Scarlet Badis – A Complete Guide (Care, Diet, Facts)

Scarlet Badis gained popularity over other fish due to the care needed in order to care for a healthy fish. This being barely any; Scarlet Badis are very easy to care for. They have some feeding regimens that do make them more of a challenge to keep after; making them a fish for a hobbyist with some experience.

Male Scarlet Badis are so bright and eleven they nearly look like a gem. They have a quiet shy temperament therefore they get along with other tankmates.


The Scarlet Badis was given the scientific name of Dario Dario. They are a member of the Badidae family. These freshwater fish are often overlooked compared to other fish; although it has much to offer.

People may know this fish under a different name of Badis Bengalensis. This name was wrongly given to the fish by a man articles writer in a fishkeeping magazine; taking place in 1999.

This fish is not only overlooked by hobbyist it’s also overlooked by scientists. Making this fish a fish with many unanswered questions. Being a fish that has the least amount of case work and hours of study time of any fish within the Percoid Fish.

The Scarlet Badis is a fish that may never show signs of any sickness or health issues before it’s found dead the next morning. The males actually become more vibrant and beautiful during their last moments than any other time; this is for mating purposes.

These fish don’t have as long of a lifespan as other breeds of fish. Only living an estimated 4-6 years. To get the most amount of years with this fish it’s important to give them a balanced diet within a clean tank. Polluted water will cut years off their life.

Behavior Patterns

The Scarlet Badis is not a fish you have to worry about becoming aggressive with other fish within your tank. Unless you have multiple Scarlet Badis males within one tank.

Being a very shy timid fish, they feel threatened easily by larger or more active fish within your tank. With that being said it’s important to buy fish that grow approximately the same size with close temperaments. This way all fish feel comfortable and happy.

Being a very skittish and bashful fish, they need plenty of vegetation or hiding spots in order to slip away and stay in solitude when needed.

As mentioned before these fish are very peaceful and shy unless it comes to two Scarlet males. They will feel obligated to fight and harm one another due to territorial issues.

The fish spend most their take slowly strolling through the middle and bottom area of your tank, staying close to vegetation or a hiding place.


These fish are a very small species of fish. With males only growing to be roughly an inch. While females stay even smaller.

Unlike many different fish species, the males and female Scarlet Badis are different colors. When you find fish that have this feature, it is called sexual dimorphism.

Matured males are beautiful. Varying from a vibrant red to a red orange. With 7 rings going around their bodies and fins; and 8 silver/blue lines that pattern with the 7 rings.

The males normally have bluish fins with a black outline along the edges. While they are bright and vibrant year-round, they become beautiful and even more flashy during spawning.

While the females lay low and have a fuller less flattering composure. Females have a silver body with clear fins. Although as they mature, they will gain a faint orange line or two.

As juveniles, it’s very difficult to decipher between males and females Scarlet Badis as they look very very similar. They have both the same color and same shaped bodies.

Habitat and Tank Set Up

Scarlet a Badis are native to the drainage systems in West Bengal and in India. The natural environment that these fish call home are very restricted and only spreading to Bhutan on select occasions.

You will find crystal clear waters with dense lush patches of vegetation; for they to roam and hide having a sense of security. Their substrate is a mixture of both sand and gravel.

Scarlet Badis use their plants for more reasons than just a hiding place. They use them the show dominance and establish their territory as well. It’s important to keep things like that in mind when setting up the tank. It’s the little things like that to; one adds a sense of security for your fish and two create a friendly or an aggressive environment.

Scarlet Badis are often found interacting and sharing grounds with other family members of the Badis family. Fish like the Badis Blosyrus and the Badis Kanabo. They often swim in very shallow water by the shore hiding amongst the thick plantlife and vegetation.

Tank Conditions

The number one most important feature you need to add to your tank is to ensure you have plenty of hiding places of caves throughout the tank that the fish can feel safe and not limited to a small section of the tank.

Being a rather territorial fish having areas for them to choose from and hide within will give them the power to focus on their territory as that one cave or group of plants rather than as the whole tank. Allowing them to establish territory will not only prevent them from attacking each other it will make them less scared of other fish inside the tank.

It’s best to mimic the substrate that is found in the wild. With that said I would use a mixture of sand and gravel.

To mimic the water conditions this fish needs in order to be healthy and live longer is important. You should keep the tank temperature between 71°F and 79°F at all times. The Ph should stay between 6.5 and 7.5. They prefer a water hardness between 10 and 20 dGH.

They came from slow moving waters so your filtration system must not create too heavy of a current. They prefer lighting that is too bright but will act as a sun beating down on the tank.

Scarlet Badis are very sensitive to water pollution as they are used to very clean and clear waters. It’s important to do a 50% cleaning at least once a week.

By this I mean once a week you take out ½ of the water that is in your tank and fill it with clean fresh water. This will keep pollution and filthy water at a low without shaking the fish with a complete water change.

How Many Gallons Do I Need Per Fish?

You need at least 10 gallons a fish. Due to their size they have been becoming more known and popular for being a fish for nano-aquariums. Nano-aquariums are great aquariums with a lot of vibrant colors.

Tank Mates

The best tank mates for these fish are fish of their own kind. Due to the fact that they are so shy and timid, it’s hard to find a fish that won’t try and overpower them. If these fish feel overpowered, they will remain hiding and may become malnourished and die.

Although, I just said it’s ideal to keep them alone it’s not impossible to keep them within a community tank. With certain rules and regulations.

It’s important to only have fish that are equal in size. With this being said this is why they are in the nano-aquarium popularity list. Along with size the most important matter is attitude.

You cannot put an aggressive or overbearing fish within the tank of Scarlet Badis. Along with aggressive fish it’s important not to include overly active fish within your aquarium of Scarlet’s. Too much movement will cause these fish to become very shy and again not come out of hiding.

Snails, shrimp and others of that matter are not a good option when it comes to tank mates simply because these fish roam in their ground and there’s a good chance they will be eaten.

No matter the tank mates you do find it’s important to ensure the whole tank is getting plenty to eat this will cut off any other source of aggression.

Is It Okay to Keep Multiple Together at A Time?

You may have a group of Scarlets in the tank at one although you have to decide. The males get aggressive and territorial on each other, so they need plenty of space for both fish to have their space separate from the others. Although if you are having more than one male you will need more space per fish, and you may not have other females.

Having females and multiple males will cause aggression you cannot fix; unless you remove the females. This is because they are fighting for breeding rights.

The other option is to only have one male and you may have as many females as you please. By doing this you have cut all chances of aggression within the tank.


Scarlet Badis are what I would call a picky eater. They are micro predators in the wild; being such a small fish they prey on things even smaller such as crustaceans, larvae, worms, insects, and zooplankton.

In order to have a healthy diet and thrive within a ranked environment it’s important to mirror their wild diet. They will not eat flake food, and few eat pellets. The best chance you have is when they are actively sinking, they may look like their prey.

It’s important to feed these for nutritionally dense foods as they are prone to obesity and other diseases. So, whatever you feed them to make sure they are getting their needs.

It’s important not to over feed these fish for the above reason. Feed them 1-3 times a day; feeding them as much food as they can consume in 2 minutes tops.

It’s important to feed these fish a well-balanced and wide variety of foods. This will get them a better opportunity to receive everything they need.

Care Guide

The cleanliness of your water can be a life or death situation for this type of fish. As they are rather sensitive and are not immune to diseases that are spread throughout diet water.

Although, we truly haven’t studied enough to fully understand the number of diseases that can be travelled through aquariums.

Unhealthy bacteria are the number one reason for aquarium sickness. Commonly affecting its physical features before it ever developed to the point of it internally.

If any fish is acting strange at all it’s best to quarantine them until they are no longer sick. Although if they have a treatable sickness you may wish to cure the whole tank to be safe than sorry.

Buying live food from an unreliable source or a source with a bad reputation can cause an outbreak. As they may be coming from an infected tank. So always ensure you are getting good quality food from a reputable company.


Scarlet Badis are a great fish that will bring vibrant colors into any tank. These fish are great peaceful fish that are non-aggressive toward other fish. Although male Scarlets are aggressive toward other males for territorial and alpha male purposes.

If you take one thing out of this let it be the fact these fish need to have vegetation for hiding purposes. They cannot handle a tank without hiding. They need shelter and water that gives them a sense of protection to swim through.

Being a small fish, they can only be ranked with other fish of similar size and similar personality traits. As these fish can feel threatened and belittled very easily.

Although they are a rather easy fish all around, they can tend to be a little more demanding during feedings than other fish. As they are picky eaters. Consuming only fresh or frozen food with an occasional pellet eater.

These fish are perfect for any small fish tanks or nano aquariums.

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