Maximum size : 12 cm

Moustached Danio - Danio dangila : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

Table of contents


Moustached Danios (Danio dangila) are a popular choice among aquarium enthusiasts. Its streamlined body, hardiness and active nature make it an engaging addition to both beginner and experienced aquarists. This species thrives in well-maintained aquatic environments, making it a delightful and visually captivating choice for aquarium enthusiasts seeking movement in their aquatic display.

Moustached Danios exhibit a shoaling behaviour and are best maintained in groups of six individuals or more. Maintaining a substantial population of these fish serves to mitigate instances of skittishness, fostering a more harmonious and authentically representative aquarium arrangement. Additionally, any instances of aggressive conduct are typically confined, as the fish channel their focus towards upholding their hierarchical order within the collective assembly.

While generally peaceful in demeanour, their inherent vivacity and spirited feeding habits may disrupt more sedate aquatic species. Given their adult size, it is advisable to refrain from cohabitating them with smaller or slower-moving species characterised by elaborate finnage, as the temptation to pursue such companions may prove irresistible. Instead, opt for more robust, similarly-sized fish.

These robustly growing Moustached Danios necessitate an aquarium of considerable proportions, measuring at least 4 feet in length, owing to their highly active disposition. The aquarium environment should be thoughtfully designed with an abundance of aquatic vegetation along the sides and rear, ensuring the creation of a generously sized open swimming area in the central region. 

Given their proclivity for leaping, the tank should be equipped with a securely fitted lid devoid of any gaps or openings. Maintaining optimal conditions for these fish entails providing well-oxygenated, well-filtered, and slightly cooler-than-average water, accompanied by a substantial flow rate. Notably, Moustached Danios derive evident delight from swimming against the current, a consideration that enhances their overall well-being.

The nomenclature "Moustached Danios" is derived from the distinct slender barbels resembling whiskers or a moustache adorning their anterior region. Complementing these unique facial features, the remainder of their physique is characterised by a muted yellowish-orange hue, accentuated by subtle, intricate patterns comprising faint lines and delicate swirls.

Moustached Danio Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Distinguishing between male and female Moustached Danios is a relatively straightforward endeavour. Typically, sexually mature females exhibit a more rounded abdominal profile and manifest a white stripe along the distal region of the anal fin, which in males adopts a distinctive red hue. These distinctions become particularly evident during the fish's spawning phase when males undergo a heightened colouration transformation while females experience an enlargement due to the presence of eggs.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameDanio dangila
Year Described1822
Other NamesDanglia Danio, Olive Danio
OriginsNepal , India , Bangladesh , Myanmar , Bhutan
Max Size12 cm
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
Best kept asGroups 6+
Diet & FeedingOmnivore
LifespanUp to 5 Years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
pH 6.5 - 7.5
GH 5 - 20
TDS 36 - 268
Ideal Temperature
60 - 75
16 - 24

Natural Habitat

The Moustached Danios are primarily distributed throughout the Ganges River Basin, although available records predominantly pertain to their presence in Nepal and the Brahmaputra drainage in regions of India and Bangladesh. Historically, these specimens were initially obtained from the Munger district in Bihar State, India, situated along the primary channel of the Ganges River; regrettably, all known specimens from this locality have since become extinct.

Furthermore, reports have surfaced regarding their occurrence in tributaries of the Brahmaputra River in Bhutan, and more recent findings indicate their broader distribution in Myanmar, where collections have been documented as far south as the state of Mon. These Moustached Danios primarily inhabit crystal-clear mountain streams, although they have also been observed in more sluggish, swampy habitats characterised by dense marginal vegetation. Within these aquatic environments, the riverbed is typically composed of rocks and stones, contributing to the species' ecological niche.


Moustached Danios, as egg-scattering specimens, are conducive to controlled breeding within a suitably sized breeding aquarium featuring a substrate comprised of marbles and substantial clusters of Java moss. To safeguard the integrity of the offspring, it is advisable to acclimate the parental fish back to the primary aquarium once the spawning process has concluded. This precautionary measure effectively mitigates the risk of parental predation on the newly laid eggs.

Around 48 hours following spawning, the eggs undergo hatching and subsequently transition into a free-swimming stage within another 48-hour interval. At this developmental juncture, providing a diet comprising abundant brine shrimp, microworms, and suitable fry food is advisable to sustain their nutritional needs. These offspring exhibit rapid growth, and within 30 days, they can attain a size ranging from 12 to 15 millimetres.

Diet & feeding

The diet of Moustached Danios encompasses a versatile array of food sources. In their natural habitat and in captivity, these fish are omnivorous, consuming both plant matter and small aquatic organisms. Their diet typically includes high-quality fish pellets or flakes tailored for omnivorous species, supplemented with live or frozen fare like brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms to provide essential variety and protein.

Additionally, they may nibble on blanched vegetables such as zucchini and cucumber for added fibre and nutrients. In their native waters, Danio dangila also indulge in small insects, crustaceans, and aquatic invertebrates. Offering occasional live or frozen prey is beneficial to replicating their natural feeding behaviours. Maintaining a well-balanced diet is paramount to ensuring the vitality and health of these striking and active fish.

Other Danios of interest