Chili Rasbora Care, Tankmates, Diseases, Breeding And Raising Fry 

Are you wondering if you can have small fish in your tank? Do you want to have colorful fish in a shoal? Then chili rasbora would be one of the best choices for you. Why is chili rasbora is the best choice among hobbyists? All these questions might be striking in your mind.

Red Betta fish
Red Betta fish

Chili rasbora is tiny, shy fish that will swim in groups in your tank. The colorful pattern of chili fish attracts many hobbyist attentions. You can school them in the community tank with the less aggressive fish. Moreover, chili rasbora fish is quite easy to take care of with less effort.

However, you need to be aware of a few things to have them in your aquarium. In this article, I will be mentioning all the factors you should consider while having them.

Quick Facts Of Chili Rasbora

Scientific Name Boraras Brigittae
Origin Borneo
Life span 6 years to 8 years
Color black and red
Size 0.6 inch to 0. 8 inch
Food Omnivorous with a preference for meat
Temperament Peaceful and timid
Care level Medium

Origin Of Chili Rasbora

Chili rasbora was said to be first found in Banjarmasin south of Borneo. Chili rasbora was first named by Dieter Vogt as Rasbora Urophthalama Brigittae in honor of his wife, Briggite.

Boraras is an anagram term of the generic name Rasbora. It is the reverse ratio of caudal vertebrae and abdominal in this genus. We can notice that the name has also come from the Borneo natives calling the fish.

Chili rasbora is also popularly known as mosquito rasbora because when it was discovered, its habitat was full of annoying mosquitos.

Among six species of fish in the Boraras genus, Chili Rasbora is most desirable among the fish keeper.

Behaviour Of Chili Rasbora

Chili rasbora is a very shy and peaceful fish. However, they get comfortable by the time and start exploring.

As they swim on the top and middle part of the aquarium, you can see them swimming in groups. You might be surprised to see them at the bottom sometimes, but that is not common.

Chili rasbora may sometimes be jumpy in the aquarium trying to explore more. Therefore, you should have a tight lid so that you could avoid the risk of losing them. Here Are additional 5 reasons why you should use a lid in an aquarium.

Appearance Of Chili Rasbora

Chili Rasbora is tiny fish among the fish community, but their eye-pleasing coloration is something you can not unsee. Hence, chili rasbora is one of the favourite among the hobbyist.

The intense red color with a dark stripe and tiny darker spots at the caudal and anal fins makes the fish look more beautiful. Moreover, the brilliant crimson band highlights the stripe at the edge.

Besides, male chili rasbora can be distinguished by the red highlights on their anal and dorsal fins.

Habitats Of Chili Rasbora

Chili rasboras are Inhabitat of the Asian region, especially in the southern area of Borneo, Indonesia. But it is believed that the range of living area of Chili Rasbora is wider as it is shown in poorly prepared data.

Chili rasboras are blackwater fish. However, they can also be seen in the freshwater or black type streams and pools as these waters are stained by tannins released by fallen plants and other detritus. As a result, the water is usually acidic and incredibly soft.

The submerged roots and branches allow Chili rasbora plenty of cover to survive.

Tank And Maintenance

As per some hobbyists, Chili rasbora is considered to require a moderate level of effort to keep in closed space. So, there is not much to worry about. Yet there are few things that you must take into account of preparation.

I will be writing about all the requirements and the area where you have to consider much effort.

Tank Size

The five-gallon tank would do fine for your aquarium size if you are planning to welcome your new Chili Rasboras. Also, this size of the tank would do fine for a shoal of five to six chili rasboras.

Therefore, you can set up a 20 liter or five-gallon tank for your Chili Rasbora.

For small tanks like this, I would recommend  GloFish Crescent Aquarium Kit 5 Gallons, which Includes Hidden Blue LED Light And Internal Filter. It is quite affordable and looks incredible!

Water Parameter

Water condition is another factor you should take care of. Following parameters could help you to make a proper environment for your fish to survive.

Factor Minimum Maximum
the pH of the tank water 4 5
General or total hardness of tank water 2 3
Alkalinity or carbonate hardness of tank water 1 3
Water temperature 77 F 82 F

The aquarium may get overheated in sunny locations. Therefore, make sure that the aquarium is not directly in contact with the sun.

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Using Tap Water In Aquarium

Alone tap water cannot be used to resemble the fish’s natural habitat because of difficulty in maintaining the ph level. You will need to blend tap water with reverse osmosis or distilled water to achieve ideal water conditions.

If your home water supply has a water softener then here are the few things you should know.

Water softener tends to have full of ion-exchange resin beads. These resin beads are sodium ions charged which will trade with calcium and magnesium in the water. Hence, the water hardness is reduced and sodium is present in water. Therefore, reverse osmosis or distilled water should be blended with tap water.


Aquascape is all about the tank ambiance for your fish. This might be a little confusing as to how to manage or decorate. Here are a few things you can consider for decorating the aquarium.


You can use a dark substrate to highlight their bright color in the aquarium. Moreover, you can have gravel-based or texture sand as an ideal substrate for your Chili rasbora.

Also, you can add a handful of dried almond leaves with the substrate. This will give a natural habitat vibe as it has a layer of dried leaves on the substrate.


Chili Rasbora belongs to a natural habitat where there is a shade under tree cover. But this does not mean they prefer dark.

But some hobbyists claim that a subdued lighting system is best to adopt for the fish color to look more intensified. A LED aquarium light having a dimming feature could give your fish adjustable lighting experience as per the situation.

The aquarium I mentioned above already has light in it. So, there is one piece of equipment down already.


Plants are another thing you must consider to decorate the tank. You should look for thick or bushy plants that go well in lower levels of water. Slow growing plants and thinner plants would be great for installing the tank.

Make sure you have enough space in between the tank where you shoal of chili rasbora can school together.

Here I will be listing a few plants with their level of effort to maintain.

Plant Difficulty Growth of plant the temperature of tank water the pH of tank water The hardness of tank water  Placement of plant
Bacopa sp. Easy Moderate 59 F to 86 F 5 to 8 3 dKH to 12 dKH Planted in  substrate
Vallisneria  Easy Moderate 63 F to 82 F 6.5 to 8.5 3 dKH to 30dKH Planted
Java moss Easy Moderate 59 F to 86 F 5 to 8 3 dKH to 12 dKH Floating or attached
Java fern Bulletproof Slow 64 F to 86 F 5 to 8 2 dKH to 25 dKH anywhere
Guppy Grass Easy Rapid 50 F to 86 F 6 to 7 2 dKH to 25 dKH Floating planted
Hornwort  Bulletproof Fast 63 F to 86 F 5 to 8 2 dKH to 25 dKH Floating
Salvinia Easy Fast 64 F to 86 F 5 to 8  2 dKH to 25 dKH Floating
Duckweed Easy Moderate 59 F to 86 F 3 to 8 0 dKH to 25 dKH Floating

Tank Mates For Chili Rasbora

As you know, Chili rasbora is a timid and peaceful fish, you should choose the fish as per the fish’s nature. Considering its size disadvantage, you should not pair them up with very large and aggressive fish which could harass the Chili rasbora.

If you are new to fish keeping, then here I will make it easy by listing a few of the fish that can pair up together.

Compatible Tankmates

Here are the few fish that can be shoal together in the tank.

  • Neon tetras
  • Ember tetra
  • Pygmy Cory
  • Scarlet Bandis
  • Indonesian super dwarf fish
  • Dwarf pencil fish
  • Small Catfish
  • Sparkling Gourami
  • Chocolate gourami
  • Celestial pearl Danios
  • Dwarf cichlids
  • Minors
  • Toucan tetra
  • Black Darter Tetra
  • Licorice Gourami
  • Honey Gourami
  • Axelrod Rasbora
  • Threadfin Rainbowfish
  • Other rasboras
  • Otocinclus

Another invertebrate as good tankmates:

  • Dwarf shrimp
  • Aquatic snail
  • Freshwater Pom Pom Crabs
  • Cherry shrimps
  • Amano shrimp
  • Wood shrimps
  • Mystery Snails

Incompatible Tankmates

The larger and aggressive fish are to be avoided strictly as said before. Bettas and angelfish should not be in the tank as tank mates if you do not want your Rasbora to be under stress.

Therefore, not to harm the immune system and not to compromise the health of rasbora, do not choose aggressive fish.

How To Care For Chili Rasbora?

You will not have much trouble in taking care of Chili Rasbora fish. However, you check upon the feeding, filtration, and health issues.


Chili rasbora is omnivorous which means that they will eat vegetable plants and meaty food. Arrangement of food for chili rasbora is not hard but what makes it not easy is to make food size available for this tiny fish.

What Can You Feed To Chili Rasbora?

When it comes to feeding chili rasbora, always think about what you can feed to a tiny fry.

Live food would be an excellent choice to feed your chili rasbora. A few of them are listed below for your convenience.

But sometimes for you, live food may not be available always. You can have frozen foods as an alternative. However, the frozen food needs to be chopped into very small pieces to let chili rasbora be able to take a bite.

What Size Of Food Can Be Served?

Chili Rasbora fish is really tiny that you may sometimes get trouble in feeding the right size. Here, I have made it easy with a proper ratio as per the size of the Chili Rasbora fish.

Size of food Fish age
Food size ranging from 100 to 150-micron size Small Chili Rasbora Fry
Food under 500-micron size Small Chili Rasbora Adult fish
Foods below 800-micron size Full Grown Adult Chili Rasbora

Make sure you feed your chili rasbora twice a day. Therefore, you can choose small meals 2 times a day rather than feeding a large meal.

But, in case you are unable to feed your fish twice a day due to your work you use an automatic fish feeder with a timer.

Petbank Automatic Fish Feeder is a Programmable Moisture-Proof Electric Auto Fish Feeder for Aquarium Tank with Timer. This Feeder can be used for Vacations and Weekends to dispense Fish Food.


Since chili rasbora is extremely sensitive to infection and health issues, you must be very alert in this matter. I have listed out major diseases and infections along with the symptoms so that you will be aware and act.

Disease  Symptoms Causes
Fungal Infection
  • Growth of cotton on body fins eyes or gills
  • Stress
  • Poor water quality
  • Untreated injury
Bacterial Infection
  • Red ulcers
  • Popped eye
  • Bloated
  • Fuzzy growths
  • Bad food consumption
  • Inappropriate water parameter
  • Stress
  • Popped off scales
  • Greyish spot
  • Lesions on back and mouth
  • Discolored scales
  • Flavbacterium Columnare(Bacteria)
Ich (white spot disease)
  • White spots
  • Bloody streaks or redness
  • Scratching
  • Ichthyophthirius (Parasite)

Sign Of Good Health Condition

If you see your fish schooling around the tank then that is a green sign. Also, you can see them dart in and out of the vegetation that you have installed in the tank.

Action That Can Be Taken For Any Infection

  • You can separate the affected fish and dose the water with antifungal treatment.
  • Also, raise the temperature to 82 F for at least three days with white spot disease treatment.

Filtration (Tank Maintenance)

Tank or aquarium cleanliness is the main factor you should take care of properly. Therefore, you should clean the tank from substrate-level to water level.

Here I will discuss the factors you should be considering while filtration.

Clean The Substrate

The fish might not eat all the food which you have served. Hence, the leftover may be stuck on the substrate. Not only that the fish waste and decaying plant matter could also be stuck under the substrate and beneath the filter.

Therefore, you must clean all the waste and leftovers from the substrate which will allow them a healthier environment in the tank. As a result, the water will be free from the risk of getting toxic due to the ammonia produced by the decomposition of waste.

Partial Water Change

Sometimes even after cleaning the substrate, the water might possess some level of ammonia, nitrate, and nitrates. Therefore, I highly recommend to all the hobbyists to change the water about 10 percent to 15 percent weekly.

Hence, the water will have an acceptable level of ammonia nitrates and nitrate that is below 20 ppm nitrates and zero levels of nitrites and ammonia.

Choosing Filter

When you think of selecting the filter make sure you choose the one which does not move the water hard. The sponge filter would be a wonderful choice as it provides less movement in the water.

Hikari sponge filters are the choice of many aquarists I know.

However, if that does not work well then you could also plant it in the tank that will help to buffer the flow of water.

Breeding Of Chili Rasbora

A thought of breeding Chili Rasbora might have struck in your mind, right? Breeding Chili Rasbora is not difficult in the closed space or the home aquarium. Besides, there are few things you must be ready for be prepared for breeding Chili Rasbora.


  • Identify the male and female Chili Rasbora (fish having darker black and red highlights on the tail and dorsal fins are male)
  • Place another bowl or tank for breeding sized 2 to 5 gallon
  • Use the water as per the required parameter as mentioned above.
  • Also, use some driftwood for placing them in the breeding tank.


You can see the spawning or breeding activities once Chili rasbora is mature. The male seems to appear darker and have red highlights whereas the female seems puffed up.

You can see them chasing each other but no need to worry about it. And after some time, you would see your Chili rasbora laying the egg that falls at the bottom.

Make sure you have placed enough driftwood and plants so that eggs are safe from the parents. Parents are more likely to eat the fry or eggs. Therefore, you should move the parents once they are done spawning.

Hatching Of Egg

If you succeed in saving eggs from the parents eating them then within 36 to 72 hours (about 3 days), the eggs hatch. And in the next 36 to 48 hours (about 2 days), you can see fry swimming in your tank.

Raising Chili Rasbora Fry

In order to raise the Chili Rasbora fry, you may take care of the following things:

Feeding Fry

As you can see that the fry is exceedingly small that you must be incredibly careful while you feed chili rasbora fry. You can feed the free-swimming fry with infusoria sized food. Live food would be best if you can culture infusoria and paramecium.

And, after around two weeks, Chili rasbora fry is now capable of eating larger food. Therefore, you can get micro worms, baby brine, and vinegar eels to feed them for their good health.

Tank Shifting

You can keep the egg and fry in the same breeding tank until they are grown up. However, you will need to shift the fry to a bigger tank or aquarium away from their parents. You have to shift fry after two weeks when they can eat larger food. And by the next three months, you should better shift them to the main tank.

If you have come this far then in about the next four-month, your Chili Rasbora fish is ready to breed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Chili Rasbora Live With Bettas?

It is quite impossible to pair chili rasbora with the betta fish. The nature of betta is opposite to the chili rasbora. However, if it is the smaller bettas rather than Splendens ones, then it is fine. Otherwise, I would not recommend pairing them with bettas.

What Is The Reason Behind Chili Rasbora Preferring The Numerous Plants?

The reason behind the chili rasbora wanting more plants and vegetation is that their natural habitat is full of such an environment.

On the other hand, the natural vegetation allows them to save them from overheat and light. Moreover, chili rasbora also gets benefited by the lush plant having the feature of natural filtration of water. Also, they enjoy swimming through the plentiful aquatic vegetation. 

Can You Have More Than One Chili Rasbora In The Tank? 

Chili rasbora is a tiny fish that would prefer to be with its own kind. Chili rasbora can be grouped with at least 6 of them as per the hobbyists. As they are designed to be in groups so they thrive and can have stability and security in groups of their own kind. 

Therefore, you should have more chili rasbora in the tank which will brighten their mood and you will have great and healthy fish. 


Chili rasbora is a tiny shy fish. You would want at least six to eight of them in your tank. However, you can add more if you have a bigger tank. 

Chili rasbora is the best choice if you are looking for a tiny and colorful fish. The fish can be grouped with other fish as well in a community tank. Moreover, the fish can be easily taken care of as they require less effort.  

Also, the fish is so beautiful that you would want them more in your tank which can be achieved by breeding. If you do as per the guidelines mentioned above, you can easily breed and make your tank full of Chili Rasbora.

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