Emerald Eye Rasbora
Emerald Eye Rasbora

Emerald Eye Rasbora

Brevibora dorsiocellata
SynonymsRasbora dorsiocellata, R. macrophthalma
DistributionMalay Peninsula and Indonesia.
Sexual DimorphismMature females grow slightly larger and appear fuller bellied when in breeding condition.
Maximum Size4cm (1.6")
Water ParametersSoft, acidic conditions are essential (peat filtration suggested). pH: 5.0-7.0, dH: up to 12 degrees.
Temperature20-25 deg C (68-77 deg F)
CompatibilitySoftwater community


The enchanting Emerald Eye Rasbora is known from heavily-vegetated, sluggish blackwater environments including shallow forest streams and peat swamps. Unfortunately, however, much of its natural range is under threat from palm oil plantations. These fish are an ideal choice for heavily planted softwater aquaria. The tank must be mature and have myriad of hiding places amongst driftwood and thick vegetation, which should include floating species to help diffuse the light. Filtration should be good but water movement gentle. These peaceful shoaling fish can be rather timid, so groups of 10 or more will help them to feel more secure. A larger group will also result in a more effective, natural-looking shoal, with males displaying their best colours as they compete with one another for female attention. A dark coloured substrate and background will also help the fish to feel more confident and will bring out their best colours. Tankmates, if desired, must also be small and peaceable; for example, small Caridina and Neocaridina shrimp, Kuhli loaches (Pangio spp.), Otocinclus catfish, pygmy Corydoras spp., Desmopuntius pentazona, Eirmotus octozona, Trigonostigma spp., and Blue Eyes (Pseudomugil spp.) could all be considered suitable. Much attention must be paid to water quality since Emerald Eye Rasboras are somewhat delicate and do not tolerate elevated nitrates or swings in water chemistry. Acclimatise very carefully. There are several geographic variants of this species, two of which are encountered in the trade. The most frequently seen is a fairly plain fish, which is commercially bred in high numbers and is usually seen for sale as the Hi-Fin or Hi-Spot Rasbora. A second form (pictured here), known as the Emerald Eye Rasbora - with the misnomer "Rasbora dorsiocellata macrophthalma" - is much more colourful, with bright green reflective eyes and hints of green/blue on the flanks and red on the caudal peduncle. These fish are wild caught from Indonesia. Another similar-looking species, B. cheeya, is sporadically seen in the trade (often as a by-catch) but is overall quite a plain fish and grows much larger than B. dorsiocellata.


Small frozen foods such as mini-bloodworm, white mosquito larvae, cyclops, baby brineshrimp, and daphnia, plus crushed flake and micropellets.


B. dorsiocellata belongs to a group of fish that are known as continual spawners, which is to say that in the case of mature fish, small numbers of eggs are laid daily. In densely planted aquaria with large groups of well-conditioned B. dorsiocellata, spawnings should occur regularly with eggs being scattered over vegetation and decor. The eggs and resultant tiny larvae will be seen as food by the adults, but if there is plenty of plant cover, some should survive into adulthood. If a greater number of fry is desired, a separate bare-bottomed breeding aquarium (with air powered sponge filter) should be set up with plenty of Java moss/spawning mops and a layer of mesh raised a small way from the tank bottom so that any eggs that fail to adhere to the plants/mops fall through to safety, away from the adults. Plastic aquarium grass matting also works well for this purpose. The water conditions should match that of the main aquarium, and the temperature should be set to the warmer end of the preferred range. Carefully add one or two well-conditioned pair/s of B. dorsiocellata, and once settled they should begin to spawn the following morning. If they do not appear to be forthcoming, some small, slightly cooler water changes are usually enough to trigger them into spawning. It is recommended that the adults are moved back to the main aquarium within 48 hours as the first eggs will be starting to hatch by then. The tiny fry will feed off their yolk sacs to begin with, but will soon require suitably sized foodstuffs such as infusoria and Paramecium, moving on to slightly bigger foods such as Artemia nauplii and microworms as they grow. A variety of foods may be needed for a while as you may end up with fry of slightly different sizes from the 2 days of continual spawning. Small partial water changes must be carried out with the utmost of care to avoid shocking the delicate fry.

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