Fish Profile: Zebra Danio

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The zebra danio is a popular freshwater aquarium fish which is also known as zebrafish and Striped Danio. It belongs to the Family Cyprinidae under Order Cypriniformes of Class Actinopterygii. It is native to Himalayan region and is found in parts of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Burma. It commonly inhabits streams, canals, ditches, ponds and slow-moving or stagnant water bodies, including rice fields.

It has fusiform and laterally compressed body with upwards mouth. Five uniform, pigmented, horizontal blue stripes are present on the side of the body which extends to the end of the body. The male has torpedo shaped body with gold stripes between the blue stripes while the female has larger whitish body and silver stripes. The adult female contains a small genital papilla in front of the anal fin origin. It is omnivore fish and its food primarily consists of zooplankton, insects, insect larvae and phytoplankton. It also eats a variety of other foods like worms and small crustaceans. It grows up to 6.4 cm in length and its life span ranges from 2-5 years.

Zebra Danio Fact Sheet

  1. Scientific Name: Danio rerio
  2. Family: Cyprinidae
  3. Size Range: up to 6 cm in length
  4. Diet: Omnivore
  5. Tank Size: 10+ gallons
  6. Tank Set-up: Densely planted
  7. Tank region: It swims surface and Middle layer
  8. Temperature: 65°F-75°F
  9. Carbonate Hardness (dKH): 5 to 12
  10. Water pH: 6.5-7
  11. Origin: Himalayan region
  12. Temperament: Peaceful
  13. Care Level: Easy
  14. Habitat: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Burma
  15. Lifespan: 2 to 5 years
  16. Reproduction: Egg layers
  17. Behavior: It is pretty peaceful fish but can nip fins of other fish.
  18. Breeding: It breeds in captivity.
  19. Gender: Females are larger than males of same age.
  20. Water movement: Slow to Medium

Zebra Danio – General Care

The zebra danio is a popular fish for beginner aquarists due to their hardiness, cold resistant, rapid breeding capacity, aesthetic value, cheap prices and their availability. It is extremely active fish and it swims throughout the entire tank. It requires at least 10 gallons tank with diffuse lighting and a lot of open area to swim, together with dense vegetation around the periphery of the habitat.

The zebra danio prefers neutral to slightly acidic water which ranges from 6.5-7. The hardness should be between 5-12 dkh. It does not like ammonia or nitrites, so the water should be kept clean and well filtered. The aquarium for Zebra fish should have clean oxygen rich water with suitable temperature which ranges between 65°F and 75° F.


The zebra danio is a peaceful fish and it is suitable for community tanks. It is a shoaling fish and it should never be kept in groups of less than 6-8 fish. A larger group is preferable. If it is kept in smaller groups the fish will be nervous and never show its true nature. It does well with other friendly fish species in the aquarium.

Suitable companions for the Zebra danio include White Cloud Mountain Minnows, most Tetras, including Neon Tetras, Cardinal Tetras, Glass Bloodfin Tetras, Emperor Tetras, Black Widow Tetras, small Goldfish, Gouramis, small cichlids, catfish, livebearers, barbs and other similar sized fish. It should not be kept with slower or long finned fish.


It is omnivore fish and usually eats from any level of the aquarium. In captive condition, it accepts common food flakes and live foods such as tubifex worms, brine shrimps, wingless fruitflies, blackworms, mosquito larvae and Daphnia. The diet should be supplied couple of times a day.

Read: DIY Fish Food Recipes


The zebra danio is susceptible to velvet disease. It is known as Rust or Gold Dust disease which is caused by one of several species of a tiny parasite known as Oödinium. This is easily preventable by using a quarantine tank before introducing new arrivals into your main tank.

Zebra Danio Image Gallery


The following video by Aquatic World provides an informative as well as fascinating observation of the Zebra Danio fish.

Reference links

  1. Seymour Fi- Zebra Danio Care 
  2. Aquatic Community- Zebra Danio Factsheet
  3. Aquatic Community- Zebra Fish Barb
  4. Fresh Aquarium- Zebra Danio Profile
  5. Fish Base- Zebra Danio Profile
  6. Wikipedia- Zebra Danio Wikipage

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About Dennis Hanson

Dennis is an experienced aquarist with many years of knowledge and experience in keeping successful tanks. He also has no relations to the pop group Hanson.

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