Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /home/customer/www/tankaddict.com/public_html/wp-content/plugins/internal-links-premium/core/app.php on line 344
Scarlet Badis Care, Breeding & Tankmates – Tank Addict
scarlet badis

Scarlet Badis Care, Breeding & Tankmates

Reading Time: 11 minutes

Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/customer/www/tankaddict.com/public_html/wp-content/plugins/internal-links-premium/core/app.php on line 347

Scarlet badis are also called scarlet gem or gem badis, and they make a perfect addition to an aquascaped nano tank. They’re tiny, active, and pack a colorful punch – but don’t let that fool you, these guys can be tricky to keep for a few reasons.

The first – and biggest – reason is they don’t take well to frozen foods longterm – nevermind prepared foods like pellets – so you’ll need live food. Another tricky part is that males are super territorial and get into some pretty intense fights with each other. Adding to that, females are hard to come by, so you’ll have some issues with aggression you’ll need to know how to mitigate.

And finally, their tank needs to be set up carefully and thoughtfully with some light – but pretty frequent – water changes (the live food doesn’t help, either.)

ton of work gif

But if you’re interested in keeping these nano fish, they’re super rewarding and you definitely won’t be disappointed if you put in the work!

Disclosure: we’re reader-supported! So if you buy a product I recommend, I might make some coffee money at no cost to you.

Table of contents

scarlet badis care

Scarlet Badis FAQ

Scarlet Badis Classification

IUCN Status: Data deficient – last assessed 3/28/2010

Class: Actinopterygii are ray-finned fishes, which is a subcategory of boney fishes. These fish are characterized by the bony structures that support their webbed fins. This group makes up nearly half of all living vertebrates.

Family: Badidae has been previously placed in the perchiformes order, the anabantiforme order, and more recently in an unnamed and unranked but monophyletic clade within the Percomorpha.

Genus: Dario is a small genus that includes six fish from China, India, and Myanmar – Dario dario and Dario hysginon being the most common.

Species: Dario dario

What does Dario dario mean?

Dario comes from the word Darhi, which is the scarlet badis’ common name in Bangladesh. In Begnali, dahri reportedly means “beard” or “face whiskers” – though some translations say “diary”, so whether or not dahri actually means any of those things is up for debate (unless you speak it, in which case let me know!)

What’s much more interesting about this name is the second dario. This is likely due to the fact that Dario dario – at a few points – became a neotype.

Also referred to – though rarely – as Labrus dario, Badis dario, or Badis badis bengalensis – the last one isn’t the same as Badis badis. One is trinomial, the other is binomial, and the former is no longer used.

I'm confused gif

Don’t worry, none of this really matters.

Find Other Fish

Looking for something specific? You can discover other fish by similar characteristics!

They open in a new tab so you can keep reading too! 😉

Distribution & Natural Habitat

Populations appear to be extremely fragmented and restricted to tributary systems in parts of West Bengal and Assam states, India, the Western Ghats, and possibly Bhutan. This is one of the few times we have a video to throw here versus a picture if you want to get some real-life underwater inspiration.

Dario dario shows up briefly around 4:45.

Typically lives in, clear water streams, river, and occasionally round waterfalls with sand or fine gravel, and dense plant growth. Some noted plant species include LimnophilaHygrophilaVallisneriaOttelia, and Rotala. They don’t usually live in water deeper than 27″ (70cm,) but typically no shallower than 11″ (30cm.)

However, it’s worth noting that this description is a neotype locality. And, since we’re still missing a ton of info, might not encompass all their habitats.

Aquarium Care

Difficulty: Intermediate
Size: .75″ (2 cm)
Lifespan: 4 – 6 years
Tank Size: 5 gallons (20 liters)
Diet: Micropredator
Temperature: 65 – 79 F (18 – 26C)

pH6.0 – 8.0
Hardness:  1 – 15 dKH
Temperament: Territorial
Breeding: Easy if you have a female
Swimming: In plants; mid to bottom
Availability: Uncommon, but not difficult online

I don’t know if I’ll be able to say this enough from now until the end… but water quality is the biggest issue with these guys. Food can be a struggle, sure. Aggression also, yeah. But water quality is the thing that will typically takes these guys down. It’s important to make sure your tank is properly cycled, well-planted, and well seasoned before adding Dario dario to it.

Tank Specs

For a pair or one male with a few females, a 5-gallon works fine. Even a 2.5-gallon works fine for a pair or one male. However, if you find yourself in the unfortunately common situation of dozens of males and no females, a 10-gallon is best because they’re highly territorial with one another.

Even more territorial if there is a female in there to display for and fight over.

scarlet badis male and female

However, I wouldn’t put them in anything much larger than a 10-gallon, unless you have a ton of them. 20-long is the max I’d suggest even if you do have a ton. In larger tanks, they may have a hard time finding food without you polluting the tank. Additionally, these guys don’t do great in deeper water.

On the bright side, you likely won’t need a heater if your house is reasonably warm, and you probably won’t need a lid since they don’t seem to be big jumpers. Still, if you have them, I’d suggest both just to be safe.

However, I would be more concerned about cooking these guys than being too cold, so I would suggest an external controller to keep things from overheating.

Stocking

This is where things get a bit variable-laden and your experience needs to come in. Males, obviously, display their best colors if they have both a female to display for and males to compete with, so to have the most action and interesting colors, you’ll want both. But you’ll want to have the tank setup correctly where males can form their own spaces, which are usually small 6″ x 6″ patches of plants.

If you can’t find enough females – which is very likely – and you end up with all males, you’ll want enough males to spread the aggression out so no one gets too stressed. Two males with no females will likely just battle it out, even five males may be too few if there’s no females.

scarlet badis territorial

Somewhere in the range of 8+ males with no (or very few) females will likely disperse aggression well enough. But how aggressive these guys can be depends entirely on how much breeding space (IE: plants) are available.

Decor

Think clear water and jungle-y. Plenty of plants everywhere from floating to substrate are great, branches help break up territories and sight lines, and rocks would help too. If you can see to the back of the tank you you have more than two males, it’s likely not dense enough.

If you don’t want floating plants, vallisneria is helpful for blocking out the light once it grows tall enough.

Of course, with all these plants you’re probably going to want a good planted substrate and some decent liquid fertilizers. Or if you opt for gravel or sand (HTH pool filter sand is my favorite), you’ll probably want some root tabs and liquid fertilizers. In either case, I have the best substrates and fertilizers below if you don’t know where to start.

Best Plants For Scarlet Badis

There aren’t any bad plants for dario dario, aside from maybe a full-blown carpet with no other plants. They prefer a densely planted tank that looks more like a jumbled up jungle than a nicely aquascaped tank. Since scarlet badis stake out breeding grounds based on plants, you’ll want some well-placed plants in there to reduce male aggression if you have more than one.

On a related note, they usually deposit the eggs on the underside of broad-leaf plants, so you’ll want to include some of those if you intend to breed them. If you’re going biotope, they’re found with LimnophilaHygrophilaVallisneriaOttelia, and Rotala species, which I included below as well as similar functioning replacements.

Java Fern

Java Fern

Java fern is a nearly indestructible low light plant that can put up with tons of abuse. It doesn’t need Co2, fertilizers, or fancy soils. There are tons of lush, beautiful, jungle-like aquascapes you can create with it too!

Difficulty: Bulletproof
Growth: Slow
Temperature:  64 – 86F (18 – 30C)

pH: 5.0 – 8.0
Hardness:  2 – 25 dKH
Placement: Anywhere, basically

Dwarf Aquarium Lily (Nymphaea stellata)

dwarf aquarium lily

There are a few lilies that are called “dwarf aquarium lilies,” but Nymphaea stellata is probably the easiest to take care of. It usually comes from a bulb that quickly sprouts huge leaves. In a short time, it’ll grow to the top of your tank and block out most of your light. This is great for fish that need cover, but if you need to get light to your other pants, it can be trimmed as well.

Difficulty: Bulletproof
Growth: Slow
Temperature:  72 – 82F (22 – 28 C)

pH: 5.5 – 7.5
Hardness:  2 – 15 dKH
Placement: Anywhere, basically

Water Wisteria

Water wisteria is a fast-growing plant good for keeping ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites under control. It’s great for providing shelter for scared fish and fry, keeping cyanobacteria (aka blue-green algae) at bay, and has anti-microbial properties.

Difficulty: Bulletproof
Growth: Slow
Temperature:  64 – 86F (18 – 30C)

pH: 5.0 – 8.0
Hardness:  2 – 25 dKH
Placement: Anywhere, basically

Vallisneria

Vallisneria

Vals come in a ton of varieties, but most of them are about the same to grow. They can grow rapidly, and quickly cover your tank with lush, kelp-like forests for your fish. Some species, however, do grow much shorter than others.

Difficulty: Easy
Growth: Moderate
Temperature: 63 – 82 F (17 – 28 C)

pH: 6.5 – 8.5
Hardness: 3 – 30 dKH
Placement: Planted

Cabomba

cabomba

There are several species of cabomba, the green is the easiest. It’s difficult to get in certain states because in some places it’s considered invasive. Somewhat ironically, we seem to struggle growing it in aquariums. If you can get your lighting high enough, it’s worth it.

Difficulty: Moderate
Growth: Moderate
Temperature:  72 – 82 F (22 – 27 C)

pH: 6.5 – 7.5
Hardness: 3 – 12 dKH
Placement: Floating or planted

Hornwort

Hornwort care

Hornwort is a bushy, versatile plant that’s great for keeping the after clean. It thrives in nearly every environment, so long as it doesn’t freeze, it’ll survive and grow. It does best if left floating, but can be planted.

Difficulty: Bulletproof
Growth: Fast
Temperature: 63 – 86F (18 – 30C)

pH: 5.0 – 8.0
Hardness: 2 – 25 dKH
Placement: Floating or weighted

Lemon Bacopa (Bacopa Carolinia)

Bacopa carolinia

It’s as bulletproof as Java fern, but grows as fast as hornwortBacopa carolinia is truly the best of both worlds if you’re looking for a hardy species you can plant in the substrate. It grows up to 40″ (not a typo) and propagates quickly, which is great for larger tanks that need a ton of cover on the cheap.

Difficulty: Bulletproof
Growth: Fast
Temperature:  64 – 86F (18 – 30C)

pH: 5.0 – 8.0
Hardness:  2 – 25 dKH
Placement: Background

Broad Leaf Amazon Sword (Echinodorus bleheri)

echinodorus bleheri

Echinodorus bleheri is one of a few species that get the catch-all common name of “Amazon sword.” Like most swords, you’ll need to keep the crown exposed when planting it. It also needs high light and a decent amount of nutrients to grow well.

Difficulty: Easy
Growth: Moderate
Temperature:  71 – 82F (22 – 28 C)

pH: 6.5 – 7.5
Hardness:  2 – 25 dKH
Placement: Planted, background

Anubias (Anubias barteri)

anubias barteri

The anubias barteri species has over 13 variants that call it home – so if you think you’ve seen them all, your probably wrong. They range in size, color, and shape, and are nearly guaranteed to be bulletproof. They don’t experience melt as often as most other immerse-grown aquarium plants and do well in low-tech setups – even with plant-munching fish. 

Difficulty: Easy
Growth: Slow
Temperature: 72 – 82F (22 – 28C)

pH: 6.0 – 8.0
Hardness: 2 – 25 dKH
Placement: Floating or attached

Lighting & Filtration

They prefer subdued lighting, but they need a ton of plant cover – go figure. So you’ll likely want to either let your plants blot out their light or grab and ajustible plant light – the best are listed below. Filtration is another interesting one. They typically come from higher flow areas but prefer slower water movement.

The easiest way around this is with air stones and a sponge filter. You can keep the turnover rate and dissolved oxygen high without turning your tank into a washing machine. If you need recommendations for the best air pump or sponge filter those are below as well.

Water Care

Since they come from high-flow environments, these guys don’t tolerate bad water quality. That includes low oxygen levels as well as ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. But since they need tons of plants, this is a thin balance between prisitine water quality and plants that are doing well, so your water change schedule depends entirely on your setup.

However, for the sake of giving an answer, I’d say somewhere in the range of 10% twice a week to keep things clean and stable. With these guys, smaller and more frequent water changes is definitely better. Particularly if you’re hoping to get the best color out of your group.

dario dario

Additionally, you’ll obviously need dechlorinator for your water and salt might help some, but isn’t needed with these guys. You’ll probably want to grab some meds too, just in case. I listed the ones you’ll most likely need below so you can be prepared.

Feeding Scarlet Badis

Scarlet badis do best with live food – but tubifex and bloodworms (live, frozen, freeze-dried or otherwise) tend to gives these guys more problems than they’re worth, so you should feed those very sparingly or not at all. They do, however, do well with microworms, banana worms, vinegar eels, walter worms, grindal worms, daphnia, baby brine shrimp, or anything else you’d typically feed to fry.

They will routinely go after prey much larger than themselves though, so be careful because they can choke.

scarlet badis eating blackworms

You can get these guys on frozen foods, they don’t do super well on them. Additionally, they rarely take to prepared foods successfully and you’ll usually see that they slowly crash on you. And since they’re so small and always hunting, they’re prone to obesity, so be mindful of their weight and don’t be afraid to skip a few feedings a week.

Common Scarlet Badis Diseases

Scarlet badis are seriously prone to things like ammonia burn and nitrite/nitrate poisoning. They also need a good deal of oxygen and can’t cope well with stress. But thankfully, they aren’t being overbred right now so they have relatively few issues when it comes to diseases. Of course, they can get any freshwater disease, but none of them pop up with any serious frequency. There are a few that do seem to pop up the most though.

Obesity

Obesity in fish is pretty straightforward. But, to be honest, it can be hard to diagnose if you’re not incredibly familiar with the way the fish is supposed to look. It can also be difficult to know in females if she’s full of eggs or just fat. Could even be both.

Symptoms:

  • Acts normal, just fat

Causes:

  • Fatty foods
  • Not enough swimming space
  • Too much food
  • All of the above

Bloat

fish bloat

Bloat certainly doesn’t have to be as severe as the picture, but you get the idea. Bloating is an accumulation of gas, fluids, or unpassed food present in the fish. Although I have no proof, I suspect this is why most people search “how to tell if [insert fish species] is pregnant” even if they can’t get pregnant. There is a difference between a bloated fish and a fish that’s eaten too much – the fish that ate too much will act normal whereas the other usually won’t.

Symptoms:

  • Your fish’s stomach is distended without raised scales
  • Fish may appear to be in some sort of discomfort and avoid swimming or other usual activities
  • May not be pooping

Causes:

  • Intestinal blockage
  • Constipation
  • Internal bacterial infection
  • Internal growths/tumors

Fungal Infection

fungal infection

Fungal infections are a tricky bunch – not only do they have a huge family that presents a wide variety of species and symptoms – but some bacterial infections look strikingly similar to a fungus. 

If you’re not sure if you’re dealing with a fungus or a bacterial infection, I find it helpful to treat with Ich X and Erythromycin (provided it’s 100% erythromycin) at the same time to be sure I’m treating for both.

Symptoms:

  • Cottony growths on body, fins, eyes, and/or gills

Causes:

  • Prior untreated injury
  • Stress
  • Water quality-related issues
  • Prior untreated infection (bacterial, parasitic, etc.)

Bacterial Infection

bacterial infection

Bacterial infection is a broad term, the bacteria family can cause a wide range of symptoms and come from varying causes. Generally, you can treat them with a broad spectrum antibacterial regardless of the particular bacteria at hand. It’s diagnosing that’s usually the hard part.

Making matters even more difficult, fish can have an internal or external bacterial infection.

Symptoms:

  •  Red streaks
  • Red ulcers
  • Fuzzy growths
  • Pop eye
  • Bloating

Causes:

  •  Poor water quality
  • Food that’s gone bad
  • Keeping fish in inappropriate water parameters
  • Stress

One thing that seems to pop up for these guys again and again and – like I already mentioned – is the black spots.

scarlet badis black spots

Depending on the condition of the fish, this could be normal coloration or ammonia burn. Typically, ammonia burn starts out reddish and then develops into a darker brown/black color. But since Dario dario are already red, it’s hard to spot until it’s advanced, so keep a close eye on water quality!

12 Best Scarlet Badis Tank Mates

I love me a mini community tank and, while these guys do best alone, they’re not the worst tiny tankmates. Be careful to avoid fish that are overly active or fish that’ll be spooked by a bit of aggression in the tank. Shrimp are a fine addition to their tank, but be aware that scarlet badis will predate on shrimplets, so if that’s what you want, start with a good colony and then add dario dario, not the other way around.

And the final consideration is; be aware of how low your fish can go temperature-wise. Scarlet badis prefer relatively cooler water, so you’ll want to look at fish you can keep comfortably around room temp. You can keep these with CPDs and Elassoma species as well since their care is almost identical, but they would compete heavily for the same territories so it’s not ideal.

Bonus: if you plan on breeding your scarlet badis, you can still keep them with tankmates that won’t predate on the eggs. Cherry shrimp, pygmy cories, and otos will all leave the eggs and the fry alone. Though I can’t say this show of good faith is returned on the part of Dario dario – even for their own fry.

Pygmy Corydoras (Corydoras Pygmaeus)

The pygmy cory (corydoras pygmaeus) is the smallest of all the corydoras species and – possibly – the smallest catfish in the world. It’s a peaceful shoaler that appreciates sandbeds and at least six of their own kind.

pH: 6.2 – 7.4
dKH: 2 – 15
Temp: 60– 78F (15 – 25C)

Size: 1.3″ (3.5 cm) max
Temperament: Peaceful shoaling fish
Swimming: Everywhere

Marbled Hatchetfish (Carnegiella strigata)

marbled hatchetfish

A tight-fitting lid is a must for these guys because they jump high and often. They tend to do best with floating vegetation, which helps reduce their jumpiness and should be housed in groups of 6 or more – emphasis on the more.

pH: 4.0 – 7.0
dKH: 1 – 10
Temp: 68 – 83 F (20 – 28 C)

Size: 1.3″ (3 cm)
Temperament: Peaceful, but easily jump
Swimming: Surface to top

Toucan Tetras (Tucanoichthys tucano)

These guys are hard to find (but I know a few good spots if you want them!) And they’re completely worth hunting down these rare gems. They’re a peaceful shoaling fish that need to be kept in groups of six or more and the only known wild population exists within a 200-meter range in Brazil.

pH: 4.0 – 6.5
dKH: 1 – 8
Temp: 68 – 83F (20 – 28C)

Size: 1″ (2 cm)
Temperament: Peaceful shoaling fish
Swimming: Mid to top

Chili Rasboras (Boraras brigittae)

chilli rasbora

Chilis are tiny. Absolutely minuscule compared to your average aquarium fish. They’re also shoaling fish that need to be kept in groups of at least 10 – but, again – they’re tiny! Even still, they pack a colorful punch once settled in and make a beautiful, active display for the right tank.

pH: 4.0 – 7.0
dKH: 1 – 10
Temp: 68 – 83F (20 – 28C)

Size: .5″ (1 cm)
Temperament: Peaceful shoaling fish
Swimming: Mid to top

Ember Tetra (Hyphessobrycon amandae)

Ember Tetra

Ember tetras are bright, fun, tiny, shoaling fish that occur in South American black waters. They’re hardy, peaceful fish that are often described as active, bold, and playful. They also enjoy a planted tank, but be mindful that they do like to swim in open space, so be sure to include that in your layout. They enjoy their numbers a little higher than most shoaling species, 8 is recommended.

pH: 5.5 – 7
dKH: 1 – 10
Temp: 68 – 82 F (20 – 27 C)

Size: 3/4″ (2 cm)
Temperament: Peaceful and active
Swimming: Top to midwater shoaling

Cherry Shrimp (Neocaridina davidi)

neocaridina shrimp

Neos enjoy munching on decomposing plant matter, grazing on algae, and picking sunken pieces of wood and plants clean. This makes them a perfect addition to a naturalistic tank. They come in a variety of colors including the oh-so-common cherry shrimp!

pH: 6.5 – 8.0
dKH: 8 – 20
Temp: 70 – 79 F (21 – 26 C)

Size: 1.6″ (4 cm)
Temperament: Peaceful
Swimming: Anywhere there’s food to pick, but usually bottom

Cherry Barb (Puntius titteya)

cherry barb

Cherry barbs are small and peaceful. They’re undemanding and pack a colorful punch when cared for correctly, making them an ideal community inhabitant. They’re shoalers, so they need to be kept in groups of 6 or more to bring out their best behavior.

pH: 6.0 – 8.0
dKH: 2 – 20
Temp: 68 – 81 F (20 – 26 C)

Size: 1.5 – 2″ (4 – 5 cm)
Temperament: Peaceful and active
Swimming: Top to midwater shoaling

Glass Catfish (Kryptopterus vitreolus)

glass catfish

Glass cats (also called ghost catfish) do best in heavily planted tanks with subdued lighting and a small herd of their own kind to shoal with, I suggest a minimum of at least 6 – though 8 or more is certainly better.

pH: 4.0 – 7.0
dKH: 1 – 10
Temp: 68 – 79 F (20 – 26 C)

Size: 2.1″ (6 cm)
Temperament: Peaceful shoaling fish
Swimming: Bottom to middle

Otocinculus (Otocinclus sp.)

Otocinclus

Otocinclus, like most peaceful fish, enjoy company of their own kind – four or more is a good start. They enjoy cleaning algae and debris off glass, decor, and plants – but will always clean plants first if they have the choice. It’s important to add these guys to a well-established tank not only because it needs to have enough food for them to munch, but also because they’re highly sensitive fish. You’ll also need to feed them sinking wafers in addition to what they can find in your tank.

pH: 6.0 – 7.5
dKH: 6 – 15
Temp: 72 – 82F (22 – 28C)

Size: 1 – 2″ (3 – 5 cm)
Temperament: Peaceful, social fish, usually shy
Swimming: On surfaces

Rosy Loach (Petruichthys sp. ‘rosy’)

Rosy loaches are best kept in groups of at least 6 and they do best in planted setups. They’re often wild-caught, so most of them are in poor condition when you buy them. They also need to be added to a mature aquarium since they don’t do well with environmental swings.

pH: 6.5 – 8.5
dKH: 5 – 15
Temp: 68 – 79 F (20 – 26 C)

Size: 1.2″ (3 cm) max
Temperament: Peaceful and active
Swimming: Mid to bottom

Kuhli Loach (Pangio kuhlii)

Kuhli loach

Kuhli loaches are easy to keep, but they need food that hits the bottom of the tank. If you have the chance, hiding food under the sand is a great way to see their natural behavior and it’s fun to watch them root around for scraps. They like to be kept in groups where you’ll often see them curled up under structures together.

pH: 3.0 – 7.0
dKH: 1 – 8
Temp: 70 – 79 F (21 – 26 C)

Size: 1.3″ (3 cm)
Temperament: Peaceful, can be shy
Swimming: Bottom

Bluefin Killi (Lucania goodei)

bluefin killi

Bluefins do best with little to no water movement and plenty of plants, but they can handle a wide variety of temps and pH. They’re hardy, adaptable, eat easily, and do well kept in pairs or by themselves. If they don’t have enough plants, they can be a bit shy and need a lid because they can (and do!) jump pretty well.

pH: 6.5 – 8.0
dKH: 5 – 10
Temp: 50 – 80 F (10 – 26 C)

Size: 1.1″ (3 cm)
Temperament: Peaceful, can be shy
Swimming: Everywhere

Green Rasboras (Microdevario kubotai)

Green rasboras may look dyed, but they’re not. They naturally occur in shoals ranging in the 20 – 30 specimen range, so it’s best to house them in groups of 8 or more. They make a great addition to a peaceful community tank, but since they’re so small they’ll need appropriately sized tankmates.

pH: 6.0 – 7.0
dKH: 1 – 10
Temp: 68 – 81 F (20 – 27 C)

Size: .75″ (2 cm) max
Temperament: Peaceful shoaling fish
Swimming: Everywhere, but usually mid to top

Breeding Scarlet Badis

Getting scarlet badis to breed is as easy as having a male and a female in most cases. However, getting a female is really tough. And, in most cases, what looks like a female is likely a subdominant male trying to go unnoticed by aggressive males.

Males tend to be bright red and slightly larger. When they’re in breeding mode they get a blue tint to them and have a black and white edge on their ventral fins as well. But the only way to know 100% is to see them spawn.

Obvious male
Unconfirmed scarlet badis
Definite female scarlet badis

Spawning

Scarlet badis spawning is similar to most anabantoid species. The female is usually the one that initates spawning, in her weird way. When she approaches a male’s territory, the male will vie for her attention and attempt to bring her to his proposed spawn site.

To an inexperienced breeder, the male’s overzealous “coaxing” looks like some seriously erratic darting and chasing behavior. If the female is receptive, she’ll follow him to wherever he’s selected to spawn. She might swim away and play hard to get or swim away because she doesn’t like his spot.

If it’s the latter, she’ll usually lead him to a spot that she likes and they’ll spawn there – because the male really doesn’t care where he spawns – as long as it’s in his territory. If it’s not his territory, he’ll still attempt it, but the male that holds the territory will usually come in to spawn.

Once she decides she likes the spot – because it’s not about the male to her – she’ll allow him to embrace her. This usually starts with a few “dummy” embraces that don’t produce any eggs. The first few are usually clumsy and awkward looking.

There are mixed reports about where the eggs go, some just scatter them in the substrate while others place them on the underside leaves. It’s typically the female that chooses where they go after she’s laid them but, the male will guard the eggs until they hatch and the female will leave to go about her fishy business.

scarlet badis eggs

Egg & Fry Care

Spawning is super quick – usually only a few minutes – but anywhere from 5 to 100+ eggs can be deposited. Depending on the temperature, they’ll likely hatch with 48 – 72 hours. If you have a densely planted tank there’s a chance some might survive to adulthood, but likely not many. If you want to maximize the number of fry you get, I would remove the eggs as soon as you see them.

Once they’ve hatched, they’ll take 2 – 3 days to use up their yolk sak before they’re free-swimming. There isn’t a ton of information about if the male protects the wigglers, but it seems likely. Once they’re free-swimming, however, most will likely be eaten if they’re left in there.

They can be fed infusoria and paramecium as a first food, so plants/leaf litter/other organic material is super helpful for the first few days. After they’ve grown a bit, they can be fed walter worms, and within a few weeks they can be placed with the adults and fed the same food as them.

Types Of Badis

There’s two types of fish that car commonly called “badis.” The first is Dario species like our Dario dario friend above, the second is Badis species. Both belong in the Badidae family, which was previously placed under the anabantiforme order, but now is floating around with conflicting ideas and opinions on where they actually belong.

At any rate, Badis and Dario are closely related, in either case, both are typically called chameleon fish because they’re spectacular at changing colors, which makes them tough to ID. And not every fish has a common name, but where there was one, I put it down.

dario dario

Scarlet Badis (Dario dario)

We’ve been talking about these guys for a while and you’ve probably seen enough pictures of them to know what they look like by now, but here it is again for refrence.

dario dayingensis

Dario dayingensis

Dario dayingensis lack the blue or white Dario dario have, and their red is usually more of a fire truck red to orange color.

dario hysginon

Dario hysginon

Dario hysginon lack the body barring in most cases that most Dario and Badis species have. In some instances, their body goes from a light pink to a light purple or blue color, but it’s usually light pink.

Black Tiger Dario (Dario sp. ‘Myanmar’)

Sometimes incorrectly listed as Dario hysginon ‘Black tiger’, this species – or type – is as of yet undescribed. The differences are striking from the above species and – in all the cases I’ve seen – their face markings remain black.

Burmese Badis (Badis ruber)

Badis ruber, like all Badis, can change their coloring almost completely. Going from coloration that looks almost identical to a nannacara all the way to candy darter colors.

Blue Badis (Badis badis)

Blue badis can go from brown and white – almost like a chocolate gourami – to a bright blue color all over. Their orange bars usually intensify when fighting, spawning, or displaying.

Badis ferrarisi

This one is a rarity. The females are just as beautiful as the males, however. They can go from all white with just the black markings to a deep red with black marking and everything in between.

Further Reading & Resources

Leave a Reply