12 Different Tropical Aquarium Danios - Rare & Common

Danios can make a great addition to an aquarium, especially when looking for a top dwelling level of fish. Always active, peaceful and incredibly hardy they make an excellent choice for a beginner.
Bengal Danio(Devario devario)
Celestial Pearl Danio(Danio margaritatus)
Emerald Dwarf Danio(Danio erythromicron)
Fireline Danio(Devario sondhii)
Giant Danio(Devario aequipinnatus)
Glowlight Danio(Celestichthys choprae)
Lake Inle Danio(Devario auropurpureus, Inlecypris auropurpurea, Barilius auropurpureus)
Leopard Danio(Danio Rerio)
Orange Finned Danio(Danio kyathit)
Panther Danio(Brachydanio aesculapii)
Pearl Danio(Danio albolineatus, Brachydanio albolineata)
Zebra Danio(Brachydanio rerio)

Danios are a genus of small freshwater fish in the family Cyprinidae. There are currently 27 known species in this genus.

Danios are somewhat famous in the aquarium hobby mainly because they are peaceful, extraordinarily hardy and can tolerate a broad range of water conditions and temperatures, making them excellent fish for beginners and newly set up aquariums.

Most Danio species grow to no more than 5 cm in size and are usually surface orientated. A couple of species, such as the Dangila and Giant Danios, can reach up to 13 cm in length. Danios are incredibly active, to the point of coming across as boisterous; however, they hardly ever cause injuries to other fish.

Several long-finned versions and colour variations have been produced through selective breeding. You can usually identify these fish by their pattern; they typically have either rows of spots, vertical bars or horizontal stripes. Some Danios have two pairs of long barbels.

Natural habitat

Danios can be found throughout South Asia and Southeast Asia ranging from India and Bangladesh to Bhutan, Nepal, Burma, Sumatra, Malaysia and Thailand.

Individual species in this group have slightly different preferences; however, all live in freshwater habitats. A majority prefer slow-moving or stagnant water over faster-flowing currents. Some of the various ecosystems they inhabit include rivers, streams, ponds, canals and ditches, rice paddies, pools and floodplains.

Their habitats consist of a silty bottomed substrate that has an abundance of lush green vegetation. They can also occupy edged areas with rocky substrates and overhanging branched cover.

Behaviour

Danios are peaceful, non-aggressive fish and are always on the go and will continually dash around the aquarium interacting with one another; therefore, they should be kept with other active fish. Danios are schooling fish that develop social hierarchies, and the most dominant individuals have passage to the best food and breeding territories.

Because of this natural behaviour, you must keep the fish in groups of at least six individuals for the smaller Danios species and four or five for the larger Danios.

They spend their days foraging for food and swimming against any available water flow, and at night, they rest in the open vegetation.

In the aquarium

Danios need plenty of swimming space, so they are best kept in reasonably sized aquariums, although they are not large fish. The smaller species, such as Leopard Danios, Zebra Danios and Glowlight Danios, can be kept in 60cm long aquariums. However, 75cm would be better, and the larger species should be kept in no less than 90cm long aquariums.

As with most fish, the environment they are kept in should 'be similar to their natural habitat to encourage biological activity and behaviour. You should provide some hiding spots and vegetation around the sides of the aquarium. And where possible, create areas of strong water current so that the Danios can swim against the current if they wish.

Danios are entirely used to changes in water conditions, so they will feel comfortable in most hardness and pH differences, providing the change is not too great, of course. Another determinant of their natural environment is an annual temperature variation, and all species of Danio prefer cooler water, with some able to thrive in unheated aquariums.

Danios natural habitats are usually very clean and clear, so good filtration and frequent water changes are essential in maintaining any aquarium the fish are housed in.

Although Danios are very peaceful and friendly fish, they may not necessarily be suited to live with every community fish. Whilst you can keep the smaller Danios with just about anything of a similar size, the larger species might be a little too boisterous for some. Therefore, you should keep any of the larger Danio species with active, robust and moderately sized fish such as larger Tetras, Rainbowfish or Barbs.

Skittish, delicate or slow-moving species will not appreciate a shoal of large Danios storming around the aquarium.

Breeding

Breeding habits can vary slightly from species to species. Usually, males form a spawning site with a variety of vegetation to hide the eggs in.

You can breed Danios in captivity; however, you will need extra care to raise the fry to adulthood. Danios are egg scatterers that generally spawn in groups. However, you can also breed a single male and female pair.

Danios breed via spawning; the female will release her eggs, then the male will release his sperm, and fertilization will occur outside of the body. An individual female can produce hundreds of eggs.

As with numerous fish, there is a possibility that the parents may eat the eggs after they have been laid. You can increase the yield of fry if you separate the eggs from the adults.

The eggs will usually start to hatch within 48 hours, where the young are entirely independent at this point. You can feed the newly born fry a diet of either powdered or liquid fry foods.

Feeding

Many Danios are omnivores and will thrive on high quality dried foods such as granules, flakes and Shrimp pellets. You can also provide your Danios with frozen and live foods as a treat and also to induce spawning. For the most beneficial results, it is advisable to alternate their diet daily and only give them what they can consume within 2 minutes, or less once or twice a day.

Frquently asked questions about the Danios

How many Danios should be kept together?

Danios are a schooling fish that are best kept in an as large group as possible to ensure they feel comfortable and reassured in their surroundings. If a large shoal is not possible because of limited tank space, a minimum of six would be satisfactory.

What are good tankmates for Danios?

Excluding the giant danio, most danios are small and extremely active and thus are being kept with other fast-moving fish so as not to outcompete slower fish at feeding time. Good tankmates include smaller and medium species of tetras, barbs and livebearers such as endlers, platies, mollies and swordtails.

Will Danios jump out of an aquarium?

The short answer is yes; danios are expert jumpers so when deciding to add them to your aquarium it is essential to ensure you have a tight-fitting lid or else you will wake up to an unpleasant sight one morning.

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