Danio aesculapii was first described by Kullander and Fang (2009) who gave this species its name. However, this Danio species is named differently depending on the store where you buy it. Some of the common names are: Danio sp. “hyroglief”, Danio sp. “pantheri”, Danio sp. “snakeskin”, Danio sp. TW03 and panther danio.
The name aesculapii refers to the ancient Greek god named: Asklepios. This is the God of medicine which had a staff with two snakes wrapped around it. These snakes can be found in the pattern on the fish, which looks like a snakeskin.
Danio aesculapii is a yellow to dark blue species. The belly of these fish are, however, white. On the first half of the fish, six to seven vertical stripes can be distinguished. These stripes are followed by dotted lines that run across the other half of the body. The caudal fin has a yellow colour. With the exception of the anal fin and caudal, all fins are without any colour. The analfin itself is yellow with a black bar on the edge.
Females are hard to distinguish from males. The only difference is that females are rounder bellied than males.
Distribution and Habitat
Danio aesculapii is found in Myanmar (Burma) in Rakhine state. It can be caught in streams running over the western part of the Arakan mountains. This mountain range is also known as Rakhine Yoma. The city of Thandwe is a well known location for collecting these fishes.
The site where Danio aesculapii were collected for the research of Kullander and Fang (2009) consisted out of a stream that runs through an agricultural area. This stream is 3 meters wide and has a depth of 50 centimeters. The water is clear with a weak current. The substrate consist of rocks and pebbles. No aquatic plants are found here.
These fish are not picky in their diet. Fabricated foods are rather easily accepted. To keep the fish in an optimal condition, however, frozen or life foods should also be provided, occasionally.
These peaceful fish are a good choice for a community tank. However, the other inhabitants of the tank should be chasen carefully. Large, carnivorous species might see this small species as a nice meal.
In contrast to many of the other Danio species, Danio aesculapii does not require a strong current. A mediocre to weak current is sufficient. The waterflow in their natural habitat is, namely, not strong as well. To enhance the colouration of the fish, a dark substrate should be chosen.
Since these fish are rather active, a tank of minimal 60 centimeter is recommended. Keep in mind that these fish tend to jump out of the water. The aquarium should, therefore, have a closed lid on it.
When the fish are healthy, spawning may occur in a community tank. However, to increase the yield of these fish, a special aquarium for breeding needs to be set up. This aquarium needs to be decorated in such a way that the parents can’t eat all their eggs. This can be done in various ways: a substrate of marbles, a grid above the substrate, planting mosses or placing spawning mops.
In order to bring the fish in the mood for spawning, the water temperature needs to be increased. Furthermore, about 50% of the water should be removed from the aquarium. When slowly filling the tank, over a course of several hours using cold water, the fish will get triggered to mate. The actual spawning will occur in the next morning. When the eggs are laid, the parents should be removed from the tank.
36 hours after spawning, the eggs will hatch. After 3 to 4 days, the fry will start to swim through the tank. At this point in time, the fry can be fed using small foods, such as fine fabricated foods.
Choy Heng Wah