This tiny fish does not have an easy name, but it more than makes up for it by being easy on the eyes. Whether you know this nano fish as Celestichthys margaritatus or as the celestial pearl danio, this small but intensely colored fish is gorgeous. These little guys have a range of base body color, from a dark steely gray, to a deep midnight blue. They also have little spots that dot their entire body, which are a pearly white to cream colored. Both sexes have bright orange fins, but the males have additional dense black striping above and below the orange. When the danios are fired up and ready to breed, their normally whitish belly fires up to an orange and red. Their moniker of “celestial pearl” comes from the white spots on the dark base, which look almost like stars in the night sky. Their name Celestichthys also translates roughly to “heavenly fish”, and their species name margaritatus to “adorned with pearls”, and this name makes perfect sense as soon as you see this fish.
This fish is typically caught in the wild from pools in the foothills of Myanmar, as well as in the Salween River and even into northern Thailand. They are typically found in permanently flooded grassland which is formed by damming springs for agricultural purposes, but further back historically, they would likely have been found in those dammed springs. The water there typically is lush with plants, especially ones that grow densely such as Blyxa and Egeria species. A planted aquarium is great for these fish, since they would experience plants in the wild too. Blyxa japonica is a common aquarium plant, and relatively easy to grow as well, not requiring CO2 at all, and not caring about water hardness, so it would be a great choice if you are looking to set up a biotope aquarium. The water is fairly neutral, and these fish are fairly adaptable to different water parameters. Water hardness should exist, but not be too high, and try to keep it under 250 ppm.
If you plan on keeping this tiny fish in a community tank, be very careful what species you choose to keep with them, as these fish do not reach an inch long, with the largest recorded specimen being just over 2cm. Because of this, they are quick to run and hide from anything in the tank, and so you should really consider keeping them in a species-only setup in order to give them a sense of security, so that they will actually be out and about. As with most danios, the CPD is an egg scatterer that relies on laying a lot of eggs to further the generations, and shows no parental care. If you give them a large enough setup, you might have some success with colony breeding them, but if you want them to have a large number of babies, you will want to rescue the eggs and raise them yourself. The toughest part of raising these fry is getting them food, as when they are born they are not big enough to eat baby brine shrimp. If you have always loved salmon, but know that your tank is way too small, these guys are the perfect alternative! These schooling fish do not ship individually.
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