Celestichthys margaritatus (Celestial Pearl Danio) Spawning Report
Submitted by Patchin Crandall Curtis
Background: Celestial Pearl Danios are found in Myanmar to Thailand. They are a charming nanofish with a speckled body and bright orange fins having delicate netting-like patterns. They can be shy and should be housed with other small, peaceful species. They prefer neutral pH (6.5 – 7.5) and thrive in temperatures of 68 – 78o F. Males have more vividly colored and patterns fins. Females are plumper and larger.
Breeding Colony: 6 tank-raised fish were acquired from Frank Cowherd in a PVAS auction, probably in 2018, and then 6 wild-caught fish were purchased from The Wet Spot in April, 2019. I believe that all but 2 were males, and there were some losses along the way due to jumping when the males would get feisty with one another.
Spawning Set-Up: In March 2020, a 10g tank was set-up with a sand substrate, sponge filter, clump of java moss, a plastic plant to provide hiding places. Water was soft, neutral, and maintained at 74 – 75oF. A group of 1 female and 4 males was placed in the spawning tank and fed up on white worms, black worms, frozen cyclops, and high quality pellets such as New Life Spectrum and North Fin community formulations.
Spawning: Females only produce 1-2 eggs per day when in good condition. In order to get the eggs to safety, I decided I would have to use small spawning boxes and collect the eggs every other day moving them into a separate hatching tank.
Hatching Set-Up: A series of XL 6g Kritter Keepers were set up with gravel substrate, sponge filters, small always-on heaters, some plant material such as java moss and floating stem plants. Water was soft and neutral with temperatures ranging from 73 – 75oF as the weather turned from winter to spring.
Raising Fry: Eggs were collected in batches from 3/15 – 4/10/2020 and 4/12 – 5/5/2020. The fry were very small upon hatching but grew surprisingly quickly taking BBS within a couple of weeks. Even though the eggs hatched and fry grew successfully, I never thought there were >10 fry in a tight enough age range to count toward BAP points, so I would just add juveniles back to the planted tank the colony calls home. However, I got discouraged and lazy and left the last batch of fry in a grow-out tank over the summer thinking there were probably only 6 - 8 fry. They hid effectively so it was hard to get an accurate count.
When cleaning out tanks to prepare for the Great Tailgate Event, to my surprise I found 10 subadults which were spawned in early May. This is the group being submitted for BAP points. There appear to be 3 females which is encouraging as females can be hard to come by.