Home > Tips & Tricks > Scarlet Badis (Dario dario) | Care & Info

Scarlet Badis (Dario dario) | Care & Info

If you’re looking for fish to keep in a nano aquarium, your options will unfortunately be quite limited. Simply speaking, most species just get too big! That being said, there are still a few fish out there that will do well in a smaller aquarium. Our favorite? Dario dario, better known as the scarlet badis.

Keep reading for everything you need to know about keeping the scarlet badis in your own aquarium!

Name (Common, Scientific)Scarlet badis, Dario dario
Minimum tank size10 gallon
Minimum group size1M 1F
Temperature64.5-78.5 °F
Difficulty levelEasy

Scarlet badis (Dario dario) description

Despite their very small size (only about 1”), male scarlet badis are not easy to overlook. Their orange-reddish color is interrupted by seven blue, iridescent bars on the body. There’s also some iridescence on the fins, which they will gladly show off when confronted with a female or a male intruder to the territory.

Females of the species are a lot less spectacularly colored than the males. They’re also smaller and their fins stay shorter, which is why they can be more difficult to find in the aquarium trade.

Scarlet badis fish care and info (Dario dario)

Scarlet badis (Dario dario) aquarium

The scarlet badis is naturally found in India, where it inhabits small streams and rivers with clear water and a notable amount of (aquatic) plants. It’ll appreciate something similar in the aquarium and might become shy and withdrawn if you don’t offer enough cover. Use a soft substrate and use plenty of (floating) plants, driftwood and leaf litter.

If you’re planning on trying to spawn the fish, don’t forget to also include a cave or two! Keep the filter flow gentle and lighting diffused.

Water values and temperature are of no great concern and the fish will do fine in a wide range of pH and hardness levels. The most important factor is stability: avoid sudden swings in water quality. Do make sure, as always, that the tank is fully cycled before adding your Dario dario or any other livestock.

Scarlet badis (Dario dario) tankmates

As mentioned previously, it can be difficult to find female scarlet badis in your local aquarium store. They simply aren’t sold as much due to their less spectacular coloration and finnage. This is a pity, because you’ll enjoy your scarlet badis the most if you keep them in a pair or harem, allowing the male to show off his courting skills and beautiful coloration.

The males are quite territorial and shouldn’t be kept together unless you have a larger (20+ gallon) aquarium, so in a nano aquarium, your best bet is to avoid keeping multiple Dario dario specimens.

Although scarlet badis are technically predators, their size obviously makes them prey as well. They don’t combine well with larger and more assertive aquarium fish species and many aquarists prefer keeping them in a single-species set-up.

If you do want to add tankmates, go for peaceful fish that prefer similar water values such as small tetra species, pygmy Corydoras or microrasbora.

Caring for scarlet badis (Dario dario)

Generally speaking, scarlet badis are not a demanding species and they’ll do fine in the care of a beginning aquarist. The most challenging aspect of caring for them in the aquarium is their diet. These micropredators naturally feed on anything that’s tiny and moves; in captivity, they can have trouble adjusting to pellets and flake foods.

If you’d like to keep scarlet badis it’s a good idea to set up a live food culture, which is something any aquarist would do well to look into anyway. All fish will appreciate being able to hunt tiny live fare like freshly hatched brine shrimp, Daphnia, grindal worms and similar small critters.


Scarlet badis are the perfect addition to a small (or big!) jungle-style aquascape, which in turn makes an amazing eyecatcher in any home or office. FantaSEA Aquariums has experienced freshwater aquascapers ready to design, set up and maintain your tank for you.

If you’d like all the enjoyment and none of the hassle of owning an aquarium, simply contact us here with your ideas and we’ll get working on your dream tank.

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Marijke Puts

Hey! I'm Marijke, FantaSEA's resident blog writer. I'm a full-time pop science author, part-time PADI diver and snorkeler, and have been keeping fish since I was a kid. When I'm not writing fish care guides, you can usually find me underwater or trying to figure out how to fit more tanks into my house.

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