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Chili Rasboras: Complete Care Guide (Diet, Tank & More)

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Chili rasboras are a great addition to any tank, big or small! These beautiful little fish are less than an inch long and are very peaceful. 

They are bright red and also be the focal point in any home aquarium. 

Keep reading to learn more about the appearance and temperament of the chili rasbora, diet needs, aquarium needs, and more!

Chili Rasbora Care Guide

Scientific NameBoraras brigittae
Common NameMosquito Rasboras
Size0.6 to 0.8 inches
Minimum Tank Size5 Gallons

Chili rasboras are a bright red nano fish only reaching up to 0.8 inches long. They are peaceful fish but can also be shy. They do great in a freshwater community tank with smaller fish and bottom feeders. They need at least a five-gallon tank but the more room the better.

Appearance & Temperament


Although the chili rasboras are nano fish, their bright color makes them hard to miss! 

Their color is hands down their defining feature and how they got their name. Their bodies are a bright red hue.

Their entire bodies are covered in shades of pink and red. The red color will be most vibrant by the horizontal stripe on their body. 

Mosquito rasbora. Photo by Daiju Azuma on Flickr
Photo by Daiju Azuma on Flickr

This horizontal stripe stretches across the length of their bodies. This stripe is a thick band of black, and the bright red stripe is right above that creating a striking contrast.

Chili rasboras have small slender bodies that taper off into two fins for the tail. Their large eyes are very prominent on their small heads. Their anal, dorsal, and tail fins are translucent. 

Lifespan and Size

Chili rasboras are nano fish and will not live as long as larger fish. However, they still have a decent lifespan that averages between four and eight years. 

Their lifespan is greatly affected by the care they receive as well as the environment they live in. 

The better care they are given the better chances you have at maximizing their lifespan.

As a nano fish the chili rasboras are quite small, however, they are considered to be a great nano fish to have. These little guys will only grow on average 0.6 to 0.8 inches in length!

Gender Differences

There are a few differences between the two genders of chili rasboras. Although the differences may be small they are noticeable. 

As far as size, the females are typically slightly larger than the males. The females will also appear more rounded than the males.

Females will also be dull compared to their male counterparts. Males are a more vibrant shade of red. 

Also, the males will have bright red spots that are on their dorsal, anal, and tail fins. These red spots are very noticeable in contrast to the otherwise translucent fins.

Temperament and Behavior

Chili rasboras are very peaceful, sometimes they can be a bit shy. Although through exploration of their new surroundings, they should feel more comfortable. 

Because of this, they are great in community tanks with appropriate tank mates.

Chili rasboras are schooling fish that will thrive in larger groups. As a group, they will swim around together creating swatches of vibrant red colors around your tank. 

Typically chili rasboras will stay in the upper levels of the tank, on occasion they may swim the bottom half.

Chili Rasboras Diet & Feeding

Chili rasboras are omnivorous fish, however, in the wild, they are considered to be micro predators. 

In the wild, they will live off of microscopic protein sources such as insects, worms, and plankton. 

Because of this, chili rasboras tend to prefer a carnivorous diet.

In captivity, it is very important to provide chili rasboras with a varied balanced diet. 

This is to ensure they receive the nutrients that they need. 

These nutrients are not only important in keeping your chili rasboras healthy but also to keep their colors vibrant.

In order to create a varied diet for your chili rasboras it is best to provide them with a balanced diet of flakes, pellets, and fresh, frozen, or freeze-dried proteins. 

A high-quality flake or pellet can serve as a solid base in their diet. Proteins can be live or frozen. 

Great options for live food for your chili rasboras are baby brine shrimp, daphnia, tubifex, and micro worms.

Due to their very small size ensure the food they are given is very small by chopping or crushing the live food and flakes and pellets. 

Also because chili rasboras are so small, it can be very easy to overfeed them. Overfeeding can lead to excess waste and a dirty tank and this can make them very sick.

Because of this, it is best to feed them smaller meals more often. This not only helps prevent overfeeding, but it will be easier for them to digest. 

With smaller meals, they can better digest the foods that they eat.

Feed chili rasboras twice a day, only providing them with an amount of food that they can fully consume within two minutes. 

After feeding times remove uneaten food to help keep your tank cleaner.

Ideal Aquarium Setup & Tank Conditions

As with most freshwater aquarium fish, it is always best to mimic their natural habitat as closely as possible.  

This is to ensure your chili rasboras thrive and remain healthy. Chili rasboras need a minimum tank size of only 5 gallons, due to their nano size. 

With larger groups and additional tank mates, a larger tank would be needed. 

Although there is a generous range of water parameters for chili rasboras. It is best to maintain stable parameters. 

Maintaining stable water conditions is very important for chili rasboras. They are very sensitive to changes in water conditions!

Ideal water parameters for chili rasboras:

  • Water Temperature: 70°F to 82°F
  • pH Levels: 4 to 7
  • Water Hardness: 3 to 12 dKH

Recreating their natural habitat within the tank environment will help keep them healthy as well as their happiness and ability to thrive. 

Decorations provide ample hiding spaces for them to feel safe. 

As mentioned previously, chili rasboras need clean water in their tanks. A good filtration system will be needed to accommodate this. 

However, chili rasboras are small and cannot handle strong currents. A low-flow filter system will be needed to not overpower their swimming abilities.

Setting up the tank for the chili rasboras is just as important as the water conditions. Recreating their natural habitat is crucial for them to thrive. 

Starting at the bottom of the tank, you will want to opt for a darker substrate. 

This substrate should be sand or fine gravel. This will recreate the leafy floors of the blackwater ponds.

Driftwood and floating plants are great for recreating their natural habitat. Plants such as java moss, anubias, and java fern are great examples for chili rasboras. 

These fish love plants as they will spend more of their time swimming through them. This is because their natural habitat is full of lush vegetation.

For chili rasboras, it is recommended to add peat pellets or peat moss to their tank. The peat moss is very beneficial for them. 

Not only will it bring out their color vibrancy it will keep them even healthier. This works because the peat moss will release tannins into the water as it decomposes.

This is beneficial to chili rasboras because as the moss decomposes it will release tannins which may tint the water. 

However, as this occurs the tannins will reduce the pathogen levels in the water. 

Even though the water may appear dirty, it is not, and it also recreates the blackwater look of their natural habitat.

Chili Rasbora Tank Mates

As mentioned earlier chili rasboras are smaller and very peaceful, which makes them a great addition to a community tank. Possible tank mates for chili rasboras should also be peaceful and similar in size.

Chili rasboras should be kept in groups of their kind of at least 6. Larger groups are always preferred with them as the larger the group the happier they are.

Examples of ideal tank mates for chili rasboras:

  • Neon Tetras
  • Otocinclus
  • Cory Catfish
  • Guppies
  • Sparkling Gouramis
  • Other Rasbora fish
  • Shrimp
  • Snails
  • Plecos
  • Celestial Pearl Danios

Because chili rasboras are very small it is best to avoid much larger tank mates that may see them as food. 

Aggressive or territorial fish should also be avoided to prevent injury or death of your chili rasboras.

Examples of tank mates to avoid for chili rasboras:

  • Oscars
  • Jack Dempseys
  • Cichlids
  • Bettas
  • Most Barbs
  • Angelfish
  • Giant Danios
  • Crabs
  • Crayfish

Breeding Chili Rasbora Fish in your Tank

It is very easy to breed chili rasboras in a home aquarium. This is because they are continuous spawnings and will regularly lay eggs. 

However, the chili rasboras are not parental at all and will attack or eat their fry. Because of this, a breeding tank should be used in order to protect the fry.

The breeding tank has the same water conditions as the home tank. Also to help protect the eggs after they are laid the bottom of the tank should be densely vegetated. 

Also slowly raising the temperature a few degrees will help initiate the breeding process. 

Conditionally the adult parents prior to breeding with a high protein diet can also initiate spawning.

As the males become ready for breeding they will become a brighter shade of red. The spots on the translucent fins will also become darker. 

Females will become rounder as they fill with eggs. 

During breeding times the male may become territorial, ensuring there is enough space if there are multiple breeding pairs in the tank.

To increase breeding chances it is best to place one or two females for each male in the breeding tank.

The more dominant males should be chosen to increase chances. The breeding process will start with the male “showing off” as he tries to grab the female’s attention.

If he gets her attention the female will then begin to scatter her eggs on the bottom of the tank. 

The male will then fertilize the eggs that are scattered around the tank. 

After all the eggs have been laid and fertilized the parents can be removed to prevent eggs or fry from being eaten.

The eggs will hatch a couple of days after being laid. After the eggs hatch the fry will feed off of the egg sacs for the first 24 hours. 

After this, they can be fed microscopic-sized foods such as infusoria. 

After about ten days the fry will be large enough to be switched to microworms.

Natural Habitat & Distribution

Chili rasboras were first described in 1978 by Dieter Vogt, naming them after his wife Brigitte. 

They originate from the Indonesian province of Kalimantan Selatan and Kalimantan Tengah as well as throughout southern parts of Borneo. 

Their natural habitats are blackwater pools and streams. 

These waters are full of mosquitoes and are how the chili rasboras received their nickname mosquito rasboras. 

These waters are full of lush vegetation that provide plenty of places to provide shelter.

These waters are also very slow-moving and have overhanging trees and shoreline plants. 

These streams are covered with fallen leaves and also are abundant with submerged branches, roots, and other dense vegetation.

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