Fish, Tanks and Ponds

Fish, Tanks and Ponds
A comprehensive guide to fish

Danio margaritatus

Celestial Pearl Danio

Celestial Pearl Danio, Danio margaritatusCelestial Pearl Danio, Danio margaritatus
Photos by Andy Rapson


Danio: Vernacular name fron India and Sri Lanka

General Notes:

Shy and peaceful. They can be kept in a community aquarium but only with small quite species. Their aquarium should contain soft slightly alkaline water and be well planted. Larger fish which are very boisterous may increase their shyness to such a degree that they can't compete for food. When they first arrive in pet stores and aquarium shops many Danio margaritatus are in very poor condition and quite thin, this makes them quite difficult to establish but once this stage has been passed they are much hardier. When first obtained use live or frozen food such as cyclops rather than dried food to increase the fishes chances of quickly regaining their condition and establishing themselves.


Wild Danio margaritatus are thought to eat algae, crustaceans, small insect larva, worms and plankton. In captivity they will accept all suitably sized food but dried food alone shouldn't be relied upon.


Males are smaller as adults, more brightly coloured and slender. The females are lager more rounded and with less red on their fins. They sexes are quite easy to tell apart when next to each other.


Danio margaritatus breeds quite freely in captivity. The eggs are not scattered as with many danios but are placed on vegetation in a small batch. The ones the eggs are laid neither parent cares for the brood. The fry become free swimming after about 7 days but it is a further 12 weeks before they adopt their adult colouration.

Wild status

The status of the wild population hasn't been evaluated, they remain quite rare in the wild due to their small range but some of that range is now protected and they have been introduced in to other areas too. When the fish was first discovered it was thought to come from a single location. There was a massive over exploitation to such a degree that it was thought the species would become extinct in the wild just months after being discovered. In the UK Practical Fishkeeping magazine asked fish keepers not to buy these fish unless prepared to breed them and for others only to buy captive bred stock in an attempt to ease pressure on the wild population. Fortunately they were then found at other locations and they proved to be quite prolific to such an extent that if their habitat was left undisturbed they would be able to repopulate it within a year.

Information at a glance

pH: 7 - 7.6
dGH: 4 - 10
Temperature: 22 - 24°C (72 - 75°F)
Diet: Omnivore
Size: 2cm (0.75in)
Min tank size: 60 litres
Difficulty level: Intermediate
Aquarium type: Community
Swimming level: Lower / middle

Distribution and habitat

distribution map for Celestial Pearl Danio, Danio margaritatus

Origin: Shan State, eastern Myanmar, Thailand

Habitat: Small heavily vegetated shallow pools


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Cypriniformes
Family: Cyprinidae
Sub family: Danioninae
Genus: Danio
Species: D. margaritatus, (Roberts, 2007)

Common name:
Celestial Pearl Danio

Synonyms: Celestichthys margaritatus