Harlequin Rasboras are not a Rasbora

25 Dec

I bought 5 Harlequin Rasboras many months ago, the price was right and they looked healthy.

For some reason I had the idea that these were a delicate fish, sensitive to temperature and stress. I have been thrilled to find that they eat like pigs, get along in a tank of semi-aggessive Barbs and Gouramis, and don’t seem to be bothered by temps in the low 70’s F.  I do have the tank closer to 74-78 now but when it was a little cooler they didn’t seem to mind.

They stay in their school, generally in the middle to upper third of the tank. They are not shy at feeding time.

I really, really love these fish. I wish I had a 50 gallon display tank with 50 of them. It would be stunning. I’ll have to make a list of my favorite fish someday. The Harlequin Rasbora would be in the Top Ten.

What is a Harlequin anyway? If you Google images for “Harlequin” you will see pictures of a Court-Jester type character wearing bright clothing that features triangular patches.

The crazy thing is that the Harlequin Rasbora is not even a Rasbora. It’s scientific name has always been Rasbora heteromorpha, which means “different-shaped Rasbora” because…Ta Da… it is shaped differently than other Rasboras. After years and years of having this name the Harlequin Rasbora has been placed in the genus Trigonostigma, so the name is now Trigonostigma heteromorpha, which confuses me because it’s not a “different-shaped” Trigonostigma.
By the way, it appears to me that Trigono must be “triangular” and stigma is “mark” so that makes sense.

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