How to Care for a Harlequin Rasbora

Harlequin rasboras are one of the most recognizable species in the rasbora family.

Harlequin rasboras are one of the most recognizable species in the rasbora family.

Harlequin rasboras are one of the most popular species of fish in the freshwater aquarium hobby for good reason -- they are attractive, hardy fish that are great for beginners. If you take care to feed your rasboras well and to keep the tank clean, they can live up to five years.

Select an aquarium large enough to accommodate your harlequin rasboras. These fish only achieve a maximum size around 2 inches, but because they require a great deal of swimming space, they should be kept in tanks 10 gallons or larger.

Keep your harlequin rasboras in groups with at least eight of their own species. These fish are a schooling species and will be less nervous and more active in large groups.

Line the bottom of your tank with at least 1 inch of dark sand or gravel substrate. Dark substrates will encourage your harlequin rasboras to show their best coloration.

Decorate your harlequin rasbora tank with live aquarium plants, large rocks and pieces of driftwood to mimic the natural habitat of these fishes. Concentrate tall plants and large decorations near the back and sides of the tank so there is plenty of open swimming space left in the middle.

Treat your aquarium water with a water conditioner to remove harmful toxins and chemicals like chlorine. Follow the instructions on the bottle to determine the proper dosage.

Install an aquarium heater in your tank to maintain a water temperature between 72 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Harlequin rasboras are tropical fish and may not thrive in water temperatures below 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Use an aquarium filter to keep your tank water clean. Select a filter that provides both mechanical and chemical filtration to ensure the removal of both solid and dissolved wastes from your tank water.

Diffuse the lighting in your tank by adding some floating plants to the top of your tank. These plants will simulate the natural environment of the harlequin rasbora.

Add some dried leaf litter to your tank to further simulate the natural environment of these fishes. Harlequin rasboras come from a blackwater environment where the water is naturally stained by decaying plant matter.

Test your aquarium water chemistry once a week using an aquarium water test kit. Record the results in a journal so you have an idea what the "normal" levels for your tank are. This will help you spot problems with water chemistry before they have a chance to negatively impact your tank.

Feed your rasboras a varied diet of high-quality flakes or granules and small live foods like daphnia and artemia. Supplement the diet of your rasboras with freeze-dried bloodworms or tubifex worms and fresh vegetables.

Perform weekly 10 to 20 percent water changes in your harlequin rasbora tank to keep ammonia levels under control and to keep the tank water clear. Make a larger 25 percent water change once a month and replace your filter media at this time as well.

Items you will need

  • Aquarium
  • Dark sand or gravel substrate
  • Live plants
  • Large rocks
  • Driftwood
  • Water conditioner
  • Aquarium heater
  • Aquarium filter
  • Floating plants
  • Dried leaf litter
  • Aquarium water test kit
  • Journal (optional)
  • High-quality flakes or granule
  • Small live foods
  • Freeze-dried bloodworms or tubifex worms
  • Fresh vegetables

Tips

  • Harlequin rasboras are a highly adaptable species and are not particular when it comes to water chemistry. Keeping the pH level in your tank between 5.0 and 7.5 is sufficient.
  • This species is very easy to keep but difficult to breed. If you want to encourage your harlequin rasboras to breed, you may need to soften the water and lower the pH to between 5.0 and 6.0.
 

About the Author

Katherine Barrington has written on a variety of topics, from arts and crafts to pets, health and do-it-yourself projects. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English with a creative writing concentration from Marietta College.

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