Brilliant Rasbora

Brilliant Rasboras are captivating freshwater fish that share a close relationship with Harlequin Rasboras. Showcasing striking orange-red colors, they've secured a spot in the hearts of aquarists worldwide. These sociable fish are relatively low-maintenance, making them a superb selection for community tanks.

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Care DIfficulty


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Southeast Asia

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2 inches (5 cm)

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5 to 7 years

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Table of contents

Origin, Appearance, Size, and Lifespan

The Brilliant Rasbora, also known as Rasbora einthovenii, is a beloved freshwater species originating from Southeast Asia, primarily from Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. You will typically find them inhabiting peat swamps and forest streams with abundant vegetation.

In their natural habitats, Brilliant Rasboras usually dwell in slow-moving, shallow waters teeming with plant life. These plants serve as both food sources and hiding spots, and the dark river bottoms accentuate their vibrant colors. These sociable creatures flourish in groups of at least six, but it's not rare to see them in larger schools.

Their native environment is characterized by warm, slightly acidic, and soft water. The usual temperature fluctuates between 73 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (23 to 27 degrees Celsius), with a pH level of 6.0 to 7.0, and water hardness between 1 to 10 dGH. For a similar environment in your tank, keep a steady water temperature, employ a high-quality filtration system, and incorporate live plants and driftwood.

By emulating the Brilliant Rasbora's natural habitat and maintaining optimal water conditions, you're setting your fish up for a successful and content life in your aquarium.

Brilliant Rasboras are admired for their remarkable orange-red coloration, making them an alluring and prominent feature in tanks. Despite their small size, growing up to around 2 inches (5 cm) in length, their distinctive colors and lively demeanor make them a popular choice for those seeking an energetic, colorful aquatic display. These charming creatures bring delight to observers as they zip through the tank, solidifying their place as a favorite among aquarists of varying expertise levels.

With appropriate care, Brilliant Rasboras can live up to 5 to 7 years. Being social creatures, they thrive in groups and should ideally be kept in schools of six or more individuals. To support their wellness and ensure longevity in captivity, it's crucial to provide an aquarium rich in plant life with plenty of hiding spots and a varied diet comprising premium flakes, pellets, and frozen foods.

Fun Facts

Having explored the appearance and lifespan of Brilliant Rasboras, let's delve into some intriguing facts about these stunning fish that make them a standout in the world of aquaria. From their striking hue to their social tendencies, Brilliant Rasboras are packed with fascinating traits that are sure to enthral any aquarium enthusiast.

  • Camouflage for Safety: In their natural environment, Brilliant Rasboras often swim alongside Harlequin Rasboras, their look-alikes. This resemblance aids both species in enhancing their numbers and confusing predators, improving their survival odds.
  • Natural Light Filter: Brilliant Rasboras possess a distinctive pigment known as xanthophore, which aids their survival in the dark, peat-stained waters of their native habitats. This pigment functions as a natural light filter, shielding the fish from harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation that permeates the water surface.
  • Rasbora Kin: Despite their vibrant look, Brilliant Rasboras belong to the same family (Cyprinidae) as the danios, which are known for their translucent bodies. Brilliant Rasboras, on the other hand, have developed vibrant colors as a form of disguise and communication in their dimly lit environments.
  • Color Modification: Brilliant Rasboras have the ability to alter their color intensity based on their environment, mood, or health. Under poor lighting conditions or when stressed, their colors may appear more subdued. On the other hand, when they feel secure and healthy, their colors become more vibrant, enhancing their visibility in a tank setting.
  • Schooling Behaviour: Brilliant Rasboras are schooling fish, signifying they prefer to swim in groups. This behaviour not only provides them with a sense of security but also results in a spectacular visual display in an aquarium. Their synchronized swimming and vibrant colors can transform a home aquarium into a captivating aquatic spectacle.

Now that you're armed with some intriguing details about Brilliant Rasboras, you can better appreciate their allure and complexities in your aquarium. In the next section, we'll offer advice on tank setups, ensuring your Brilliant Rasboras have the perfect environment to flourish and display their brilliant features.

Recommended Tank Setups

Each setup includes the essential components—tank, filter, heater, lighting, substrate, and more—ensuring that you can create an ideal environment for Brilliant Rasboras and other compatible freshwater fish species in your aquarium. As you progress from cost-effective to premium setups, you'll also gain more flexibility for customization, aesthetics, and advanced functionalities. Brilliant Rasboras are schooling fish and should be kept in groups of at least six members to mitigate stress and promote their well-being. Generally, Brilliant Rasboras are priced between $2 and $4 per fish, although prices can fluctuate based on variables such as size, quality, and availability.

Budget-friendly setup (around $200):

  • Tank: 20-gallon aquarium with a hood or glass canopy‍ ($40 - $70)
  • Filter: Hang-on-back (HOB) or sponge filter suitable for 20 gallons ($20 - $40)
  • Heater: 50-100 watt adjustable aquarium heater ($15 - $30)
  • Lighting: Basic LED aquarium light ($20 - $50)
  • Substrate: Affordable aquarium sand or small gravel ($10 - $20)
  • Decor: A few pieces of driftwood and rocks, along with budget-friendly live plants like Java Fern and Anubias ($20 - $40)
  • Fish: Minimum 6, maximum 10 Brilliant Rasboras ($20 - $30)
  • Thermometer: $3 - $10
  • Substrate Vacuum: $10 - $25
  • Fish Net: $2 - $10
  • Algae Scraper or Magnetic Cleaner: $5 - $20
  • Siphon and Bucket: $15 - $30
  • Test Kit: $15 - $50
  • Fish Food: $5 - $20
  • Water Conditioner: $5 - $15

Mid-range setup (around $400 - $650):

  • Tank: 20-30 gallon aquarium with a hood or glass canopy ($60 - $120)
  • Filter: Canister filter or high-quality HOB filter suitable for the tank size ($60 - $150)
  • Heater: 100-150 watt adjustable aquarium heater ($25 - $50)
  • Lighting: LED aquarium light with adjustable settings for plant growth and color enhancement ($50 - $150)
  • Substrate: Nutrient-rich aquarium substrate designed for planted tanks ($20 - $40)
  • Decor: A mix of driftwood, rocks, and live plants such as Amazon Swords, Java Fern, Anubias, and Cryptocoryne species ($40 - $80)
  • Fish: Minimum 6, maximum 15 Brilliant Rasboras ($20 - $50)
  • Thermometer: $3 - $10
  • Substrate Vacuum: $10 - $25
  • Fish Net: $2 - $10
  • Algae Scraper or Magnetic Cleaner: $5 - $20
  • Siphon and Bucket: $15 - $30
  • Test Kit: $15 - $50
  • Fish Food: $5 - $20
  • Water Conditioner: $5 - $15

High-end setup (above $800):

  • Tank: 30-40 gallon rimless aquarium with a glass canopy ($120 - $250)
  • Filter: High-quality canister filter suitable for the tank size ($100 - $250)
  • Heater: 150-200 watt adjustable aquarium heater with an external temperature controller ($40 - $80)
  • Lighting: Advanced LED lighting system with customizable settings for plant growth, color enhancement, and day/night cycles ($150 - $300)
  • Substrate: Premium aquarium substrate designed for planted tanks, with additional root tabs for extra plant nutrition ($30 - $60)
  • Decor: A combination of driftwood, rocks, and live plants to create a natural aquascape, featuring plant species such as Amazon Swords, Java Fern, Anubias, Cryptocoryne species, and carpeting plants like Dwarf Hairgrass or Monte Carlo ($60 - $150)
  • Fish: Minimum 6, maximum 20 Brilliant Rasboras ($20 - $70)
  • Thermometer: $3 - $10
  • Substrate Vacuum: $10 - $25
  • Fish Net: $2 - $10
  • Algae Scraper or Magnetic Cleaner: $5 - $20
  • Siphon and Bucket: $15 - $30
  • Test Kit: $15 - $50
  • Fish Food: $5 - $20
  • Water Conditioner: $5 - $15

Do remember, these figures are just suggestions, and you should consider other factors such as tank mates and individual fish temperaments when deciding how many Brilliant Rasboras to house in your aquarium. Prices may vary depending on location, brand, and availability.

Set Up Your Tank

In the prior segment, we examined the ideal tank setups for your Brilliant Rasboras and other aquatic species. Now that you've gotten the hang of the basics, it's time to dive into a detailed, step-by-step guide on how to assemble your aquarium. The instructions that follow will assist you in picking a suitable location for your tank, sanitizing and setting it up, installing necessary equipment, and cycling the water to provide a healthy living environment for your fish. Additionally, we'll go over the proper acclimation process to ensure your Brilliant Rasboras and other aquatic companions transition smoothly into their new habitat. By sticking to these guidelines, you'll be on your way to establishing a vibrant underwater ecosystem where your fish can thrive.

  • Step #1: Decide on the ideal location for your aquarium, keeping it away from direct sunlight, sources of heat, and air drafts. Make sure the surface it sits on is even and sturdy enough to bear the weight of your full tank. If your aquarium requires a stand, put it together following the manufacturer's instructions and place the unfilled tank on top.
  • Step #2: Proceed to clean the tank by washing it out with uncontaminated water (refrain from using soap or any other chemicals) to eliminate any dust or debris. Wipe the inside of the tank using a clean cloth or paper towel. Rinse your chosen substrate (either sand or gravel) thoroughly in a bucket until the water turns clear. Subsequently, distribute it evenly at the bottom of the tank, shaping a subtle incline towards the rear for a pleasing visual effect.
  • Step #3: Before adding water to your tank, plan out your aquarium's layout, including where you'll place equipment such as heaters and filters. This will simplify the setup and maintenance of your tank in the future. Install the heater and filter following the manufacturer's directions. If you plan on using a sponge or under-gravel filter, position it underneath the substrate prior to adding water.
  • Step #4: Enhance the tank's aesthetics with driftwood, rocks, and plants, creating hiding places and an appealing environment for your fish, while also ensuring there are open swimming areas. Be mindful of the equipment when placing decorations, ensuring that they won't damage or obstruct its operation. You might consider fastening plants to driftwood or rocks to keep them stationary.
  • Step #5: Fill the tank with water that has been treated with a water conditioner if your tap water contains chlorine or chloramines. To avoid stirring up the substrate while adding water, place a clean plate or plastic bag on top of it. Fill the tank to about two-thirds of its capacity. Fix the aquarium light to the hood or canopy, adhering to the manufacturer's guidelines. A timer for your aquarium light might be beneficial to maintain a regular day and night cycle, crucial for the health of both fish and plants. Connect the heater, filter, and any other equipment (such as an air pump, CO2 system) to their power sources, and set up the thermometer where it can be easily seen.
  • Step #6: Top up the water, but leave some room between the surface of the water and the top of the tank for oxygen exchange. Switch on the filter, heater, and other equipment. Monitor the water's temperature and adjust the heater as needed. Allow the tank to cycle for 4-6 weeks to establish beneficial bacteria and stabilize the water parameters. During the cycling process, a bacterial starter culture can be introduced to expedite the development of beneficial bacteria. Use an aquarium test kit to monitor ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels.
  • Step #7: Once the tank has cycled and water parameters have stabilized, slowly acclimate your Brilliant Rasboras and other fish to the conditions of the tank before adding them. Start by floating the sealed fish bag in the tank for 15-20 minutes to equalize the temperature. Then, open the bag and pour a bit of tank water into it. Continue to add small quantities of tank water to the bag every 5-10 minutes for at least 30-60 minutes, gradually acclimatizing the fish to the new water chemistry. Use a net to delicately move the fish from the bag to the tank, making sure to avoid causing any undue stress or exposure to the bag's water.
  • Step #8: After all the fish have been introduced, establish a consistent daily feeding routine, offering high-quality food suitable for your fish species. Conduct regular water changes (20-30% every 1-2 weeks) and use a test kit to monitor water parameters, keeping a healthy environment for your fish. Regularly observe your fish for signs of stress or illness, particularly in the initial weeks after their introduction. Be ready to take measures if needed, such as adjusting water parameters or consulting an experienced aquarist.

By adhering to this comprehensive guide and including the additional setup tips, you can build a thriving aquatic habitat that allows your Brilliant Rasboras and other fish to thrive in their new home.

Recommended Water Parameters

Ensuring the health and happiness of your Brilliant Rasboras means maintaining specific water conditions in your aquarium. Here are the ideal parameters to aim for:

  • Temperature: The water temperature should be between 73°F and 79°F (23°C and 26°C) for these tropical fish.
  • pH: Brilliant Rasboras prefer a neutral to slightly acidic pH of 6.0 to 7.0, though they can tolerate minor fluctuations.
  • Hardness: Ideally, these fish thrive in soft to moderately hard water, around 2-10 dGH.
  • Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate: Like all fish, Brilliant Rasboras require a tank with 0 ppm ammonia and nitrite, and nitrates should be kept below 20 ppm.
  • Lighting: Moderate lighting is best, with some areas of shade provided by plants or decorations.
  • Water movement: A moderate flow rate mimics the natural river habitat of the Brilliant Rasbora.

Regular testing of the water in your aquarium and conducting necessary water changes ensures a stable environment for your fish.

Routine Water Maintenance

Regular water changes are key to keeping your Brilliant Rasbora's environment healthy by eliminating excess nutrients, waste, and toxins. Here's a recommended maintenance routine:

  • Weekly water changes: Replace 20-30% of the tank water every week.
  • Test water parameters: Regularly measure pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and hardness.
  • Use a gravel vacuum: Clean the substrate while changing the water.
  • Dechlorinate the water: Always treat tap water with a conditioner before adding it to your aquarium.
  • Match temperature and pH: The temperature and pH of the new water should be similar to the existing tank water.
  • Acclimate the fish: Allow your fish time to adjust to the changes in their environment after a water change.

In addition to routine water maintenance, consider these aspects to ensure the health of your fish and the beauty of your aquarium:

  • Monitor lighting duration: Maintain a consistent lighting schedule of 10-12 hours per day to avoid promoting excessive algae growth.
  • Plant maintenance: Regularly prune live plants and remove any dead plant matter to avoid impacting water quality.
  • Filter maintenance: Keep your filter media clean, replacing as advised by the manufacturer - usually every month or two. Do not replace all filter media simultaneously as this can upset the balance of beneficial bacteria.

Diet and Feeding Schedule

Brilliant Rasboras are omnivorous fish that thrive on a varied diet. Here are some suggestions:

  • Flakes and pellets: High-quality tropical fish food should make up the base of their diet.
  • Frozen and live foods: Foods such as daphnia, bloodworms, and brine shrimp can be given as occasional treats.
  • Feeding frequency: Aim to feed small amounts two to three times per day, being careful to avoid overfeeding.

Stress and Diseases

Like all fish, Brilliant Rasboras can suffer from stress due to a range of factors, including poor water quality, inappropriate tank conditions, or aggression from tank mates. Recognizing and addressing these stressors is crucial for the well-being of your fish:

  • Watch for stress signs: If your Brilliant Rasboras are exhibiting unusual behaviors such as hiding, losing color, or rapid breathing, this could indicate stress.
  • Check water quality: Regularly test the water parameters in your tank and perform water changes as necessary.
  • Monitor tank mates: Ensure that your Brilliant Rasboras are not being harassed by other fish in the tank. Remove any aggressive tank mates as necessary.
  • Create a suitable habitat: Provide your fish with plenty of hiding places, appropriate lighting, and a tank large enough for their needs.

Brilliant Rasboras can be affected by several common fish diseases, including:

  • Ich (white spot disease): This common parasitic disease causes white spots on the body and fins, lethargy, and loss of appetite. Treating with aquarium salt or anti-parasitic medication and raising the water temperature to around 82°F (28°C) can help combat Ich.
  • Fin rot: A bacterial disease causing fraying or discoloration of the fins. Treatment typically involves partial water changes, aquarium salt, and antibiotics like erythromycin or tetracycline.
  • Velvet disease: This parasitic disease causes a velvet-like yellow or brown coating on the body. Anti-parasitic medication containing copper sulfate or formalin can be effective treatments.
  • Swim bladder disease: This condition can cause difficulty swimming. Fasting the fish and offering them blanched peas can help, with antibiotic treatment possible if required.

Maintaining excellent water quality, not overfeeding, and providing a balanced diet can help prevent diseases in Brilliant Rasboras. Always quarantine new fish before adding them to the main tank and respond quickly to any signs of illness.


Breeding Brilliant Rasboras is possible with the right conditions and care:

  • Step #1: Establish a suitable breeding environment with a separate 10-gallon or larger breeding tank. Maintain a neutral pH of around 6.0 to 7.0 and a temperature of about 79°F (26°C). Include soft water (2-10 dGH) and provide hiding spots like live plants.
  • Step #2: Select mature male and female Brilliant Rasboras for breeding. The females are typically larger and rounder than males.
  • Step #3: Condition the breeding pair with a high-quality diet, including plenty of live or frozen foods.
  • Step #4: Simulate a gentle rain shower by replacing part of the tank water with cooler water. This should trigger spawning.
  • Step #5: Once eggs have been laid, remove the adult fish to protect the eggs. Eggs will hatch in 1-2 days, with fry becoming free-swimming after a further 3-5 days. Initially feed the fry infusoria or a suitable liquid fry food.
  • Step #6: As the fry grow, they can be introduced to finely crushed flake food. Monitor the development of the fry, separating by size if necessary to avoid larger ones preying on their smaller siblings.

Successfully breeding Brilliant Rasboras can be a fulfilling experience for the dedicated aquarist. It requires patience and a suitable environment, but the result is worth the effort.

Recommended Tank Mates

The following are some of the best recommended tank mates for Brilliant Rasboras:

  1. Harlequin Rasboras
  2. Cherry Barbs
  3. Platies
  4. Zebra Danios
  5. Guppies
  6. Corydoras Catfish
  7. Amano Shrimp
  8. Ghost Shrimp
  9. Nerite Snails
  10. Otocinclus Catfish

It is advisable to steer clear of large, aggressive species such as Oscars, large Cichlids, and predatory species, as they can pose a threat to the Brilliant Rasboras. Always monitor the behavior of new additions to ensure they do not exhibit aggression or induce stress in the Brilliant Rasboras.


In conclusion, Brilliant Rasboras are a delightful species of freshwater fish known for their sparkling colors and manageable care requirements. These fish require specific water conditions, a balanced diet, and a fitting environment to thrive in captivity. Given the appropriate conditions, they can live up to five to six years and be a delightful inclusion in any aquarium. When choosing tank mates, it's crucial to select peaceful, non-aggressive species to maintain a balanced community. Breeding Brilliant Rasboras can present a rewarding challenge for hobbyists; patience and ideal conditions being the keys to success. Overall, Brilliant Rasboras are an engaging and dynamic species that can amplify any aquatic display with their vibrant colors and active demeanor.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the ideal tank size for Brilliant Rasboras?

A minimum of a 20-gallon tank is recommended when accommodating Brilliant Rasboras. A larger tank is always better as it provides ample swimming space and aids in maintaining stable water conditions.

How many Brilliant Rasboras should be kept together?

As schooling fish, Brilliant Rasboras are best kept in groups of at least 6 to 10 individuals. Larger groups promote a sense of security and encourage the fish to display their natural behaviors.

What water parameters do Brilliant Rasboras require?

Brilliant Rasboras thrive in water temperatures between 73°F and 79°F (23°C and 26°C), a pH between 6.0 and 7.0, and soft to moderately hard water with a hardness between 2 and 10 dGH.

What do Brilliant Rasboras eat?

Brilliant Rasboras are omnivorous and enjoy a varied diet. A combination of high-quality flake or pellet food and live or frozen foods such as daphnia, brine shrimp, and bloodworms is recommended.

Are Brilliant Rasboras compatible with other fish?

Yes, Brilliant Rasboras are generally peaceful and can coexist with other similarly sized, non-aggressive fish species. Suitable tank mates include small tetras, barbs, corydoras catfish, and small plecos.

How long do Brilliant Rasboras live?

With optimal tank conditions and proper care, Brilliant Rasboras can live for 5 to 6 years.

How do I breed Brilliant Rasboras?

Breeding Brilliant Rasboras can be challenging, as they require specific water conditions, such as slightly acidic, soft water, and a dimly lit environment. Use a separate breeding tank, and introduce males and females for spawning.

Do Brilliant Rasboras require a planted tank?

While not strictly necessary, a planted tank is highly beneficial for Brilliant Rasboras. Live plants offer hiding spots, contribute to water quality, and create a more natural environment that closely mirrors their native habitat.

Can Brilliant Rasboras change color?

Yes, Brilliant Rasboras can exhibit color changes due to several factors, such as stress, illness, or changes in water conditions. If you notice your Brilliant Rasboras losing color, it's important to check the water parameters and monitor their health closely.