Zebra Danio Fish - Danio rerio

Updated May 14, 2020
Author: Mike - FishLore Admin
Social Media: FishLore on Social Media

The Zebra Danio is one of the most popular tropical fish for many reasons. They are very hardy, attractive to look at and they usually do well in groups of 6 or more. This danio is a good first fish for beginners to the tropical fish hobby because of their tolerance of a wide range of water parameters.

Because of their hardiness, many will use them to cycle their new tanks. This is not a recommended practice because it can be very traumatic, harmful biologically and stressful to the fish. During the aquarium startup process ammonia is being introduced from the fish and not enough bacteria is present to process the ammonia. The ammonia will burn the gills of the fish causing damage and may lead to other diseases like ich. A new and better way to start up an aquarium is to perform a fishless cycle.

They are frequently used as dither fish in aquariums since they are constantly out swimming all over the tank. Dither fish are used to help calm other fish that may be skittish. The scared fish will see the danios out swimming and may become more comfortable with their environment.

Behavioral problems with this danio, such as fin nipping, can usually be attributed to not having enough of these schooling fish in your tank. To prevent this fin nipping behavior try to keep a school of 6 or more in your tank.

They will eat vitamin enriched flakes, frozen, freeze dried and live foods.

Zebra Danio Danio rerio

Zebra Danio Types

Common Danio rerio

Common Danio rerio


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Zebra Danio Care Details

Scientific Name : Danio rerio

Common Names : Zebra Fish, Striped Danio

Care Level : Easy

Size : Up to 2 inches (5 cm)

pH : 6.5 - 8

Temperature : 65°F - 75°F (18°C - 24°C)

Water Hardness : 5° to 25° dH,

Lifespan : 2 - 5 years

Origin / Habitat : India

Temperament / Behavior : They are usually peaceful but they can be fin nippers. They are best kept in schools of 6 or more. It is interesting to note that this species is frequently used in studies.

Breeding : Easy. Maintain a water temperature of 78°F and the female will drop its eggs in the gravel bed. The eggs will hatch in two days and you will have to remove the adults because they will eat the fry.

Aquarium Size : 10 gallon or larger.

Tank Mates : Other Danios, Corydoras and some Tetras.

Fish Disease : Freshwater Fish Disease - Diagnose, Symptoms and Treatment

Diet - Food : They will take flakes, freeze dried (blood worms, daphnia, brine shrimp, etc) and live foods.

Tank Region : Middle to Top

Gender : Males have yellow in between the black stripes and females are sometimes larger.

Photo Credit : Photos copyright JJPhoto.dk

Site References :

Fish Lore Forum : Zebra Danio Forum

Zebra Danio Comments and Tips

From: Jim B. - good first fish
These are excellent fish for new tanks. They are very hardy and I've used them in the past to cycle my aquarium.

From: Sierra
These fish are great! I swear, these danios could live through anything!
Yeah, I agree. The Zebra Danio is a very hardy tropical fish. Many use them to cycle their tanks without losing any of them.

From: Marc
These fish are very energetic! It's fun to watch them dart around while they eat.

From: Scientific
Great fish, I just added 4 to a tank with 7 serpae tetras and a rainbow shark. As soon as these were added the other fish became more active swimmers. Also, it's nice that they tend to stay towards the top of the tank, it entices the serpaes to swim there as well.

From: Hillary - nipping fins
My husband and I just started up our 20 gallon tank with three of them and 3 Rasboras. After a couple of weeks we have added a few more fish and the Zebras have begun nipping large pieces out of the other fish's tails. We had to seperate them from the other fish because they were tormenting them so much by chasing them all around. We thought that they were great fun when we got them and named them the Three Stooges, but now it looks like they will not be able to ever go back in the tank.

From: Linda
I just set up a 36 gallon corner hex tank and just added zebra and red danios. They are amazing fish so fast they swim. I am enjoying them alot. Have heard they can tolerate the cycling process of a new tank. Which is a great thing! I also added 2 bleeding heart tetras and white clouds too.

From: Kat - schooling behavior
I got 3 of these energetic danios when I read that they are great for cycling. Since then I have added two leopard danios and long finned as well. They all school together and it's like watching a flock of birds. When one changes direction the rest follow. When it was just the three of them they would nip each others fins, but now that there are more they have stopped. I also have 3 silver tipped tetras and they school with the danios just fine. Sometimes they chase each other but nothing agressive just for fun. Most of the time they are near the top of the 20 gallon I have them in but as they get used to the tank (recently upgraded from a 10 gallon) they explore more areas. They have begun to recognize me and will come to the front of the tank in the morning and when I get home in the evening to say hi... Or it could be "Feed Us" but either way they are a great, hardy little fish!

From: John
Yes I must admit, these fish are very hardy! I had an epidemic where every fish except one danio and one neon tetra died!

From: Paula - Keep them in a school
Hi Hillary, they usually start nipping fins if you don't have enough of them in your tank. Try adding 3-4 more and see if that sorts out the problem. Good Luck. I'm getting some of these amazing fish today. They are so energetic!

From: Jones
These fish are great! I have a 180 gallon tank with fifteen of them, a lake tanganyika cichlid, and a few other fish, and they have been great and are helping the other fish become more confident with the environment!

From: Lyn
They are wonderful fish! I love their colors and their schooling behavior. It's hard to look at them carefully because they keep on darting in the water. Very hardy, too!

From: Zach
Fun little fish to watch. I have 2 yellow Glo-fish, 2 Cherry Red Glo-fish (with are genetically engineered Danio rerio) and one plain one. I would recommend going easy on high protein foods such as bloodworms with these little guys. Although they love em' they can make them constipated.

From: Dakota
I had a group of 6 and loved them. They were very hardy and always active plus they were easy to care for lived for a couple of years... overall they were a great fish easy to care for.

Still have questions?
Jump on the forum and ask your question! Go here: Zebra Danio Forum

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