Phoenix Rasbora (Boraras Merah)
The Phoenix Rasbora is a genuinely peaceful, stunning nano fish popular among aquarists due to its schooling behaviour, calm disposition, and very small size. These Rasboras can be the focal point in any peaceful community aquarium, and it is an excellent standout in the planted aquarium. However, these Rasboras do not make an ideal member of the typical community aquarium due to their small size and timid nature.
Phoenix Rasboras will do best when maintained in a species only aquarium or with other timid species such as Dwarf Shrimp, other Boraras, smaller Danios, smaller Tetras, pygmy Corydoras and small Loricariids such as Otocinclus.
Phoenix Rasboras are schooling fish; therefore, you should keep them in a group of at least eight individuals, preferably more. Maintaining these Rasboras in sufficient numbers will not only make the fish less apprehensive but will result in a more natural-looking display. You will also find that males will display their best colours and show some interesting behaviour as they battle with one other for female attention.
Phoenix Rasboras are best kept in a densely planted aquarium with some floating plants to help diffuse the light that enters the aquarium. The fish seem to appreciate this, and it also adds a more natural feel. When it comes to filtration, it does not need to be particularly strong as these fish mostly come from sluggish waters and may struggle with a fast current. A soft, sandy substrate or very fine gravel is probably the best choice.
The addition of dried leaf litter will further emphasise the natural feel and will encourage microbe colonies to grow as decomposition occurs. These can provide an important secondary food source for their fry, whilst the tannins and other chemicals released by the decaying leaves are beneficial for blackwater fish species.
Phoenix Rasboras have black spots on their body and has a bright orangey-red around each one. The bright orangey-red colouration connects and extends towards the head.
The vibrant colouration is only present around the black spots of the fish, and the rest of the body is a dullish grey colour that fades into a transparent colour as it gets closer to the fins.
The fins possess some red markings at the ends, and the black spot in the centre of the body is a lot darker than in other Rasboras. In addition, Phoenix Rasboras lack the continuous black band that runs along the body of other Rasboras; instead, it is broken up.
|Scientific Name||Boraras Merah|
|Aquarium Level||Middle - Top|
|Difficulty||Beginner - Intermediate|
|Best kept as||Groups 8+|
|Lifespan||3 - 7 years|
|Temperature||68 - 82 ℉ (20 - 27.8 ℃)|
|PH||4.0 - 7.0|
|GH||3 - 12|
|TDS||18 - 90|
Natural Habitat of the Phoenix Rasbora
Phoenix Rasboras are endemic to the Jelai Bila River Basin in the Indonesian province of Kalimantan Tengah in Borneo in Southeast Asia. They inhabit black water rivers and streams associated with aged forest peat swamps.
The water in their habitats is usually stained a brown colour due to the discharge of tannins and other chemicals caused by decomposing organic matter. The substrate usually consists of scattered leaves, branches and twigs. These environments contain very soft, acidic water and are often dimly lit due to the forest canopies above.
These biotopes are under severe threat across Southeast Asia because of building developments, rubber and palm oil plantations as well as other human activities.
Other Rasboras of interest
What to feed the Phoenix Rasbora
While not fussy eaters, the Phoenix Rasboras will thrive and remain very colourful on a varied diet of primarily meaty foods. Meaty foods will also help to encourage spawning.
It would be best if you fed your Rasboras with daily meals of live, frozen or freeze-dried foods such as artemia, tubifex, daphnia, microworms and bloodworms alongside high quality dried food like flakes, granules and pellets. However, it would be best to remember that the Phoenix Rasboras are very small; therefore, their food needs to be of a suitable size.
How to Breed the Phoenix Rasbora
Phoenix Rasboras are egg-scattering, continuous spawners that exhibit no parental care. However, if they are in good condition and you have both males and females, they will lay small numbers of eggs daily. In a well-furnished, established aquarium, it is, therefore, possible that small numbers of fry may start to appear without intervening. If you would like to increase the yield of fry, a more controlled approach will be required.
You can condition the adult group together, but you should also set up a separate small 10 to 15-litre breeding tank. This tank should be very dimly lit, and the bottom either left bare or covered with some mesh of a large enough size so that any eggs that fail to attach to the plant can fall through but small enough so that the adults cannot get to them.
Plastic grass-type matting can also be used and works very well. However, the water in the rearing tank needs to be relatively soft and acidic, and the temperature should be slightly higher than the usual aquarium.
A decent-sized bunch of Java moss or other fine-leaved plants should also be added, roughly filling half the available space. Again, filtration is unnecessary, but you can use a small, air-powered sponge filter if you prefer.
You should then introduce two or three pairs of well-conditioned adults into the breeding tank. It is advised that you make the transfer slowly to avoid excessive stress levels, but if they like their water conditions, they should begin spawning the following morning.
Phoenix Rasboras will consume their eggs if given a chance; however, they do not appear to hunt for them, like many small cyprinids actively.
It would be best if you only left the pair in the breeding tank for a couple of days before removing them, as the first eggs should hatch by the second day after the initial spawning.
The fry will initially feed on their yolk sacs for around 24 hours, after which you will need to provide them with Paramecium or other microscopic foods. Then, approximately 7 to ten days later, the fry should be large enough to accept baby brine shrimp and microworm.
It would be best to wait a week or two before performing small water changes as this will avoid unnecessarily shocking the young fish.