Scarlet Badis (Dario dario) Tank

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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:

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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

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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.


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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!

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