Chili Rasbora: Care Guide, Everything You Need To Know

Chili Rasbora


If you want a small beautiful schooling fish, the Chili Rasbora is a great choice. Whether in a nano tank or a large community tank full of other great wonderous fish, they are never boring. They are a 

Since the Chili Rasbora are a very active species, making them a fun addition to many different tanks. They can add a splash of color to even the gloomiest tanks with their bright red color. Their contrasting metallic blue stripe across the length of their bodies is a great addition as well.

If you decide to go the community tank route, you can plan around all the other fish in the tank since they will get along with any and all fish that won’t eat them. They are also great with invertebrates and any other sea creatures with the same conditions still applying. 

The Chili Rasboras color is nothing short of beautiful, and if the color alone wasn’t enough their mesmerizing swimming patterns take their beauty to a whole new level.  

This informational guide will teach you all the ins and outs of taking care of these breathtaking fish. It will also providing you with resources and supplies that will suite your fish perfectly and make them feel like royalty.  

If you have any questions that aren’t answered by this guide, don’t hesitate to take a trip to your local pet store and ask the people that work there. They are experts in what they do, and can give you pointers if you don’t just want to trust some guy on the internet. 

General Information and Introduction 

Boraras brigittae 

Chili Rasbora 

The Chili Rasbora is a beautiful freshwater nano schooling fish coming in at only a point eighth of an inch. 

They have a very active and playful personality meaning that they are not boring fish to look at by any means. Their nice fiery red color wraps them up in a great little package, and they get along great with many other fish. 

The one thing to look out for is if the Chili Rasboras tank mates are out to eat it, which in that case is not a good pairing. 

Chili Rasboras are native to the Soutwest Borneo in Indonesia. They are also known as the Mosquito Rasbora, presumably because of their very small size, and because their natural habitat is loaded with mosquitos. 

They were originally found by Dieter Vogt in 1973. The fish is named after his wife, Brigitte Vogt. Since -Athe Chili Rasbora isn’t an actual Rasbora, they were put into the Boraras genus in 1993. 

There are a number of species in the Boraras category that are popular among fish keepers and people in the aquarium trade, but the Chili Rasboras are the most popular due to their vibrant red colors and mesmerizing swimming patterns. 

Chili Rasbora size

Natural Habitat 


The Chili Rasbora originates from Borneo in Southwestern Indonesia. They were found in very tropical and wooded waters. Mainly sticking to still and slow-moving waters like small lakes and swamps, they like a very tight and forested water setting, which they like to dart in and out of and hide in. 

To make sure that the fish are happy and healthy, you can replicate the tank as closely as possible to their natural habitat, and that comes with its own benefits. This includes reduced stress, happier and more lively behavior, and may even increase life expectancy. 

They are also a schooling fish, and to live comfortably and without issues, they should be kept in groups, which again reduces stress. Following the minimum of six in a tank rule, your Chili Rasbora are going to be happy little swimmers, and this can even decrease risk of health complications. 


Chili Rasboras generally like to stick to the top and middle of the tank, and are easy to spot even though they are about the size of a dime. 

Sinking to the bottom of the tank to munch on some extra uneaten food is not out of the ordinary for them, so don’t be surprised if you do see it happen. 

When they collect into schools, it’s like a pack of fourth graders, unpredictable chaos. They can either swim around like crazy or hang around and poke at your other fish. 

Don’t worry about them getting into any trouble with their tank mates, since they are very peaceful and get along quite well with other fish.  

Chili Rasboras are not known for leaping out of the water like a torpedo but make sure that you have a nice tight-fitting lid to prevent this from happening, since there is a very slim possibility that they will decide to evolve into land animals. This is an extreme of course, but better safe than sorry. 

Even worse is the fact that the fish are so small that if they jump out you may never find them again. 


Keeping Them Together 

When deciding if you want Chili Rasboras, keep in mind that they are schooling fish and should be kept in groups of at least six or more. 

Chili Rasboras are happiest when they are in groups, and when there are fewer than 6 then that happiness drops dramatically. You shouldn’t have more than two Chili’s per gallon though. 

This rule is situational though, so if you have a tank packed with plants and you can’t possibly fit six active fish, then don’t. 

Some fish that would get along with the Chili Rasbora are  

  • Amano Shrimp 
  • Celestial Pearl Danios 
  • Cherry Shrimp 
  • Chocolate Gourami 
  • Cory Cats 
  • Neon Tetra 
  • Sparkling Gourami 
  • Wood Shrimp 
  • Ember Tetra 
  • Blue Velvet Shrimp 
  • Diamond Tetra 

See Related Article: Star Sapphire Cichlid: Complete Guide, Care and More

Appearance and Size 


The beautiful Chili Rasbora is a very stunning shade of red which can range from pale blush red to a deep and saturated cherry red. 

They have a dark stripe down the middle of their bodies which is usually a deep metallic blue, but can also be a reflective green. It can also be a gradient of the two colors which looks great in my opinion. 

The base of the anal and tail fins are dotted with small dark spots that look like small grains of sand dotting the fish.  

Caring for your Chili Rasbora 

 Since the Chili Rasboras natural habitat is a slow-moving body of water, you should replicate this within your aquarium. Be careful not make the current too strong as these little fish won’t be able to and will just get swept away. 

If the current is too strong in any area of the tank you should be able to counteract this with the use of driftwood, logs, sticks and strong rooted plants. 

This doubles as more places for them to swim around and hide in, so make sure to populate their tank with a lot of greenery 

In terms of filters, they do need one to maintain pristine water conditions. The one thing to look out for is making sure that the filter isn’t too strong and doesn’t suck up your fish. 

Any difference in water quality can kill your precious Chili Rasbora due to their miniscule size. Since they are so small, they can’t build up a natural defense and resistance to changes in water so make sure that you take great care in picking the right kind of filter. 

Contrary to some fish, Chili Rasbora prefer softer water that is also more acidic. To keep the water this way, have a test kit to be able to maintain the conditions. 

You can use reverse osmosis or distilled water as a starting point, which means you can have a clean slate to make it work for your specific fish, and it’s also much cleaner than tap water. 

If you need to lower the pH levels of the tank you can add different kinds of mosses such as peat (in either pellet or moss form) and almond leaves.  

These are a much better alternative than adding pH lowering liquids or medication, since they are completely natural, and while this kind of medication is safe for the fish, it’s always better to use plants. 

Tank Conditions

The tank should follow these parameters as closely as possible. 

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

While the Chili Rasbora have a wide range of survivable temperatures, make sure that it doesn’t fluctuate, since they are quite vulnerable as already previously stated. 

Just because they can survive at 20 degrees Celsius doesn’t mean that they should, and you should definitely have heater. In places like Canada where I live, the temperature, even indoors, fluctuates a lot. This could be caused by unstable heater temperatures, open windows, and weather. 

If you’ve ever lived here for anywhere even remotely close to a month, you would know that you can go to work in a blizzard, have lunch in a thunderstorm, and get back home to catch a beautiful sunset while enjoying some ice cream in summer weather all in the middle of April.  

For this exact reason you need a heater that can keep stable water temperatures, or monitor it very closely. 

Cold water leads to stressed fish, and stressed fish leads to health issues, shortened lifespan, less active fish, and gloomier, dimmer colors. None of these things are good, so prevent this from happening. 

If you are using tap water, make sure to use tap conditioner to destroy all the harsh chemicals in the water, since they are toxic to fish and can result in a lethal end. Always use water softeners designed specifically for aquariums, and follow the instructions on the box or as advised by the pet store employees. 

Boraras brigittae

Common Diseases


Ich (White spot Disease)

White spot disease is exactly what it sounds like. Itch are white spots or pimples on the fish caused by parasites. This will attach themselves to the mouth, fins, gills, and body which causes the fish to scratch themselves. They will scratch against plants and other objects found around their tank. This is 3.

This can start happening even before any white spots are visible, so be sure to look out for symptoms and not just dismiss it. You should treat it with Ich X, or consult your local pet shop if you can’t find any.

Symptoms –

  • White spots
  • Fish Scratching themselves against objects
  • Redness or Bloody Streaks (from the scratching)

Causes –

  • The Ichthyophthirius multifilis Parasite


Fungal Infection

Fungal Infections are a wide range of diseases and can be easily mistaken for a bacterial infection. If I do start to notice symptoms and I’m not sure if its a bacterial or a fungal infection. I treat them for both since I don’t want to put stuff into the tank if its not helping it. I find that Ich X and 100% Erythromycin work the best.

Symptoms –

  • Cotton-like growths around the body including fins. gills, and eyes.

Causes –

  • Earlier Untreated Injuries
  • Stress
  • Water Quality Issues and Contamination
  • Earlier Untreated Infection


Bacterial Infection

Again, a Bacterial Infection can cause a lot of symptoms which come from a lot of different sources. You can treat it with a lot of different types of antibacterial medicines, since most of them are universal. This is nice since you don’t have to identify exactly what kind of bacteria it is. Just make sure that it is in fact bacteria and not a fungus since differentiating the two can be tough. Some bacteria cant be spotted on the outside due to internal infection. Make sure to look out for behavioral symptoms as well physical.

Symptoms –

  • Red streaks along the body
  • Red ulcers
  • Fuzzy cottonlike growths
  • Popped out or bulging eyes
  • Bloating

Causes –

  • Contaminated or bad water quality
  • Expired food
  • Incorrect water parameters
  • Stress

chili rasbora tank mates

Columnaris (Cotton Mouth Disease)

 Columnaris, also called Cottonmouth disease, is caused by a bacterial infection and causes the mouth to turn into wispy, cottonlike growths, which come off easily and expose the flesh underneath. This disease can in some cases become lethal as it may continue into the organs of the fish. It can also be confused with a fungal infection. As long as you follow the above mentioned treatments, catching it before it gets bad shouldn’t be an issue.

Symptoms –

  • Discolored scales
  • Scales popping off, unlike pineconing scales
  • Grey spots along the body
  • Damaged or abnormal skin and scales
  • Damaged or abnormal mouth and areas around the mouth
  • Skin Infections may cause fuzzy patches, like cotton mouth except not as severe and around different places on the body

Causes –

  • The Flavbacterium columnare Bacteria


Aquarium Size and Specifications 


Chili Rasboras should be kept in at least a 5-gallon tank if you are making them a tank completely for themselves.  

The condition of the tank directly relates to the color and vividness of the fish itself, so make sure that their aquarium is set up exactly to their liking. This would include a generously forested tank with a dark substrate and floating plants. Finer gravel and sand are a great material for this very purpose and will work perfectly.  

Their natural habitat is in Borneo, and they make their homes in small pools and blackwater stream. This is why they prefer a dark substrate, and can match with their natural surroundings and feel more like home than a glass box in the suburbs of Big City, Middle of USA.  

Having a well spec’d tank will also be beneficial to the fish’s health and, and can improve their lifespan.  

For water conditions, try to emulate the natural water in Borneo which is soft and has a low pH.

See Related Article: 15 Gallon Fish Tank

Diet, How many Chili Rasbora in a 15 Gallon Tank and Other Specifications 

 Following the above stated 2 per gallon rule, and with an exclusive Chili Rasbora tank, you should be able to fit around 30 of the little swimmers.  

While the Chili Rasbora is an omnivorous species, they like to keep their diet mostly carnivorous. 

You should feed them a balanced combination of flakes and pellets. Also supplying them with either fresh, freeze-dried, or frozen sources of protein is key in their development. This can be accomplished with a variety of different worms including bloodworms and chopped micro worms. 

Diet is directly linked to the Chili Rasbora’s color, but also health. Make sure to keep both of these things  

Chili Rasbora Breeding and Gender Differentiations 


You can differentiate the male and female Chili Rasbora by looking at their coloration. When males are ready to breed, they get a brighter red than the females, while the females will look slightly larger since they are ready to lay their eggs. 


Breeding Chili Rasbora

chili rasbora breeding

Chili Rasbora are a strange bunch in terms of breeding. They will attempt to eat their own young, but won’t go out of their way to pursue them.


Do you want Chili Rasbora in your fish tank? 


If you want a great colorful addition to your community tank, or build up a standalone nano tank, the Chili Rasbora is for you. 

Easy to take care of and so friendly that the only thing you have to make sure of is if the other fish in your tank won’t eat them. If that isn’t a problem, then add them in! 

The only reason you wouldn’t want them in your tank is if you like a gloomy, colorless, boring center piece. With their playful personalitiesit’s impossible for these little guys to be a dull eyesore in your beautiful home.  




Q: Why do Chili Rasbora need so many plants in the tank? 

A: Chili Rasbora need a lot of plants for a number of reasons, both rooted and floating. The main reasons is that it recreates their natural habitat of the lakes and ponds of Indonesia. With recreating their habitat, you let them show their natural behavior and habits. Darting in and out of the leaves to hide or play, and even collect food are some of these habits. 

Microscopic organisms collect on the leaves and the Chili Rasbora use this to their advantage by feeding off of them. 

The vegetation also filters light to prevent the Chili Rasbora from being overexposed to both heat and light. Something else to note is that they appear much more vibrant under lower light conditions. 

Q: Should I keep more than one Chili Rasbora in my home aquarium? 

A: Yes! You should definitely keep at least 6 Chili Rasbora in a tank since they are a schooling fish and they require it for their mental and physical health. Having less than six can greatly increase stress and are going to be very unhappy. 

Along with keeping them happy, allowing them the opportunity to swim in groups will make them more active which is very important for these fish. They will be healthier and their vibrancy and color will actually be much nicer. 

Combining the better colors and the more active fish themselves, it will turn out to be much more aesthetically pleasing. 

Getting a tank larger than 5 gallons is greatly recommended so that you can have a school of at least 20. 

1 thoughts on “Chili Rasbora: Care Guide, Everything You Need To Know

  1. KulkoC says:

    “Getting a tank larger than 5 gallons is greatly recommended so that you can have a school of at least 20. ” I wish this wasn’t buried so far down.

    Why recommend a shoaling fish for 5Gs? Recommend minimum 12 for 10Gs and this would be a great article!

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