When they say, ‘Beauty comes in Small Packages,’ they are most probably talking about Chili Rasboras.

Here is your prime and perhaps one of the prettiest choices for a freshwater tank for all nano fish lovers. Associated to Southwestern Borneo of Indonesia, this fish is also known as the Mosquito Chili Rasbora primarily due to its small size, which grows only a half-inch max.

A fun little fish, the chili rasbora is very popular among freshwater aquarium hobbyists due to its bright colors and compact body. You will often see an entire school of these little guys swimming together in your local pet store’s tanks because it is so easy to breed them.

These gentle shiny creatures are a perfect fit for your small aquarium. But not everything that you see is all-pervasive. It might be small in size, but the requirements are not on the tinier side.

If you have been thinking of petting a mini rasbora, we suggest using the guide mentioned below. Here, let us quickly take you through this.

Let’s Know the Species

Quick Species Facts
Scientific Name Boraras Brigittae
Other Common Names Nano Rasbora, Mosquito Rasbora
Family Cyprinidae
Origin Banjarmasin South of Borneo
Lifespan 6 to 8 Years
Size 0.5-0.8 inches
Type Tropical Freshwater Fish

History & Summary:

Dieter Vogt, a German ichthyologist who was little known at the time of his discovery (1978), described it as Boraras brigittae. He classified many different species within this genus with differing characteristics when placing them into the Rasbora family.

He decided upon naming his find after wife Brigitta, who supported him throughout all those years spent exploring nature’s mysteries beneath our feet!

If you already have noticed a chili rasbora school, you might as well have an insight into the blasting colors, the magical floating/swimming pattern, and, not to forget, the peaceful temperament of this creature. Native to Borneo, these are not original Boraras, and yet, they carry a bunch of features capable of capturing the eyes.

The small size of it is an advantage to many aquarists who like to enjoy a variety of species in their tank. Irrespective of how gloomy or dark your tank is, a rasbora fish can always find a way to glow out of it. All thanks to its glowing red color that catches your eye in the first go.

Though many professionals put this in the beginners’ category, petting them is not everyone’s cup of tea. Like any other mate, they have their requirements that are needed to be met. Continue reading to know more.

Appearance and Colors:

A mere look at this fish can tell you it is the very magnificent Chili Rasbora you are looking at. Having a body dipped in shades of ‘red and pink,’ this fish’s coloration is exceptionally bright. As mentioned above, it can strike out even in the dullest of tanks. There are two varieties you can expect, namely:

Cherry Red & Black: Mainly found in males, you witness the prominent red scales appearing with a bluish-black transverse line flowing through the whole body. Interestingly, they have bright red patches on both sides of caudal fins of the same color as the scales. Male counterparts look more vivid and colorful than females.

Bright Orange & Black: This contrast mainly occurs in females and is widely used to set the distinction between genders. Unlike cherry red, the body is occupied with deep orange scales having the same black lateral band flowing throughout.

Starting from the top, the first thing you see are two large eyes. These might look a bit disproportionate to the body size they have, but again, being unique is what Mosquito Rasborais all about. The small flowing body has translucent fins that make the red spots look all floating.

Talking of the mid-section, you can see a blue line flowing through the body, and just over it is the bright red band that flows the same. Having a slender shape, this fish also has dark spots at the caudal fin’s base. All we can say is when these nano-schooling fish swim in groups amidst plants; you do not get a chance to blink your eye. [a1] 

Chili Rasbora Translucent Fins Image Credit Reddit User

How Big Do They Get?

The size and tapered body of Chili Rasboraare what give aesthetics as well as a series of concerns to this species. Growing to a max length of 3 cms, these are primarily called micro or nano schooling rasboras. They are one of the smallest types of fish you can keep in your tank.

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Its small size makes it a great fit for small aquariums, and the same aspect raises the eyebrows of several aquarists to keep them in large tanks. The major of which is the hard-to-observe concern.

Pro Tip: Although its bright red color makes one observe this creature easily, you must still opt for a group of these. Having 6 or 8 flowing together can easily allow you to spot one of these, and it subsequently levels up the aesthetic of any fish tank, small or large.

Maximum Life Span:

The lifespan of every fish you keep in the water tank depends significantly on the level of care you offer to the creature. And same goes for Chilli Rasbora.

For a tropical freshwater fish to be of this size, a 4 to 5 years lifespan is considered a decent period. And boraras rasboras comfortably offer that, provided that you keep the care level intact.

If you keep water parameters correct, provide a nutrient-rich diet, and keep other peaceful chili mates with it, you can expect it to live a couple more years above the 5-year mark. 


Originating from Borneo in Southwestern Indonesia, these naturally live in wooded tropical waters that have steady currents and live plants of a specific sort. Since these are closely associated with lakes and swamps, they like a similar water setting that offers them space to swim and spots to hide. They prefer clear waters with lots of oxygen.

Offering them their natural habitat-like structure allows them to be at their very best. This can be seen in their lively swimming patterns and a day full of activity. Further, this eliminates stress on this tiny swimmer and adds numbers to the years in their life.

Expert Advice: Chilli Rasboras live comfortably and thrive well when they are kept in groups. Swimming in groups of six (minimum) is more like their natural preference. Hence, you must get a school if you ever wish to have one.

Availability and Price:

With these being among the most liked and talked-about species in current times, it is hard not to find a chili rasbora swimming in a regular pet store. Moreover, if you haven’t had a chili rasbora for sale in the nearby store, you can always watch for it online.

Online stores keep the sale alive where you can get a pack of these at reasonable rates. The most common you’d hear these days is anywhere around $4 for a school of 8 to 10 fish. The prices may vary from dealer to dealer.

Care Guide

Quick Facts
Care Level Intermediate
Social Temperament Peaceful
Diet Omnivore
Breeding Moderate Level

What to Feed?

Being an omnivore species, this fish likes to have a wide variety on the plate. While living in the wild, the red rasbora feeds on microscopic sources. To name a few, these sources are worms and insects only.

While in your aquarium, you can feed them commercial food, frozen food, flakes, and pellets. Further, the list can include baby brine shrimp, worms, and small sources of meaty protein. Yes, plants and vegetable matter can also be a good option.

Author’s Note: Though these are not picky eaters, the only time they won’t be feeding on the food you offer is if the size of it is big enough for their mouths. Hence, anything you offer must be tiny in size and in a uniform pattern.

Temperament & Behavior:

Being small in size, you can probably guess that this fish has a peaceful nature. And that is what you find here in this species. This colorful schooling fish swims peacefully in the group established. Needless to say, they won’t be itching or nipping any other mate.

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You may find rasbora boraras being shy and steady during the initial days. Once they get comfortable, they can be found all over the place in upper waters. Their swimming pattern is what mesmerizes the eye. The group swimming together never shows the sign of indiscipline. After a few days, you may find a couple of these enjoying amidst the hiding spots in plants.

Pro Tip: Due to their peaceful behavior, you must keep small peaceful tankmates with it. Any aggressive fish can easily push this fish, and before you know it, it might become the next meal for the big brat.

Breeding Tips:

Breeding Rasbora Brigittae won’t be a headache for any home aquarist at all. The reason why breeding is put in the intermediate category is that the Chili Rasboras are not gentle parents like others. This simply means that these can attack their own rasbora fry when they hatch. And once they get a sight of these, they’ll most likely eat them.

Hence, a separate tank is considered for mating. Further, heavy vegetation at the bottom of the tank is strictly recommended. The male generally unleashes its whole red/crimson array of colors when he’s ready to mate. The female rasbora lays and scatters eggs across the entire tank. After which, the hatching requires 48 hours approx. And this point, you remove the parents.

Diseases to Look for:

Well, this tiny creature does not fall into the clutches of any drastic disease. But any change in the water parameter for a few days can seriously put them in trouble. Talking of the common ailments, these are the ones that happen to all other freshwater species, namely, fugal and parasitic infections.

To name one, it is the ‘Ich’ that troubles this fish the most. Tail rot, dropsy, and mouth disease such as columnaris are a few more to watch out for. Hence, you must take care of not just your chili rasbora but other creatures residing in it.

For that to happen, you can start by keeping a check on pH level, temperature, and nutritional balance. Any deviation from the mark for a long time can be fatal.

Recommendations for Tank

Quick Facts
Minimum Size 5 Gallon
Water Temperature 20˚C to 28˚C
Water Hardness 2 to 10 dKh
pH Level 5.0 – 7.0

Tank Size:

They will not grow over an inch, whether it is a red, green rasbora fish or a pygmy rasbora. Hence, there is every possibility that your old and tiny water tank will get back to life. As mentioned, a gallon of water is sufficient for two rasboras. But this is not what you’d be having in a community tank.

Besides having this schooling fish, you might think of having a few more suitable tank mates, which impacts the size of the tank you’d need. As for the chili rasboras alone, a 6-8 gallon tank would be enough for a school of 8. Occupied by live plants and soft toys, this can be the perfect fit for this elegant creature.

Tank Setup and Plants to Include:

While you decide the tank size for rasbora, you might as well take a look at the décor you’d be needing. Since this species has a glow of its own, we suggest you not use multiple lights. A regular, gleaming LED water tube would do well, and keeping it on a slightly dull side will let you witness the true charm of chili mates. Experienced aquarists suggest a 6500K LED light as ideal.

Having live plants is essential for Boraras Brigittae’s care since they like to swim across and hide in the spots. For that, you have the Java Moss, Ferns, and Anubias as the favorites. Further, you can add driftwood to maintain pH level and keep a hold of water current.

Pro Tip: Since this fish comes from a setting that does not contain high currents, it cannot swim against strong currents. You must make sure you are not putting a filter that forms aggressive currents. Keeping to very low would help, and you can use driftwoods for this purpose.

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Water Parameters:

Here comes the most crucial part of making your fish have a long and happy life. When you think of buying chili rasboras, you must study the water parameters needed. To begin with, the pH must stay anywhere between 4.0 and 7.0. Subsequently, keep the temperature close to 74˚F specific, and the hardness should remain between 4 and 10 dKH.

It is strictly advised to monitor water parameters regularly. Chilli Rasboras are not the kind of fish that can thrive for days in adverse conditions. A balance of nutrients, slow-moving current, an environment that mimics their own shady belongings in the Borneo, and a school or a family of chili rasboras is all that you need to keep these happy.

Pro Tip: Being constant is a way to keep this species lively. If you can, you must keep a daily check on the temperature, pH, and hardness of the water. Giving this species what it wants in the manner it wants can increase the lifespan up to 8 years.

Ideal Tankmates:

The rule of thumb states that a peaceful fish cannot thrive with aggressive tank mates, which stands true for this fish. Being nano fish, these are likely to fall prey to the predators in the first go. Plus, a group of these miniatures together would be like serving a full plate of meal to the big guns.

Some of the ideal tank mates are:

  • Neon Tetra
  • Cherry Shrimp
  • Cory Cats
  • Chocolate Gourami
  • Licorice Gourami
  • Celestial Pearl Danios
  • Kuhli Loaches

Make sure you only keep small and peaceful creatures alongside small plants. If you have a small tank, we suggest you do not pet large groups since this can create suffocation and even stress.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are they easy to school?

Yes, chili rasboras are meant to be kept in schools. And there is no extreme problem that this species poses in front of a beginner, and only one; you have to maintain water parameters.

How many chili rasboras are to be kept in a 5-gallon tank?

Generally, two chili mates per gallon are recommended. You should not exceed the limit at any cost, which can lead to suffocation. If you have a 5-gallon tank, get a school of 8 rasboras.

Are chili rasbora and phoenix rasbora different from each other?

When it comes to phoenix rasboras versus chili rasboras, these are similar in appearance and may be sold interchangeably at some stores. Still, they both differ from each other at other levels. However, a few aquarists think they both are different variants of the same species.

Is pygmy rasbora an ideal tankmate for chili rasbora?

Being a peaceful fish, chili rasbora can do well with pygmy rasbora. The latter being proportionate in size and temperament, can do better than other aggressive mates.

How many chili rasboras can I keep in my aquarium?

Well, this Indonesian super dwarf fish might be the prime choice for every beginning aquarist. It should be kept in a limited number. Only if you have a tank big enough and experience hefty enough can you enhance the number of pets.

Can chili rasbora survive in hard water?

Chili Rasboras may or may not adapt to hard water. Ones who adapted are known to have a lifespan of 3 to 5 years. You can add more years to its life by keeping the parameters close to the abovementioned standards.

Are there more varieties to Chili Rasboras?

While these may not look different from each other in terms of size, they are different in how they look. The neon red, green, spotted dwarf, clown, and two spot rasbora, are all the variety of this species. You can find these at online fish stores.

Can You Keep Chili Rasboras with Betta?

That would be a next-to-impossible task since the tendency of bettas is to attack smaller fish which is quite the opposite of what rasboras do. Therefore, the only result would be the giant feeding on this small pet.

Should you Keep them in Aquarium?

There is no doubt that Chilli Rasboras are one of the best small schooling fish, and there is a reason they gained that status. It is the charm, the peaceful nature, the easy maintenance, the cost-effectiveness, and the beginner-friendly nature of it that makes it a unique creature. We recommend if you are thinking of getting one, don’t wait any longer!

About the Author

Shelby Crosby

Shelby is a passionate fishkeeper who has been writing about fish for over 5 years. She is a pro aquarist and holds a BSc Honors Degree in Wildlife and Fisheries. She creates her own beautiful aquarium layouts and loves to share her knowledge of tropical fish with other hobbyists.

Career Highlights:

  • Has worked with several aquarium manufacturers as a consultant
  • Organized and hosted workshops on freshwater fish keeping at retail stores, educational facilities, and libraries
  • Released content for the amphibian community through her writings

Educational Highlights:

  • BSc Honors in Wildlife and Fisheries in 2011 (University of Northern British Columbia)
  • Completed her undergraduate thesis on the effects of zoochlorella supplementation on the growth and health of fish.

Writing Experience

Miss Crosby is a Freelance blogger; many of her articles are posted online on various blogs. She has also written a few short articles for "Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine" in the past. She is a regular contributor to FishParenting.com. Her education, first-hand experience with fishkeeping, and in-depth knowledge in aquaculture make her one of the most competent writers in the industry.

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