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This profile was written by Bunny an active contributor to the site.  



Sawbwa resplendens

Sawbwa resplendens


    Sawbwa means “king” in the Shan and Tai languages and while this fish shares it's looks with the Rummy-nose tetras of South America, the two species are as far apart genetically as they are geographically. These scaleless, vibrant micros are a favorite of nanokeepers and a mystery to scientists who have yet to determine whether they are Barbs, Danios, Rasboras or their own category of fish.

Quick stats:

    Listed tank sizes are the minimum
    Size: Max length: Up to 1.0 in (2.5 cm)
    Tank: School of 7- 8 fish: 20 gallons (76.00 liters) or larger.
    Strata: Middle, Bottom levels
    PH: pH range: 7.0 – 8.0
    Hardness: medium to hard. dH range: 9 – 19.
    Temperature: 70°F to 77°F (21-25°C)


    Order: Cypriniformes
    Family: Cyprinidae
    Genera: Sawbwa
    Species: Sawbwa resplendens


Common name:

    Asian Rummynose, Burmese Rummy Nose, Burmese Rummynose, Naked Microrasbora, Rummynose Rasbora, Rummy Nose Rasbora, Sawbwa Barb.

Image gallery:

    Additional species photographs


    Badmans' Forum


    Southeast Asia: Myanmar: Lake Inle, Occupies shallow waters dotted with islands of densely matted vegetation.

General Body Form:

    Streamlined head and body. Fins are moderately long and rounded. Caudal fin is forked and rounded. Mouth is terminal. Sawbwas are completely scaleless.


    Adult males have milky, silvery-cerulean blue bodies with vermillion heads. The caudal fin has a vermilion spot on each terminus. Immature males and females are translucent olive-brown with metalic silver ventrum and have a dark marking just anterior to the anal fin.


    Sawbwa resplendens


    • water:
      Freshwater: These hardy fish are very sensitive to their water quality. Water must be clear, well-filtered, fairly-cool, slow-moving, pH neutral and relatively hard. Sponge filters are ideal. Weekly water changes of 25% to 50% are essential and must be done gently.
    • Diet:
      Omnivorus: These fish are so like their wild relatives that they'll require a wild-foods diet to condition them when they are first brought home. Foods that are eaten voraciously include live and frozen artemia, bloodworms, daphnia, and plankton. Gradually introduce micro pellets and balanced prepared foods for small-mouthed fish
    • Tank/Decor:
      A 20 gallon (76 liter) tank is ideal for these micro fish and will allow them to shoal. With extensive maintenance, experienced nano aquarists can keep these fish in 5 or 10 gallon (18.93 to 37.85 liter) tanks. Success comes from replicating their native waters. Sand, fluorite or small-grained gravel is soft, excellent for plant growth and in darker colors, will help calm these nervous fish. A densely planted tank provides improved oxygen in a slow-current setting, hosts macrophytes essential for their diet, and provideS shelter and breaks up lines of sight among territorial males. Anubias, Swords, grasses and reeds all do well. Ensure that there open-water swimming spaces, as well. The tank should have a cover to prevent fish from jumping.
    • Communities:
      Peaceful: Good in species-only tanks or as part of community tanks with similarly-sized fish. Keep in shoals of at least 6 to 8. Males maintain a hierarchical pecking order so they are best kept in a ratio or 4 females to 1 male. Tankmates might include emerald dwarf rasboras, highfin glassy perchlets, and Inle loach.


    Usually inhabits Lake margins and surrounding swamps Among dense vegetation.


    Difficult. Egg-scatters. Sexual dimorphism: Males have milky, silvery-cerulean blue bodies with vermillion heads and a vermilion spot on each caudal fin terminus. Immature males and females are translucent olive-brown with metalic silver ventrum and have a dark marking just anterior to the anal fin. Females are also more fuller-bodied during spawning. Courtship and spawning behaviors are unknown. It is believed that spawning may be stimulated when the water is pH neutral, has a dH of 20 and the temperature dips to between 57 – 64°F (15 – 18°C) replicating winter conditions at Inle lake. A spawning tank should be planted or contain either baby grass or spawning mops. Substrate should be checked daily for eggs and parents should be removed when eggs are found as they will eat their fry. Fry require microscopic food fed several times per day with their need for food increasing as their yolk sacs are absorbed. After 5 or 6 days, fry can accept Artemia nauplii.

Your comments:


Please remember that the following comments are personal experiences and may or may not apply to your setup. Use them as guide to help better understand your fish, like us all individuals will behave differently under different circumstances.


From: James A
This is a peaceful and underrated fish. Had several successful spawning with very soft, slightly acidic water in a heavily planted discus tank with CO2. I have 2 males and 1 female, males seem only aggressive with each other during spawning. I inherited them from a small tank where they were mostly neglected, they are now fed a broad range of frozen & dry foods. Red coloration in the males becomes fluorescent after a water change (with slightly hardened RO), males display to the female over several weeks while she fills with roe. Temperature a constant 26.5C, dipping only a degree or two during a water change. Female swims above the chosen male in a unison tour of the tank, the pair in a flicking motion lay & fertilize individual eggs on the underside of leaves over a period of several hours. Preference seems to be the Hygrophillia and slim-leafed Java Fern - the leaves are best salvaged and placed into a dedicated hatching tank. Fry are relatively hardy feeding on powdered dried foods/egg. After spawning the group resumes shy behavior, and are ready to spawn again after about 4 weeks.
From: Kat
I love these fish! I have kept quite a number of species of small peaceful fish in 4 ft community tank .Eat frozen bloodworm, daphnia and flake, and occasional fruitfly maggots. Glass shrimp and Endler babies another possible food source though cant confirm that yet... Water is on the hard side, 24º C, zeolite and carbon filters, lots of live plants, and algae. These guys do not school with or bother the other more common Rummynose shoal. They remind me of steel subs or missiles....they hunt in the evenings, zeroing in on fine leafed plants looking for baby shrimp, fish or other tiny critters id guess....stopping stock still and watching....then next location, and so on. I have seen a male and female do most beautiful synchronized swimming, he below her, stopping, starting and moving in perfect unison, a sight to behold , like Burmese dancers! They stay at the quieter end of the tank away from filter outlet with Hengli rasboras unless they are hunting....the males are a bit bolder...they use the full tank in careful forays now and then. I do notice that the Endler males occasionally mistake the silver Burmese Rummynose for an Endler female and give brief chase, and occasionally the BB.R. males mistake a female Endler, but they catch on quicker. It is not a major problem but I would like the two species in separate tanks I think. Really impressive little fish, IM hooked...





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