Scarlet Badis Care Essentials: Your Aquarium Companion

pair of scarlet badis in a well planted aquarium
Dr. Mollie Newton
Published by Dr. Mollie Newton PHD| Senior Editor
Last updated: May 19, 2024
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If you have a keen interest in Scarlet Badis and need guidance on their care, take a look at our Scarlet Badis Care Guide. It offers valuable information about their habitat, suitable tank companions, and breeding techniques. This guide is your gateway to helping these stunning fish thrive in your aquarium.

Article Summary

  • Scarlet Badis, also known as the Scarlet gem or red badis, are small freshwater fish native to South Asia.
  • These fish have a maximum length of around 1 inch, making them suitable for small aquariums.
  • Their diet consists of small invertebrates like insects, zooplankton, live foods (brine shrimp, daphnia, bloodworms), frozen foods, and high-quality pellets or flakes.

Species Overview

Scarlet badis, also known as the Scarlet gem, Scarlet gem badis, or the red badis, are small freshwater fish native to South Asia. With their vibrant colors and unique appearance, these fascinating creatures have captured the attention of aquarium enthusiasts worldwide.

Scarlet badis, scientifically known as Dario dario, is a fascinating fish species that belongs to the family Badidae and the genus Dario. These small but strikingly beautiful fish are native to the slow-moving waters of India, Bangladesh, and Myanmar.

In their natural habitat, the scarlet dario fish can be found in the tributaries of the Brahmaputra river. The slow-moving nature of these waters allows scarlet badis to thrive in their micro-predator role within the ecosystem.


Scarlet badis, also known as Dario dario, are fascinating fish with a striking appearance. Their slender bodies reach a maximum length of around 1 inch, making them perfect for small aquariums or nano tanks.

These small freshwater fish typically have a slim, elongated body shape and grow to be about 2-3 centimeters in length. The fins of both males and females are adorned with intricate patterns and markings, adding to their overall beauty.

Additionally, the scarlet badis has a large, prominent eye that gives it a curious and alert appearance. Overall, the scarlet badis is a visually stunning fish that adds a pop of color to any aquarium.

Scarlet Badis Coloration

The most striking feature of the scarlet badis is its vibrant coloration. The males display a bright red or scarlet hue on their body, while the females have a more subdued coloration with shades of brown and orange.

This stark difference in appearance between males and females serves a purpose beyond aesthetics – it aids in species recognition and mate selection. The contrasting colors allow individuals to quickly identify potential mates within their territory or hiding spots.

To fully appreciate the beauty of scarlet badis, it is essential to create an environment that showcases their vibrant colors and provides suitable hiding places. Brightly colored plants such as red Ludwigia or green Cabomba can complement their appearance while also serving as hiding spots.

Tank and Water Requirements

Creating the perfect habitat for scarlet badis requires careful consideration of tank size, setup, and water conditions. These beautiful fish thrive in well-planted aquariums with soft substrate, providing them with a natural environment that mimics their native habitats.

Maintaining proper water parameters is crucial for the health and well-being of scarlet badis. The recommended water temperature ranges from 72°F to 78°F, ensuring they stay comfortable in their surroundings. Maintaining a pH level between 6.0 to 7.5 helps replicate their natural habitat.

To maintain clean water conditions, consider installing a filter system appropriate for the tank size. Scarlet badis prefer gentle water flow rather than strong currents, so opt for filters that offer adjustable flow rates or utilize sponge filters.

Substrates and Hiding Spots

Scarlet gem badis prefer dimly lit tanks with plenty of hiding spots. You can achieve this by incorporating caves or dense vegetation into the tank design. These hiding spots not only provide security for the scarlet badis but also create an aesthetically pleasing underwater landscape.

When selecting plants for your scarlet badis habitat, choose those that can tolerate the preferred water conditions and provide ample cover for the fish. Some suitable plant choices include:

These plants not only enhance the visual appeal of the tank but also offer shelter and breeding grounds for scarlet badis.

The substrate plays a vital role in creating a suitable environment for these fish. A soft substrate such as sand or fine gravel is ideal as it allows them to dig and sift through it comfortably. The substrate also provides a surface where beneficial bacteria can thrive, contributing to a healthy ecosystem within the tank.

Regular monitoring of water quality is essential to ensure optimal conditions for your scarlet badis. Perform regular tests using appropriate kits to check parameters such as ammonia, nitrite, nitrate levels, and pH. Conduct partial water changes to maintain water quality and remove any accumulated toxins or waste.


Scarlet badis, also known as dario dario, are small freshwater fish that are generally hardy but can be sensitive to poor water conditions. To ensure their well-being and longevity, it is crucial to provide them with a suitable environment and proper care.

Regular water changes and proper filtration play a vital role in maintaining the health of scarlet badis. These fish thrive in clean water with stable parameters.

Monitoring ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels is essential as any fluctuations can have detrimental effects on their health. Regular testing kits should be used to ensure the water quality remains optimal.

One disease that scarlet badis may encounter is called “Dropsy,” which causes fluid retention and swelling in the body. This condition often occurs due to poor water quality or bacterial infections.

Prompt action should be taken if any signs of Dropsy are observed, including bloating, scales sticking out, or lethargic behavior. Treating the affected fish in a separate quarantine tank with appropriate medication can help combat this disease.

Scarlet badis typically live for around 2-3 years under ideal conditions. However, providing high-quality care can extend their lifespan even further. Creating an environment that closely resembles their natural habitat by incorporating live plants and hiding spots can greatly enhance their well-being.

mirrored scarlet badis in planted aquarium


Scarlet badis are micropredators that have a diverse diet consisting primarily of small invertebrates such as insects and zooplankton when they are in their natural habitat. These tiny fish possess an incredible ability to hunt down their prey, making them fascinating creatures to observe.

Live Foods

Scarlet badis will greatly appreciate live foods as part of their diet. You can offer them a variety of options like brine shrimp, daphnia, or bloodworms. These nutritious treats not only provide essential proteins but also stimulate the fish’s predatory instincts, making feeding time more exciting for both you and your scarlet badis.

Frozen Foods

If obtaining live food is challenging or inconvenient, frozen alternatives can be readily purchased from pet stores. Frozen brine shrimp, daphnia, or bloodworms serve as excellent substitutes and maintain the nutritional value required by these micropredators.

Pellets and Flakes

To ensure a balanced diet for your scarlet badis, supplementing with high-quality pellets or flakes formulated for tropical fish is beneficial. Look for options specifically designed to meet the dietary needs of small carnivorous fish like scarlet badis. However, it’s important to remember that while pellets and flakes can be part of their diet, relying solely on them may not provide enough stimulation for these active hunters.

Balanced Diet and Feeding Habits

In captivity, providing a well-balanced diet is crucial for the overall health and vitality of scarlet badis. While they can survive on flakes or pellets designed for tropical fish, it is recommended to incorporate high-quality live or frozen foods into their feeding routine. This ensures that they receive the necessary nutrients and helps replicate their natural feeding behaviors.

To keep things interesting for your scarlet badis, consider rotating between different types of food throughout the week. By changing the kind of food you offer, you provide variety and prevent your scarlet badis from becoming bored with their diet.

It’s worth mentioning that the feeding habits of these fish may vary from one individual to another. Some scarlet badis may be more voracious eaters, while others might exhibit a bit more pickiness. Observing their behavior during feeding time will give you insights into their preferences and help tailor their diet accordingly.

Temperament and Tankmates

Scarlet gem badis are fascinating freshwater fish with a unique temperament. Understanding their behavior is crucial when selecting suitable scarlet badis tank mates.

Scarlet badis are generally peaceful fish but can become territorial, especially during breeding season. The male scarlet badis can display aggression towards each other in an attempt to establish dominance. To minimize conflicts, it is best to keep scarlet badis in small groups or pairs. This reduces aggression by allowing them to form social hierarchies within their own kind.

Tankmate Compatibility

When considering tankmates for scarlet badis, it is important to choose species that are compatible with their peaceful nature and smaller size. Active or larger fish may intimidate or outcompete the red badis for food and resources, leading to stress and potential harm. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid pairing them with such species.

One excellent option for tankmates are gouramis that share similar characteristics with scarlet badis. These include the sparkling gourami (Trichopsis pumila) or the honey gourami (Trichogaster chuna). These gouramis have comparable temperaments and size requirements, making them suitable companions in the aquarium.

Certain rasboras can also make great tankmates for scarlet badis due to their peaceful nature and ability to coexist in similar water conditions. Examples include the harlequin rasbora (Trigonostigma heteromorpha) and the chili rasbora (Boraras brigittae). Their vibrant colors add visual interest while maintaining compatibility within the tank.

Micro Predators

Unfortunately, scarlet gem badis should not be housed with freshwater shrimp due to their predatory instincts. The small size of shrimp makes them vulnerable targets for scarlet badis’ hunting behavior. Placing them together in the same tank would lead to a stressful and potentially fatal situation for the shrimp.

Tank Mates to Avoid

When it comes to tank mates for the scarlet badis, there are certain species that should be avoided. One such species is the guppies. While guppies are popular and colorful freshwater fish, they are known to be active and fast swimmers.

This can cause stress and competition for food for the red badis, which is a slow-moving and timid fish. Additionally, guppies are known to nip at the fins of other fish, which can cause harm to the delicate fins of the scarlet badis.

Another species to avoid as tank mates for the scarlet badis is the betta fish. Betta fish, also known as Siamese fighting fish, are highly territorial and aggressive.

A fish tank on a table

They are known to flare their fins and attack other fish, especially those with long fins like the scarlet badis. Keeping these two species together can result in constant aggression and stress for both fish, leading to potential injuries or even death.

Additionally, it is not recommended to keep larger and more active fish, such as cichlids or tetras, with the scarlet badis. These larger fish can easily outcompete the scarlet badis for food and may even bully or intimidate them.

The scarlet dario is a small and peaceful fish that prefers a calm and quiet environment, making it unsuitable to be housed with more boisterous tank mates.


Breeding scarlet badis can be quite challenging due to their specific requirements. These beautiful fish require careful attention to their habitat, behavior, and diet in order to successfully breed them in captivity.

Breeding Tank Conditions

To create an ideal breeding environment for scarlet badis, it is essential to provide a suitable breeding tank setup. A spacious tank with dense vegetation, such as floating plants and mosses, mimics their natural habitat and provides hiding places for both males and females during spawning.

In order to increase the chances of successful breeding, it is recommended to keep multiple females with a single male in a well-maintained breeding tank. This allows for competition among females, encouraging males to display more vibrant colors and engage in courtship behavior.

Feeding plays a crucial role in scarlet badis breeding success as well. Providing a varied diet that includes live foods such as insect larvae, baby snails, and tubifex worms helps condition both males and females for reproduction. Offering high-quality dry food supplements can also ensure they receive all necessary nutrients.

Breeding Behavior

One of the fascinating aspects of scarlet badis breeding is the role that males play in the process. Males build bubble nests as part of their courtship behavior. These nests are created by blowing air bubbles coated with saliva onto leaves or other surfaces near the bottom of the tank. The male then entices females to inspect these nests through elaborate displays, showcasing his vibrant colors and intricate ventral fin and caudal fin movements.

When a female scarlet badis is ready to spawn, she lays her eggs within the bubble nest. The male promptly fertilizes the eggs and takes on the important task of guarding them until they hatch. This parental care exhibited by male scarlet badis is truly remarkable.

Breeding scarlet badis can be a rewarding experience for dedicated aquarists who are willing to meet their specific requirements. By providing a suitable breeding tank setup, ensuring a balanced diet, and observing the fascinating courtship behaviors of these fish, enthusiasts can witness the miracle of life as tiny larvae emerge from the bubble nest and grow into beautiful scarlet badis fry.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are scarlet badis aggressive?

No, Scarlet Badis (Dario dario) are generally not considered aggressive fish. They have a peaceful temperament and are known for their calm and timid nature. However, it’s essential to keep them with compatible tank mates of a similar size and temperament to ensure a harmonious aquarium environment.

How big do scarlet badis get?

Scarlet Badis are small fish, typically reaching a size of around 1 to 1.5 inches (2.5 to 3.8 centimeters) when fully grown. Their petite size makes them a popular choice for nano and small aquarium setups.

Will scarlet badis eat snails?

Scarlet Badis are not typically known for preying on snails. They primarily feed on small aquatic invertebrates, microorganisms, and tiny aquatic insects. However, individual behavior can vary, and if a snail is very small and fits in their mouth, there’s a slight chance they might attempt to eat it. Still, snails are generally not a staple in their diet.

What fish can live with scarlet badis?

Scarlet Badis can coexist peacefully with other small and non-aggressive fish species that share their water parameters and habitat preferences. Some suitable tank mates include small Rasbora species, Pygmy Corydoras, shrimp like Cherry or Crystal Red Shrimp, and other peaceful nano fish. Avoid housing them with larger or more aggressive fish that may intimidate or harm the Scarlet Badis.

Why is it called Scarlet Badis?

The Scarlet Badis derives its name from its striking and vibrant coloration. The males of this species exhibit intense red and orange hues on their bodies, which resemble the scarlet color. The term “Badis” is derived from their genus name, Dario, which has its origins in India, where these fish are native. Scarlet Badis, with its visually captivating appearance, has become a sought-after addition to many aquariums due to its vibrant scarlet coloration.

Image Reference

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