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Maximum size : 6 cm

Zebra Danio - Brachydanio rerio : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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The Zebra Danio (Brachydanio rerio) holds a special place in the hearts of aquarium enthusiasts due to its delightful charm, graceful movement, and ease of care. These fish are easily identifiable by their signature horizontal stripes, featuring blue-purple lines that extend from gill to tail, accentuating their slim, compressed, golden-silvery bodies, reminiscent of a zebra's pattern. Zebra Danios are known for their peaceful demeanor and compatibility with a wide range of tankmates. However, they may occasionally nip at the fins of certain species, such as Bettas and Angelfish. Despite this, they make a fantastic addition to community tanks. Notably hardy, Zebra Danios can adapt to an impressive array of water conditions and temperatures. Their ability to thrive in lower temperatures means they can be maintained comfortably without the need for a tank heater.

Zebra Danio Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Distinguishing between male and female Zebra Danios can be subtle, with the primary difference being that females generally exhibit a more rounded form and are slightly larger in size. In contrast, males tend to have a more streamlined, torpedo-like shape. It is worth noting that these distinctions may not be apparent until the fish reach adulthood, as juveniles often display similar appearances regardless of gender.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameBrachydanio rerio
Year Described1822
Other NamesZebra Fish, Striped Danio
OriginsPakistan India Bangladesh Nepal Myanmar Bhutan
Max Size6 cm
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespan2 - 4 years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.5 - 7.0
GH5 - 12
KH1 - 5
TDS100 - 500
64 - 74
17.8 - 23.3

The Zebra Danio has been featured on the following stamps.

Natural habitat

The Zebra Danio is a species that originates from the moving waters of streams, ponds, rivers, and channels in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, and Bhutan. In the wild, these captivating fish can be found in environments with a silty and densely vegetated substrate, creating the perfect habitat for them to thrive. Interestingly, the places you will find them vary depending on the season. During the dry season, they seek refuge in flooded rice fields and puddles, where they eat and spawn. After the rainy season, they return to their natural habitat in rivers, streams, and other waterways. So, if you're looking to add a touch of exotic beauty to your aquarium, the Zebra Danio is an excellent choice. With their captivating appearance and charming personalities, these fish are sure to make a lasting impression in any aquatic setting.

How to breed the Zebra Danio

Zebra Danios are known for their prolific breeding capabilities, making them an excellent choice for novice aquarists interested in experiencing the breeding process. A remarkable aspect of Zebra Danios is that mated pairs typically form lifelong bonds, seldom spawning with others even after the loss of a partner. To facilitate successful pair formation, it is recommended to introduce a group of six or more juveniles and allow them to select their mates organically. For optimal breeding conditions, provide a shallow tank adorned with fine-leaved plants such as Java moss, along with coarse gravel, small rocks, or marbles on the bottom to create a suitable environment for egg deposition and protection from the adult fish. After spawning has taken place and the eggs have been scattered, it is crucial to remove the mating pair to prevent them from consuming the eggs. A female Zebra Danio is capable of laying anywhere from 50 to 500 eggs, which typically hatch within a two-day period. Supply the fry with finely crushed flake food that is appropriately sized for their consumption. To ensure their safety and optimal growth, it is advisable to house the fry in a separate tank. They can be expected to reach full maturity within a 12-week period.

Diet & feeding

Zebra Danios exhibit a diverse appetite, readily accepting various food options such as flakes, pellets, wafers, and live or freeze-dried offerings. However, it is important to ensure that the food floats on the water surface, as this is their preferred feeding location. Although they may pursue sinking food items, they typically avoid consuming food settled at the bottom of the tank. To maintain a balanced diet, it is also advisable to supplement their meals with vegetable matter. For optimal health and well-being, it is recommended to provide Zebra Danios with multiple feeding opportunities throughout the day.

Frequently asked questions

The ideal aquarium for Zebra Danios would be 45 litres or more; this will give them plenty of swimming space to shoal. Zebra Danios can grow up to 6 cm in length and are very active species. In smaller tanks, Danios will be unhappy and will become frustrated bullies.

Yes, Zebra Danios are shoaling fish that need to be housed in groups of six or more individuals.

Yes, Zebra Danios are a peaceful community fish; however, it would be better if you did not keep them with fish that have flowing fins or are slow-moving as they may harass them and fin nip.

Sexing Zebra Danios is pretty straightforward. Males will have torpedo-shaped bodies with illusive golden stripes between the zebra stripes. Males also have a prominent genital papilla in front of their anal fin. In contrast, females are silvery in colour. They have more rounded, plumper bodies, and their stripes are silver rather than golden like the males.

Zebra Danios are not fussy when it comes to food; however, if you would like your fish to be as happy and as healthy as possible, it's continually advised that you try to mimic the diet they would naturally live on in the wild. In nature, their diet consists of crustaceans, small insects, worms and algae. However, not every fish keeper will have the funds nor the inclination to feed their fish nothing but live foods; therefore, high quality dried foods such as flakes or granules will more than suffice. Nevertheless, we highly recommend that you supplement their diet with the occasional live food or frozen foods.

You may notice that Zebra Danios chase each other around the tank; you do not have to worry as this is a hierarchical arrangement of dominance settled through playful non-aggressive behaviour. However, whilst Zebra Danios are peaceful, social fish, they can exhibit aggressive behaviour towards slow-moving or long-finned fish species, and you may see them frequently biting at their fins.

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