Zebra Danios – Habitat, Care, Feeding, Tank Size, Breeding

The world is full of a wide range of fishes and aquatic animals. It is good to explore each one of them, especially if you fancy such things.

It will give you an insight into things you never knew about and open your mind to new ideas. Well, in line with exploring aquatic life, we are going to shed light on zebra danios, also known as zebrafish.


The name zebra danio comes from the fact the fish resembles the normal zebra we have in the game parks. Basically, the zebra danio has five uniform blue stripes that run from the front end to the back (the caudal fin).

Unlike many fishes, it is easy to differentiate between male and female species. The female zebra danio has a larger belly as compared to the males. The belly is usually whitish in color. Furthermore, females have silver stripes between the blue strips.

The males, on the other hand, have gold stripes between the blue stripes. Moreover, adult females usually have a small genital papilla in front of the origin of the anal fin.


Zebra danios are primarily fish that like moving water. You will also always find them close to the surface. That is why you will find them in shallow waters of ponds, rice water, canals, and streams.

They also love cold water and are also known to adapt to a wide range of temperature changes. This is a trait that is mostly possessed by zebra danio in the wild.

Nowadays, with commercial breeding, this species ability to adapt has declined. With this, if water temperatures rise, they tend to contract diseases easily.


The zebra danio in the wild and the one in your aquarium feed on relatively different things.

In the wild the zebra danio will eat worms, algae, mosquito larvae, and small crustaceans.

In aquariums there are things you can feed your zebra danio.

Fresh Vegetables – vegetables like zucchini and cabbage are great for your zebra danios.

Live food – daphnia and blood worms can be fed once a week to your zebra danios. It can serve as frequent treats.

Sometimes, live food can be difficult to find. If this is the case, you can also give them other dried or frozen options. Most stores, especially fish stores, usually have such feeds.

Flakes – due to the fact they eat algae in the wild, you can improvise and give them good quality algae flake. It will nourish them in the same exact way the algae in the wild does.

Other than the type of food, the quantity that you give to your zebra danios also matters. The amount you give your fish largely depends on the number of fish in the tank. Sprinkle small-sized portions (quantities they can eat in 3 minutes) of feeds a couple of times a day.

Water and Tank Requirements

The tank that you put your zebra danios in should not be any less than 10 gallons. Once you have such a tank, the first thing that you need to do is find soft sediment. Soft sand is highly recommended.

Once you have laid the sand, water should then be added slowly. This is all in a bid to prevent it from stirring the substrate. The zebra danio is a freshwater fish. This then means that you should only add fresh water into the tank. Furthermore, the water’s temperatures should be within 64 and 77-degrees Fahrenheit. The pH should not be below 6.0, nor should it exceed 8.0.

Thereafter, you need to add freshwater plants like Amazon sword plants. Such plants are integral in providing the water with dissolved oxygen. These plants are also good hiding spots for the zebra danio in case they feel threatened.

Additionally, freshwater plants are helpful in increase habitat complexity. This, in turn, goes a long way in preventing aggressive behavior among the zebra danio. Furthermore, having such plants is aesthetically pleasing. They make the tank look great and neutral.

As earlier stated, zebra danios mostly like the upper surfaces of the water. Even with that being said, they are still very active. This means that a huge part of their time will be spent moving around the aquarium. Hence, you should provide them with ample space for them to swim around. A good source of lighting will also help them see clearly and move around easily.


Here are some few examples of suitable tank mates for the zebra danios:

  • Ember tetra
  • Honey Gourami
  • Scarlet Bardis
  • Indian Flying Barb
  • African Dwarf Frogs
  • Zebra Snails
  • Blue Velvet Shrimp
  • Zebra Snails

Here are some examples of fish you should avoid keeping with zebra danios because of their aggressive behavior:

  • Redtail Catfish
  • Tiger Barbs
  • African Cichlids
  • Oscar Fish

It is not advisable to put long-finned fish with zebra danios. This is because your danios will nib at the tail of these long-finned fish.


The generation time for the zebra danio is three months. The process requires the presence of both the females and males zebra danios. The female zebra danio first spawns and then gives rise to hundreds of eggs.

After this, the embryonic process commences. The males are responsible for the fertilization of these eggs. Once eggs are fertilized, they immediately become transparent. Now, this is what gives rise to new young zebra danios.


Zebra danios are amazing creatures to have around your home. Watching their striped bodies move around is truly pleasing. Feeding them is also a nice part of rearing/keeping such unique and amazing fish.

As they feed on fresh vegetables and live food like blood worms, you will truly be happy. Of course, we cannot forget the male and female zebra danio breeds, breeding, and giving rise to young ones. That is a whole other experience of getting to be a part of the growth and development of other young zebra danios.

Updated: February 25, 2020

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