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Zebra Danio
Danio rerio

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This black and white horizontally striped agile shoaling fish usually stays close beneath the water surface. It grows to about 6cm lenght and fits well into a normal community aquarium. There is also a spotted breedingform that is usually sold under the common name Leopard Danio or "frankei". When the spotted form first hit the market many aquarists thought that it was a new species. The Zebra Danio is native to India and prefers slightly cool water of about 18 to 24°C. Regular waterchanges to keep up the water quality is much appretiated. Well fitting coverglass above the aquarium is highly recommend, because they like to jump and may jump out of the aquarium if they get the chance.

The scientiffic name was recently changed from Brachydanio rerio to Danio rerio by Fang Fang Kullander in the doctoral dissertation "Phylogeny and Species Diversity of the South and Southeast Asian Cyprinid Genus Danio Hamilton (Teleostei, Cyprinidae)." The Zebra Danio is one of the most studied labroatory species in the medical embryo research field and also have been a great help in water quality studies. An other scientiffic note about the species is that there is a big project going on in the USA to map the whole genome (the genetic code) for the species.

I have bred Zebra Danios and it is very easy to breed them in a shoal. Because the adults eat the eggs the aquarist will have to take some precaution to protect the eggs. There are many was to do this. I personally used a large home made basket made of plastic mesh that I hung inside the breeding aquarium. The females were put in the basket a few days before the males. The breeding aquarium should have about two degrees warmer water than the fish are used to from the holding tank. After the males are put into the basket and the fish will soon start to spawn, usually the next day. When the eggs are released they will fall through the holes in the mesh and will be out of reach from the gluttonous adults. If you don't want to use a mesh it will also do fine with pepples or glass marbles on the aquarium bottom that the eggs can fall in between. An other way is to use a lot of plants where the Zebra Danios also eagerly spawn.

After the eggs are laid you can move the adults back to the holding tank. The rearing of the fries is fairly easy. When the small fries hatch they still have a small yolk sac. When they start to eat it is reccomended to feed them small live infosoria for a week before moving on to live brine shrimp (artemia) nauplies and larger foods. Within a few months they will grow up and become adults. The ordinary lifespan of a Zebra Danio in an aquarium is about three years.



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