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Will Different Types of Danios School Together?

Danios are a kind of minute schooling (or rather shoaling) freshwater fish that are typically surface oriented and energetic in nature. Highly popular with aquarium hobbyists, they’re easy to care for and come in a wide range of colors and patterns. If you’re interested in keeping danios, you may be curious as to which types will school together in an aquarium?  Well, the answer is…

Danios will school with others of the same species. In a captive environment, they may swim together with other types of danios if there aren’t enough of their own kind to shoal with. It’s recommended that you keep at least 5 (1 male and 4 females) of each species together in a fair-sized community tank whenever possible.

Now that you know danios in captivity prefer the company of others, especially those of their own kind, let’s explore this topic in more depth. Moving through this article, you’ll learn which type of danios can live together, which species will school (or simply swim) together in a community tank, and which fish make good tankmates for danios.

So, if you’re ready to dive deeper into the aquatic world of the danio fish and uncover more interesting facts about their social behavior in an aquarium, then let’s begin!

Can all Types of Danios Live Together?

For the most part, all types of danios tend to live peacefully together in a community tank environment. That said, it’s still recommended that you keep groups of the species together with no less than 5 of each type – 1 male with 4 females, if possible.

As a type of shoaling or social fish, they need others of their kind to thrive in an aquarium. If kept alone, they won’t do well (or live very long) in a captive environment. The stress of solidarity will make them aggressive. They need the company and security of like fish to dwell peacefully in a community tank.

Will Pearl Danios School with Zebra Danios?

Pearl (or blue-red striped) danios and zebra danios are not of the same species and won’t usually school together in an aquarium. They may try to, however, if kept in a tank with too few of their own kind. The stress of being alone and the desire to be social will sometime cause them to swim together in captivity.

Will Leopard Danios School with Zebra Danios?

Leopard or spotted danios are a subspecies of zebra danios and therefore will school together in a community tank environment. That said, it’s still recommended to keep at least 5 of each type in an aquarium. If your tank is 30 gallons or larger, you can easily keep 10 danios (5 leopard and 5 danios).

Will Giant Danios School with Zebra Danios?

Keeping giant danios with zebra danios in the same tank isn’t a problem – provided the aquarium is big enough, that is. For 4 giants and 5 zebras, you’ll need at least a 30-gallon tank, though I’d personally recommend a 50-gallon version instead.

In most cases, the giants and zebras will stick with their own kind, however you may notice them swimming together from time-to-time. Giant danios grow to twice the length of zebras danios and hence should be kept with larger species of freshwater cichlids such as angelfish or discus fish.

a lone danio fish

Will Blue Danios School with Zebra Danios?

The blue or Kerr’s danio is vibrantly colored and looks very much like the zebra danio but without the white stripes along the sides. Keeping blues with zebras in a community tank is easy and they may even school or swim with each other, especially if you only have 3 (1 male and 2 females) of each species.

Will Rosy Danios School with Zebra Danios?

Small and closely resembling the pearl danio (minus the orange stripe along the side), rosy danios make ideal tankmates for zebra danios. A group of 5 rosies can be kept with 5 zebras in a 30-gallon community tank. They may school with each other but probably not if there are enough of each species present.

Will Malabar Danios School with Zebra Danios?

Malabar danios belong to the minnow family and as such, are more likely to school with white cloud mountain minnows (a type of danio) as opposed to zebra danios. If there aren’t enough of either species in the same tank, they may group and/or swim together for security and companionship.

Will Cross Banded Danios School with Zebra Danios?

Also known as the emerald dwarf danio, cross banded danios are a subspecies of the zebra danio fish and therefore will school together in a community tank environment. Keeping 5 cross bands (1 male and 4 females) with 5 zebras (same male-female ratio) in a tank at least 30-gallons deep is recommended.

Will Gold Ring Danios School with Zebra Danios?

Gold ring or Burmese danios prefer the company of their own kind. That said, they’ll sometimes school with zebra danios if there aren’t enough in an aquarium. Hence, you should keep at least 5 gold rings with 5 zebras in a community tank whenever possible, provided (of course) the tank is of sufficient size.

Will White Cloud Mountain Minnows School with Zebra Danios?

White cloud minnows make great tankmates for zebra danios. Being that both species are quite small, you can keep a larger group (6 to 8 of each) in a 30-gallon tank. They’ll mostly school with their own kind but they may start swimming together after both shoals have acclimated to the tank.

Will Glofish School with Zebra Danios?

Glowlight danios (or glofish) are genetically engineered versions of the zebra danio species. Therefore, if kept in a community tank, they will school together. The only difference between glofish and zebra danios is their coloring. Apart from that, they come from the same family and are innately the same.

Can Danios Crossbreed?

Danios will breed with those of their species. Since leopard danios are a subspecies of zebra danios, they will often crossbreed in captivity. Genetically modified types of zebra danios like glofish will breed with organic zebra danios. Other species of danio fish like pearls, for example, won’t crossbreed with zebras.

What Fish will School with Danios?

Schooling implies a ‘mutual relationship’ between fish of the same species for the purpose of safety and survival. Schooling fish don’t just swim in the same direction but rather move in synchronicity with one another – turning, twisting, and forming shapes as they go.

Danios may swim with other peaceful fish of like size and/or appearance if they don’t have others of their species in the same tank to socialize with. As a shoaling fish, they need companionship to thrive in a captive environment.

What Fish are Compatible with Danios?

Fish of similar size and temperament are most compatible with dwarf danios. These include barbs, mollies, platies, tetras, and swordtails. Larger, more aggressive (especially carnivorous) fish should not be kept in the same tank with dwarf danios.

Giant danios – which are twice the size of most danio types – can be kept with other larger, peaceful freshwater fish including South American cichlids like angelfish and discus fish. Loaches, cory catfish, and bigger species of rasbora fish also make ideal tankmates.


To summarize, danios will school (or rather, shoal) with others of their kind – meaning from the same family. In captivity, they may swim together with different types of danios, especially if there aren’t any (or too few) of their own species in a community tank. Therefore, it’s often recommended that you keep at least 5 of each species together in a freshwater aquarium.

I hope this article has answered your questions regarding danio fish and their schooling behavior in captivity. Thanks for reading. Best of luck pursuing your aquarium hobbyist goals.

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