Chili Rasbora: Ultimate Guide (Care, Diet, Breeding & More)

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Written By Matt Stevens

Hi, I'm Matt! I've been obsessed with fishkeeping for over 15 years now and created this site to share my knowledge with others.

Chili Rasbora are loved for their beauty and are popular with many aquarists across the globe.

But what do they eat, where do they live, and who are their best tank mates? Also, what is it like to care for them, and what’s their typical behavior?

This detailed guide will cover the fundamentals of Chili Rasbora care to help you understand their appearance, what to put in their tank, and what to expect in return.

You will learn deep secrets of the Chili Rasboras, including their diet, the fitting tank size, tank mates, breeding, and more!

Species Overview

So cute yet so easy to care for, Chili Rasboras continue to attract the attention of aquarium enthusiasts across the globe. They belong to the Cyprinidae family and are a beautiful sight to behold.

Some aquarists have even claimed that if their vibrant color doesn’t add to the visual appeal of your aquarium, nothing ever will.

Despite holding the name for such a long time, it’s not clear whether the Chili Rasboras genuinely belong to the Rasbora family.

Initially, they were categorized as part of the genus Rasbora before being grouped into a new genus, Boraras, owing to the visible anatomical variations.

Whatever name you choose, you will have a super gorgeous and peaceful fish that only wants to swim and play. Even though caring for these fish is pretty straightforward, you may need some tips when handling them for optimal growth.

ColorOrange and Black, Red and Black
Lifespan4-8 Years
Care LevelModerate
Behavior & TemperamentPeaceful
CompatibilityNano fish, small shrimps, and snails
Food and DietOmnivores
Size0.7 Inches
Tank SetupTropical Freshwater
Tank Size (Minimum)5 Gallons


A typical Chili Rasbora will have an average lifespan of 4 to 8 years. And while this doesn’t compare favorably against its famous tank counterparts, it’s still enough to let you enjoy your Rasbora buddy’s company for some good time.

As you may probably know, the Chili Rasbora’s lifespan will be influenced by a wide variety of factors. Climate, temperature, water conditions, food, you name them.

So, to help maximize their growth, it’s essential to provide the right conditions that promote healthy living.


A photo of a Chili Rasbora sums up everything you may need to know about their appearance. A brightly colored fish species whose incomparable beauty compensates for its small body size.

Usually, these fish species assume a sparkling red hue, with their bodies covered in unique shades of deep orange, red or pink colors. The vibrant color is perfectly complemented by black, lateral lines running through their bodies.

If you notice a Chili Rasbora of a deeper shade of red, it’s likely a male. The females, on the other hand, tend to have a slightly faded color. But don’t confuse them with the Phoenix Rasbora species, who may also exhibit similar coloration.


Sorry aquarists! Chili Rasboras won’t be the largest fish species you will ever keep in your aquarium. They are not the type. A typical Rasbora will only measure about 0.7 inches in length.

With their small size, these fish species are a perfect fit for beginner-level aquarists using nano tanks and small, home aquariums. But this doesn’t mean they won’t be an excellent option for seasoned aquarists either.

They are a strong contender if you are looking for something beautiful to add to the exquisite appeal of your tank.

Of course, you may be concerned with the Chili Rasbora’s size. And rightly so. But the bright red color also makes it easy for you to spot them anywhere in the tank.

Chili Rasbora Care

Chili Rasbora care is just as easy as it can get. However, you will still need to pay meticulous attention to their individual needs. Above all, be sure to provide the right conditions to enable them to thrive in your aquarium.

The water conditions are a critical aspect, to begin with, to keep your little friends happy and active all season.

While their small size is not necessarily a disadvantage to many aquarists, it could also mean that some fish varieties will need specific attention to care and maintenance.

With that in mind, low water quality will be Chili Rasbora’s biggest nightmare that could easily cut short its lifespan.

Similarly, increasing stress levels could threaten your minnow’s health and well-being and even have a fatal outcome. So, always provide the most suitable conditions by keeping all the parameters in check.

Tank Size

Many will tell you that you don’t need a big tank to keep your Chili Rasbora friend happy and satisfied. And we couldn’t agree more.

With their small body size, you can already predict that a Chili Rasbora will never need a large tank for optimal growth. And indeed, the ideal conditions for a Chili Rasbora include just a 5-gallon tank.

In some way, this is a clear advantage over most other fish species of larger sizes. But there’s a catch.

Chili Rasboras are schooling fish who thrive in large groups. So, having a small tank could also deprive them of fundamental aspects of life such as swimming, playing, and socializing.

Granted, we would still be happy to recommend a larger tank for a start. Even if you choose to go with a smaller tank initially, you should plan for a more effective option that will easily accommodate the entire school as they grow.

Irrespective of the exact number of Chili Rasboras you intend to keep, having a larger tank reduces stress levels by allowing your fish buddies to swim and move freely within their territory.

Water Parameters

Usually, an aquarist’s biggest goal is to provide the best possible conditions for the fish’s survival.

In other words, you should always aspire to recreate the fish’s natural habitat. So, for Chili Rasboras, it will be all about attempting to mimic the climatic conditions in Southwest Borneo, Indonesia, the fish’s original habitat.

In its wild environment in Indonesia, the Chili Rasbora thrives because of three critical conditions; warmth, darkness, and acidity. But whether you can replicate the same conditions in your aquarium remains debatable.

Well, to cut the long story short, the critical water parameters to keep under control for Chili Rasbora’s optimal growth include water temperature, water hardness, and pH levels.

Generally, an important rule of thumb states that an aquarist should always keep the water temperature at the levels of 68°F and 82°F.

Similarly, the pH levels should be slightly acidic. The ideal level is 6.0, but anything between 4.0 and 7.0 will be just fine. It should never go beyond 7.0.

Finally, the water hardness should range from 3-12 dKH for optimal growth. While at it, you will also want to monitor these parameters regularly by conducting frequent tests using the most suitable kit. It never hurts to know the actual status of the water in your pet’s habitat.

What to Put in Their Tank?

Tank decoration is the first step to creating the ideal environment for your Chili Rasboras, and it doesn’t have to be challenging.

In its original habitat in Southwest Borneo, a Chili Rasbora thrives in natural blackwaters with low mineral content.

However, this could be extremely difficult to recreate if you use tap water that contains loads of chlorine, copper, and other harmful minerals. Not even with standard filtration.

With that in mind, distilled water is usually the most suitable option in a tank containing Chili Rasboras.

Furthermore, a Chili Rasbora will need its usual natural hiding spots in the aquarium to complement its pacific lifestyle. So, you will need to introduce a dark substrate such as sand or fine gravel at the bottom end of your tank.

This practice is also intended to help you recreate the low lighting conditions in Indonesia’s slow-running black water swamps. On that note, you can go with the right kinds of floating plants and driftwood, such as Anubias, Java moss, and Java fern.

Finally, it’s worth reminding that fast-flowing water is not necessarily the perfect environment for a Chili Rasbora’s survival.

Remember, they originate from a tropical freshwater region with slow-flowing pond and stream waters. So, it would be best if you always aimed at maintaining the outlet as low as possible.

If you think about their small size, you will realize that these little minnows don’t do well against solid and fast-flowing waters. The good news is, with the addition of natural plants, you will also be doing enough to reduce the flow of the water currents.

Common Diseases

It feels good to know that the Chili Rasboras won’t be significantly affected by most conditions limited to the entire species. However, you will need to pay close attention to most other diseases exclusive to freshwater fish.

And one particular culprit is Ich, a contagious disease of parasitic origin that’s almost exclusive to freshwater fish like the Chili Rasboras. Usually, the first sign you will notice in an Ich-infested fish community is white dots all over the fish’s bodies.

We won’t lie to you that you can keep the Ich disease away altogether. However, you can take an essential first step in saving your fish by providing and maintaining ideal conditions in their habitat.

Ich is often linked to increased stress levels in your tank. So, you could start by providing a healthy diet to keep the condition at bay.

Considering its highly contagious nature, it would help to isolate the infected fish as quickly as possible. Later, you can use popular over-the-counter medications to counter its effects.

What Do Chili Rasboras Eat?

A Chili Rasbora may not be the biggest fish in your aquarium. But they do love to eat, especially worms and insects. They are sometimes called micro predators who will feast on a range of proteins from plankton to insects and worms in the wild.

But everything quickly changes in captivity. Here, Chili Rasboras will want to eat whatever you provide without hesitation. However, your little friends would do pretty well with a balanced diet every other time.

That is to say, having the right combination such as small pellets and fish flakes would be great for a Chili Rasbora’s typical meal.

In summary, give your Chili Rasbora any protein you can provide, such as micro worms, Tubifex, and baby brine shrimps.

Behavior & Temperament

Chili Rasboras are peaceful fish species whose pacific behavior can sometimes portray timidity. You would think they are just some boring school of fish until they begin to feel more comfortable in your tank.

By then, if you won’t spot them in the upper part of your aquarium, you will likely see them in the lower end, although the latter is a rare trend in many aquariums. If you notice an irregular swimming pattern or see them hiding quite often, they are probably sick.

For Chili Rasboras, a new day means another opportunity to comfortably explore the aquarium as they locate new hiding spots and swim through the natural vegetation.

And yes! You guessed it right. Chili Rasboras are schooling fish who like to move in groups when exploring the tank. While doing so, they tend to create a colorful accent that’s impossible to ignore.

Chili Rasbora Tank Mates

Of course, their small size will always make most marine animals confuse them to be some food. But don’t get it twisted. Chili Rasboras are not going to coexist with every fish species just because of their small size.

If you want to create a fantastic schooling community for them, you’d better go with other fish species of a pacific demeanor. And your list will be incomplete without any of the following;


Breeding is easily one of the reasons you should consider keeping Chili Rasboras in the first place. It is pretty straightforward. Granted, Chili Rasboras will continue to lay eggs inside the aquarium if you provide the right conditions.

They might be active and continuous spawners, but the delicate nature of the spawn should make you design a separate tank for breeding. The only challenging thing about breeding in these fish is that they are not as parental as most other fish species tend to be.

As such, they won’t hesitate to feed on or attack the eggs at the slightest opportunity.

To create a new breeding zone for your fish, consider introducing natural plants at the bottom end of the tank, where the females tend to spread most of their eggs. With the right conditions, the eggs will take just a few days to hatch.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you now understand what it is like to look after the Chili Rasbora in your aquarium.

A seasoned aquarist will never think twice when they need the perfect mix of spotless appearance and a low-maintenance fish species. The answer will always be Chili Rasboras.

They are a small fish species that may not get the full attention they deserve but will significantly complement your aquarium. Chili Rasboras are the ideal choice if you have a limited tank space or simply looking for a peaceful little friend to compliment your room.

After reading this guide, we hope you will want to introduce these underappreciated lovely pets to your tank. Of course, we are convinced that would be a great decision.