The strangely-named badis badis is a small yet beautiful fish that has the remarkable ability to change colors depending on its mood. These interesting creatures are easy to care for and can make a good choice for a beginner who is looking to add something a little different to their collection.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain how to care for these unusual and fascinating tropical fish. Let’s not keep you waiting any longer; it’s time to dive in!
Where do badis badis come from?
Badis badis is also commonly known as the blue perch or simply badis when adding the second one is just too much. These fish belong to the Badidae family of fishes in the order of Perciformes, though they were once classified as cichlids.
These fish are found in several Indian rivers, specifically the Yamuna River in Himachal Pradesh, the Tumapao River close to Duma, the Dibru River basin, and the Mahanadi River in Orissa. Badis badis also exist in Nepal, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.
In nature, the badis badis lives in wide, shallow, and slow-moving waterways lined with marginal vegetation and a muddy substrate that provides an excellent growing medium for certain aquatic plant species.
For that reason, the fish are unique to these regions of India, where most of the rivers are managed for the irrigation and production of rice.
What does badis badis look like?
The blue perch is a beautiful fish with a long, slender body and short, rayed fins.
There are three subspecies of badis, all of which are different colors. One variety has a red tint while the other two are bluish-brown or gray. Some specimens have dark markings on their dorsal fins, and healthy badis fish appear speckled.
The coolest thing about these fish, in our opinion, is their ability to change color to suit their moods or environments. This trait, which earned the species the nickname chameleon fish, is probably a means of camouflage, but it also doubles as a form of entertainment for aquarium hobbyists.
Is it a boy or girl?
If you want to breed your fish, you’ll need to know how to tell the girls and boys apart.
Luckily, the distinction between badis badis sexes is pretty straightforward, as males tend to be much brighter in color than females, and females are generally rounder.
How big does the badis get?
When fully grown, the male badis badis measures around three inches long, while the female is a little smaller, measuring up to two inches.
What is the badis badis lifespan?
The average lifespan of the badis badis is up to five years.
Are badis badis easy to keep?
These attractive little fish are quite hardy and relatively easy to keep, making them a good choice for a beginner aquarist.
Is the badis badis aggressive?
The badis is known for its ability to kill and eat fishes that are almost twice its size! However, captive specimens are generally peaceful unless hassled by larger fish or bothered during breeding periods.
Badis badis tankmates
Badis was once classified as a cichlid, and these fish generally get along well with dwarf cichlids that have similar environmental and nutritional requirements.
Male badis are quite territorial, however, and because the combative males may go after one another, it’s recommended you keep only one male and several females.
Badis badis Care Guide
If you’re thinking of adding badis to your aquarium, you’ll need to know just how to care for them.
What size aquarium does the badis badis need?
Although these are small fish, the badis does like to establish its territory in the tank and can become aggressive toward larger fish that encroach on its patch. That’s why it’s best to have a 20-gallon tank — just be very careful that you don’t overstock it!
The badis badis swims mostly in the midwater area of the tank and is quite a slow swimmer. A long tank rather than a tall one is the best choice, as that allows the fish plenty of space to cruise around its space and reduce the risk of territorial disputes.
Note that these fish are capable of jumping when they’re excited, so we recommend you buy a lidded tank for your badis.
Badis badis are tropical fish, preferring a water temperature of between 72 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit. The pH range should be between 6.5 and 7.0.
Water hardness is not a crucial factor, but you should ensure the dKH doesn’t drop below 4, which is not good for any fish species.
As with any fish species, badis badis need healthy, clean water to thrive. So, an efficient filter system for the tank is essential.
In nature, these fish live in slow-moving water with very little current, and they are slow swimmers. For that reason, you don’t want a powerful flow in the tank, as that would stress the fish as they struggle to swim through the water. Buffer the flow from the filter outlet by fitting a simple flow adjuster if possible or directing the current toward plants or decorations.
Keep the aquarium clean by carrying out 20 to 30 percent partial water changes and use an aquarium vacuum to get rid of fish waste, decomposing plant matter, uneaten food, and other bits of detritus from the substrate.
Pay attention to the corners of the tank, underneath internal filter boxes, around plant bases, and under decorations, as these are all areas where waste matter tends to accumulate.
The badis badis is displayed to its best effect in a natural-looking habitat. So, use gravel or sand as a substrate for the tank, and include rocks, stones, twisted roots, and driftwood as decorations.
Providing lots of hiding places in the tank for your badis badis is essential. The fish can be shy, and they are also territorial, so they need a cave or two, a few overhangs, some empty terracotta pots, and the like where they can take refuge if they need to. These additions also provide spawning sites if you want to try to breed your badis badis.
Lush plants are also appreciated, although you’ll need to use plants that can be attached to decor or the fish might uproot them. Silk plants can make a good aesthetic alternative to living ones, though you don’t get the benefits of water purification and oxygenation that living plants provide.
Badis badis diet
Badis badis are sometimes a little picky to feed when you first put them in your home tank. The best way to get them eating is to offer live or frozen foods. Once the fish have settled in, introduce dry food items like flakes or granules. These fish can be shy and nervous at first, so you might need to try different foods until the badis becomes more confident.
Some badis owners recommend feeding them very few bloodworms, as too many can cause digestive issues. Live brine shrimp are a useful addition to the fish’s diet, but you need to ensure these tiny crustaceans are gut-loaded before you feed them to your fish. Otherwise, the nutrient content is minimal.
How to breed badis badis
Badis are quite easy to breed if you keep them in the right conditions and ideally in a single-species tank setup, where they won’t be distracted from spawning by the presence of other fish.
As with most fish species, you’ll need to put the badis fish into a separate aquarium to breed. The breeding tank should have a gravel substrate and a sponge filter that produces a low flow. The water in the tank needs to be both slightly acidic and soft with a temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
You’ll need to carry out daily water changes to provide the fish with the best water quality possible, and make sure that you fit a lid or cover slide on the tank so the badis can’t escape!
To bring the fish into breeding conditions, feed them a high-protein diet that consists of both frozen and live foods.
When spawning begins, the male’s colors will become more vibrant and intense as he prepares to seek attention from females. The fish will eventually pair off to begin looking for suitable places in the tank to spawn. Ideally, you’ll want to include some upturned clay plant pots, which the fish will use as nesting sites.
In the early stages of spawning, the male fish will swim close to the female, embracing and nudging her. The female deposits her eggs, then the male fertilizes them. Once the eggs have been laid, we recommend putting the female in a separate tank, as males’ behavior towards females can sometimes become aggressive once spawning is complete.
The eggs and fry
The male will guard the nest and fan water over the eggs until they hatch, usually within 48 hours or so.
At this stage, you don’t need to feed the fry, as the youngsters will happily feed on their yolk sacs at this stage. Once the fry becomes free-swimming, you can feed the baby fish several times a day with newly-hatched brine shrimp or commercial fry food.
The fry will grow pretty quickly, so it’s a good idea to remove the male before the baby badis fish reach a size that might get them mistaken for a food source. Once the fry reach a suitable size, you can transfer them to a separate tank or perhaps sell them to a local fish store.
Health and disease
Badis are quite hardy fish, although they can be affected by a few common tropical fish diseases.
Several protozoan parasites can attack your badis badis.
Ich, or white spot disease, manifests itself as a rash of tiny white spots that look like grains of sand across the fish’s fins, body, and gills. Infected fish flick or flash against solid objects within the tank as the disease progresses.
Costia and chilodonella both cause cloudiness of the skin and can also cause the fish to flash or rub their bodies on the substrate, plants, and decorations in the aquarium.
Fortunately, all these conditions can be treated with an anti-parasitic medication you can find at your local fish or pet store.
External parasites generally get into your tank with live plants that have been kept in the same tank as fish, with new fish, or with live food. These macro-organisms can usually be seen with the naked eye.
A few examples of these include:
- Flukes or flatworms that fasten themselves to the fish’s body or gills with their hooked mouths
- Fish lice (Argulus), which are flat, disc-like crustaceans that latch onto the fish’s body
- Anchor worms, which are threadlike white parasites whose reproductive organs can often be seen trailing from the fish’s side
All these external parasites can be dealt with by dosing the tank with anti-parasitic medication and giving any affected fish a salt bath.
Fungus is usually associated with poor water conditions and bad tank hygiene. If a fish has fungus, you’ll see whitish or grey cotton-like growths appearing around its mouth or body.
Most fish tanks contain some forms of bacteria that can be harmful if your fish are weakened by stress or some other disease.
Common symptoms of bacterial infections include red or black spots on the body, ulcers, shredded and ragged fins, cloudy eyes, lethargy, poor appetite, or a distended belly (dropsy).
Generally, bacterial infections can be treated through the use of antibacterial medication and salt baths.
All the varieties of badis badis are quite easy to find online or in a good fish store. Prices may vary, depending on the coloration and sex of the fish.
These fish are pretty easy to keep, although we recommend that you only keep one male fish unless you have a large tank with plenty of space for the fish to establish their territories.
When provided with the correct water parameters and environment, it is possible to breed badis successfully in the home tank.
All in all, badis badis are interesting and unusual aquarium fish that make a fascinating talking point in a peaceful community tank.