Maximum size : 15 cm

Scissortail Rasbora - Rasbora trilineata : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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Scissor Tail Rasboras (Rasbora trilineata) are a great addition to any community aquarium, offering an ideal blend of peacefulness and hardiness for beginner aquarists. In addition, they are highly adaptable and can thrive in a range of water conditions, making them compatible with a vast array of popular fish species such as Cyprinids, Tetras, Livebearers, Rainbowfish, Anabantoids, Catfish, and Loaches.

It is best to keep Scissor Tail Rasboras in groups of six or more individuals to maximise their natural sociability and show off their attractive colours. This species is also far less nervous when among their own kind, giving your aquarium a more natural look and feel. In addition, these sleek, transparent fish with deeply forked tails resembling an open pair of scissors add a lot of visual interest and activity to the upper regions of the tank.

Scissor Tail Rasboras thrive in established aquariums with plenty of open swimming areas, which should have a tight-fitting lid as these fish are known to be jumpers. Driftwood, aquarium decorations, and a dark substrate can provide hiding spots and secure areas for these fish. As with other species from pristine natural environments, Scissor Tail Rasboras require clean water conditions to thrive, making regular water changes essential.

The Scissor Tail Rasbora has a unique horizontal black line that runs from behind the gills to the tail and possesses a silver iridescence that sparkles as light reflects off this elegant fish. The forked tail with a distinct bar pattern accentuates the scissor-like shape, giving it a distinctive look. In addition, some wild populations of Scissor Tail Rasboras have varying degrees of yellow pigmentation in their caudal fins, adding to their beauty.

Scissortail Rasbora Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Male and female Scissor Tail Rasboras can be distinguished based on their physical characteristics. Males are typically slimmer and smaller than females and exhibit more intense colours when they are ready to spawn. On the other hand, females are usually larger and exhibit a rounder belly, particularly when viewed from above.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameRasbora trilineata
Year Described1870
Other NamesThree-lined Rasbora, Black Scissor Tail, Scissorfish
OriginsThailand , Laos , Cambodia , Malaysia
Max Size15 cm
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
Best kept asGroups 6+
Diet & FeedingOmnivore
LifespanUp to 7 Years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
pH 5.0 - 8.0
GH 2 - 12
KH 5 - 8
Ideal Temperature
73 - 78
22 - 25

Natural Habitat

The Scissor Tail Rasbora, a strikingly beautiful fish, can be found in numerous regions throughout Southeast Asia. From the rugged terrain of Thailand and the dense forests of Laos to the stunning natural landscapes of Cambodia and the Malaysian Peninsula, these fish inhabit some of the world's most vibrant and dynamic aquatic environments. They can also be found in the rich, ancient peat swamp forests of Borneo, including the pristine areas of West Kalimantan in Indonesia and Sarawak in Malaysia. 

In these habitats, fish can be found in fast-flowing streams, where the water is clear, and gravel and sand dominate the bottom. They also thrive in the sluggish black waters of peat swamp forests, where they coexist with twigs, branches, and decaying leaves. Furthermore, their habitat includes tannin-stained waters and, during the rainy season, flooded areas, reservoirs, and lakes.



A controlled approach is necessary to successfully breed Scissor Tail Rasboras, though they are generally easy to breed. As with most Cyprinids, they are egg scatterers and do not show any parental care. As a result, they will spawn continuously in a densely planted, gravel-bottomed aquarium without special attention. However, if you want to increase the number of fry, a separate breeding tank with dim lighting and a mesh covering the bottom will be necessary to allow eggs to fall through but keep the adults away. Artificial grass-type matting can also work well. The breeding tank's pH level should be slightly acidic to neutral, and the temperature should be somewhat higher than the main aquarium. Initially, an internal power filter can be added and positioned to direct the flow down the entire length of the tank. 

Once the adult fish are well-conditioned and the females appear full of eggs, introducing one or two pairs into the breeding tank can encourage spawning. Feeding small amounts of frozen and live foods and adding cooler water every few hours can stimulate spawning. Several spawning events will occur before the females run out of eggs.

After spawning, the parents should be removed within a couple of days to prevent them from eating the eggs. A matured sponge filter should replace the power filter to prevent the fry from being sucked up. Eggs typically hatch between 18 and 48 hours after spawning, and the fry becomes free swimming between 24 to 48 hours after hatching. Baby brine shrimp or microworms can initially feed the fry with crushed flake foods, freeze-dried bloodworm, or tubifex suitable once they are large enough.

Diet & feeding

Scissor Tail Rasboras have a wide range of acceptable diets and can consume almost any type of food. However, they prefer live food when available. Therefore, to ensure optimal health and colouration of your fish, provide them with a balanced diet consisting of high-quality dried foods such as flakes and granules, along with live, freeze-dried, or frozen foods such as brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms.

Other Rasboras of interest