In all English-speaking countries, this small, unpretentious fish is known as the Zebrafish. She received this name for the characteristic alternation of dark and light stripes along the body.
Zebrafish were first introduced as aquarium inhabitants in 1905 and can now be found in aquariums around the world. The key to the popularity of the zebrafish is unpretentiousness in content, an attractive bright body color, and a calm character.
The Zebrafish is a popular model in biology for studying embryonic development and vertebrate genes. This is due to the fact that the development of eggs occurs very quickly – in just three days, and the embryos themselves are quite large and hardy, which allows you to perform various manipulations with them.
Zebrafish were the first genetically modified fish. The history of the famous fluorescent fish GloFish began with the zebrafish. Just like guppies, zebrafish were honored to fly into space and became one of the objects of study at the orbital station.
The size of the zebrafish in the aquarium is 3-6 cm. The body is graceful, elongated. The main body color is pale yellow, the body is covered with wide dark blue stripes, due to which a pattern resembling the color of a zebra is created. The fins are short, almost transparent, and may have a yellow border. Males are distinguished by a slender body; in females, the abdomen is much thicker. On each lip, there is a pair of mustaches, which are usually tightly pressed, therefore invisible.
Besides natural coloration, there are other color variations. Pink zebrafish – differs in the color of the stripes, they are bright pink in the fish.
The homeland of the Zebrafish is the countries of South Asia. The wide range of this species includes Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh. This small and agile fish is found in almost any body of water: rivers, streams, canals, ponds, and lakes. The species is characterized by a seasonal change of habitat. During the rainy season, adult Zebrafish are ubiquitous in flooded rice paddies and in large puddles. Here they search for food and lay eggs. As soon as the rainy season ends, they prefer to return to large permanent bodies of water.
Care and Maintenance
Danio rerio is a very hardy ornamental fish, so they are often turned on by novice aquarists. Indeed, an aquarium of 30 liters is enough to keep a minimum flock of Zebrafish (5-6 pieces). But the larger the volume, the more comfortable the Zebrafish feel. Fish are very mobile, prefer to swim in the upper part of the aquarium. They can jump out of the water, so it is advisable to cover the aquarium with a lid or coverslip.
Danio loves clean water, so care must be taken to ensure proper filtration and adequate aeration. It is advisable to provide good lighting, with suitable lamps the fish will look brighter and more attractive.
Regular water changes are required – 25-30% of the total. Long-stemmed plants are planted along the edges of the aquarium, the rest of the space is left for free swimming for the Zebrafish.
Danio rerio is one of the most peaceful fish. It can be hooked up with almost any inhabitants of the aquarium, except for those who will consider it as a food item. Do not combine zebrafish with large cichlids, large goldfish, brocade catfish. It is also not recommended to keep active barbs with zebrafish, especially with veil forms, the long fins of which will necessarily be bitten.
The best neighbors will be proportionate schooling species: neons, minors, tetras. It gets along well with scalars, swordtails, guppies. Even fighting fish – cockerels often do not notice the presence of these eternally scurrying neighbors in the aquarium. Any peaceful catfish (corridors, Ancistrus) will also be a good choice for settling in an aquarium with Zebrafish because their “food niches” are different: catfish are bottom fish, and zebrafish prefer to swim near the surface of the water.
The natural diet of zebrafish is quite varied. They gladly eat small insects and their larvae floating in the water. Do not disdain Zebrafish and small seeds falling from plants. In conditions of aquarium keeping, these fish are completely unpretentious in nutrition. They can easily eat live, frozen and dry food. The first two groups of feeds are not able to fully satisfy the nutritional needs of the Zebrafish, as they are not balanced and do not contain useful vitamins in the required amount. Therefore, the best choice for feeding zebrafish will be quality dry food.
Reproduction and Breeding
Puberty in Zebrafish occurs at 3-6 months. Fish are capable of spawning at any time of the year. First, you need to choose a pair. You can determine the sex by the shape of the body: in females, the abdomen is more convex than in males.
Producers need to be planted in separate aquariums from 10 liters and fed abundantly with high-protein food – bloodworms or daphnia for several days. The readiness of the female for spawning is not difficult to determine: the abdomen becomes convex not only in the front part of the body but also at the anal fin.
Any container with a volume of 30 liters or more is suitable as a spawning aquarium, it is better not to put the soil in it, it is more convenient to observe the throwing of eggs and their development. It is best to place a grate on the bottom to prevent producers from reaching the eggs. It will be useful to place plants with small leaves in the spawning grounds.
During one spawning, the female is able to sweep away up to 400 eggs. The amount depends on the age, size of the female, readiness for spawning.
If a situation is observed in the aquarium when the female does not react to the males in any way and tries to hide, then the eggs are probably not yet ripe. In this case, it is better to plant the female again for several days and wait until the eggs are fully ripe. If the males do not show any attention to the female, they should also be placed in a separate container, increase the temperature and feed them vigorously. When the males start chasing each other, it’s time to bring them to the female ready to spawn.