Boraras brigittae is a brilliantly coloured fish, with a bright red body and a black/dark green mid lateral stripe and a blotch at the base of the caudal fin. These fish grow to a maximum length of 2.5 cm and their small size means that they are best kept in groups of at least 8 to 10 specimens. A densely planted aquarium containing a sandy substrate, with driftwood and floating plants makes an ideal environment for these fish. Adding some leaf litter to the tank and allowing it to break down over a period of several weeks will provide the fish with naturally occurring micro-organism colonies that can supplement their diet. As with other Boraras species, Boraras brigittae is a micro-predator feeding on small insects, worms, crustaceans and other zooplankton in nature. Fortunately for the hobbyist, this fish will accept dried foods of a suitable size in the aquarium. However, dry foods should not be fed these exclusively and should be supplemented with live or frozen foods.
The genus Boraras is a special group of rather rare fish. However, there is a reason behind their scarcity in the hobby. All species except Boraras maculatus are illegal to import into Australia. Fortunately for hobbyists, several species of this genus are occasionally imported ‘accidently’ alongside legal imports. These fish offer a break from the general, commonly available schooling fish. However, it is my personal opinion that these fish are seldom kept in aquariums that display their full glory. While most hobbyists keep these fish in small aquariums, ten gallons or less, there is no reason why these fish shouldn’t be kept in larger aquariums. While a small, single species, aquarium allows the hobbyist to tailor the aquarium to the specific needs of the individual species, it is my personal opinion that larger aquariums provide an extra ‘dimension’ for enjoying these fish. There is also no reason why these fish shouldn’t be kept with other species, as long as care is taken when choosing tank mates. Predation by larger species and competition for food are the two major factors to take into account when choosing suitable tank mates.
I personally keep about 70 Boraras brigittae in a 175 litre aquarium alongside; Boraras maculatus, Sphaerichthys osphromenoides and Pangio kuhlii. The aquarium is densely planted along the back and sides with plenty of swimming space in the middle and a couple of pieces of driftwood. Keeping large numbers of Boraras brigittae in a large aquarium results in the fish schooling more often. Boraras brigittae like most schooling fish do not always swim as a cohesive, unidirectional group. However, the presence of other fish and more space seems to encourage this type of active schooling. Their red colouration is a brilliant contrast to the green of the plants. This type of contrast is only rivalled by Neon Tetras and Cardinal Tetra’s in a heavily planted aquarium.
Note from Author
There are a few things to consider when adding these fish to your aquarium. When adding these fish to your aquarium, it should be expected that a couple will not survive the transfer. These fish do not seem to handle stress very well and I have yet to add a group of these fish to an aquarium without experiencing a few losses. However, this is no reason not to purchase a group of these fish. Another thing to consider is the filter inlet. If using a canister filter, the grooves on the end of the filter inlet should be very thin as these fish are tiny and can easily fit through the smallest gaps. I personally use a small filter bag over the end of the filter inlet to prevent fish being sucked in. The downside to this method is that it restricts flow to the filter and can cause problems. Therefore, if you do opt for this method, monitor the performance of your filter.