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Danio choprae



    A tiny danio with an aurore of brilliant colors and almost psychedelic patterning! Ruby reds, mustard yellows, smoky blues…these fish don’t fade into the background!
Quick stats:

Listed tank sizes are the minimum
Size: Male/unsexed: 1.22 in (3.1 cm)
Tank: School of 6: 15 gallons (56.8 liters) or larger.
Strata: Bottom (benthopelagic)
pH: pH range: 6.0 – 7.0
Hardness: Soft to medium. dH range: 5 – 19.
Temperature: 66°F to 75°F (19-24°C)


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


Common name:


Dwarf danio

    , Dwarf spotted danio


    Asia: Irrawaddy in northern Myanmar. Occurring in streams and wells.

General Body Form:A moderately-rounded, laterally-elongated fusiform shape. Size diminutive. Fins are moderate to long in length, caudal fin is homocercal. Terminal mouth. Males are more slimly-built than females, whose bodies are also slightly deeper to accommodate roe. (These smaller fish are anatomically similar to conspecifics, yet slightly less active.)

Coloration:In the type standard, the field color is a countershaded warm brown, blending ventrally into either silver or gold. Head, dorsum and flanks from anal fin to caudal peduncle are flushed terracotta red. Two to three slate blue stripes extend from the nose to where the caudal fin joins the body. A series of slate blue bars begin anterior to the anal fin before devolving into spots near the pelvic fin. Pectoral fins are transparent silver, anal fins are transparent mustard yellow with a touch of white. Dorsal fin is transparent with a mustard yellow striped underlined in black. The caudal fin has the yellow and black combination of stripes both proximally and distally. The pelvic fin is transparent with a bold yellow stripe proximal to the body, underlined by black and lined with white. A much brighter, flashier color morph of this species appears in the aquarium trade. This, one of the most vividly colored and marked of the danio species, is often referred to as the Glowlight danio ( a nod to their resemblance to Glowlight tetras, not GlowFish, a variety of Zebrafish to which theser fish are closely related.) In this version, every color is pushed to maximum saturation, most prominently in the seen in the amplified yellows and the terracotta being replaced by a warm ruby red. Bodies may appear a dichroic blue-green and the silver abdomens may be brightened to a brilliant white. If another comparison could be drawn both in size and finery, D. choprae bears a very handsome comparison to several of the Pseudomugil species.


Diet:Omnivorous: Feeding primarily of insects and larvae in nature, in the aquarium, D. choprae 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 (an easy extravagance with such tiny fish.) 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. Likewise, you could opt for a plants native to a Southeast Asian shallow water habitat by opting instead for cryptocorynes and java moss. D. choprae is a tiny, 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 66.2 – 75.2°F (19 – 24°C.) Water hardness is fairly flexible, ranging from soft to moderately hard water. A tank may run with fairly calm water or an airstone or powerhead may be added to boost saturated oxygen and circulation in set-ups simulating streams. 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. choprae 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. One of the most colorful, peaceful and interesting fish for longer nano tanks as these are brisk, avid swimmers. They excel in groups of 8 – 10 or greater, with males demonstrating brighter colors as they compete with rivals for the attention of females and are best kept in a ratio of 1 male to 2 females. Males can be territorial, a behavior which can be reduced by keeping a greater number of fish. Peaceful, similarly-sized tankmates could include other smaller danios, corydoras, kilifish, livebearers, microdevarios, microrasboras, otocinclus, pseudomugils and even invertebrates such as shrimp and snails. D. choprae are native to streams, so loaches such as Acanthocobitis botia or Botia kubotai would also be natural additions. 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. choprae is accustomed to cool, wells and well-oxygenated running water in the form of streams.


Oviparous: Eggscatters: Moderate. 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. choprae 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.

References:Celestichthys choprae
Glowlight Danio
Danio choprae
TFH Featured Article Issue: October 2007 Breeding Danio choprai Hora 1928
Danio choprae.
Cryptocoryne Balansae (Cryptocoryne crispatula ‘Balansae’)
Java Moss

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