Scissortail Rasbora

Scissortail Rasboras are entrancing freshwater fish that share a close relation to Harlequin Rasboras. Flaunting their vibrant silver bodies, they've risen to prominence among aquarium enthusiasts. These sociable fish need limited upkeep, making them an exceptional pick for community aquariums.

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Care DIfficulty


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Southeast Asia

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3.5 inches (8.9 cm)

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5 to 7 years

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Table of contents

Origin, Appearance, Size, and Lifespan

The Scissortail Rasbora, or Rasbora trilineata, frequently referred to as the Three-lined Rasbora, is a loved freshwater fish originating from Southeast Asia. They are most often found in the river basins of Thailand, Borneo, and Sumatra.

In their natural habitat, Scissortail Rasboras are predominantly seen in medium to fast-flowing waters with plenty of vegetation. This vegetation not only functions as hideaways but also as a potential food source, while the pebbly riverbeds contrast their silver hue. These friendly fish flourish in groups of at least six, but they are often seen in much larger schools.

Their native environment features neutral to slightly acidic water. The temperature typically varies between 72 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit (22 to 26 degrees Celsius), with a pH level of 6.0 to 7.0, and water hardness between 2 to 10 dGH. To mimic this environment in your aquarium, maintain a consistent water temperature, employ a high-quality filtration system, and include live plants and rocks.

By replicating the Scissortail Rasbora's natural surroundings and ensuring the appropriate water conditions, you'll pave the way for your fish to lead a healthy and contented life in your aquarium.

Scissortail Rasboras are known for their striking silver bodies that shine under aquarium lights, accentuated by a black line running from head to tail, which gives them their name. Their elegant shimmer makes them a delightful and engaging feature in aquariums. Despite their relatively small size, growing up to around 3.5 inches (8.9 cm) in length, their lively demeanor and graceful appearance make them a perfect choice for anyone seeking a lively, radiant aquatic display. These delightful fish fill onlookers with joy as they energetically swim across the tank, securing their place as a beloved favorite among hobbyists of all experience levels.

With adequate care, Scissortail Rasboras can live up to five to seven years. As social creatures, they thrive in groups and should ideally be kept in schools of at least six fish. To foster their well-being and ensure a long life in captivity, it's crucial to provide an aquarium teeming with plants and hiding spaces, as well as a diverse diet of high-quality flakes, pellets, and live or frozen foods.

Fun Facts

After familiarizing ourselves with the appearance and lifespan of Scissortail Rasboras, let's delve into some intriguing facts about these lively fish that make them a remarkable addition to any aquarium hobby. From their unique tail shape to their dynamic group behavior, Scissortail Rasboras offer a wealth of enchanting characteristics that can mesmerize any aquarist.

  • Distinct Tail Shape: Scissortail Rasboras are best known for their characteristic tail shape, from which they derive their name. When swimming, their tails open and close like scissors, providing a captivating display and giving these fish their common name.
  • Jumpers by Nature: One interesting trait of the Scissortail Rasbora is its tendency to jump. This attribute, which is a part of their natural survival strategy in the wild, can sometimes lead to unexpected escapes from the aquarium. Therefore, it's essential to keep your tank covered to keep these lively swimmers safely inside.
  • Seasonal Color Change: Scissortail Rasboras undergo a slight color change during breeding seasons. While generally silver, males often develop a more golden hue during this period, which differentiates them from the females and adds a splash of variety to your aquarium.
  • A Hardy Breed: Scissortail Rasboras are known for their hardiness and adaptability to a wide range of water conditions. This makes them an excellent choice for beginner aquarists, as they are more forgiving to minor mistakes compared to other fish species.
  • Schooling Fish: Much like their Cardinal Tetra counterparts, Scissortail Rasboras are schooling fish, meaning they prefer to swim in groups. This not only offers them a sense of security but also creates a stunning visual spectacle in an aquarium. Their synchronized movements and gleaming bodies can transform a home aquarium into an entrancing aquatic ballet.

Now that you've unraveled some fascinating aspects of Scissortail Rasboras, you'll be better prepared to admire their unique features and behaviors in your aquarium. In the following section, we'll offer guidance on tank setups, ensuring your Scissortail Rasboras have a perfect environment in which to thrive and display their stunning qualities.

Recommended Tank Setups

Each setup entails the fundamental components—tank, filter, heater, lighting, substrate, and more—to ensure that you can build a fitting environment for Scissortail Rasboras and other compatible freshwater fish species in your aquarium. As you progress from economical to luxury setups, you will also gain more options for personalization, aesthetics, and sophisticated features. Scissortail Rasboras are schooling fish and need to be kept in groups of at least six members to alleviate stress and guarantee their well-being. Typically, Scissortail Rasboras are priced between $3 and $6 per fish, though prices can fluctuate based on aspects such as size, quality, and availability.

Budget-friendly setup (around $200):

  • Tank: 20-gallon aquarium with a lid 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, complemented with low-cost live plants like Java Fern and Anubias ($20 - $40)
  • Fish: Minimum 6, maximum 10 Scissortail Rasboras ($20 - $40)
  • 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 lid 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 tunable settings for plant growth and color accentuation ($50 - $150)
  • Substrate: Nutrient-dense aquarium substrate engineered for planted tanks ($20 - $40)
  • Decor: An assortment of driftwood, rocks, and live plants such as Amazon Swords, Java Fern, Anubias, and Cryptocoryne species ($40 - $80)
  • Fish: Minimum 6, maximum 15 Scissortail Rasboras ($30 - $60)
  • 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: Top-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: Sophisticated LED lighting system with customizable settings for plant growth, color enhancement, and day/night cycles ($150 - $300)
  • Substrate: High-grade aquarium substrate designed for planted tanks, with supplementary root tabs for additional plant nutrition ($30 - $60)
  • Decor: A blend of driftwood, rocks, and live plants to form 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 Scissortail Rasboras ($40 - $90)
  • 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

Remember, these figures are just guidelines, and you should contemplate other factors such as tank companions and individual fish behaviors when deciding how many Scissortail Rasboras to keep in your aquarium. Prices might differ depending on location, brand, and availability.

Set Up Your Tank

In our prior discussion, we reviewed the recommended tank setups for your Scissortail Rasboras and other compatible aquatic companions. Now that you're equipped with this knowledge, let's dive deeper into the precise method of readying your aquarium. This procedure will guide you from picking the best spot for your tank to cleansing and preparing it, installing vital equipment, and cycling the water to create a safe and sound environment for your fish. We'll also explore the correct acclimation process to assure a seamless shift for your Scissortail Rasboras and other fish into their new abode. By adhering to these instructions, you'll be paving the path to create a prosperous aquatic ecosystem where your fish can thrive.

  • Step #1: Select the ideal location for your aquarium, ensuring it's away from direct sunlight, heaters, and drafts. Confirm the surface is flat and robust enough to bear the weight of your filled tank. If your aquarium necessitates a stand, construct it as per the manufacturer's guidelines and position the empty tank on top of it.
  • Step #2: Subsequently, rinse the tank with clean water (steer clear of soap or chemicals) to eradicate dust or residue. Wipe the inside with a neat cloth or paper towel. Thoroughly rinse the substrate (sand or gravel) in a bucket until the water is clear, then evenly distribute it across the base of the tank, forming a gentle slope towards the rear for aesthetic depth.
  • Step #3: Before topping up the tank with water, map out the layout of your aquarium, which includes the placement of equipment like heaters and filters. This paves the way for easier setup and maintenance of the tank in the long term. Install the heater and filter as per the manufacturer's guidance. If you've opted for a sponge or under-gravel filter, place it beneath the substrate before pouring in water.
  • Step #4: Adorn the tank with driftwood, stones, and plants to create concealment spots and a visually captivating environment while ensuring there are ample swimming spaces for your fish. While decorating, arrange the driftwood, stones, and plants so that they don't damage or obstruct the equipment. You can also secure plants to driftwood or stones to help them stay put.
  • Step #5: Fill the tank with water treated with a water conditioner if your tap water is chlorinated. Position a clean plate or plastic bag on the substrate to avoid disturbance while filling. Fill the tank until it's about two-thirds full. Attach the aquarium light to the hood or canopy as per the manufacturer's guidelines. Consider employing a timer for your aquarium light to maintain a consistent light and dark cycle, crucial for fish and plants. Connect the heater, filter, and any extra equipment (like an air pump, CO2 system) to power outlets and install the thermometer at an easily visible spot.
  • Step #6: Top up the water, keeping space between the water surface and the top of the tank for air exchange. Switch on the filter, heater, and other devices. Monitor the water temperature and adjust the heater as required. Permit the tank to cycle for 4-6 weeks to cultivate beneficial bacteria and stabilize water parameters. You can add a bacterial starter culture during the cycling process to accelerate the establishment of beneficial bacteria. Use an aquarium test kit to observe ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels.
  • Step #7: After the tank has cycled and the water parameters are stable, gradually acclimate your Scissortail Rasboras and other fish to the tank conditions before introducing them. Initiate by floating the sealed fish bag in the tank for about 15-20 minutes to equate the temperature. Then, open the bag and introduce a small volume of tank water. Keep adding small quantities of tank water to the bag every 5-10 minutes for a minimum of 30-60 minutes, allowing the fish to adapt to the new water chemistry steadily. Utilize a net to gently transport the fish from the bag to the tank, avoiding undue stress or exposure to the bag water.
  • Step #8: After all the fish have been introduced, establish a consistent feeding regimen, providing premium quality food in suitable amounts for your fish species. Conduct regular water changes (20-30% every 1-2 weeks) and monitor water parameters with a test kit to sustain a healthy environment for your fish. Keep a close eye on your fish for any signs of stress or illness, particularly during the initial weeks after introduction. Be ready to intervene if necessary, such as adjusting water parameters or seeking help from a seasoned aquarist.

By adhering to this step-by-step manual and incorporating additional setup advice, you can craft a flourishing aquatic habitat that will help your Scissortail Rasboras and other fish prosper in their new home.

Recommended Water Parameters

Your Scissortail Rasboras will flourish in an environment that closely mirrors their natural habitat. Here are the optimal water parameters to aim for:

  • Temperature: A warm tropical range between 72°F and 79°F (22°C to 26°C) is ideal.
  • pH: Aim for a slightly acidic to neutral pH, between 6.0 to 7.5, but be sure that changes are introduced gradually.
  • Hardness: Moderately hard to hard water (5-15 dGH) is preferred by these fish.
  • Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate: Both ammonia and nitrite levels should be at 0 ppm, while nitrate levels should be kept below 20 ppm.
  • Lighting: Moderate lighting is optimal with occasional shaded areas created by plants or decorations.
  • Water movement: Moderate water movement replicates their river habitat, ensuring the Rasboras feel at home.

Remember to conduct regular water tests and carry out water changes to maintain a stable environment.

Routine Water Maintenance

Maintaining good water quality is critical to ensure the well-being of your Scissortail Rasboras. Here are some maintenance routines to implement:

  • Weekly water changes: Replace 25-30% of the tank water every week to eliminate waste and toxins.
  • Test water parameters: Regularly check the pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and hardness levels.
  • Use a gravel vacuum: Employ this during water changes to remove waste from the substrate.
  • Dechlorinate the water: Always treat tap water with a water conditioner before introducing it to the aquarium.
  • Match temperature and pH: Make sure the new water is similar in temperature and pH to the existing tank water.
  • Acclimate the fish: Allow your fish time to adjust to new water conditions after a water change.

In addition to regular water changes, remember to:

  • Monitor lighting duration: Ensure a steady 10-12 hour light/dark cycle to mimic natural conditions and prevent algae growth.
  • Plant maintenance: Trim and prune live plants regularly to maintain their health. Any dead plant matter should be removed promptly.
  • Filter maintenance: Clean or change the filter media every 4-6 weeks, as recommended by the manufacturer, to ensure efficient filtration.

Diet and Feeding Schedule

Scissortail Rasboras are omnivorous and need a variety of foods. Here are some feeding recommendations:

  • Flakes and pellets: Choose high-quality flakes or pellets designed for small tropical fish as their staple diet.
  • Frozen and live foods: Enhance their diet with brine shrimp, daphnia, or bloodworms as treats.
  • Vegetable matter: Small amounts of blanched spinach or peas can add extra nutrients.
  • Feeding frequency: Feed your Rasboras twice daily, ensuring they consume all food within a few minutes to prevent overfeeding.

Stress and Diseases

Scissortail Rasboras may face stress from various factors such as poor water conditions, incompatible tank mates, or sudden changes. Identify and mitigate these stressors to maintain their health:

  • Watch for stress signs: Look out for uncharacteristic behavior like hiding, lethargy, faded coloration, or rapid breathing, which may indicate stress.
  • Check water quality: Regularly test the aquarium water to ensure ideal parameters and carry out necessary water changes.
  • Monitor tank mates: Ensure that your Scissortail Rasboras are not being bullied by other fish. Remove any aggressive tank mates if necessary.
  • Create a suitable habitat: Provide plenty of swimming space and appropriate lighting, and maintain a properly sized tank for your Rasboras.

Though Scissortail Rasboras are generally hardy, they can fall prey to some common fish diseases, such as:

  • Ich (white spot disease): This parasitic infection causes white spots on the body and fins, lethargy, and reduced appetite. Treat with aquarium salt or anti-parasitic medication and elevate the water temperature to around 86°F (30°C).
  • Fin rot: A bacterial infection leading to frayed or discolored fins. Treat with a partial water change, aquarium salt, and antibacterial medication if necessary.
  • Velvet disease: A parasitic infection causing a gold or rust-tinged coating on the fish's body. Treatment involves anti-parasitic medication.
  • Swim bladder disease: Difficulty in maintaining buoyancy indicates this condition. Fasting the fish and providing them with blanched peas can be helpful.


Scissortail Rasboras are egg scatterers and relatively easy to breed in a home aquarium setup. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Step #1: Prepare a breeding tank with a pH around 6.0 to 6.5 and a temperature of about 77°F (25°C). Include plants or spawning mops for egg laying.
  • Step #2: Choose healthy mature male and female Rasboras for breeding. You can differentiate them by observing their body shape; females tend to be fuller-bodied.
  • Step #3: Enhance the potential breeders' diet with live or frozen foods for a couple of weeks prior to breeding.
  • Step #4: To stimulate spawning, introduce the pair to the breeding tank and gradually increase the lighting duration to mimic the start of the rainy season, their natural breeding period.
  • Step #5: After the pair spawns, remove them to prevent them from eating the eggs. The eggs will hatch in around 24-48 hours, and the fry will start swimming freely after a few days. Begin feeding them with infusoria or liquid fry food, slowly introducing crushed flake food.
  • Step #6: Keep an eye on the growth of the fry. If there's a significant size disparity, separate the larger ones to prevent them from preying on the smaller ones.

Breeding Scissortail Rasboras can be a rewarding part of your fishkeeping experience, adding a new dynamic to your aquatic hobby.

Recommended Tank Mates

Here are the top 10 recommended tank mates for Scissortail Rasboras:

  1. Harlequin Rasboras
  2. Neon Tetras
  3. Cherry Barbs
  4. Guppies
  5. Platies
  6. Corydoras Catfish
  7. Amano Shrimp
  8. Nerite Snails
  9. Honey Gouramis
  10. Bristlenose Plecos

Avoid housing with larger, aggressive fish like larger cichlids and predatory species, as they may pose a threat to the Scissortail Rasboras. Make sure to watch the behavior of new fish additions to ensure they don't exhibit stress or aggression towards your Scissortail Rasboras.


In conclusion, Scissortail Rasboras are an attractive and vibrant species of freshwater fish known for their active swimming patterns and compatibility with many community tank species. These fish require certain water conditions, a diverse diet, and a suitable environment to flourish in captivity. When maintained correctly, they can live up to five years, providing lively activity and interest to your aquarium. Choosing tank mates is important, with the key being selecting peaceful, non-aggressive species to maintain a serene community. Breeding Scissortail Rasboras can be a fulfilling experience for those with some fishkeeping experience, requiring patience and optimal conditions. In essence, Scissortail Rasboras are an active and engaging species that can bring life and movement to your aquarium setup.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the ideal tank size for Scissortail Rasboras?

Scissortail Rasboras require plenty of swimming space, so a minimum tank size of 20 gallons is recommended for a small group. However, a larger tank is preferable, as it allows for a more stable environment and more swimming room for these active fish.

How many Scissortail Rasboras should be kept together?

Scissortail Rasboras are schooling fish and prefer to be in groups of 6 or more. Keeping a larger school will help these fish feel safer and allows them to display their natural schooling behavior.

What water parameters do Scissortail Rasboras require?

Scissortail Rasboras do best in water temperatures between 72°F and 79°F (22°C to 26°C), a pH between 6.0 and 7.5, and moderately hard to hard water (5-15 dGH).

What do Scissortail Rasboras eat?

Scissortail Rasboras are omnivorous. Their diet should consist of high-quality flake or pellet food, supplemented with occasional live or frozen foods like daphnia, brine shrimp, and bloodworms.

Are Scissortail Rasboras compatible with other fish?

Yes, Scissortail Rasboras are peaceful community fish. They get along well with other non-aggressive, similarly sized fish species. Ideal tank mates include other small rasboras, tetras, and small catfish species.

How long do Scissortail Rasboras live?

With proper care and optimal tank conditions, Scissortail Rasboras can live for around 5 years.

How do I breed Scissortail Rasboras?

Breeding Scissortail Rasboras involves setting up a separate breeding tank with specific water parameters. Provide a balanced diet and separate males and females before introducing them for spawning.

Do Scissortail Rasboras require a planted tank?

While they can survive in a tank without live plants, a planted tank is recommended for Scissortail Rasboras. Live plants provide hiding spots, improve water quality, and simulate a natural environment similar to their native habitat.

Can Scissortail Rasboras change color?

Yes, Scissortail Rasboras can change color due to several factors such as stress, illness, or changes in water conditions. If you notice color loss in your Scissortail Rasboras, check your water parameters and monitor their health closely.