Harlequin Rasbora: Complete guide and care- [2020]

In the world of fish keeping, Harlequin rasbora is quite famous due to its appearance and behavior. Most of the aquarists prefer adding this fish in their aquarium due to its quiet nature with the other tank mates.

However, The size of the harlequin rasbora is small in size. But, as compared to other fishes This looks attractive with Silver shiny vibrant color over its body. Due to its attractive looks, Larger fishes try to meal of it. This is something an aquarist should take care of.

In this article I will cover all aspects related to How should properly take care of it, Its appearance and Behaviour, the Selection of the right tank mates, The complete breeding process, Choosing the right tank size, Tank requirements and Setting it up.

Let’s Dive right in!

Short Overview

Harlequin rasbora belongs to a family Cyprinidae. This fish is mainly found in the southeast of Asia, Near the region of Malaysia, It is also found in the region of Singapore, Thailand, and in some-part of Sumatra too.

Harlequin rasbora
Image credit- Juan R. Lascorz, Commons Wikimedia

This is a peaceful fish that makes the right choice for adding this fish to the community aquarium as well. Harlequin rasbora is also very popular when it comes to the Home fish-keeping tank as well.

Caring for this fish is very easy and Hence, this is a plus point for beginners with zero knowledge related to fish keeping and maintenance.

Have a look at this Infographic!

Harlequin rasbora infographic

Harlequin Rasbora Price

Usually, the price of a harlequin rasbora is around 2 to 4 dollars. Although, the price might vary depending upon the availability of fish. Due to its quiet and peaceful nature, the aquarium store owners tend to stock them up. So, It shouldn’t be a problem for you to get this fish.

For beginners, we recommend Harlequin rasbora as one of your choices. Most of the aquarists recommend this fish with some other small peaceful tank mates.

The lifespan of Harlequin Rasbora

With proper care and maintenance, Harlequin rasbora fish can live up to 5-8 years. This is when you can maintain a nutritious diet to these fishes. Maintaining the proper water temperature and right pH value.

Keep changing the type of food once or twice a week this way the fish stays happy and healthy. To make sure, the lifespan is good enough maintain proper care of this fish.

Typical Behavior

As mentioned above, Harlequin rasbora fish is very peaceful in its behavior. So, this shouldn’t be a problem while choosing the tank mates.

You should never pair Harlequin rasbora fish with aggressive and larger fishes this might be an unpleasant experience for this fish. Aggressive fishes will surely try to hunt harlequin rasbora so, this might end up being a victim.

Most of the time harlequin rasbora spends its time swimming around the aquarium with other fellow tank mates. It’s rare to see this fish on the surface or substrate. They like hiding in the caves and plants too hence, you should surely add these in your fish tank when setting it up.

Avoid keeping a bright light when it comes to lighting your fish tank. This fish tries to get away from the light. So, it gets stressed out in bright light.

When harlequin rasbora fish is alone they are sometimes shy and quiet. But, when they are in a group often you will find them energetic and happy.

They are also found moving in a group that makes their behavior interesting and attractive to viewers.


Harlequin rasbora appearance
Image credit- Mariusz Dabrowski, Wikimedia Commons

Due to its size, you can easily add more than one harlequin rasbora in a small-sized tank as well. Often, you won’t find these fishes growing more than 2 inches.

Their body looks interesting They do have a black pattern from the rear half of its body and end at the caudal fin.

Most of its body is covered with silver lining and few tinges of orange. The color intensity varies upon its age as well. It also depends upon the tank conditions and their tank mates and their food habits.

It’s hard to differentiate between a male and a female in harlequin rasbora. Males have larger black patches compared to females. So, this way you can differentiate between the male and female. later, if you are looking to breed these fishes you may proceed.

Habitat and Tank Conditions

Waters in these areas are warm and the pH value is fairly neutral. The flow of water in the areas where you can find Harlequin rasbora is usually slow.

Harlequin rasbora is a true freshwater fish and you cannot find this fish in saltwater. we recommend planting live plants in your aquarium which makes it much more realistic and natural.

This fish also likes an environment with dense vegetation, plenty of space for swimming, some decent lighting, and some caves in your fish tank.

Tank setup

First of all, Choose the right tank size as per the number of fish you are planning to add.

Here are the requirements you will need to set up a beautiful aquarium tank. You may buy these equipment from the nearest aquarium store:

  • Soft sand substrate sand
  • Caves and Decorations
  • Heater
  • Aquarium Lighting
  • Live plants

These components are more than enough to make your fish tank look beautiful and attractive.

Follow these steps to set up tank for Harlequin rasbora:

  1. Place your fish tank on a plane surface if possible, add a thermocol sheet (This sheet provides proper balance and equal weight) below your fish tank.
  2. Add a soft layer of the sand substrate inside the aquarium tank. You may add gravel too However, Harlequin rasbora fishes don’t usually spend their time on substrates. Hence, it’s your choice to add it or not.
  3. Properly install and fit the heater and set it up at around 76° F. This temperature is adequate and fine.
  4. Add some decorations, rocks and caves inside the aquarium and then plant some live plants around it.
  5. Install an aquarium water filter and aquarium lighting.
  6. Fill up the aquarium with a Freshwater switch on the water heater as well.
  7. Add beautiful yet pretty Harlequin rasbora inside the aquarium. We recommend adding a few drops of medicine to water too.

The right ph level for water is 6 to 7.7 and the hardness should be 2 to 15 KH.

Most of the time you will find these fishes swimming around the aquarium tank. They love swimming you will rarely find these fishes sitting or relaxing on a substrate. If you have Live plants, caves, rocks and decorations in your aquarium you will find them swimming around these types of equipment most of the time.

What size aquarium tank do you need?

The recommended tank size is 2 fishes per gallon of tank. Try to get an aquarium tank at least 10 gallons at the minimum. However, It depends on the number of fishes you are planning to add in your aquarium and then choose the tank size according to your requirements. The more the tank size the more space they have to swim around the fish tank.

Can I keep Harlequin Rasbora with Bettas?

This is the most common question, asked by the aquarists and the answer to this is yes. Just keep in mind to make sure you have a larger tank size and plenty of space for both of these fishes to swim around.

Adding few of the decorations like rocks, caves and live plants would be great. They just love this type of environment.

Tankmates for Harlequin rasbora

Choosing the right tank mates for harlequin rasbora is necessary. These fishes are quiet and peaceful and they mind their own business. Hence, it’s important to select suitable tank mates.

Harlequin rasbora tank mates
Image credit- Billyhill, Commons Wikimedia

Avoid fishes larger than double size of harlequin rasbora. usually, these larger fishes try to hunt and eat them up. keep in mind, you should avoid these types of fishes as their tank mates. Avoid clown loaches and betta fishes too they are not much suitable.

Here are the recommended tank mates for Harlequin Rasbora:

  • Cherry barbs
  • Dwarf gouramis
  • Mollies
  • Platies
  • Tetras
  • Zebra loaches
  • Danios
  • Corydoras catfish
  • Hatchetfish
  • Harlequin rasbora itself

These are the suitable tank mates you should be choosing. We recommend these tank mates as they are non-aggressive and they are also peaceful too. You may add snails too as they are peaceful.

Should you keep Harlequin Rasbora together?

Yes, It’s a good idea to keep the same species of fish in your aquarium. They love making groups and intend to swim around the aquarium happily.

Your aquarium will surely look nice when these fishes are kept in a group. Do not forget to keep the aquarium tank size at least 10 gallons. This is necessary to provide a comfortable environment and habitat for the fish.

Harlequin Rasbora Feeding

If you remember, we have told that the maximum size of harlequin rasbora is not more then 2 inches. Hence, they have small-mouth. So, you should choose the right food which is comfortable for this fish to feed on.

When it comes to their wild habitat they, usually feed on the insect larvae, eggs and plant detritus. They eat whatever comes on their way irrespective of their type of food. Hence, they are categorized as omnivorous fish meaning they eat both plants and animals.

We recommend getting food from the aquarium stores. Just be sure to choose the size of food to be small which fits in their small-mouth. During feeding times they are found to be the most active.

Just remember, to keep changing the type of food once in a while don’t worry about the nutritious value within the food.  Feeding the same type of food makes the fish a little boring. Just like how we humans get bored of eating the same type of food.

Feeding different types of food Once or twice a week should be great to keep them happy and energetic. Choosing frozen foods or live food once in a while should be fine. Blood worms, insect larvae, eggs and etc. keep their life interesting.

Feeding homemade fish foods and green vegetables is also okay. Keep a habit of feeding them twice a day. Let them eat as much as they can up to one minute of time. Stop feeding once the one minute limit is crossed. Over-feeding isn’t healthy.

Remove the excess amount of food present floating on the layer of water.

Harlequin Rasbora care

Harlequin Rasbora fishes are strong enough and are prone to diseases. Hence, you will rarely find them ill. Taking proper care of these fishes. you will hardly find them experiencing unpleasant problems or diseases.

To keep them healthy you should always keep your tank clean. The common diseases among Harlequin rasbora are Ich, dropsy and fin rot.

These diseases attack fishes when the water quality is too poor and this is the reason you should keep the water clean. You will find medicine available in the Fishkeeping stores to help fishes fight these diseases.

There is also another reason for harlequin rasbora to get ill. If the fish isn’t getting the right amount of food and nutrition within its diet, it will become weak to fight these diseases due to improper diet and nutrition.

The lifespan of Harlequin rasbora is 5 to 8 years depending on how you take care of it. Feeding varieties of foods like green vegetables, Live and frozen food keeps them strong and healthy.

Harlequin Rasbora Breeding

Breeding Harlequin rasbora is harder as compared to other species of fishes. Although, It is completely possible to breed with these species of fishes.

When it comes to breeding Harlequin rasbora, you should maintain a water temperature of at least 80° F a little warmer as compared to the normal condition. Keep the aquarium tank clean with good quality water.

we recommend feeding blood worms and flakes. These types of food contain a large amount of protein which is necessary to keep fish fit and healthy.

If possible add some of the broad-leaved plants like Anubias nana in your aquarium tank. This is necessary because when the female is ready to mate it usually rubs its belly with these broad-leaves which signal the male.

Later, the males will reach out to the female for the process of fertilization. After the post-fertilization, the eggs are attached to the leaves once after 24 hours of the time period the eggs will hatch themselves.

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It is very important to separate out the parents with the hatched eggs. If not, Parents might try to eat them.

Further, you should take proper care of these new-born fishes. A good and nutritious diet is essential to make sure these grow fast and improves the development of the fish overall.

Concluding Thoughts

For beginners, harlequin rasbora is a good choice as these species of fishes are quite peaceful. Due to this reason, it would be much easier for fairly beginners to take care of it.

You can do some live plantation inside your aquarium Harlequin rasbora loves these type of setups. Decorations like rocks and caves would be great too.

If you are planning to breed these fishes. It’s a little harder to do so. Hence, you should take proper care of the breeding requirements and conditions as well.

They look attractive and beautiful when they are in groups. It’s the right choice to go with this fish in your aquarium with more number of the same species of fish.

Let us know what do you think of this fish in the comment section below. we welcome your feedback and suggestions contact us here.

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