Scarlet Badis Care Guide: Simple Tips for a Happy Aquarium

Scarlet Badis, also known as Dario dario, have become increasingly popular among freshwater aquarium enthusiasts due to their vibrant colors and fascinating behavior. These tiny, active fish are a wonderful addition to any nano tank, bringing beauty and interest to your underwater world.

As you set up your tank, it’s essential to understand the care needs of Scarlet Badis in order to provide them with an optimal environment. This care guide will help you learn all about their tank requirements, feeding habits, and breeding techniques.

So, let’s dive into the world of Scarlet Badis and discover what it takes to keep these captivating little fish healthy and thriving in your aquarium.

Species Overview

Scarlet Badis, a beautiful freshwater fish, has gained popularity in the nano aquarium community. Originating from India, they can typically be found in tributaries that feed the Brahmaputra River. With their striking appearance, they’re sure to be a great addition to your home aquarium.

Property Information
Scientific name Dario dario
Common names Scarlet Gem Badis
Distribution India, China, Bangladesh
Size 2.5 cm (1 inch)
Lifespan 4-6 years
Diet Carnivorous
Temperament Peaceful, shy
Minimum tank size 10 gallons
Temperature 20-26°C (68-79°F)
pH 6.5-7.5
Water hardness 5-15 dGH
Care level Moderate
Filtration/Water Flow Low to moderate
Water type Freshwater
Breeding Egg-laying
Breeding difficulty Moderate
Compatibility Peaceful community

Keep in mind that Scarlet Badis are shy and can be territorial, especially during breeding. So, it’s essential to provide them with plenty of hiding spaces among plants and rocks in their tank environment. Don’t forget to maintain appropriate water quality, temperature, and pH levels to ensure their well-being.

Appearance and Species Identification

Origins and Natural Habitat

The Scarlet Badis (Dario dario) is a fascinating freshwater fish from the Badidae family, originating in India. Their natural habitat mainly consists of shallow tributaries that feed the Brahmaputra River, which runs through India, China, and Bangladesh. These waters are usually calm and have a good amount of vegetation.

Size and Shape

You’ll find that Scarlet Badis are quite small, which makes them ideal for nano or smaller, well-planted aquariums. They have a laterally compressed body that’s elongated in shape. Males generally grow to be about 0.75- 1 inch in length, whereas females tend to be a bit smaller.

Color and Markings

When it comes to color, male Scarlet Badis exhibit vibrant hues and elaborate patterns. Their primary coloration ranges from bright orange to red, and they feature striking vertical stripes across their entire body. Additionally, light blue accents are present at the base of their dorsal and caudal fins, making these fish quite eye-catching. On the other hand, female Scarlet Badis usually have a more dull coloration and lack the distinctive markings found in males. This sexual dimorphism makes it easy to distinguish between the sexes.


In a well-maintained aquarium, your Scarlet Badis can enjoy a lifespan of 4 to 6 years. Keep a close eye on water parameters and provide them with an appropriate diet to ensure their health and longevity.

Remember to treat these tiny creatures with care and provide them with optimal living conditions. By taking the time to learn about their unique features and requirements, you can enjoy the vibrant presence of Scarlet Badis in your aquarium.

Behavior and Temperament

Scarlet Badis are known for their interesting behavior and temperament. They are quite active, constantly exploring their surroundings and engaging with their environment. Observing them can be a joy, as their vibrant colors catch your eye while they dart around the tank.

Despite their active nature, these little fish can also be shy at times. They may hide among plants and rocks when they feel threatened or unsure. It’s important to provide plenty of hiding spots in the tank to allow them to feel secure.

In terms of temperament, Scarlet Badis are generally peaceful and can coexist with other non-aggressive fish in a community tank. However, males can become territorial, particularly during breeding periods. If you’re planning to include multiple males in your tank, make sure there is enough space and hiding spots to prevent excessive aggression.

While they can be kept in a community tank setting, some aquarists prefer to set up a species-only tank for Scarlet Badis, which allows them to enjoy their unique behavior without interference from other species. This can be particularly beneficial when attempting to breed them, as it ensures a stress-free environment for them to thrive in.

As you plan and create your ideal aquarium for Scarlet Badis, keeping their behavior, temperament, and needs in mind is essential. By catering to their unique characteristics, you’re sure to enjoy an attractive, active, and engaging tank full of these fascinating fish.

Tank Requirements

In order to provide the best care for your Scarlet Badis, it’s essential to set up their tank with the right conditions. For a small group of these eye-catching fish, including one male and two females, a minimum tank size of 10 gallons is recommended. Remember, larger tanks are always better, as they offer more swimming space and stability in water parameters.

To create a comfortable environment, choose a substrate made of sand or fine gravel. This is especially important since coarse or sharp-edged materials can harm your fish. As for plants, incorporating a variety enhances the look of your tank and provides hiding spaces for your Scarlet Badis. Java moss, Vallisneria, and Anubias are all excellent options that thrive in a nano tank setup.

Structures like rocks and driftwood can be added to the tank to create additional hiding spots and a more natural feel. These small details ensure that your fish feel secure in their environment, which can lead to better health and overall happiness.

Lighting should be moderate, providing enough illumination for the plants to grow but not so bright that it stresses the fish. Often, a standard LED fixture is sufficient to achieve this balance.

As for water quality, an efficient filtration system is key. Opt for a gentle hob filter or a sponge filter to prevent excessive water movement, as Scarlet Badis prefer slow-moving or slightly still water. Additionally, you may use an air stone to ensure proper aeration in the tank, if necessary, but be careful not to create too much turbulence.

To sum up, a well-maintained tank with the proper substrate, plants, hiding spaces, lighting, filtration, and aeration will help your Scarlet Badis thrive and showcase their vibrant colors and lively behaviors. Just remember, while setting up your tank, to always keep your fish’s best interests in mind.

Water Parameters

To ensure the health and well-being of your Scarlet Badis, it’s essential to maintain the appropriate water parameters in your aquarium. Here’s a rundown of the critical conditions you’ll want to keep an eye on:

Temperature: Scarlet Badis thrive in water temperatures between 68 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit (20-26 degrees Celsius). To maintain this temperature range, you may need to use an aquarium heater. Make sure to monitor the water temperature regularly.

pH Level: Your Scarlet Badis will be most comfortable in a pH range of 6.5-7.5. Test your aquarium’s water frequently to guarantee a stable pH environment.

Water Hardness: The ideal water hardness (dGH) for these fish is between 10 and 20. Maintaining this level of hardness will help your fish thrive and achieve optimal health. You can use additives or products designed to adjust water hardness if necessary.

Water Quality: Keeping water quality in check is crucial for Scarlet Badis, as they can be sensitive to changes in conditions. Regular maintenance will help ensure that your tank stays balanced, so it’s essential to establish a consistent cleaning schedule. Perform regular water changes, and monitor your filtration system to remove harmful substances and avoid fluctuations in the water parameters.

In summary, by closely watching the temperature, pH level, water hardness, and overall water quality, you can create the ideal environment for your Scarlet Badis. Don’t forget to regularly test and adjust these parameters to ensure a healthy, comfortable home for your fish.

Diet and Feeding

Feeding your Scarlet Badis a well-balanced diet is crucial for their health and well-being. As primarily carnivorous fish, they thrive on a varied selection of live and frozen foods. Offering diverse food options ensures they receive all the essential nutrients they need.

Start by incorporating live food options, such as brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms into their diet. These small crustaceans provide essential proteins for their growth and overall health.

When live foods are not readily accessible, you can rely on frozen food as an alternative. Some suitable options include frozen bloodworms, tubifex worms, and mosquito larvae. Thaw these foods before feeding them to your fish, ensuring any uneaten food is removed to maintain water quality.

It’s important to note that while Scarlet Badis will occasionally eat pellets or flakes, they generally prefer live or frozen food options. If you choose to introduce these more processed options, make sure they’re high-quality omnivore pellets specifically designed for small fish.

Infusoria and other microorganisms can also be an excellent addition to their diet, especially for newly hatched Scarlet Badis fry. Providing a diverse diet will contribute to the longevity and vitality of these stunning fish.

Remember, in order to maintain your Scarlet Badis’ health, keep their diet varied and nutritious. By offering live or frozen foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia, you’ll ensure your fish have a happy and healthy life in your aquarium.

Suitable Tank Mates

When selecting suitable tank mates for your Scarlet Badis, it’s essential to consider their peaceful nature. Since they are shy and easily intimidated, it’s crucial to choose compatible species that are small and have a similar temperament.

One group of fish that can be great tank mates for Scarlet Badis is nano fish. Some popular tropical nano fish that can peacefully coexist with your Scarlet Badis include Galaxy Rasboras and Chili Rasboras. These species are known for their beautiful colors and small size, making them a perfect choice for a nano tank or a community aquarium with Scarlet Badis.

Another option to consider is Gouramis. They are generally peaceful, but it’s essential to choose smaller species like the Dwarf Gourami, which won’t bother your Scarlet Badis. Remember that more massive and aggressive fish can stress out your Scarlet Badis and ultimately affect their health.

Rasboras are also worth considering as tank mates. Like the Scarlet Badis, they are tropical fish with striking colors and peaceful behaviors. As long as the species of Rasbora you choose doesn’t grow too large, they can be a beautiful addition to your community aquarium.

Lastly, Gem Badis can also be considered as compatible tank mates for your Scarlet Badis. This species is similar in size and shares many of the same behaviors and temperament that make them both suitable for life together in a community tank.

In summary, when choosing tank mates for your Scarlet Badis, prioritize small, peaceful fish that share similar requirements and behaviors. Nano fish, small gouramis, rasboras, and gem badis are all excellent choices that can help create a harmonious and visually stunning community aquarium.


Breeding Scarlet Badis is relatively easy, and with the right conditions, you can achieve success in your aquarium. To encourage breeding, you should consider setting up a species-only tank for your Scarlet Badis pair. A species-only tank will allow your fish to feel more comfortable and minimize the risk of other fish eating their eggs or stressing the breeding pair.

Provide your Scarlet Badis with plenty of hiding spots and make their environment more enticing for breeding. You can use caves made from rocks or small clay pots to create a secure and comfortable space for the fish to lay eggs. Additionally, add lush aquatic plants like Rotala and Limnophila to your aquarium, as these plants create a beautiful, natural environment and provide additional coverage for your fish to feel safe.

When you notice your Scarlet Badis pair displaying courtship behavior, make sure to provide them with a high-quality diet. Feeding a well-balanced diet, including live or frozen foods like brine shrimp and daphnia, will help condition the fish for breeding and improve the health of their offspring.

Once the female Scarlet Badis lays her eggs in one of the caves or hiding spots, the male will fertilize them. At this point, it’s essential to monitor the tank for any potential threats, as the male Scarlet Badis can become aggressive in protecting the nest. If necessary, consider removing other tank inhabitants during this time to ensure a peaceful environment for the breeding pair.

As the eggs begin to hatch, caring for the Scarlet Badis fry is straightforward. They will typically feed on microorganisms in your aquarium, but you can also supplement their diet with infusoria or other fine, powdered foods to promote healthy growth and development.

In conclusion, breeding Scarlet Badis is not a complicated task as long as you provide them with an ideal environment and proper nutrition. By setting up a species-only tank, creating safe hiding spots, and feeding a high-quality diet, you can increase your chances of successfully breeding and raising these fascinating fish in your aquarium.

Common Diseases and Treatments

As a proud owner of Scarlet Badis, it’s essential for you to be aware of common diseases and their treatments in order to maintain their health and ensure a long lifespan, which is usually between 4 to 6 years. These colorful fish from the Badidae family are relatively hardy, but like any other aquatic creatures, they are susceptible to certain illnesses.

One common disease is Ich (also known as white spot disease), caused by a parasite that appears as small white spots on your fish. To treat Ich, gradually increase your aquarium’s temperature to around 86°F over 48 hours, and add a specialized Ich medication to the water, carefully following the instructions on the product.

Another illness that can affect your Scarlet Badis is Fin Rot, which is a bacterial infection that causes the fish’s fins to deteriorate. You may notice frayed or discolored fins on your affected fish. Treating Fin Rot involves improving water quality through regular water changes and adding a specifically formulated antibiotic to target the bacteria causing the infection.

Fungal infections can also affect your fish, typically appearing as cotton-like growths on your fish’s body. To treat fungal infections, you’ll need to quarantine the affected fish in a separate tank and use an antifungal medication prescribed by an aquatic veterinarian.

Additionally, Scarlet Badis are prone to internal parasites that can cause weight loss, lethargy, and bloating. Treat internal parasites by feeding medicated food designed to target the specific parasites, along with improving the overall water quality in your aquarium.

To prevent these diseases and ensure your fish’s health, maintain optimum water quality by performing regular water changes, keeping the temperature stable, and removing uneaten food and debris. Make sure to quarantine new plants, fish, and decorative items before adding them to your main aquarium in order to prevent introducing potential pathogens. Stay observant and proactive in your fishkeeping journey, and your Scarlet Badis will thrive and continue to brighten up your aquarium.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the maximum size of a Scarlet Badis?

Scarlet Badis are small fish, with males reaching a maximum size of around 0.8 inches. Females are slightly smaller, making these fish perfect for nano aquariums.

How many Scarlet Badis can fit in a 5-gallon tank?

In a 5-gallon tank, you can keep a pair or small group of Scarlet Badis. It’s essential to provide enough hiding spots and dense vegetation to reduce stress and encourage natural behavior. Remember, always avoid overcrowding in your aquarium.

Can Scarlet Badis coexist with shrimp?

Yes, Scarlet Badis can coexist with shrimp, especially small non-aggressive species such as Neocaridina shrimp. However, it is important to have plenty of hiding spots for your shrimp, as Scarlet Badis may exhibit some hunting instincts and prey on smaller or weaker shrimp.

What tank mates are suitable for Scarlet Badis?

Scarlet Badis are peaceful fish and can share a tank with other small, non-aggressive species. Suitable tank mates include small Rasboras, Tetras, and small Corydoras catfish. Avoid keeping them with larger or aggressive fish, as the Scarlet Badis may be outcompeted for food or become stressed.

What temperature should a Scarlet Badis tank be maintained at?

The ideal water temperature for a Scarlet Badis tank is between 72 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit (22 to 26 degrees Celsius). To maintain this temperature, a reliable, adjustable heater is necessary. Regular monitoring and maintenance of water parameters will help keep your Scarlet Badis happy and healthy.