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.

My Gold Barbs Shoaling

Not my most interesting post by far, but I managed to get a few decent shots of my gold barbs shoaling one afternoon. Shoaling species tend to bunch together, but often orient in different directions, split off into smaller groups, or otherwise spread out much more than schooling species.

As these gold barbs are getting older, they’re starting to fill out much more. The females are far more plump and a bit larger than the males. All are starting to show hints of red on their fins and deepening gold coloration. Coming along quite nicely 🙂

Black Ghost Knife (Apteronotus albifrons)

The black ghost knife was one of the first “odd ball” fish that really piqued my interest. I’d never seen a creature that moved like a black ghost knife before, and their morphology, back story, and use of electricity for sensory perception had me wanting one badly. Yet, since I’d never come across a fish like this before, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Much research and planning later…


This was my first time really trying to get some photos of our little BGK, whom we named Ikki. Because they are mostly a dark, matte black, getting photos of a BGK is quite a challenge for my borrowed, not so great camera. Luckily, I took a good bunch of photos, and the ones here are those that seemed to come out best.

Here are some of Ikki hiding behind one of the filters in my 150 gallon. She’s got to be in such a big tank, because BGK can reach 15-18″ when fully grown. And yes, they will eat anything they can eat that fits in their eventually big mouth.

BGK have a short white stripe running from above their mouth along the top of their head, and two white bands on the tip of their tails. Ikki is ridiculously good at blending in among tall skinny plants like those often found in the areas of South America where most BGK are found. The rumor I’ve heard on various websites (that all seem to reference each other) is that indigenous peoples believed these fish to carry the soul of the dead. Maybe this is just an over repeated marketing ploy, but it’s a rather intriguing idea.

BGK are weakly electrical fish, meaning they can generate electricity, but it’s not enough to do much more than help them “see.” It acts as a radar of sorts, helping them locate food, avoid predators, and otherwise navigate. I love watching Ikki hunt for food, as she often hovers, moving forward and backward in a straight line via the long, contiguous bottom fin, while finding her target. Just watching Ikki explore the tank is a really cool experience.

Okay, and, lastly, here are some photos of Ikki being fed at the surface of the water. Black ghost knifefish can be easily trained to hand-feed, meaning you get to actually have your awesome fish eat gently from your hand. This was the initial step of this process – just getting Ikki comfortable feeding close to the surface while human hands are close/in the water nearby.