Mike Hellweg: “Danios and Devarios”

galaxy-rasbora-shipperWhat is brightly colored and clear as glass? As long as a dollar bill and smaller than a finger? That would be the “amazing and often overlooked members of the genera Danio and Devario, and some of their close kin,” said Mike Hellweg, who will be presenting during the session “Danios and Devarios” at this year’s Aquatic Experience. A popular speaker, auctioneer, writer, and owner of a small—but growing—fish hatchery, Hellweg will introduce his audience to a number of Danio and Devario species (hereafter all referred to as “Danios”). During his presentation, Hellweg hopes to share, not only his knowledge, but his fascination with Danios, as well.

mike-updated-2015Hellweg is no beginner, when it comes to keeping and breeding Danios. “I have enjoyed and been fascinated by the Danios since I was a kid back in the early 1970s, and I had Zebrafish breed in my tank,” said Hellweg. “I was able to raise a couple youngsters, and the rest—as they say—is history. I’ve always had at least a few Danios in my fish room, and, even today, after working with more than 1,000 species of fish, and breeding over 400 species, I still find myself keeping and breeding the various Danios and their kin.”

Why is Hellweg so enthusiastic about Danios? “There are dozens of beautiful, active, and hardy [Danio] species that have entered the hobby in the last 15 years. Many of them show fascinating behaviors that might surprise many hobbyists who don’t really know them,” said Hellweg. “There are still new species being discovered and described, including some half dozen in the past year alone! There are so many different species to enjoy, and all of them are unique.”

fire-ring-danio-1-pp-size-file“Unique” is the word: the diversity among the species of the Danio genus is remarkable. Some Danios are, indeed, brightly colored, while others are clear as glass. Some certainly are long, and others are short. Some are spotted, others striped. Still others have patterns that combine spots and stripes, or that defy classification altogether. Some Danios will live for nearly a decade, yet others will live for only a few months. Some scatter their eggs; others place them among roots, rocks, and other materials; still others lay their eggs on the underside of leaves. Furthermore, some Danios are transgenic—combining the genes of multiple species. In addition to their unique coloring, some transgenic fish actually glow!

Hellweg’s session will be helpful to both retailers and hobbyists, and will highlight a number of Danios, including Zebrafish, which have become important to the aquarist’s hobby, as well as to human health and genetic research. Learn more about adding Danios to your aquarium at Hellweg’s session!