Max Size: 4.5cm

Panther Danio (Brachydanio aesculapii)

The Panther Danio is a very captivating, hardy and peaceful fish that makes an excellent community fish as it gets on with most small species. These fish are suitable for beginner aquarists. However, you should note that it can be a fin-nipper, so be careful if keeping them with species that have significant fins. The Panther Danio is a very captivating little fish.

The Panther Danio is a schooling species and should be kept in groups of 8 or more. Keeping them in adequate numbers will not only make the fish less apprehensive, but it will also achieve a more effective, natural-looking display. The males will also display their best colours as they compete with each other for female attention.

The Panther Danio has a torpedo-shaped body that at first glimpse looks a little dull but then displays a variety of colours when the light illuminates the fish on its side giving it an opalescent look with snakeskin-like markings along its flanks. The fins on this fish are all transparent.

Quick Facts
Scientific NameBrachydanio aesculapii
Other NamesNone
Aquarium LevelTop
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 8+
Lifespanup to 4 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.5 - 8.5
GH1 - 12
TDS18 - 90
72 - 79℉
22.2 - 26.1℃

Photos of the Panther Danio

Panther danio
Panther danio
Panther danio
Pather Danio

Natural Habitat

The Panther Danio is endemic to the Rakhine Yoma and Arakan mountains in Rakhine state, western Myanmar in Southeast Asia. This area forms a natural barrier which cuts the nation off from the rest of the country.

You can also find them in Kananmae Chaung, a coastal creek that flows out of the forest into farmland before draining into the Bay of Bengal.

These fish inhabit slow-flowing shallow clear, transparent water in pools, streams and rivers where the substrate is composed of a mixture of pebbles, gravel, rocks and leaf litter.

What to feed the Panther Danio

In the home aquarium, you can use a high quality dried product as the staple of their diet. Still, it would be best if you supplement that with regular meals of small live and frozen food such as artemia, daphnia, bloodworm and similar. Providing your fish with a balanced diet will result in you having the healthiest and best-coloured fish.

How to sex the Panther Danio

It is relatively simple to distinguish male from female Panther Danios. Sexually mature females are usually a little larger and more rounder-bellied than males, and the dark bands in the front portion of the body tend to be noticeably more elongated and thinner in females. Also, the differences are incredibly apparent when the fish are in spawning condition as the males deepen in colour, and the females will fill with eggs.

How to breed the Panther Danio

Like many Danios, this species is an egg-scattering spawner that presents no parental care. When these fish are in good condition, they will often spawn in a densely-planted, well-established aquarium and small numbers of fry may start to appear without intervention. However, if you want to increase the quantity of fry, a slightly more controlled approach is needed.

You can still condition the adult group together, but a smaller, tank should also be set up and half-filled with water. This should be dimly lit and the bottom covered with some mesh of a wide enough grade so eggs may fall through but small enough so that the adults cannot reach them.

Plastic 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 quite 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 full length of the tank or you can install a mature sponge-type filter.

Once the adult fish are well-conditioned, and the females appear full of eggs, you can then 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 as well as adding small amounts of cold water every few hours in such a way that the tank is gradually topped up.

The pair should then spawn the next morning. The fastest and easiest way to tell if the female has spawned 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 (if using) for a sponge-type unit to avoid fry being sucked into the device.

The incubation period is temperature-dependant to an extent. Still, it usually takes around 36 hours for the eggs to hatch and then 3 to 4 days after that the young become free-swimming.

It would be best if you initially fed the fry with Paramecium or a proprietary dry food of sufficiently small grade. Once the fry becomes large enough to accept more significant foods, you can then introduce them to microworm and artemia nauplii.

Frquently asked questions about the Panther Danio

What do Panther Danios look like?

Panther Danios have a slender torpedo-shaped body displaying a snake-like pattern with its iridescent gold markings across its body from behind their gill plates to the base of their caudal peduncle. Their fins have a vague white leading edge but otherwise are pretty much hyaline.

Do Panther Danios make good community fish?

Panther Danios make an excellent community fish as they get along with most fish species of similar size or smaller. However, these fish can be fin nippers, so be careful if you decide to house them with fish species with extravagant finnage.

What are the ideal water conditions for Panther Danios?

The water temperature in their natural habitat has been recorded between 22 and 27 degrees Celcius throughout the warmer months, so this likely drops during the monsoon's wet months; however, we don't know to what extent. The pH level in their natural waters has been measured between 6.9 and 7.1. Panther Danios inhabit softer waters with a hardness of 18-90 ppm; therefore, it is recommended that you keep the water parameters in your aquarium as close to this as possible.

What is the best aquarium set-up for Panther Danios

Panther Danios look especially striking in a heavily planted aquarium with a dark substrate and appear a little dull in sparsely decorated set-ups. It would be better to set up your aquarium to mimic a flowing stream or river with a substrate of decent sized rocks and gravel and some large smooth boulders. The water needs to be well-oxygenated with a level of flow. However, it would be best to avoid torrent-like conditions since these fish live in calmer stretches of waters in their natural habitat. You can also add hardy aquatic plants, which can be attached to the decor and driftwood.

What is the natural habitat for Panther Danios?

Endemic to the Rakhine Yoma and Arakan mountains in Rakhine state, western Myanmar. These fish have initially been collected from a few streams and rivers of the west interior slopes. However, the individuals originated from the Kananmae Chaung, a coastal creek draining into the Bay of Bengal. These fish inhabit shallow, slow-flowing clear water, and the substrate is usually made of a mixture of pebbles, gravel, rocks and leaf litter.

What should you feed your Panther Danios?

You should feed your Panther Danios a high-quality dried product as the staple diet; however, you should supplement this with frequent meals of small live and frozen fares such as artemia and daphnia bloodworm and suchlike. This will show the best colour and condition of your fish.

Other Danios of interest

Assam Danio(Devario assamensis)
Barred Danio(Devario pathirana)
Bengal Danio(Devario devario)
Black Barred Danio(Danio absconditus)
Blood Tailed Danio(Devario annandalei)
Blue Danio(Danio kerri)
View all Danios
Date Added: 24/11/2020 - Updated: 05/01/2022 16:58:05