Cherry Barb: Bright Peace-loving Fish

Most Barb species are medium-sized fish. But even among them, there are “kids”. Cherry Barb is perhaps the brightest and most peaceful of them.


General Information

Cherry Barb (Puntius titteya) is a fish from the carp family, one of the smallest species of Barbs, the size of which does not exceed 5 cm. These elegant fish from the island of Sri Lanka are peaceful, have a bright color, and are unpretentious in keeping, therefore they can be recommended for beginners for aquarists. At the same time, they often become residents of professional aquascapes and Dutch aquariums. Due to their size, the fish do not require large amounts of water.

The species first became available to aquarists in 1936. The fish got its name for the rich cherry color of the body, which becomes especially bright in males during spawning.

At present, several selective forms of Cherry Barb have been obtained – albino and veil.


Cherry Barb has an elongated and slightly curved body, painted in a bright red or crimson color. It is worth noting that the color of Cherry Barb strongly depends on the conditions of keeping and the condition of the fish itself. Males become the brightest during spawning. However, poor water quality or keeping out of the flock usually leads to tarnishing.

The body length of an adult fish is about 5 cm. A dark stripe stretches from the gills to the tail. The fins and tail are also body-colored. The caudal fin is bifurcated, the pectoral and ventral fin are small. The upper part of the iris is colored red. Body-color directly depends on the conditions of keeping and feed. The lower jaw has two small, downward-directed antennae.

Life expectancy in an aquarium is 4-6 years.


Cherry Barb is endemic to the island of Sri Lanka. Prefers heavily shaded streams or small rivers with low currents flowing through tropical rainforests. The bottom in such reservoirs is sandy, with a large amount of leaf litter, as well as numerous branches. Fish are often kept in shallow water.
Populations of this species have suffered greatly from uncontrolled fishing at the peak of the fish’s popularity. Nowadays, the export of natural fish is prohibited, and most of the fish sold for sale are raised on special farms in the countries of Southeast Asia.

Care and Keeping

Cherry Barb does not need a large tank to keep. Considering that you need to keep fish in flocks of 6 or more, 50 liters will be enough. It is very important to start these fish in groups. Solitary keeping negatively affects both the color of the fish and its health. In addition, only do hierarchical connections and characteristic behavior appear, which will be interesting to observe. The fish prefers to swim in the middle and lower layers of water. It is advisable to equip the aquarium with a lid so that the fish cannot jump out because this species is famous for its jumping ability.

Any design for an aquarium can be chosen, however, these fish will look most impressive with natural decorations that imitate natural reservoirs. Sand or small pebbles can be placed on the bottom. Be sure to install a couple of natural driftwood that will divide the tank into zones and provide additional shelter. It is very important that there are islands with live plants in the aquarium. Shy fish will be able to hide in them in case of danger. Long-stemmed species are well suited: kabomba, elodea. They are best planted along the sides of the aquarium, leaving the front to float freely.

Fish do not like bright light, so it is advisable to dim it with the help of floating aquatic plants (pistia). For maximum comfort, the aquarium should be equipped with a filter and a compressor. You will also need a thermostat because this species loves water with a temperature of at least 22 ° C. To prevent the accumulation of waste products, it is necessary to change up to 30% of the water regularly once a week.

Optimum water parameters for content: T = 22-28, pH = 6.0-7.0, GH = 2-15.


Cherry Barbs are omnivorous fish. They eat insects, larvae, worms, and other small invertebrates. They also do not refuse the delicate parts of aquatic plants.

It is often suggested to feed the Barbs with live and frozen food, but it is worth remembering that this carries the risk of contaminating the aquarium with dangerous infections and parasites, moreover, these types of food are inadequate, so the fish do not receive the required amount of nutrients and vitamins. It is best to feed your fish with high-quality dry food – this is the key to good health, longevity, and activity of your pets.

It is necessary to feed Barbs several times a day with a portion of feed, which will be eaten in a few minutes. Fish are prone to overeating, it is recommended to arrange a “fasting day” once a week.

Reproduction and Breeding

Even a beginner in aquarium hobby can cope with the breeding of Cherry Barbs. To begin with, a suitable pair is selected, this is not difficult to do, because the gender differences in the fish are well pronounced: the females are much more modestly colored, have a creamy yellow color, are slightly larger, and have a rounded abdomen.

A week before the expected spawning, the fish are seated and abundantly fed. At this time, a spawning aquarium is prepared. A volume of 10 liters or more will suffice. Water can be taken from a common aquarium and a compressor for aeration can be installed. A separator mesh and small-leaved plants are laid at the bottom.

Breeders are placed in the aquarium in the evening, and spawning usually occurs after sunrise. To stimulate spawning, it is advisable to raise the water temperature to 28 ° C and make a water change.

The fecundity of the female is up to 300 eggs. The fish do not show concern for the offspring and will not mind feasting on their caviar, therefore, after spawning is complete, it is better to plant them.

Methylene blue is added to the aquarium with caviar, after which it must be shaded. Incubation lasts 1-2 days, on the third day, after resorption of the yolk sac, the fry switch to independent feeding.

Fish grow very quickly, and periodic sorting is necessary. Sexual maturity occurs at the age of 6-8 months.

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