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. However, they often get passed over because the juveniles sold at pet stores are miniscule and look washed-out. Find out what it takes to raise these stunning nano fish so they reach their full adult coloration that will keep you staring at the aquarium for hours.
What are Chili Rasboras, you ask?
Boraras Brigittae, a cousin to micro rasboras such as strawberry rasboras and exclamation points rasboras is close. They are only about 3/4 inch (2cm) long, and have a slim body with pointed fins. The adults are known for having scarlet, intensely reddish-red scales. However, their skin will temporarily become paler as they move from tank to tank. 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. Although they won’t hurry to greet you in the tank, they may approach you if they are curious.
Chili rasboras have a distinctive red body with a horizontal stripe of black.
How to Set Up an Aquarium for Chili Rasboras
Chili rasbora are found in the rainforests of Borneo and Indonesia, where tons of trees block out the sunlight and plant leaves often fall into the water, breaking down into brown tannins. Although they are from more acidic water, the chili rasboras tend to be more resilient and can tolerate a wide range of 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. You can recreate the dark lighting of the jungle by using low light plants. These plants create shaded areas that provide hiding places for the fry as well as adults. Anubias, cryptocoryne, dwarf aquarium, lily, and floating sprite are some of our favorite plants. To create a biotope tank that mimics their natural environment, add dried catappa leaves. This will tint the water and lower the pH.
Because of their small size, mosquito rasboras have low bioloads and produce very little waste. We have been able to keep them in fish tanks as small at 3 gallons. They are not the fastest swimmers, so aim for a filter with low current like 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 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. 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.
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. The following are compatible tank mates: lambchop, rosy laches, ember Tetras, dwarf cory catsfish, neon green and neon red rasboras. While all fish will attempt to eat baby shrimp, chili rasboras will not bother adult shrimp.
Chili rasboras get along well with other peaceful nano fish like clown killifish.
What does a Chili Rasbora eat?
Invertebrates such as microworms, zooplankton and microworms are what they eat in the wild. Therefore, look for fish foods that are small enough to fit in their mouths or are soft enough for them to take bites out of. They like to eat from the middle of the water column so it is best to offer floating or slow-sinking food options. 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. But chili rasboras don’t have to eat picky foods and will eat any food, from frozen rotifers to cyclops, Repashy gel (in its powder form), to live microworms. Crushed krill flakes and small fish foods are our favorites to bring out their bright red color.
How to Breed Chili Rasboras
A nanofish is a tiny fish that can be raised from their eggs. We recommend that you have a mature aquarium with plenty of live plants, catappas leaves, and other botanicals. This will allow the fry to graze on mulm and microfauna. 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. The mesh allows eggs to pass through but is too small for adults to get into. A pH lower than 7.0 can help increase hatch rate and survival rates.
A minimum of 6 chili rasboras is required to ensure that you have fish of both genders. Females tend be smaller and more colorful than their male counterparts. For breeding purposes, feed the adults high-quality foods such live baby brine shrimp. You can then place them in the breeding tank for a few more days. The babies should be fed small meals of fry food like vinegar eels and infusoria every day. Within a few weeks, they will be large enough for live micro worms to be eaten.
Juvenile chile rasboras don’t look very bright at first, but they will grow to be as colorful as rubies with time and patience.
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. Here are 10 of the most beautiful nano fish you can try in your next fish tank.