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. This video will show you how to raise the stunning nano fish that will make your aquarium stand out for hours.
What is Chili Rasboras, you ask?
Boraras Brigittae is closely related to other micro rasboras like strawberry rasbora or exclamation point. 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. Give them time to adjust to the new environment and they will soon return to their true colors. Also, most nano fish are very timid because of their fear of predators, but in our experience, chili rasboras are refreshingly bold by comparison. They won’t rush to the front to greet you. However, if they wait for you to remain still, they will often approach the glass to ask you questions.
Chili rasboras are well-known for their bright red bodies and horizontal black stripes.
How to Set Up an Aquarium for Chili Rasboras
Chili rasbora is found in the rainforests and forests of Borneo, Indonesia. There, tons of trees block out sunlight, and leaves of plants often drop into the water. This causes brown tannins to form. This means they come from acidic, softer waters, but in our experience, chili rasboras are quite hardy and can handle a much wider range of water parameters. They have been kept in pH levels between 6.0 to8.0, temperatures of 72-82degF (22-24degC), and soft-to-hard water. To recreate the dim lighting of the jungle, use plenty of low light plants that create shady areas and good hiding spots for both the adults and fry. Our favorites include java fern, anubias, cryptocoryne plants, dwarf aquarium lily, and floating water sprite. 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 of their petite size, mosquito rasboras have a very low bioload and produce little waste, so we have successfully kept them in planted fish tanks as small as 3 gallons. They can swim slower than most fish, so make sure to use a low-current filter like a sponge filter. To prevent the nano fish from accidentally getting sucked up, use a canister or hang-on-back filter.
How many chili rasboras should be kept together? As a schooling fish, getting a larger group of chili rasboras will help them feel more comfortable and confident about swimming out in the open. If you have many of these small, thin bodies, it can be difficult to see them. We recommend keeping at least 8-12 school members together.
Can chili rasboras live with fish? Boraras Brigittae, a peaceful species, would be great with smaller community fish that aren’t big enough to predate. You can have rosy loaches or lambchops with ember tetras and dwarf cory catfish. 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 do Chili Rasboras eat?
They eat micro worms, insect larvae and zooplankton in the wild. You should choose fish foods that fit comfortably in their mouths, or are easy to eat. They prefer to feed from the middle of the water column, so floating or slow-sinking foods should be offered. They can also be outcompeted by other diners if they don’t like the taste of the food. Chili rasboras will eat anything, including frozen rotifers and cycles as well as Repashy gel food in its powdered form. They also love live microworms. 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. To prevent the adults from predating on their own eggs, cover the bottom of the tank with plastic craft mesh (purchased from a craft store), and put a thick layer of java moss, a yarn spawning mop, Easter basket grass, or other fluffy, dense plants underneath the mesh. Although the mesh allows eggs to fall through it, the holes are too small to allow adults to get in. Also, acidic pH below 7.0 may help improve the hatch rate and survival of the offspring.
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. Feed the adult shrimp with high-quality food such as baby brine shrimp to condition them for breeding. Then place them in the mature, breeding tank for a couple of days and remove them as soon as they’ve spawned or you spot any fry. Give the babies several small meals each day, including infusoria, vinegar eels, and they’ll be big enough to eat live microworms or baby brine shrimp in no time.
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 cannot ship live fish but you can check out our favorite online retailers to see current stockings. You can find inspiration by looking at the top 10 most stunning nano fish to add to your small fish tank.