Rummy Nose Rasbora (Sawbwa resplendens): Ultimate Care Guide

Common Name(s)Sawbwa Barb, Asian Rummynose, Mynamar Oriental Fish, Burmese Rummynose, and Burmese Rammy Nose.
Scientific NameSawbwa resplendens
OriginAsia (Burma now Myanmar)
Temperature64-72° F
SizeMax size is 1 – 1.4 inches
Minimum Tank Size10- gallons
Food & DietOmnivorous
Lifespan3-4 years in captivity
Water pH6.0-8.0
Tank MatesYes; mostly small, school fish; Danios
BreedingEgg-scatters on vegetation
Common DiseaseIch, parasites, bacterial infections
Rummy Nose Rasbora
Rummy Nose Rasbora

The Rummy Nose Rasbora

This small cyprinid fish is one of the smallest vertebrates on earth. The rummy nose rasbora only grows close to one inch in length. Despite being such a small species of fish, its beautiful coloration and patterns and shoaling behaviors make the rummy nose rasbora an excellent and eye-catching specimen to display in your aquarium.

 The rummy nose rasbora is naturally found in parts of southeast Asia, near Myanmar. You can also find this species in mountain lakes with shallow water. This fish is used to slow water streams and shallow waters. The surrounding environment is typically filled with dense vegetation, and a lot of greenery. They use these tangles as places to hide, rear young, or foraging and eating.

Rummy nose rasbora has many commons names. These include Sawbwa Barb, Asian Rummynose, Mynamar Oriental Fish, Burmese Rummynose, and Burmese Rammy Nose.

What makes this rasbora a great addition to a community or planted aquarium is its attractive, streamlined body. It has a glimmering, blueish-tinted shine on its torso that really pops with a darker-themed substrate and background. Including sufficient vegetation not only helps spur natural behaviors from this fish but it also creates a beautiful looking environment. The contrast with a large blue-bodied school of rummy nose rasboras or other schooling fish that are brightly colored would make any aquarium stand out and be the best.

Rummy nose rasboras are a shoaling species of fish which means they live in large groups of similar fish for social reasons. They live near dense, submerged plants and other herby plants and feed on small invertebrates, zooplankton, or plants. 

In this article, we will take an in-depth look into how to care for the rummy nose rasbora and how to incorporate this attractive species of fish into your own aquarium.

How many rummy nose rasboras should be kept together?

The best number of rummy nose rasboras to keep together is between 6-8 individuals. You can go larger than this, just make sure that you are comparing compatible fish (we also have a list of compatible tankmates at the end of this article).

Rasboras are typically a shoaling species of fish and need to be kept in medium to large groups of similar fish. Consider a community tank or planted tank if you are thinking about caring for a rummy nose rasbora fish species.

Rasboras are a peaceful species and tend to do well with other rasboras, but always check compatibly before purchasing.

Rummy Nose Rasbora Care

Rummy nose rasbora are cyprinid so they are also related to barbs, goldfish, koi, and danios. They may be hardy but are typically recommended for intermediate or advanced hobbyist due to its specific habitat requirements.

Rummy nose rasbora has specific water requirements and is sensitive to water pollution. This rasbora may be good for beginners if they have proper water testing equipment.

In general, the rummy nose rasbora require an intermediate level of caretaking and may not be suited for a beginner aquarist. Otherwise, they are hardy and easy to care for.

Rummy Nose Rasbora (Sawbwa resplendens)
Rummy Nose Rasbora (Sawbwa resplendens)


The best temperature range for the rummy nose rasbora is between 71.0° to 75.0° F (between 21°- 24° C). Rummy nose rasbora requires cooler waters but can withstand warmer waters depending on its environment.

Water pH and Water Parameters

Aim to keep a pH range between 6.8-7.8 for the rummy nose rasbora. The hardness range is 12-17 dGH and alkalinity between 50 ppm to 140 ppm. Remember their natural habitat is the waters form east Asia so they typically come from cooler more acidic waters.

Water is important to maintain and change consistently to avoid over polluting the water thus harming your rasbora. Do monthly water changes of at least half the tank to keep the water fresh and free of pollutants. Clean the substrate to avoid accumulating waste.

If your aquarium is full of plants and schools of fish, then aim to replace the water more frequently. Every other week should work. Keep an eye on your fish and see how they respond. Make sure to have good filtration and use a water heater if the tank gets too cold and you notice slower movement from your fish.

Size and Lifespan

Rummy nose rasboras are some small creatures! They only grow up to an inch (2.50 cm). If they are properly taken care of, they can have an average lifespan between 3-5 years.

Remember the best way to keep your rummy nose rasbora healthy and happy is to follow its habitat requirements and include fish to form a school since these are social fish and require tankmates.

Food & Diet

Rummy nose rasboras are omnivores meaning they eat plants and other animals. They require a balanced diet of live and processed foods. They are considered micro-predators.

In the wild, these rasboras eat smaller invertebrates like worms or crustaceans, algae material, and other zooplankton. In an aquarium setting, they do well with flakes and granules and pellets but do require live food, especially if you want to induce spawning.

It is best to switch up their diet daily and feed only what they will consume with 2 to 3 minutes. Feed your rummy nose rasbora at least twice daily. Give food that fits the size of their mouths, especially processed food. They can be fed once per day, but give an ample amount of food that can be eaten under 5 minutes. Make sure to keep their diet and feeding consistent and avoid sudden changes in feeding strategies or diet.

Tank Size and Setup

The rummy nose rasbora is a schooling fish and needs to be kept in a sizable tank with other compatible tankmates. The best size tank for the rummy nose rasbora is between 10 to 20 gallons. Larger tanks would be needed if housing more than one species of schooling fish with the rummy nose rasbora or any rasbora in general.

As a general rule, rasboras tend to do best in well planted aquariums with groups of 7 or more. The same is true for the specific species of the rummy nose rasbora. They will show healthy signs of activity and feeding, and coloration will be shiny and healthy against a darker substrate.

Keep a gently moving current in order to mimic the natural conditions they are found in which are gently moving streams or lakes with heavy vegetation.

These fish will be the happiest in an aquarium that matches their natural environment. The substrate can be silty or fine sand and preferably darker in order to have the fish’s natural colors pop. Pack vegetation in areas densely but also leave space for them to have open areas to swim.

Some of the best plants include Sword plants, or Anubias (we have an in depth article about Anubias plants here). Broad-leafed plants are also a good option. Floating plants might introduce a different dimension for your aquarium and translate into happier fish.

How do Rummy Nose Rasbora breed?

The breeding for rummy nose rasbora can be difficult without proper knowledge. Most rasbora species are considered to be egg scatterers meaning they disperse zygotes which often attach to the underside of plants.

Sometimes rasbora species can successfully produce healthy young without any intervention in part of the aquarist. Rummy nose rasbora are like most cyprinid in which they offer no parental care during the developmental stage.

Rummy nose rasbora is an egg scatter whose eggs attach to the underside of aquatic vegetation. They can successfully produce young without human intervention. However, there are important characteristics within a tank that allow for reproductive success:

  • Having a group of adults (as large as 8 individuals)
  • Include a healthy, varied diet (live and processed food)
  • Cooler temperatures (between 57° to 65.0° F) may encourage egg formation in females
  • Spawning may fail in temperatures 77.0° F
  • Keep the harness of the water for at least 20° dGH

Rummy Nose Rasbora Male or Female

The male rummy nose rasbora has a blueish tint on its torso and a red shaded head region and red on the tips of their fins. Females are colored silver and with a glass-like appearance.


Common aquarium diseases such as Ich disease or any bacterial infections that affect most aquarium fish will affect a rummy nose rasbora. However, in a properly maintained aquarium, this shouldn’t be a problem.

In general, the rummy nose rasbora is a hardy fish and will be able to fight off most afflictions. However, they can stress easily and this makes them susceptible to any infection.

Also be wary of sudden changes in water temperature and quality. They are sensitive to polluted waters as well as too sudden shifts in pH or water temperature.

Tank Mates

The best tank mates for rummy nose rasboras are bettas, guppies, cardinal tetra, cherry shrimp, amano shrimp, african dwarf frogs, danios, angelfish, gourami, platy and barbs.

Tetras (like the cardinal tetra) are good tank mates, but they would require to be in schools. Therefore, it is important that both species have adequate room in a large community tank.

Hatchetfish are another species of fish that are compatible with rummy nose rasbora. These species tend to be near the top of the water column and need groups of 6 or more.

Any platy would be a good companion for a rummy nose rasbora. They have great coloration and are best kept in a school of 4 or more.

As a general rule, rasboras (like the rummy nose rasbora fish) and danios spend most of their time in the middle water column or near the surface. Barbs spend most of their time in the bottom water column. If considering housing these species together, then make sure to provide an adequately large tank and a lot of open swimming space to facilitate movement and keep your tank thriving.

Where can I find Rummy Nose Rasbora for sale?

They are available in some aquarium stores but not everywhere. They are available through online merchants for purchase.

The price ranges wildly depending on quality, species, and merchant. You can expect to pay as low as a few dollars and upwards in price up to $25 or more.

Rummy Nose Rasbora vs. Rummy Nose Tetra

Both of these species are similar in size but they do come from different parts of the world. They also require different habitat specificities and care guides. For example, tetras are from South America and require warmer temperatures, while rasboras are generally from southeast Asia near previously Burma. They are accustomed to cooler temperatures.

Both tetras and rasboras make good tank mates and are compatible, but require multiple individuals to form schools of fish. Tetras are from the Characidae family while the rasboras are from the Cyprinidae family. Tetras are also primarily silver-bodied while the rummy nose rasbora is blue or has a glassy appearance. The tetras can be a bit larger average around 5 cm while the rummy nose rasbora is barely over an inch.

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