Albino Zebra Danio

Albino Zebrafish, Albino Zebra Fish

Family: Cyprinidae Albino Zebra Danio, Danio rerio variety, Albino ZebrafishDanio rerioPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy Ken Childs

The Albino Zebra Danio is an active robust little fish that makes an attractive addition to a community aquarium!

The Albino Zebra Danio is a naturally occurring color morph of the Zebra Danio. It is a small pretty fish, only growing to about 2 1/4 inches (6 cm) in length. This variety is lacking the pigmentation on its body surface that gives its parentage the distinctive "zebra" striping, and thus their common name. Still it is every bit as active and hardy, and is very lovely in its albino form. It is well suited for a lively community tank with other energetic tankmates. Other common names it is known by are Albino Zebrafish and Albino Zebra Fish.

Like its progenitors this charming little Cyprinid is an ideal fish for the beginner, and is enjoyed by advanced aquarists as well. It is lively, attractive, and a prolific breeder. It is schooling fish and should be kept in a small group of at least three, ideally ten. Being small, a school is suited to a smaller aquarium with 20 gallons being optimal. They can be housed with most any community fish, just make sure that the danio will not be eaten and that the other fish aren’t startled by swift movement.

Their aquarium needs, care and feeding are the same as their parentage. They can withstand an impressive range of water temperature and conditions. These fish will generally do just fine without a water heater, as they are comfortable down to the low sixties (F). But even though they are not finicky about water conditions, it's best to not keep your aquarium at any extreme.

For a very attractive effect in your aquarium try a mixed school by combining the pretty Albino Zebra Danios with some regular Zebra Danios. A mix like this will provide a nice contrast of swift moving, darting color. Mixing even more varieties, like the Golden Zebra Danio, Leopard Danio, and Longfin Blue Danio works equally well and creates a really exciting effect. Don’t be surprised if the school spends a lot of time in the water flow of the filters or pumps as this is reminiscent of the swift moving waters found in their natural environment.

For Information on keeping freshwater fish, see:
Freshwater Aquarium Guide: Aquarium Setup and Care


Geographic Distribution
Danio rerio
Data provided by FishBase.org
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Actinopterygii
  • Order: Cypriniformes
  • Family: Cyprinidae
  • Genus: Danio
  • Species: rerio
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Albino Zebra Danio - Quick Aquarium Care
  • Size of fish - inches: 2.4 inches (5.99 cm)
  • Minimum Tank Size: 10 gal (38 L)
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Aquarium Hardiness: Very Hardy
  • Temperature: 64.0 to 75.0° F (17.8 to 23.9° C)
  • Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner
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Habitat: Distribution / Background

The Zebra Danio Danio rerio (previously Brachydanio rerio) was described by Hamilton in 1822. They are found in Asia from Pakistan to India and as far as Myanmar. The Albino Zebra Danio is a color morph of the Zebra Danio. It is a naturally occurring color form found in the wild and many are captive bred for the aquarium industry. This species is listed on the IUCN Red List as Least Concern (LC) as they are widespread throughout their range with no major identified threats. Other common names they are known by include Albino Zebrafish and Albino Zebra Fish.

This fish shows a preference to the lower reaches of streams, canals, ditches, and ponds. However their habitat does vary depending on the time of year. During the wet season they are found in large numbers in seasonal pools and rice paddies where they feed and spawn, then the adults migrate back to the faster moving waters followed by the young when they reach maturity. The substrate of the clear freshwater streams is normally rocky and shaded, while the still waters are silty with dense vegetation. In the wild these fish are considered micropredators and feed on worms, small aquatic crustaceans, insects and insect larvae.

  • Scientific Name: Danio rerio
  • Social Grouping: Groups
  • IUCN Red List: LC - Least Concern

Description

The Albino Zebra Danio has a slender compressed body. There is a barbel at the end of each lip. These are small fish reaching lengths of only up to about 2 1/4 inches (6 cm) in the aquarium, though they can get slightly larger in a pond. They are thought to be primarily an annual species in the wild, but in captivity can have a lifespan of 3 to 4 years, though some have lived up to 5 1/2 years with proper care.

This albino color variety is a naturally occurring phenomenon of the Zebra Danio with an absence of pigments on the fish’s body surface. This fish should not be confused with the Pearl Danio Danio albolineatus, which is an entirely different species.

  • Size of fish - inches: 2.4 inches (5.99 cm)
  • Lifespan: 4 years - They have an average lifespan of about 3 1/2 years, though some have lived up to 5 1/2 years with proper care.

Fish Keeping Difficulty

The Albino Zebra Danio is a great choice for beginners, and are great companions in a community aquarium. These fish will eat just about anything that is offered, as long as it floats at the surface where they can readily consume it. They tolerate water condition changes with out too many issues and can even be kept without a heater.

  • Aquarium Hardiness: Very Hardy
  • Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner

Foods and Feeding

These fish are omnivorous feeding mostly on a variety of worms, small crustaceans, and insect larvae in the wild. In the aquarium they will eat most any prepared or live aquarium food, though it does need to float at the surface.. They enjoy chasing after tubifex worms, whether living or freeze dried. These fish will do best when offered food several times a day, but offer what they can eat in 3 minutes or less at each feeding. If you feed only once per day, provide what they can eat in about 5 minutes.

  • Diet Type: Omnivore
  • Flake Food: Yes
  • Tablet Pellet: Yes
  • Live foods (fishes, shrimps, worms): Some of Diet
  • Vegetable Food: Some of Diet
  • Meaty Food: Some of Diet
  • Feeding Frequency: Several feedings per day - Offer only what they can consume in 3 minutes or less with multiple feedings per day.

Aquarium Care

These fish are easy to care for, mostly just needing the water to be kept clean. Aquariums are closed systems and regardless of size all need some maintenance. Over time decomposing organic matter, nitrates, and phosphate build up and the water hardness increases due to evaporation. Replace 25 - 50% of the tank water at least once a month. If the tank is densely stocked 20 - 25% should be replaced weekly or every other week.

  • Water Changes: Monthly - It the tank is densely stocked the water changes should be done every other week.

Aquarium Setup

The Albino Zebra Danio is a schooling species that will spend most time in the top and middle regions, particularly if there is open water or water current. This fish as fairly hardy and will adapt to most aquarium conditions. The waters they inhabit in the wild are acidic, but the stock now available in the hobby is many generations past this. Though a school of danios can be kept in a smaller aquarium, they will do best in about a 20 gallon size. Provide good filtration and the tank should be covered as these fish may jump.

These fish are most effectively displayed in tanks which bring out their colors. Use Sub-dued lighting and a dark colored fine gravel or sand substrate for the best effect. Try to plan for one or two hours of sunlight hitting the tank at a time when you can view it, as the illumination will make the fish even more stunning.

As with most of the Cyprinid fish they are most at home in well planted aquariums, and a variety of plants will make them feel safe. Some good selections include Water Wisteria, Hornwort, and Java Fern. As these fish are also extremely active swimmers they will need some open areas for swimming.

  • Minimum Tank Size: 10 gal (38 L)
  • Suitable for Nano Tank: Yes
  • Substrate Type: Any
  • Lighting Needs: Moderate - normal lighting
  • Temperature: 64.0 to 75.0° F (17.8 to 23.9° C)
  • Range ph: 6.0-8.0
  • Hardness Range: 2 - 20 dGH
  • Brackish: No
  • Water Movement: Moderate
  • Water Region: All - They will spend most of the time in the top and middle regions of the aquarium, particularly if there is open water or some current.

Social Behaviors

The lively Albino Zebra Danio makes a good community fish. It will get along with its own kind and most other species. They are best kept in a school of 5 or more of their own kind. Groups of this fish can be hierarchal and a pecking order may emerge in the school, but nothing will come of it. Select tank mates that are similar in temperament. You want tankmates that can keep up with the fast paced lifestyle of this fish. Mellower tankmates that need a calmer environment can become stressed.

  • Temperament: Peaceful - They are good community fish with other tankmates that are also fast moving fish.
  • Compatible with:
    • Same species - conspecifics: Yes - They are best kept in groups of 5 or more.
    • Peaceful fish (): Safe - Tankmates need to be able to tolerate the lively nature of this species.
    • Semi-Aggressive (): Threat
    • Aggressive (): Threat
    • Large Semi-Aggressive (): Threat
    • Large Aggressive, Predatory (): Threat
    • Slow Swimmers & Eaters (): Monitor - Large groups of Zebra Danios may make these fish nervous because of their activity level.
    • Shrimps, Crabs, Snails: Safe - not aggressive
    • Plants: Safe

Sex: Sexual differences

The females are larger, and more fuller bodied than the males, which are more streamlined and slim.

Breeding / Reproduction

The Albino Zebra Danios are very easy to breed, and it may even occur on accident. Two fish will form a breeding pair which they often keep for life. If you wish to retain the young, the breeding tank should be empty except for a two inch layer of large glass marbles, 1/2 to 1 inch in diameter. Add the female to the tank and let her settle for about a day before adding the male. When they are both in the tank, adding a few cups of cold water will cause the courtship to begin.

If conditions are favorable, the female will release her eggs in open water and the male will fertilize. The eggs will then sink to the bottom and fall through the marbles, out of their parents reach. The fry will emerge from the marbles after about 7 days. At that time or before, parents should either be removed or kept constantly well fed. See the description of breeding techniques in: Breeding Freshwater Fish: Barbs. Also see Fish Food for Fry for information about types of foods for raising the young.

  • Ease of Breeding: Easy

Fish Diseases

Albino Zebra Danios are extremely hardy and disease is not usually a problem in a well maintained aquarium. They are primarily susceptible to Ich if good water quality is not provided. With any additions to a tank such as new fish, plants, substrates, and decorations there is a risk of introducing disease. It's advisable to properly clean or quarantine anything that you want add to an established tank prior to introduction, so as not to upset the balance.

These fish are very resilient but knowing the signs of illness, and catching and treating them early makes a huge difference. An outbreak of disease can often be limited to just one or a few fishes if you deal with it at an early stage. The best way to proactively prevent disease is to give your fish the proper environment and a well balanced diet. The closer to their natural habitat the less stress the fish will have, making them healthier and happy. A stressed fish will is more likely to acquire disease. For information about freshwater fish diseases and illnesses, see Aquarium Fish Diseases and Treatments.

Availability

The Albino Zebra Danios are readily available and inexpensive. They can be found in pet stores, on the internet, and through mail order.

References

Author: Barbara Roth, Clarice Brough CFS
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