Malabar Danio (Devario malabaricus)
Malabar Danios are peaceful, hardy and active fish that can be housed fine in most community aquariums. However, your aquarium must have a tight-fitting lid as Danios are excellent jumpers. Malabar Danios have been available has long been popular in the aquarium trade and is widely available.
Malabar Danios are a schooling species in nature; therefore, you should ideally keep them in a group of 8 to 10 individuals. Keeping these fish in more significant numbers will make the fish less nervous and provide you with a far more effective and natural-looking display. In addition, this will also reduce any aggression as the fish will concentrate on holding their hierarchical position within the group. Also, the males will usually display better colouring in the company of rivals.
Malabar Danios are not aggressive fish; however, they may upset slow-moving or timid tankmates with their constant activity and vigorous feeding behaviour; therefore, these fish are most suited to larger aquariums containing strong, similarly-sized species. Ideal tankmates for the Malabar Danio could include many Cyprinids, Characins, Catfish, Cichlids and Loaches.
The ideal aquarium set-up for Malabar Danios should mimic a flowing river or stream with a substrate of sand or fine gravel and different sized smooth rocks or stones. You can also add some driftwood roots or branches and hardy aquatic plants such as Anubias, Microsorum or Bolbitis. Malabar Danios naturally occur in pristine habitats; therefore, they are likely to be intolerant to the accumulation of organic waste and will require clean water to thrive.
These Danios prefer a relatively high ratio of dissolved oxygen and moderate water movement, so very fast-flowing currents are unnecessary. Instead, it is recommended that you perform 30 to 50 per cent weekly water changes.
Malabar Danios have a greyish-green to blue body colouration with two horizontal, yellow bars over the entire flank. These bars begin right after the operculum and run through to the caudal fin. The lowest of these two stripes often start as a dotted line. All their fins are translucent except for the caudal fin that may or may not have some orange and blue hues.
|Scientific Name||Devario malabaricus|
|Origins||India, Sri Lanka|
|Aquarium Level||Bottom - Middle|
|Difficulty||Beginner - Intermediate|
|Best kept as||Groups 8+|
|Lifespan||3 - 5 years|
|PH||6.0 - 8.0|
|GH||5 - 15|
|TDS||36 - 268|
|64 - 78℉|
17.8 - 25.6℃
Photos of the Malabar Danio
Malabar Danios are endemic to the rivers Chalakudy and Rawan Oya. These Danios have also been collected from the rivers and streams of Achankovil in Sri Lanka and the west coast of India. Malabar Danios inhabit mountain streams surrounded by boulders, rocks and pebbles to upper parts of rivers and small pools in dry zone streams. These habitats contain clear, well-oxygenated water with substrates consisting of gravel, sand and differently sized rocks with overhanging vegetation.
What to feed the Malabar Danio
Malabar Danios are not fussy eaters in the aquarium and will accept most foods. However, you should use a good quality dried product such as flakes or granules as the staple diet, but you should supplement this with frequent meals of small live and frozen foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworm, mosquito larvae and daphnia. These Danios will also appreciate the occasional vegetable treat.
How to sex the Malabar Danio
It is relatively straightforward to distinguish the males from the female Malabar Danios. Adult males are slightly smaller and slimmer than females and are more brightly coloured. In contrast, Sexually mature females are usually larger, more rounded in their stomachs and duller than males. The differences are evident when the fish are in spawning conditions.
How to breed the Malabar Danio
Like many Cyprinids, Malabar Danios are egg-scattering spawners that exhibit no parental care. When these fish are in good health, they will often spawn, and in a densely-planted, well-established aquarium, small numbers of fry may start to emerge without intervention. However, if you would like to increase the amount of fry, a slightly more controlled approach will be required.
You can still condition the adult group together, but you should also set up a separate breeding tank and half fill it with water. The breeding tank should be dimly lit and the bottom covered with a wide enough grade mesh so eggs may fall through but small enough so that the adults cannot reach them. Artificial grass matting can also be used and works very well; alternatively, filling much of the tank with fine-leaved plants or java moss can also achieve good results.
The water should be relatively soft and slightly acidic to neutral, and you should set the temperature towards the higher end of the range. You can add a small air-powered filter initially, and you should position it so that the current is directed down the entire tank length or install a mature sponge-type filter.
Once the adult fish are well-conditioned and the females are noticeably full of eggs, you can introduce one or two pairs to the separate tank.
You can initiate spawning by feeding small amounts of live and frozen foods to the pairs and adding small amounts of cold water every few hours in such a way that the tank is gradually topped up. The couple should then spawn the following morning. The fastest and easiest way to tell if the female has spawned or not is to look at her to see if she is noticeably slimmer.
The adults will consume any eggs they find, so it is best to remove them after a couple of days, at which point you should switch the power filter for a sponge-type unit to avoid fry being sucked into the device.
The incubation period is temperature-dependent to an extent. Still, it usually takes between 24 and 36 hours for the eggs to hatch and then 3 to 4 days after that, the young will become free-swimming.
Initially, it would be best to feed the fry with Paramecium or dry food of sufficiently small grade. Then, once the fry becomes large enough to accept more significant foods, you can then introduce them to microworm and baby brine shrimp.