The Scarlet Badis, scientifically known as Dario dario, is a tiny and striking freshwater fish highly prized for its intense coloration and intriguing behavior. Originating from the slow-moving waters and shallow streams of India, particularly in West Bengal, this species belongs to the family Badidae.
This diminutive fish, typically growing up to around 0.8 to 1 inch (2 to 2.5 centimeters) in length, possesses a captivating appearance characterized by its vibrant colors. The males exhibit an eye-catching scarlet or deep red body with vertical stripes or bands of iridescent blue and hints of turquoise or green, especially during courtship or when displaying dominance. Females, on the other hand, feature more subdued colors with shades of brown or olive.
Scarlet Badis are known for their tranquil yet territorial nature. Despite their small size, males can be territorial, especially during breeding or if kept in small spaces. Therefore, providing ample hiding spots, vegetation, and territories within the aquarium is essential for minimizing aggression and allowing each fish to establish its space.
These fish prefer densely planted aquariums with plenty of hiding places, floating plants, and subdued lighting, mimicking their natural habitat. Maintaining stable water conditions is crucial. They thrive in slightly acidic to neutral water with temperatures ranging from 72°F to 78°F (22°C to 26°C) and a pH level between 6.0 to 7.0.
Scarlet Badis are carnivorous and primarily feed on small invertebrates, insects, and zooplankton in the wild. In captivity, they can be finicky eaters, preferring live or frozen foods such as small daphnia, baby brine shrimp, micro worms, or appropriately sized frozen bloodworms. High-quality micro-pellets or crushed flakes may also be accepted.
Breeding Scarlet Badis can be challenging due to their specific requirements. A separate breeding tank with densely planted areas and subdued lighting is recommended. Males construct bubble nests where the female lays her eggs. After spawning, it's essential to remove the female to prevent aggression from the male.
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