10 Best Zebra Danio (Zebrafish) Tank Mates

The Zebra Danio is a popular freshwater fish among aquarists. In addition to being social and active, the zebrafish is incredibly hardy, and it has adapted to various aquatic conditions.

It also comes in attractive color variations as a result of selective breeding. The zebrafish is a tropical fish and it will appreciate a temperature range of 64-77 °F, while the pH should be kept between 6.0 to 8.0.

Fish Compatible with Zebra Danios

When choosing tankmates for the zebra danio, avoid long-finned species like the Sailfin mollies since they are known to nip on fins. Some tank mates to consider, include:

1. Neon Tetra

Neon Tetra

Neon Tetra

Neon tetras are among the tetras that can be kept with the zebra danio. The two species will create a peaceful and colorful tank.

Neon tetras are staples in the aquarium industry, mainly because they are quite easy to breed and care for. Their shimmering colors are best seen in a shoal, and you can keep as many as you can depending on the size of your setup.

Neon tetras are shy and peaceful, but they are active in large groups.

Neon tetras will thrive in similar conditions as those of the zebra danios. They appreciate a temperature range of 68-75 °F and a PH or 6-7. Neon tetras school in open areas, but they often retreat to hiding spaces when threatened.

You can provide floating plants as well as tall plants like Cryptocoryne wendtii and Brazilian pennywort. You will need to feed the tetras several times and a day and keep them on an omnivorous diet.

2. Rummy Nose Tetra

Rummy Nose Tetra

Rummy Nose Tetra

The rummy nose tetra brings unique characteristics to any aquarium. Its semi-transparent body has a greenish gradient under normal conditions.

It has a bright red spot on its head that gets significantly pale when it is stressed. The fins are all transparent, except for the caudal fin.

It is hard to differentiate the males and females with the naked eye but some aquarists suggest that the females have a fuller body.

Rummy nose tetras will mostly average at 2.5 inches in the aquarium. Keep about seven of them to get the best of their coloring and behavior.

They appreciate warmer temperatures in the range of 75-84 °F and a PH of 6.2-7.0.

These tetras inhabit shaded areas in the wild, and you should replicate this habitat with plenty of plant cover in your tank.

3. Corydoras Catfish



The Corydoras catfish are coveted for their calm and mellow nature, and they will make great tank mates for your zebra danios. They are indigenous to South America, where they have been recorded in lakes and streams.

There are multiple kinds of corys, each with their own appeal. One of the more common ones is the Bandit Corys, which are recognized for the black mask over their eyes. Bronze Corys will spice up your tank with their black, albino, green, and bronze color morphs. All corys should be kept in schools of five or more.

The cory catfish is a bit forgiving when it comes to water conditions, which is why it is an excellent beginner pet. Selective breeding has made the fish tolerable to a range of water conditions, but it is still best to maintain pristine water conditions. The recommended temperature and PH ranges for the corys are 70-80 °F and 6.0-8.0.

The Corydoras are incredible scavengers and will clean up your tank. Ideal foods for them would be sinking flakes and pellets since they are bottom feeders. They are omnivorous, so you should also provide meat treats and occasional vegetables.

4. Kuhli Loach

Kuhli Loach

Kuhli Loach

The Kuhli loach is native to Southern Asia, where it inhabits the sandy regions of rivers and seems to prefer shaded areas. It is easily recognizable due to its eel-body shape and the four barbels around the mouth.

The Kuhli loach will reach around three inches in the aquarium. Its yellow body is crossed by 12-17 vertical dark vertical bars, and it has a pink iris. The Kuhli loaches lack head scales and they are incredibly prone to diseases.

The Kuhli Loach is an active scavenger in the daytime, and they will typically explore the whole tank at night. Use a soft substrate since the fish will sink into it when they feel threatened. Keep at least six of them together to make them comfortable.

Kuhli loaches like well-oxygenated water and the aquarium’s water should be circulated 10-15 times per hour. The temperatures should be kept between 73-86 °F with the PH at 5.5-6.5. You can include peat moss in your tank to mimic the leaf litter found in their wild habitats.

The main challenge with keeping Kuhli loaches comes in their susceptibility to diseases. They are especially prone to Ich, which manifests as white spots on the body.

5. Goldfish



The goldfish is a popular aquatic pet, although it sometimes receives the wrong care. The goldfish should not be kept in small bowls or containers, as they require a lot of space as much as any other fish species.

The goldfish are originally from Asia and eastern Europe, but they have been bred in captivity for many hours. You can, therefore, get them in many colors and shapes in most pet shops.

If you keep your goldfish in a community tank, ensure that each of them gets 6 to 8 gallons of water for themselves. The ideal temperature range should be between 65-74 °F.

6. Three-Spotted Gourami

The three-spotted gourami is named for the vertical black dots in the middle of their body. You can only see two dots, and the eye is regarded as the third spot.

The three-spotted gourami is nearly identical to the blue gourami, except that the latter has a whitish-blue coat.

The three-spotted gourami can grow to six inches, meaning that you will need a large tank to house the adults.

They swim in all areas in the tank, and they have a labyrinth organ to absorb oxygen from the air. Keep the temperatures between 73-82 °F.

7. Bristlenose Pleco

Bristlenose Pleco

Bristlenose Pleco

The Bristlenose pleco makes a great companion for the zebra danio. They are popular with aquarists because of their small size and low maintenance. The fish has a wide distribution in the floodplains and rivers of the Amazon river system.

The fish typically has a solid color that can include olive, grey, or brown with yellow or white spots. It sports a flat body featuring bony plates, and it appears fatter when compared to other plecos.

This bony armor is used as a defense against aggressive fish. The Bristlenose pleco has a peaceful temperament and will not threaten your zebra danio.

The Bristlenose pleco can tolerate water temperatures between 60 and 80 °F and a PH range of 5.5-7.6. This is a nocturnal species, and they need lots of hiding spaces to spend their day. Ensure that the bottom of your tank is not too crowded as these plecos need a lot of space to forage in the substrate.

8. Angelfish



Angelfish will be a sparkling addition to your aquarium, and they will easily get along with zebra danios.

The angelfish originates from South America, where it inhabits various river systems including the Amazon river basin. They come in various colors in most pet stores.

You should keep in mind that angelfish can grow to six inches when buying juveniles.

They need tall tanks since their fins can extend up to eight inches. You can keep a small school in an 80-gallon tank or larger.

They create hierarchies in their schools, but their aggression will rarely be directed to external parties.

The angelfish appreciates warm temperatures in the range of 75-82 °F with a PH of 6.8-7. Opt for a fine and soft substrate since this fish is an active digger.

You can also use Amazonian plants to mimic their wild habitats.

9. Guppies

Guppy Fish

Guppy Fish

Guppies are hugely popular among aquarists, and they are over 300 kinds to choose from. You can expect vivid and bright colorations in your aquarium regardless of which one you select.

Guppies are South American natives, although they have been widely bred in captivity.

Guppies are quite active in the aquarium, especially when they are kept in groups. The males can, however, stress the females by chasing them around and trying to impress them with their colors.

Keep the temperature between 75-82 °F with a pH range of 6-7.2.

10. Mollies

Molly Fish

Molly Fish

The peaceful nature of mollies makes them excellent tank mates for zebra danios.

There are plenty of molly varieties to choose from, and they average at 4.5 inches in size. Keep at least four mollies together as they like their own company.

Mollies are easy to care for in the aquarium. They spend most of the time in the middle and top levels of the tank, and they like heavily planted plants.

The PH and temperature should be kept at 6.7-8.5 and 72-78 °F, respectively. Mollies will breed easily, and the females give birth to 30-60 live fry at once.

The fry are very small and they will get eaten by adult fish, unless they have where to hide.

Fish You Should Not Keep with Zebra Danios

Zebrafish are very delicate and don’t do well in aquariums with aggressive tank mates. So, you should avoid keeping zebra danios with aggressive fish. Here is a list of fish you should avoid keeping with zebrafish:

  • Discus fish
  • African cichlids
  • Tiger barbs
  • Oscar Fish

Now, you may ask – are discus fish aggressive? No, discus are not aggressive, in fact are very shy. I wouldn’t recommend keeping zebra danios with discus, because discus they are too shy. Because zebra danios are very active and fast, they can scare and stress discus fish.

African cichlids on the other hand are aggressive and territorial. Even though zebrafish are very fast swimming fish, still African cichlids will chase them and eventually will hurt or even eat them.

Tiger bars are also considered aggressive fish. They are also fin nippers. So, tiger barbs will easily bite the long fins of zebra danios, causing them disease and eventually death. So, don’t keep tiger barbs and zebra danios together.

Oscar fish are also pretty aggressive and the also grow to a decent size – 14-15 inches in length. Oscars are carnivorous and will eat smaller fish. They will easily catch and eat zebra danios, so don’t keep them in the same tank.


There are plenty of available tankmates that you can get for your zebra danios. Most of the fish on this list appreciate lots of open swimming areas and warm temperatures.

A dark substrate will contrast beautifully with the vibrant colors of the recommended fish. It is also ideal to get a larger tank since some species like angelfish can get quite big.

Danios   Updated: April 24, 2020
avatar Hey, I'm Fabian, chief editor at Aquarium Nexus. I really enjoy the aquarium hobby and love sharing my experience with others. If you have any questions feel free to contact me or leave a comment below.

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