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Sawbwa Barb

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This Sawbwa Barb fish has no shortage of common names. Those referring to its place of origin include Sawbwa Barb, Asian Rummynose, Burmese Rummynose, and Burmese Rammy Nose. Of these, “Sawbwa Barb” is most interesting.

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Sawbwa Barb

This Sawbwa Barb fish has no shortage of common names. Those referring to its place of origin include Sawbwa Barb, Asian Rummynose, Burmese Rummynose, and Burmese Rammy Nose. Of these, “Sawbwa Barb” is most interesting. The term Sawba means “king” in the Shan and Tai languages and is a term that was used as a royal title by rulers of the Shan States. This fish is also known as the Naked Microrasbora because the body is totally naked, or scaleless, and its adult size evolved via a process known as miniaturization, so it is considered a “micro” species. The terms “barb” and “rasbora” are both used due to an ongoing debate over whether this fish fits into the Barb, Rasbora, or Danio category, or if it belongs in its own group.

This attractive, streamlined fish features completely different coloration between the sexes. The males have a “nose” and orange-red tail tips, and their body tends toward a rather milky-blue color. The females are a plainer silver to a light olive-brownish color with transparent fins. Being scaleless gives both sexes their even coloration. This fish has surprisingly similar markings to the South American Rummy Nose Tetra Hemigrammus bleheri, but the two species developed separately into transcontinental look-alikes.

These are great fish for color and temperament but suggested for a more experienced aquarist. Though they are very particular about their water, they are otherwise hardy and easy enough to care for. The companionship of their own species is important for their well-being. They need to be kept in a groups of at least 8 or more individuals. Since they are so little, a school could be housed in an aquarium as small as 10 gallons, but a larger, 20-gallon tank is suggested. The larger size is easier to maintain and has room for plenty of decor.

These peaceful fish can be kept in a community environment, but due to their small size, they are a bit nervous. They have a friendly demeanor with other fish and can be kept with tankmates that are of similar size and behaviors. However, these shoaling fish will develop a distinct pecking order within their own kind, and the dominant males can become quite cantankerous and combative. They do best with a sexually balanced school of about 4 females to each male and kept in a specimen tank. A planted decor can also help keep the peace by breaking up the males’ line of sight.

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