Zebra Danio

Species NameDanio rerio
Common NameZebra Danio
Care LevelEasy
Lifespan3-5 years
Adult Size2-2.5 inches (5-6.5 cm)
Minimum Tank Size10 gallons
Temperature64°F – 75°F (18°C – 24°C)
Water ConditionspH 6.5-7.2, 2-12 dGH

About the Zebra Danio – Species Summary

Zebra Danios, belonging to the species Danio rerio, are among the most popular and widely recognized freshwater aquarium fish. Native to the Himalayan region, these small fish have earned a special place in the hearts of aquarists due to their hardiness, active nature, and distinct zebra-like striped appearance. Besides their role as beloved pets, they are also significant in the field of scientific research, particularly in genetics and developmental biology.

Zebra Danio Lifespan

Typically, Zebra Danios live for around 3 to 5 years, though with optimum care and under ideal conditions, some individuals have been known to live even longer. Their lifespan can be greatly influenced by factors like tank conditions, diet, and genetics.


The Zebra Danio boasts a slender and streamlined body adorned with five distinct horizontal stripes, alternating between blue and silvery white, running from the gills to the base of the tail. This striping, which resembles a zebra’s pattern, gives them their common name. Additionally, there are several selectively bred variants available in the market, including the golden, long-finned, and leopard danio.

Average Size

Fully mature Zebra Danios typically measure between 2 to 2.5 inches (5 to 6.5 cm). Their size can slightly vary based on their specific environment, genetics, and dietary practices.

Zebra Danio Care

Tank Size

While Zebra Danios are small, their active swimming nature and preference for schooling necessitate a minimum tank size of 10 gallons. If one intends to keep a larger group or a community tank, opting for a more spacious aquarium is recommended.

How To Set Up Their Tank

Given their native habitat of slow-moving and stagnant waters with ample vegetation, a Zebra Danio tank should ideally have a soft substrate, like fine sand or gravel, and a variety of aquatic plants. These plants offer hiding spots and reduce stress. Driftwood and rocks can also be added for enhanced aesthetics and to provide shelter. Having open spaces for free swimming is equally important for these agile swimmers.

Lighting Requirements

Moderate lighting serves Zebra Danios best, especially if the tank contains live plants. It’s essential to maintain a consistent light-dark cycle, mimicking natural conditions to promote their well-being.


Zebra Danios prefer slightly acidic to neutral water conditions. Thus, a pH level of 6.5 to 7.2 is optimal for their health.


They thrive in cooler waters, with temperatures ranging between 64°F to 75°F (18°C to 24°C). However, they are adaptable and can tolerate minor fluctuations.

Water Parameters

Soft to moderately hard water, with a hardness of 2 to 12 dGH, is ideal. Regular water tests are crucial to ensure that harmful chemicals such as ammonia and nitrites are absent.

Disease Potential

While Zebra Danios are relatively hardy, they can still fall prey to common fish ailments like Ich, Velvet, and fungal infections. Regular water changes, quarantine measures for new additions, and a balanced diet are fundamental to disease prevention.

Food & Diet

Zebra Danios, being omnivores, have a varied appetite. While flake food can form the base of their diet, occasional offerings of live or frozen foods like daphnia, brine shrimp, or bloodworms provide essential nutrients and keep them vibrant.

Behavior and Temperament

Noted for their lively demeanor, Zebra Danios are perpetually on the move, especially when kept in a group. They are schooling fish and display the best of their playful antics when in groups of six or more. They are generally peaceful but might indulge in occasional playful chasing.

Tank Mates

Given their peaceful nature, Zebra Danios can cohabitate with a variety of similarly sized and tempered species, such as tetras, guppies, and other danios. However, housing them with much larger or aggressive fish should be avoided due to the potential for predation or bullying.


Breeding Zebra Danios is quite straightforward. They are egg scatterers, laying their eggs among fine-leaved plants or on a breeding mop. Once spawning is complete, it’s recommended to separate the adults from the eggs to prevent predation. In a couple of days, the eggs hatch, and the fry can be fed infusoria or finely ground flake food as they grow.

Zebra Danio FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)