Can Zebra Danios Live Alone?

Zebra danios should not live alone. Zebra danios are schooling fish, and when kept alone in an aquarium, they become highly stressed, which weakens their immunity and makes them prone to illness. Therefore, zebra danios should be kept in a school of at least five fish.

These small attractive aquarium fish get their name from the colorful stripes across their bodies. As schooling fish, zebra danios have lots of energy and are pretty busy, and as such, thrive when kept in a school.

Can Zebra Danios Be Kept Alone?

Zebra danios can survive alone in an aquarium if their basic needs are met. However, there are better environments for them. When zebras are alone in an aquarium, they are unlikely to be sociable. Instead, they will seek refuge and hide in aquarium plants.

When zebra danios are in a school, they feel safe and comfortable. This fish species is known to show aggressive tendencies towards other fish when left alone, so keeping them in a school with other zebra danios is advisable.

Zebra Danio in Front of Plants

How Many Zebra Danios Should You Keep Together?

Zebra danios require ample swimming space and should be kept in a 10-gallon tank. Some aquarium owners keep zebra fish in a 5-gallon tank, but this does not provide them with adequate swimming space.

These fish can also be hyperactive, but this behavior is minimal when kept in a school. The minimum number of zebra fish that should live together is five.

You can keep more than five zebra danios in a school if you have a larger aquarium. The general rule for calculating how many fish can fit in an aquarium is 1 inch of fish per gallon of water.

Most zebra danios owners have 10-gallon tanks or larger and usually keep five zebra danios or a few more in this size tank. The amount of zebra danios kept in a tank also depends on how many other fish are in the tank.

Why Shouldn’t Zebra Danios Live Alone?

Zebra danios are hardy fish and can withstand many environmental changes, including varying water temperatures. But, despite their hardiness, they don’t do well alone in an aquarium.

You should not keep zebra fish alone because it negatively impacts their health and well-being. A few other reasons why zebra danios should not be kept alone include:

Schooling Fish

One of the biggest reasons zebra danios should not be kept alone is that they are schooling fish. In the wild, schooling fish have an instinctive need to be in a school for safety and protection from predators.

Schooling also helps fish like zebra danios find a mate, and their eggs are more likely to be fertilized when zebra fish are kept in a school.

This species of fish are not typically good at parenting, and when they are in a school, there is a greater likelihood that they will find a mate and there will be more hatchlings.

Exhibit Aggressive Behavior

Zebra danios can occasionally act aggressive when they are kept alone and don’t have any other fish to school with. Your zebra danios may nip or chase after other fish and try to assert their dominance when they are kept alone in an aquarium.

Zebra danios are not typically aggressive but environmental influences, like being alone in an aquarium, may provoke aggression in this species.

Weakened Immune System

When zebra danios are kept alone in an aquarium and don’t have any other fish to school with, they may become highly stressed and refuse to eat.

This stress and refusal to eat harms their immune system and make them highly susceptible to illness.

Hide And Seek Refuge

Zebra danios will hide and seek refuge in aquarium plants and decorations when they are kept alone in an aquarium.

This species of fish is highly friendly. When they aren’t in a school with other zebra danios, they become reclusive, which negatively impacts their well-being.

Can You Keep Zebra Danios With Other Fish?

Zebra danios can be kept with other fish in an aquarium, provided they are also part of a school. Only some fish species are compatible with zebras, so tank mates should be chosen carefully.

It’s best to include aquarium fish with similar water temperature and environmental needs to zebra danios. This makes it much easier to maintain the aquarium and keep your fish healthy.

When choosing tankmates for your zebra fish, look for fish with similar temperaments. Fish with similar personalities tend to get along better and are less likely to get aggressive or territorial.

Compatible Fish For Zebra Danios

Zebra danios have easygoing personalities and get along well with many fish species. Some of the most compatible tankmates for zebra fish include:

  • Ember tetra
  • Flying barb
  • Emerald pufferfish
  • Neon tetra
  • Honey gourami
  • Corydoras
  • Celestial pearl danio
  • Platies
  • Swordtails
  • Guppies

Tips On Keeping Zebra Danios Alone

It’s not advisable to keep zebra danios alone, but if you don’t have another option, there are many things you can do for your zebras to make them more comfortable.

  • Water temperature. Zebra danios in the wild are cold-water fish and can survive in tanks without heating. The optimal temperature for zebra danios is between 70-77 °F, but they can stay in water that is 64-68 °F. If your zebra danios are the only danios in your aquarium, keeping the water temperature consistent is essential for their well-being.
  • Diet. Zebra danios will eat almost anything given to them but thrive when fed high-quality fish flakes, Hikari wafers, and live or frozen food like blackworms, bloodworms, and brine shrimp. Zebra danios who are kept alone in an aquarium and have a good diet have a higher chance of survival.
  • Filtration. Zebras have minimal filtration requirements, and a hang-on-the-back or sponge filter will suit your aquarium. This fish species also enjoy jumping up, so it’s best to keep your aquarium covered.
  • Tank setup. A 10-gallon tank is best for zebra danios, but many aquarium owners have also kept them in a 5-gallon tank. On average, the zebra danios needs 2 gallons of tank space. The zebras also needs a few aquarium plants, decorations to hide in, and a suitable gravel substrate to keep them happy.


Zebra danios should not live alone in an aquarium because they are schooling fish and find comfort and protection when in a school. Zebras are active and can become aggressive toward other fish in the aquarium when kept alone. If you are keeping your zebra danios fish alone in an aquarium, it’s best to meet all of its environmental needs so it has the best chance of survival.