During September 2006, a new species of tropical cyprinid fish entered the aquarium trade. It is believed to be an undescribed member of the Microrasbora genus, and currently known as Microrasbora sp. "Galaxy". This Microrasbora sp. Galaxy is a miniature cyprinid with a length of about 15mm when matured.
This exquisite little fish was said to be found in Myanmar, but the exact location where it was found was kept as a trade secret for commercial reason by the person who introduced it, Kamphol Udomritthiruj of AquariCORP.
The Microrasbora sp. Galaxy looks similar to Microrasbora erythromicon in terms of body shape, size, and behaviour, but it also share some features with Danio choprai. So the exact identity of the Microrasbora sp. Galaxy will only be know after the taxonomist sort things out.
There are clear sexual dimorphisms when one looks at a school of Microrasbora sp. Galaxy carefully. Females are more gravid when matured and well fed. Well conditioned males have a deeper red coloration in the fins, especially the pelvic and anal fins. An easy way to differentiate the males is to look at the pelvic and anal fins, which has orange-red horizontal stripe sandwiched between blue-black stripes. The abdomen area above the anal fin of the males are also more orangey.
As the exact location where Microrasbora sp. Galaxy was found is still a secret, the water parameters of it's natural habitat were not known. There are reports that suggested it prefers slightly acidic to neutral conditions. For me, I keep the Microrasbora sp. Galaxy with tapwater without any modification, and here in Singapore, it is neutral pH and very soft.
I bought a group of 8 Microrasbora sp. Galaxy, 4 males and 4 females, during October 2006, and they are kept in a 30 X 20 X 25cm/12" X 8" X 10" planted tank. The tank has a layer of substrate. There is a center piece of bogwood covered with different species of aquatic moss such as Mini Taiwan Moss, Peacock Moss, and Fissidens fontanus. At the back of the tank, it is packed with different species of Java Ferns. Initially there was a thick layer of riccia floating on the surface, but it was removed later because it had blocked out too much light. Lighting is provided by an 11W PL light for about 9hrs daily. There is an air stone that provides some aeration. The temperature of the aquarium is about 25 Degree Celsius. The other inhabitants are some Crystal Red Shrimps and Amano Shrimps.
The males are a bit quarrelsome among each other, with frequent fins flaring and sparing. I observed that after they have settled for a few weeks, there seemed to be an 'alpha' male in the group with the most intense red colouration. They displayed some schooling behaviour. For some unknown reasons, my group of Microrasbora sp. Galaxy are more timid than others, and they are quick to disappear into the mosses and java ferns whenever I poke my nose too near to the tank.
The Microrasbora sp. Galaxy are fed mostly with live food such as Daphnias, Brine Shrimps, Microworms, and Tubifex Worms. I do feed them with small dried foods occasionally, but most of the time they get to enjoy live Tubifex.
Breeding the Microrasbora sp. Galaxy
I do not have time to observe what these fish were doing in the tank constantly, but casual observations showed that the males, other than chasing each other, would attempt to drive the females around the mosses. They have been doing the above for a couple of months, though I have never seen any eggs being laid. Even if the eggs had been laid, the mosses were too dense for me to find them. I had not changed the water for about 2 months and the mosses were taking over the tank. Eventually I did a major pruning of the moss, vacuumed the substrate, and changed about 90% of the water. The change might have triggered the fish to spawn. I was rather surprised to find a few frys swimming near the surface of the water on 1st Feb 2007, about 2 weeks after the water change. The adults were swimming at mid level of the tank and were not observed to hunt the frys. I still have not observed how the eggs were being laid though.
I decided not to let nature takes its course and so I siphoned out all the frys. There are a total of 5 frys and currently I rear them in a small container with some Willow Moss. The size of the frys were already about 3-4mm when I siphoned them out from the main tank. They must have been growing in the tank for a while before I spotted them. They swim about near the surface with a jerky movement. At the moment, I'm feeding them vinegar eels, and I can see their bellies filled up after the eels were introduced. I will update this page with more information when I rear the frys further.
With a tank dedicated to the Microrasbora sp. Galaxy, proper conditioned with live foods, and constant water change, these little jewels should be able to thrive and reproduce in the tank without much intervention. If you have a chance to get hold of these little fish, give it a try and you will never regret.
Last update: Feb 2007
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