The Essential Guide to Chili Rasbora Care: Tank Size, Diet, Mates & More

The Chili Rasbora is a beautiful, colorful, peaceful fish that is perfect for any tank. Scroll down to read our care guide.

Chili Rasbora – Quick Facts

In a rush? Check out the quick facts about Chili Rasbora below.

Fish Info

Scientific NameBoraras brigittae
Common NamesChili rasbora, mosquito rasbora
AppearanceSmall, translucent fins, red, slender, large-eyed
DifficultyCaring for the Chili Rasbora is pretty easy, even for beginners.
DistributionThe chili rasbora is found in southwestern Borneo, Indonesia, in peat swamps.
LifespanChili rasboras have a lifespan of four to five years.
ShoalingThe chili rasbora is a shoaling fish.
TemperamentThe temperament of chili rasbora is peaceful and timid.
Keep in Groups ofAt least six.
Tank MatesCherry Barbs, Harlequin Rasboras, Zebra Danios, Neon Tetras, gouramis, cory catfish, pearl danios, Phoenix and Pygmy Rasbora, Celestial pearl danios, Otocinclus, Sparkling gouramis
DietChili rasboras are micro predators that feed on microscopic sources of protein like plankton, underwater insects and worms, and more.
Length0.7 inches
Sexual DimorphismFemales are rounder-bellied, while males have darker black and red highlights on their fins and bodies.
Breeding DifficultyChili rasboras are egg scatterers and readily breed in captivity.

Water/Tank Recommendations

Water TypeThe chili rasbora is a freshwater fish.
Water TemperatureThe ideal water temperature for chili rasboras is 25-28°C (77-82°F).
Water pHThe ideal water pH for chili rasboras is 4.0-7.0.
Water HardnessThe ideal water hardness for chili rasboras is 1-6 dH.
Tank sizeThe minimum tank size for chili rasboras is 5 gallons, and the recommended tank size is 10 gallons.


The chili rasbora is a beautiful freshwater species that is low-maintenance to care for. They’re also quite popular among aquarists, which means you can find them at most pet stores (and at reasonable prices).

This fish is an active swimmer and shoaler that makes a great addition to your tank. Their bright coloration really livens up the aquarium!

In this guide, we will cover the essentials of chili rasbora care so you can learn everything you need before buying some for yourself.

About Chili Rasbora

One of the most colorful freshwater species in the trade. Hailing from Borneo, Indonesia, and peat swamps that are filled with tannins, this fish stands out against any background.

In fact, it’s been said that they can be more eye-catching than some of their larger relatives!

This small schooling fish has a lot to offer regarding personality. They tend to be playful and active creatures who will spend most of their time darting around your tank looking for food. When you combine this activity level with their attractive looks, it makes them fun to watch.


The most distinguishing feature of the chili rasbora is its bright red color. It covers their entire body, with a slight shimmer to it when light hits it just right. The fins are translucent and thin, which makes the red stand out even more!

On top of this eye-catching base color, you can find some black spots on the dorsal and anal fin that enhance their appearance further. These aren’t very large (unlike how they appear in pictures) but add an extra bit of flair to their look.

Their Length

The average length of a healthy chili rasbora is 0.7 inches, which makes them very small!

Their size makes them perfect for nano tanks (small aquariums). So if you have one of these smaller setups and want some color in it, this species could be just what you’re looking for.

NOTE: Some of the variations are even smaller than this. For example, the smallest red-finned variety is only about 0.4 inches long!


The average lifespan of a healthy chili rasbora is four to five years. This assumes that the fish are being kept in optimal living conditions.

The type of water you provide, as well as tank size and quality, will impact how long your fish live.

Fish kept in dirty, poorly maintained tanks are at risk for health issues that could shorten their lifespan considerably. The same is true of fish living in tanks with poor water quality.

Sexual Dimorphism

As we mentioned earlier, the male version of the chili rasbora is much more colorful than its female counterpart. The females are thicker in their build and have more rounded bellies compared to males.

You can also tell males from females when it comes time for breeding because they scatter their eggs freely as opposed to keeping them close by like most fish do. This makes it easier to differentiate between sexes.


The habitat of this species is in peat swamps in the southwestern part of Borneo. These fish adapt well to aquarium life, but they do best with water that resembles their native waters. Peat swamps are typically stained brown by tannic acid from decaying plant matter and dead animal matter on the floor of the swamp.

The water often has a low pH level due to decaying organic material and may be slightly brackish because of its connection to the ocean (or at least a large body of saltwater). The water temperature is usually warm, which makes it perfect for growing plants.

Caring for Chili Rasbora

Because of their hardy nature, caring for chili rasboras is not too challenging. Compared to other types of aquarium fish, these little critters are pretty low on the difficulty scale!

However, there are some important things you need to do in order to ensure that your fish stay healthy and have a long life.

Here’s what you need to know:

Chili rasboras prefer warm water temperatures in the range of 25 to 28 degrees Celsius. While they can tolerate some cooler temps, this will negatively impact their health and lifespan significantly.

These fish are not strong swimmers. They’re better at navigating murky waters with little current rather than fast-moving streams that other fish might be used to! To keep your chili rasboras happy, you need to take this into account when planning out your tank setup. Try using plants or decor that slows down any currents so these tiny fish don’t feel overwhelmed.


The ideal diet for chili rasboras is mostly protein-based. They feed on small sources of plankton, insects, and worms in their native habitat.

You can provide various foods that contain plenty of vitamins and nutrients to help your fish thrive. Chili rasboras will eat flakes or pellets if you prefer to stick with a more traditional feeding method. However, they also enjoy live food like brine shrimp and bloodworms the most.

How Often & How Much to Feed Them

You’ll have to feed these fish once a day. Aim for small portions of food (don’t overfeed). The amount you give them should be smaller than the size of their bodies.

They’re micro predators, so they feed mostly on small protein sources. They can survive off of live food sources and top-notch dry foods.

You can give them bloodworms or baby brine shrimp as a source of protein. Another good option is daphnia.

Possible Diseases

Chili rasboras are hardy and very resistant to diseases. However, they can experience some common ailments such as ich or fin rot. Ich is a parasitic disease that causes white spots all over the body of the fish.

Fin rot occurs when fins become infected due to poor water conditions. If you notice either of these problems, quarantine your fish and provide plenty of clean freshwater for treatment.

Other common diseases include bacterial infections, fungal issues, and stress-related problems. The good news is that all of these conditions are easily avoided with proper care.

Tank Setup

Chili rasboras, like most other freshwater species, prefer a natural environment. The fish are adaptable to varying water conditions and are undemanding when it comes to tank requirements.

To give the fish optimal living conditions, do as much research on their natural habitat as possible. This will help you replicate these settings in your aquarium.

When planning your tank setup for chili rasboras or any other fish species, consider what they would have encountered in the wild. Start with a layer of soft sand at the bottom of the aquarium (this mimics riverbeds). Add some driftwood branches to simulate fallen trees that pepper riversides and streams in Southeast Asia. You can also add plastic plants and leaves into this mix as well, although your fish will prefer real ones.

Aquarium Size

The minimum tank size for chili rasboras is 5 gallons, and the recommended tank size is 10 gallons. Though, we recommend going a little bit bigger if you have the space so that these small fish feel comfortable when they swim around your room.

If you plan on keeping more than one in your aquarium (we believe you should), it’s always best to give them as much extra space as possible. The more area there is to explore, the happier these fish will be.

Water Conditions

The best water conditions for chili rasboras are around 77 – 82 degrees Fahrenheit and a pH level of 4.0 – 7.0. The fish also prefer soft water with a hardness rating of 1-6 dH.

The red coloration can be affected by hard water, so if you notice your fish getting paler it might be time to test the waters!

Adding some water conditioners to the mix can help as well.

NOTE: It’s very important to test your aquarium water regularly and keep consistency with temperatures between 25 and 28 degrees Celsius. This is something that many fish owners forget about, but it can have a huge impact on their health.


One of the most significant water parameters to manage for good fish health. The ideal pH levels for chili rasbora should be 4.0-7.0, which means you need to be extra careful when maintaining the tank water quality and condition.

The temperature

The most favorable water temperature for chili rasbora is 25-28°C (77-82°F).

Since this fish is native to warm waters, it’s recommended to keep the temperature on the higher end of this spectrum. Keeping the temperature consistent and within these recommended ranges provides the best results.

NOTE: Drastic temperature changes are known to cause stress and make fish more susceptible to disease.

Try to keep things consistent and within the recommended ranges listed above.

Also, make sure to invest in a high-quality thermometer that can provide accurate readings (even tiny fluctuations can stress out your fish).


The recommended water hardness level is 1-6 dH. The lower end of that range is best, as the fish are more likely to be found in waters with a low hardness level.

Keep in mind that hard water can lead to scale loss on these fish. While this isn’t something you need to worry about causing death, it’s definitely something worth avoiding if possible.

NOTE: It’s important to remember that the recommended water hardness level for chili rasboras is not set in stone. Some aquarists have had success keeping these fish in harder waters and others have seen cases where they needed less hardness than the recommended range.


The best filtration system you can get for a small tank is an internal filter. These filters are designed to handle smaller tanks and spaces, so they’re perfect for this kind of fish!

The main thing you want to look out for when buying a new one is the flow rate. Because these fish have tiny bodies, too much current from the filter could easily sweep them into oblivion. Choose something with adjustable settings so that you can dial it back just enough to keep your chili rasbora safe.

Aquarium Plants

Chili rasboras do well with plants in their environment. Some popular choices are floating plants, Java moss, and hornwort.

Plants can help the aquarium environment by providing a place for the fish to hide. They also keep nitrogen levels low, making it easier for other species living in the tank.

Behavior and Compatibility

Chili rasboras are peaceful and get along well with other similar-sized fish. However, they do not do well in community tanks with large or aggressive species.

These little fish can easily be bullied by larger or more aggressive tank mates, so you need to consider compatibility when planning your aquarium ecosystem. The best bet is to keep them with similarly sized, non-aggressive freshwater species that aren’t bigger than the Chili Rasbora’s 0.7-inch length!

Cardinal Tetras and Cherry Barbs are two popular options for chili rasboras because of their relatively small size and easygoing nature (also known as “peaceful”). They also prefer to stay within the same water temperature range, which makes things even easier!

How Many to Keep Together

The recommended number of chili rasbora to keep in a single tank is six. Even though these fish are small, they can become more lively and active if kept together. A group of six will also have the confidence to explore their surroundings without fear of being attacked by larger fish.

Keep in mind that when it comes to keeping more than six of these fish in a single tank, you’ll have to increase their habitat size.


The temperament of the chili rasbora is shy and timid. They are not strong swimmers, so they need an aquarium with pretty decorations and plenty of places to hide to feel safe in your aquarium. Chili rasboras like to stay in groups, too.

These fish can be territorial if kept alone or without enough hiding spots for everyone. This means that you may encounter some aggression between members of this species.

To avoid this, keep them in a group of at least six (the more, the merrier).

Overall, chili rasboras are shy and peaceful freshwater fish. They will spend most of their time hiding away from any activity that occurs in your tank.

Tank Mates

No matter what kind of tank you create for your chili rasbora, it’s a good idea to have a group of at least six. The larger the group, the better!

These fish are schooling and need others to feel safe. When kept alone or in small groups, they tend to be more timid than other species. It can also cause stress-related health issues as well.

If you want your fish to thrive and live long lives, we highly recommend keeping these fish together with other types of Rasbora catfish (like Harlequin) or similarly sized fish that occupy different niches in the water column. Here are some good tank mates for Chili Rasbora:


Breeding the chili rasbora is quite easy. It’s best to attempt breeding in a separate tank that has been set up with warmer water and more vegetation.

Be sure to remove any fish you don’t want getting into the fry! Mature males will build nests out of plants, while females lay their eggs on leaves or decorations.

The male can chase away the female once she lays her eggs, as she may eat them after laying all 400-500 of them! If this happens, try again later with another female if possible. Once they are all laid, it’s time to watch!

Females usually guard their young for about three days until they are free-swimming. At this point, feed some baby brine shrimp and infusoria until they reach maturity.

Are Chili Rasbora Fish a Good Choice For Your Tank?

The answer is yes!

If you’re looking for a small species that won’t take up too much room, the chili rasbora is a great choice. These tiny fish are very active and will spend their time swimming around looking for food.

It doesn’t matter if you have one or an entire school; these fish will always be on the move! This makes them fun to watch and adds that extra bit of life to your tank.


Chili rasboras are sweet little fish that have quite a few advantages over other species. Here are just some of the pros!

  • Affordable: Because they’re so popular, you can find these fish very affordably in stores and online. This means you can build an entire tank full of them without breaking the bank.
  • Easy care: These freshwater fish are fairly easy to take care of and low-maintenance compared to other species on the market (especially when it comes to water conditions). They do well with standard tropical aquarium parameters and don’t require anything particularly unique in terms of substrate or lighting.
  • Hardy: Chili Rasbora doesn’t need special treatment like some other fish might need. In fact, this makes them a great choice for beginners who want something easy! You don’t need to be anxious about holding onto your tank warm or providing warmer waters since these aren’t necessary at all.
  • Great visibility: One of our favorite things about this species is its vibrant coloration which really pops against dark backgrounds! If you love observing pretty colors, this is definitely the right fish for you.


The main downside to keeping a small group of chili rasbora in your tank is that they require frequent water changes. This is because this species produces a lot of waste and quickly depletes the oxygen supply within the water.

As mentioned earlier, these fish are micro predators. As such, they will not eat all types of food you provide them with.

This can lead to too much growth of algae inside your aquarium, which can put undue stress on the rest of the fish and plant life in your tank (not fun).

Aquariums where you house chili rasboras should be heavily planted for best results as well since these freshwater fish thrive when there are plenty of places for them to hide.


Chili rasbora care is pretty straightforward. These fish are peaceful and easy to keep happy as long as you give them a healthy tank, enough food, and plenty of room to swim.

We hope this guide has been helpful when it comes to learning how to take good care of these freshwater fish. If you have any questions or feedback on how we can improve our guides, let us know!

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