Which boraras do you really have? A pictorial guide to the most common species

Posted by on December 12, 2012 | 0 comments

There are many Boraras (micro rasboras) coming into the market, often all sold under the same or similar trade names. This will be a guide to those that are most commonly mixed up. These popular little fish are much coveted as their diminutive size makes them great tankmates for shrimp and ideal for the small tank setup.

Boraras brigittae- the true chili rasbora. This little fish is the one that everyone covets, but it rarely comes in as the right fish. It is much redder than the others and lacks the distinctive black blotch at the caudal peduncle that B. uropthalmoides (the fish most commonly sold as brigittae) possesses. It has a black line which extends the entire way to the caudal penduncle, and its entire body gets a rich red color.

Boraras brigittae:


Boraras uropthalmoides is the fish most commonly confused with the brigittae. You will not that is has lesser coloration, more orange in color, and a dark blotch at the caudal peduncle. It is also slightly smaller, at adult size, then brigittae.

Boraras uropthalmoides:


Boraras merah, or the Phoenix rasbora, lacks the vertical black line that both uropthalmoides and brigittae posess. Most of its red coloration is around the definitive black markings which it has.

Phoenix rasbora


Boraras naevus is one that is commonly mixed up with the merah and maculatus, but has much more prominent black blotches on its side. In female fish, the central black blotch is substantially larger than in the males.  It is often called the strawberry rasbora.

Boraras maculatus is very similar to naevus, except the red coloration extends onto the head. It has the same 3 black blotches, but the size does not vary of the blotches from male to female. It has a more uniform coloration than the merah.

There are a few other species also available on the market, making importing and purchasing as well as getting a proper ID difficult for both the seller and the consumer.


Some of the best pictures and descriptions of these fish can be found at www.seriouslyfish.com. It is very common for any of these fish to come in “mixed bags” from exporters, and therefore into shops or for resale.