Sawbwa resplendens – Sawbwa Barb

Sawbwa resplendens or Sawbwa Barb is actually a special fish. They don’t have scales! With their red head they are very striking!


Sawbwa resplendens – Sawbwa Barb

Sawbwa resplendens was described in 1918 by Annandale. Their common name is Sawbwa Barb. The genus name Sawbwa comes from the local language and means prince or chief.

The Sawbwa genus is monotypic, which means that the genus has only one species. Sawbwa resplendens belongs to the family Cyprinidae; the Minnows or Carps.

In Dutch this species is called Naked Rasbora as this fish has no scales at all.


Sawbwa resplendens is a peaceful, lively schooling fish that needs a lot of free swimming space. Don’t keep them with less than 12 as this is a real schooling fish, if not they will be very shy! In the wild, it occurs in gigantic schools. They are calm and small and therefore well suited for a small aquarium. Their tank mates will also have to be quiet peaceful fish otherwise the Saawbwa Barb will remain shy and you will not enjoy them much. This species can reach a total length of around 3,5 to 4 centimetres.

Gender differences

The female does not look very spectacular. They have a grey-brown colour, but the males are silver to steel-blue with a bright red head and blood-red spots at the tips of their caudal fin.


Lake Inlé in Myanmar


Small live food should be given as food. Dry food like flakes or small granules are also accepted.

The aquarium

The aquarium should be decorated with dense vegetation on the edges and background. The water should not be too soft as this will cause the colours to fade. Provide some swimming space at the front so you can enjoy them.

pH: 7 – 7.5
KH: 16-20
Temperature: 21 – 25 Celsius

Breeding Sawbwa resplendens

Breeding is not too difficult, as long as you can give the youngsters enough small food. The eggs are deposited between fine-leaved plants like Jave Moss. After spawning, the parents must be removed. You can feed the fry with infusion.


This is actually a very special fish, it has no scales, hence its name naked Rasbora in Dutch (although it is not Rasbora).

** Like Danio erythromicron, Microrasbora rubescens, Channa harcourtbutleri, Macrognathus caudiocellatus and Inlecypris auropurpureus, this fish is one of the endemic species found in Lake Inlé in Myanmar (Burma). Lake Inlé is located near the town of Nyaung Shwe in the southern Shan State. It is 22 kilometres long and 6 kilometres wide and is located 1000 meters above sea level. The lake is surrounded by wetlands, some of which flow into the lake. Many fish appear to be endemic to the lake. Of the 31 species of fish found in the lake, 16 are endemic (only found in this lake).



CB –
John de Lange

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John de Lange

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Social Behaviour

Breeding behaviour




Length minimum in cm

Length maximum in cm

Temperature minimum

Temperature maximum

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