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Thread: Danio Primer

  1. #1

    Default Danio Primer


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    Danios, one of the most commonly kept aquarium fish, are the subject of this post. In it, I'll show you how to keep these fish properly and long-term.
    First, nomenclature. The term 'Danio' was adapted from the Indian name Dhani. The Danios are members of the Cyprinid family; the carps and minnows. Several of them have barbles at the corner of their mouths, most notably in Zebra and Pearl Danios. All make excellent aquarium fish. They prefer temps in the mid to upper 70's, with 77 being ideal for most of them. They like planted tanks that are bright, clean and clear. They prefer water from moderately hard to quite soft and pH 6.8 to 7.2. All Danios are native to SE Asia, primarily in India and Sri Lanka.
    Danios are all the quintessential schooling fish; they like to be in large groups of their fellows, and do best and live longest when kept that way. Most prefer the top of the tank, though some settle about half-way up. All are very peaceful, if exuberant, fish, though like all fishes, they will eat fish vastly smaller than them. The smaller ones are endlessly active without being annoying. Properly kept, the Danios are long-lived; with five and six years and beyond are common.
    The Danio Genus names have been in flux recently, with several moved from Danio to Devario and some remain in Brachydanio. I will attempt to name them properly in this post, but by the time you read this, the Genus names may change again.

    Now some species

    Perhaps the largest of the commonly available Danios is Devario malabaricus: the Giant Danio of Southern India and Sri Lanka.
    Topping out at six inches, but more usually four inches, in aquariums, Giant Danios make a great schooling fish for the middle of the tank. Always on the move, Giant Danios add a splash of color to the larger planted tank. A silvery body sports two golden lines on a blue ground at the middle of the fish, with the lines breaking into interesting patterns near the head. They eyes are bright silver.
    Sexes are difficult to determine when not breeding, but the lines are more broken up on the females and she is slightly larger and heavier-bodied than the male. When they don their breeding garb, both sexes develop red fins and a rose-colored lower body. They prefer temps in the mid to upper 70's.
    They breed like most of the Danios; scattering eggs over fine-leaved plants. The eggs are very adhesive, so its best to cut the stems that the eggs are on and remove the sprigs to a seasoned 20 gallon. Tinting the water with methylene blue will discourage fungus. Eggs hatch in 2 or 3 days, the fry free swimming the day after. They must have the smallest foods offered for the first week or 10 days; infusoria and green water preferable.
    A similar species is Devario aequipinnatus, which is more slender and more blue.

    Easily the most popular member of the family is the Zebra Danio; Danio rerio.
    Native to Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Eastern India and Sri Lanka, Zebra Danios are available in most all shops. Many man-made color and fin variations are common, but personally, I prefer them in their colorful original selves.
    A golden body is bisected by four electric blue-black lines, while six are in the tail fin and four in the anal fin. Barbles are long, white, and reach well past the silver eyes. Females are noticeably larger, but it takes a practiced eye to pick them out of a moving group.
    Reaching 1.75 inches, Zebra Danios look great in a large group. The golden bodies adorned with racing stripes make quite a picture as they move all together in a pack. Temps between 75 and 78 are ideal for them.
    They prefer to stay in the top third of the tank. In feeding they are easily satisfied but are mad about wingless Dropsilia species fruit flies. When the flies hit the water, the scene is reminiscent of the old horror 'B' movies where a man is reduced to just bones in seconds by ravenous Piranha.
    Feeding a good-sized group of Zebra Danios live food between two and four times a week is very beneficial to them, and will result in near-constant breeding. Mine breed every evening in the Spring and Summer, and two or three times a month during the Fall and Winter.
    Thus, they are the perfect first egg-layer for the prospective keeper who wishes to try his hand at raising the fry.
    There are long-finned, albino and solid blue Zebra Danios available. The genetic mess that are Glo-Fish are albino Zebra Danios that have had a jellyfish gene spliced into the DNA of the fish eggs. I call for a boycott of this abomination.

    A source of controversy is the Leopard Danio, Brachydanio frankei.
    Some sources claim that Leopard Danios are simply a color mutation of Zebra Danios, others profess that Leopards are a new species, B. frankei.
    For the purpose of this post, I'll refer to them as a species unto themselves.
    Reaching 2 inches, Leopard Danios share the preferences of Zebras, that is, they like to school at the top of the tank. That habit is a benefit to the keeper, as close to the light, their golden bodies reflect beautifully. Several oblong blue gray spots adorn the sides. They are slightly more sedate than Zebra Danios.
    Leopard Danios are ridiculously easy to breed. Properly fed, when mature, you can watch the males flirting with the females every evening most of the year.

    A touch smaller than Zebra Danios and thus suitable for tanks in the 20 gallon and up range are the Spotted Danios of Burma.
    Now called Brachydanio nigrofasciatus, this little fish is currently between Genus names. I used Day's original 1870 description of this fish in this post.
    Ideal for the smaller planted tank, Spotted Danios like to have lots of swimming room. Reaching 1.5 inches, two blue-black lines sandwich a brilliant golden one. A row of blue dots run along the bright bottom-half of the fish.
    Perfect community fishes, Spotted Danios are tremendously attractive fish in a large group in planted aquaria with a dark substrate and background. They swim en mass in the upper middle of the tank, gold lines glistening. Live food like Daphnia are very beneficial to them, and three or four feedings a week improves their color and vitality.
    They are perfect tankmates for calm things like Cherry Barbs.

    One of the newest and most exquisite of the Danios is the Celestial Pearl Danio; Danio margariatus. This spectacular fish from Mayanmar were just moved into this Genus in February of 2006.
    This fish was discovered a just a few years ago when Western scientists were allowed back into the formerly war-torn country.
    Celestial Pearl Danios, or CPDs as they are commonly referred to, are one of the most stunning of the Danio clan. Midnight blue on the sides of the fish are liberally sprinkled with sparkling yellow-white dots. The fins are red accented with black lines, and are well spread when the males display to each other and to females.
    An ideal schooler for the 75-degree planted tank. They do not tolerate tropical temperatures. Reaching just over an inch, CPDs prefer relatively soft water, less than 10 degrees of hardness.
    There was much hoopla about this fish being extinct in nature because of aquarium keepers. It was foolish hyperbole, as the fish is widespread in nature, and is a free breeder in aquariums.

    Another beautiful Danio for the 75-degree planted tank is the Glowlight Danio; Danio choprai. Though known to science for 70 years, this fish only debuted in the United States in 2003.
    A native of Burma and Thailand, Glowlight Danios earn that common name because of a brilliant electric red-orange line at the back of the fish that turns into squiggles at the middle. An arching golden line is above it on the forward half, and turquoise stripes adorn the side below the line. Reaching 1.25 inches, yellow is outside two black lines on the tail of the fish.
    Glowlight danios are if anything quicker than Zebra Danios and more likely to jump, so make sure the tank is covered, as if one finds a hole and jumps, the rest are likely to follow.
    They are a bit more difficult to spawn than most of the Danios. Frequent feedings of live food usually convinces them to do so. They are terrifically fond of wingless fruit flies and will chase and eat Daphnia at near-blinding high speed.
    A lovely fish and one of my favorites.

    Sporting an opalescent body, Pearl Danios; Danio albolineatus; are our final species.
    One has to see Pearl Danios in health in a planted tank with dark substrate and background to really see how beautiful these fishes are. They look absolutely gorgeous when swimming through light and shadow provided by floating plants.
    The fish are a simply a mother-of-pearl color that shimmers in the light. A red blush is on the posterior half, in the anal fin and in the tail.
    Reaching two inches, Pearl Danios prefer the conditions of a proper planted aquarium, that is, neutral to slightly acid and moderately soft.
    Live food given occasionally is very beneficial to these fish, and will intensify color and vitality.
    They are egg scatterers like all Danios, but breed not quite as often as some of the other species.

    Danios are wonderful, active, hardy, beautiful fish and are an ideal schooler for your next SE Asia planted tank. Zebra Danios are by far the most common, but all the others can be found with a little searching.

    Dave
    Last edited by Dave66; 02-12-2008 at 10:09 AM.
    When a finger points to the moon, the imbecile looks at the finger.

    Omnia mutantur nihil interit.

    The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go

  2. #2

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    Wonderful article as always Dave Thank you for your bottomless pit of fishkeeping wealth...

    I am alas still not a Danio fan - they are a little bit too hyper for my taste but I do love the little Danio margariatus which indeed breed just as easily as guppies
    My own Fish Blog
    Small Fish for Small Tanks

    'The measure of kindness is that you are kind without measure'

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fishalicious
    Wonderful article as always Dave Thank you for your bottomless pit of fishkeeping wealth...

    I am alas still not a Danio fan - they are a little bit too hyper for my taste but I do love the little Danio margariatus which indeed breed just as easily as guppies
    Thank you Jess, I appreciate it, especially from someone as knowledgeable as you are. Now you see what I do in the middle of the night; I write. Oddballs, Corys and Loaches are next on the platter.

    Dave
    When a finger points to the moon, the imbecile looks at the finger.

    Omnia mutantur nihil interit.

    The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go

  4. #4

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    Cannot wait for the next serving... getting my finest cutlery ready to get sunk into the oddballs... cannot wait to see which ones you picked

    Writing is so relaxing... you have a lovely wife to let you sit up all hours typing away xxxx
    My own Fish Blog
    Small Fish for Small Tanks

    'The measure of kindness is that you are kind without measure'

  5. #5

    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by Fishalicious
    Cannot wait for the next serving... getting my finest cutlery ready to get sunk into the oddballs... cannot wait to see which ones you picked

    Writing is so relaxing... you have a lovely wife to let you sit up all hours typing away xxxx
    I'll give you a hint; one is the oddest livebearers I've kept; Anableps anableps.
    LoL Emily sleeps like a stone; my typing doesn't ever wake her.

    Dave
    When a finger points to the moon, the imbecile looks at the finger.

    Omnia mutantur nihil interit.

    The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go

  6. Exclamation


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    there's also an unsettling new genetically modified type of zebra danio on the market

    "Glofish"

    i think regular zebra danios are much prettier

  7. #7

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    Very well done Dave, once again you have out done yourself. Now when are you going to write one on "Tropheus Moorii Kiku" they are calling you Dave LOL.

    Sailor
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    Aye Aye

  8. #8

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    Once again very nice!
    Learn so much new everytime I read one of your primers.

    Thanks!

  9. Default


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    in this primer you said CPD's do not tolerate tropical temperatures. i am confused, my 10g is set to 74 and though i only have one (he schools with my glowlights) he seems to be doing very well. what is the ideal temp for the little guy? i am planning on getting more and possibly breeding them (in my 3g). so if you could possibly pm me and let me know anything about breeding these guys, i would be thankful. also could i keep cherry shrimp in the breeding tank? or would the shrimp eat the fry?

  10. #10

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    Thanks, Dave!

    I'll probably never bother with danios.. But never say never, I guess.. :)

    Can the oder be corys, loaches and oddballs? :)
    Last edited by doug z; 02-20-2008 at 05:49 AM.
    75g - 20 cardinals : 7 panda cory : 5 Julii cory : 9 zebra danios : 1 CAE : 2 SAE : 2 yo-yos : 1 BN
    25g: 5 long-finned zebra danios

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