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 are Chili Rasboras?
Boraras Brigittae, a cousin to micro rasboras such as strawberry rasboras and exclamation points rasboras is close. They only grow to about 3/4 inch (2 cm) long and have a slender body with pointed fins. Although the adults are well-known for their scarlet red scales, they can temporarily turn paler when they move between tanks. Just give them a couple of weeks to adjust to their new environment, and their true colors will show again. 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 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. They are therefore from more acidic and softer water. However, we have found that chili rasboras can withstand a wider range of water parameters. They can be kept at pH levels between 6.0 and 8.2, temperatures between 72-82degF (22 to 28degC), as well as soft to hard water. Use low-light plants to create the illusion of the jungle. 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 don’t swim fast so choose a filter that is low in current, such as a sponge filter. If you use a hang-on-back or canister filter, make sure to cover the filter’s intake tube with a prefilter sponge so the nano fish won’t accidentally get sucked up.
How many chili-rasboras should they keep together? Schooling fish need to feel more confident swimming in open water. 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.
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. Compatible tank mates include lambchop rasboras, rosy loaches, ember tetras, dwarf cory catfish, neon green rasboras, snails, and shrimp. Yes, all fish will try to opportunistically snack on baby shrimp, but chili rasboras won’t bother the adult shrimp.
Chili Rasboras get along great with peaceful nano fish like the clown killerfish.
What Do Chili Rasboras 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 will eat food that is floating or slow-sinking, and prefer to be fed from the middle. They are also not very picky eaters, and they can be easily outcompeted at mealtimes if the food is good enough to spread all over. However, chili rasboras can eat almost anything. 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. The bottom of the tank should be covered with plastic craft mesh. This will prevent them from predating on the eggs. Although the mesh allows eggs to fall through it, the holes are too small to allow adults to get in. An acidic pH of 7.0 or less may improve hatching rates and survival.
You will have fish from both the male and female sexes if you get at least six 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. You can feed the babies small, healthy meals, such as infusoria or vinegar eels. After a few weeks they will be able to eat live microworms and baby brine shrimp.
Juvenile Chili Rasboras may not be very vibrant at first but will eventually turn out to be as beautiful as rubies if they are treated well.
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.