Badis badis questions - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 29 Old 05-26-2008, 01:49 PM Thread Starter
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Badis badis questions

It's technically part of the nandidae family, so I suppose this is the right sub-forum. Has anyone ever kept the badis badis, the dwarf chameleon fish? I think it will be the perfect fish to fill the particular niche I've carved out for it in my community aquarium. The other residents will be:

A mated kribensis pair
3 kuhli loaches
1 clown pleco
3 swordtails (male and two females)
2-3 golden wonder killifish

Originally, I wanted a leopard ctenopoma, but I've been informed that as it gets bigger it might very well eat some of my other residents and be bothered by the boisterous kribs. From what I've read, the badis badis should be a better choice because, although predatory, it is smaller and likely can't eat any of my other fish aside from the swordtail fry (which is what it's there for in the first place, aside from looking pretty). Will this fish do well in this setup? There will be plenty of caves, driftwood and plants. I haven't read anything about anyone keeping a single specimen, either. I had planned on getting a single male. Will he do alright?
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post #2 of 29 Old 05-26-2008, 06:15 PM
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You might want to ask more opinions about the killies first. I have not kept these although I've seen these before. I was informed in another forum these were predatory and one was caught with a guppy dangling on its mouth.

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post #3 of 29 Old 05-26-2008, 08:16 PM Thread Starter
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From what I understand, golden wonders, or Aplocheilus lineatus, might possibly prey on fish as large as a neon tetra. As I don't plan on having any fish that small in the aquarium, I'm not too worried. They're also surface dwellers, so that should also reduce some problems. The fish are mostly insect eaters who go after floating food. There are other species of killies that are definitely more predatory on fish and don't make good community residents, though.
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post #4 of 29 Old 05-26-2008, 08:53 PM
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Badis badis are still wild caught for the most part, thus they ONLY eat live food; Daphnia, fruit flies, sub-adult Artemia, white mosquito larvae should all be on the menu. You must take that in consideration before purchasing the fish.
Conditioning them to a percentage of prepared food can take months. Your first effort would be adding just a few frozen, defrosted of course, to feedings of live white mosquito larvae.
And they are small fish, less than three inches, and do better in colonies.
They also don't belong in a community tank, as they are shy, deliberate eaters, and usually starve in a community. A planted tank of at least 20 gallon size with Rasboras for company would be more appropriate.
They are beautiful, interesting fish but they have certain needs which must be addressed before attempting to keep them.

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post #5 of 29 Old 05-26-2008, 11:03 PM Thread Starter
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I am prepared to offer live foods as I have a LFS with a wide variety close at hand. From what I've read about the fish, they are fairly easy to breed in the home aquarium and many have successfully done so. I plan on specifically looking for tank-raised specimens as opposed to wild caught. The rigors of feeding deliberate and picky dwarf puffers in a tank full of ravenous tiger barbs has trained me well in the ways of feeding fish with these traits with more voracious eaters present. I won't think twice about returning the fish if I don't feel it is able to get its fair share of food.
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post #6 of 29 Old 05-27-2008, 12:09 AM Thread Starter
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Hmm...every resource I can find on the web indicates that these fish make excellent community residents so long as you take their special feeding needs into account. If the LFS carries any, I'll make sure to know what types of food they are fed. Several sites say the easiest things to feed them are live blackworms, which are easy enough to come by. I still think I'm going to give it a shot.
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post #7 of 29 Old 12-22-2008, 11:03 PM Thread Starter
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Old thread, I realize, but I finally got one of these so I thought it warranted a thread revival. My old betta hex tank had been sitting empty for some time (kept cycled with pond snails and young guppies). I stopped in a LFS that I normally don't really care for because it was on the way home hoping to pick up a new betta. I was interested in a female but they only had males, so I started browsing the rest of their selection. They actually had a single Badis badis in stock!

The fish was overpriced ($12.99) but I didn't have any luck even ordering these guys through the LFS before, so I thought it'd be worth it. The staff knew *nothing* about this fish. They had it labelled as a "badis badis dwarf gourami" which I guess isn't completely off base since they are labyrinth fish. He was in a tank with a bunch of GloFish and seemed pretty content cruising around the bottom and poking in the substrate for food. He looked healthy enough.

But of course, I wanted to know if this guy was wild caught or tank raised, so I flagged down an employee. He didn't even know what I was talking about (when I mentioned "badis badis" he said something like, "I'm not too good with scientific names...") and I had to point out the fish to him. He reacted as though he had never even seen it. He had no idea whether it was wild caught or not, so he asked another employee. Employee #2 was like, "well most of our fish are tank raised, I think..." so I had to explain that I was curious about this particular fish, not their stock in general. Then, I told them that the reason I asked is because wild-caught badis badis are known to only accept live foods, while tank-raised specimens will accept prepared foods. They were like, " you want to see it eat?" So I said, "sure." The guy then stared at the tank for a minute, and said, "hmmm I'm not sure you'll be able to see it because now that we're looking at it it's hiding behind the filter and these GloFish are swimming everywhere." So, I gave up on getting any help and just decided to make the gamble. Heck, odds are it was just going to starve in the store tank if it didn't accept live food anyway.

So now, the little guy is in my old betta tank. I can't sex him at all. Sexing seems to be pretty much, "females are sometimes fatter, and males are more colorful" but that doesn't help me much. This fish is pretty inactive - he just hovers above the gravel, stationary for a few minutes, then will move to another area and do the same. I'm gonna give him some time to adjust before I try feeding him anything. Cool little fish, so far.

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Last edited by iamntbatman; 12-22-2008 at 11:06 PM.
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post #8 of 29 Old 12-23-2008, 09:59 AM
Wow, that is pretty interesting. I don't think I have ever seen a Badis Badis anywhere, but they are very cool fish.

Any chance for some pictures?
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post #9 of 29 Old 03-07-2009, 12:48 PM Thread Starter
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Update: So I've had this little guy (gal?) alone in a 2.5g since December. It has been doing well. It will eat just about anything frozen or live - I tried to trick it into eating prepared foods, which it would grab as soon as they hit the water and then spit out right away. No such luck. However, unlike every bit of literature I've read on these guys, mine is a *very* enthusiastic eater. It attacks bloodworms like nobody's business.

Today I was at the LFS and lo and behold, they had more of them! For only $6 this time! There were three fish in the tank, one of which looked exactly like mine (female?) and the other two were completely different looking. So I grabbed one of the different ones, and brought it home. I didn't want the two fish in a little 2.5g so I moved them to one of my community tanks. So far, so good: the old fish has taken on a coloration with black and white vertical stripes and the new guy is a reddish-brown with dark spots and blueish fins. The new guy has been chasing the old one quite a bit, so hopefully this is courtship rather than aggression but I'll separate them if need be. Hopefully I'll have some pictures of the pair together soon.

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post #10 of 29 Old 04-07-2009, 02:12 AM
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Based on your description, you now have a pair. The 'old' one is the female. They are fairly easy to coax into breeding. Just make sure you have a cave or two. The male will claim a cave and if the female is receptive, she will approach him. They kinda lock lips and swim together backwards. The blue you see on the male will get very intense. If she lays the eggs, they will stick to the walls and roof of the male's cave. Once the eggs are laid, she'll be chased out. Only the male will tend the eggs. If its a small tank, and he cannot drive her far enough away, he could injure or kill her. If the hostility does not stop, itís best to separate her. Plants help break the line of sight, and give her a place to escape to.

The fry are very small and don't become free-swimming for 10-14 days. Once they do, the male (and any other larger fish) will consider them fair game for food. If you want to save the fry, either move them to their own tank, or make sure there are a lot of plants. Java moss works great.

Hope this helps.
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