Care Guide for Chili Rasboras – Spicy Red Nano Fish for Planted Tanks
If you are thinking of setting up a nano tank with live aquarium plants, then you have to try chili rasboras or mosquito rasboras. Unlike most red aquarium fish that tend to have a warmer, red-orange hue, these tiny rasboras display a deep, cool-toned red with distinct black markings. They are often overlooked because the tiny juveniles that are sold in pet shops look shabby and small. Learn how to raise these amazing nano fish and keep them happy for hours.
What is Chili Rasboras?
Boraras brigittae is a close cousin of other micro rasboras, like the exclamation point rasbora and strawberry rasbora. They only grow to about 3/4 inch (2 cm) long and have a slender body with pointed fins. While the adults are known for their intensely scarlet scales, they will temporarily become paler whenever they move from one tank to another. Allow them to adjust for a few weeks before their true colors return. Many nano fish are timid due to fear of predators. However, we have found that chili rasboras can be quite bold. No, they won’t rush to the front of the tank to greet you, but if you stay still for a few seconds, they often approach the glass out of curiosity.
Chili rasboras have a distinctive red body with a horizontal stripe of black.
How to Set Up an Aquarium for Chili Rasboras
Chili rasboras are found in the jungles of Borneo or Indonesia. Here, tons of trees block sunlight from reaching the plants and the leaves fall into the water, forming brown tannins. These are usually from more acidic or softer water, but we’ve found that chili rasboras are very resilient and can handle much larger water parameters. We have successfully kept them in pH levels of 6.0-8.0, temperatures between 72-82degF (22-28degC), and soft to hard water. Low-light plants are a great way to recreate the dark jungle lighting. They create shade and hideouts for both fry and adults. We love floating water sprite, anubias as well as cryptocoryne and dwarf aquarium lilies. For a biotope tank that imitates their natural setting, try adding some dried catappa leaves to tint the water, gently lower the pH, and create biofilm for the fish to nibble on.
Because they are small, mosquito rasboras can have a low bioload and produce minimal waste. Therefore, we have managed to keep them in fish tanks up to 3 gallons. They don’t swim fast so choose a filter that is low in current, such as a sponge filter. You should cover the intake tube of a hang-on back or canister filter with a prefilter sponge to prevent nano fish accidentally getting caught up.
How large a group of chili rodaboras should you keep? A schooling fish will feel more confident and comfortable swimming out into the open with a larger number of chili rodaboras. Their small, slender bodies can be harder to notice unless you have a lot of them, so we like keeping a school of at least 8-12 together.
What fish can live with chili rasboras? Boraras brigittae is a very peaceful species that would do great with other similar-sized community fish that are not big enough to predate on them. Compatible tank mates include lambchop rasboras, rosy loaches, ember tetras, dwarf cory catfish, neon green rasboras, snails, and shrimp. All fish will eat baby shrimp, but not adult shrimp.
Chili is a peaceful, nano-fish that gets along with other peaceful ones like the clown killifish.
What does a Chili Rasbora eat?
They feed on micro worms and insect larvae in the wild. You should choose fish foods that fit comfortably in their mouths, or are easy to eat. They like to eat from the middle of the water column so it is best to offer floating or slow-sinking food options. They can also be outcompeted by other diners if they don’t like the taste of the food. That being said, chili rasboras are not picky eaters and will eat everything from frozen rotifers and cyclops to Repashy gel food (in its powder form) to live micro worms. Our favorite foods to bring out the vibrant red color are small fish food, easy fry, and crushed krill.
How to Breed Chili Rasboras
Nano fish have nearly microscopic babies, so we have the best luck breeding them in a mature aquarium that has lots of live plants, catappa leaves, and other botanicals that create mulm and microfauna for the fry to constantly graze on. You can prevent adults from eating their eggs by covering the tank with craft mesh, which you can buy at a craft shop. Also, make sure to add java moss, yarn spawning mops, Easter basket grass or other dense, fluffy plants under the mesh. The mesh allows the eggs to fall through, but the holes are too small for the adults to enter. Acidic pH below 7.0 may increase hatch rates and survival.
To ensure you have fish of both sexes, get a group of least 6 chili rasboras. Females tend be smaller and more colorful than their male counterparts. You can condition the adults to breed by giving them high-quality foods like live baby brine shrimp. After they have spawned, place them in a mature tank. Feed the babies multiple, small meals a day consisting of fry foods like infusoria and vinegar eels, and in a couple of weeks, they should be large enough to eat live micro worms and baby brine shrimp.
Juvenile chilli rasboras can be a little dull at first, but they will soon look as vibrant as rubies with patience and good care.
Aquarium Co-Op doesn’t ship live fish. However, we recommend that you visit one of our preferred online retailers to view their stocking lists. You can find inspiration by looking at the top 10 most stunning nano fish to add to your small fish tank.