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Danio Care Sheet

Developed with and approved by a qualified veterinarian.

danios care sheet

This care sheet covers a variety of danio species, including:   

  • Giant danios
  • Longfin zebra danios
  • Zebra danios
  • Pearl danios
  • Longfin leopard danios
  • Leopard danios
  • Celestial pearl (galaxy rasbora) danios
  • Giant mustache danios
  • Glowlight danios
  • Gold ring danios
  • Orange fin danios



Danio aequipinnatus, Danio rerio, Danio albolineatus, Danio frankei, Danio margaritatus, Danio dangila, Danio tinwini, Danio kyathit

Native to Pakistan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Bhutan, danios are fast-moving schooling fish. With their upturned mouth, they prefer to inhabit the upper levels of an aquarium. Females are generally larger than males, and both are highly adaptable to water temperature and environmental conditions. Zebra danios are unique in that they select breeding partners for life. Belonging to the minnow family, most species are recommended for beginning aquarists. 


Typical appearance & behavior

  • Schooling fish are happiest in groups of five or more of the same species
  • Danios prefer the upper level of the water column but will adapt to all levels of the aquarium
  • They feel more secure when plenty of hiding places are provided
  • Danios are extremely active and fast swimmers
  • They are compatible with most community fish
  • There are many sizes of danios to fit a variety of tank sizes
  • They are typically easy to feed and a tough species, withstanding a range of water parameters
  • Juvenile zebra danios are capable of regenerating a damaged organ, such as their heart



Care Difficulty Beginner
Average Life Span depends on species
Average Adult Size ¾" to 4”, depending on species
Diet Omnivore
Minimum Habitat Size 10+ gallons depending on species
Water Temperature 72-82°F



Habitat size

Keep in an appropriately sized aquarium


Building your habitat

  • Water health - Provide proper filtration to ensure optimal water quality to help maintain health. Slow to strong water circulation should be provided to mimic water currents and high oxygen levels found in a danio’s natural habitat. Stable water quality (pH, ammonia, nitrate, nitrite) and water temperature are critical to the health of aquatic life. If you are unsure of your water quality, bring a sample to Petco for free testing. An aquatic heater should be used to stabilize water temperature, ensuring it does not fluctuate more than 2 degrees in either direction in a 24-hour period. Many danios will benefit from the addition of freshwater salt to the aquarium; the specific gravity should be kept at 1.004. Always research your species-specific needs before adding freshwater aquarium salt. Do not allow specific gravity to fluctuate more than 0.001 in either direction in a 24-hour period
  • Décor - Provide plenty of space for swimming along with plants, rocks or decor for hiding places



A well-balanced danio diet consists of:

  • A variety of flakes, pellets, freeze-dried and frozen foods
  • Offer a varied diet to ensure it is nutritionally complete


Things to remember when feeding your danios:

  • Feed 1 to 2 times a day, no more than will be eaten within 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Thaw frozen food before feeding.


Danio care

Maintaining great water quality with regular water changes and adequate filtration is important to help keep your danio healthy

  • Daily: Check filter, water temperature and other equipment
  • Weekly: Test water quality at least once a week
  • Weekly to monthly: Change 10–25% of the total volume of water every 2–4 weeks, or as needed; change filter media monthly

Avoid overcrowded conditions; they are a major cause of stress and disease


Where to buy danios

Various danios are available for purchase at Petco online and in store; availability varies by location. If visiting your local Petco Pet Care Center location, please call ahead to check availability. 




Habitat mates

Introduce new inhabitants to the aquarium gradually. Danios are compatible with:



Signs of a healthy danio

  • Clear eyes
  • Healthy appetite
  • Bright, even coloring
  • Fins completely intact and undamaged
  • Free of parasites and disease


Red flags (If you notice any of these signs, contact your local aquatic specialist or aquatic veterinarian)

  • Loss of color or appetite
  • Spots or fungus on body or mouth
  • Cloudy eyes or pop-eye
  • Frayed fins
  • Labored breathing
  • Erratic swimming
  • Weight loss
  • Bloating
  • Listlessness


Common health issues

Health Issue Symptoms or Causes Suggested Action
Health IssueFin rot Symptoms or CausesFrayed or disintegrating fins; the base of the fins usually reddens. Suggested ActionImprove water quality; consult your local aquatic specialist or aquatic veterinarian for treatment.
Health IssueFungus Symptoms or CausesWhite cottony growth and/or discoloration of the eyes. Suggested ActionQuarantine fish; use a commercial antifungal remedy as directed; consult your local aquatic specialist or aquatic veterinarian for treatment.
Health IssueBacterial infections Symptoms or CausesCloudy eyes, open sores and/or reddening of the skin. Suggested ActionImprove water quality; add freshwater salt and use a commercial antibacterial remedy as directed; consult your local aquatic specialist or aquatic veterinarian for treatment.
Health IssueIch Symptoms or CausesWhite spots appear on fins and body; fish rubs against hard objects or swims erratically; rapid respirations. Suggested ActionQuarantine fish immediately; add freshwater salt and use commercial ich remedy as directed. Consult your local aquatic specialist or aquatic veterinarian for treatment.



  • How long do danios live? Danios can live up to 6 years with proper care, depending on species.
  • How many danio fish should be housed per gallon aquarium? A general rule to use is 1” of adult fish per gallon of water. Danios are a schooling species and should be housed in a minimum 10-gallon aquarium to safely house a school of 5 small adult danios.
  • What does a danio fish look like? Danios are generally a torpedo-shaped species, appearing long and narrow.
  • What do danio fish eat? Danios are omnivores and can be offered a variety of flakes, pellets, freeze-dried and frozen foods.
  • How big do danio fish get? Adult danios will range from ¾" to 4”, depending on species.
  • What fish live well with danios? Danios are a playful community species that will generally get along well with other community species, including tetras and rasboras.


Additional care sheets


Notes and resources

Ask a Pet Care Center partner about Petco's selection of products available for the care and happiness of your new pet. All products carry a 100% money-back guarantee.

Because all aquatic life are potential carriers of infectious diseases, such as atypical mycobacterium and salmonella, always wash your hands before and after handling your aquatic life or habitat contents to help prevent the potential spread of disease.

Pregnant women, children under the age of 5, senior citizens and people with weakened immune systems should contact their physician before purchasing or caring for aquatic life and should consider not having aquatic life as a pet.

Go to for more information about aquatic life and disease.


The information on this care sheet is not a substitute for veterinary care. If you need additional information, please contact your veterinarian as appropriate.