Pez cebra: historia, características, alimentación, cuidados y más
Did you know that the zebrafish or danio was the first to be cloned? It is also one of the favorite species for laboratory research. Learn more about the interesting characteristics of this species, including its history, reproduction, care, and much more.
History of the zebrafish
The zebrafish's history originates in Southeast Asia. Its scientific name is Danio rerio from the carp family (Cyprinidae), related to barbs. This small fish is mainly distributed in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Bhutan. It was first imported in 1905 by Paul Matte-Lankwitz. This fish is known for being one of the favorites in home aquariums and as a model in scientific research for biomedicine and aquaculture.
In the seventies, the University of Oregon began its interest in conducting research with the zebrafish. It was used as a model for genetic research due to its massive reproduction capacity. Thanks to the biology of this little animal, advances have been made in biomedicine.
Characteristics of the zebrafish
The size of an adult zebrafish is between 4 to 5 cm, elongated, and fusiform with only one dorsal fin. It has a small mouth located on the top of the head. These fish have sexual dimorphism because both the male and female present some notable differences. For example, the male is smaller, and the color of their bodies is usually golden. On the other hand, the female is a bit larger and oval-shaped with a silver hue. In addition, on their sides, you can see 5 to 9 dark blue stripes, and in the dorsal area, white with a pinkish tone. However, you can find them in bright yellow, green, and pink colors with white stripes on their elongated body, hence the name zebrafish.
Another interesting feature of this fish is that it doesn't have teeth or a stomach, so it feeds using spiny gills to ingest its food. As for behavior, the male zebrafish is territorial, tends to be aggressive towards other male fish to mark its territory. It is also amazing that these little fish can regenerate their fins, heart, spinal cord, retina, and liver.
The zebrafish is omnivorous, eating live foods such as mosquito larvae, very small crustaceans, and any other invertebrate. Their diet can include dry foods such as vegetables served in very small amounts. Their mouth is on the top of their head so they can eat floating food around them.
It is the right fish for beginners in home aquariums, as it is a peaceful and sociable animal. It does not require much care and is easy to breed, so there will be no problem for inexperienced fish breeders. Therefore, let's see the care you need to have so that the zebrafish lives in the best conditions.
Consider that the fish tank should have a size of 80 liters. Although they are small fish, they are very active and continuously move, so it is recommended to have an aquarium large enough for them to swim comfortably. They are fish that know how to coexist with other species, including other small cyprinids like them, tetra fish, rainbow fish, and catfish. As it is a group fish, you can have them in an aquarium with at least 8 to 10 fish and enjoy their synchronized swimming and harmonious colors.
The aquarium must have an external or internal filter, but the best will be a cascade filter, as it will help to have the water in optimal conditions and oxygenate it. It is recommended to use a filter that filters the entire aquarium water, i.e., that exceeds the amount of your fish tank to ensure it is in the best possible conditions.
The water temperature in the aquarium must not be overlooked. To control it according to the parameters that the zebrafish can withstand, you will need a thermostat and heater. Keep in mind that the suitable water temperature is 27°C and a pH between 73 and 75.
Accessories in the aquarium
It is necessary for the aquarium to have some quantity of plants to simulate their natural habitat. You can place a planted aquarium. You can also add some rocks to decorate and where they can hide or rest.
Lighting in the aquarium
Freshwater zebrafish need to have a well-lit aquarium, so the fish tank must receive about 13 hours of light per day. However, as the danio fish is not a warm-water fish, you can add small amounts of cold water to the aquarium every few hours a day.
The zebrafish reaches its reproductive age at six months, and an interesting fact is that it can reproduce all year round. After laying the eggs, it takes between 24 and 36 hours for the embryo to form. Shortly after hatching, they can be fed on live prey. For the reproduction of this species in an aquarium, you must take into account that they are not very parental, unlike other species that defend their offspring from predators. Therefore, you must prepare a tank only for offspring. The lighting of the tank should be weak, and a mesh or mat should be placed on the bottom to deposit the eggs, out of sight of the adults. Once you have evidence that the eggs have been deposited, remove the adults to prevent them from eating them if they find them. Have dry food ready for the fry, and as they grow, you can feed them with artemia larvae and other live foods.
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