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Espe’s Rasbora

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The Espe’s Rasbora Trigonostigma espei (previously Rasbora espei) is yet another amazing aquarium fish from Southeast Asia. It is a relative newcomer, described by Meinken as recently as 1967.

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Espe’s Rasbora

The Espe’s Rasbora Trigonostigma espei (previously Rasbora espei) is yet another amazing aquarium fish from Southeast Asia. It is a relative newcomer, described by Meinken as recently as 1967. This fish is found throughout the eastern slopes of the Gulf of Thailand in Cambodia and Thailand, and more recently, a population has been found on the Island Phu Quoc of Vietnam.

This small, agile cyprinid fish only reaches about an inch (3 cm) in length. It has unique bronze color with a pink blush, which you really won’t find on any other aquarium fish. Its color can vary a bit depending on the locality it comes from, with some specimens having a more intense red. Its most distinguishing feature is a black lambchop-shaped marking on the side. Hence, it is also popularly known as the Lambchop Rasbora, along with some other descriptive common names including False Harlequin, Narrow Wedge Harlequin, and Slim Harlequin.

This fish is often confused with two of its close relatives, the Harlequin Rasbora Trigonostigma heteromorpha and the Glowlight RasboraTrigonostigma hengeli. The name ‘Espe’s Rasbora’ is also often mis-applied to the Hengel’s Rasbora, and both fish are frequently sold under the name of ‘False Harlequin’ as well.

Espe’s Rasbora can be distinquished from its conspecifics through close attention to some subtle differences. The Harlequin Rasbora is pale pink to bright red and is much stocker than its cousins. The Harlequin’s black mark is also much closer to a triangle shape and will have a noticeably blue tint. The Glowlight Rasbora is more of a butter-colored fish and will have an iridescent orange stripe above a thin and very rounded black triangle. The Espe’s Rasbora should be bronze pink in color and have no orange stripe above the black triangle.

Espe’s Rasbora is an agreeable little fish. It really couldn’t be friendlier and makes a great addition to any peaceful tank. They need to be kept in a groups of at least 8 to 10 individuals. Even though they tend not to swim in a tight school, the companionship of their own species is absolutely essential. A school could be housed in a 10-gallon tank as the bare minimum, but a 20-gallon aquarium will suit them best.

These very tolerant fish require little extra care, so they are a great fish for a beginning aquarist. To bring out their best colors, use a darker substrate and provide them with plenty of plants. The tank should be carefully covered as these fish are liable to jump if startled or excited. There simply isn’t a better fish to compliment a thoughtfully planted aquascape.

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