Chili Rasbora | How I Keep Them Healthier!

If you are a fan of small aquarium fish, you won’t be disappointed with Chili rasbora. They are small, colorful, peaceful, and schooling fish that will liven up even the drabbest of aquariums.

Their small size and hardy nature make them ideal candidates for beginners and experienced aquarists alike.

We’ll go through everything you need to know about maintaining Chili rasboras in your aquarium in this article.

Chili Rasbora

What is Chili Rasbora?

Scientifically named Boraras brigittae, Chili rasbora is also known as mosquito rasbora and micro Rasbora.

Although these fish are referred to as “rasboras,” they do not belong to the “rasbora” genus. Chili rasboras were initially named “Rasbora urophthalma brigittae” in 1978, but later they were moved to the Boraras genus due to morphological differences.

Chili rasboras are a type of small cyprinid fish that originates from Indonesia’s Southwestern Borneo.

They are found in the slow-moving waters of peat swamps, small forest streams, and jungle pools. Their natural habitat is shaded by sub-canopy trees that provide dappled sunlight.

Appearance 

Chili rasboras have a torpedo-shaped body and are typically 1.5-2 cm in length. They are a vibrant red-orange color with three black stripes that run the length of their body.

They have a small black spot on their dorsal fin and a small white spot on their caudal fin.

How big do Chili Rasbora get?

Chili rasboras typically don’t grow larger than 2 cm in length. They are so tiny that sometimes it is hard to distinguish them from their tank mates. 

Is Chili Rasbora aggressive?

No. Chili rasbora is a peaceful fish species. Because Chili rasboras are peaceful fish, they can be kept with other small species.

They are not aggressive towards their own kind or towards other fish. In fact, they thrive in schools of 5 or more fish.

Chili Rasbora behavior

Chili rasboras are peaceful and a bit timid fish species. They will stay hidden once they are introduced to a new aquarium but will explore around once they feel comfortable.

They are schooling fish that prefer to swim in large groups. Therefore they need ample space in your aquarium to move around.

Most of the time, these fish will stay in the upper half of the tank. They will occasionally swim to the lower half of the tank during feeding time.

How long do Chili Rasboras live?

Under the right conditions, chili rasbora’s lifespan is about 6 to 8 years.

This is shorter than some of the bigger fish available in the aquarium trade, but it’s still a significant amount of time.

One Look Care Guide

Scientific nameBoraras brigittae
Common nameChili rasbora
Mosquito rasbora
Micro Rasbora
Care levelEasy
Native toIndonesia’s Southwestern Borneo
Type Blackwater fish
Color Vibrant red-orange color with three black stripes
Tank size10 gallons
Preferred temperature68-82.4° F (20°-28° C)
Other water parameters (ammonia, etc.)pH level: 4.0-7.0
GH level: 1-2
KH level: 3-12 dKH
Preferred salinityNo salinity
Size1.5-2 cm
Life span6 to 8 years
Temperament Peaceful
Recommended tank matesSame sized peaceful fish
Neon Tetras
Cory Catfish
Sparkling Gouramis
Dwarf Shrimp
Otocinclus
Celestial Pearl Danios
Cherry, ghost, and Amano shrimp
Preferred foodHigh-quality flake food,
Pellets, or
live or freeze-dried food like brine shrimp, blood worms, tubifex worms, blackworms, and white worms
Feeding frequencyTwice per day
BreedingEasy, Egg scatterers

Chili Rasbora care

Regardless of their size, chili rasboras are considered beginner-friendly fish because of their hardy nature.

However, when given excellent water conditions and an ideal environment, these fish tend to thrive and live longer.

Chili Rasbora size

As mentioned earlier, chili rasboras typically don’t grow larger than 2 cm in length. Because of their small size, chili rasboras do well in smaller tanks as well. 

Chili Rasbora tank size

Chili rasboras can be kept in a tank at least 5 gallons. The more Chili rasboras you house, the bigger your tank will need to be. Because they are schooling fish, 5 gallons per 6 chili rasbora is the recommended minimum size.

How many Chili Rasbora should be kept together?

Chili rasboras are schooling fish. Therefore, you need to keep at least six fish together for them to thrive.

If you have a larger tank, we recommend more fish together as they prefer to stay in large schools. Many hobbyists buy one male and several female Chili rasboras to create a school in their tank.

This ensures that they have a steady source of mates, and they will not become territorial as they grow older.

Tank setup

Taking care of chili rasboras is easy when you maintain an impeccably clean environment.

They are used to living in a lush setting with both submersed and emerged plants. Therefore, you will have to set up a densely planted aquarium for your fish.

Substrate

Chili rasboras are middle-dwelling fish and will spend most of their time swimming in the mid to upper regions of the aquarium.

You can use a dark substrate to help bring out their colors. We recommend using fine gravel or sand as a substrate.

Plants and Decorations

To create a naturalistic environment for your chili Rasboras, you will need to use both submerged and emerged plants. 

Submerged plants like anubias, hornwort and Vallisneria will provide chili rasboras with a good hiding place and cover.

Emerged plants like java fern, water wisteria, and Amazon sword will help to oxygenate the water.

You can also use bogwood and rocks to create hiding places and shelters for your fish.

Filtration and Heating

Since chili rasboras prefer a heavily planted tank, you will not need a strong filtration system. A good internal filter will suffice. However, the filter shouldn’t be too strong as these fish can not tolerate strong water currents.

For heating, chili rasboras prefer water between 68 and 82.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Since they are from tropical regions, they prefer warmer water.

Lightings

Chili rasboras prefer dim lightings, but you can add moderate lighting as they get cover from the plants in the tank.

Tank Lid

Chili rasboras are not natural jumpers. But they leap out of the water often. Therefore, a tank lid is required to keep them safe.

Water quality condition

Chili rasboras used to live in blackwater conditions in the wild. So, we need to provide slightly acidic to neutral blackwater conditions for them to thrive in an aquarium

They can not tolerate mineralized water. So, you will have to use a reverse osmosis water filter or rainwater to fill up your tank.

Chili rasboras can live in a wide range of water conditions, but the drawback is that the water parameters shouldn’t change too frequently or the fish will become stressed.

The optimum water conditions for chili rasboras are,

  • Temperature: 68-82.4° F (20°-28° C)
  • pH level: 4.0-7.0
  • GH level: 1-2
  • KH level: 3-12 dKH

To keep stable water conditions, you will have to test the water frequently and set the tank with the water heater to keep the temperature constant.

Be sure to keep the tank away from sunlight as too hot temperatures will also stress the fish.

If you plan to use tap water for your aquarium, be sure to condition the water with a water conditioner to remove toxic minerals like chlorine and chloramine.

Chili Rasbora

Chili Rasbora breeding 

Breeding of chili rasbora is easy because they are egg scatterers and readily breed in captivity.

However, if you want to save the fry, you will have to breed them in a breeding tank as chili rasboras are not good parents.

They practice cannibalism and eat their own fries. Therefore, you either have to provide lots of hiding places for fry or keep them away from the adults.

Chili Rasbora male or female identification (Chili Rasbora male vs. female)

It is relatively easy to identify males from females. 

Males are more colorful than females and have a redder belly. The dorsal, anal, and pelvic fins of males are also brighter than females, with darker black and red highlights.

Female chili rasboras are slightly larger than males and have duller and plumper bodies.

When they are ready to breed, male fish acquire brighter coloration than usual. And also, male fish become territorial and fight with other males.

So, you need to make sure that your fish has enough space in the tank to acquire their own territory.

Identify pregnant Chili Rasbora and Chili Rasbora pregnancy stages

When the female fish is ready to breed, she becomes plumper, and her scales will start to stand out more. The fish’s coloration will also intensify, and the breeding pair will begin to chase each other.

Chili rasboras are egg scatterers. So, they do not technically get pregnant. Once the female lays eggs, their pregnancy finishes, so do their parenthood.

Chili Rasbora breeding

To breed chili rasboras, you should set up a breeding tank. The breeding tank can be as small as 10 gallons, and you need to set up a densely planted tank for them to breed.

When your fish are ready to breed, the breeding pair will show courting behavior. The male will show off to get the female’s attention.

Once you see the physical and behavioral changes, move the breeding pair to the breeding tank before they spawn. You can add more females with one male in the breeding tank to get more fries.

Chili rasboras are egg scatterers and continuous spawners. The female will lay a few eggs at a time several times.

You will have to remove the parents as soon as you think they finished spawning because chili rasboras tend to eat their own eggs and fry.

The eggs will hatch in 2-3 days, and the fry will become free swimming in another 3-5 days. Until then, the fry will eat egg sac for nutrition. 

How many babies do Chili Rasbora have?

Chili rasbora females lay about 2 to 4 eggs at spawn several times. This will continue for only a day or several days. So, it is difficult to determine how many eggs chili rasbora have.

But you can expect around 30 to 50 fries at one breeding season. Again, this depends on how many females you have and how many times the female lays eggs.

Chili Rasbora fry care

Since adult fish cannibalize their fry, you should remove the adult fish from the breeding tank. You will have to keep pristine water conditions in the breeding tank for the fry to survive.

The fries will start to eat once they become free-swimming. You can feed them infusoria (infusoria) or crushed flake food. They will also consume freshly hatched brine shrimp.

When the chili rasbora fry starts to get bigger, you can feed them baby brine shrimp, micro worms, and finely crushed flakes.

The fry can be grown to a selling size in about 8 to 10 weeks.

Special tips

Since chili rasboras prefer blackwater conditions, you should lower the pH level and add tannins to the aquarium.

For this, you can use peat (moss or pellets) and almond leaves. These natural ingredients release tannins into the water and reduce pH levels naturally.

How to feed Chili Rasbora?

Chili rasboras as omnivore fish. But, they prefer a carnivore diet. You should feed them with high-quality flake food, pellets, or live or freeze-dried food like brine shrimp.

You can also feed them blood worms, tubifex worms, blackworms, and white worms.

To keep the best coloration of your fish, feed them with a variety of live and frozen foods. Do not overfeed your chili rasboras, as it can lead to health problems.

Since chili rasboras are so small, they can get easily overfed and make more waste in the tank. This will also lead to poor quality water conditions, which cause these fish to get sick.

It is important to crush, chop, or pulverize the food before feeding because these fish have small mouths and cannot eat large pieces of food.

What fish can live with Chili Rasbora?

Chili rasboras are peaceful fish that can live with any other peaceful fish. But, the problem is, many other fish think of them as food, and soon they become prey to other fish.

Therefore, you can not keep these fish with most other community fish. To be sure your fish will be safe, you should keep them with fish that are of the same size and temperament.

Some compatible tank mates are,

  • Neon Tetras
  • Cory Catfish
  • Sparkling Gouramis
  • Dwarf Shrimp
  • Otocinclus
  • Celestial Pearl Danios

You can also keep these fish with smaller freshwater shrimps like cherry, ghost, and Amano shrimp.

Be sure to check the compatibility of your fish before you add them to the tank.

Chili rasbora diseases

Chili rasbora is a pretty strong fish that do not get ill easily. However, they are also prone to fish diseases, just like other freshwater fish.

These fish are sensitive to water changes. They can not tolerate dirty water and will easily contract diseases if you do not change the water frequently.

If your fish is sick, check for these common chili rasbora diseases –

  • Ick
  • Fungal infections
  • Bacterial infections
  • parasites

One way to reduce the chances of your fish contracting disease is by using a quarantine tank for any new fish before you add them to your main tank. This will help to prevent the spread of disease.

You should also keep a close eye on your fish at all times. If you notice any fish is sick or has physical injuries, immediately seek the help of a professional. This will save your fish’s life.

Some common symptoms of sick fish are,

  • Fish is inactive and not eating
  • bloating
  • lethargic behavior
  • clamped fins
  • swimming erratically
  • discolored skin
  • red streaks on the skin
  • cloudy eyes
  • pop-eye
  • scratching
  • fungal infections on skin or gills

The usual cause of these problems is poor water conditions and overfeeding. So, be sure to keep your tank clean and well-maintained to prevent your fish from getting sick.

Related questions 

Are Chili Rasboras rare?

Chili rasboras are a somewhat rare addition to the aquariums. They are not seen in most pet stores, so you may have to search for a store that carries them. Your best bet will be online stores if you prefer to buy them.

Are chili Rasboras Hardy?

Yes. Chili rasboras are very hardy fish and can tolerate a wide range of water conditions. They are perfect for the beginning aquarist.

However, these fish often get impacted by changes in water conditions. They can not tolerate frequent water quality changes and long periods of poor water conditions.

Therefore, you should monitor your water quality regularly to prevent these fish from getting sick.

Do chili rasboras jump?

Chili rasbora is freshwater fish, and they do not jump. But sometimes, these fish leap out of the tank.

However, this is mainly due to poor water conditions and overcrowding in the tank. If you keep your tank clean and provide enough space for these fish, they will not jump out of the tank.

Conclusion 

Chili rasbora is a beautiful fish with a vibrant red stripe. It requires warm temperatures and soft acidic water, but it can tolerate a wide range of water conditions, making them suitable for beginner aquarists.

These fish are peaceful and can live with other community fish. However, they are often preyed upon by other fish, so you should research the compatibility of your fish before adding them to your aquarium.

If you are looking for tiny fish that can lighten up your aquarium, chili rasbora is an excellent option.

Credit to : Krish’s Aquariums
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About Dr.Chamika

Hello, I'm Dr. Chamika. I am a Researcher in Water quality, Aquatic organisms, and Environmental chemistry. I am a passionate fish keeper, with10 years of experience. My mission is to help other aquarists experience the joy of fish keeping.