field guide to the freshwater fishes of singapore
Contents

Index of fishes
General parts of a fish
Kelvin K P Lim and Peter K L Ng
  Family Cyprinidae
About the family in general

Genus Rasbora

Primary freshwater fish; oviparous; carnivorous (primarily insectivorous); gregarious. Slender to slightly rhomboid-shaped cyprinids which lack barbels.

The rasboras are among the most popular of all aquarium fishes, their sleek appearance, often bright colours and lively habits endearing them to aquarists all round the world. Many popular species (e.g., Harlequin Rasboras) have been bred in the aquarium and are an important part of the ornamental fish trade. Almost all species are pelagic, swimming continuously.


photo of whole fish, side view
Two-Spot Rasbora with clear spots
Two-spot Rasbora
Rasbora elegans
Ikan Seluang,
name in chinese characters


13 cm; surface to midwater dweller. Indigenous, common. Forest streams.

This is Singapore's largest and most common native rasbora. It is often seen in aquaria, although not much sought after, probably
photo of whole fish, side view
Two-Spot Rasbora with faded spots
Photo: Tan Bee Hong
due to its large size and fairly dull coloration. The prominent spots on the side of the body are variable, being very faint in some specimens.

photo of whole fish, side viewPygmy Rasbora
Rasbora maculata
Ikan Bada,
name in chinese characters


2.5 cm; pelagic. Indigenous, endangered. Forest streams.

This diminutive species which dwells in acid waters resembles a living jewel. It is similar in appearance to the Two-Spot Rasbora, but is smaller and more colourful. It is delicate and not easily kept by amateur aquarists.


photo of whole fish, side view
Photo: Tan Bee Hong
Einthoven's Rasbora
Rasbora einthovenii
Ikan Bada,
name in chinese characters
9 cm; midwater dweller. Indigenous, uncommon. Forest streams.

An inhabitant of acidic waters, this hardy species appears to be the only native rasbora found outside the nature reserves. It can be readily recognised by its prominent black lateral band.


photo of whole fish, side viewBanka Rasbora
Rasbora bankanensis
Ikan Bada,
name in chinese characters


10 cm; surface to midwater dweller. Indigenous, endangered. Forest streams.

This rasbora has a bluish lateral band which runs forward from the base of the tail, and tapers off at mid-body. At present in danger of extinction here, but is still common in Johore. This fish is named after the Sumatran island of Banka where it was first found.


red-tailed rasbora: whole fish, side viewRed-tailed Rasbora
Rasbora borapetensis
Ikan Bada,
name in chinese characters


6 cm; surface to midwater dweller. Feral, common. Ponds, streams and drains.

An introduced species from Thailand and northern Peninsular Malaysia. Imported in large numbers via the aquarium trade, this very hardy rasbora has become established in several localities on the island, notably in the ponds of the Botanic Gardens.


photo of whole fish, side view
Photo: Tan Bee Hong
Harlequin Rasbora
Rasbora heteromorpha
Ikan Bada,
name in chinese characters
5 cm; surface to midwater dweller. Indigenous, endangered. Forest streams.

The famous Harlequin Rasbora, easily identified by the large triangular blotch on its side, is a very well known aquarium subject. It was only discovered in 1902 by a German ichthyologist, who among few other places, first saw this uniquely attractive species in the Singapore Botanic Gardens. The fish has since been wiped out from this locality. In Singapore at present, it survives in certain small streams in the central catchment forest.
Introduction
Freshwater habitats
Fishes in Singapore
Conservation
Amazing Fishy Facts
About the guidebook
 
From A Guide to Common Freshwater Fishes of Singapore by Kelvin K P Lim and Peter K L Ng
Published by the Singapore Science Centre and sponsored by BP

@Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research and Singapore Science Centre