Danio quagga

Danio quagga is very similar to his family members Danio rerio and Danio kyathit. The difference can be seen in the stripes. This schooling fish is about 5 cm long.


Danio quagga

Danio quagga was first described in 2009 by Kullander, Liao & Fang. Danio comes from the native (Bangla Desh) “dhani” which means “from the rice field”, quagga refers to the similarity of the color pattern with Equus quagga quagga, a kind of zebra.


Danio quagga lives in the Chindwin River basin near Kalaymyo and Tamu in western Myanmar (Burma).


Tropical freshwater, which is naturally slightly acidic (pH between 6.5 and 7.5). The soil usually consists of sand and pebble. They swim both deep and often close to the surface. The temperature varies considerably between 20 and 26 °C.


These fish are close relatives of the famous Zebra Danio, Danio rerio. They can be distinguished from their counterparts by having four dark stripes along the middle of their sides and a short or long stripe across their belly. (Danio rerio has 3 longitudinal stripes). The stripes also partially extend into the tail fin. Danio quagga is very similar to Danio kyathit because of the horizontal stripe pattern, but in the latter the stripes consist of rows of brownish spots.

The dark stripes light up blue depending on the light, between the dark stripes the olive-colored background turns to orange, on the belly side this color is strongest. The fins are colored orange. The reflective color of most danios is best reflected when the aquarium is lit slightly obliquely from the front.

These fish are slightly larger than the normal Zebra Danio, the maximum total length is 4.5 to 5 centimeters. Life expectancy in captivity is more than 4 years.


Sexing Danio quagga is not easy, but sexually mature females are rounder and slightly less colorful than males, which also remain somewhat smaller.


Because it is a schooling fish it is advisable to keep them in a group, at least 5, but preferably about 10 specimens. Because they are lively swimmers, the aquarium must have a considerable length and contain at least around 120 liters of water. If kept solitary they get stressed out quickly and become susceptible to diseases. For the well-being of this species it is good to change about 20% to 30% of the water every month.

We maintain the temperature at a level comparable to that in the wild, i.e. 20-26 ° C and the pH value around 7.


Danio quagga is primarily an insectivore in the wild. In the wild, these fish are not fussy. They usually eat small aquatic animals, worms and insect larvae. In the aquarium they are omnivores and they will eat flakes, granules, live and frozen food without any objection. To prevent shortages, it is recommended to vary the types of food.

Character and Compatibility

Danio quagga is a peaceful fish that does not cause any problems in the community aquarium. They are, however, tireless swimmers. Other more calm fish may suffer from this. As a company it is better to choose fish species that occur in the same distribution area. These include danios, small Asian barbels, gobies and the like.

Breeding Danio quagga

For reproduction, it is good to set up a breeding tank in which you can house them as a pair or as a small group. Almost all Danios are “egg scatterers” who deposit their eggs on or between fine leaved plants. Because they tend to eat their own eggs, you must take measures to prevent that. For this you can use a grid through which the eggs can sink to the bottom, so that the parents cannot reach it. An alternative method is to place coarse gravel or marbles on the bottom where the eggs can fall to safety.

The water in the breeding tank must be soft and slightly acidic, similar to the natural environment. The optimum breeding temperature is 23-24 ° C. The parents are preferably placed in the breeding tan in the afternoon or in the evening. The eggs are generally laid until noon the following morning. If the females are considerably thinner than when you put them in, you can put the parents back in their normal aquarium. If this is not (yet) the case, give them an extra morning. No longer, because the eggs that have already been deposited on the first day already hatch. The larvae emerge from the eggs after approximately 36 hours.

Depending on the temperature, it takes a few days for the first fry to swim freely. The first food you can feed them can be infusoria or very small dry food for fry. When they grow a little larger, they also take newly hatched brine shrimp, very small live food and crushed flakes.


Danio quagga has long been considered a subspecies of Danio kyathit, but it is now seen as a separate species. As was clear above, this striped fish resembles and is closely related to the spotted Danio kyathit. Occasionally specimens with stripe patterns are found in the wild among the fish with spot patterns. Whether this is a variety of the Danio quagga remains to be determined.


Menno van Veen

Copyright images

Peter Maguire

Additional information





Breeding behaviour

Social Behaviour


Min. aquarium length in cm




Minimum aquarium length in cm

Length maximum in cm

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Temperature maximum

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