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Danio nigrofasciatus



    A truly beautiful fish with the benefits of multiple danios combined…stripes, spots and a fine net of dorsal scales lined in soft gray. One of the smallest of the danios, you get to enjoy all the benefits of this high-impact fish while maintaining space for variety in a peaceful community tank.
Quick stats:

Listed tank sizes are the minimum
Size: Male/unsexed: 1.46 in (3.7 cm)
Tank: 12 gallons (45.4 liters) or larger
Strata: Bottom (benthopelagic)
pH: pH range: 6.5 – 7.0
Hardness: Soft to medium. dH range: 5 – 12.
Temperature: 75°F to 83°F (24-28°C)


Order: Cypriniformes
Suborder: Cyprinoidei
Family: Cyprinidae
Genera: Danio
Species: Danio nigrofasciatus


Common name:


Dwarf danio

    , Dwarf spotted danio


    Asia: Northern Myanmar. Primarily occupies rivers. Also known to occur in river drainages, roadside ditches, small streams, a few small pools and rice paddies, all subject to large fluctuations during monsoon season. Some areas may be prone to drying out seasonally, resulting in greatly reduced populations.

General Body Form:A moderately-rounded, laterally-elongated fusiform shape. Size diminutive. Fins are moderate-length and rounded with homocercal caudal fin. Males are more slimly-built than females, whose bodies are also slightly deeper. (While anatomically similar to Zebra danio, these smaller fish are typically a little less active.)

Coloration:The body’s field is opalescent—golden dorsally, silver ventrally and punctuated with a dramatic set of stripes and small spots along the flanks. Running from operculum through the caudal fin, a bright white line has a fine dark line above it and a bolder dark line below. A line of very fine spots trace below this last pigment line. A fine net of soft gray traces the margins of otherwise plain dorsal scales. Dorsal, anal and pelvic fins are transparent with faint brown edging (more dominant in males than females) and the anal fin features spots key to identifying the species.


Diet:Omnivorous: Feeding primarily of insects and larvae in nature, in the aquarium, D. nigrofasciatus eagerly accepts live and frozen bloodworm, brine shrimp, daphnia, tubifex, mosquito larvae and zooplankton as well as quality small pellet and flake variety diets (depending on the size of the fish, bloodwoom may need to be crushed slightly before feeding.) For best coloration, live and frozen proteins should be offered at least part of the time. Being tiny, non-competitive surface feeders, it may be best to use a feeding ring to contain foods during small once or twice daily feedings.



    1. Danios enjoy the longest tank you can afford them. A small stream or riverine tank can be established with a substrate of gravel, small stones or water-worn small, variably-sized boulders. Driftwood, branches and plants serve multiple purposes—décor, cover and, in the case of the plants, increased biological filtration. Anubias and water ferns are recommended both for their ability to be secured to driftwood and rocks as well as their hardiness in a tank with a moderately strong current. D. nigrofacisatus is a shy, nervous fish and is much more extroverted and secure in a tank well-planted with either live or artificial plants, especially one that has the occasional open space for strong bursts of swimming. For best success, low lighting (of 45 – 60 watts) is recommended. This might be accomplished by keeping the tank by a window with moderate morning sunlight. With higher light and the addition of CO2, both plants grow quickly and lushly, so ensure your water column contains the sufficient nutrients. Both darker substrate and plants have the effect of brightening the coloration of the fish. Their colors are lustrous and most prismatic in morning light and under full-spectrum lighting. begin with mature, cycled water that is pH neutral and between 75.2 – 82.4°F (24°C – 28°C.) Water hardness is fairly flexible, ranging from soft to moderately hard water. An airstone may be added to boost saturated oxygen or a mild to moderate-strength powerhead for additional circulation. Remember to balance the diminutive size of this fish, the aquarium size and the increased current/circulation of powerheads and airstones. This fish is a surface feeder and over-bearing currents can make something as essential as feeding exhausting. Ensure stretches of calmer water for resting, simulating marginal areas in their natural habitats. Excellent filtration as well as 20 – 30% water changes performed, at minimum, bi-weekly, are recommended as D. nigrofasciatus is sensitive to water quality. Danio are strong swimmers and are prone to jumping, so be sure to provide a tight-fitting lid for your aquarium. This very peaceful little fish is stunning in a species-only tank and are perfect tank-mates for a non-aggressive community tank. In groups of 8 – 10 or greater, males demonstrate brighter colors as they compete with rivals for the attention of females. They’re best kept in a ratio of 2 males to 3 females. Pearl danios, wrestling halfbeaks and thick-lipped gouramis occur indigenously with D. nigrofasciatus. Excellent tankmates might include similarly-sized, peaceful microdevarios of the species kubotai or nana, other danios such as Danio choprae or D. aesculpii, as well as small tetras, rasboras, livebearers and either corydoras or otocinclus. One endearing trait of danios is their ability to be dither fish, calming others and assuring them freedom from predation with the regular, whirling motion of their swimming patterns, coaxing more nervous fish out of hiding.



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Biotope:Freshwater: In nature, D. nigrofasciatus is accustomed to cool, well-oxygenated running water in the form of springs as well as calm bodies of water such as pools, ditches and rice paddies


Oviparous: Eggscatters: Moderate to Easy. Sexual dimorphism: Females grow slightly larger and more deeply-bodied and are rounder when gravid than smaller, slimmer-bodied males. Without intervention in a densely-planted aquarium, it’s possible for small numbers of fry will survive (although they’ll do so in absence of parental care.) For greater fry survival, a spawning tank may be established. A breeding tank– at least 10 – 20 gallons (37.9 – 75.7 liters)–with marbles as substrate allow the eggs to fall between the marbles and safely out of reach of their parents mouths. Additionally, your tank should have heated, mature water, a sponge filter and an air stone for oxygenation and circulation (the addition of baby grass, java moss or spawning mops is optional as the safest place for the eggs to fall is between the marbles.) At least a week prior to spawning, condition the parents on a diet rich in protein such as bloodworms, brine shrimp or tubifex worms which will help build roe in the female. When the female(s) to be spawned appear gravid (their abdomens will be distended with eggs and a small dark spot will appear just before the fish’s urogenital opening,) one or two pair should be placed into the breeding tank toward evening (as spawning will occur around dawn.) To encourage spawning, small amounts of cool water may be added to the tank every few hours. When ready, the female releases close to 20 – 50 eggs, with the male following, fertilizing the eggs as he swims along. D. nigrofaciatus provides no aftercare for the eggs, so it’s best to remove the adults within 24 – 48 hours of spawning. Incubation of the eggs generally takes 24 -36 hours (sooner if the water is a little warmer,) during which keeping a tank dark can help reduce fungal growth. A dim tank will also help the fry which are sensitive to light. The fry being free-swimming within 6 to 7 days. Initially offer the fry green algae, small crustaceans, paramecium and protozoans common in aufwuch cultures, segueing to Artemia naupaii, microworm and crushed flake food in a week or so once the fry are large enough to accept the larger foods. There have been reports of D. nigrofasciatus cross-breeding with other Danio species, but these spawnings appear to result in infertile fry.

References:Brachydanio nigrofasciata
Dwarf Danio – Danio nigrofasciatus
TFH Featured Article Issue: March 2008 Danios Ahoy!
Danio nigrofasciatus (Day, 1870)

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