Scarlet Badis Appearance, Size, Care, Tank Mates & Breeding

These active and colorful fish are perfect for small tanks and can be entertaining and relaxing to watch.

They are relatively easy to care for, although proper water cleanliness is essential to their well-being.

In this article, we will walk you through everything you need to know about caring for scarlet badis – from their ideal tank conditions to their feeding requirements, behavior, temperament, and even breeding.

Whether you’re new to owning these fish or just looking for tips on keeping them healthy and happy in your aquarium, we’ve got you covered.

Species Overview

The Scarlet Badis, scientifically known as Dario Dario, is an exquisite freshwater fish that’s increasing in popularity amongst nano aquarium enthusiasts.

This fish’s natural habitat is in the tributaries of the mighty Brahmaputra River, a waterway that passes through India, China, and Bangladesh.

Scarlet Badis thrive in shallow, clear waters with plentiful vegetation.

Creating a successful tank for these fish requires replicating the qualities of their natural environment.

Maintaining clear water with plenty of aquatic plants should be a priority for any Scarlet Badis owner, and this will allow them to thrive and enjoy their new home.

With proper care and attention, these fish can easily adapt to their new environment and give your tank a vibrant and lively appearance.



Maintaining water quality in your tank ensures these fascinating creatures’ healthy and long life.

Factors like water cleanliness, temperature, pH levels, and water hardness all play a role in determining the lifespan of scarlet badis.

Proper care can lead to an average lifespan of 4-6 years in captivity, but variability exists based on individual conditions.

Age-related issues are common among scarlet badis and can impact their health and longevity.

They may become more susceptible to various fungal and bacterial diseases as they age.

Maximizing their lifespan is essential to ensure water quality consistency and minimize potential stressors, such as overfeeding or aggressive tank mates.

Scarlet badis can provide an enjoyable experience for years with proper care and attention.

Appearance and Size

When you observe the appearance of adult male scarlet badis, you’ll notice the stunning colors and patterns covering their body, including vertical stripes spaced out evenly and extending across the length of their fins.

The primary coloration can either be orange or red, with some light blue accents on the base of the dorsal and caudal fins.

This flickering effect created by the light blue edges of their fins is part of what makes these fish so beautiful and fun to watch swim.

On the other hand, females are less flashy, with a standard orange-grey coloration and less pronounced fins than males.

Scarlet badis are among the smallest percoid species, making them ideal for nano tanks.

When setting up a tank for scarlet badis, it’s important to provide plenty of aquatic vegetation as they require protection and safety in plants during breeding behavior.

Sand or gravel substrates are also suitable for their tank decoration suggestions.

Additionally, keeping them in groups of only their kind will improve breeding success rates since males use bright colors and fast vibrating movements to attract females during breeding time.


The small size of the scarlet badis allows their stunning colors and patterns to stand out, making them a popular choice for nano tanks.

These fish grow slowly, so it’s important to remember when planning your tank.

Males are typically larger than females and have more vibrant colors.

On average, males reach about eight-tenths of an inch in length, while females only grow to be around half an inch.

Because they are such small fish, tank decoration is crucial for scarlet badis’ survival and well-being.

They need plenty of aquatic vegetation to hide in and swim through.

Dense plant life also provides a place for females to lay their eggs during breeding frequency, which tends to happen often with the right conditions met.

While these fish may be tiny, they require much care and attention from their owners!

Caring for Scarlet Badis

Caring for scarlet badis is simple if you know what is essential.

Like any other fish, certain things matter more than others, which is true for Dario Dario.

Water quality is the most crucial factor to consider when looking after these fish.

They are very sensitive to unsuitable water conditions, so it is crucial to maintain clean and clear water for them.

A 50% water change should be done once a week; this is a great opportunity also to give your tank a good clean.

Failing to do so could result in health complications, as these fish are accustomed to crystal-clear water in their natural environment.

Overall, the key to successful scarlet badis care is consistency with your water changes and tank cleanings, especially if you are dealing with a nano tank.

Keeping up with this routine is essential not just for the health of your fish but also for their happiness. It’s a small sacrifice of time that can make a huge difference.

Tank Size

Regarding Scarlet Badis, reserving 10 gallons of tank space is best and will ensure they have plenty of room to roam and a secure place to feel at home.

If you want to keep a group of these tiny fish together, you’ll need to upgrade to a 20-gallon tank since they’re feisty little creatures and need their space.

A larger tank will give them more room to swim and feel comfortable in their environment.

In addition, it will also allow for better water quality as there is more room for the ideal tank decorations and filtration system.

When setting up your scarlet badis’ home, consider the size of the plants you plan on using as well.

This will ensure ample space for hiding spots and breeding areas.

Remember that a larger tank means a larger water volume, so establish a regular water change schedule to maintain healthy water parameters for your fish.

With all this in mind, creating an optimal environment for your scarlet badis should be easy and rewarding!

Water Parameters

Water quality is crucial when caring for scarlet badis.

We’ve already talked about maintaining water cleanliness and changing the water regularly, but there’s more to it than that.

Water parameters such as temperature, pH levels, and hardness are essential to keeping your fish healthy.

As a reminder, scarlet badis prefer temperatures between 72°F to 79°F and a pH range of 6.5 to 7.5 with a recommended hardness range of 10 to 20 dGH.

Frequent weekly testing is necessary to ensure that water conditions remain stable.

It’s best to have a reliable test kit to make adjustments before any levels shift outside the recommended range.

In addition to testing frequency, choosing appropriate filtration methods and temperature control are equally important in maintaining good water quality for your scarlet badis.

By staying on top of these things, you’ll be helping your fish thrive in their environment!

Habitat Setup

To create a comfortable and stress-free environment for your colorful fish, you’ll want to create a lush aquatic habitat with plenty of aquatic plants and suitable substrate.

Not only will this mimic their natural habitat, but it also provides them with necessary cover and protection.

Some popular choices for aquatic plants that go well with scarlet badis include java moss, limnophila sessiliflora, rotala rotundifolia, and Ottilia alismoides.

A thickly carpeted plant like dwarf hair grass can also work well.

When selecting substrate options for your scarlet badis tank, sand or gravel are great choices.

We prefer sand since these fish spend most of their time in the lower half of the tank, and it’s easier to clean.

However, many aquarists use gravel substrates as well without any issues.

Just ensure the substrate is deep enough to allow plant roots to take hold, and avoid using sharp-edged materials that could harm your fish’s delicate fins.

Other decoration options like driftwood or rocks can be added, but remember that these fish don’t require elaborate setups – they prefer a simple setup with ample hiding places amidst lush greenery!

Potential Diseases

It’s important to know about potential diseases that can afflict your colorful scarlet badis.

Maintaining good water quality is the first step in preventing common illnesses such as ich and fungal or bacterial infections.

Prevention techniques include providing a clean environment with appropriate filtration, avoiding overfeeding, and monitoring water parameters through frequent testing.

But what if your fish does become sick?

Treatment options for common illnesses include medications specifically designed for the type of infection or disease they are afflicted with.

It’s important to follow instructions carefully when administering any medication to avoid further stress on the fish.

Additionally, quarantine protocol is essential for introducing new fish into the tank to prevent the spread of disease.

Keeping a close eye on your scarlet badis’ health and taking swift action at the first sign of illness can help ensure their longevity in your aquarium.

Food and Diet

Feeding scarlet badis is a fun and rewarding experience.

You can witness their hunting instincts come alive with live and frozen food options like bloodworms, brine shrimp, small tubifex, mysis, daphnia, and cyclops.

It’s important to note that scarlet badis have specific feeding habits and nutritional requirements that should be met to thrive.

Since they are micro predators, normal fish food won’t cut it.

Offering a variety of live and frozen foods will keep them healthy and active.

Regarding the feeding schedule, it’s best to feed your scarlet badis twice daily in small portions consumed within three minutes.

Overfeeding can lead to health issues, so keep an eye on their body condition and adjust accordingly.

Remember that variation in diet is essential for these fish, so try mixing up the types of food you offer them.

Providing live and frozen options will allow them to display their natural hunting instincts while also being convenient for you as an owner.

Behavior and Temperament


Observing behavior is one of the most enjoyable aspects of keeping scarlet badis.

These fish move deliberately and seem to constantly make decisions about their next move, making them fascinating to watch.

However, it’s important to understand their social tendencies and territorial instincts.

While scarlet badis are peaceful fish that prefer to stay away from larger tank mates, they can get aggressive with each other over territory.

This means that providing enough space for each fish is crucial to avoid conflicts.

In addition, scarlet badis can be skittish around active or larger fish.

This is why it’s recommended to keep them with only their kind and provide plenty of hiding places like aquatic plants.

Plants provide a sense of security for these small fish and help replicate their natural habitat in shallow water with significant plant life.

By understanding their behavior and creating an environment that caters to their needs, you’ll have healthy and happy scarlet badis in your aquarium.

Choosing Tank Mates

Suppose you’re eager to introduce some new companions into your aquarium.

In that case, it’s important to remember that scarlet badis have specific social tendencies and territorial instincts that may make certain tank mates incompatible.

While these fish are peaceful, they can become aggressive with each other over territory.

This means that aggressive fish like bettas or cichlids should be avoided.

They will scare off your scarlet badis and take their food, leaving them stressed out and hungry.

That being said, community options are still available for those who want to mix things up a bit.

Gouramis and popular rasboras have worked for other aquarists as compatible tank mates for scarlet badis, although it’s not a guaranteed pairing.

Remember that every aquarium is different, so you’ll need to closely monitor the behavior of all your fish when introducing new individuals into the mix.

In general, we recommend keeping scarlet badis with their kind.

The potential stress and lack of food they’ll face because of their shy nature aren’t worth it, in our opinion.

Compatibility with Shrimp

Mixing scarlet badis and shrimp is something many potential aquarium owners wonder about. Unfortunately, these fish are micro predators and will likely feast on the shrimp.

They cannot be housed together despite the idea of using them to control algae and keep the tank clean (Amano shrimp do the job nicely).

This may sound like a good idea, but it doesn’t work. As such, shrimp and scarlet badis should not be kept together.

So, while they might look like a good combo in an aquarium, these two species should not be kept in the same tank, and doing so could lead to the demise of your shrimp population.

Breeding Basics

Firstly, having a separate breeding tank with plenty of plants for egg protection is important.

The males will use their bright colors and fast movements to attract females during breeding.

Once fertilized, the eggs will hatch in just over a week.

When caring for fry, keeping up with frequent water changes and maintaining good water quality to ensure their survival is crucial.

Feeding small amounts of live or frozen foods multiple times a day is necessary as they grow.

Avoid overfeeding, which can lead to health issues.

Providing hiding places like plants or other decorations can help protect them from potential aggression from adult fish in the main tank.

The male uses his bright colors and fast vibrating movements to attract females during breeding, a mesmerizing sight for any aquarist.

Once the female is interested, they move forward with spawning and fertilization.

The eggs laid by the female will be fertilized by the male, resulting in a solid number of eggs (between 70 and 90).

A separate breeding tank setup is necessary, as plants are needed to protect their eggs.

Males patrol the area for over a week until they hatch.

Fry development will require consistent water quality monitoring and variation in diet to ensure proper growth.

Understanding male courtship behaviors can lead to the successful breeding of Scarlet Badis!

Caring for Fry

Once the eggs hatch, providing them with a suitable environment and diet is important to ensure their survival.

The fry is tiny and delicate, so extra care must be taken during this stage.

It’s best to keep the fry in a separate tank away from adult Scarlet Badis.

The water temperature should be around 78°F with pH levels between 6.5 and 7.5, similar to their parents’ tank.

Maintaining good water quality is essential by performing frequent water changes while also ensuring no sharp edges or obstacles could harm the fry.

Regarding feeding, newborn Scarlet Badis require infusoria or other tiny live foods as they can’t handle larger food particles.

You can slowly introduce baby brine shrimp as they grow and gradually transition them onto more substantial foods such as micro worms or finely crushed flakes.


In conclusion, scarlet badis are a wonderful addition to any small freshwater aquarium.

They’re hardy and low maintenance but require specific water conditions and a varied diet to thrive.

These beautiful fish also exhibit unique behavior and temperament, making them fascinating to observe.

When selecting tank mates for scarlet badis, caution is advised as they can be territorial towards other fish.

However, with careful selection, they can coexist peacefully with certain species, such as small tetras or rasboras.

Overall, if you’re looking for a colorful and engaging fish that doesn’t require a large tank or extensive care routine, scarlet badis are an excellent choice.

Proper attention to their needs and environment will allow these little fish to flourish in your aquarium for years.