If you are planning to house some harlequin rasboras in an aquarium, you are in for a real treat. These are some truly beautiful fish. However, you might want to keep more than just harlequin rasboras in the same tank.
Yes, a community tank is always a great thing to have, as long as all of the community members get along.
So, what are the best tank mates for Harlequin Rasboras? The short answer is;
- Other Harlequin Rasboras.
- Neon Tetras.
- Cardinal Tetras.
- Cory Catfish.
- Dwarf Gourami.
- Zebra Loaches.
- Cherry Barbs.
What Fish Can Live With Harlequin Rasboras?
What you need to keep in mind about harlequin rasboras is that they are shoaling or schooling fish that like to live in schools of at least 8 to 10 fish. Next, these fish will grow to around 2 inches at most, so they are fairly small fish.
Harlequin rasboras are very peaceful fish that get along with most other fish just fine. They are not aggressive or territorial either.
These fish may become shy or reclusive when kept on their own, but they still don’t get aggressive. Finally, harlequin rasboras will usually stick to the middle of the water column.
15 Great Tank Mates For Harlequin Rasboras
Here is a rundown of what we feel are the best 15 options, and why;
1. Other Harlequin Rasboras
Ok, so as we mentioned before, harlequin rasboras are schooling fish. They do not like to live alone and they do best when kept in schools of at least 8 to 10 of their own kind.
Therefore, the best tank mate for them is about 9 other harlequin rasboras. They really enjoy living with their own kind.
The main reason for this is that they feel more comfortable in large groups, as when there are predators around, one of the best defences is safety in numbers.
2. Neon Tetras & Cardinal Tetras
Tetra fish make for good tank mates as well. Here, the best options include neon tetras and cardinal tetras. Both of these fish are very small and rarely grow to over 1.5 inches in length.
Do keep in mind that these fish also like to be kept in schools of at least 6 of 10 fish, so you will need a tank large enough to house 2 small schools of fish.
Yes, both of these fish types like to swim in the center of the tank, in the middle of the water column, but this should not be a problem if the tank is large enough. Moreover, neon and cardinal tetras are both very small and peaceful fish which are non aggressive or territorial.
Rasboras are quite friendly too, so these fish won’t bother each other. Something else to think about is that neon and cardinal tetras have a lot of blues and reds on them, which will make for some nice contrast with the rasboras.
All 3 of these types of fish are warm water tropical fish that require about the same water conditions and water parameters.
3. Cory Catfish
Cory catfish, otherwise known as Corydoras, also make for great harlequin rasboras tank mates. Cory catfish will grow to around 2.5 inches in length, so they are about the same size as harlequin rasboras.
Cory catfish are big time scavengers and foragers. These are bottom feeding fish which prefer to forage for food at the bottom of the tank. So, not only are they not large enough to cause problems for your harlequin rasboras, but they are not at all interested in eating other fish.
cory catfish are very peaceful and non-aggressive. Cory catfish have some pretty dark colors, which should help create a good deal of color contrast between them and harlequin rasboras.
Now, these catfish do like to be kept in groups of at least 6, so make sure to get a tank with enough room for a school of Corydoras and a school of harlequin rasboras. Yes, both of these types of fish can easily survive in the same water conditions and parameters, and in the same tank setup.
In fact, cory catfish make for great aquarium cleaners that will clean messes left behind by harlequin rasboras. Both of these fish also like fairly heavily planted tanks.
Next, the common pleco also makes for a decent tank mate. Yes, plecos can grow to 2 feet or 24 inches in length, so they are many times larger than harlequin rasboras. However, plecos are some of the most peaceful fish around.
They are non aggressive and they are not territorial either. Even if they were aggressive or territorial, plecos are bottom dwellers and scavengers, so they will stick to the bottom of the tank and leave the middle of the water column for the harlequin rasboras.
On that same note, plecos don’t really eat other fish either, almost never, as they prefer foraging for dead plant matter, algae, small crustaceans, insects, and other such things. Being bottom feeders is also beneficial because plecos will clean up uneaten food left behind by the harlequin rasboras.
Although there is a big size difference between the two, plecos are peaceful bottom feeders and they will avoid interaction with schools of harlequin rasboras.
Furthermore, both of these types of fish like fairly heavily planted tanks, plus they can both survive in the same tank setup and water parameters just fine. The darker colors of the pleco will also go nicely with the bright and vibrant coats of harlequin rasboras.
Just like harlequin rasboras, danios are schooling fish that need to be kept in numbers. You will need a tank large enough to house 8 to 10 harlequin rasboras and about 6 danios at the lest.
Yes, both of these fish usually swim in the middle of the water column, but if you get a tank that is large enough, this should not be a problem. Danios also come in very many different colors, so you can be sure to find one type suitable to make a great looking aquarium community.
Danios are very peaceful and non aggressive fish, they don’t like to bother others, and they don’t cause trouble either. Yes, danios are very fast, active, and agile swimmers, so they do zip around tanks with speed, but they won’t bother your harlequin rasboras.
Danios only grow to around 2.5 inches in length at most, so even if they were aggressive, they are not large enough to pose any threat to your harlequin rasboras, as they are of equal size.
Both of these types of fish like to live in fairly heavily planted tanks and they will be able to survive in the same water conditions and tank parameters.
6. Dwarf Gourami
Now, the dwarf gourami is such a peaceful and non aggressive fish that it will allow itself to get bullied to death by other fish.
Therefore, the dwarf gourami will not cause problems for your harlequin rasboras, and the rasboras are friendly enough so that they will leave the gouramis alone too.
These gouramis usually swim in the bottom third of the tank, so while they may come into contact with the harlequin rasboras on occasion, they won’t interact too much.
Dwarf gouramis grow to around 3.5 inches in length, so they won’t get too much bigger than your harlequin rasboras, so the rasboras should still feel comfortable.
Dwarf gouramis are some of the most beautiful fish around too, as they can come with strips, spots, or even stripes made of small spots, and yeah, they come in every color under the rainbow too.
At the same time, both of these fish also prefer a lot of vegetation, they can live in the same tank setup, and they’re both tropical fish that require virtually the same water parameters.
7. Zebra Loaches
Zebra loaches, as the name implies, do have stripes, and they usually feature fairly dull and dark colors, thus making for some good color contrast with harlequin rasboras.
Loaches are a very long type of fish which almost resemble a mix between an eel and a fish. They can grow to around 3.5 inches in length, so they are not much larger than harlequin rasboras and there is no risk of either fish eating one another.
The zebra loach is considered to be one of the more peaceful types of loach around, so even though they are a bit bigger than harlequin rasboras, they won’t bother them.
Loaches are bottom feeder, scavengers, and bottom dwellers too, which means that they eat detritus and very small crustaceans, so they won’t ever try to eat harlequin rasboras and they won’t get in their way either.
Harlequin rasboras will stick to the middle of the water column and the loaches to the bottom, by the substrate. The chances of these fish interacting with one another, let alone attacking one another, are minimal at best.
Yes, both of these fish also need the same substrate, they like heavily planted tanks, and they can survive in the same water conditions too.
Molly fish are schooling fish, although their schools don’t need to be huge. They should be kept in groups of 4 at the least, so remember that you will need a tank large enough to house schools of mollies and rasboras.
They do both like to swim near the middle of the water column, but this should not be a problem if your tank is large enough.
Mollies are fairly small and will top out at around 3 inches in length, so they are not large enough to make harlequin rasboras feel uncomfortable or to pose a threat to them.
Moreover, mollies are generally very peaceful, non aggressive, and non territorial fish, as are harlequin rasboras, so they should not bother each other much. Both types of fish do fine in heavily planted tanks with the same substrate and the same water conditions.
Platies have a nice orange color, so even though there won’t be much color contrast, they are still very nice looking fish nonetheless.
Platies will grow to between 1.5 and 2.5 inches in length, so they are roughly the same size as harlequin rasboras. Do keep in mind that platies are schooling fish which should be kept in groups of 5 at the least, which should not be a problem if your tank is large enough.
Platies do tend to stick to the bottom third of the tank, so there should not be much interaction between them and harlequin rasboras. Also, platies are very peaceful and mildly tempered fish that don’t really bother others at all.
The harlequin rasboras will get along with them just fine. Furthermore, both of these fish can survive in the same tank setup with the same water conditions, plus they both like their tanks to be fairly heavily planted.
10. Cherry Barbs
Cherry barbs also make for great harlequin rasboras tank mates. Cherry barbs, as the name implies, have a nice red color, so they will definitely bring more life to any community fish tank.
Now, barbs are known for being a bit aggressive at times, but cherry barbs are the least aggressive barbs around. Do keep in mind that barbs are fish which like to live in small schools, so you should keep at least 5 of them together.
Also, both of these types of fish like to share the same space in terms of the water column, so be sure to get a tank large enough to house small schools of both.
Next, although barbs can be aggressive, cherry barbs are not very temperamental, and if you give them enough space, they will not bother your harlequin rasboras, and vice versa.
More important, cherry barbs will grow to around 1.5 or 2 inches in length, so even if they are a bit aggressive, they are too small to pose any sort of threat to your harlequin rasboras.
Yes, both fish like planted tanks, they need the same substrate, and they will be able to survive in the same water conditions too.
A small hatchetfish, like the Polyipnus danae hatchetfish is another good option to consider. Now, you do want to avoid any larger species of hatchetfish, as they are known for being aggressive and eating fish much smaller than themselves.
However, the Polyipnus danae hatchetfish tops out at around 1 inch in length, maybe 1.2 inches, so it is no way large enough to pose any sort of threat to your harlequin rasboras.Due to their small size, these hatchetfish tend to be skittish, shy, and peaceful, so it should not be an issue.
Also, hatchetfish are naturally deep water fish, so they will stick to the bottom third of the tank and generally won’t interact with fish higher up in the water column.
These fish generally come in darker colors so they blend in with the deep, but often also feature some blue, therefore making for some nice color contrast between them and harlequin rasboras.
Although these guys are deep water fish, they are often found in tropical waters and therefore do just fine in harlequin rasboras tanks and those same water parameters.
Guppies are some very colorful fish that can come in many colors, patterns, and color combinations, so you can be sure to find some that will create some good color contrast in your community aquarium.
Now, guppies are schooling fish, so they should be kept in large groups of around 10 fish or more. They do also like to stick to the middle of the water column. Therefore, you need to ensure that you have a tank large enough to house both schools of fish in comfort.
Guppies grow to between 1.5 and 2.5 inches in length, so in no way are they large enough to pose any sort of threat to harlequin rasboras, and harlequin rasboras are more than peaceful enough so they will leave the guppies along.
Guppies are very peaceful either way, so housing them together with harlequin rasboras should not be an issues. Yes, both are tropical warm water fish that require approximately the same tank setup and water conditions too. These fish make for rather perfect tank mates.
13. Various Snails
Snails are always a go to option for any aquarium. Snails help to keep tanks clean by eating algae, uneaten food, and rotting plants.
Snails of course cannot and will not bother your harlequin rasboras, and this goes the other way around too. In no way are your harlequin rasboras going to be interested in some snails. Snails can look nice and they make for great aquarium cleaners too.
14. Various Shrimp
You can also try putting some small aquarium shrimp in the fish tank with the harlequin rasboras. Small shrimp like cherry shrimp look nice, they are also great tank cleaners, and because they live at the bottom of the tank, they also won’t bother your harlequin rasboras.
Most shrimp are also large enough so that they won’t bother harlequin rasboras, but small enough to not pose a threat to them.
Commonly Asked Questions
Can Neon Tetras Live With Harlequin Rasboras?
Yes, as covered above, neon tetras, cardinal tetras, and really all other types of tetras make for great harlequin rasboras tank mates.
Both fish are non-aggressive, tetras are a bit smaller than harlequin rasboras, and they can survive just fine in the same tank setup with the same water parameters.
Can Harlequin Rasboras Live With guppies?
Yes, as covered above, guppies make for great harlequin rasboras tank mates. Both fish are about the same size and they can survive just fine in the same tank setup with the same water parameters. They make for rather perfect tank mates.
Can Shrimp Live With Harlequin Rasboras?
Yes, shrimp can also live with harlequin rasboras. Most shrimp are small and fairly peaceful. They live at the bottom of the tank and generally don’t start any trouble.
They are foragers and they also hunt for very small prey, but harlequin rasboras are not nearly small enough for them to eat. Harlequin rasboras won’t bother shrimp either.
What Fish Should I Avoid Adding To My Rasboras Tank?
There are a few fish which you should avoid putting in the same tank with your harlequin rasboras.
- Blue Ram Cichlids.
- Large and aggressive Cichlids.
- Large and aggressive barbs.
- Redtail sharks.
- Bala sharks.
- Betta fish.
Realistically speaking, you want to avoid any fish that is over twice the size of harlequin rasboras.
However, tank mates may be larger than rasboras if they are very peaceful, they are not territorial, and preferably if they do not swim in the same space as the harlequin rasboras. In other words, peaceful bottom feeders, even large ones, tend to be fine.
the bottom line is there are plenty of options, but these are just the main options we feel make the best tank mates for Harlequin Rasboras.
As long as the other fish are not much larger and aggressive, most tank mates will work just fine. Remember, you are creating a community aquarium, and communities need to be cohesive.
Photo Credit: Stefan Maurer