Dario dario, formerly known as Badis bengalensis
Common Name: Scarlet Badis, Bengal Dario
Country of Origin: India
Physical Description: Males have 7 red vertical stripes down the body and a bright red head and fins. The ventral fins have a blue/white stripe down the front.
Adult size: Males max out in size at 1/2 inch. Females are smaller and much duller in color, almost gray.
Temperament: Dario dario are generally active and non-aggressive in my aquarium as I keep them with small non-aggressive fish in a densley planted aquarium. It is advisable to only keep them with tankmates of comparable size.
Care level: Very easy as long as their picky eating habits are taken into account.
Tank Size: The small size of these guys makes them perfect for small tanks. You could easily keep a group of 6 or 7 in a 10 gallon aquarium with the correct ratio of males to females. Though they do not school, mine seem to be happier when they have friends to play with. Care should be taken as most petshops only carry males since females are rarely imported. If you are only able to find males make sure each male is allowed 3 gallons to himself to establish his territory.
Temperature Range: Dario dario are very hardy and can survive in many different water conditions as long as extreme fluctuations are avoided. I have read debates on their temperature needs. I keep mine around 76-78 degrees but a few hobbyists are keeping them in cold water tanks.
Water hardness: dH 8-15, soft to medium
Alkalinity/Acidity: pH 6-7, acidic to neutral
**It should be noted that most fish purchased in pet/chain stores are farmed and raised in water much different than their native habitats. Also most fish will adapt to reasonable water conditions given the proper acclimation techniques are used.
Diet: Feed live or frozen foods but live is best. I feed a combination of live daphia magna, blackworms, frozen cyclops, and live baby brine shrimp on occasion. They generally will follow pellets around until the sink to the bottom and then become bored. Flakes are worthless for these fish as far as I can tell. Beware of over-feeding. These guys will stuff themselves. I have started cutting up the blackworms for them.
Compatibilty: In my opinion you will get more action out of these guys if they are comfortable and they won't be comfortable with large, aggressive fish around so keep them in a species tank or with other similarly sized, non-aggressive fish.
Suggested Tank-mates: Otocinclus, large shrimp like Amano shrimp. Do not add other anabantoids or fast-moving/schooling fish as you may never see your Dario dario.
Tank Maintenance: Weekly water changes. Typical maintenance.
Sexing: By color. Females with have a dull appearance with little to no striping. In a species tank, a sub male may be mistaken for a female. Oviposter (egg spot)
Breeding: The only problem in breeding this species is finding females as they are rarely sold in fish stores. The tank must be filled with plants. Java moss works best for the nest. Much like bettas, males will display and flash vibrant colors for the female. They will wrap and she will drop 40-60 tiny eggs. The eggs remain where they land in the java moss and the male will not tend to them other than keeping other fish (including the female) away from the nest. The eggs will have in 2-3 days and the fry will stay within the protection of the plants, feeding on insuforia. You can suppliment with baby brine shrimp, or liquid fry food but it should not be necessary in an established tank. The pair will spawn every 2 to 3 weeks and are not prone to eating their fry. Juveniles, however will much on younger siblings.
Personal Observations and Comments: Dario dario are great little fish and I can sit and watch them for hours at a time. Mine seem to love java moss, so use it liberally in their tank. Warning: Do not attempt to keep in an open top tank as these guys are proven jumpers.
*Information in this profile was derived from a combination of my ever-growing knowledge and a care sheet posted on fishforums.com.
**Pictures were taken by me and please do not use them without my permission.
Badis Badis Yahoo group
Disclaimer: Please note this collection information has been provided as a resource; however, multiple sources of information can help you to achieve the optimum care for your aquatic pets.