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Brachydanio jaintianensis – RARE SPECIES

Brachydanio jaintianensis

Danios are amongst the most popular aquarium fishes. There are probably more than 30 distinct species of Danio from which the aquarist may choose and this includes a large number of visually stunning fishes that are bound to enhance any home aquarium.

Is the Brachydanio jaintianensis a good community fish? The Brachydanio jaintianensis is on the IUCN Red List, which means that, at the time of writing, it is extremely rare and it is unlikely to be available for sale. The Brachydanio jaintianensis is suitable for expert aquarists as it is very rare. I have included the only YouTube video currently available in this article.

Key Facts

CategoryKey Facts
Common name(s)Brachydanio jaintianensis
Scientific nameBrachydanio jaintianensis
Originate fromJaintia Hills district, Meghalaya state, northeastern India.
Care requiredRare species as of 2020 – specialist care
TemperamentPlacid, shoaling fish
Colour & FormTorpedo-shaped with almost clear finnage and iridesccent gold and brown marking along its flanks.
LifespanUp to 5 years
Adult sizeApprox 1 inch
DietOmnivorous – eat aquatic insect larvae in nature
Aquarium size24 inches in length or greater
Compatible withMost other Tetras, Barbs, Danios, Guppies and other livebearers, dwarf cichlids, smaller Gouramis, catfish and loaches that live in fairly neutral, doft water
Avoid keeping withLarge and/or aggressive species and species with long-finnage
BreedingEasy if you put the fish in the right environment.
Water temp64 – 77 Fahrenheit
Water pH6.0 to 7.5
Water hardness (dGH or dH)1 to 18 dGH

Origins of the Brachydanio jaintianensis

Danios, as a “family” of fishes belonging to the biological family Cyprinidae and are found in nature in south and southeast Asia.

The Brachydanio jaintianensis originates from the Jaintia Hills district, Meghalaya state, northeastern India. Its natural waters are part of the Brahmaputra River system.

Characteristics of the Brachydanio jaintianensis

I am bound to say at the outset that I have no personal experience of this species because it is extremely rare and my own research has yielded little to no substantive information on the species. That said, I think that it is appropriate to extrapolate likely facts in the hope that expert aquarists are able to pitch in to give this beautiful little fish more of a profile and, if desired, ensure that its survival is guaranteed not only in the wild but also in the aquarium trade.

As you can see, the Brachydanio jaintianensis is a very impressive little fish. It has a torpedo-shaped body, and It will grow to up to almost 1 inch in the aquarium and will probably live for up to five years.

Brachydanio jaintianensis is likely to prefer fairly soft, neutral water with a pH of 6.0 to 7.5 with a temperature range between 64 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit and up to 18 dGH. 

The Brachydanio jaintianensis is likely to enjoy soft to medium, neutral water conditions so it will be comfortable with other species of similar size that prefer this type of water chemistry.

The female of Danios and Brachydanios is generally larger and hardier than the male but the male, as is often the cases amongst species of fish, is the more colorful of the pair. Amongst a shoal of Brachydanio jaintianensis, one of the males may well become the dominant male and his coloring will be somewhat more resplendent if this holds true.

A well-planted aquarium with open space in which the Brachydanio jaintianensis can swim freely is preferred together with a decent flow of water, as it lives in a river system in nature.

The Brachydanio jaintianensis is a busy fish, always on the go, so it is best to avoid putting it with overly-static or long-finned species.

The Brachydanio jaintianensis is a shoaling fish and should be kept as a group of at least six fish, though a shoal of, say, twenty or more fish is highly recommended. Since this is a medium-sized species, there is every reason to have a decent-sized shoal in a decent-sized aquarium to ensure that it has plenty of scope in which to behave naturally, as it always does better in a larger shoal.

Having plenty of vegetation to break up lines of sight will also help to protect your Brachydanio jaintianensis from predation but it is obviously advised that Brachydanio jaintianensis are not kept with predatory species, as they are a very peaceful fish and may be seen as prey.

The body of the Brachydanio jaintianensis in good condition has a striking brown stripe running from its nose to the forked tip of its caudal fin. Starting behind the gill plate, along the middle of the brown stripe and continuing to the end of the caudal peduncle is a rich, golden stripe that effectively overlays the brown stripe, making it appear to be two fine brown borderlines. The male, as is usually the case, is likely to become deeply colored during spawning. The fins are generally unremarkable, being clear (hyaline). 

Overall, this precious, little fish is attractive and most elegant.

It is usually difficult to distinguish the sex of adult Brachydanio jaintianensis but it is likely that the adult female will be larger and less colorful. The female is also likely to be fuller-bodied, especially when carrying eggs (gravid). The male of Danios and Brachydanios also tends to be slightly smaller and slimmer in profile so it seems reasonable to propose this at this juncture.

The Brachydanio jaintianensis will probably inhabit the middle and lower areas of the aquarium. That said, it is a vigorous fish when breeding and will readily traverse the entire aquarium. It tends to feed in the middle and lower areas of its environment and, being quite a tiny fish will prefer small (preferably live) food. They will love brine shrimp, blood worms, tubifex worms and daphnia at least a couple of times each week but will probably accept freeze-dried food as well as flake food.

The Brachydanio jaintianensis is, by nature, a shoaling fish and it is generally recommended to purchase at least six fish – preferably twelve to twenty-four fish, as their nature is to swim together like a shoal and they will tend to thrive much better as a shoal. Brachydanio jaintianensis will probably make an excellent, tiny community fish once professional aquarists are able successfully to breed this rare species in captivity.

It is generally advised that the minimum tank size for Brachydanio jaintianensis should be one of at least 24 inches in length or more due to the shoaling nature of the species and the fact that they are very active swimmers indeed, which will enable a small shoal to move around freely. A smaller tank might be too restrictive and the fish will suffer as a result.

There is a predominance of so-called “Nano tanks” available but, being old-fashioned, I prefer my fishes live in an environment which, at least, attempts to mimic nature, rather than living in what I would liken to a prison cell. The tank should be well-planted but with clear areas where the fish can swim freely. The water should have a gentle movement, as Danios enjoy swimming against a gentle flow of water.

Brachydanio jaintianensis are easy to sex when they are mature, where the female has a slightly fuller body when she is carrying eggs (gravid) than the male, which is likely to take on richer coloring.

The general rule for Danios is that by keeping six or more of the same species in an aquarium they will be fully aware of which is male and which is female and they will act accordingly when the time comes for breeding.

Brachydanio jaintianensis – Video

How do Brachydanio jaintianensis breed?

Danios, in general, will scatter eggs by laying them over fine plants such as Cabomba, Fontanalis or Willow Moss or Java Moss.

Brachydanio jaintianensis are like most other Danios in that they scatter their eggs. In respect of preparing a breeding tank for the Brachydanio jaintianensis, it is generally recommended that the bottom is covered in marbles between which the eggs will naturally fall, safe from predation from its parents.

As the female Brachydanio jaintianensis becomes ripe with eggs, the difference between the sexes may become more evident, as the body expands because it is carrying eggs. If you plan to attempt to breed Brachydanio jaintianensis then it is recommended that you have a breeding tank prepared. Such a tank can be empty and should be filled to around nine-inches deep with water.

The water should have a reasonable current so the pump should not only be able to draw sufficient water to pump back as a current but should also include protection to ensure that the eggs do not get pulled through the pump.

The breeding pairs will go through their mating ritual and the female release some of her eggs and the male will fertilize them until up to 30 eggs, perhaps more, have been laid and fertilized.

Thereafter, the adults will take no further part in rearing their offspring and may eat the eggs, given the chance so it’s best to return them to the main tank.

It will take one to two for the eggs to hatch, depending on the water conditions and temperature and around a further couple of days or so for the yolk sacs to be depleted and the fry to become free-swimming.

Breeding tank for Brachydanio jaintianensis

You should prepare a tank of around five gallons in size with mature, soft, neutral water. The water should have a low level of light and be no more than around nine-inches deep. It is recommended that the substrate consists of marbles through which the fry will fall.

By all means, include plants such as Java Moss or, perhaps, a sterile spawning mop to encourage breeding but take into account the fact that you will need to remove the adults once spawning is completed and you don’t want to injure either the fishes or the eggs.

Danios prefer to spawn where the water is flowing do a decent pump is required to synthesize that flow and the marbles will help to prevent the eggs from being drawn into the pump or consumed by the parents.

You may wish to introduce baby brine shrimp, mosquito larvae or bloodworm as an inducement to reproduction.

The male and female will swim amongst the plants (if any) and the female will lay laying around 30 eggs during a spawning. The male(s) will swim alongside or behind her and fertilize the eggs as they are laid. The eggs are not adhesive and will fall to the bottom of the tank. Once the female has laid all her eggs the adults should be removed from the breeding tank.

Reduce the water movement by turning down the pump – only regular aeration is now required. Keep the lights off (or very low) and the tank dark (of fairly dark)  because eggs and fry can be particularly sensitive to the light.

The eggs will hatch typically in a day or two depending on tank temperature and conditions and the fry will become free-swimming after around two days after hatching. Keep the tank unlit for the first week or so then gradually increase the lighting. Bear in mind that the eggs and fry of a fish as small as the Brachydanio jaintianensis will be tiny indeed so you may need to use a magnifier “app” on your smartphone to see anything at all.

The newly hatched fry will feed firstly on their yolk sac but, once free-swimming, can be fed infusoria (particularly rotifers) and will also thrive on egg yolk during the first two to four weeks. It is worth mentioning that immediately after hatching, fry seem quite vigorous but will soon go into a resting state before they become free-swimming so please don’t mistake this initial stage as being free-swimming.

Once the fry are free-swimming and their yolk sacs are depleted, then add baby brine shrimp. Once the fry are sufficient in size not to be treated as a snack then they can be introduced into the community tank where they will join the existing shoal. Before moving the adolescent fish into the community tank ensure that you have balanced the water temperatures to mitigate the risk of White Spot or other diseases being triggered.

Unless you are breeding commercially, you may wish to consider moving the fry into the community tank sooner rather than later. It may seem harsh but the adult fish in the tank will deal with any fry that are unlikely to survive to adulthood in the wild and you are synthesizing, to the best of your ability, a wild environment. The fittest fry will probably survive whilst the rest will be dealt with by the community.

Should your Brachydanio jaintianensis have a special diet for breeding?

Adult Brachydanio jaintianensis don’t need any particular inducement to breed. That said, it has been suggested that adding baby brine shrimp, mosquito larva may encourage them, presumably because the addition of a new food may “fool” the fish into thinking that it is breeding time. From my own experience, I would always recommend keeping all of your fish in the best possible condition at all times, as this is good for the wellbeing of your fish.

Mike Wheeler

I started keeping freshwater tropical fish in 1972 and it has been something of a passion ever since. In this website, my aim is to build up an everyman's guide to help the everyday aquarist get the best from this inspiring and entertaining hobby.

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