Last update: November 8, 2023

15 Best Scarlet Badis Tank Mates – FishLab

Scarlet badis are some of the cutest, most diminutive fish colored a vibrant fire-engine red with amazing blue stripes running vertically down their bodies. They’re shy, peaceful and non-confrontational. Watching them swim about is a treat since they can be active and love to have fun when content.

Regardless, we’ll tell you about the 15 best scarlet badis tank mates. These include a variety of tetras and rasboras along with a few specific species. Things like glass catfish, sunset gourami, pygmy cory catfish, bluefin killifish and marbled hatchetfish are also wonderful selections.

While you’d think they’d make the perfect neighbor for a community aquarium, their shyness leads to nervous tendencies. Death by starvation out of fear of their fellow tank mates is not an uncommon fate for these little beauties, unfortunately.

15 Best Scarlet Badis Tank Mates – What You Need to Know

Whatever kind of roommate you choose for scarlet badis, they must have some of their own species with them and any other fish must be peaceful and non-aggressive. Otherwise, scarlet badis will starve themselves to death out of fear. That’s just how much they’ll go out of their way to avoid a conflict.

Also, you want to ensure the tank is big enough with plenty of plants and decorations. But, since these fish like the bottom region of the tank, getting roommates for the middle or top regions will be best. If they do share a similar area, make sure the fish is also shy.


Even though the usual mode of being for a scarlet badis is calm, cool and collected, their temperament makes them a little more difficult to care for than other species of the same size. They are shy and timid to a fault, especially around more aggressive or larger species.


Scarlet badis never get much larger than two inches, if they get that big at all. In fact, that’s their max length in the wild. So, living in a domesticated aquascape means they’ll be much smaller.


These are slower swimmers than most comparable species and they don’t actively search for food. Therefore, if they feel like they have to compete for food, they’ll simply avoid it altogether. This means they will starve themselves. They’ll do this even when housed with other fish their own size who are more opportunistic in regards to food.

Also, males will be aggressive with each other if the tank is too small. So, you want to ensure you have at least two or three females per male. Regardless, scarlet badis are happy-go-lucky fish who love to swim and hide at the bottom of the tank.

Parameters ; Tank Setup

Scarlet badis don’t need anything too fancy, especially if they are the only species in the tank. That said, if you’re going to have more than one male, estimate about five square feet for each. But, if you’re going to have them cohabitate, then the potential neighbors must have the same or nearly similar water conditions.

  • Substrate: Soft, fine sand
  • Water Flow: Light
  • Tank Size: 10 gallons per five fish (more for a community tank)
  • Temperature: 70°F to 79°F
  • pH Balance (Acidity/Alkalinity): 6.5 to 7.5
  • Water Hardness: Between 10 and 20 dGH

15 Best Scarlet Badis Tank Mates

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1. Scarlet Badis

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  • Scientific Name: Dario dario
  • Adult Size: Just under two inches
  • Compatible with: Scarlet Badis, Galaxy Rasbora
  • Care Level: Medium/Intermediate
  • Origin: East India

Truly, scarlet badis should be a solo feature in an aquarium. Even still, there are safeguards you must undertake to ensure they remain peaceful, happy and well fed. The males will present the largest problems since they can be quite territorial.

2. Galaxy Rasbora

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  • Scientific Name: Danio margaritatus
  • Adult Size: Up to an inch
  • Compatible with: Cory Catfish, Japonica Shrimp, Guppies, Kuhli Loaches, Sunset Gourami
  • Care Level: Medium/Intermediate
  • Origin: Thailand, Myanmar

Also known as fireworks rasboras and celestial pearl danios, galaxy rasboras are the only sure thing when it comes to roommates for scarlet badis. They suit them well since they have similar temperaments and water parameters.

3. BlueFin Killifish

  • Scientific Name: Lucania goodei
  • Adult Size: Up to 2½ inches
  • Compatible with: Any small, peaceful fish
  • Care Level: Easy/Beginner
  • Origin: United States; California, North Carolina, South Caronlina

Their size and love for a planted tank make the blue fin killifish an ideal neighbor for scarlet badis. Plus, their blue and brown coloring is a wonderful artistic contrast to the red and blue of the scarlet badis. What’s more, they have near exact water requirements.

4. Neon Green Rasboras

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  • Scientific Name: Microdevario kubotai
  • Adult Size: Never more than an inch
  • Compatible with: Galaxy Rasboras, Endler’s Livebearers
  • Care Level: Medium/Intermediate
  • Origin: Southeast Asia

Neon green rasboras are shy and love to hide, just like scarlet badis. Plus, they have interesting bright green bodies that take on a range of hues from olive to electric. As long as they have a few of their own buddies around, they make a beautiful addition to any peaceful community tank.

5. Mosquito Rasboras

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  • Scientific Name: Boraras brigittae
  • Adult Size: Never more than an inch
  • Compatible with: Japonica Shrimp, Wood Shrimp, Cory Catfish, Chocolate Gourami
  • Care Level: Medium/Intermediate
  • Origin: Borneo

Another common name for the mosquito rasbora is the chili rasbora. They make an attractive addition to a tank containing scarlet badis. However, these rasboras tend to be more opportunistic in the way of food. So, you’ll have to keep an eye on how your scarlet badis behave in their presence.

6. Marbled Hatchetfish

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  • Scientific Name: Carnegiella strigata
  • Adult Size: No more than 1½ to 2 inches
  • Compatible with: Any small, peaceful fish
  • Care Level: Difficult/Advanced
  • Origin: South America

Marbled hatchetfish are interesting to look at and difficult to describe. They’re like mini stingrays with a gelatinous-looking iridescent body. They are very picky about their water parameters and can become extremely aggressive to all tank mates during breeding season. But, they are beautiful to house with scarlet badis.

7. Sunset Gouramis

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  • Scientific Name: Trichogaster chuna
  • Adult Size: Never more than two inches
  • Compatible with: Molly Fish, Sparkling Gourami, Neon Tetras, Zebra Danios, Ember Tetras, Cory Catfish
  • Care Level: Easy/Beginner
  • Origin: India, Bangladesh

Sunset gouramis, best known as honey gouramis, are an aquarium keeper’s ultimate dream. They’re lovely to look at, peaceful and very easy to take care of. While they do make an ideal friend for scarlet badis, they are not nearly as shy. This means the scarlet badis can become timid in their presence.

8. Fire Tetras

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  • Scientific Name: Hyphessobrycon amandae
  • Adult Size: Just under an inch
  • Compatible with: Any peaceful, similar-sized fish
  • Care Level: Super Easy
  • Origin: Central Brazil

Fire tetras are great for any community tank and look fantastic paired with scarlet badis. The splashes of moving red and orange hues are a true wonder to behold. Also called ember tetras, these fish can tolerate a wide range of water parameters.

9. Pygmy Cory Catfish

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  • Scientific Name: Corydoras pygmaeus
  • Adult Size: Up to an inch
  • Compatible with: Danios, Molly Fish, Guppies, Neon Tetras, Kuhli Loaches, Dwarf Gourami, Otocinclus
  • Care Level: Easy/Beginner
  • Origin: South America; Brazil

A peace-loving bottom feeder, pygmy cory catfish are a perfect roommate for most species of fish. The only problem you may run into housing them with scarlet badis is that both species like to inhabit the bottom of the tank.

10. Glass Catfish

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  • Scientific Name: Kryptopterus vitreolus
  • Adult Size: Up to five inches
  • Compatible with: Molly Fish, Galaxy Rasboras, Swordtails
  • Care Level: Medium/Intermediate
  • Origin: Thailand

You can completely see through the body of a glass catfish. The only way you know they’re there is by the visual appearance of their bones, which are dark gray or black. Even though these can get far too big for comfort in terms of a scarlet badis, the shy and peaceful nature of glass catfish shouldn’t bother them.

11. Dwarf Spotted Rasboras

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  • Scientific Name: Boraras maculatus
  • Adult Size: Barely over ½ inch
  • Compatible with: Chili Rasbora, Neon Blue Rasbora, Kuhli Loach
  • Care Level: Easy/Beginner
  • Origin: Southeast Asia

Small and easy to care for, dwarf spotted rasboras are a hit in any community tank. They’re peaceful and love plants for hiding. As long as there’s enough room for both scarlet badis and dwarf spotted rasboras, you will truly have an aquatic piece of art.

12. Forktail Blue-Eye Rainbowfish

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  • Scientific Name: Pseudomugil farcatus
  • Adult Size: Up to an inch
  • Compatible with: Any peaceful fish
  • Care Level: Easy/Beginner
  • Origin: Papua New Guinea

Since forktail blue-eye rainbowfish occupy the middle section of the tank, it’s not likely that they’ll present a problem for scarlet badis. However, they love to eat and the scarlet badis may interpret this wrong due to their extreme timidity.

13. Japonica Shrimp

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  • Scientific Name: Caridina multidentata
  • Adult Size: No more than two inches
  • Compatible with: Discus, Otocinclus, Guppies, Cory Catfish, Nerite Snails
  • Care Level: Easy/Beginner
  • Origin: Japan, Taiwan

This crustacean comes under several names, the most popular of which is amano shrimp. They are peaceful, help keep your tank clean and love plenty of plants. What makes them difficult to keep with scarlet badis is how their peaceful temperament changes at mealtime. This can be disconcerting for a scarlet badis.

14. Toucan Tetras

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  • Scientific Name: Tucanoichthys tucano
  • Adult Size: Never larger than 1¼ inches
  • Compatible with: Japonica Shrimp, Cherry Shrimp
  • Care Level: Medium/Intermediate
  • Origin: Brazil, Colombia

Toucan tetras are very uncommon in the aquarium hobby world, so to obtain one of these adorable fish, expect to pay a pretty penny. Even still, this is a risky choice to house with the scarlet badis because of how toucan tetras are avid, agile predators when it comes to mealtime.

15. Fire Shrimp

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  • Scientific Name: Lysmata Debelius
  • Adult Size: Up to 1½ inches
  • Compatible with: Clown Plecos, Pygmy Cory Catfish, Otocinclus, Mosquito Rasbora
  • Care Level: Easy/Beginner
  • Origin: Taiwan

This little shellfish goes by several names like cherry shrimp or red fire cherry shrimp. They love the same water conditions as scarlet badis and come in a variety of reds. They make a wonderful splash of color in any community tank. It’s just that these are going to require watching in tandem with scarlet badis.


If you are going to create a community tank, these are the 15 best scarlet badis tank mates. However, it stands to repeat these little babies should truly be a lone species in their watery environment. This is because of how intensely shy and timid they are in the presence of many other fish.

Ian Sterling

Ian Sterling, founder of, began his aquarium journey over 30 years ago, driven by a deep fascination for fish and their diverse personalities. His website,, is dedicated to making fishkeeping accessible and enjoyable, offering beginner-friendly guidance, expert insights, and a community for aquarists to connect and share experiences.

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