Chili Rasbora – Care, Tank Mates, Feeding & Full Details!

Chili Rasbora, or Boraras brigittae, often misnamed as Mosquito Rasbora, is an enchanting tropical freshwater fish that boasts a delightful burst of color.

Despite the persistent Rasbora tag, the Chili Rasbora isn’t a true Rasbora species, reflecting its intriguing history that originates from the slow-moving streams and ponds of Southeast Borneo.

These exquisite fishes, also known by their trade name, Mosquito Rasbora, present a unique, exciting challenge for aquarium enthusiasts. They’re relatively simple to care for, but they come with a few rigorous requirements that are vital to achieving their vibrant potential.

Embarking on the journey of aquarium keeping often leads enthusiasts to the discovery of exotic, beautiful creatures.

One such discovery is the Chili Rasbora (Boraras brigittae), a small yet vibrant tropical freshwater fish that is gaining significant popularity in the aquarist world.

Whether you’re a seasoned aquarist or a novice starting your first tank, this comprehensive guide will provide the essential information you need for successful Chili Rasbora care.

Quick Stats About Chili Rasbora

Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Peaceful
Color: Red and black
Lifespan: 4-5 years
Size: .6-.8 inch
Diet: Omnivore/Micropredator
Family: Characidae
Minimum Tank Size: 6-8 gallons for a school of 8-10
Tank Setup: Densely planted freshwater
Compatibility: Peaceful community

Appearance of Chili Rasbora

Chili Rasboras, or Boraras brigittae, are undoubtedly the star of any aquarium with their fiery and enchanting beauty.

These freshwater fish exhibit a radiant mix of bold red and subtle pink shades throughout their slender bodies, making them an aesthetic delight to watch.

As their name suggests, their vibrant red coloration resembles a fiery chili, making them stand out in any aquatic environment.

Interestingly, the level of vibrancy differs between males and females, with males showcasing a brighter and more dazzling color palette.

Male Chili Rasboras boast prominent red spots on their dorsal, anal, and tail fins, adding to their visual appeal.

Despite their diminutive size of approximately 0.7 inches (1.7 cm), their vivid colors and striking appearance make them impossible to overlook.

This characteristic, coupled with their active and social behavior, renders them a captivating addition to your freshwater aquarium.

Natural Habitat of Chili Rasbora

The Chili Rasbora’s natural habitat is a critical factor that shapes its behavior, dietary preferences, and care requirements. They are native to the blackwater rivers and slow-moving streams of Southeast Borneo.

These bodies of water are typically stained brown with tannins from decaying plant matter, including fallen leaves and twigs.

The environment is usually dimly lit due to dense forest canopy overhead, which provides these fish with shelter and protection from predators. The water is soft and acidic, and the temperature ranges between 68°F to 82°F, with an ideal point around 74°F.

To mimic this environment in your aquarium, consider using dark substrates and installing floating plants that offer shade and shelter.

Also, maintain a soft acidic water condition similar to their natural habitat for optimal health and color vibrancy.

Origin and Distribution of Chili Rasbora

Originating from the freshwater bodies of Southeast Borneo, Chili Rasboras are native to Indonesia, specifically the Barito river basin.

The species’ popularity in the fishkeeping community has seen them distributed worldwide for aquarium use. Despite their extensive distribution for aquarium trade, these enchanting creatures remain a valuable part of their native ecosystems.

As an enthusiast, it’s crucial to be aware of the importance of sourcing Chili Rasboras from responsible breeders.

This ensures not only the health and vibrancy of the fish you bring into your aquarium but also the sustainability and preservation of their wild populations.

Growth, Size, and Lifespan of Chili Rasbora

Chili Rasboras are small in size, reaching a maximum length of around 0.7 inches (1.7 cm) at maturity. These diminutive fish are often referred to as “nano” fish due to their petite stature, yet they are big on personality.

Despite their small size, their vibrant colors and active demeanor give them a commanding presence in any aquarium.

Chili Rasboras’ growth rate can be influenced by various factors, including the quality of care, diet, and water conditions.

With a well-maintained environment and a balanced diet, they can reach their full size within a few months.

In terms of lifespan, Chili Rasboras have a relatively short life span compared to larger fish species. They typically live for 4 to 8 years.

The key to maximizing their lifespan lies in maintaining optimal water conditions, minimizing stress, and providing a balanced and nutritious diet.

Remember, a healthy Chili Rasbora is a long-living Chili Rasbora.

The captivating Chili Rasbora is an exciting journey in tropical fishkeeping. With its enchanting coloration and intriguing nature, it’s a perfect addition for those looking to bring life, beauty, and dynamism into their aquarium.

Behavior and Temperament of Chili Rasbora

Chili Rasboras are small but active and social creatures. Their lively and amicable nature is one of the main reasons they’re a popular choice for many aquarium enthusiasts.

They are known to swim in schools, often darting around the aquarium in a coordinated, captivating display.

Being peaceful by nature, Chili Rasboras are not typically aggressive or territorial, making them excellent inhabitants for community tanks.

However, they do appreciate having their own kind around, and keeping them in groups of at least 6 to 10 helps stimulate their natural social behavior.

In spite of their small size, these colorful fish are bold and adventurous, often exploring their surroundings with curiosity.

However, they do appreciate hiding spots for moments of rest and if they feel threatened.

Chili Rasbora Tank Setup

Setting up the perfect tank for your Chili Rasbora involves taking care of several factors that emulate their natural habitat.

Here’s a detailed overview of how to create an environment where your Chili Rasboras will thrive.

Tank Size

While Chili Rasboras are small, they require enough space to swim and display their natural schooling behavior. A 10-gallon tank is typically the minimum size recommended for these active fish.

If you plan to have a larger school of Chili Rasboras or add other species, a larger tank will be required.


To mimic the dark river beds of their native habitat, consider using a dark-colored substrate like black sand or fine gravel. Not only will this contrast beautifully with the fish’s vibrant colors, but it will also make them feel more at home.

Decorations and Hiding Spots

Providing ample hiding spots is crucial for the well-being of your Chili Rasbora. Live plants, driftwood, and caves offer excellent refuges. Moreover, floating plants can help recreate the shaded environment of their native waters.

Water Parameters

Maintaining the correct water parameters is crucial for the health and happiness of your fish. Chili Rasboras prefer soft, slightly acidic water, with a pH between 4.0 and 7.0, and a hardness of up to 10 dGH.

The water temperature should be maintained between 68°F to 82°F, ideally around 74°F.

Filtration and Aeration

Chili Rasboras come from slow-moving waters, so the current in your tank should be gentle. Choose a filter that’s efficient but doesn’t create a strong current.

Also, ensure that the tank is well-oxygenated. While Chili Rasboras aren’t particularly demanding when it comes to aeration, proper oxygen levels will keep them healthy.


These fish are used to somewhat dimly lit environments, so it’s best to opt for subdued lighting in your tank. This, along with floating plants, can help recreate the shaded, peaceful environment of a Borneo stream.

Tank Mates

Being peaceful and social, Chili Rasboras get along well with other similar-sized, non-aggressive fish.

Suitable tank mates include small Tetras, Danios, and other Rasboras. Avoid larger, aggressive fish that might bully or eat them.


Chili Rasboras are omnivorous, enjoying a diet of both plant-based foods and small, meaty foods. High-quality flakes or micro pellets can be the staple of their diet, supplemented with live or frozen foods like daphnia or brine shrimp for added nutrition.

Tank Maintenance of Chili Rasbora

The health and happiness of your Chili Rasbora greatly depend on the condition of their aquatic environment. With proper tank maintenance, you ensure their surroundings remain clean, safe, and comfortable.

Let’s dive into the critical aspects of tank upkeep.

Water Changes

Regular water changes are a must for all aquariums, and your Chili Rasbora tank is no exception. About 25% of the water should be replaced every two weeks.

This keeps the water fresh and prevents harmful toxins from building up. Remember to match the temperature and pH of the new water to the existing tank water to avoid shocking your fish.

Cleaning the Tank and Decorations

Keep the tank and its decorations clean to prevent the buildup of algae and other unwanted substances. Cleaning the tank glass with an algae magnet or scraper will keep it clear and sparkling. Decorations and plants should be gently cleaned as needed, ensuring to remove any algae without damaging the items or disturbing your fish.

Filter Maintenance

A clean filter is crucial for the health of your fish. Depending on the type of filter you have, maintenance can involve rinsing the filter media or replacing it. It’s recommended to check and clean the filter every month. Avoid using soap or any harsh cleaning chemicals, as these can be harmful to your fish.

Monitor Fish Health

Finally, always keep an eye on the health of your Chili Rasboras. Healthy fish should have vibrant colors, clear eyes, and be active swimmers. Monitor their eating habits and watch for any changes in behavior. Should you notice anything unusual, it’s best to consult an aquarium professional or a vet who specializes in fish.

Maintaining an aquarium might seem like a daunting task, but with regular care and attention, it becomes a manageable routine.

Your Chili Rasboras will thank you with their brilliant colors and energetic displays.

Acclimate Chili Rasbora

Acclimating Chili Rasbora to a new aquarium environment is a process that demands your careful attention. It’s a key step to ensure their transition to a new home goes as smoothly as possible.

Here’s a simple step-by-step guide to acclimating your Chili Rasbora:

  1. Temperature Balancing: Begin by placing the unopened bag in which your fish arrived in the aquarium for about 15-20 minutes. This step helps balance the temperature between the water inside the bag and your tank, reducing thermal shock.

  2. Drip Acclimation: The next step involves gradually introducing tank water into the bag over a 30-minute period. Adding a small amount of water every five minutes allows your new Chili Rasbora to become accustomed to the water parameters of their new home. This method, known as drip acclimation, reduces the risk of chemical shock.

  3. Safe Transfer: After acclimation, gently move your Chili Rasbora into the tank using a net, being careful to avoid any water from the bag entering the tank.

Remember, the key to successful acclimation is patience. Hurrying can lead to stress and potential health issues for your Chili Rasbora.

Feeding Your Chili Rasbora

Chili Rasbora thrive on a well-rounded diet that provides all the essential nutrients. To maintain their vibrant colors and good health, follow these feeding guidelines:

Diverse Diet is Key

Chili Rasbora are omnivorous, requiring a diet that includes both plant and animal sources. A varied diet ensures they receive all the necessary nutrients for optimal health.

  • Flake and Pellet Foods: High-quality flake or pellet foods formulated for tropical fish make an excellent base for your Chili Rasbora’s diet. These are packed with nutrients and are easy for these small fish to consume.

  • Live and Frozen Foods: In addition to commercial feeds, supplement their diet with live or frozen foods such as daphnia, brine shrimp, and bloodworms. These provide essential proteins and help stimulate natural foraging behavior.

  • Plant Matter: Finally, include some vegetable matter or algae-based foods in their diet. Spirulina flakes are a good option.

Feeding Frequency and Quantity

As a rule of thumb, feed your Chili Rasbora 1-2 times daily. Only provide as much food as they can consume within 2-3 minutes. Overfeeding can lead to poor water quality and health problems.

Keep in mind that these guidelines are just starting points. Observing your fish’s behavior and adjusting their diet accordingly is essential for their well-being.

Ideal Tank Mates for Chili Rasbora

Building a compatible community tank involves careful selection of tank mates for your Chili Rasbora. Because of their peaceful temperament and small size, Chili Rasbora can coexist comfortably with many other species.

Ideal tank mates include:

  1. Neon Tetra: These vibrant fish are peaceful, similarly-sized, and prefer the same water parameters as Chili Rasbora, making them an excellent choice.

  2. Harlequin Rasbora: This species is a bit larger but is equally peaceful and can happily share a tank with Chili Rasbora.

  3. Small Corydoras Catfish: These bottom dwellers, such as the Pygmy Cory, won’t compete for space with your Chili Rasbora and will help keep the tank clean.

  4. Small Danios: Fish like the Celestial Pearl Danio share a similar temperament and size, making them a suitable companion for Chili Rasbora.

  5. Shrimp and Snails: Invertebrates like Cherry Shrimp and Nerite Snails can add diversity to your tank without posing a threat to your Chili Rasbora.

Tank Mates to Avoid

To maintain a stress-free environment, there are a few types of fish you should avoid housing with Chili Rasbora:

  1. Large Predatory Fish: Species such as Oscar Fish, Arowana Fish, and large Cichlids see small fish as food and can cause harm to your Chili Rasbora.

  2. Aggressive Species: Fish with aggressive tendencies, like Bettas or Tiger Barbs, can bully and stress your peaceful Chili Rasbora.

  3. Bottom-Dwelling Gobies: Certain gobies can become territorial and may see Chili Rasbora as intruders.

  4. Large Catfish: Species like the Common Pleco can accidentally harm your Chili Rasbora due to their size and activity level.

  5. Fast and Competitive Fish: Very active species such as the Zebra Danio might outcompete Chili Rasbora for food and can cause undue stress.

Breeding Chili Rasbora and Nurturing Fry

Encouraging Chili Rasbora to breed and taking care of the resultant fry can be an incredibly rewarding part of fish keeping.

Here’s a detailed guide:

Preparing for Breeding

  1. Separate Breeding Tank: Set up a separate 10-gallon breeding tank with a sponge filter to maintain gentle water flow.

  2. Optimal Conditions: Maintain water parameters similar to their natural habitat, with temperature at 78-82°F and a slightly acidic pH.

  3. Diet: Feed a high-protein diet, including live or frozen foods, to condition your Chili Rasbora for breeding.

The Breeding Process

  1. Identifying Sexes: Females are generally larger and rounder, while males are more colorful. Place a pair or a small group of both sexes in the breeding tank.

  2. Spawning: With the right conditions and diet, females will lay their eggs on the underside of broad leaves or on the tank floor. Males will fertilize the eggs shortly after.

Fry Care

  1. Parental Removal: Post-spawning, remove the adults from the breeding tank to prevent them from eating the eggs.

  2. Hatching: Eggs should hatch within 24-48 hours, with fry becoming free swimming in about three days.

  3. Feeding the Fry: Initially, feed the fry infusoria or commercially available fry foods. Gradually introduce micro worms and baby brine shrimp as they grow.

Remember, breeding Chili Rasbora requires patience and attention. Ensure to monitor the process carefully for the best chances of success.

Signs of Stress in Chili Rasbora

Your Chili Rasbora’s behavior can tell you a lot about its health. A stressed fish may exhibit changes in activity, eating habits, and appearance.

Some telltale signs include:

  1. Decreased Activity: If your Chili Rasbora seems less lively or hides more than usual, this could be a sign of stress.

  2. Changes in Eating Habits: A sudden decrease in appetite can indicate that something is not right.

  3. Changes in Appearance: Stress can result in pale color, clamped fins, or visible spots and patches on the body.

  4. Erratic Swimming: If your Chili Rasbora starts swimming in an unusual manner, it might be under stress.

Common Health Issues and Treatments

Every fish species can face certain health issues.

For Chili Rasbora, these include:

  1. Ich: Also known as White Spot Disease, ich appears as tiny white spots on the fish’s body and fins. Treat it by gradually raising the tank temperature and adding a recommended Ich treatment.

  2. Fin Rot: This condition, often caused by poor water quality, results in fraying or discolouration of fins. Improve water conditions and consider using a fin rot treatment.

  3. Bacterial Infections: Various symptoms like ulcers or spots can indicate bacterial infections. Specialized antibacterial medications can be effective in these cases.

  4. Parasitic Infestations: Flukes and worms can harm your Chili Rasbora. Antiparasitic treatments will be required to address these infestations.

boraras brigittae mosquito rasbora cover

Additional Tips for a Healthy Aquarium

Maintaining the health of your Chili Rasbora involves more than just watching for signs of stress or disease.

Here are some additional tips:

  1. Monitor Water Conditions: Regularly test your aquarium water to ensure it meets the required parameters for your Chili Rasbora.

  2. Maintain Tank Cleanliness: Regularly clean your tank and carry out water changes to prevent the build-up of harmful substances.

  3. Feed a Balanced Diet: Providing a variety of nutritious foods helps keep your fish healthy and reduces the risk of dietary deficiencies.

Why Choose Chili Rasbora?

Chili Rasbora are an excellent addition to your aquarium due to their vibrant colour, peaceful nature, and manageable size. They can add life and movement to your tank without requiring extensive care or large amounts of space.

However, keep in mind their specific needs in terms of water parameters, diet, and tankmates to ensure they thrive.

If you can provide a well-maintained tank environment and enjoy observing the complex social behaviors of schooling fish, Chili Rasbora could be the perfect choice for you.

Conservation Status

As of my knowledge, The Chili Rasbora is not on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

These fish are native to Borneo’s freshwater habitats, where they enjoy relatively stable populations. However, it’s always good practice to buy from responsible and sustainable sources to ensure that wild populations remain healthy.

Availability and Pricing

Chili Rasboras are generally available at most pet stores and online aquarium sites due to their popularity in the aquarium hobby. The price for a Chili Rasbora varies based on location and supplier, but they are generally affordable.

The price often falls in the range of $2 to $5 per fish. Buying in larger numbers may also get you a discount, considering these fish prefer to live in schools.

featured image chili rasbora

Frequently Asked Questions About Chili Rasbora

Q: How many Chili Rasboras should be kept together?

A: Chili Rasboras are schooling fish, so a group of at least six is recommended. However, larger groups will make the fish feel safer and more at ease.

Q: What is the ideal tank size for Chili Rasbora?

A: Despite their small size, Chili Rasboras thrive in tanks of at least 10 gallons due to their active, schooling nature.

Q: Can Chili Rasboras live with Betta fish?

A: Yes, as long as the Betta is not overly aggressive. Chili Rasboras are peaceful and small enough not to threaten the Betta, making them suitable tankmates.

Q: How long do Chili Rasboras live?

A: With proper care and under ideal conditions, Chili Rasboras can live for up to five years.

Wrapping Up: Conclusion

The Chili Rasbora, with its striking coloration and peaceful nature, can be a sparkling addition to your aquarium. Their easy-care level and community-friendly behavior make them perfect even for beginners.

Though they have specific water and dietary needs, if provided with the right conditions, they’ll thrive and bring constant action and color to your aquarium.

Just remember, every fish is a responsibility, so ensure you’re prepared to offer the right environment and care that these wonderful creatures need.