Celestial Pearl Danio Care and Breeding Guide

Freshwater Aquarium Fish
Imagine a colorful freshwater fish that, at this point in time, has only been found to live in Inle Lake, in Myanmar, South East Asia, and a fish that was discovered as late as in 2006! Sound interesting? It is! We are talking about the celestial pearl danio – the danio margaritatus or celestichthys margaritatus, which is also known as a galaxy rasbora.

Its bright colors and small size landed it almost instantly in aquariums all across the globe, and when you see the way its body bounces off light, it is not hard to understand why someone would want one of these beauties swimming around in their living room fish tank. It may be a new species, but its popularity has been steadily climbing, and if you are not familiar with the danio margaritatus already – you will want to keep on reading.

Basic Information

The celestichthys margaritatus is quite an interesting species, but before you go ahead and purchase one for your aquarium, it is important to know a few basic things about it in order to figure out whether it is a good fit for your aquarium fish tank. Adding a fish to a tank requires planning and consideration, so have a look below and use the information to make an educated decision.

Information Chart
Care Level:
Intermediate
Temperament:
Calm and pacific
Color:
Fins colored red with white spotting across the body
Lifespan:
Approximately 3-5 years
Size:
Maximum 1 inch
Family
Cyprinidae
Diet:
Omnivorous
Minimum Tank Size:

At least 10 gallons

Temperature:
73-79°F
Water Conditions:
6.5 and 7.5 PH with a soft to medium hardness level
Tank Mate Compatibility
Prefers the company of other calm and peaceful fish

Background

What is so fascinating about the celestial pearl danio is that it has only been found in one small part of a lake – not known to exist anywhere else in the world. This does not necessarily mean that it does not swim in waters elsewhere, but its natural habitat – as believed today – seems to be only in a small specific part of a lake in South East Asia. Being such a recent discovery, there is almost something mythical about a fish like the celestial pearl danino (galaxy rasboras), and who wouldn’t want that in their tank?

Celestial pearl daninos were first discovered in 2006, and while they were originally believed to belong to the genus microrasbora, a study performed two years later – in 2008 – uncovered that the galaxy rasbora wasn’t a microrasbora at all, but that it instead belonged to the danio genus. With this in mind, the celestial pearl danio is clearly a fish species that is full of surprises, and there are probably many more things left to discover when it comes to this shimmering freshwater fish.

An intriguing anecdote regarding celestial pearl danios is how a rumor started going around of the fish becoming incredibly rare, when in reality, it wasn’t the case. This started approximately six months after the species was originally discovered, and people in the aquarium industry, as well as hobby aquarium keepers, were lead to believe that a celestial pearl danio was not the easiest to get ahold of. It is believed that this was a result of regular aquarium enthusiasts struggling to breed the fish (more on this below), but the wild celestial pearl danios were never under threat, and nor were the population ever significantly reduced.

Appearance

Nice aquarium fish from genus Celestichthys.
It was, without doubts, the appearance of the celestial pearl danios that first caught the attention of fish tank enthusiasts, and it does indeed have a very distinct look. The fins tend to have a red or orange-colored tone, some more intense than others, and two black stripes run parallel down each fin. Male galaxy rasbora fish tend to have fins that are brighter and more intensely red than those of female fish, which means you can often see the sex of the fish by simply looking at it. The color of the male celestial pearl danio fish is also bluer in tone, compared to the greener tone of the female. As a result of the gill covers being transparent, you can also see the red gills showing through.

When you see photos of this species, it is easy to be lead to believe that it is bigger than what it is, and many are surprised by their small size once seeing them swim around there in the water. The body usually isn’t any larger than 1 inch, and it is a small fish that has the impressive ability to make a big impression.

Behavior

The danio is a small fish that goes about life in a relaxed, calm and peaceful way, and it can be a true joy to have swimming around there among the aquatic plants. As long as they have food to eat, a place to hide and a few friends, the celestial pearl danio tends to thrive in most environments. The key is to consider the natural conditions in the very small area where they are found in the wild, and to try to replicate this in the tank, if possible. These are great tank fish for someone who wants a species that looks stunning (those fins are one of a kind), but also fish that does not require much and that are laid back and pacific in their nature.

Tank Conditions

It isn’t just the tank mates that you need to worry about, or how many male fish you have in one tank, but you also need to see the bigger picture and ensure the aquarium is adapted and apt for this specific species. The temperature should be kept somewhere around 73-79°F, to mimic the natural conditions of where a celestial pearl danio lives, and one more thing to keep in mind is that the hardness of the water should be soft or medium at most, with a PH of 6.5 and 7.5 PH. These are fairly regular aquarium water conditions, and the way to interpret it is that one of these bright red danio fish isn’t too hard to care for in terms of tank conditions.

celestial pearl danio
Credits to: @gingerbeardaquatics

Danios do like to hide, so the aquarium should have plenty of plants (preferably plants that are dense and good to hide in) that are good for the water conditions required, and this is especially important if you have multiple male fish. A good rule of thumb, other than plants, is to have at least 10 gallons of water, but also, if you have many of these small and peaceful fish in your aquarium (whether male or female), you will need to adjust this accordingly and possibly use a larger fish tank with more water. If you get the number of plants, what the fish is expected to eat, and the water quantity right, you will see how easily this fish adapts to its new living conditions inside the fish tank.

Maintenance and Care

In general, these small and colorful fish are quite easy to keep, and it is a species that does not require very much in order to thrive. However, you will quickly begin to notice that the fish – despite being the same species – will have personalities, and some may be more forward than others, that could be a bit shyer. This can be an issue when it is food time – a small issue if you know how to deal with it, but still something worth knowing. If some of your fish are sheer, there is always a risk that they won’t reach the food in time, and that they will therefore not get the required nutrition for these small aquarium inhabitants. The easiest way to solve this without wasting too much time is by feeding the quicker danios on one side of the tank, and the slower ones at the same time, but on the other side, as this will ensure that everyone gets their daily meal.

The celestial pearl danio may be small, but they are set in their ways! Many are not fond of being fed the same food every day, so if you believe it to be a possibility – try to feed your small fishies a more varied diet where you change it up from time to time, to prevent boredom and lack of interest in your fish. This is true for many types of fish, but a danio appears to thrive in an environment where they get to experience variety in terms of food.

Suitable Tank Mates

The celestial pearl danio does well with other fish of the same species, so make sure you have around five or six, provided the size of the fish tank allows it. Male fish can be kept together but you should be wary of having too many, unless you have enough space in the fish tank with plenty of hiding places. The male pearl danio can get a little territorial, but the way to make sure this does not become an issue is by providing a tank with enough places to hide for everyone.

Due to its peaceful nature and reduced size, it can easily become prey to more aggressive fish, such as Oscars, cichlids, or Jack Dempseys, and it is a bad idea to have these together in a tank. It is simply unfair to this beautiful bright red finned species, so choose wisely when picking tank mates for a celestial pearl danio. With the right tank mates, a species like this one will have a blast swimming through the aquarium water, and their red fins tend to give the look of your fish tank a little something extra. Their calm personalities make them good fish also for a beginner.

One thing to be aware of is that the celestial pearl danio may be a threat to your young brine shrimp, if you keep brine shrimp in your fish tank, as they are known for killing and eating them. This only applies to the young shrimp, however, and by the time they are adult brine shrimp they are usually perfectly fine and can live in harmony and in the same water with the danio.

Breeding

celestial pearl danio
Credits to: @lepoissonrougeoff

As mentioned previously in this article, the breeding process turned out to be a little tricky in the beginning when trying to breed this fish in a tank, but this seems to have changed and it is now a very straightforward and uncomplicated process. It helps that it is so easy to distinguish the male from the female based on the fins and body color, and one thing that is also a fantastic help is how the female begins to change body shape and color of the fins as she becomes ready for spawning. Look for a deeper red color of the fins and a belly (the fish abdomen) that appears rounded, and that way you will be able to see that she is ready.

Changes in body shape and being able to see when it is time is not the only step of this species’ breeding process, though, and one other thing that might also be relevant what food your danio eats. These fish seem to be more likely to spawn if they are fed live food, possibly due to what they would eat in the wild, so if you are unsuccessful time after time with breeding your danios – consider changing the food they eat, at least temporarily. It is always good to see if you can get some advice from your local pet store, provided there is someone there with experience with the species.

Fish like this species can lay up to 30 eggs in one go, but they may also lay significantly less, or even take a break between each cluster. You might not always be able to see the fish eggs, but if you do, it is essential that you take action to move them over to a separate breeding tank, for your newborn danio fish to eventually hatch and grow. Setting up the breeding tank is not too difficult, as the conditions in the fish tank should be very similar to what they are in your main fish tank, in regards to PH, water hardness, vegetation, food to eat, and size.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

A perfectly balanced fish tank is a wonderful thing to have, which any tank enthusiast will agree with, and danios are excellent additions for anyone who wants a little bit of additional color added to the mix. There are a few things that are important to know before you bring one of these fish into a tank. Most have already been covered in this article, to help you make an educated decision based on solid facts, but below you will also find a few of the most common questions asked in regards to the celestial pearl danio.

Are celestial pearl danios hardy?

These avid little swimmers are indeed hardy fish, and they are resistant to both temperature changes and different PH values. This is one of the things that have aided in their rising popularity, as they are quite easy to keep and – even more importantly – keep alive.

Does celestial pearl danios school?

Keeping a danio school is definitely doable, as long as you ensure you keep the tank properly equipped and conditioned. It is recommended to read up on the subject if this is something you think you will be interested in, and to always condition the tank with the danio and its needs in mind.

What do celestial pearl danios eat?

Known as opportunistic feeders, these fish tend to eat a bit of everything, depending on what they come across. They eat different types of plants, zooplankton and algae, but may also eat brine shrimp and similar. Be aware that a danio aren’t too fond of always eating the same, so it is a good idea to try and change it up a little by feeding different things.

How big do celestial pearl danios get?

A danio does not usually get bigger than approximately 1 inch, and they are perfect small and slim fish for almost any type of fish tank. Their reduced size does not mean you should keep them in a tank that is too small, though, as all fish need space to swim around.

celestial pearl danio
Credits to: @jimmygimbal

Conclusion

Having the small celestial pearl danio fish in your tanks is a great idea as long as you have the right setup and suitable tank-mates, and it can add a nice touch of color and variety to your aquarium. Keep in mind that this is still a very new species, considering it was discovered as recently as in 2006, so there is most likely still many things we don’t know about it, and it is likely that our knowledge of the fish will expand in the upcoming years. There will likely be additional discoveries made in the future, which should be something to look forward to!

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