These can help keep your rasboras healthy and happy.
Chapter 7: Compatibility with Other Fish
Rasboras are peaceful fish and can be kept with a variety of other community fish. However, it’s important to choose tankmates that are similarly sized and have a peaceful temperament.
Good tankmates for rasboras include other peaceful community fish like tetras, guppies, and corydoras catfish. It’s best to avoid aggressive or territorial fish, as they can stress out your rasboras and cause problems in the tank.
Chapter 8: Breeding Rasboras
Breeding rasboras can be a rewarding experience for hobbyists, but it does require some effort and preparation. The first step is to provide a suitable breeding environment, which includes a separate breeding tank with plenty of plants and hiding places.
To encourage breeding, it’s important to mimic the natural breeding conditions of rasboras. This can include using slightly cooler water, increasing water flow, and providing a varied diet of live and frozen foods.
Once the breeding pair has spawned, it’s important to remove the adults from the tank to prevent them from eating the eggs or fry. The eggs will hatch within a few days, and the fry can be fed a diet of newly hatched brine shrimp or micro worms.
Chapter 9: Common Health Issues for Rasboras
Rasboras are relatively hardy fish and are not prone to many health issues if kept in suitable conditions. However, there are a few common health problems to watch out for.
One of the most common issues is ich, which is a parasitic infection that can cause white spots on the fish’s body. This can be treated with a medication like Aquarium Solutions Ich-X.
Another common issue is fin rot, which is a bacterial infection that can cause the fins to become ragged or discolored. This can be treated with antibiotics or by improving water quality and performing regular water changes.
In conclusion, rasboras are a great choice for aquarists looking to add some color and activity to their aquarium. With their peaceful nature and ease of care, they make a great addition to any community tank.
As time went by, I sold my large 55 gallon, 20 L, 29 Gallon and a few 10’s. I wanted to downsize the fishroom because I was having a difficult time with the upkeep of the tanks and keeping live stock alive.
I sold alot of stock of guppies, corydora and several fry from the two pleco species I have, the L133 and L133a. They have continually bred for me and I am enjoying them in my fishroom.
I still haven’t decided what main fish I want to put in the 40 breeder. I added a heater but keeping it below 75 degrees. I still have thinking of a good way to buffer the KH to stablize the PH. It comes out of the tap at 6.8-7.0 and drops to 6.4 or below. The plecos are fairing and still breeding without a heater in the 10 gallon and the 25 gallon tall.
I have mutt guppies which are pretty and exciting to see what you get. I want to concentrate on a high demand guppy that will breed well in my water and temperature range.
I also hope to get some shubunkin/goldfish hybrids this spring and will be watching that situation I have set up outside. I still have duckweed growing outside and water wisteria and a few other plants here and there.
I want a couple more different strains of neocardinia shrimp to breed and sell and mech from a couple fishfam businesses in my fishroom too.
After I decide what the main fish species I want to keep in the 40 breeder, I will let you know.
What I have learned setting up this tank:
2. Plans Change
3. The fish decide whether they are happy or not.
4. Snails come from nowhere!
5. Lights burn out when you least expect them to.
6. Fishfam is Family
7. There are so many choices out there, I don’t know what to do next! LOL
And There will be more things to learn as I add more plants, fish and keep the maintenance up on this tank.
The substrate is mixed gravel with crushed coral and separate from that is Eco-Complete where I have most of my plants, but I will be putting some in the gravel too.
I Thank the Fishfam Community for the donations towards the 40G breeder, the substrate, and the memberships that have been gifted to viewers.
I wouldn’t have made it without you guys! I love you and hope to see you around YouTube.
Should Medications Be Your First Line of Defense?
submitted by Dena Edwards (Everything Aquatic) 2022
Over the years there has been a trend of reaching for medications without first analyzing the situation to determine if medications are appropriate. And this approach had been leading to medications losing effectiveness over the years. Back in the 80s Metronidazole was a miracle drug as it could treat both protozoa and bacterial disease; however, today it is useless on its own for bacteria and can only treat a small range of parasites.
Our first line of defense starts by following a proper quarantine process with new purchases. It is critical to have enough time to evaluate the overall health of new purchases to avoid spreading disease. I have always held new fish 2-4 weeks minimum in QT. Once I got very busy and fish ended up being in QT for much longer. And I learned a difficult lesson too as at 6 weeks in QT the new fish started to develop a flesh eating bacteria. And by 4 months everything was lost. If I had moved them into my main tank at a month I potentially could have lost everything, not just the new fish. So now, I QT for 3 months minimum.
I am aware that many fish-keepers use medications as a preventative measure; however, most medications are not intended for such use. I am not going to say anything is wrong with this practice, but I will say if medications are not used appropriately then resistance can build up and medications will become less effective. I am also aware that those who import fish will notice over time fish will arrive with certain issues from specific vendors; and they will immediately medicate. This is a different approach in my mind to just tossing in meds to see what sticks or when there is no identified issue. Each of us will follow what we are comfortable doing and need to make educated decisions.
I have been approached by many recently asking for recommendations on what medication to use, yet have no idea what they want to treat. Without first evaluating to identify the root cause there is no way to recommend anything other than moving to a QT and closely monitoring the fish in questions. Anyone who approaches me with this type of situation asking for recommendations on which medication to use I always ask for the following information:
What are the current water parameters? Specifics are required to determine if the tank is cycled and being maintained with enough water changes
Ask how often water changes are done and the water volume. There is nothing better for freshwater fish than fresh water. Same is true on a smaller scale for saltwater environments. Doing water changes not only removes waste, but it also replenishes minerals that are lost to growing fish and to hungry plants.
How long have the fish been in your tank? We they quarantined?
What tankmates are in the tank? Need to rule out incompatibility in species, such as keeping long finned fish with notorious nippers
With the case of fin rot, it is very different from environmental damage. Rot is often noticed at the fin tips and will gradually eat away at the fins; plus the fin edges will be very dark in most cases. Environmental damage will appear as ripped or torn edges or shredded finage. And when fins begin to repair themselves they will first look clear or white on the edges and many think this is fin rot when it is actually fin growth. Any time there is no sign of actual rot, the first approach is to do nothing more than offering a variety of high quality foods, doing small daily water changes and sometimes adding botanicals to add tannins to the tank. And in 1-2 weeks the fins will repair themselves.
We don’t take antibiotics for a leg cramp or a migraine, so why would we do so for our pets?
Attending a Tropical Fish Auction
submitted by Ed’s Picknupcichlids 2022
For those who are going for a first time or those who have attended
auctions previously below are some tips for attending whether buying or selling.
My number one thing is preparing your fish for the auction. Too many people
do not fast their fish. I do not feed the fish I am bagging for 2-3 days before I
bag them. This way they will produce less waste while in the bag. Please no
cramming more fish into the bags than they are meant to hold. When bagging fish,
use clear plastic bags meant just fish. Ziplock bags and baggies are not made to
hold water or fish.
Several fish stores will give you some fish bags for free or for
a small charge. Some auctions limit the number of bags or items you can bring.
Some fish will get stuck in the corners. One way to avoid this is to rubber
band the corners. Another way is to invert the bag and double bag it. Plus, if you
have a heat sealer you can crimp the corners before bagging. When closing the
bags make sure they have 1/3 water and 2/3 air. Breeding groups need to be
separated in separate bags and marked or taped together. When bringing your
bags of fish they should be in a cooler, Styrofoam box (fish box) or Totes with
lids. For larger fish buckets with lids. The Styrofoam boxes keep the fish warmer
in the winter and the darkness causes less stress on them.
Best thing when buying or bidding on fish is to get there during the
previewing time. Bring a pen and something to write on or type in your notes on
your phone the name of fish, how many, adults or fry. Check everything including
how they are bagged, how the fish look, how many of the same fish are in the lots.
When bidding hold your card up high enough to be seen.
If you are bidding on fish make sure to get a bidder card at the before the start
of the auction. Make sure you have a few tanks at home ready for the fish you
want to bid on. All of these tanks should be for quarantining the fish. I always
allow for a couple of extra bags. I always go home with more fish than I planned.
I find where you sit is important for buying or selling. I sit up front and
write down what my fish sold for and what I paid for my winning bids. Volunteer to
be a runner. You don’t need to be a member to do this. I volunteer at many other
club auctions. This allows you to see all the fish up close.
By Dena Edwards on Thursday, May 28, 2015 at 7:17 PM
You’ve always heard that buying fish direct from a breeder will fill your tanks with higher quality fish. But what about all those horror stories about DOA or fish arriving with their gills burned from ammonia buildup and attempting to gulp oxygen? Many times I’ve heard that it is a waste of time shipping fish because they always die; and to purchase local. I have a real problem with that statement. How do you think your local fish store gets its fish?
The key to having fish or invertebrates survive is knowing water parameters. More specifically the difference between the water in your tank and the water in the shipping bag. The greater the difference in water parameters the more caution must be taken to acclimate fish. When purchasing from a local store odds are the water you bring the fish home in will be fairly similar to your tanks and acclimation is not necessarily required. But what about when fish are shipped across the country or internationally? There are a few key steps that I take to ensure stress-free acclimation and to avoid fish losses where possible.
A. Ask the seller for their parameters
….and, test the bag water when it arrives! I have learned over the years that many are either ignorant of the conditions in their tanks or for some reason don’t want to provide accurate information. I am not willing to risk lives and my money over someone’s belief. For example, I have had breeders tell me their pH runs 7.0; yet the water they shipped was over 8.0 in pH.
B. How much variance in pH? Are you having to raise or lower pH?
The closer the pH between the two water sources the easier it will be to acclimate new arrivals. The general rule is if there is no more than 0.4 variance then you can simply net out the fish and drop them into your tank. This is the ideal situation. However, it never happens for me.
Is the pH in your tank higher than the shipping water? Then take a short time to acclimate. Fast acclimation is used simply to ensure there is nothing in my water that the fish reacts to. Fish have an easier time adjusting to a higher pH so long as it is less than 1.0 variance in pH acclimation isn’t too involved.
Is the pH lower in your tank? Then acclimation is critical to avoid osmotic shock as well as avoiding a struggle to breathe and low survival. You know that messing around with pH can lead to fish deaths (the reason why we never recommend messing with the pH in a tank), but it is sometimes required when fish ship, as is my case. When lowering the pH fish must undergo changes in their gills to be able to take in oxygen. Drop the pH too quickly and this change will kill them faster than just about anything.
C. When the variance is greater than 1.0
….take it slow! Plop and drop will just about guarantee fish losses, especially when lowering pH. If during the acclimation process you see the fish pumping their gills or gulping air then slow down before the fish succumbs.
Here are the steps I take when dealing with fish shipments:
1. Test pH of bag water (most often this is between 7.0 and 8.0)
2. Test pH of QT tank water (my water runs 6.6 out of the tap)
3. Test bag water for ammonia (when pH is above 7.0 ammonia is more toxic to fish). This is important as it can lead to other intervention steps when necessary to save struggling fish.
4. Add 1 drop Seachem Prime to help neutralize ammonia buildup
5. Set up a drip acclimation into a 5 gallon bucket
6. Carefully transfer fish and bag water into the bucket
7. When variance is between 0.4 and 0.8 I run a fast drip of 5 drops per second; but when greater than 1.0 then slow drip of 1 drop per 1-2 seconds
8. Place a screen or net over the bucket to avoid jumpers
9. Every 15 minutes or so, monitor fish behavior for any signs of stress. If stress is found, stop the drip and let them adjust; and only continue when they are again breathing normal and no longer gulping air
10. Once bucket is 3/4 full, I carefully pour off most of the water and continue with the drip
11. When bucket is again 1/2 full then net out the fish and transfer to the tank
12. I leave the water low in the tank for the first day. Then, fill up the next day or even do a small water change if there is any measurable ammonia
Because my water pH runs low I have had to make some drastic decisions to save the fish. Most shipments take 4-8 hours to acclimate to my lower pH level. Dropping pH for 7.8 to 6.6 is not an easy or quick process. Once when fish arrived in pH over 8.0 with 1.5 PPM ammonia I knew I couldn’t take so many hours to acclimate. Fish arrived very stressed and already experiencing issues maintaining buoyancy in the water. As I knew I didn’t have enough time to lower the pH I opted to add baking soda to my QT tank to match that of the bag and transferred the fish. Then, do small daily water changes to lower pH. In these cases it can take 7-10 days to remove baking soda and to get the QT back down to my norm of 6.6 pH.
Hopefully, some of the above will help you the next time you receive fish.
“I want to look at a tank set up that I loved doing myself and one that became extremely popular in the hobby over the last 18months to 2 years at least that’s what I’ve seen that’s when they grew in popularity. That tank set up is of course a betta sorority. So, what does betta sorority mean, well that means that you set up a tank with all female bettas.
Now typically we all know the rule is you can only keep one betta in a tank or they will fight each other. And yes this is the rule when it comes to males, but people tested it with females and found that under the right conditions you can actually keep groups of them together in tanks and they do not murder each other. Now that being said, these can be very hit or miss, so they are by no means a beginner level tank, in fact I would not even classify them as a moderate level tank, these should really only be attempted by people that have
A. done a bunch of research into them,
B. have been keeping fish for a few years.
C. people who have dealt with and know how to handle aggressive fish, and
D. people that have the ability to think on their feet and have the funds and space available for extra tanks incase a sorority does not natural balance itself.
So, for these the smallest size tank you should attempted them in is a 20 gallon, you will want a group of 5-7 girls. You are going to want to make sure you have plenty of hiding spots in the form of décor; rock work, driftwood and other things. You are also going to want a large number of plants in the tank for the same reason as the hiding spots. You want to treat your sorority like an African cichlid tank and give the fish plenty of ways to break line of sight with each other to curb their aggression.
The biggest mistake I think people make with these is trying to put too many girls in a small tank and they do not include something that I think is essential to sororities; dither fish. Dither fish are one of the biggest things you need to do if you want to keep a successful sorority. Dither fish are a schooling fish or active fish that will distract your girls away from fighting each other. I have found black neon tetras and emerald eye rasboras are great for this. Another big thing you want to try and do is get all your girls young and at the same time, this way they grow up together. If you notice aggression you can put that one fish in a time out, ie put it in a net in the tank or a breeder box. You might find you need to pull a fish completely as some just aren’t suitable for cohabitation.
Eventually your girls will establish a natural hierarchy among them, and balance should be achieved. Overall betta sororities can be an amazing tank and a fun project for someone that wants to try a tank that requires more work to maintain. But sadly, given the level of knowledge you need to successfully keep a sorority I would not recommend this to everyone. Don’t get me wrong, I love sororities, but they just require so much more in-depth knowledge of fishkeeping than a simple community tank or singular betta tank that I don’t feel comfortable recommending them to everyone. “
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