Zebra Danios Danio rerio

Zebra Danio 1907 Catalog


From the start of the hobby, few fish have remained as popular as Zebra Danios . In fact, as early as 1931, Beldt’s catalog said they were one of the most popular of all aquarium fishes. Their reign has never changed! Every fish store in America, and around the world, makes sure that they are included on the fish order. They are inexpensive and hardy. This makes them a perfect starter fish.

Many years ago I walked into a College Dorm that had sat uninhabited for an entire summer. Once the door opened the stench turned my stomach. One of the things on the floor was an aquarium with a sliver of water in it, and (you guessed it) a school of Zebra danios. They were laying on their side fighting for life. I put them in a cup of water straight out of the tap that had enough chlorine in it to kill most fish. Back home I put them in an aquarium and fed them rich food. They spawned within a week!

Zebra Danios Are beautiful Schooling Fish

The Zebra Danio has been spliced, spawned, and spared no mercy by science. It has been pictured on stamps, and invasive species list alike. It has been mutated and hybridized into unnatural glowing freaks. It has been loved, it has been hated, it has crossed borders and ponds!This kid has been around!

Beldt’s Catalog 1931

The Genus was first described in detail by two Dutchmen, professor Max Weber and professor L. F. de Beaufort in 1916. However, the fish was brought into Europe as early as 1907, and later brought into America as soon as 1912. It is very likely that they found their way into Europe under a ship’s sail, as India was under British occupation until 1947. Sailors often brought livestock back to make a little extra cash. In America, at the birth of the exotic fish trade, Zebra danios proliferated in the conditions found in Florida. Therefore they became an early commercial staple of the aquarium market.

It is interesting to note that they cost about the same today as they ever did. An American dollar can buy one or two fish, when they are on sale.

Scientific name:Danio rerio
Common names:Zebra Danio meaning “of the rice field
Distribution: Native to South Asia
Size:1.5–2.5 inches
Life expectancy:2 years
Temperament:Peaceful, playful
Minimum tank size:10 gallons
Temperature:60–77°F (18–25°C)
pH:Does not matter
Hardness:Does not Matter
Care level:Easy
Breeding:Egg layer
Zebra Danio


Zebra Danio’s are easy to keep. These little fish are a perfect selection in regards to cycling an aquarium. These tough little guys can take it! If your water is wet, and the fish is not sick to start with, you should have no problems.

I also want to note that they are a perfect fish for an aquarium with no heater. The truth is that many of our “Tropical” fish do well without an aquarium heater because they are no more tropical than an ice cube. Even though Zebra danios come from India they still tolerate very low temperatures. Fish need a stable temperature, not always a high one.


After a period of separation both sexes should be eager to spawn. The males are slender while the females have hefty bellies. During this period of time feed them a rich diet of either frozen brine shrimp, or live brine shrimp.

After a few days of good feeding they are ready to spawn. Because they like to eat their eggs, the spawning container should have marbles or round rocks on the bottom. This will provide a place for the eggs to settle where the hungry parents can’t eat them. Put the spawning container in front of a window that gets strong sunlight in the morning. Place three males to one very plump female in the aquarium the night before, and cover the container with a towel. Here is the part you might not like, you need to wake up before sunrise and remove the towel. As the sunlight hits the container they should start spawning. When you notice the female’s belly has decreased in size it is time to remove the fish.

Within three days you should have hard to see fry. They are still too young to eat brine shrimp so you will have to feed infusoria . At somewhere around the tenth day they will be large enough to eat brine shrimp. Once they start on the shrimp growth is rapid.


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