Fish I’ve kept: Giant Danios

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This page lists my experiences with Giant Danios. While some of the fish-related Web sites you may find may give you the scientific information, very few of them probably tell you the information in this post. I should point out however that these are my personal experiences, your mileage may vary.

Firstly though, here are some scientific facts and figures:
Scientific name: Devario aequipinnatus
Name: Giant Danio
Size: 14cm / 6″
pH range: 6 – 8
dH range: 5 – 19
Temp: 22–27°C / 72–81°F

From my experience these are most active and easiest tropical fish to keep of their size. The scientific facts above are probably right for this species as I’ve had these fish both in low and high pH tank configurations and those same fish are still swimming around in one of my tanks.

Giant Danios are sort of a dream fish. While you may find them listed as aggressive in some pet stores, I can’t say that I agree. Keeping a minimum of five is probably a requirement to keep them peaceful, and from my experience with five of these fish you shouldn’t really have any problems with most fish (this does not mean that other fish won’t have a problem with them, however).

I have kept (five) Giant Danios with the following aquatic life at one time or another, and had no issues with any of them: Ramshorn Snails, Mystery Snails, Ghost Shrimp, Peppered Corydoras, Rainbow Shark – Shark was aggressive, but Danios were too fast), Oscar Fish (I have not kept a large Oscar with these fish – I suspect the Danios would be eaten), Guppies Female, Guppy Fry, Fancy Male Guppy, Zebra Danios (Longfin also), Common Pleco, Neon Tetras and Tiger Barbs.

That’s a pretty long list of what, for me, have been compatible tank mates for Giant Danios. I haven’t even tried keeping a lot of other fish who might work purely because I kept Tiger Barbs in the same tank for a long time. I am extremely surprised though to have seen Guppies advance to adulthood alongside these fairly large and fast Danios.

Possible aggression: To each other

There’s been a few times when I have spotted one Danio chasing others and I think this is between their own species only (I have never seen them chase any others). This appears to be purely territorial. Most of the time the fish will swim around freely.

General behavior

These are the most active fish I have ever seen. They constantly ‘patrol’ the middle to top regions of my largest tank and occasionally put on the most incredible ballet I have ever seen: All five of them will group together and circle around with each other, giving you brief flashes of silver and gold as the light catches them. I have also seen them swim while stationary (they will find a place in the tank where the water moves against them and slowly swim along in that current). These fish are also not aggressive feeders, many other fish will eat in a tank before these guys and they don’t seem to have a problem with that.

Watch on Youtube.

Conclusions on the fish

They are absolutely beautiful swimmers and stunning to look at. I’ve always found them to be non-aggressive (I have five – that is probably the reason for that) and found them incredibly hardy. Like other Danio species, these fish could be good larger fish for a beginner. I highly recommend these fish be used as ‘dither fish’ in a large tank where you’re keeping something like a Common Pleco as a ‘center piece’, their constant activity and patrolling will give much movement while the Pleco is stationary.

85 thoughts on “Fish I’ve kept: Giant Danios

  1. This is well written and very useful. My experience has been similar (with an almost identical tank setup). I often wonder if the Danio’s constant movement is disturbing to the more meek guppies (my guppies certainly appear try and keep out of the way)… any thoughts?

  2. Giant Danios are my favorite fish. I once had a long narrow stream tank full of them. I set a fast-flowing powerhead at one end and aimed the water flow so there was a fast current across the top of the tank and returning across the bottom, which was covered in cobblestones like a stream bed. THE DANIOS LOVED IT and put on a constant show of rushing and jumping in the current. It was across the room from my window, so the light would flash off the fish as they swam. The best!

  3. I have 8 pink danios and one pleco catfish and 2 ID Sharks juveniles. I have a 70 gallon tank. Can I keep 5 giant danios with these fish? Thanks GF

  4. You can, but ID sharks grow very fast, and will outgrow the tank pretty quickly. ID Sharks grow as long as your tank…

  5. One of my ID Sharks died yesterday a male which was a juvenile. I only have the female left. You are 100% right these fish are not for an aquarium but for a gigantic pond or left alone in their natural environment.I have a pleco now and 8 pink danios left. Should I buy some giant danios?Thanks

  6. Should all be fine together. Although note that a Pleco (most types) may also be too big for your tank eventually. They also poop more than they clean, so they often cause you more work in the long run – if you’re trying to use it for cleaning.

  7. Thanks I bought the pleco to clean up the tank . I did not know this.Should I buy another ID Shark or just leave the female without any companion? Do you believe in bringing in new fish and to quarantine them for a few weeks?Thanks

  8. ID sharks should be fine alone. QT is recommended, but not a lot of people have the space to run a tank specifically for that…

  9. What should I do buy another ID shark i think she is lonely missing the male who died.The problem with these fish they get spooked very easy.I am trying to find a good home for her in advertising in papers but no results at all.The people in the Philippines are dam mean i am getting to think.It hurts me to see her this way. thanks G Fox

  10. Not sure really. If you buy another, you’re going to have another fish that you can’t get rid of when it gets too large…

  11. Thanks for your answer to me. One of my pink danios died today. The body was turning white. Do you think it died from me over feeding the fish.I feed them SERA Viapan flake foods. Thanks

  12. Fish meat it naturally white, except the odd one like Salmon. But it could also have been bacteria growth on it, or injury from other fish pecking at it after it died (or before). Over feeding tends to cause problems with tank chemistry, as their poop and uneaten food breaks down and raises ammonia and nitrate levels. So it could have led to it, but probably not if you keep up with water changes.

  13. I change my water at 30% every 5 days and use SERA Aquatan.I think i will quarantine my fish from now on for about 3 days.

  14. I haven’t really had good experience with those. I had one who was quite nice, then he reached maturity and started trying to kill everything in the tank. :(

  15. Today i purchased 2 pink danios from my fish store. I am going to quarantine them for 2 days. Does this make sense to you? Thanks.

  16. I have a small 4 gallon tank I use. I use the water from my big tank also.I told you I have a female ID Shark and I belong to another website about fish and this woman gives me an argument not to keep the one ID Shark and school her with 5 others. This is nuts to me.I am trying to re home her but no luck at all.Thanks

  17. Is she not aware that when fully grown you’d need a 1000+ gallon tank for those 6 fish? She sounds like a bit of an idiot.

  18. Maybe We got confused. i meant she said these fish have to school with at least 5 more fish of their own kind.

  19. No, I understand perfect. She’s telling you to buy 5 more fish that you won’t be able to get rid of. That grow huge. That one day you will either have to release into a river and possibly screw up the ecosystem, or that you, yourself, will have to kill when they get too big for your tank. Her advice is idiotic.

  20. Perhaps I will purchase a better air pump than the one I ajm using now. I have a JEBO #955 5 in 1 biological filtration system. thanks

  21. I do not believe in killing period.She is a biologist and also very opinionated.She thinks she knows it all.

  22. hehe, I don’t believe in it either, which is why I think it’s silly for you to be advised to get more fish you won’t have a choice what to do with… :(

  23. I am getting to think the more I read and listen to some of these people on these fish sites the more i will be more crazy and confused.I bought 2 pink danios today at my LFS and did not quarantine them and just put them in my tank.I know the people who operate this store.I will just keep her the IDShark and that is it now.

  24. I agree with you.Some of these people are nutso!Especially looking at the PH factors all the time, and quarantining the fish for 6-8 weeks.I do daily water changes 35% every 5 days and use Aquatan by SERA a water conditioner.

  25. Frankly, very few fish are actually affected by pH. As long as you slowly acclimate them, they suffer no shock, and no difference in lifespan. You can’t change your water in a safe way with pH anyway.

  26. I appreciate all the responses back to me.What actually is PH may i ask you?I live here in the Philippines and there are no knowledgeable people around like yourself to answer me back.I have no PH kit here and just do water changes every 5 days. That is it.

  27. pH is either how acidic, neutral or alkaline your water is. Usually fish from South America come from acidic water (caused by the breakdown of tree matter in the water from the rainforests). pH can also be changed by the type of rock the river/lake is exposed to. For example limestone raises pH. Some fish from Africa come from quite high pH. pH fish usually come from ranges between 5.0-8.0. 7.0 is neutral.

    Humans are also affected by pH. For example if you eat acidic food (common), you might feel ill, and you can eat something high pH to counteract it.

    With fish, stability is the most important thing. pH level doesn’t matter, but STABILITY does. As long as your pH stays the same, they’ll be OK. Trying to change it causes quick fluctuations that will kill fish. Basically all your tanks should be whatever the pH of your tap water is, because then when you do a water change (and it will be if you do it every week), there is no shock for the fish to suffer that way.

  28. Excellent answer back to me thanks.Do you want tohear something funny . I have this female ID Shark and all of a sudden she goes around in circles around my submersible pump at least 25 times and than stops. and starts once again.What kind of behavior is this i ask? GF

  29. It could be a number of things. It might enjoy the flow in that spot. It could have a parasite of sort sort (possibly in the gills).

  30. I looked over the fish carefu today and I saw nothing at all in the way of spots or parasites on her.She does this not do this all day. Sometimes. perhaps she can be bored also.Maybe she likes the sound of the pump in the water.

  31. Ok, then it’s probably the flow or something she enjoys. But you would not be able to see a parasite in the gills also.

  32. The behavior really is the same. Nothing new really.She does this around the pump not that much now as before.Thanks

  33. Ah, that’s good, then maybe she’s just having fun in there. Some fish really enjoy a strong flow, and will find it. :)

  34. I think they do. I think fish have personality traits like other animals do. But that doesn’t mean you should do anything to stop it, it might be enjoying itself.

  35. Hardy just means how ‘strong’ the fish is as a species. Some fish you could throw them in a bucket of cold water and they wouldn’t even suffer shock, others you can’t keep them unless everything is PERFECT about your tank. A hardy fish might also get a parasite and not show any effect, while another might really suffer. The hardiness of a fish isn’t something you can create, it’s just what the fish is. For example new people to the hobby should always try to select species which are “Hardy” simply because new people may screw up more. With experience, you can move to more difficult (less hardy) fish. On most Web sites you will see mention of how difficult a fish is to keep, or how hardy it is. Essentially they mean the same thing. A hardy fish is “easier” to keep.

  36. Anything you see mentioned as ‘starter fish’ really. Things like Corydoras, some Tetras, Barbs, even normal Danios (pink ones aren’t a natural species, they are either genetically modified as a crossbreed, or they are injected with dye, so might not be as hardy).

  37. Yeah, they are not a natural species. They are either genetically modified with jellyfish DNA sequences, or they are injected with dye. So they probably aren’t as Hardy as a real Zebra Danio (the original fish) would be.

  38. I thought Orange Danios are a fresh water breed? Someone told me these fish are not genetically modified at all. How would a Bala Shark be with a regular pleco cat fish?

  39. This picture of the Bala Shark is very unusual I see. Most of them don’t get that big I noticed here where I live n ow How about 3 of them?

  40. I thought my ID shark was dead today. She got spooked badly when I accidentally touched her when I cleaned out my submersible pump.Than the pleco i have started to annoy her and was climbing on top of her and she just stayed there doing nothing.She stayed in one position almost all day. Finally she started to swim again. This is one peculiar breed of fish.Thanks GF

  41. Sounds like she was in shock. Plecos will eat dying/dead fish, so it sounds like he was trying to get a head start.

  42. That is their natural full size. They are big fish, and will grow big… I think you’re just going to end up with more big fish that you can’t get rid of.

  43. I took out my pleco today and put him in a 20 gallon tank with some mollies and guppies and one betta. He was really bullying the id shark terribly I saw.She is doing okay now swimming around. I never thought a common pleco cat fish can be so mean towards a bigger fish like the id shark I own.She is a juvenile and I try my best to re home her with never any luck.People here are just mean and not caring at all.GF

  44. People are often surprised when this happens with Plecos, but they are scavengers. They come from places where they can feed on anything, and they’ll do the same thing in a tank. I’ve had plecos in the past which ONLY ate meat… They are cool fish really.

    Yeah, I still would try to find a home for your ID if you can… I just don’t see her working out for you. She might be ill if the Pleco was picking on her.

  45. The ID shark is okay she is swimming and eating her food.I found out today the Plecos will eat the slime off the other fish and eventually kill it.Meaning the slime off her body which it did. I am trying to re home her but in this miserable country no one cares period!I will keep her until i find a good home eventually.I only have the 14 orange danios now in the tank. thanks

  46. They’re just not a naturally occurring one. There’s quite a bit of this happening, with dyes, genetic modification. There’s even some glow in the dark fish which have Jellyfish DNA in them. I don’t keep these types of fish myself, because they never seem to last very long, they seem unhealthy.

  47. It might not be easy to see or tell. Something like a reduced lifespan of maybe 3 years instead of 7-8 in a genetically altered fish is common, also dyed fish are often more susceptible to disease (as they’ve had their skin injected and that is an opening for infection).

  48. Guess what these fish i have are not glo fish at all. I spoke with the breeder today and they told me these are orange zebras never ever been induced with dyes or any other DNA ingredients at all.They are not genetically modified at all.Glo fish are sold in the states only not abroad at all.

  49. Ask him how they exist then, because these are not a species which exists in the wild. Someone created them, somehow. There’s not a lot of ways to do it… Either GM or dying. And he’s lying about Glo fish availability. I’m British and I’ve seen them there (even though they should be illegal there) as well as in the USA where I live now.

    I did a quick search and found someone in the UK who found some also if you don’t believe me:

    There are two choices, they are either dyed or genetically modified. Seriously. If you can’t accept truth on that I’ll probably have to stop responding. These fish don’t exist in nature, it isn’t possible to crossbreed the Danio without genetically modifying them to form the colors you have, or to inject them with dye. It’s a fact.

  50. Why are you becoming so defensive about this.They do exist in nature as I spoke to a biologist here. These are zebra fish and some of them are orange. They are not dyed or genetically modified to these colors. They cannot be imported into this country at all.Some people do not lie as I believe them.This is your opinion and I respect it.

  51. Your biologist is talking crap. I’m being defensive because you’re essentially calling me a liar, and I’m calling your biologist one.

    Zebra fish are called Zebra fish because they are BLACK and WHITE, NOT ORANGE. For them to be orange, that means something has been done to them. Danio kyathit are the only type with orange colors, but only on their fins. But Danio kyathit are NOT Zebra fish. If you have orange Zebra fish, you don’t have a naturally occurring fish. You have a modified one, either dye or genetic modification.

  52. These fish are what they call here orange danios I saw this today at the breeders pond myself. They are not zebras and have a blue stripe down their bodies also.Sorry about the confusion and no one is calling you a liar. You are knowledgeable on this topic I see.GF

  53. What are you talking about? I just stopped responding because you were not listening, you’re now convincing yourself how someone not even replying is feeling. How exactly do you know how someone feels, that is having no interaction with you?

    And why should I keep responding to someone who isn’t listening? I’m not an idiot, and I’m not going to waste my time, that’s all. Your reaction here seems quite childish.

  54. I have two giant danios, two pleco, and 5 neon tetras in a 10 gallon tank I now only have 2 neon tetras because the danios ate/bullied them I’ve had to flush two and the other one disappeared I’m a beginner please advice needed

  55. Also neon tetras I noticed y’all were talkin about Gm so please don’t judge me like I said I’m a beginner so they are sposed to have blue and orange coloring right if not it doesn’t matter I jus like it if my fish are natural

  56. Sorry one more thing thx for the advice above very helpful I’m just wondering why they bully my tetras because u said they lived peacefully together just my luck I guess that they don’t in my tank

  57. I lied I have one more thing the measurements of my fish are so because I suspect overcrowding the 2 Plecoptera are 2 inches the 5 tetras are about one inch each and the 2 danios about three in a ten gallon tank

  58. Need sum advice.. I have just added 10 zebra danios to my tank… They get along well with the swordtails and corys.. but when I switch off the tank lights, they get spooked and start to swim frantically, is this normal? I worry they might injure themselves..

  59. Is there something nearby (like a TV, or your body) when you turn off the light? With the light on, fish can only just see outside the tank, with it off, they can see the whole room and anything around might spook them when the lights first go off.

  60. Wow, was reading this post it is probably an d thread bit Gerald is a mess! Just saying……

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Aquarium Category Information

My first word was "fish", and my earliest memory is of the fish tank my parents had while I was a baby. Starting with a 10 U.S. gallon tank and easy fish like Zebra Danios, and some Cory Catfish, I quickly upgraded to 55 then 125 gallon tanks, and at one time had seven tanks in a relatively small apartment.

I've had some interesting experiences with my fish, such as moving them 1000 miles across the country and of course going through that lesson everyone needs to learn; not to trust the fish store. I've ordered fish online, but now primarily use a store called Animal Island in Midlothian, Illinois. This store accepts fish returns for partial store credit, so I have used this to my advantage and kept many different types of fish, gaining experience in a short time about a huge number of species.

My favorite fish so far is the Vulture Catfish, which is an absolutely beautiful long-whiskered and active catfish. My current biggest fish is a Fahaka Puffer.

Left: Rotkeil 'Severum'.


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Tim is British and lives in the United States with his wife and kids.

He works for software developers Image Space Inc. and Studio 397 on their racing simulations, and is a fan of Gaming, Motorsports, and photography.