Chili Rasbora: A complete Care guide

There are many Boraras species in the market but aquarists always prefer the Chili Rasbora (Boraras Brigittae), a freshwater fish. This can be owed to its colorful and miniature body, in fact, this is the smallest Boraras in the aquarium market. Apart from being so colorful and small, chili rasboras are very active and have amazing personalities that make watching them school around the aquarium a treat.

Origin of Chilli Rasbora

Discovered in 1973 in the Southwestern Borneo swamps of Indonesia and named Boraras Brigittae by Dieter Vogt. He named it after his wife Brigitte. It started getting called Chili Rasbora or Mosquito Rasbora (because its native homeland is always full of mosquitos). Later in 1993, it was discovered that this fish does not belong to the Rasbora family but to the Boraras genus. From that day onwards it was classified in the Boraras genus.

Their habitat consists of dense vegetation, given its tropical nature. The dense vegetation is home to plankton and other microorganisms which the omnivorous Chili Rasbora feeds on. Their peaceful temperament makes caring for them easy.

Read on to learn more about how to care for this beautiful fish called the Chili Rasbora. 

Scientific NameBoraras Brigittae



The average size of a Chili Rasbora is somewhere close to 0.7 inches. A nano-fish that is commonly found in small aquariums. The size must make you wonder about their prominence in the tank, but their bodies full of color make them very prominent inhabitants of any aquarium.


The Chili Rasbora is a very colorful fish; it sports several different shades of red and pink. Along the length of its body runs a horizontal line where the red hue is quite prominent along with a thick stripe of black. A mesmerizing feature is made visible by that red line being right on top of the black one, making it very prominent. The shades of red are generally more vibrant on males than females.

Apart from these stripes, the male Chili Rasbora has bright red spots on its fins. All the fins are translucent, so these spots appear as if they are floating.

Chili Rasbora
Image Credit: TopicalFishForums

Difference between Males and Females Chili Rasboras:

The difference between males and females is minor. Both genders are tiny, have huge eyes on the head that is one of its characteristic features. They are both round at the center and thin near the tail and head. Apart from these features and the visual aesthetics, female Chili Rasbora is a bit dull when it comes to color, but they are bigger compared to males in terms of size.

Life Span

The Chili Rasbora has a general lifespan of 6-8 years. The time of its death is highly dependent upon the level of care provided to this fish. Although it is a low-maintenance fish, it still requires attention, which will enable it to live a long healthy life.

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The Chili Rasbora is classified as an omnivorous creature, but this fish displays carnivorous traits. It can be classified as a micro predator because it feeds on plankton, insects, worms, and other protein sources.

While in captivity, the Chili Rasbora will feed on anything you give it in the form of pellets and fish flakes. However, it would be helpful to throw in frozen microorganisms like blood worms or baby brine shrimp to boost their protein. An adequate diet will not only keep them happy but will keep them healthy and ensure bright coloration on their body, which will make your aquarium more visually pleasing.

One thing should always be kept in mind, these are nano-fish and pellets would have to be powdered before being thrown in the aquarium or they would not fit in the small mouth of the Chili Rasbora.

Chili Rasboras fact sheet

Behavior and Temperament

The Chili Rasbora are schooling fish, so it is recommended to keep not just one but a small group inside a tank. This school will move around the tank, treating your eyes to a colorful parade from top to bottom.

Chili Rasbora is not generally a shy fish but when introduced to a new environment, it will take them some time to catch their bearings and adjust to their new home. They are known to occupy the top portion of the aquarium but are occasionally known to venture into hiding spots and vegetation to explore their habitat.

Aquarium and Water Parameters

In their native home, the Borneo swamplands of Indonesia, Chili Rasbora live in blackwater streams and pools. Decaying plant life on the base and dense vegetation that prevents sunlight penetration below the water surface provide a natural cover for the Chili Rasbora. The water in their natural habitat has a low pH level, close to 4, and is also not very high on mineral and salt quantity.


A remarkable aspect of this nano-fish is that they do not require a lot of space to live. A 5-gallon tank should be enough for about 5-6 of these fish but an exclusive larger tank is a wonderful aesthetic piece to have around the house. In large schools, showing off their colors is a treat for the eyes.


For an aquarium, the Chili Rasbora will be most happy in a dense, green environment. Where roots are exposed and there are several live plants, which can act as homes for plankton and worms. Java Fern, Anubias, and Java Moss are ideal options for Chili Rasbora tanks. This overgrowth can also provide a shade to block light and mimic the native habitat of the Chili Rasbora. Sand or fine gravel should be used at the bottom to mimic the base of the Indonesian ponds these fish are natives of.

Dense vegetation will provide beautiful shades of color in the upper to the middle section of the tank, where these fish like to swim in groups. Small rays of light penetrating the plants, shining down upon these natural marvels.

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Another neat trick is adding moss to the tank, which releases an organic substance called tannins. This adds a slight tint to the water, further bringing out the beautiful colors of the Chili Rasbora. Not only that, but tannins also help reduce the level of the pathogen, further mimicking the natural habitat of the Chili Rasbora.


The only required equipment is a good quality filter. Care should be taken to maintain low sodium levels. If Chili Rasbora is overfed, they tend to pollute the chili rasbora tank with natural waste. So this is why for large tanks with a considerable population of Chili Rasbora, a filter is recommended with the use of water solutions to prevent the rise in sodium levels.

Filters with high airflow should also be avoided because these microswimmers would not be able to swim with ease in the presence of high flow.

Water Parameters:

Aquarium Size5-gallon
Temperature68-82-degree Fahrenheit
pH4.0-7.0 (6.0 is ideal)
Water Hardness3-12 dKH
Ammonia LevelsLess than 5ppm

Since these fish live in water with deficient mineral and nutrient quantities. It is not recommended to use tap water for filling up the tank, because tap water is full of different sorts of minerals like chlorine, copper, and several others. It is also not wise to use a filter because it will introduce sodium in the tank, which is not favorable for these fish.

The ideal thing to do would be to use distilled water when filling up the tank for Chili Rasbora. If you really have to use tap water, then water conditioning solutions are highly recommended to even the mineral levels.

Tank Mates

Chili Rasbora is a very small and peaceful fish. Their tiny size makes it difficult to keep them with larger fish because they are very easy food for any fish. It is often recommended to keep them with their own kind or with similar small fish.

Best Tank Mates:

chili rasboras tank mates include:

The above and other docile, peaceful, and small tropical fish make the best tank mates for the Chili Rasbora, ones that will not mistake it for food or intimidate it.

Additionally, this fish is friendly towards dwarf shrimp, cherry shrimp, wood shrimp, and any other type of shrimp.

Worst Tank Mates:

Any fish that is aggressive or even large in size because an adult Chili Rasbora does not even go past an inch in size. The small size of a chili rasbora makes it very easy for large fish to mistake it for food.

How to Breed Chili Rasbora?

Unlike other fish, the Chili Rasbora are not at all parental. Given the chance, they will feed on their eggs and fry, so it is recommended to use a separate breeding tank to give the fry a chance at survival.

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Breeding chili rasbora

During the mating period, it becomes clear to differentiate between male and female Chili Rasbora. 

Males develop a bright red color and brighter red and black spots on the dorsal and tail fins. Females become plumper, which indicates that they are carrying eggs.

During mating season, male Chili Rasbora can become very territorial so it is recommended to keep lots of open space for them all to interact with each other freely without fighting for females.

Egg and Fry Care:

When Chili Rasbora form mates, the females start laying eggs on the tank floor. If the eggs get lucky, they will hide in dense vegetation and not become the food of their parents or other tank mates.

The ideal practice for breeding them is keeping a separate breeding tank with a mesh at the bottom, small enough for eggs to fall through but not their parents. This helps save the eggs from being eaten and after the fry hatch, they will also remain safe. The parents will mate and keep on laying eggs for 2-3 days, after which they should be moved back to their tank.

The fry will first feed on their eggshell and once they come out, but later food like infusoria and paramecium will be required until they can find and eat food on their own.

Water conditions should be carefully monitored, as frequent shifting of tanks can result in damage because of sudden changing water conditions.

Chili Rasbora Care Guide
Image Credit: Alchetron

Common Problems:

Some of the common problems these fish can experience are as follows:

  • Bloating 
  • Bloody streaks (Ich)
  • Discolored Scales
  • Fuzzy cotton-like growths
  • Grey spots
  • Lesions
  • Pimples (Ich)
  • Popeye
  • Red streaks
  • Red ulcers
  • Scratching (Ich)

These are symptoms of parasitic or bacterial infections. Usually, isolation treatment is used to remedy any diseases and problems of a Chili Rasboral remedy is isolation and treatment so that other fish do not suffer the same fate.


Q: How many Chili Rasboras in a 5-gallon tank are enough?

Around 5-6, Chili Rasbora can be kept in a 5-gallon tank. However, if you have more than 6 Chili rasboras, we recommend raising the fish tank’s water level using the thumb rule. 

Q: How many Chili Rasboras in a 10-gallon tank would thrive?

Around 11-12 Chili Rasbora can be kept in a 10-gallon tank.

Q: Where to buy Chili Rasbora?

They can be bought at any online fish store for around $6-7 per fish.


We hope you enjoyed reading through this article and that it covered all the questions you had in your mind. If you want a beautiful, live aesthetic decoration piece in your house, then look no further because this is the fish for you!

The Chili Rasbora will bring flair to your aquarium with its colorful body and the way these fish swim around in schools. Fear not for maintenance because these are hardy fish that do not require much effort and in exchange, provide a lot in return for its on-lookers.

2 thoughts on “Chili Rasbora: A complete Care guide”

  1. This Guide would be linkable if only it did not advertise keeping Chilis in 5 Gallons which is way too small. A shoal of 5-6 specimen is also not species-appropriate. It should minimum be 8-10 in 10Gs+.

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