Scarlet Badis (Dario dario) Tank

Dario Dario 9

I had wanted to breed Scarlet Badis (Dario dario) for quite some time, but never seemed to be able to find females. I finally gave up and decided to just try out two males in a heavily planted 10 gallon instead. These fish are definitely a challenge. They’re quite sensitive to water parameters, but, more challenging for me, is how difficult it is to get them to eat!


These are some of the most deliberate fish I have ever owned. They meticulously search for micro sized food to nom on, usually watching for the smallest of movements to indicate potential food. Thus, Dario dario generally won’t eat any processed fish foods (pellets, flakes), can be enticed to eat frozen foods, and prefer live foods. I’ve since learned how to culture live brine shrimp, planaria, and daphnia, which they eat readily although slowly. Frozen baby brine shrimp can also work with them, provided they’re hunting near the filter’s current. The current sometimes makes the unfrozen food move enough to make a scarlet badis try to eat it. Everything online seems to recommend against blood worms due to potentially harmful levels of certain nutrients in them.

I wish I could find females now that I’ve seen these males be healthy and stable in the tank, but female Dario dario seem to be ridiculously scarce in the United States. Sad. Hopefully I’ll find a way around that soon! The males have enough room to each have claimed territories, and I have yet to see them tussle beyond a short and uneventful chase. Here’s the tank these two are living in:

zoom out straight

This tank has been running for quite a few months, and it began with an established filter from another tank, rated for up to 30 gallons. The extra-long spray bar keeps the water from being turbulent while still having great circulation throughout the entire tank.

10 Gallon Update

10 2

Here are a few quick shots of how my 10 gallon is currently filling in. Right now it homes some Furcata Rainbows, Corydora habrosus, and otocinclus. The rainbows prefer hard water, while the corydora prefer acidic water, so I plan on making some stocking changes in the near future. For now, I’m keeping the tank around neutral and as stable as possible until I can give these guys more favorable water conditions.


10 3

For some reason this tank has always given me grief with growing plants. I’ve been dosing regularly with Excel when not using a DIY yeast reactor, as well as occasionally adding some Flourish or basic macro nutrients. I cut down on the floaters as I’m not down to a single Marineland light fixture which has rather poor LEDs in it at the moment. My efforts seem to finally be paying off!

10 1

Farewell to My 10 Gallon

My basic ten gallon tank had become the repository for fish that I couldn’t bring myself to bring back to the store. It had been my first tank, originally overstocked with platies and a pleco on the advice of a fish store salesperson. This is the tank I learned my first, brutal lessons on fish tank cycling, handling livebearers who just keep on making fry, and keeping proper ratios of male to female fish who get aggressive when wanting to mate.

Anyhow, this ten gallon recently saw the passing of the bright yellow betta who had been living there. He jumped out of the tank in the middle of the night, only to be found crunchy on the floor the next morning. This has been the only way I’ve ever lost a betta – they manage to find any small holes in a tank’s cover if they really feel like jumping. Here’s the tank and the betta:

What remains are the eight black neon tetras and three microglanis iheringi, aka South American Bumblebee catfish. I’ve never been a huge fan of smaller schooling tetras beyond using them for aesthetics, but I absolutely love my little catfish! There isn’t a whole lot of information on these little micro cats, which is a large part of what has inspired me to begin planning my first biotope tank around their natural habitat. I tried getting some pictures of them this morning, but these little guys are ridiculously fast. I didn’t think to grab the camera until after their initial feeding, and then not even some defrosted blood worms could tempt them from their hiding spots:


So instead, here is a photo from this site to give you an idea of what these guys actually look like:


I love watching them come out to chomp down on food, frantically swimming around through all of the nooks and crannies in the wood and through all of the bottom plants to suck in a mouthful of food. Yet the most comprehensive source I can find on this species is from, located here. They’re originally from the “Turmero River Basin.” Yet every website that contains similar phrases is either about this exact species or about the pollution of that waterway. The Turmero river flows into Lake Valencia, located in north-eastern Venezuela, South America. I plan on making this location my first biotope.

If you have any information on Venezuelen fish species that might be available and be okay in a smaller tank (I’m thinking a 20 gallon long – with high flow to make a river type system), let me know! For now, there seem to be many options for guppies, tetras, or killies, and it would be nice to have the bumblebee cats to keep the fry levels in check!

There are also many other options I’ve been considering with the new tank spot I could have now, maybe a Scarlet badis (dario dario) tank? Peacock Gudgeons? American native darters? Killifish breeding? White Clouds? Furcata Rainbows? Gurtrudae Rainbows? Can’t wait to find out.