Zebra Danio – The Complete Care Guide for Your Pet Fish

Zebra Danio
By Garrison Hickles Updated

Favorite of beginner and expert aquarists, this small freshwater fish is one of the easiest egg-layers that is familiar to breed. Moreover, this active swimmer is famous for its friendly, peaceful, and social nature. It is a very hardy and adjustable species for tropical aquariums, and it does not need much space to live because of the small size.

If you are planning to keep this schooling fish in your aquarium then keep it with a shoal of Danios. Also, acquire some information about its care guide to keep your stripe-patterned friend happy and healthy.

Quick Details on Zebra Danio

Reading the entire article will help you know the ultimate way to take care of Zebra Danio but before knowing the details take a glimpse at the quick facts in the table given below:

Scientific Name Danio rerio
Origin Eastern India and Other Asian Countries
Life-Span 3.5-5.5 years
Colors Golden, Natural Silver, Blue Striped, Glo Morphs, and Albino
Temperament Peaceful
Size                2” (6 cm)
Diet Omnivore
Family Cyprinidae (Minnows and Carps Family)
Compatibility With Other Peaceful Species
Tank Size 10 gallons
Care Level Easy


Other names of Zebra Danio are Zebra Fish and Striped Danio. This zebra-patterned fish is comfortable in every type of water and it is not a demanding fish. This is a common fish that can be easily kept at a community tank because of its calm nature. It is popular because it is used as the subject of various scientific researches.

According to scientists, this fish is known as ‘model vertebrate species’ because Danios are highly subjective to research. After research, it has been found that Zebra Danio and human being share about 70% of genes with one another. This fish is not so costly, and it is available just in $2.      

Origin of Zebra Danio

Native to Eastern India, Zebra Danio is also distributed to many rivers and streams of other Asian countries like Nepal, Pakistan, Myanmar, Bhutan and Bangladesh. Not only in big rivers but you will get Danios in small ponds and shallow streams. Usually, you will find this breed moving with a school of fish.     

Appearance of Zebra Danio

Zebra Danio is easily recognized between the other fish breeds because of the horizontal black, blue or purple stripes on the body of the silver, golden and albino fish. Its zebra-pattern makes it brighter and attractive when you keep it in a fish tank.

This schooling fish is not for than 2” (6 cm), so it does not need much space to live. Some Danios have leopard strain and sprinkling black spots on its body. If you see properly then you will find five blue stripes that extend from the head to the caudal fin. The males are brighter, slimmer, and colorful than the females.


Scientists have done genetic modification to bring color variations in Zebra Danios by transplanting the genes of jellyfish. This transplanting process gave different colors like blue, green, fluorescent red, yellow, purple and orange.

Types of Danios

Along with Zebra Danios, there are other members in the Danio family that are bright, colorful and attractive. People love to pet this fish because of its hardy and peaceful nature. Let’s know about different types of Danios which are suitable for your fish tank:

  1. Dwarf Spotted Danio: Cousin of Zebra Danio, Dwarf Spotted Danio is smaller than other Danios. This golden fish has blue vertical lines on its body and its fins are quite small, so this breed is not scared of fin nippers. A tank that is full of live plants and dim light is perfect for Dwarf Spotted Danio.
  2. Pearl Danio: A 20-gallon tank is enough for this 2” (6 cm) pearl-shaded fish. Generally, this fish prefers living with a shoal of Danios in a community tank. This silver-colored species is not only admired for its calm nature but also for its shimmering looks which can bring a thunder-lightening effect to the water of the fish tank.    
  3. Giant Danio: This fish can reach up to 4” (10 cm) when they turn adult, so try to keep them with large species. You can also keep a school of Giant danio at a Cichlid tank because it can be a good tankmate for Cichlid. You will find Giant Danio in orange color with silver stripes on its body. Its fins and tail are luminously shaded. If you are planning to keep this fish in the aquarium of office or home then it is a perfect breed to be kept in a peaceful community tank. However, don’t keep small fish with them to avoid conflict.
  4. White Cloud Mountain Minnow: This silver-white fish has reddish fins and a tail that brings elegance to its looks. This fish is hardy and comfortable in different types of water temperature. You can keep different types of schooling peaceful fish with White Cloud Mountain Minnow.  
  5. Rosy Danio: This pinkish fish looks like a pale pink rose and its beauty attracts the fishkeepers towards it, which makes the species more popular. This fish is quite slimmer than other Danios and easy to breed because there is no complication in its breeding process. Moreover, people like to breed this fish because of its adaptable behavior and hardiness. Aquarists say this fish is not prone to life-threatening diseases, so it is beginner-friendly.    

Zebra Danio Temperament

This fish is relatively social and it likes living in a shoal because of its schooling nature as mentioned before. Generally, Zebra Danios are passive-natured fish but they show their aggression towards large breeds and slow-moving fish that disturbs them while swimming actively in a tank.

If large breeds disturb them then they can even bite the fins of those fish. If they are kept isolated from their group then they become stressed and affected by various diseases. Don’t keep them in an overcrowded tank because they may feel uncomfortable there.

You will find this fish swimming in the mid-level of the tank, and about 5-6 fish are enough in a Danio tank.

Suitable Tankmates for Zebra Danio

Usually, these social and friendly fish are peaceful in nature but sometimes they become aggressive if you keep wrong companions in their home. Therefore, try to find out appropriate tankmates for Zebra Danios that are small and peaceful like:

  • Angelfish
  • Betta Fish
  • Guppy Fish
  • Flying Barb
  • Corydoras Catfish
  • Swordtails
  • Dojo Loach
  • Honey Gourami
  • Celestial Danio
  • Ember Tetra
  • Emerald Pufferfish
  • Scarlet Badis
  • Rummy Nose Tetra
  • Rosy Barbs
  • Bronze Cory
  • Zebra Snails
  • African Dwarf Frog
  • Blue Velvet Shrimp

Unsuitable Tankmates

Zebra Fish likes to live with a shoal of fish but if you keep long-finned large breeds with it then it may nip the fins of such breeds. Its nipping behavior can harm other breeds and cause fight or bloodshed. Moreover, don’t keep large, aggressive and predator species in its tank which can harm Zebra Danio. Try to avoid keeping some aquatic species with them such as:

  • Sailfin Molly Fish
  • Redtail Catfish
  • Elephant Ear Guppies
  • Other predators or aggressive fish

Compatibility of Zebra Danio

Zebra Danios don’t like dwelling alone because they are schooling fish and isolation can cause stress to this fish. So, it is better to keep 5-6 Danios in their tank. You can easily keep male and female fish together in a tank. Try to keep them in a separate tank in the breeding season when you are encouraging their reproduction process.

Dietary Requirements for Zebra Danio

This omnivoros species is not a picky eater, so it does not have any special food requirement. It prefers eating meaty foods more than vegetative foods. Some appropriate foods for them are:

  • Shelled Peas
  • Cucumber
  • Zucchini
  • Spinach
  • Bloodworms
  • Brine Shrimps
  • Tubifex Worms
  • Wingless Fruit Flies
  • Mosquito larvae
  • Daphnia

You can also feed dry foods, pellets and flake foods like:

  • Hikari Tropical Micro Pellet Fish Food
  • S&C Aquatics Super Catfish Shrimp & Krill Mix

The newborn fish fries should have a soft diet, so feed liquid and soft food to the fries of Danios like:

  • Interpet Liquifry
  • New Life Spectrum Fry Formula

The quantity of the food varies with the number of fish breeds in your Zebra Danio tank. You should try to feed pinch-size food in a three minutes gap twice a day.

Tank Requirements for Zebra Danio

Native to the freshwater of Asian countries, Zebra Danios are usually cold-water fish which is found in slow-flowing rivers, streams, ponds, flooded pools and rice paddies in monsoon season. This is the reason that Zebra Danios should be kept in a natural environment while captivating. Moreover, check the temperature while keeping the fish at the tank. Have a look at some tank requirements for the fish:

Tank Size

Zebra Danios are extremely active fish of freshwater, so they need a spacious tank to live with a shoal of Danios and other peaceful species. Therefore, bring a 10-gallon tank for 6-8 small fish. Do not overcrowd their tank with many fish breeds because they need space to swim actively.


This fish is habituated to live in a lush green thick vegetation covered with green plants. So, try to keep fresh plants like Java Fern and Amazon Sword Plant with this fish to keep the ambiance of the aquarium eco-friendly. Moreover, you can keep driftwood, fine gravel, or sand at the bottom of the tank. Try to add caves in the tank, so that the Zebra Danios can take a rest in the hiding places. 


Zebra Danios are diurnal fish, so you can mount a medium voltage lighting on the topmost part of the aquarium. Minimum 12 hours of light in a day is required for the Zebra Danio tank.   


Try to set a good filtration system in the tank of your fish to wash out the toxic particles and wastes from the fish home. Moreover, a filter helps in maintaining the quality of the water.

Water Type for Zebra Danio

Water is the home of your cute swimmer buddy, so try to maintain the temperature, hygiene, and other things while setting the tank. Follow some necessary things as follows:     


The temperature of the water in the aquarium of Zebra Danio should be 64-74° F (18-24° C). If the water temperature is maintained then the fish can live comfortably without any health issues, so try to check the temperature while setting water in the fish tank.

pH Level

The pH level of the water should be 6-8.


The hardness of the water in a Zebra Danio tank should be 5-12 dGH

Cleaning Method

No special efforts are needed to give for the cleanliness and hygiene management of a Zebra fish tank. Just collect a soft brush, mild liquid soap, and a soft cotton cloth. Scrub out the walls and objects of the tank with the liquid soap and the brush. After washing, use a soft cotton cloth to wipe out the water particles.

Replacement Process

Change 15% of the water once or twice in a week and replace 20% of water once in a month to maintain the quality of the water. During the replacement process, check the temperature, pH, and hardness of the water while keeping a new batch of the water in the tank.

Zebra Danio Breeding

For beginner aquarists, Zebra Danio is a perfect breeding fish because you will never find any complication if you are encouraging the reproduction of this schooling fish. The breeding season of this fish is monsoon season. So, you can arrange a separate tank of 5-10 gallons where you can keep a male and a female Zebra Danio in 71-80° F (21-26° C). You need to feed high-quality food to the fish during the time of spawning and hatching eggs. This fish spawns within 24 hours a day.

The fertile eggs in translucent color and infertile eggs are white in color. Once the eggs are hatched, they should be separated from other fish. Once the eggs are fertilized after three days then you can keep the tiny fries with their parents. Just look after the food requirement of the newborn fries.

Diseases of Zebra Danio with Interventions

Usually, Zebra Danio is a hardy fish but sometimes it is affected by several diseases because of the poor quality of the water, parasites in their body, wrong nutrition and wrong living style. There are some common diseases of Zebra Danios such as:

  • Mycobacteriosis
  • Anorexia
  • Ulceration
  • Fin Loss
  • Velvet Disease
  • Rust or Gold Dust Disease

When Zebra Danios are affected by these diseases, they feel lethargy, stress, skin irritation, and other problems, which is one of the reasons that their lifespan decreases. To get rid of these problems, maintain the hygiene of the tank, feed good quality foods to them, and follow the medical recommendation of veterinary doctors.

Hope this entire care guide about Zebra Danio will help you in petting this beautiful and adorable freshwater fish. Keep your pet fish happy and healthy by following the aforesaid instructions.

Interesting Facts about Zebra Danio

  • Zebra Danios are vertebrates as they have a backbone like human beings.
  • The adult Zebra Danios have barbels or antennae near their mouth that helps them in searching for food in the wild.
  • Zebra Fish gets sexually matured at the age of 3-4 months and the female fish can spawn in every 2-3 days.

Acquire Information about Other Schooling Fish

Alike Zebra Danio, there are other schooling fish that you can keep in your aquarium that loves to live in a shoal of fish. To know about them, read their care guides: