Giant Danio (Devario aequipinnatus): Species Profile & Care Guide

giant danio

The Giant Danio (Devario aequipinnatus) is a captivating freshwater fish known for its vibrant colors and dynamic swimming behavior, making it a popular choice among aquarium enthusiasts. Native to the clear, fast-flowing streams and rivers of South Asia, particularly in countries like Nepal, India, and Sri Lanka, this species can grow up to 4 inches (10 cm) in length, displaying a striking blue-green body with horizontal gold or yellow stripes that shimmer as they move. 

These active swimmers are also known for their hardiness and adaptability, thriving in a range of water conditions, which contributes to their popularity in home aquariums. In addition to their aesthetic appeal, Giant Danios play a crucial role in their natural habitats, acting as both predators and prey, which helps to maintain ecological balance. Their schooling nature and high energy levels make them an excellent choice for community tanks, where they can often be seen darting across the water, adding vibrancy and life to the aquatic setting.

Common Name(s)Giant Danio
Scientific NameDevario aequipinnatus
OriginSouth Asia, including India, Nepal, Bangladesh
Temperature72°F to 78°F (22°C to 26°C)
SizeUp to 4 inches (10 cm)
Minimum Tank Size30 gallons (114 liters)
Food & DietOmnivorous – flakes, live, frozen, and vegetable foods
Lifespan5 to 7 years
Water pH6.0 to 8.0
Tank MatesPeaceful; compatible with many species. Avoid small, slow-moving fish.
BreedingEgg scatterer; breeding requires a spawning tank with fine-leaved plants or spawning mops.
Common DiseasesSusceptible to typical freshwater fish diseases; good water quality is essential to prevent diseases.

Giant Danio Care

Giant Danios are hardy and relatively easy to care for, making them suitable for both novice and experienced aquarists. They thrive in a wide range of water conditions but prefer a temperature between 72°F and 78°F (22°C to 26°C) with a pH of 6.0 to 8.0. These active and energetic fish require a spacious tank with plenty of swimming space, ideally a minimum of 55 gallons, as they can grow up to 4 inches in length. 

The tank should be equipped with a tight-fitting lid, as Giant Danios are known jumpers. They do well in a community tank with similarly sized, non-aggressive fish but should be kept in groups of at least six to promote natural schooling behavior and minimize stress. Their diet is not fussy, accepting a wide variety of foods including flakes, pellets, and live or frozen foods such as brine shrimp and bloodworms. Regular water changes and a well-maintained filtration system are essential to keep these fish healthy. With their vibrant colors and dynamic presence, Giant Danios are a delightful addition to any suitable aquarium.

Food & Diet

In order to keep Giant Danios healthy, it’s important to provide them with a balanced and appropriate diet. Here’s a guide to the food and diet for Giant Danios:

Types of Food

  • High-Quality Flakes and Pellets: Opt for high-quality, commercially prepared flakes and pellets designed for tropical fish. These should form the base of the Giant Danio’s diet as they are formulated to provide a balanced mix of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Live Foods: To mimic their natural diet and encourage active hunting behavior, you can provide live foods such as brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms. Live foods are excellent sources of protein and can help stimulate your fish’s immune system.
  • Frozen Foods: Frozen versions of brine shrimp, daphnia, bloodworms, and tubifex worms can also be given. These provide similar nutritional benefits as live foods and are convenient to store and use.
  • Vegetables: Though primarily omnivorous with a strong inclination towards protein, Giant Danios will also benefit from the occasional inclusion of blanched vegetables such as zucchini, spinach, and lettuce. These can provide additional vitamins and fiber.

Nutritional Needs

  • Protein: As active swimmers, Giant Danios have high protein requirements. Ensure their diet is rich in protein for energy and growth.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Vitamins A, D, E, and K, along with minerals like calcium and magnesium, are essential for the health of your fish. High-quality commercial foods usually contain these nutrients.


  • Feeding Frequency: Feed your Giant Danios small amounts two to three times a day. Only give them as much food as they can consume in a couple of minutes to avoid overfeeding and polluting the water.
  • Variety: A varied diet is crucial to providing all the necessary nutrients and keeping your Giant Danios healthy and vibrant.
  • Water Quality: Overfeeding can lead to water quality issues. Ensure uneaten food is removed promptly to prevent water pollution.

By following these dietary guidelines, you can help ensure your Giant Danios remain healthy, active, and vibrant in your aquarium. Remember, the key to a healthy diet for any fish species is variety and moderation.

Temperature & Water Parameters

To ensure Giant Danio’s health and well-being in captivity, it’s important to maintain appropriate temperature and water parameters in their aquarium. Here’s a general guideline:


Ideal temperature range is 72°F to 79°F (22°C to 26°C). Maintaining a stable temperature within this range is crucial as sudden changes can stress these fish.

pH Level

Ideal pH range is 6.0 to 8.0. They are adaptable to a wide range of pH levels, but stability is key to avoiding stress.

Water Hardness

The ideal range for water hardness is 5 to 19 dGH (degrees of General Hardness). They can tolerate a range of water hardness but prefer slightly soft to moderately hard water.

Other Parameters

  • Ammonia and Nitrites: 0 ppm (parts per million).
  • Nitrates: Less than 20 ppm, lower is better.

Regular water changes are recommended to keep nitrate levels low and maintain water quality.

A good filtration system is necessary to maintain water quality, considering their preference for clean and well-oxygenated water. However, the filter output should be adjusted to ensure there is enough water flow without creating overly turbulent conditions that could stress the fish.

These parameters serve as a general guideline. It’s always a good idea to research and observe your fish’s behavior and health, as individual needs can vary. Regular monitoring and adjustments to the aquarium’s environment will help keep your Giant Danios healthy and vibrant.

Tank Setup

Setting up a tank for Giant Danios involves considering several important factors to ensure a healthy and stimulating environment for these active and sizable freshwater fish. Here’s how to setup a tank for these fish:

Minimum Tank Size

Giant Danios are active swimmers and require ample space. A minimum of 30 gallons is recommended for a small group, but larger is better, especially for keeping a school of these fish, which helps in displaying their natural behavior and reducing stress.

Tank Setup

  • Substrate: A variety of substrates can be used, from sand to fine gravel. Choose a substrate that won’t damage their barbels or affect water quality adversely.
  • Plants and Decor: Giant Danios enjoy tanks with plenty of hiding spots and swimming space. Use live plants, rocks, and driftwood to create a natural environment. Be mindful of leaving open areas for swimming.
  • Lighting: Standard aquarium lighting is sufficient for Giant Danios. They are not particularly demanding regarding light levels but appreciate a day/night cycle.
  • Aeration: Adequate oxygenation is essential. Ensure the tank is well-aerated through the filter output or an air stone.
  • Avoid Overcrowding: While they do well in groups, overcrowding can lead to stress and health issues. Ensure there’s enough space for each fish to swim freely.

Behavior & Temperament

Giant Danios are known for their vibrant colors and dynamic presence in the aquarium. Here’s an overview of their behavior and temperament:


  • Active Swimmers: Giant Danios are very active and are known to be strong swimmers. They thrive in tanks that provide plenty of space for swimming, ideally with a length of at least 4 feet to accommodate their need for movement.
  • Schooling Fish: They are schooling fish and prefer to be in groups. Keeping them in groups of 5 or more can help mimic their natural social structure, reduce stress, and improve overall health.
  • Surface Dwellers: While they can be found at various levels of the tank, they often prefer the upper parts of the water column, especially if the water flow is strong.
  • Adaptable: They are adaptable to a range of water conditions but prefer clean, well-oxygenated water with a moderate to strong flow.


  • Peaceful to Semi-Aggressive: Generally, Giant Danios are peaceful towards other species but can be semi-aggressive towards each other, especially in smaller groups. A larger group can help distribute any aggression more evenly.
  • Community Tank Compatible: They are a good choice for a community tank but should be housed with fish that can match their size and energy levels. Smaller, more timid fish might be stressed by the Giant Danios’ activity.
  • Not Fin Nippers: Unlike some other active species, Giant Danios are not known to be fin nippers, making them compatible with a wide variety of tank mates.

Tank Mates

Giant Danios, like all fish, thrive best when kept in a tank with compatible species. Here are some guidelines for selecting tank mates for Giant Danios:

  • Size Compatibility: Giant Danios can grow up to 4 inches in length, so it’s important to choose tank mates that won’t be intimidated or eaten by them. Similarly, you don’t want fish that are too large and might see the Danios as prey.
  • Temperament: Look for fish that are peaceful to moderately aggressive. Giant Danios are very active and can be quite boisterous, so they might stress out more timid or slow-moving fish.
  • Swimming Levels: Giant Danios are top to mid-water swimmers. Including fish that occupy different levels of the tank can help prevent overcrowding in any one area and ensure a more harmonious environment.
  • Water Parameters: Ensure that any potential tank mates can thrive in the same water conditions as Giant Danios. They prefer water temperatures between 72°F and 78°F (22°C to 26°C), a pH level of 6.0 to 8.0, and moderate hardness.

Based on these criteria, here are some species that generally make good tank mates for Giant Danios:

  • Tetras: Many tetra species are peaceful and can share similar water conditions. Just be sure they are not too small to be considered prey.
  • Barbs: Species like Cherry Barbs or Tinfoil Barbs can be good companions, as they are also active and share similar water preferences. Avoid very aggressive barbs that may nip fins.
  • Corydoras: These bottom dwellers are peaceful and can help keep the bottom of the tank clean.
  • Rainbowfish: They are similarly active and colorful, making them visually compatible with Giant Danios.
  • Loaches: Some loaches, like the Clown Loach, can be a good match in terms of activity level and water parameters.
  • Gouramis: Larger gouramis can be a good fit, but it’s important to monitor for any signs of aggression.

Always observe the specific behavior and needs of the species you are interested in to ensure they are a good match for your Giant Danios and the conditions in your aquarium. Remember, individual temperaments can vary, and what works in one tank may not work in another. It’s also crucial to introduce new fish gradually and monitor the tank dynamics closely to prevent stress and aggression.

Common Disease & Health Issues

Giant Danios are relatively hardy, but like all aquarium fish, they can be susceptible to certain health issues and diseases. Here are some common health problems that Giant Danios may face:

  • Ichthyophthirius Multifiliis (Ich or White Spot Disease): This is a common parasitic infection characterized by small, white, pinhead-sized spots on the fish’s body, fins, and gills. It’s highly contagious and can be fatal if not treated promptly. Treatment usually involves increasing the water temperature to speed up the parasite’s lifecycle and adding a medication specifically designed to kill the Ich parasite.
  • Fin Rot: This bacterial infection causes the edges of the fins to fray and look ragged, often accompanied by a white edge. It can be caused by poor water quality, stress, or injury. Treatment involves improving water quality and possibly administering antibacterial medications.
  • Swim Bladder Disease: This condition affects the fish’s swim bladder, a gas-filled organ that helps it maintain buoyancy. Symptoms include difficulty swimming, floating upside down, or sinking to the bottom. Causes can range from overeating to bacterial infections. Treatment often involves fasting the fish for a few days and then offering a pea to help clear any blockages.
  • Fungal Infections: These appear as white or cottony growths on the fish’s skin, mouth, or fins. Fungal infections often follow another health problem like an injury or a parasitic infestation. Treatment typically involves antifungal medications and improving water conditions.
  • Bacterial Infections: Symptoms can vary widely but often include ulcers, red streaks or spots, bloating, and lethargy. Bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics, but the specific treatment depends on the type of bacteria involved.
  • Stress: While not a disease, stress weakens the immune system and makes fish more susceptible to diseases. Stress in Giant Danios can be caused by poor water quality, inadequate diet, overcrowding, or aggressive tank mates. Maintaining optimal water conditions, providing a balanced diet, and ensuring a suitable social environment are key to preventing stress.

Preventing these health issues involves regular maintenance of the aquarium, including keeping the water clean and at the appropriate temperature and pH level, ensuring the tank is not overcrowded, providing a varied diet, and quarantining new fish before adding them to the main tank to prevent the introduction of diseases.


Breeding Giant Danios can be a rewarding experience for an aquarium enthusiast. To successfully breed Giant Danios, you’ll need to follow some specific steps and conditions to encourage spawning and ensure the health of both the adult fish and their fry. Here’s a guide to breeding Giant Danios:

Setting Up the Breeding Tank

  • Tank Size: A 20-gallon tank is usually sufficient for breeding Giant Danios, as it provides ample space for swimming and spawning.
  • Water Conditions: Maintain the water temperature between 72°F to 78°F (22°C to 26°C) and the pH level around 6.5 to 7.5. Soft to moderately hard water is preferred.
  • Spawning Substrate: Place a spawning substrate or mesh at the bottom of the tank to protect eggs from being eaten by adult fish. The mesh should have holes small enough to allow eggs to fall through but large enough to prevent adults from reaching them.

Preparing for Breeding

  • Sexing Giant Danios: Males are generally slimmer and more vibrantly colored than females. Females are fuller-bodied, especially when carrying eggs.
  • Conditioning: Feed the breeding pair a varied diet of high-quality flake food, live, or frozen foods like brine shrimp and bloodworms to condition them for spawning.
  • Separation: Before breeding, some aquarists prefer to separate males and females for a few days to a week to increase their eagerness to spawn.

Spawning Process

  1. Induce Spawning: Increased water changes, slightly warmer water temperatures, and providing an abundance of high-quality food can encourage spawning.
  2. Spawning Activity: Giant Danios are egg scatterers. Spawning typically occurs in the morning hours. The female will scatter her eggs while the male fertilizes them. This process can last several hours.
  3. Post-Spawning Care: Immediately after spawning, remove the adult fish from the breeding tank to prevent them from eating the eggs.

Caring for the Eggs and Fry

  • Egg Development: Eggs will hatch in about 36 to 48 hours depending on the temperature.
  • Feeding Fry: Initially, feed the fry infusoria or liquid fry food until they are large enough to eat micro worms or baby brine shrimp.
  • Water Quality: Maintain clean water conditions with regular, small water changes. Be careful not to disturb the fry.

Tips for Success

  • Keep the breeding tank well-oxygenated.
  • Monitor water quality closely, as poor conditions can lead to fungal infections on eggs or health issues in fry.
  • Patience is key. It might take a few attempts before successful spawning occurs.

Breeding Giant Danios can enhance your understanding of fish behavior and aquatic life. It’s important to do thorough research and be prepared for the commitment of raising the fry, as they require attentive care during their early stages of life.

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