pearl danio celestichthys margaritas

Celestial Pearl Danio | A Complete Care Guide

The Celestial Pearl Danio is also known as “Danio Margaritatus” or famous as “Galaxy Rasbora” in the aquarium trade, even though it was later confirmed that this is very different compared to the Rasbora family, is a very tiny, micro, colorful freshwater fish native to SouthEast Asia. To be more specific, this fish is endemic to Inle Lake in Myanmar. 

The name of this fish, Danio Margaritatus, translates to “Heavenly Fish Adorned with Pearls”. Commonly found in ponds and lakes full of dense vegetation at an elevation of approximately 3,400 feet.

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Origin

This fish was discovered in 2006, and in 2007 it was given the name of “Danio Margaritatus” by the famous American Ichthyologist Tyson Royal Roberts. When it was first found, this fish was given the name “Celestichthys Margaritatus” and aquarists went mad trying to get their hands on these fish, which led to a severe decline in their population. Today thanks to breeding methods being adopted by fish keepers their numbers have swelled up again. Still, they should be handled with care because this is a rare fish.

Read below to gain a better understanding of this fish before going out to buy some. They are shy and quick swimmers but require moderate effort to keep in an aquarium.

Scientific NameDanio Margaritatus
OriginMyanmar
Size1 inch
Aquarium SizeAround 10 Gallons for 5-6 fish
Lifespan3-5 Years
Ease of CareModerate
TemperamentPeaceful, Shy
Celestial Pearl Danio Basic Info
celestial pearl danio care guide
Celestial Pearl Danio – Image Credit: Cheepshot

Appearance

Size

The Celestial Pearl Danio is a micro fish, very small in size. An adult Celestial Pearl Danio will grow to a maximum of 1 inch from head to tail. Its body is about 3 times as long as it is high. At about close to 3 months of age, these fish will get to that size, which is the same age at which they achieve sexual maturity.

Color and Difference between Male and Female:

Having sexual dimorphism, the Celestial Pearl Dino brings even more diversity to your tank. These colorful fish bring a nice radiant touch to your aquarium with any type of green background. 

White-spotted bodies with red or orange fins stand out and are clear to see even though these fish don’t get bigger than 1 inch. The pearlescent spots on a deep blue background give off a celestial look hence the name it was given. 

The males feature a bright red belly and a prominent red line that runs on their back which they often show off during courting sessions with females. Females have a dull overall color theme with less prominent spots and a golden body where the male sports a deep blue color.

Males are generally slender compared to females who are plump. The bright features of males often lead to people buying them instead of females, but a balanced number should be maintained in an aquarium for breeding purposes.

Life Span

3-5 years. The life span of these fish depends on several factors. It can be anywhere between 3-5 years in captivity. The water conditions need to be correct and being a Nano-Fish, they are prone to stress which can result from interaction with aggressive fish. So poor water conditions and tank mates will automatically result in a decreased life span.

Diet

Celestial Pearl Danios feast on a variety of items so to cover their entire diet, we can categorize them as omnivores. They are known to eat algae, plants and plankton, worms, and whatever they can find because they are opportunistic feeders.

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For Danios residing in aquariums, one can use small pellets that can fit in their miniature mouths but it should be noted that these fish inhabits the bottom of the tank so the pellets should be heavy so they sink. Additionally, frozen food such as Krill (which helps give their fins red color) or brine shrimp can also be given to them. 

Celestial Pearl Danios also like to feed on live food such as Daphnia, Grindal Worms, and Moina but try to keep a healthy diet with variety because if you keep on feeding them just pellets, it will not fulfill their nutritional requirements. A higher-quality spirulina flake can help boost its health as it contains vital nutrients and vitamins.

How to Improve their eating habits:

When there is a mix of shy and highly active fish in your aquarium, you should keep an eye on them as they feed. Putting all the pellets and other food in the same spot often deprives shy feeders like the Celestial Pearl Danios because once startled, they go into hiding and remain hungry while the other fish finish the food off. 

So the solution to this is putting food for the active fish at one end and for the shy fish at the other. If more food was delivered than the Celestial Pearl Danios or other fish can eat then that would result in contamination of the fish tank water.

It should be kept in mind that with aggressive fish in the tank, these shy fish will not be able to receive enough food. The remedy for this is that for active fish, food should be dropped at one side of the tank and when they get busy, the other side should be utilized for shy fish like the Pearl Danios. Add food there and they should come out of hiding to feed.

Behavior and Temperament

They are generally regarded as peaceful fish and contrary to popular belief, they are not shoaling fish. When unfamiliar with their surroundings, they will stay in a shoal but as soon as they get familiar with the space around them, Celestial Pearl Danios will move about their own business individually.

They are not categorized as aggressive fish but when there are more males than females in a tank, the males will often fight for them. This is quite common in Celestial Pearl Danios and aquarists are advised to keep a lookout during the initial days of acquiring these fish.

Bite marks, damaged fins, and dead fish will indicate that males have been fighting each other. This is why it is recommended to have more females than males in a tank.

Aquarium and Water Parameters

Aquarium Size

Given the grouping nature of the Celestial Pearl Danios, it is recommended to have at least a 10-gallon tank to keep them.

How many celestial pearl danio in 10 gallons? is the question that most ask. 

Well, 5-6 celestial pearl danio in a 10-gallon fish tank would be good enough. This rounds up to roughly 2 gallons per fish. Care should be taken to include more females than males to prevent competition and fighting. Water should be shallow to mimic their natural habitat so the fish feel comfortable.

Decor

The natural habitat of the Celestial Pearl Danio in Myanmar is full of dense vegetation, driftwood, and pebbles. It is recommended by aquarists to add lots of plants and greenery to make them feel most at home in your aquarium. The types of plants used do not really matter but any plant that provides shade and shelter is fine.

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Fine gravel or sand will perfectly mirror their natural home, dark substrate will make it easier to spot these bright fish even if they hide. Don’t forget to add hiding spots because if your fish are always out in the open, they will be prone to stress which will result in poor health. The dense vegetation will provide room for plankton and larvae which are natural food for the Celestial Pearl Danio.

Celestial Pearl Danio
Celestial Pearl Danio – Image Credit: Wikimedia Common

Equipment

Since this is a tropical fish and lives in freshwater lakes and ponds that are fed by springs and the water table, they require a filtration system. A filtration system will ensure clean water to mimic their habitat and keep the tank free of ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites. 

The Celestial Pearl Danios prefer medium lighting, they shy away from bright lights. A list of common equipment required for setting up a Celestial Pearl Danio tank is as follows:

  • Aquarium (minimum size 10-gallons)
  • Filtration system
  • Heater
  • Water conditioner
  • Lighting
  • Fishnet
  • Aquarium thermometer
  • Aquarium vacuum or siphon cleaner
  • Algae magnet

Since these fish belong to tropical regions, a heater might be needed for aquariums in colder climates.

Water Parameters for Celestial Pearl Danio

Temperature65-80 Degree Fahrenheit
PH Level6.5-7.5
Hardness1-5 dGH
Water Parameters for Celestial Pearl Danio

The Celestial Pearl Danios have a very wide temperature requirement but do keep in mind that any sudden changes can result in temperature shock, no matter how temperature resistant they are. For this reason, it is recommended to monitor temperature levels using a good quality thermometer. The ideal temperature in which they thrive is close to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Once set up. The owner will need to ensure a clean and healthy environment for the Celestial Danios to ensure reduced stress levels and healthy and colorful fish roaming about in the aquarium.

Tank Mates for Celestial Pearl Danio

Best Tank Mates

Being micro-sized, shy and peaceful fish the Celestial Pearl Danio should only be kept in a tank with fish that are the same size and are docile. If you add bigger fish to the tank, even peaceful ones, they will see it as food and gobble it up.

Additionally, plump females, help to keep fish that occupy the upper portion of the aquarium so that the Pearl Danios have the bottom portion all to themselves. Some of the best tank mates for these micro fish are as follows:

  • Tetras (regular, green, and ember)
  • Guppies
  • Killifish
  • Cory catfish
  • Molly fish
  • Red cherry shrimp
  • Endler’s livebearer
  • Amano shrimp
  • Honey gourami
  • Sparkling gourami

It is necessary to consider how much space the new tank mates will occupy and then increase the water volume accordingly. A rule of thumb is to get tank mates that have almost the same temperature tolerance and other necessary water requirements.

Worst Tank Mates

Fish to avoid are generally those larger than 4 inches because they consider the Celestial Pearl Danio as food. A few examples of bad tank mates are:

  • Aggressive Gouramis (Bettas, Paradise Fish)
  • Convicts and other aggressive smaller Cichlids
  • Smaller predatory fish (African Butterflyfish, Leaf Fish, etc.)
  • Predatory Catfish (Pectus Catfish, etc.)

How to breed Celestial Pearl Danios and care for the fry?

Celestial Pearl Danio males are very competitive, they can easily be observed competing with other males and sporting a bright red mark on their anal fin to signal females.

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Once they have secured a breeding spot among the dense vegetation, they will signal females passing by in groups.

If the gesture is reciprocated, then the female joins the male in a complex dance after which sperm and eggs are released so they can fuse.

It should be noted that Celestial Pearl Danios scatter eggs and do not care much for their maintenance.

They will even eat their eggs if they stumble upon them later on, which is why isolation of eggs is required for breeders.

Their eggs are temperature sensitive so the number of days after which they hatch depends entirely on the water temperature of your aquarium.

At around 75-76F they will hatch within 3 days but at temperatures of 70F, they will take 6-7 days to hatch.

Once out of the egg, the fry will be in a sedentary phase for the first week.

The owner will be required to start giving them micro food to keep them well fed.

It will not take them long to grow up and rejoin their parents, estimates suggest that they will be ready to join their parents after only a couple of months.

The survival rate of the fry is quite high, with almost all of them reaching adulthood.

It is recommended that the isolation tank in which the fry is kept should not be too big because finding food for them would prove troublesome in that case.

Feed them baby brine shrimp after the micro feed that is recommended for one week. you can continue with baby brine shrimp until they are adults.

Celestial Pearl Danio tiny fry
Celestial Pearl Danio Fry – Image Credit: mikeytitan

Common Problems

The Celestial Pearl Danio is a micro fish that fights amongst male competitors if they outnumber the females. This aggressive trait can result in scars or even death. One common thing to look out for is fin rot, which can easily be identified by discoloration of fin edges and torn-off tissue. Fin rot can further be aggravated by poor water conditions but an easy cure is the use of anti-bacterial medicine.

These fish commonly swim around in schools so when you see fish that do not join them, have gotten lethargic, or are constantly rubbing against the bushes. That can mean that either water conditions or temperature are not optimum or those fish have suffered injuries or that can mean parasitic infection. Some of the common diseases and their remedies are:

  1. White spot Disease (Full Tank Decontamination Required)
  2. Fin Rot (Use of Antibacterial Medicatio
  3. Fungal Infection (Isolation and Treatment of Infected Fish).
  4. Bacterial Infection (Isolation and Treatment of Infected Fish).

FAQs

Where to Buy Celestial Pearl Danio?

Celestial Pearl Danio can be bought from any online fish store for roughly $7-8 per fish but it is recommended you get at least 5 by ensuring a female majority.

How Many Celestial Pearl Danio fish can be kept in 10 Gallons?

Around 5-6 fish per 10 gallons are recommended.

How do Celestial Pearl Danios breed?

They breed naturally as long as the males do not outnumber the females because in that case there will be fighting amongst themselves. For eggs, it is recommended that they are kept in an isolated aquarium because these fish scatter their eggs and may even eat them.

Conclusion

If you want to add a colorful, tropical flair to your aquarium or want to see schools of fish roaming around in a small-medium size container then the Celestial Pearl Danio is for you. Though it is important to understand their needs and requirements before buying one. Let us know how you care for your Celestial Pearl Danio.

Best of luck with your aquarium!!!

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