Celestial Pearl Danio Care Guide & Tank Setup

Celestial Pearl Danios have made quite an impact in the fish-keeping community since their discovery. They’ve since become a crowd favorite because of their many attractive attributes. 

Their fun and active nature as well their splendid appearance, are more than what any tank owner could ask for. And since they have minimal needs and are easy to take care of, they’ve become extremely popular amping aquarists.

So if you’re ready to learn more about this interesting fish, keep on reading. We’ll tell you all you need to know about it, from its origin to how to provide it with all its essential requirements so that you can enjoy its presence in your tank for the longest time possible.

Overview: Origins & Appearance

Calestial pearl danio

The Celestial Pearl Danio has been greatly loved and sought after since its discovery in 2006 due to its small size, ease of care, and beautiful appearance. It has a small and slender body that’s dotted with off-white spots resembling tiny pearls and averaging about 1 inch (2.5 cm) in length. In contrast, their fins are vibrantly colored red or orange, with two black lines running through them.

The Celestial Pearl Danio, commonly known as the Galaxy Rasbora, comes from the Cyprinidae family and is scientifically named Danio margaritatus. Another scientific name for it that’s quite fitting is celestichthys margaritatus, which means heavenly fish decorated with pearls.

It was originally discovered in eastern Myanmar in the town of Hopong, located at a height of more than 1000 meters ( >3000 feet) above ground. It has since been found in other areas of Myanmar as well as northern Thailand. 

It’s usually observed in freshwater ponds surrounded by abundant grasslands that are part of the Salween river basin. These ponds have shallow, clear, transparent waters with an average depth of 12 inches (30 cm). The water has little to no movement and contains a multitude of aquatic plants in addition to rocks around which the Danios can easily find shelter.

Care Stats Overview

  • Common names: Celestial Pearl Danio, Galaxy Rasbora, Fireworks Rasbora, Microrasbora sp. Galaxy, Celestichthys margaritatus
  • Tank size: 10 gallons
  • Temperature: 73 – 79 °F (22 – 26 °C)
  • pH: 6.5 – 7.5
  • kH: 5 – 10
  • Living zone: Bottom tank levels
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Diet: Omnivore

Scientific Classifications

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Actinopterygii
  • Order: Cypriniformes
  • Family: Cyprinidae
  • Genus: Danio
  • Species: D. margaritatus

Celestial Pearl Danio Lifespan

Most tank-inhibiting Celestial Pearl Danios live on average for 3-5 years. As with any fish, the less stress the fish is exposed to, the longer the fish can live and thrive in your tank. That means providing it with a consistent diet, stable water conditions in addition to any other thing the fish needs, like plenty of hiding spots, suitable lighting, etc.

Sexual Dimorphism: Size & Coloration

Celestial Pearl Danios are one breed of fish in which the males and females can be easily identified. Females are generally a bit rounder, bigger, and less vibrant than their male counterparts. They tend to have more orange and less red in their fins that contrast with their blue-green bodies.

On the other hand, males have brighter colors, with vivid blue bodies and brilliant red fins. They also have a more intricate and apparent pattern of red and black lines on their fins (except the pectoral fins), which is even more obvious on the tail fins. A black pad is also present under their lower jaw, which is smaller or non-existent in females.

When looking for a partner, the males’ colors intensify, and their bellies turn red, making their lighter backs more noticeable. The females at that time develop a dark spot near the exit of their digestive system, but their bellies remain cream-colored.

Celestial Pearl Danio Care & Tank Set Up Guide

Celestial pearl danio Danio margaritatus in planted tank

Tank Size & How Many Can Be Kept Together

Since Celestial Pearl Danios should be raised in at least a group of six, they should be kept in a minimum tank size of 10 gallons. And while it may be tempting to get a tank full of males due to their more attractive coloration, it’s certainly not a good idea. 

That’s because the males exhibit aggressive behaviors when cramped in small spaces, especially those with insufficient hiding places, as a way to intimidate other males into staying away from their territories. This is even more apparent when they don’t have enough possible mating partners, which makes them fight until a hierarchy is established. 

Therefore, you need to have, at the very least, an equal ratio of both genders. And if you don’t want any victims in your hand, then having more females is recommended. 

Ideally, there should be only one male per tank, and if you’re planning on eventually adding more fish, keep in mind to provide two extra gallons of space for each new tank inhabitant.

The Nitrogen Cycle

Properly managing and monitoring your tank’s nitrogen cycle is crucial for the health of any fish, including Celestial Pearl Danios. When you let the water’s toxins, composed of ammonia, nitrite, and to a lesser extent nitrate, rise beyond a certain range, you damage the ecosystem in which the fish live. 

This, in turn, weakens the fish’s immune system, leading to the possibility of endless diseases as well as death in extreme cases.

That’s why you should never add these Danios to a tank that’s not yet fully cycled. You must also keep an eye on your ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels regularly and make sure to partially change your water once every 3-4 weeks to maintain excellent water conditions. The smaller your tank, the more often you’ll perform these water changes so that the Danios aren’t jeopardized. 

If you’d like to know more about the nitrogen cycle, check out this article in which we break down this process and explain all it entails, from its mechanism to how you should properly cycle your tank. 

Water Parameters

  • Temperature: Celestial Pearl Danios live in a temperature range of 73 – 79 °F (22 – 26 °C).
  • pH: A pH range of 6.5 – 8.4 is acceptable for Celestial Pearl Danios. In their natural habitat, they live at a pH of about 7.2 – 7.5. However, as long as you keep your pH stable and within range, then it won’t affect the Danios too much what specific number your hit.
  • KH: Your carbonate and bicarbonate levels should range from 5 – 10 degrees. If they fall from that level, you risk increasing the acidity of the water over time.
  • Hardness: These fish live in waters with a soft to medium hardness. So, make sure your GH doesn’t exceed 5 – 10 degrees or 90 – 268 ppm.

Setting Up Your Tank For Celestial Pearl Danio

Fortunately, Celestial Pearl Danios don’t really require much to be happy and comfortable. As long as you keep your water parameters stable with a few decorative additions to the tank, they’ll flourish and thrive during their time with you.

The most important thing to provide them with is plenty of nooks and crannies so that they can take shelter when they feel threatened or stressed. Like we mentioned, when males become aggressive, they can injure each other, and the weaker ones keep getting bullied and consequently hurt. If they don’t get a break and recover, they can develop diseases like fin rot due to their injuries. 

Therefore, the more plants you can provide, the better. Try to add live plants with different heights so that they can find shelter if they ever venture to the mid and upper tank levels. 

Elodea and Egeria are two plants that work well with them as they’re present in their natural habitat. Other plants are also acceptable, and you can even add floating plants if you want. Just avoid adding tree litter as these Danios aren’t accustomed to the tannins.

You can also add rock and caves for more hiding places. Driftwood is not a recommended addition because it contains tannins. You can add only when you’re sure that its tannins have been leached out.

Also, try to keep the water relatively shallow with minimal water flow. A sponge or hang-on-the-back filter will work just fine for any 10-gallon tank. 

Lastly, have the lighting at moderate to high levels and place a substrate that has a dark color. Sand and gravel are both okay to use, but make sure that the gravel is smooth and rounded to avoid hurting the fish.

Diet & Feeding

Since these Danios are omnivores, they can survive on pretty much anything. In their natural habitat, they usually feed on plants, algae, and zooplankton. They also occasionally eat tiny invertebrates and worms.

While you can feed them small dry food flakes, try not to make those their main source of nutrition. Since they mostly like to stay hidden, they won’t rise up to the surface to eat. Sinking food pellets are a better alternative but still won’t help the fish in reaching their full potential. 

Live food is the way to go, especially in the beginning. Things like Daphnia, brine shrimp, krill, Moina, Artemia as well as Grindal and white worms are all a great source of nutrition. They also allow the fish to develop brighter colors. Frozen and dry food can be introduced later on once the fish have acclimated to their new environment.

Make sure that their diet is varied and non-repetitive so that they don’t get bored and stop eating certain things. Generally, you can feed them about 2-3 times a day and remove food remnants after about five minutes to maintain your water quality.  

However, try to discern what the fish’s feeding pattern is like. Some may be too afraid to come out and eat, while others may overeat when left alone. So, try to match each one’s needs accordingly.

Behavior & Tank Mate Compatibility

Celestial Pearl Danios are a very peaceful species -male on male attacks aside- that can be placed in a community tank with no problems. They tend to be a bit shy, nervous, and jumpy in general, and this behavior increases when surrounded by larger or more aggressive species.

Therefore, it’d be best to place them with species that have a similar size and behavior to encourage their sociability. Fish from the same origin or family are also good choices.

Neon, Green Neons, and Cardinal Tetras make for great tank mates as they mostly occupy the upper tank levels, allowing the Danios to swim to their heart’s content at the bottom. 

Guppies, Mollies, Corydoras, and Killifish are good options to have, too. Snails and shrimps are also okay, but these Danios can eat shrimp fry, so remove any young ones from their presence.

Avoid species that’ll see the Danios as a colorful treat, such as Oscars, Tiger Barbs, Cichlids, Jack Dempseys, and Buenos Aires Tetras. Even if they don’t eat the Danios, they’ll eat their food, leaving them to starve.

Celestial Pearl Danios have been mistaken to be a schooling species, but that’s not true. While they may swim and hang out in groups, especially when first introduced to the tank, they’ll eventually separate once they become more confident and comfortable in their new habitat.

Breeding Celestial Pearl Danios

Celestial Pearl Danios dong really have a specific breeding season, but the females usually have bouts/episodes of laying eggs every so often. 

They lay from 12 to 30 eggs in clusters and hide them around plants. Males will then approach the females to fertilize the eggs by showing off their vibrant colors. Competing males may try to prey on those eggs, so it’s best to remove all adults from the tank once breeding is over.

The eggs then hatch in 3-4 days, and the larvae start to swim and feed on their own after a few days. They develop their color patterns after three months and reach their full size in 6-12 months.

Will You Pick Celestial Pearl Danios?

Celestial Pearl Danios are honestly an excellent addition to any tank. Their lovely appearance and colorful personality will make them one of your favorites in no time. And as long as you provide them with what they need, they won’t cause you too much trouble, and taking care of them will be a breeze.

Christopher Adams
Christopher Adams

Hey there, my name is Christopher, and I've successfully ran freshwater aquariums for the past few decades. The mission of this site is to make it simple for anyone to run their own freshwater aquarium.

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