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scarlet badis dario dario

Keeping The Scarlet Badis (Dario dario)

The scarlet badis is also known as the scarlet gem badis or Dario dario and is one of the many small freshwater fish that you can add to your aquarium. With brilliant colours and a personality to match, the scarlet badis originated in Asia, particularly the Northwest Bengal states and Assam in India. Whilst this fish does have some specific care requirements, it is well worth the effort as this article will explain.

scarlet badis dario darioScarlet badis by name….

…Scarlet by colour; male scarlet badis have seven dark vertical bars along their sides in addition to their red colouration. Mature specimens also develop blue highlights along their fins. Females, on the other hand, tend to have indistinct vertical bars or a uniform greyish colour. They will grow up to one inch in length. This is actually among the smallest percoid fishes that experts have found with females reaching typically no more than 13 mm in length and males around 20 mm. You are relatively unlikely to find female scarlet badis for sale given their less flamboyant colouration.

Diet And Feeding

This type of fish is a micro predator, meaning they eat zooplankton such as small aquatic crustaceans, insect larvae, and worms. In the aquarium, the scarlet badis eats both frozen and live foods, including microworms, Cyclops, daphnia, and bloodworms. There are some reports online of this species accepting flake foods, but always have live or frozen to hand.

Remember that this is one fish species which is picky so you will need to pay close attention to make sure your fish are actually eating. Always be careful when feeding your scarlet badis bloodworm or Tubifex as they will be at a higher risk of developing disease on a diet rich in these foods. These two foods are best avoided.

Scarlet badis male

Water Parameters

The natural habitat of the scarlet badis is typically slow-moving with a small amount of vegetation. This means that you should set up your aquarium with dense plants and fine gravel or sandy substrate in addition to surface vegetation if you wish to replicate their natural environment. Include floating plants to provide your fish with areas of shade and subdued lighting. This species will appreciate the inclusion of natural décor such as driftwood which equally serves as a visual barrier in the tank, particularly useful if attempting to house more than one sarlet badis in the same aquarium.

The water should have a hardness of between 18 and 268 ppm. The ideal pH for these fish is between 6.5 and 8.5. Aim to keep the temperature in the tank between 18 and 26 degrees Celsius (64.4 to 78.8 Fahrenheit).

Tank mates

As the scarlet badis is a shy species and will easily find itself at the bottom of the pecking order come feeding time.  ?Suitable tankmates include some small anabantoids like liquorice gouramis as well as certain Rasboras. If you add these fish, just make sure that your scarlet badis get enough food. You should never add more active and aggressive fish to an aquarium with the scarlet badis inside as this will lead to the fish missing out on food or simply refusing to eat.

You should also be careful when placing multiple scarlet badis in the same tank as males may become aggressive towards each other, particularly when in a small tank. This means that you should try to only have one male at a time. You can opt for either a single female or several of them. If your tank is large enough, it will be possible to keep several males, but they need enough room to create their own territories and stay out of each others’ line of sight. The minimum amount of space for each male should be about 30 square centimetres. Placing caves and other similar boundaries can help with this. Adding too many males to your tank could result in aggressive behaviour such as that portrayed in this video.

The minimum tank size for housing a pair would be around 10 gallons.


It is fairly easy for the untrained eye to tell male and female scarlet badis fish apart, which is useful for planning your tank. Females tend to be smaller with a shorter body that looks stumpier than males. Females also tend to be less colourful, as their bars will be non-existent or indistinct and they don’t have blue or red colouring. As male Dario dario fish mature, they develop extended anal, dorsal, and pelvic fins. You are more likely to see male scarlet badis for sale because their bright colours attract attention and are desirable in tanks.

You can try to stimulate breeding by feeding the fish more live food, adding small floating plants with leaves to the tank, and raising the water temperature slightly. When your fish begin to breed, the colours on the males will become more intense and they will also start showing their courtship behaviour. During breeding, males are non-aggressive towards females, who will follow them if they are interested. After the brief act of breeding, the eggs will be scattered on a solid surface, such as the underside of a lea. After this, the male will remain in charge of the territory.

The baby fish, or fry, incubate for two or three days in the area where they are laid before hatching. After this, they hide in plants and continue to feed on their yolk sac for a week. After this, they will eat small micro-organisms found in the tank before moving up to the diet of mature scarlet badis.

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