7 Scarlet Badis Tank Mates, Care Guide, Breeding And Feeding

Scarlet Badis (Dario Dario) Aquarium Tank Mates | Fishkeeping Adventure

If you are an aquarium enthusiast, you will do everything possible to keep your tank and your fish healthy and happy.

The first step is by understanding the type of fish you want to keep and knowing the nitty-gritty involved in their care, feeding, and breeding.

Scarlet Badis is a fish species that lives in freshwater and is mainly kept for the aquarium trade. Also, they are a great choice to decorate your aquarium, and watching them swim can be very fulfilling.

In this article, you will get all the information about scarlet badis best tank mates, breeding, feeding, and care guide that will help you rear some aquarium trade.

Scarlet Badis Tank Mates

Scarlet fish enjoy the company of their fellow mates if given enough space to thrive. Although a bit shy and timid, Scarlet Badis, especially the males, can get a bit aggressive when threatened.

Take note that it is not advisable to put bigger fish such as cichlids, goldfish, and bettas together with the Scarlet Badis. This is because these fish species compete for food, and they may leave the Scarlet Badis starving. They may also remain in their hideouts all day because they fear being endangered. 

Ultimately, the Scarlet Badis thrives well on its own. Nonetheless, you can add other fish species like:

1. Honey Gouramis

Honey Gourami ph

Size: 3 inches

Min Tank Size: 15 gallons

Temperate: Peaceful

Diet: Omnivorous

Care level: Beginner

The Honey Gourami, whose scientific name is Trichogaster Chuna, is an attractive fish that is originally found in slow-moving waters with rich vegetation.

This fish is highly sought-after by most aquarists to add to their tank thanks to its beautiful appearance and peaceful temperate.

It thrives well with tank mates that are also peaceful, and almost the same size since big and aggressive tank mates will harass them. They have a distinctive appearance of silver color with gray fins.

Although small, the Honey Gouramis require a large tank to keep them healthy and entertained. Therefore, you should keep this in mind when introducing it into your Scarlet Badis tank.

2. Rasboras

Rasbora or Blackline rasbora

Size: less than 3 inches

Min Tank Size: 10 gallons

Temperate: Peaceful

Diet: Omnivorous

Care level: Easy

Rasboras are a good choice if you are after a tank mate that will also add colors to your tank. Other than its beautiful appearance, this fish has a peaceful temperament that lets them ignore other fish species and focus on their swimming.

Despite a peaceful temperate, this fish can be a bit more aggressive than the Scarlet Badis.

They can grow to a maximum size of 2.5 inches and will require a minimum tank that weighs 10 gallons.

Besides, they require moderate care. They are established omnivorous and feed on a diet rich in meat and vegetation-based protein.

3. Chili Rasboras

Boraras brigittae - Mosquito Rasbora

Size: 0.6 to 0.8 inch long

Min Tank Size: 5 gallons

Temperate: Peaceful

Diet: Omnivorous

Care level: Easy

Some aquarists have put the Scarlet Badis with the Chili Rasboras without much problem, considering that the latter is a peaceful fish species.

Scientifically known as Boararas Brigittae, this fish is commonly referred to as Mosquito Rasbora and originates from Indonesia.

The Chili Rasboras measures between 0.6 to 0.8 inch in size and can fit well in a 5-gallon tank. These fish species are omnivorous and are very easy to care for.

It has a schooling behavior and loves to stay in groups, making it a great choice when searching for a mate for your Scarlet Badis. They love to play, swim and live together. Thus, keeping a small number of these fish species can lead to stress.

Although they are easy to care for, they can be quite challenging due to their strict requirements. They thrive well in pristine water conditions and love an environment with aquarium plants to play and swim. They also prefer a dark environment that imitates their natural habitat.

4. Celestial Pearl Danios

celestial pearl danio

Size: 1 inch

Min Tank Size: 5 gallons

Temperate: Peaceful, shy

Diet: Omnivorous

Care level: Easy

These nano fish do not grow beyond 1 inch, and this means that you can easily place them in a small tank, probably with the size of 5 gallons.

They are omnivorous and can do well eating both plant and animal matter, including brine shrimp, nauplii, size pellets, and much more.

Since these fish measure 1 inch in length, they make good Scarlet Badis tank mates. They prefer slightly cooler temperatures and can be stressed when placed in warmer temperatures.

Also, when setting up your aquarium, ensure that you include bushy plants where they can hide and spawn. This is an important consideration since CPDs are quite shy when left out in the open.

5. Marbled HatchetFish

Marbled Hatchetfish

Size: Up to 2 inches

Min Tank Size: 10 gallons or more

Temperate: Peaceful

Diet: Flakes and live foods

Care Level: Moderate

Marbled Hatchet fish make great tank mates for the Scarlet Badis because of their peaceful temperate and schooling nature.

They are known as surface dwellers and love to swim at the top of the tank.

However, they require moderate care and can take time for them to adopt a home aquarium, just like other hatchet fish. Hence, you can expect them to jump from the tank.

However, you can slowly acclimate this fish into your Scarlet Badis tank with patience.

6. Ember Tetra

Ember Tetra

Size: Below 1″

Min Tank Size: 10 gallons or larger

Temperate: Calm

Diet: Zooplanktons

Care Level: Easy

Originally found in Central Brazil, Ember Tetrais shoaling fish that has a bright and fun appearance that will undoubtedly add to the beauty of your aquarium.

Other than their beautiful and outstanding color, the Ember Tetra fish is perfect for keeping for aquarists of all experience levels.

Taking care of this fish is very easy, and you mostly want to include vegetation to reduce their stress level. You also need to ensure that they get the right nutrients and vitamins; otherwise, their appearance may become dull.

While they are generally active, they will not bother your Scarlet Badis. Also, they like to occupy the middle surface of the water.

7. Glass Catfish

glass catfish

Size: 4 to 6 inche

Min Tank Size: 30 gallons

Temperate: Peaceful

Diet: Omnivorous

Care Level: Moderate

Also known as Ghost catfish, the Glass Catfish is a transparent fish that has won the hearts of many aquarist hobbyists.

Originally from SouthEast Asia, these fish got their name from their transparent bodies that display their bones and organs.

They have a calm temperate and enjoy swimming around, making them great additions to peaceful community tanks. They do well in heavily planted tanks that serve as hiding spots, which is also useful for the Scarlet Badis.

Since they love to swim, it is best to place them in a large water tank of 30 gallons or more.

Glass catfish swim from bottom to middle. They have strict water requirements, which makes them a bit challenging to care for. They are prone to various illnesses when exposed to unfavorable water conditions or when overfed.

Since they have a schooling nature, it is best to keep about 6 of them in a 30 gallon tank.

When adding other fish species, consider the water and temperature requirements. Since Scarlet Badis prefer cooler water, ensure that you only add fish that thrives well at room temperature.

Benefits Of Finding Tank Mates For Your Scarlet Badis

Although the Scarlet Badis love to stay on their own, numerous benefits come with introducing other fish species to their aquariums. These benefits include:

● Socialization

Since Scarlet Badis tend to be shy, adding tank mates can make them social and comfortable with other fish and humans. They will even feel comfortable when you watch them as they swim in the tank.

● Increase Their Activity Level

Introducing other fish species can make the Scarlet Badis more active since they are usually passive. You just need to find a tank mate that is more active but requires less space.

● Add To The Beauty Of Your Aquarium

Your tank will look more beautiful and appealing by adding various fish species. Besides, this breaks the monotony of one fish species in your tank.

Scarlet Badis Overview

The scientific name of Scarlet Badis is Dario dario. Scarlet Badis can be found in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan. The fish is red with white stripes, but the male Scarlet Badis is more colorful than the female.

Scarlet Badis are very beautiful looking fish but can also be quite aggressive, especially during spawning time.

They are great community fish but should be kept in a larger aquarium due to their aggression. They are also shy and enjoy their privacy. Coming from the wild, this fish species thrives well in an environment with plenty of vegetation and hiding places.

Generally, they do well in environments with similar conditions to their natural habitat.


The Scarlet Badis is a small freshwater fish that measures 1 inch in length while females are much smaller.

Something that stands out about this fish species is the difference in colors for the males and females. This is known as sexual dimorphism, and it makes it easy to differentiate the males and females.

Males are more notable because of their bright red or rusty orange appearance. The males can also be differentiated by the seven bands on the sides and eight silvery blue lines that continue with the fins.

Another notable difference with male Scarlet Badis is that they develop elongated dorsal, anal fins, and abdominal compared to females.

On the other hand, the females have a dull appearance of silver-gray color with clear fins.

Nevertheless, they have pale orange stripes on the side. Hence, you can use these characteristics to spot males and females, particularly during the breeding season.

Behavior And Temperament

There are all sorts of stories about how fish can sense when other fish are nearby. But it’s a pity no one has yet found any fish that can tell whether they’re dealing with a fellow fish or a piscine impostor.

Scarlet Badis is generally peaceful but aggressive when a bigger fish attacks them or invades their territory during the breeding process. The Scarlet Badis shares this trait with its close cousin, the Pigmy Seadevil.

They also get aggressive with their kind when fighting over territory. Therefore, it is recommended to ensure adequate space for each Scarlet Badis in your tank.

You may also want to add more females than males in the tank to prevent the males from being aggressive.

Additionally, it is good to include plants in the tank to provide shelter and a place to relax.  When the Scarlet Badis swims up through the vents, it snags the divers’ air hoses. The divers can only breathe air, so they have to swim to the surface to get home.

The Scarlet Badis, however, lives in deep water. It swims up to the surface, takes a deep breath, and dives back down.

Scarlet Badis is a shoaling fish that lives close to the surface in groups of 10 to 50. It has a single tiny dorsal fin, which it uses to stir up the water during feeding.

It eats zooplankton by hovering just above the surface. While it swims, its pectoral fins beat rapidly, creating whirlpools in the water.

Too rare to be seen, the Scarlet Badis is critically endangered. This rare fish has some special traits that help it survive. Unlike other fish, it forms pair bonds that last for life. Badis are bright-colored, and this attracts predators.

If you kill them, they bleed bright red. Badis have poisonous spines on their tails. But they don’t use them much, and they are more for show-off.

scarlet badis (Dario dario) swim

How To Care For The Scarlet Badis?

Animals raised in aquariums need special care, and this is no exception for the Scarlet Badis. There are several factors to consider if you plan to keep a Scarlet Badis in your aquarium. This include the following:

● Ideal Water Type

When rearing Scarlet Badis, good quality water should be a priority. This fish species is extremely sensitive to poor quality water, and this can deteriorate their health or worse, cause them to die.

Originally, the Scarlet Badis comes from India, where water is clear. For this reason, it is crucial to imitate their natural habitat.

Aqueous aquarium water should be slightly acidic, not neutral or alkaline. Highly acidic water weakens fish’s immune systems. Neutral water can cause fish to lose their color, while alkaline water can damage their scales.

The ideal water temperature should be about 72-78 Fahrenheit.

Meanwhile the PH levels should range between 6.5 and 7.5. Therefore, it is recommended to perform water tests regularly to make the fish more comfortable.

You can use carbon and phenolphthalein to test for acidity, alkalinity, and dissolved solids. Also, you should change 50% of the aquarium water once a week, and filters checked and cleaned at least once a week.

The water should be changed at least as often as it is pumped. It might sound like a lot of work but that is the price you have to pay to ensure that they are healthy and thriving.

● Tank Size

The right tank size will enable them to move freely and allow enough food such as plants to grow inside. The fish use these plants as a means of protection from their predators. A tank that has no vegetation inside will only result in stressed fish.

The minimum tank size to ensure maximum comfort for the beautiful Scarlet Badis is 10 gallons. Nevertheless, you can still put 1 to 3 Scarlet Badis in a 5-gallon tank.

However, it would help if you housed several males in a small aquarium as this will only end up in fights, and a subdominant male can be harassed even to the point of death. Generally, you can put one male per 10-gallon tank.

However, if you want a good-sized Scarlet Badis group, make sure that you invest in a large tank. This will give the males plenty of space and minimize the fights.

● Plants

Always ensure plants in the tank act as shelter and hiding places for your fish. Live plants also help to decorate the tank and provide a breeding place. Scarlet Badis typically use the plants in the wild to protect their eggs, which will also prove handy in the tank.

You can use plants such as Monte Carlo or Dwarf Baby Tears. Java Moss is also a good option if you want low-light plants.

Diet And Feeding

Scarlet Badis are known for their predatory behavior, making it essential to feed them living food items. These may include things such as small worms, small planktons, larvae, and crustaceans.

Every day, you should feed your Scarlet Badis several different delicacies. Otherwise, they may be susceptible to diseases if restricted to a few food choices.

Also, Scarlet Badis are very picky eaters; giving them a varied diet helps them feed well.

When they are young, you can feed them brine shrimp. Once they get older, you can introduce them to bloodworms and smaller crustaceans like insects and worms.

You should also pay attention to their eating habits to ensure that they are feeding well. This will prevent obesity and diseases.

As the seasons change, also change what you feed them; they will particularly like shrimp and worms during the Spring and Autumn. Other great food choices for your fish include:

  • Mysis
  • Daphnia
  • Small tubifex
  • Cyclops

Ensure that you feed your fish three times per day- the same time each day if possible. A good tip is to feed the fish in a floating basket so that the water cannot circulate and allow the fish to breathe more easily.

Scarlet Badis Disease

Although there are no specific diseases for the Scarlet Badis, it is prone to common illnesses like fungal infections, bacteria, and itch that affect the skin and gills.

A Scarlet Badis that is infected by the disease will have visible signs on their bodies.

These illnesses usually come by when put in bad water conditions and given a poor diet. Therefore, you need to ensure that the tank has good quality water, and you should feed them a diverse diet.

Also, take extra care when adding live food into the aquarium as some may carry infectious diseases.

A good tip is to purchase live food from reputable stores. You can use antibiotics in case of an outbreak.

Other Important Information About Scarlet Badis

Here are other important information about Scarlet Badis that you should know about:

How Many Should Scarlet Badis Be Kept Together?

The Aztecs originally domesticated Scarlet Badis, and they are still treated like pets by the Aztecs, who live nearby. They eat only fruit, and they should be kept together as pets.

When Scarlet Badis was first domesticated, there were probably only a few hundreds of them.

They were isolated from other Badis. So the Aztecs domesticated them separately, and since each breed was different, they could breed them separately. Scarlet Badis kept together were different from those kept apart.

But sometime after Scarlet Badis was domesticated, someone noticed something odd. If two Scarlet Badis were kept together, they sometimes mated with each other. However, if they were kept separately, they never mated.

It was at this point that things started to get interesting. If two Scarlet Badis were kept together, they never had babies. But if three were kept together, they would sometimes have babies, and sometimes not. And three Scarlet Badis kept together always produced the same number of babies as two Scarlet Badis kept together.

The Aztecs decided to keep three Scarlet Badis together, but they kept two apart. Based on this history, it is recommended that in a gallon of water, one male should be accompanied by two female Badis to avoid overcrowding and fighting.

However, if you have a larger tank, it is essential to maintain the ratio for the purposes of freedom.

Are Scarlet Badis Cichlids?

Most people think fish are animals with fins and scales, but some people believe fish lay eggs. Other people believe there are fish that eat plants. Some people believe some fish breathe air.

If you call a fish an animal with fins and scales, a red-and-blue Chromis is a fish. If you call a fish an animal that reproduces sexually, a parrotfish is a fish.

And if you call a fish an animal that eats plants, a clownfish is a fish. Also if you call a fish an animal that breathes air, a pufferfish is a fish.

To the people who think that red-and-blue Chromis, parrotfishes, and clownfishes are fish, Scarlet Badis are fish. The Scarlet Badis live near the beach, in the mud, in caves, and in streams.

On the other hand, Cichlids are fish with shells that tend to eat fish. However, Scarlet Badis do not always eat fish since they will eat other types of food such as plants and insects.

Scarlet Badis are fish cichlids. The word cichlid comes from two Greek words. Nicholas means fish, and logos means bright. So cichlids are fish that are bright. The bright red spots do not make the Scarlet Badis unique. Among cichlids, its spot pattern looks fairly ordinary.

But red Badis is unusual among its relatives for its social behavior. The sexes are separate, and the fish spend most of their time by themselves. They live in small, rocky shoals, where they spend much of their time at the top.

Does Scarlet Badis Eat Shrimp?

The Scarlet Badis fish is a micro predator, and it should be no surprise when they eat your shrimp. The Scarlet Badis fish is a generalized predator, meaning that they don’t chase down or kill a single prey species.

Unlike most fish predators, they go after any living thing smaller than themselves, including baby fish, shrimp, mice, lizards, birds, and bugs.

While you may want to add shrimp to your tank to manage algae and keep the water clean, you should be careful as they may end up being food for your Scarlet Badis.

However, if you plan to keep shrimp, a good tip is to start with a good number of shrimp and add the Scarlet Badis later.

How Do You Breed Scarlet Badis?

Scarlet Badis are particularly common in the aquarium trade, which is why they are also sometimes called aquarium fishes.

Scarlet Badis fish are bred by sticking their eggs into a bucket of cold water. You just need to ensure that plants are available to facilitate the breeding process. The male eggs hatch first, and then the females swim up to the top of the bucket, hatching their eggs.

These fish are interesting because they are so unusual. They reproduce quickly enough that two breeders could release enough new fish in a year to keep a healthy population going.

They also reproduce sexually and asexually; by parthenogenesis, for sexual fish and by cloning for asexual fish, so anyone breeding them is doing something unusual.

When in a breeding mood, the males frolic in the water. They wag their tails, flip their tails, and jump into the air, showing off their bright colors. They do this for hours, all for a single, very specific goal: to find mates.

When a female sees a male, she swims to him and, after greeting him, immediately dives down and swims away. He swims after her and stops and waits. He gets more confident and swims closer.

Eventually, he jumps into the air and chases her. She swims faster, and he keeps up. Finally, they come together. They swim around, and then they mate. After breeding, the male swims away.

The Scarlet Badis know how to care for their eggs, just like the Cichlids. Once both the male and female spawn, the male watches over the eggs for 5 to 7 days until it hatches.

The fry then takes about 2 to 3 days to absorb the yolk sac, after which they start moving around. At this point, you should feed them until they can eat micro worms and live baby brine shrimp.

Initially, the Chinese had a unique way of breeding Scarlet Badis. They would use dead fish and then add chemicals to hasten their rotting before giving it to the Scarlet Badis. They claim that by eating the rotting fish, the fish reproduce faster.

But the Chinese breeders aren’t the only ones who use the rotting fish trick. A more sophisticated method of breeding involves taking live fish, cutting their tails off with scissors, and then broadcasting chemicals into the water.

This kind of breeding is cheaper, but it only produces one kind of fish. It produces more specialized, less novel kinds of fish.

On the other hand, the Chinese breeders breed every variety of Scarlet Badis they could possibly imagine. Their fish swim around like fish; their tails look like tails, but their muscles are mostly made of slime, and their internal organs look like the organs of rotting fish.

Does Scarlet Badis Eat Flake Food?

The Scarlet Badis are very picky and fussy eaters, and they mostly like wild diets since they are micro predators. They don’t eat artificial food. Hence, they do not eat flake food and may only eat small-sized pellets when they go on the tank water surface.

Nevertheless, they prefer various live food such as insects, larvae, brine shrimp, small tubifex, and more. Also, you need to ensure that they get a diversified diet so they don’t become obese.

scarlet badis (Dario dario) dark room

Final Words

Scarlet Badis is one of the most recognized fish in the aquarium hobby. It has a distinctive color and pattern that will add beauty to your aquarium. An intermediate fish keeper can keep this fish species without too much effort.

Fish keepers also prize it because of its hardy nature, its ability to live in a variety of freshwater habitats, and its ability to be happy in aquaria.

The Scarlet Badis is actually quite easy to care for as long as you meet the three basic requirements: proper water conditions, an appropriate diet, and a living environment that can accommodate its growth. Also, you need to take care of their dieting needs since they tend to be picky eaters.


Edwin is a passionate fishkeeper since he was a kid. He loves caring for the fish and sharing his ideas about fishkeeping with family and friends. He is the owner of Fishkeeping Adventure.

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