Zebra danios are a favorite among hobbyists because of their dazzling appearance and relative ease of care. You can also breed them without difficulty, so you’ll have no problems doubling your fish population in no time!
Zebra danios got their name for their uncanny resemblance to zebras, with their signature black and white stripes. You’ll never have a hard time recognizing these guys.
They are hardy fish that can generally do well without much special equipment and thrive in a wide range of water temperatures and conditions.
Bonus points if you can keep the water temperature down to the low 60 degrees. One essential trait of Zebra danios is their loyalty to their mating partner – they stick to one partner for life.
Here’s all you need to know about Zebra Danio care.
|Level of Care
|Natural black and white striped body with certain variations
|Can live for over 5 years
|Reach a size of 2.5 inches or more
|Minimum 10 gallons of water
|Plenty of plants with freshwater
|Extremely peaceful species that thrive in community aquariums
Zebra Danios Overview
Originating from the rivers of India and Nepal, Zebra Danio fish are popular for several reasons. They breed quickly, That’s why you can find them in just about any pet store for under $3 per fish.
They belong to the Cyprinidae family and have interesting properties, making them popular test subjects for research and science.
Did you know they can repair their own heart?
Here’s another interesting factoid: the Zebra Danio fish shares about 70% of our genetic code with humans. It’s no wonder why they’re so prized among scientists.
Zebra Danios Appearance
Zebra Danios are easy to recognize because of their unique appearance. They feature horizontal blue, black, or purple stripes, easy to spot in a tank. These schooling fish don’t grow bigger than 2 or 3 inches and, therefore, don’t require spacious tanks.
Some Danios breeds have sprinkling black spots on their body and almost look like leopards. If you take a closer look, you’ll notice five blue stripes extending from the caudal fin to the head.
They are a sexually dimorphic species where the males are slimmer, more colorful, and brighter than the females’ silvery-white appearance.
Females also tend to be rounder and fuller-bodied than their male counterparts, who are slimmer with torpedo-like bodies. One popular variation of this species is the Longfin Zebra Danio, which bred to develop longer fins than usual.
Males and females have two pairs of barbels and the same number of stripes.
One scarce species is the albino form of the Zebra Danio. You won’t easily find them in the wild, but they can be found quite easily in the fishkeeping industry. In the wild, albino Zebra Danios stand out and don’t survive very long because they quickly become prey.
You can also find the golden-colored Zebra danio. They have undergone so much interbreeding that their blue stripes have entirely vanished, leaving a golden-hued body with white-silvery lines all over.
Some scientists experiment with genetic modification by using jellyfish genes to create Zebra Danios that grow in the dark.
They come in all kinds of colors, including purple, blue, green, and orange. These species do not survive for long in the wild because of predators.
Zebra Danios Temperament
Although they are peaceful and keep to themselves, Zebra Danios do have some behavioral issues such as fin nipping.
It attributes to not having a large enough tank or not having enough schooling fish in your tank. It advises keeping around six or more Zebra danios in your tank.
Their relationship with large fish is peculiar indeed. If you keep them with larger breeds, Zebra Danios will try to bite their fins. This nipping behavior can harm other species, cause fights, and a lot of bloodsheds.
If you try isolating them because of their nipping problems, they will become stressed out and vulnerable to diseases to the point of death. Although they are social creatures, Don’t keep Zebra Danios in an overcrowded tank.
What to Feed Zebra Danios
Most Zebra danios are omnivorous species and prefer a varied diet of meats and vegetables. Their favorite foods include shrimp pellets, granules, flakes (both tropical and color). If you want to induce breeding, you can introduce live and frozen foods as well.
For best results, make sure to rotate their Diet every day and feed them only as much as they can eat in under 3 minutes.
They should mainly compose their Diet of algae-based flakes and fresh vegetables like cucumber, spinach, and zucchini. For live foods, choose something like bloodworms and daphnia at least once a week as a treat. If you can’t find live foods, you can make do with frozen options.
Tank Requirements and Conditions
Zebra danios originate from the waters of India, Bhutan, and Bangladesh. They live in a range of different water and temperature conditions. If you happen to pick them from the wild, make sure to mimic their natural habitat to increase their survival chances.
The temperature will fluctuate from 60 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the time of the day and month. Zebra danios can live in slow-moving streams and rivers and thrive in seasonally flooded ponds during the monsoon season.
In almost all cases, their natural habitat has lots of greenery. They prefer to live in small areas with rocky substrates that can offer shade from the sun.
Most of these conditions are relatively easy to replicate in your aquarium. For the substrate, use something soft like treated sand. Make sure to quarantine and wash the sand thoroughly before introducing it into the aquarium to prevent cloudy water, which can take a long time to settle and become a source of stress for your Zebra danios.
It’s a good idea to introduce the substrate before adding the water to the aquarium. Add the water slowly to prevent disrupting the now-settled substrate. The minimum recommended tank size for a single Zebra danio is 10 gallons.
The water temperature should be kept to 60 to 75 degrees, but mostly on the low 60s to mimic their natural habitat. Keep the pH value between 6 to 8, or primarily neutral. As water and substrate Add, you can start introducing vegetation to your tank.
Start by adding Amazon sword plants and Java Fern to the aquarium. These are known for providing the water with high levels of dissolved oxygen. Besides making the tank look cool, the plants also provide a place for your Zebra Danios to hide. It is a great way to lower their stress levels and keep aggressive behavior under check.
If your tank is large enough, you can also add some bogwood to mimic tree roots often found along the steams in their natural habitat. Another right solution is to add large, round-shaped pebbles to the tank.
It is just as important to add a sound filtration system to regulate the water quality for your Zebra danios.
Best Plants for Zebra Danio Fish
As mentioned above, Zebra danio fish originate from habitats with lush greenery. It is essential to mimic these for their safety and health. Here are a few plants to choose from:
It is one of the most popular plants that doesn’t require much in the way of maintenance. It can live under low light conditions. Java moss provides a lot of space for your fish to hide.
- Java Fern
These plants prefer low light conditions and grow best when they are attached to a rock. They are simple to grow and not expensive to keep.
- Anubias Nana
These plants are easy to keep but grow slowly. Make sure you buy enough to cover your aquarium adequately. Keep these plants above the substrate for the best results.
What Fish Can Live with Zebra Danios?
Zebra danios are social species and are known for peacefully coexisting with other wild species, like the Emerald Pufferfish, Honey Gourami, and Scarlet Badis.
All these species are ideal tank mates for the Zebra danio and the Burma Danio, Pearl Danio, Ember Tetras, Rosy Barbs, and even Bronze Cory.
You can also introduce invertebrates like African Dwarf Frogs, Zebra Snails, Nerites, and most snail species.
Avoid keeping them with larger, aggressive fish like the Redtail Catfish. It is not a good idea to pair Zebra danios with the Elephant Eat Guppies or Molly Fish. It is because Zebra danios are known for nipping away at their tail fins.
Pro Tip: If you notice your Zebra danios nips at other fish fins, the tank is probably too small.
Here is our round-up of the most compatible tank mates for Zebra Danios.
- Ember Tetras
Their brilliant red and orange colors strongly contrast the zebra-like appearance of your Danios. They have a non-aggressive presence in the aquarium and will not cause trouble for other inhabitants. More importantly, the Ember Tetras are incredibly active in the tank and love to explore greenery.
Platys are peaceful fish that are similar in size to the Zebra Danios. They come in a variety of dazzling colors, such as green, blue, and yellow. Platys are known to be happier when they have other fish around. Careful, though, because they are known for leaping out of their tank, so make sure that the tank lid is properly secured.
Swordtails are the ideal tank mate for Zebra Danios because of their vibrant appearance. They are easy to recognize in the tank due to their long tailfins, which look like swords. These challenging species are hardy and extremely adaptable. Moreover, they’re active and known for jumping out of the tank, so make sure to keep the tank lid tight.
Kuhli loaches are nocturnal species with elongated bodies that resemble that of eels. They only grow about 4 inches, which makes them suited to living with Zebra danios.
Their most distinguishing feature is the bold stripes that run across their bodies and eight barbels located at their mouths. They mostly rest during the day and come out at night in search of food. Kuhli loaches will stay out of other fish’s way.
Corydoras catfish get their name after the barbels located at their mouths. They use these to get around and map the world around them. Corydoras catfish are peaceful, easy-going, and mostly keep to themselves. They can withstand a wide range of conditions, making them ideal for Zebra danios.
How to Breed Zebra Danios?
Zebra danios are well suited to beginners because they are easy to breed by making just a few changes to the tank. For example, in the wild, Zebra Danios start producing at the beginning of the monsoon season when the temperatures have reached about 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
It’s essential to keep males and females separated for a few weeks in a breeding tank. When separated, Diet of live foods like bloodworms and daphnia.
After about two weeks, males and females are now ready to be kept in a breeding tank. It is preferable to keep them in a ratio of 2 males per female. They will start breeding within 24 hours.
You can tell that the breeding process has become successful by fertile eggs at the bottom of the breeding tank. Eggs that aren’t fertile get to know by white color.
Once the breeding process is complete, you should separate the parents from their eggs because they will eat them. It could take around three days for fry to hatch out of their eggs. The fry will be very frail, tiny, and look almost entirely transparent. They are at a very vulnerable stage in their life and should have a rigorous Diet.
Zebra Danio Care
It’s not difficult at all to care for Zebra Danio. Just make sure the aquarium is kept to a high standard to prevent disease and infections. Although they have robust immune systems, Zebra Danios are susceptible to a couple of conditions you should treat once you’ve diagnosed them.
The most common disease is mycobacteriosis, which is due to non-motile bacteria in the water. You can quickly diagnose mycobacteriosis by taking a closer look at your Zebra Danios, look for signs of ulceration, anorexia, lethargy, skin inflammation, and even loss of fin.
Most infectious outbreaks are made worse by low water quality, high levels of stress, and not providing the ideal water conditions.
It’s not easy to treat mycobacteriosis, and most antimicrobial treatments are ineffective. Your goal should be to immediately remove the fish from your tank and quarantine them in a separate tank. If the infection spreads, you may have to get rid of all your stock and start thoroughly disinfecting the tank before adding new fish.
Caution: Mycobacteriosis can also affect human handlers. Do not work with the tank if you have open wounds. Always wear protective equipment such as aquarium gloves when performing maintenance.
Another common infection to watch out for is intestinal nematodes. The disease reduces your fish’s appetite and completely ruins their colorations. They will undergo extensive weight loss.
It is a contagious disease, so make sure to keep affected Zebra Danios away from other fish in a separate tank. They are to be out and treated until the infection subsides.
Where to Buy Zebra Danios?
Can buy Zebra Danios from pet stores, online forums, and online stores. Rare Zebra Danios like the glofish are harder to come by and maybe sold by experienced hobbyists who know how to breed these species. It’s not incredibly costly to find a shoal of Zebra Danio, but prices will depend on where you live.
How do Big Do Zebra Danios get?
Like most freshwater species, Zebra Danios are small and only reach about 2.5 inches, with females reaching a maximum size of about 3 inches.
Is my Zebra Danio Pregnant?
Pregnant Zebra Danios are easy to spot because they are more comprehensive than usual. You’ll also notice that her body tends to bulge out with spherical protrusions that become larger over time.
Conclusion: Are Zebra Danios the Right Choice for Your Aquarium?
A group of Zebra Danios will make excellent additions to your aquarium, whether you’re an experienced fishkeeper or a beginner.
Their brilliantly colored stripes and distinctive physical characteristics allow your tank to stand out. Zebra Danios are active species and always socializing with other fish, which means they’ll add a lot of flair to your aquarium.
While they are a hardy species, they’re not going to tolerate poor husbandry, which is the leading cause of infections and diseases.