Chili Rasbora: Tank, Care, Lifetime, Diet and More! (2022)

Fishkeeping has become more widespread and popular all over the world, and aquarists everywhere fill their tanks with a variety of colorful and quirky species.

But one of the most unique and wonderful types of fish for your freshwater aquarium is without a doubt the Chili Rasbora. Don’t forget—good things come in small packages, and the Chili Rasbora falls under that purview!

Tiny but flashy, shiny but gentle, these fish are one of the best additions to a community tank you can get, thanks to their looks and temperament. But what else is there to know about the Chili Rasbora?

Read on to get to know these wonderful little fish a bit better!

Chili Rasbora: Origin And Appearance

Before we dive right into their care, tank requirements, and the proper feeding routine to keep your Chili Rasboras happy and healthy, let’s take a moment to get to know their origins and appearance.

Keep reading for a summary of the Chili Rasbora’s fishy family tree!

Chili Rasbora Origin And Appearance

Where Do Chili Rasbora Fish Come From?

These colorful little fish were originally found in the Indonesian swamps of Southwest Borneo. They favor tropical waters, or freshwater swamps with plenty of foliage to cover them, and like to rest in streams and pools.

Although they are also known as the Mosquito Rasbora, the Chili Rasbora is not actually a true member of the genus of Rasbora.

They were originally discovered in the same general vicinity as other types of Rasboras, and were assumed to be part of that family. However, they are part of the Boraras genus instead, due to some morphological differences between them and true Rasboras.

A part of the Cyprinidae family, the Chili Rasbora is in fact more related to carp-type fish such as Goldfish and Koi than to actual Rasboras.

But this does not stop the Chili Rasbora from still being named thus, so we will continue calling them by this nomenclature. It’s an interesting bit of their history to keep in mind though!

What Do Chili Rasbora Fish Look Like?

Though small, these fish are a stunning addition to your tank. Their hues and patterning are breathtaking, and they create quite the shiny spectacle as they take laps around the aquarium in a tight-knit, twinkling school of color.

True to their name, Chili Rasboras sport a primarily bright crimson across their bodies. This hue is darker along the top of their backs, with flushed red cheeks and a vibrant ruby stripe along their sides, extending to the base of their tail fins.

Besides their signature red coloration, Chili Rasboras have a neon blue stripe along the middle of their bodies, directly under the brightest portion of red. This can have tints of emerald splashed into it as well, which fades into a soft pink and cream underbelly.

Chili Rasboras’ fins are nearly fully transparent, with only some hints of strong red peppered into the tail and dorsal fins. Their eyes are the last defining feature, as they look far too big for their little bodies, and take up most of their face area.

How Big Do Chili Rasbora Fish Get?

For a fish with such a big personality, the Chili Rasbora is a surprisingly tiny species. These little fish only reach about 0.5 to 0.7 inches in length when fully matured, making them one of the smallest types of freshwater aquarium fish you can find!

This also means that Chili Rasboras are commonly classified as Nano fish, and able to live in smaller tank sizes.

While that is true, they also need to be a part of a school of other Chili Rasboras for companionship, so you need to make sure your tank is big enough for at least 8 of these little fish. But more on that later!

more about Chili Rasbora

Chili Rasbora: Lifespan

For such a small fish, the Chili Rasbora actually lives for quite a long time! You can expect your Chili Rasboras to have a lifespan of around 4 or 5 years in most cases.

But if your tank conditions and water levels are well maintained, you can even see Chili Rasboras that live up to 8 years in captivity.

The trick to extending your Chili Rasboras’ lives is to feed them a good diet, keep an appropriate tank environment, and reduce stress levels that can lead to serious illness.

Chili Rasbora: Behavior

These little individuals are among the most gentle and peaceful fish species you can find for your freshwater tank.

They are active within their schools and like to roam around the top and middle levels of your tank, where they will showcase their unique personalities and play with each other. Though they’re not a species known for their antics, you will nevertheless get hours of enjoyment out of watching these fishy friends go about their day.

Chili Rasbora: Compatibility

When caring for Chili Rasboras, you need to keep them in a school of at least 8 of their own kind. They are a communal fish that require others of their species for comfort, companionship, and protection. Lone or paired Chili Rasboras will soon become depressed and sick.

But apart from cultivating a whole school of Chili Rasboras, can you add other types of fish to your aquarium as well? Let’s find out.

Are Chili Rasbora Fish A Communal Tank Fish?

Due to their placid nature and gentle temperament, Chili Rasboras are a great addition to a community fish tank. They are not likely to start fights because of their small size, and they prefer to keep to themselves and their own school for the most part.

However, they can be a target for other fish who might be hungry or pushy, so you need to be careful when pairing your Chili Rasboras with other species in the same tank.

Make sure any fish types that you place with your Chili Rasboras are not overly predatory and are of a similar size. While this can be difficult sometimes, given how small Chili Rasboras are, you can safely add some fish that are a little larger but also very placid.

Best Tank Mates For Chili Rasbora Fish

Choose from the following species if you are looking for the perfect tank mates to pair with Chili Rasboras and fill out your aquarium space!

  • Celestial Pearl Danios.
  • Cherry Barbs.
  • Corydoras Catfish.
  • Dwarf Gouramis.
  • Dwarf Pencilfish.
  • Endlers.
  • Espei Rasboras.
  • Glowlight Tetras.
  • Gold Tetras.
  • Guppies.
  • Harlequin Rasboras.
  • Kubotai Rasbora.
  • Neon Tetras.
  • Otocinclus
  • Catfish.
  • Pea Pufferfish.
  • Pygmy Cories.
  • Small Killifish.
  • Sparkling Gouramis.
  • Sundadanios.
  • Zebra Danios.

You can also add some small invertebrates to the tank, provided they are not aggressive or terribly predatory, which can make Chili Rasbora look like a perfect snack.

Avoid crabs and crayfish for this reason, and stick to smaller and placid species like bee shrimp, dwarf shrimp, and aquarium snails.

Chili Rasbora: Habitat And Tank Requirements

One of the best ways to keep your Chili Rasboras happy and healthy in terms of water conditions is to mimic their natural habitat where they are found in Asia.

This includes slow-moving waters that are soft and acidic, primarily due to the variety of plant life that floats along the surface and stretches from the bottom of the bank.

And although these plants release tannins that turn the water a bit of an odd color, like weak tea, Chili Rasboras thrive in such environments, and it seems that this water coloration makes the fishes’ natural hues even more vibrant.

In order to recreate this type of habitat, let’s go over the water and tank conditions that must be in place before adding your Chili Rasboras into the household. Read on to learn everything you need to know about setting up an aquarium for Chili Rasboras!

Chili Rasbora: Habitat And Tank Requirements

Chili Rasbora Tank Size

Due to their small size, the Chili Rasbora can be classed as a Nano fish. However, you should never skimp on available aquarium space, no matter how small the species—fish need ample room to move around and exist in, just like any other pet.

You need at least 10 gallons of tank space for your school of Chili Rasboras. And if you have a school that is larger than 8 individuals, or you want to add other types of fish, the tank size needs to expand accordingly.

Calculate an extra gallon per every 2 Chili Rasboras you add to the tank, without even considering other species. If this seems excessive due to their tiny size, don’t forget about all the plants, hides, and other accessories that are essential for their comfort.

Don’t fall into the mistake of choosing too small a tank for your Chili Rasboras just because of their diminutive stature!

Chili Rasbora Water Requirements

As previously mentioned, the Chili Rasbora is most comfortable in conditions that mimic its natural habitat. Namely, slow-moving water that is quite soft and acidic, with plenty of plants.

Let’s go over the specifics of water quality and conditions that will help keep your Chili Rasboras healthy and thriving.

Because of the number of leaves and branches that float in their native waters, the acidity from decomposing vegetation makes the pH levels high. You can recreate this by keeping your tank’s acidity set between 4.0 and 7.0.

The water in the tank should also be kept quite soft for freshwater fish, particularly Chili Rasboras. They thrive in a space that has dKH levels of between 3 and 12.

Surprisingly, Chili Rasboras are fairly forgiving when it comes to water temperature. They will thrive in a tank that is kept between 68°F and 82°F, although their preferred metric seems to rest around 74°F.

And while some fish species can tolerate living in tap water as long as it is brought to the right temperature, Chili Rasboras are not among them. Make sure your tank’s water is properly filtered and free of as many phosphates as possible to avoid digestive issues.

Chili Rasbora Tank Setup

As previously mentioned, Chili Rasboras enjoy their habitat when it is well-planted, just like the blackwater rivers they originate from.

Make sure you add planted and floating greenery to the tank for a variety of hides and shelters that Chili Rasboras will love. These also give them a break from any light source you have filtering into the tank, as their preferred environment is a bit dimmer.

Try a variety of aquarium plants like duckweed, dwarf Sagittaria, and java moss for a range of textures and sizes.

Chili Rasboras also like to have capatta or almond leaves in the tank, which give the natural tannin staining effect of decomposing vegetation, and help keep the water at the proper pH levels.

Chili Rasbora together

Chili Rasbora: Diet

Unlike some other types of freshwater fish, Chili Rasboras are not picky eaters. In general, they will enjoy flake or micro-pellet fish foods, but should also have their diet supplemented with live or frozen foods.

Give them fish food once a day, and provide them with brine shrimp, micro worms, daphnia, and tubifex worms for extra nutrients several times a week to keep them healthy!

Chili Rasbora: Breeding

Chili Rasboras are not among the easiest fish that you can breed at home. However, you can still breed these fish under the correct conditions and with the right care.

Keeping your Chili Rasboras happy and stress-free is a big part of encouraging them to breed. You can tell their moods by the school’s activity levels, and even their coloration, which will dull over time if they are not happy.

Additionally, Chili Rasboras will become more vibrant when it’s time to mate—particularly the males, who turn a brighter crimson. After a successful courtship, the female will lay a scattering of eggs that will develop within a couple of days and hatch into fish fry.

These baby Chili Rasboras can be fed with micro-foods or infusoria until large enough to join the adult tank.

Chili Rasbora: Health And Wellness

Thankfully, Chili Rasboras do not seem to be prone to any diseases in particular, outside the normal risks for freshwater fish. These typical illnesses to watch out for include Ich, fin and tail rot, dropsy, and even certain types of fungal infections in their mouths.

Look for a decrease in activity or faded colors in your Chili Rasboras as a sure sign of illness, and quarantine the affected fish in a separate tank immediately so a veterinarian can look them over.


Hopefully, our introduction to the Chili Rasbora went swimmingly well, and now you might be full to the gills with excitement about these special little fish!

But before you go, let’s go over some remaining questions that you might still have about Chili Rasboras, and clear up any further queries.

Is Chili Rasbora Hardy?

In general, the Chili Rasbora is a very hardy type of fish. They might take some time to settle into their tank environment and fit in with other aquatic inhabitants when you first bring them home, but Chili Rasboras tend to be very adaptable and tolerant.

However, you should still make sure to keep the tank conditions and water quality at a consistent and stable level to prevent strain to their bodies.

While hardy, forcing Chili Rasboras to adapt to frequent fluctuations in their environment will cause stress to their digestive systems and overall health, negatively impacting their lifespans.

How Big Do Chili Rasboras Get?

One of the smaller fishy friends you can add to your aquarium setup, the Chili Rasbora grows to a mature length that is still under an inch long!

Most Chili Rasboras will measure about 0.5 to 0.7 inches long when fully grown, and prefer to school with several of their own kind for protection and companionship. This means that despite their small sizes, you will still need a big enough tank for them all to swim comfortably around in.

Will Bettas Eat Chili Rasboras?

Betta fish are not guaranteed to eat or antagonize your Chili Rasboras, but they are likely to view these tiny tank mates as possible snacks. Bettas tend to eat most things that fit into their mouths, and Chili Rasboras fit that bill.

For the most part, Chili Rasboras are compatible with a wide variety of other fish species. However, due to their small size and docile nature, you need to be careful of the other fish in the tank—especially if you are considering Betta fish.

If you want to keep both species together, it can be done. But you do need to make sure your Chili Rasboras have plenty of hides and plants to duck into, and that the tank is big enough for both types of fish to avoid bumping into each other all the time.

What Can Live With Chili Rasboras?

You can choose from a range of good tank mates for Chili Rasboras. As long as these other species are non-aggressive and don’t tend to nibble on smaller fish in the tank, they should all get along quite well! Consider the following for your aquarium:

  • Celestial Pearl Danios.
  • Harlequin Rasboras.
  • Otocinclus Catfish.
  • Pea Pufferfish.
  • Pygmy Cories.

What Can Live With Chili Rasboras

The key to coexistence for Chili Rasboras and other fish species is choosing tank mates of a compatible temperament and size.

Final Thoughts

Chili Rasboras are tiny fish that will make a big splash in your aquarium. With stunning colors and placid natures, a school of Chili Rasboras will brighten up any tank and give you hours of enjoyment.

These easy-to-care-for and quirky little fish are a great addition to a communal tank environment, and will bring a shine to your space!

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