Aquarium fanatics love the harlequin rasbora because it’s very easy to care for. Its metallic color is an eye-catching addition to any home aquarium.
This small and attractive fish is native to Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra, and Southern Thailand. However, you can see it in small freshwater aquariums all over the world thanks to its vivid and vibrant colors.
If you have no experience with the harlequin rasbora, this article will help you take care of your fish. We’ll tell you everything you need to know about this beautiful creature and how to make sure that it lives happily in your home.
Where does the Harlequin Rasbora Come From?
After leaving its Asian home, the harlequin rasbora became extremely popular among aquarium owners since the 1930s, and even today this fish can be found in smaller community tanks because it’s low maintenance.
This is an attractive hardy fish that is suitable for beginners. If you keep the tank clean, make sure that your fish is safe, and feed it right, your fish will be able to live up to 6 years.
What is the Typical Behavior of the Harlequin Rasbora?
This fish is typically peaceful and enjoys swimming with members of its kind as well as other species. Most of the time, the fish can be victims of harassment if they live with bigger or more aggressive species.
This breed prefers to swim quickly but the fish might decide to hide between the plants in the tank. If this happens regularly, then your fish are probably stressed out and you should try to remove the stress factor to make sure that they’re living comfortably.
The harlequin rasbora displays interesting shoaling behavior, usually moving in groups. Watching the fish for hours is something that most aquarium hobbyists enjoy as they can monitor how the individuals communicate to move in harmony within their groups. Any disturbance in the typical behavior is a sign that the fish aren’t living in perfect conditions and you as the aquarium owner should do something to make sure that they’re safe.
One of the features of the shoaling behavior is that the fish will prefer to show their brightest colors and their most impressive behavior in larger groups. If you want to add an interesting display to your home, then you need to invest in a larger tank.
Are Harlequin Rasboras Hardy?
Yes, these fish require little maintenance but you should make sure that you’re providing them with comfortable living conditions so they can stay healthy and happy.
In nature, this fish will live in freshwater. It doesn’t live in brackish water and prefers water that is slightly acidic between pH levels of 6 and 6.5 and a hardness level up to 12 dGH. Maintaining a hardness level between 2 and 12 is recommended to keep your fish healthy.
The harlequin rasbora lives in a tropical climate where the water is warm. Extremely high or low temperatures are not good for the fish as it lives in water where the temperature is between 73 to 82 F.
How Big do Harlequin Rasboras Get?
An average fish will be almost 1.75 inches in size. Some fish will reach 2 inches; however, this fish needs plenty of swimming space despite it’s small size. This is why you should keep it in an aquarium that is 10 gallons or larger.
If you choose a smaller tank, you might have to keep the fish in pairs or on its own, which isn’t recommended.
There are 45 different species of rasbora but the Harlequin or Red Rasbora is probably the most popular one. The silver body of the fish is lozenge-shaped with orange-pink hues, although the exact color depends on the living conditions including the pH level of the water, the stress levels of the fish, and the characteristics of the original population.
The mid-section is tall and tapers towards the mouth. The rear half of the body has a black patch that ends at the forked caudal fin. All the fins on the body of the fish are red or dark orange; darker than the rest of the body. Male fish usually have darker black patches on their bodies.
Where to Keep your Harlequin Rasbora?
This is a shoaling fish that you need to keep in shoals of at least 8 to 10 fish. Your fish is likely to feel depressed if you decide to keep it on its own.
While choosing other fish to add to your aquarium, you need to make sure that there’s plenty of room for your harlequin rasbora to swim. This will guarantee that your fish will be active and healthy.
Schools of larger numbers are very popular due to their vibrant colors. Nevertheless, you should make that there’s enough space for the whole population to live comfortably.
Adding big fish to the tank isn’t a good idea if you decide to keep harlequin rasbora. The attractive vivid colors of the fish will attract predators who might be tempted to take a bite off their colorful bodies.
Can Harlequin Rasboras Live with Bettas?
Your harlequin rasbora is a peaceful fish that won’t start a fight with other fish. It won’t try to eat any other fish and will continue to live peacefully in a large community.
Choosing peaceful and sociable tankmates is a good idea to make sure that all your fish are living happily. Small barbs, dwarf gouramis, cardinal tetras, guppies, mollies, danios, and other small rasboras are great candidates for your aquarium.
Bettas are excellent tankmates for your harlequin rasboras. They both live in the same conditions and enjoy swimming peacefully, so you’ll guarantee that you’ll have a beautiful display of active fish that keep on roaming the aquarium for hours. Here are some reasons why harlequin rasboras and bettas are great tankmates.
- They both come from Southeast Asia. They live peacefully in rice paddies and slow-moving water that is full of plants.
- These fish prefer the same types of food and living conditions. This means that you won’t suffer to maintain the condition of the tank to keep them healthy.
- Harlequin rasboras are fast swimmers. Bettas prefer to swim slowly so they’re unlikely to attack each other. Even if a betta attacks the harlequin rasbora, it will unlikely catch it.
In very rare occasions the harlequin rasbora might try to bite on the fins of the bettas. If this happens, then you should probably isolate the individual doing this or move your betta to another tank.
Creating the Perfect Home for your Harlequin Rasbora
If you have a community tank, then you need to add several members of the harlequin rasbora to add more vivid colors to the display. This low maintenance fish is a good choice for kids and beginner aquarium enthusiasts because you can easily give it a loving and suitable home.
Before moving any new fish to your aquarium, you should keep them in quarantine separated from all the other fish in your aquarium to make sure that they’re healthy. The harlequin rasbora is grown in farms but it lives in several fish tanks before it reaches yours.
Naturally, this fish lives in several habitats including slow-moving rivers and swamp forests. The fish doesn’t mind the difference in the bottom; as it can be sandy or waterlogged with soil and dead plants.
This fish prefers top to mid-dwelling in the fish tank. It loves living in heavily planted tanks as the fish enjoys swimming around live plants. You should make sure that there is plenty of swimming space to let the fish roam freely.
Here are a few tips to help create the perfect habitat for your new fish.
- Cover the bottom of the tank with sand followed by at least 1 inch of dark-colored gravel. The dark bottom will encourage the fish to show their brightest colors creating a great display in your home. Nevertheless, any rocks you keep at the bottom will rarely attract the attention of the fish because they prefer to swim in the mid-section of the tank.
- Add live plants, pieces of driftwood, and rocks to mimic the fish’s natural habitat. This helps the fish get accustomed to the new tank.
- Keep longer plants to the sides of the tank. This will keep the mid area free of clutter so the fish can swim freely.
- Install an aquarium heater. This fish can tolerate several changes in temperature, but it won’t survive if the fluctuations are too extreme. It’s best to install a heater to keep the water temperature under control.
- In nature, this fish prefers heavily planted waters, so you need to find a way to diffuse the lighting in the aquarium. Make sure that you keep the aquarium away from direct sunlight which might disturb your fish.
- Add some dried leaf litter to your aquarium. In their natural habitat, the fish live peacefully among dead leaves from water plants. Imitating the waters where they come from guarantees that the fish won’t display any weird behavior and will continue to live peacefully for several years.
- Avoid adding bigger fish like cichlids. These will most likely view your harlequin rasboras as a delicious meal and will try to attack them. As a rule of thumb, you shouldn’t add any fish that is twice the size of your harlequin rasbora.
Do Harlequin Rasboras Need a Filter?
Installing an aquarium filter is a smart decision as it removes all the impurities and toxins from the water. In nature, fish have the freedom to swim somewhere else if the water isn’t clean. After you move them to a tank, you should make sure that you’re keeping the fish as healthy as possible by getting rid of all the impurities in the water.
- Choose a water filter that removes the toxins chemically and mechanically to get rid of all the solid and dissolved chemicals.
- Use a water testing kit to test the water on a weekly basis. This will help you know if the filter is working properly or not. Keeping a journal of the status of the water is extremely important so you can detect the slightest changes in the water.
- There are several treatments that you can buy to increase the quality of the water in the tank. Make sure to try these if you feel that the water isn’t healthy enough for your fish.
- Changing 10% or 20% of the water in the aquarium is a must. Do this weekly to keep the water fresh and maintain the levels of ammonia under control. Changing 25% of the water once a month is necessary, so your fish won’t suffer from any health problems.
Feeding your Harlequin Rasbora
Harlequin rasboras are omnivorous and they will feed on a variety of plants and other smaller marine insects, and eggs. Providing them with a variety of foods is necessary to keep the fish healthy.
This fish has a small mouth, so you should feed them small particles that they can easily swallow. Store-bought food like flakes and pellets contain the essential nutrients that will keep your fish healthy. Varying the texture of the food is a great way to keep the fish interested.
Feeding time can become more interesting if you introduce live food. This will include bloodworms, insect larvae, and daphnia. Due to the movement, the fish will display an interesting activity as they chase their food in the tank.
You can also make your own home-made food of vegetables to keep your fish healthy. They’re unlikely to cause damage to the plants in the tank.
It’s important that you don’t overfeed your fish as this can cause several health issues. Provide your fish with enough food that they can finish in 2 minutes to avoid digestive problems. If you have enthusiastic kids in the house, remind them that the fish should be fed twice a day only. Excess food should be removed from the tank to keep it clean.
Harlequin rasbora is a peaceful and active fish that will bring life to your community tank. Setting up the perfect tank for your fish is easy as you just need to arrange your plants to give the fish plenty of space to swim.
Getting a big tank is recommended so you can add several fish as the harlequin rasbora prefers to live with other members of its kind. It makes a perfect tankmate to other less active and peaceful fish, creating colorful displays that you can enjoy for hours.