13 Zebra Danio Tank Mates – List of Compatible Species

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Zebra danios are some of the most widespread and popular freshwater fish in the aquarium trade.

They can reach 5 years in captivity, grow up to 2 inches, and showcase a schooling behavior to keep themselves safe and comfy. They are also cute and hardy and can adapt to a wide range of ecosystems.

Zebra danios make for great tankmates, which ranks them as ideal for any community setup. So long as you pair them with equally peaceful and tolerant fish species, of course.

Then you have the danios’ behavior to worry about when finding their ideal tankmates. These fish aren’t aggressive, but they’re known as bullies and fin nippers, so you can’t pair them with guppies or bettas, for instance.

Today, we’ll discuss the 13 most popular tankmates for zebra danios that you should consider for your community tank.

Let’s take them one by one:

1. Goldfish

Few fish are more popular and beloved in the aquarium trade than the notorious goldfish.

Goldfish can live up to 20 years, showcase immense species variation, and are extremely adaptable and beginner-friendly.

They will tolerate beginner-specific mistakes and can withstand poor water conditions with greater ease than many other species.

This has earned the goldfish the name “maintenance-free fish.” However, goldfish still require good care to prevent them from dealing with health issues over time.

Consider getting at least 20 gallons for one goldfish, although I recommend a larger tank for your community setup.

Goldfish’s growth rate and maximum size are limited by the size of their enclosure.

This means that goldfish can grow between 2 and 15 inches, depending on the subspecies and the tank’s size.

Compatibility – High

Goldfish aren’t interested in zebra danios and vice-versa. They should make for great tankmates, provided you keep them in a safe, clean, and comfy habitat.

Add plants and various decorations for hiding and exploration purposes and, most importantly, clean the tank regularly. Especially if you have a smaller tank, below 25 gallons.

Goldfish are notoriously messy fish.

2. Neon Tetras

These schooling mid-dwellers are ideal additions to any community setup.

They are small, only reaching up to 1.5 inches, and do great in community tanks, provided you keep them in larger groups.

You need at least 6-8 tetras for a stable and thriving community, although I recommend more for better results.

The neon tetras’ natural habitat consists of dark waters with a lot of vegetation and multiple hiding areas. These curious and active fish like exploring and moving around their habitat.

The darker environment keeps them calmer and more comfortable, as they can use their surroundings to evade more aggressive tankmates. Water quality is necessary to keep your tetras healthy over the years.

Compatibility – High

Zebra danios and neon tetras are of similar size and share similar dietary preferences and environmental requirements.

They will make for great tankmates, so long as you keep both species in larger groups.

3. Angelfish

This medium-sized cichlid is among the most peaceful of its family. Angelfish can grow up to 5-6 inches, depending on the fish’s diet, environment, and species.

The cichlid’s triangle-shaped body with long dorsal and anal fins make for quite the spectacle in any community setup.

These fish don’t mind the presence of other tankmates, but they can be feisty towards each other.

Males are particularly territorial and aggressive, so you shouldn’t have more than one per tank.

The ideal setup for angelfish includes a tank size of at least 55 gallons with plenty of vegetation but also open areas for free swimming.

Compatibility – Low-Moderate

This isn’t my favorite marriage, but it can work with the right preparation and awareness.

I would say there are 2 primary problems to solve when it comes to pairing angelfish and zebra danios:

  • The fin nipping – As I’ve already mentioned, zebra danios are known bullies, nipping at fish with larger and flashier fins. This includes the angelfish. To mitigate this behavior, I recommend keeping angelfish in a group; this will discourage the danios from messing with the larger cichlids. The problem is that you’ll need to upgrade your tank’s size for this.
  • The angelfish’s diet – Angelfish are omnivorous, but they remain cichlids above all else. So, it’s common for angelfish to eat smaller fish like zebra danios, provided the size difference is significant. To circumvent the problem, keep the danios in larger groups, make sure they’re all close to 2 inches, and create a diverse tank layout with plenty of plants and hiding spots.

4. Gouramis

Gouramis are hardy, gorgeous, and adaptable fish that eat anything and thrive in community setups.

They are docile and peaceful, except when you pair 2 gourami males in the same habitat.

This species showcases an amazing variation in terms of size, coloring, pattern, and behavior.

Some species are aggressive and territorial, while others are legitimate sweethearts capable of adapting to any community environment.

You should always look for the species that appeals to you the most while still matching perfectly with your danios.

Keep in mind that some gourami species are more demanding than others in terms of maintenance and water conditions.

Compatibility – High

Gourami are peaceful, thick-skinned fish that don’t mind sharing space with more active species.

Naturally, this isn’t true for all species, as chocolate gouramis, for instance, are very sensitive to boisterous and hyperactive fish.

They’re also shy, slow swimmers that need to be paired with equally-tempered species.

The pearl gourami doesn’t have this problem, as this 4-inch species can tolerate pretty much all types of tankmates.

5. Corydoras

Corydoras are great no matter the community tank you’re creating. These fish can grow up to 4 inches and spend their lives near the substrate, constantly searching for food.

They are cleaner fish that feed on detritus, food leftovers from other fish, plant matter, some algae, etc.

They are also skin plated for added protection and keep a low profile, hiding behind rocks and vegetation.

This makes them difficult to detect, which means that Corydoras can integrate into any community environment; within certain limits, of course.

Compatibility – High

I would say that this is the best tankmate you can get for your zebra danios. This species is docile, friendly, and doesn’t mind the presence of other fish in its habitat.

The danios won’t bother the catfish either since the 2 species have different dwelling areas and behaviors.

As a plus, Corydoras showcase an impressive color and pattern variation, which adds a plus of value to the equation.

6. Livebearers

The category of livebearers includes a variety of species, like guppies, fancy guppies, mollies, platies, swordtails, and mosquito fish, to name the most popular ones.

These fish incubate their eggs inside an abdominal pouch, allowing them to give birth to live fry directly; hence, the name.

Livebearers are tropical fish that thrive in temperatures around 72-82 F and demand clean waters to thrive. They also breed fast, capable of producing offspring monthly.

Last, but not least, they are omnivorous and undemanding in terms of diet, peaceful and playful, and showcase an astounding color and pattern variety.

Fish like platies, mollies, and guppies, rank as some of the most pattern-diverse fish in the aquarium trade. This is the main reason why they have been the focal point of selective breeding over the years.

Compatibility – High

You should be okay, so long as you stay away from guppies. While guppies fit the profile of the ideal zebra danio tankmates on almost all fronts, they fail on a critical one – fin flashiness.

Most guppies have long and colorful fins, making them the perfect target for the professional fin nippers that are zebra danios.

Fortunately, you have several other options available, as swordtails, platies, and mollies don’t have that problem.

7. Bristlenose Pleco

The bristlenose pleco is another type of catfish that you’ll most definitely want for your community tank. This scavenger belongs to the Loricariidae family, which encompasses over 680 species.

It can reach 5 inches in the ideal habitat and live up to 10 years with good care and a proper diet. These fish are very hardy and peaceful and will maintain a low profile in the ecosystem.

Bristlenose plecos demand at least 40 gallons of space and plenty of plants and rocks to hide when stressed or rattled.

Such a layout allows them to adapt to any community environment, but it’s best to pair them with equally friendly species.

Compatibility – High

Bristlenose plecos are great tankmates for your zebra danios. They don’t share the same space and have different feeding and dwelling behavior, complementing each other on many fronts.

The pleco will also keep the habitat cleaner, lowering the need for intensive tank maintenance and cleaning.

8. Rasboras

Rasboras fit the profile of the peaceful, community fish that showcases great adaptability and hardiness. These small fish will rarely reach 2 inches and only need 10 gallons to thrive.

I recommend keeping them in larger groups, though, as this will provide them with increased peace of mind and comfort.

The ideal habitat for these fish includes a dark substrate, plenty of vegetation, open swimming areas, and dim lighting.

Peaceful but energetic tankmates like zebra danios are great additions to the mix. Make sure you have at least 8-10 rasboras to form a more compact and vivid school.

Compatibility – High

Rasboras are great tankmates for zebra danios because they have similar environmental preferences.

They thrive in larger groups and won’t mind the presence of other fish since they have no territorial tendencies.

9. White Cloud Minnows

White cloud minnows are similar to rasboras in many aspects. They have slim bodies with subdued coloring and red-infused fins.

These fish can grow up to 1.5 inches and prefer to live in groups to keep each other safe and calm. Driftwood, rocks, plants, and a dark substrate are necessary to keep the fish calm and at ease.

These fish are notorious for their ease of care and all-encompassing diet, making them ideal for beginners with little-to-no fish-keeping experience.

Compatibility – High

White cloud minnows are great tankmates for zebra danios, so long as you keep them in larger groups.

I recommend getting at least 8 minnows, although you can always up the number, provided you have the space for it.

10. Other Danios

You can always mix multiple danios species, as these fish don’t mind sharing space and resources.

They have similar diets and environmental and maintenance needs and can even form merged schools.

They can also become part of a larger community ecosystem themselves, so long as you pair them with equally peaceful and friendly species.

11. Hillstream Loach

The hillstream loach doesn’t grow past 2-3 inches in captivity, but it’s a very handsome and undemanding fish, as it befits a bottom dweller.

This species is a bit atypical in terms of size requirements. Despite its small size, the hillstream loach demands at least 50 gallons of space.

This is for several reasons, including the need for large open spaces for swimming and exploration and water currents for improved breathing and oxygenation.

This species also does best in groups, so consider getting at least 3-4 specimens.

Compatibility – Moderate-High

The biggest challenge here is to figure out the right water movement balance. Zebra danios don’t require fast-moving waters, but hillstream loaches do.

You can achieve this by placing the filter’s output closer to the substrate to create stronger water currents and mimic the loaches’ natural habitat.

Other than that, the 2 species should make for great tankmates.

12. Ram Cichlids

Ram cichlids are small, only reaching up to 3 inches, and rank as peaceful, which is very rare for this species. These fish are omnivorous and generally hardy but require more maintenance and cleaning than other species.

These cichlids are sensitive to poor water conditions and ammonia, more specifically, making them unfit for beginners.

They don’t match well with more aggressive fish species but can cooperate with peaceful ones like zebra danios.

You can keep several ram cichlids in a group, provided you limit the number of males, aka you only have one per tank.

Compatibility – Moderate

While ram cichlids match zebra danios in terms of temperament and layout requirements, they don’t match too well in terms of water conditions.

The temperature is the biggest concern here, as ram cichlids demand environmental temperatures of 74 F and up.

This is the maximum that the zebra danios will accept, so you need to do some tweaking to accommodate both species.

If you can’t, I recommend skipping this one.

13. Kribensis Cichlids

Kribensis cichlids are yet another peaceful cichlid species that can reach 4 inches and live up to 5 years in captivity.

In typical cichlid fashion, these fish need a clean environment and healthy water chemistry to stay safe. They are notoriously sensitive to ammonia, so kribensis cichlids are only fit for fully cycled tanks.

These are cave-dwelling fish, so provide them with all the resources they need for a comfortable and peaceful lifestyle.

Substrate decorations like caves, rocks, and driftwood are necessary to craft a cichlid-friendly layout with multiple hiding areas.

Compatibility – Moderate

Kribensis cichlids have the same problem as ram cichlids – the temperature.

The ideal range for this species sits between 75 and 77 F, so you need some planning and adjusting to accommodate these cichlids in a zebra danios tank.

Conclusion

Zebra danios are great beginner-friendly fish that can share space with multiple fish species.

The 13-piece sample I’ve provided today is by no means exhaustive.

If these species aren’t to your liking, feel free to experiment with others and share your experience so we can all learn from it.

avatar I’m Fabian, aquarium fish breeder and founder of this website. I’ve been keeping fish, since I was a kid. On this blog, I share a lot of information about the aquarium hobby and various fish species that I like. Please leave a comment if you have any question.

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