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Rasboras are schooling fish in the family Cyprinidae, which means they’re related to barbs, danios, goldfish and koi. They are peaceful, colorful fish, and most species grow to less than 4 inches, making them ideal for small to mid-size aquariums. Popular species like harlequin, lambchop, scissortail, lampeye (eyespot) and brilliant (also called redtail or black line) rasboras typically don’t get larger than 2 inches. They are active and hardy, making them good beginner fish for 10 gallon aquariums or larger. Smaller species such as dwarf emerald rasboras and various species of Boraras are relatively new to the aquarium hobby. Most of these brilliantly colored fish max out at 1 inch or less and are perfect inhabitants for desktop and nano aquariums of 3 to 10 gallons. Rasboras are schooling fish, so they’re best purchased in groups of 7 or more, although groups of 25 or more are a sight to behold!
Rasboras are found throughout south and southeast Asia, including southeast China. They mostly inhabit gently flowing forest streams, but also occur in floodplains during the wet season. They prefer shallow water and abundant aquatic plant growth. The water is often stained brown from tannins released by leaves and other organic matter, and the pH can be as low as 4.0 in some habitats. Light is often subdued due to overhanging vegetation.