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. These tiny rasboras are often overlooked as the small-sized juveniles available at pet shops can look very bare and sloppy. 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 a close cousin of other micro rasboras, like the exclamation point rasbora and strawberry rasbora. They grow only 3/4 inch (2 cm) in length and have pointed fins. Although the adults are well-known for their scarlet red scales, they can temporarily turn paler when they move between tanks. Allow them to adjust for a few weeks before their true colors return. Due to their fear of predators most nano fish are shy, but chili rasboras have proven to be a refreshingly bold alternative. 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 Create 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. 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. Anubias and cryptocoryne plant, dwarf aquarium lily, floating water sprite are our favorites. You can make a biotope tank by adding dried catappa leaf to the water to create biofilm that the fish will enjoy.
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. 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. You can have rosy loaches or lambchops with ember tetras and dwarf cory catfish. Yes, all fish will try to opportunistically snack on baby shrimp, but chili rasboras won’t bother the adult shrimp.
Chili rasboras get along well with other peaceful nano fish like clown killifish.
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 like to eat from the middle of the water column so it is best to offer floating or slow-sinking food options. Also, they are not the most aggressive eaters and can easily be outcompeted during mealtimes unless the food is fine enough to spread everywhere. 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. To bring out their vivid red coloration, our favorite foods are crushed krill flakes, Easy Fry and Small Fish Food, and baby brine shrimp.
How to Breed Chili Rasboras
We have had success breeding nano fish in mature aquariums with many live plants, catappa leafs, and other botanicals to create microfauna and mulm for our fry. 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.
A minimum of 6 chili rasboras is required to ensure that you have fish of both genders. Females tend to be rounder and less colorful, while males are smaller and have the brightest reds. Feed the adult shrimp with high-quality food such as baby brine shrimp to condition them for breeding. Place them in the mature, sterile tank for a few days. Once they have spawned or you see any fry, remove them. 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 doesn’t ship live fish. However, we recommend that you visit one of our preferred online retailers to view their stocking lists. For more inspiration, check out the top 10 stunning nano fish you need to try in your next small fish tank.