Zebrafish (Danio rerio): Care, Feeding, Breeding and Pictures

Zebrafish (Brachydanio rerio or Danio rerio) is a cyprinid native to the freshwater of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. It enjoys a lot of popularity among those who like to have home aquariums, because their basic needs are very easy to cover. It receives the name of zebra for its appearance, being also called danio or banderita.


With a tiny size, between 5 and 6 centimeters only, the color of its body is gold or silver, with stripes of a dark blue crossing its length. If you want to know everything you need to have a Zebrafish at home, do not miss this article from fishlists about zebrafish care.

Prepare the aquarium

Although the Zebrafish is a small fish, it requires a spacious aquarium,due to its nature as a great swimmer and the fact that it prefers to ride in shoals. Therefore, we recommend you to acquire an aquarium of at least 70 liters, preferably with an elongated shape. There you can live quietly about 10 zebrafish.

You must cover the bottom of the tank with gravel,about 7 millimeters thick will suffice. In addition, add some plants,such as ferns, java moss and other rooted varieties to recreate the habitat properly. Ideally, you should place the plants mainly on the sides, so that the Zebrafish can come and go along the fish tank without any obstacles.

Above the temperature, this species is able to survive between 24 and 28 degrees Celsius, although the ideal is to keep it at 27 degrees. The pH of the water should be conserved at a neutral level, between 7.3 and 7.5. To control the temperature, you need to purchase a thermostat and a heater. Similarly, lighting is important, so the fish tank should receive about 13 hours of light per day.


This fish is usually very jumping, so you should cover the top of the fish tank with a mesh small enough so that the specimens do not fit.

Finally, an electric filter to purify and a wheel that gives movement to the water, imitating the fast sweet currents where this species lives, will form your ideal aquarium for zebrafish.

Feeding the zebrafish

The Zebrafish is an omnivorous animal, so imitating its diet and providing it with all the necessary nutrients is quite simple. Commercial food for tropical fish will be fine for this species, always in the form of scales.

However, it is always preferable to feed our animals in the most natural way possible, so we recommend supplementing (or basing) the diet of your zebrafish based on artemia and mosquito larvae, very small crustaceans (even those prepared with shrimp or prawns that can be found in pet stores) and even some boiled vegetables in tiny proportions.

This type of food should be exchanged for raw and even live prey when it is intended to mate the zebra. Similarly, fry require another type of feeding.

General tips

With the above mentioned your zebrafish will have enough to live well. However, we can still give you some essential recommendations that will help you in the care of zebrafish:


First days with your Zebrafish

  • If you come home with your zebrafish straight from the pet store, it should not stay for a long time in the plastic bag with water in which they usually give it to you at the establishment. Before 8 hours have elapsed you must introduce it into your new home, with clean water. Otherwise, he will die.
  • Avoid unnecessary stress on your zebrafish: under no circumstances do you take it out of the tank, even when changing the water. It is only essential that you change the aquarium when you intend to mate them.
  • The collective is very important for zebrafish, so you should not ignore the recommendation that it is absolutely necessary to keep them in a group. Not only will this prevent aggressive behavior, but you’ll be entertained by watching them swim synchronously.
  • They can coexist with other species,such as lochas or rasboras. Avoid placing as a company fish with a calm personality, because the hyperactivity of the zebra will stress them easily.

Aquarium maintenance

  • A temperature below 24 degrees Celsius will only shorten the life of the fish, estimated at 3 or 4 years at most. Always keep it at 27 degrees.
  • Tap water can be used to fill the fish tank, but you will need to treat it. To do this, it acquires not only the water purifier, but also sodium thiosulfate in solution. Add it to the water before pouring it into the aquarium.
  • If you have problems with the pH of the water, buy in veterinary stores products to regulate acidity.
  • When filling the aquarium you should never completely cover it to the top, leave a few centimeters free on top to provide oxygen.
  • The cleaning of the tank or aquarium is indispensable. Acquire a siphon to suck the waste accumulated in the gravel of the ground, while you take off with a spatula any dirt adhered to the glass. With the same siphon, remove only 15% of the water to change it.
  • During grooming, also clean the filter and heater.

Food Tips

  • Zebrafish have their mouths on top of their heads, so they will only eat the food that floats around them. Spread some food on top and let the fish eat it. If after 10 minutes there is still floating debris, do not feed it again and place a little less next time.
  • Over-feeding them can lead to death.
  • If you offer them processed shrimp or prawns, clean them with a little water to remove the excess salt they contain.
  • The food should be small in size, because they consume it without chewing, in one bite.
  • They need to eat only twice a day.

Reproduction of zebrafish

The zebrafish, scientific name Brachydanio rerio,is a species native to the fresh waters of India and Pakistan. It has become a very popular fish because it requires very simple care, making it ideal for novice caregivers..


As far as zebrafish reproduction is concerned, there are some particularities that must be taken into consideration, not only for the fry to be born, but also for them to grow strong and healthy. Keep reading this fishlists article to find out all about this species.

Before reproduction

Zebrafish are sociable animals, so having groups of adults of between 6 and 10 fish is ideal. When they do not belong to a school, these fish become violent, irritable and nervous, which is negative not only for their overall health, but also for their reproduction. We recommend a large fish tank, so they can swim at ease.

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Make sure your school has both male and female fish. Males are usually thinner, with a crossed golden body with bluish lines, while females have a bulker belly with blue lines and a white body.

Their life expectancy, in optimal conditions, is a maximum of 4 years. They reach sexual maturity from 8 months, but some specimens can take up to 16 before they can mate. They reproduce at any time of the year,so it will be up to you to offer them the ideal setting for this.

When you’ve decided it’s time to breed, feed the schooling fish with live food a couple of weeks before mating. Add in the tank or fish tank larvae of mosquitoes, insects, daphnias and artemia. This type of food will not only contribute to the health of the young, but also stimulates the mating process.

The mating of zebrafish

After two weeks of live food, choose the female with the largest abdomen, an indicator that she carries a large number of eggs, and two males that look active. If you want more offspring you can also mate more fish, always counting two males for each female.

It is necessary to condition a separate fish tank only for mating and breeding, because adult fish devour the eggs and their own children. Transfer prospective parents to this fish tank overnight and wait 24 to 48 hours for spawning.

You will notice that at dawn the males will begin to run to the female, who will try to flee from them. This is completely normal in the mating ritual. When the female is tired, she will accept the male and expel the eggs, which will fall to the bottom of the fish tank, where they will be fertilized by the male. There will be between 200 and 400 eggs. After this process, return all the adults to the large fish tank with the rest of the school.


What should the breeding tank look like?

Before mating and spawning, the fish tank for breeding and breeding, smaller than that of the school, must be conditioned in a specific way.

Get a fish tank or aquarium of about 20 liters. The water temperature should be 27 degrees Celsius. Zebrafish eggs don’t stick on their own, so you’ll need to find a way so they can be sheltered and safe. We offer you 3 options for this:

  • Place marbles at the bottom of the fish tank to protect the eggs.
  • Install a mesh net of fine holes about five centimeters from the bottom of the aquarium.
  • Cover the floor of your fish tank with thick gravel.

Any of these methods will serve to build a space in which the eggs can remain static and be away from the parents at the exact moment of spawning. Apart from this, add a sponge filter with aeration,thermostat to check the water temperature and some floating plants. This will create a suitable environment for the little ones who are about to be born.

In addition, you must cover three of the faces of the aquarium to control the entry of the sun, which should only be given directly in the morning, through the face that is uncovered.

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During mating, the water in the tank should be very little, enough to cover the method you have implemented to protect the eggs, plus something extra for the parents to swim. The idea is that the eggs fall as soon as possible in a safe place, because the female devours them as she expels them.

At the end of spawning and when you have removed the parents from the breeding tank, add more water and a few drops of methylene blue to prevent the appearance of fungi.

Hatching and youth

The eggs hatch on the third day of spawning. You will notice small transparent spots attached to the crystals of the fish tank. During this stage it is not necessary to provide them with food, as they feed on the yolk sac itself.

Between day 5 or 6 they will begin to venture through the fish tank on short trips and you will have to feed them with powdered fry food and boiled egg yolk in tiny dimensions, which you will offer them in small quantities so as not to dirty the tank unnecessarily. At this stage the aquarium continues to be covered.

As the fry grow, the water level increases, and they are offered longer hours of light. For the essential water changes, use only the tube of your sponge filter, otherwise you will not be able to change it without affecting the fry. In order to optimize cleaning, it is also feasible that you add to the tank some live snails, which will be responsible for ingesting the waste.

Soon, from day 10 or 12, you will be able to feed them with homemade porridge and artemia larvae. Mortality is very high, but by three months they will have reached adulthood. You can place them in the cardumen tank, if the size of it allows you so many specimens together. Otherwise, it is advisable to acquire another.

If you want to read more articles similar to Zebrafish care, we recommend that you visit our Basic care section.