One of the smallest fish species in the world has been bred at Blue Planet Aquarium, Cheshire Oaks.
The freshwater fish, a type of near-transparent danio, measures just 10mm when fully grown — that’s approximately the same size as a grain of rice.
It’s only six weeks since the adult fish, which originally come from Myanmar (formerly Burma) arrived at the award-winning aquarium and staff say the 2mm-long babies are doing well.
Due to its size and limited distribution the species, Danionella translucida, was only discovered in 1986. No one is certain about their numbers in the wild and there is concern for the species' long term survival.
Blue Planet Aquarium’s Freshwater Specialist, Steve Chester, said: "The adults are housed in a specialised breeding tank and we have just noticed our first fry swimming alongside the parent fish.
"The parents are not predatory of their offspring and ignore the babies. Our adult fish measure 10mm and the newborn fry are 2mm in size — for comparison a five pence piece measures 17mm!
"The fry are extremely difficult to spot so we cannot be absolutely certain exactly how old they are. We are feeding them on a culture of our own micro live foods which should allow the fry to reach adulthood.
"We have currently only counted a few individuals within the tank but we hope there might be more and the females will carry on laying eggs so we can continue the success we are having with breeding this extraordinary fish.
"Obviously with species this small it’s hard to monitor how they are doing in the wild. Their size and the fact they live in such a relatively small area means they are particularly vulnerable to any changes in their environment.
"Establishing viable breeding populations around the world will help secure their continued survival," he added.
The fish are part of a group that was donated to the aquarium by Bolton Museum. The museum was the first place in the world to have successfully bred the fish.
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