Devario malabaricus
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Since the initial description of Jerdon in 1849, Devario malabaricus has known many different names. Nowadays the following names are recognized as synonyms of this species: Perilampus aurolineautus, Perilampus canarensis, Eustira ceylonensis, Perilampus malabaricus, Danio micronema en Perilampus mysoricus.
The scientific name refers to Malabar which is an area at the South-West coast of India. This is where the first specimen of this species was caught to be recorded.


The body of a Devario malabaricus has a glaucous green coloration.Two horizontal, yellow bars can be found over the entire flank. These start right after the operculum and run until the tail fin. The lowest of these two stripes, often starts as a dotted line. The fins are green.
Sexual dimorphism is not very clear for this species. Females are often rounder bellied in comparison with males. Additionally, do these females have less coloration in their bodies.

Distribution and Habitat

Devario malabaricus can be caught in India and Sri Lanka. It can be found in the rivers Chalakudy and Rawan Oya, among others. In addition, is this species also caught in the rivers and streams of Achankovil.
Researchers showed that the natural habitat consist of turbulent streams with a high current. These streams run through woodlands which provide (partial) shade for the fish. The substrate of these rivers consist of sand, gravel and pebbles.
A survey conducted in Rawan Oya showed that the average temperature of the water is 22°C (72°F). In addition, the pH is measured to be 6.8. The river had a conductivity between 229 and 221 μs with a hardness of 136-124 mg/l.
The Devario malabaricus is threatened by pollution in its habitat which affect the pH of the water. As the pH is affected, a slightly higher pH might be more suitable for these fish. Additionally, these pollutants impose a serious threat to these fish. Many of the local specimens are affected by diseases such as fin rot.


Despite being omnivorous, Devario malabaricus mainly eats carnivorous food. Especially, insects are preferred by these fish. However, besides having a main diet of carnivorous foods, herbivorous ingredients should be added as well to keep the fish in an optimal shape.
This species is not difficult to feed in the aquarium. They will accept all types of food. So fabricated foods are eaten without any problem. However, the menu should be varied. frequently. feeding live and frozen foods enhances the health of these fish.

The Aquarium

The aquarium is best set-up in such a way that it resembles the native habitat of this species. Therefore, the substrate should consist of sand or gravel with decorations created from wood and rocks. In addition, there has to be a strong current. The water itself need to contain a relatively high amount of oxygen and be free of pollutants. Thus, Devario malabaricus requires a large, strong filter. The aquarium itself should have a good, solid cover, as these fish will tend to jump out of the tank.
Devario malabaricus are peaceful towards other fish. However, towards its own species, aggressiveness can occur. this aggression is, fortunately, short lived and often harmless. When kept with enough fish, they will divide the aggression amongst each other. Therefore, provided that the school is large enough, aggressiveness will not be an issue.
Keep in mind that Devario malabaricus will attack its food rather actively. As a consequence, shy fish species will suffer from stress. Moreover, these shy fish may not be able to get enough food and will starve.


Breeding Devario malabaricus is relatively simple. They will even be able to spawn in a community tank. However, to increase the yield, a special tank for breeding should be created. By placing marbles or a special grid on the bottom of the tank, the adults will not be able to reach the eggs. Consequently, less eggs will be eaten.
besides a strong current, the breeding tank should have the optimal water parameters for these fish. The exception is the temperature, this can be set to a slightly higher level than normal. This is needed to simulate the rainy season. By not fully filling the aquarium, the rain can be simulated by slowly, over the course of several hours, topping the tank. By adding water using a watering can, on could simulate this even better. This filling should be done with slightly cooler water in order to let the temperature of the water drop.
When the fish spawn they will lay up to 200 eggs. 24-36 hours after spawning, the eggs will hatch. Another five days later, the fry will start to swim freely. As of this moment, they can be fed with the smallest types of food. Artemia nauplii should be fed once the young are large enough.


Baby, F., Tharian, J., Philip, S., Ali, A., & Raghavan, R. (2011). Checklist of the fishes of the Achankovil forests, Kerala, India with notes on the range extension of an endemic cyprinid Puntius chalakkudiensis. Journal of Threatened Taxa, 3(7), 1936-1941.

Devario malabaricus – Giant ‘Danio’ (Danio malabaricus, Perilampus malabaricus). (n.d.). Retrieved April 04, 2017, from

Jayaratne, R., & Surasinghe, T. (2011). General ecology and habitat selectivity of fresh water fishes of the Rawan Oya, Kandy, Sri Lanka. Sabaragamuwa University Journal, 9(1).

Luna, S. M., & Froese, R. (n.d.). Devario malabaricus summary page. Retrieved April 04, 2017, from

Moyle, P. B., & Senayake, F. R. (1984). Resource partitioning among the fishes of rainforest streams in Sri Lanka. Journal of Zoology, 202(2), 195-223.

Raghavan, R., Prasad, G., Ali, P. A., & Pereira, B. (2008). Fish fauna of Chalakudy River, part of Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot, Kerala, India: patterns of distribution, threats and conservation needs. Biodiversity and Conservation, 17(13), 3119-3131.


John de Lange

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  • Family: Cyprinidae
  • Genus: Devario
  • Species: malabaricus
  • Origin: Asia
  • Min Length: 7
  • Max Length: 8
  • Temp.Min.: 18
  • Temp.Max.: 25
  • pH.Min.: 6
  • pH.Max.: 8
  • GH min.: 2
  • GH max.: 15
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Social Behaviour: School
  • Breeding Behaviour: Egg Scatterer
  • Zone: Middle-Upper
  • Character: Peacefull


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