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The Ultimate Guide To The Celestial Pearl Danio – The Best Fish For A Planted Tank

Found in the freshwaters of Southeast Asia, and preferring small, vegetated ponds, the celestial pearl danio is an adorable little fish with plenty of personality and coloration to liven up any tank. If you have a well-planted community tank and are looking for a new, peaceful addition to your group, consider raising the celestial pearl danio.

This fish is an absolutely gem, with a calm, easy going temperament that allows it to get along well with any other kinds of fish. It is a great addition to a tank that already houses fish such as mollies, tetras, and guppies. Easy to care for and even easier to adore, the celestial pearl danio is an obvious choice for your aquarium habitat.The Ultimate Guide To The Celestial Pearl Danio

Celestial Pearl Danio Background

Also known as the Galaxy Rasbora, the celestial pearl danio was only discovered in 2006. Although it is a new fish among the aquarium hobbyist trade, the fish has vibrant colors and a peaceful temperament that make it an obvious choice for any aquarium. It is extremely popular, so although it is a newer species, it can be found in just about any pet or aquarium store.

This fish is known scientifically as danio margaritatus and is a member of the Cyprinidae family. It relies on plants for sustenance, and in return adds a vibrant display of color and activity to your aquarium tank. There’s some argument in the scientific community, with some saying that they should be categories with other danio fish, like the dwarf danio fish, because they have the same general shape. Others argue that they should be grouped with other types of fish because of their general shape and pattern.

Regardless, the celestial pearl danio makes a great addition to any aquarium. A freshwater fish found in small, vegetated shallow ponds in South East Asia, this fish can be found in greatest populations in Myanmar. The ponds that the fish prefer tend to have low water movement and plenty of light. The light and low flow cause vegetation and algae to thrive.

Celestial pearl danios prefer these areas because it gives them plenty of places in which to hide and feed. These fish love to have high levels of vegetation and hiding places like rocks or driftwood.

Celestial Pearl Danio Appearance And Behavior

Celestial Pearl Danio 2
Photo by Peter Maguire

The celestial pearl danio is one of the most attractive freshwater fish species you can find. It adds color and energy to a plant backdrop. With a white spotted body and red or orange fins, the celestial pearl danio stands out among its peers. Even though it is small – usually only about an inch from head to tail – it is distinctive.

Celestial pearl danios have fins with two dark black lines that run parallel along the body. These fins are either bright red or orange, depending on the sex of your fish. Celestial pearl danios have sexual dimorphism, meaning the males and females look quite different. Therefore, it is incredibly easy to tell them apart.

Males tend to be thinner than females, and have more vibrant hues, particularly on their tails. Females tend to be fuller and rounder. Males who are ready to breed will develop even deeper coloration, usually a dark red hue on their stomachs.

When you are purchasing your celestial pearl danios, keep this in mind – you may feel more inclined to purchase the brighter colored fish, but this is a mistake if you to maintain a healthy group (or if you’d like to maintain a breeding population).

Celestial Pearl Danio 3
Photo by BugManLE

However, purchasing only brightly colored fish can be problematic in that you may accidentally only purchase males. A male-only tank will not only eliminate your ability to breed the fish later on down the line, but it will also create behavioral issue. Males will feel more inclined to fight each other for mates, even if there are no females present. Therefore, maintaining an even ratio of males to females will help cut down on fighting and keep good balance in your tank.

Constantly on the move, the celestial pearl danio prefers to hang out in and explore the lower portions of the tank. A small, shy fish, it should be kept only with a community of like minded fish that mirror it’s behaviors and size. Otherwise, it may fall victim to aggression from other, larger, or more predatory fish.

These fish like to school, so you can keep that in mind when you are purchasing your celestial pearl danio. Groups of six or more are ideal, allowing them to cluster together as they explore the bottom of your tank.

When you have both male and female celestial pearl danios in your tank, you may notice them engaging in regular courting behavior. Males will spend a good portion of third y courting the females, and when they’re not actively courting, they will likely be fighting other males. Keep an eye out for detrimental signs of fighting, such as bite marks and torn fins. Damaged fins can lead to a variety of diseases and other potential problems.

Celestial Pearl Danio Tank And Water Requirements

Celestial Pearl Danio 4
Photo by Peter Maguire

When setting up the tank for your celestial pearl danio, there isn’t much you need to do especially for these fish, but you should keep in mind that there are certain condition you should incorporate to replicate the fish’s natural environment.

For starters, make sure you include plenty of plants, ideally those that are buried within a relatively dark-colored substrate. Celestial pearl danios can adapt to a wide variety of aquatic plants, which not only provide your fish with food and hiding spots, but also help to filter toxins out of the tank and keep it clean. Celestial pearl danios may also lay their eggs in the plants, too.

Celestial pearl danios are hardy fish, and can tolerate a wide range of temperatures and pH values. They can usually handle temperatures from 73 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit, with an ideal pH around 6.5 and 7.5. Hardness should be soft to medium. The most convenient aspect of raising celestial pearl danios is that you can play with these values a bit – you don’t need to adhere to these exact conditions. As long as the temperature and pH are kept relatively stable, you should have no problem keeping your fish healthy.

Celestial Pearl Danio 5
Photo by Aaryn

Because of their natural environment, celestial pearl danios need minimal water flow. They are used to nearly stagnant or very slow-moving bodies of water, so you can keep your filter on a lower setting. You should give them moderate or relatively high amounts of light. This will not only help your celestial pearl danios thrive, but it will also keep your aquatic plants growing and thriving.

Your tank should be a minimum of ten gallons in volume. If you only have five or six fish, you can get away with a tank on the smaller size, but groups with more individuals or those with larger numbers of males will need large tanks. Ideally, the more fish you keep, the larger tank you should purchase. Aim for a tank size of two gallons per fish.

Your tank should also be kept somewhat shallow in depth. This will call to mind the celestial pearl danios proclivity to reside in shallow waters, making it feel comfortable and relaxed in its new environment.

Decorating A Celestial Pearl Danio Tank

Celestial Pearl Danio 6
Photo by Alex Bortoluzzi

Hiding places – particularly plants – are of utmost importance when you are setting up the tank for your celestial pearl danio. Without place sot hide, you may have issues with aggression and injury among your fish. Males are in almost constant competition with other males. They like to hide among the plants to avoid extreme harassment, which can lead to injury and occasional death.

Rocks and driftwood are also ideal in your tank, as these mimic the natural environment of the fish. Make sure you clean and sanitize any new additions to your tank before putting them in, as this can prevent the spread of unpleasant diseases in your tank.

What Do Celestial Pearl Danio Eat?

Celestial Pearl Danio 7
Photo by Lindy de Bruyn

Celestial pearl danios are not picky eaters, and in their natural environments will eat a wide range of foods. They prefer to eat plant matter, such algae and plants as well as zooplankton, but will also eat small invertebrates and worms. They are flexible, opportunistic eaters, meaning they can eat a varied diet with no ill effects.

As an aquarium species, they should be fed dry foods like flakes or pellets. Make sure you purchase a variety that is comprised of small flakes. Celestial pearl danios have incredibly tiny mouths, so fitting larger pieces of food in their can be a challenge.

You may also have problems feeding your celestial pearl danios if the fish are too frightened by other fish to eat. This commonly happens when you have too many fish in a tank, or if you are keeping too many males together. You may also see this when you add more aggressive fish species, like cichlids, to the tank.

You can feed them with sinking pellets if they have a tendency to hang out toward the bottom of the tank during feeding time. You can also use small frozen or live foods, like brine shrimp, krill, or white worms. These foods are low-cost and can help improve your celestial pearl danios health. There is some evidence to suggest that these foods can also improve the red coloration of your fish’s fins.

To further supplement your fish’s diet, consider adding foods like moina, grindal worms, and live daphnia. In addition to plants and other commercial foods, these ingredients will help keep them healthy and thriving.

Make sure you cycle the food that they eat, feeding them different foods so that they receive adequate variety in their diet. If you feel only one type of food, you risk a nutritional deficiency. You should keep a close eye on the tank during feeding times, only feeding your fish as much as it can eat in one sitting.

Get to know your individual fish, as some will be shier and some will be more bold. Shy fish may not get enough food, as the beaver individuals will venture out first and eat the fish that is meant for all of your fish, and not just one. Make sure your fish are not getting outcompeted for food. If they are, change up the way you are feeding your fish. Feed at different times or in different zones of your tank to give everybody a chance to eat.

Feed your celestial pearl danio twice or three times a day. Feeding only once a day can be problematic in that it can cause them to overeat and become sick. Feed regularly, but only in small amounts, feeding only the amount that your fish can eat in a few minutes. Providing too much food can cause your fish to become sick for overconsumption, as well as from the contamination of your tank’s water quality that will happen when debris begins to build up.

Celestial Pearl Danio Tank Mates

Celestial pearl danios can be kept with just about any other kinds of fish, just as long as those fish are of the same demeanors and sizes. Because these fish are so small and shy, they can easily be eaten or attacked by larger fish. Competition is not uncommon in these sorts of situations, either.

Keep in mind that although celestial pearl danios are shy, they can be aggressive when provoked. A small community, preferably one that is not overcrowded, comprised of similar fish species will be ideal. Consider fish like tetras, killifish, corydoras, and guppies to complement the shy, easygoing nature of the celestial pearl danio.

Neon tetras, in particular, are great tankmates for celestial pearl danios. This is because they bring additional color to the tank and tend to stay at the top of the tank while the celestial pearl danio will hang out at the bottom of the water column. You won’t have to worry about your fish competing for food or space if you always remember where they prefer to hang out in the tank.

Whenever possible, invest in fish that are of the same region or natural environment as the celestial pearl danio. This will ensure maximum compatibility when you house your fish together, and they will also be more likely to share the same general behaviors.

Celestial pearl danios will not attack other fish or species in your tank, but you should know that they have been documented as aggressors of juvenile shrimp. This is not an uncommon fish behavior, but one that you need to be aware of if you plan on breeding shrimp or keeping young individuals in your tank. They are a prey species for celestial pearl danios, and although adult shrimp are usually safe in the same tank, juvenile shrimp are an easy target.

Celestial pearl danios are schooling fish, and can live with tons of other fish as long as you provide plenty of room and make sure the fish you select are of a similar peaceful nature. In the wild, celestial pearl danios live in groups, so keeping them in groups of six or more is a great way to keep your fish healthy. You should keep them away from more aggressive fish like oscars or cichlids, as they will prey upon slower, smaller fish.

Common Celestial Pearl Danio Diseases

Celestial Pearl Danio 1
Photo by CheepShot

One of the most common diseases among celestial pearl danios, as it is with other aquarium fish, is fin rot. Fin rot is typically caused by poor water quality, but it is brought on in individual fish by damaged fins. Because celestial pearl danios are prone to fighting – particularly among the males – torn fins are not uncommon. This makes it easy for fin rot to set in.

Fin rot can cause a number of problems, leading to infection and potential death. If you see a fish with fin rot, you need to treat it immediately by performing a water change. In the future, increase the frequency and quality of water changes that you do, so you can prevent the build-up of bacteria in the water. You can then quarantine your fish and use an antibacterial medication, such as tetracycline, to increase the likelihood of the fish surviving.

Make sure you water the pH and temperature of your tank closely, as these can lead to a number of devastating diseases. Because celestial pearl danios are schooling fish, a disease in one fish can rapidly lead to illness in another. If your water parameters are not ideal, there is a greater likelihood of disease spreading.

Breeding And Life Spans Of Celestial Pearl Danios

Celestial pearl danios are some of the easiest fish species to breed because it is so easy to tell the difference between males and females. Female fish will be darker in color than males, and will also have rounded abdomens. Fish with rounded abdomens are those that are mature and ready for spawning, so you should make sure you create the ideal spawning environment for your fish as soon as you notice this.

Live food can stimulate spawning, as can an increase in light and temperature. These factors all indicate that conditions are optimal for breeding in the wild.

Celestial pearl danios are egg layers that will lay their eggs in places with minimal water movement. They can lay thirty eggs at a time, but usually do so in clusters of twelve. The eggs must be incubated for around three days, after which time they enter into a larval period and begin to swim.

If you happen to spot the eggs, act quickly. You will need to remove them from the tank and isolate them in a breeding tank. Male danios, as well as fish of other species, are known to eat eggs and will completely destroy your potential for breeding celestial pearl danios. You don’t need to have any kind of fancy set-up for a breeding tank – it should mimic the environment of your regular tank with plenty of vegetation and minimal water flow.

When your celestial pearl danios are young, you can feed them micro foods for the first few days. After that, you can feed baby brine shrimp until they are adults. They will grow rapidly from fry to adult, taking on adult coloration and full size within less than a year.

This fish can live up to three to five years in most environments, with aquariums possessing mostly stable conditions leading to the longest-lived of these species.

Is A Celestial Pearl Danio Right For You?

If you’re looking for a hardy, colorful new addition to your community aquarium, the celestial pearl danio might be the right choice for you. These hardy fish are ideal for calm waters and work well with almost every other species of fish. With bright colors and a natural tendency to school, these shy – but friendly – species get along well in most communities.

Easy to care for and fun to watch, celestial pearl danios are a good choice for your aquarium. A highly vegetated tank of ten gallons and a little bit of extra space are all you need to begin raising what is quickly becoming the most popular aquarium fish species of them all – the celestial pearl danio.

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