Most barb species are medium-sized fish. But even among them, there are “kids”. The cherry barbs are perhaps the brightest and most peaceful of them.
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.
For the first time, the species became available to aquarists in 1936, the cherry barb came to our country 23 years later. The fish got its name for the rich cherry color of the body, which becomes especially bright in males during spawning.
Currently, several breeding forms of the cherry barb have been obtained – albino and veil.
Cherry Barbus has an elongated and slightly curved body, colored bright red or crimson. It is worth noting that the color of cherry barbs strongly depends on the conditions of detention and the condition of the fish itself. Males become 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 is 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 antennae directed downward.
The cherry Barbus is endemic to the island of Sri Lanka. Prefers heavily shaded streams or small rivers with a slight current 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.
The populations of this species of barbs have suffered greatly from uncontrolled fishing at the peak of the fish’s popularity. Nowadays, the export of natural individuals is prohibited, and most of the fish sold for sale are bred on special farms in the countries of Southeast Asia.
Care and maintenance
To keep the cherry barbs, you do not need a large aquarium. Considering that you need to keep fish in flocks of 6 or more, 50 liters will be enough. It is very important to have barbs in groups. Solitary keeping negatively affects both the color of the fish and its health. In addition, only in the pack 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 the water.
It is advisable to equip the aquarium with a lid so that the fish cannot jump out because barbs are famous for their jumping ability.
Any design for an aquarium can be chosen, however, cherry barbs 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 the aquarium contains islands with live plants. Shy fish will be able to hide in them in case of danger. Long-stemmed species are well suited: Vallisneria, Cabomba, elodea, cryptocorynes. 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, riccia). For maximum comfort of the barbs, 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. In order not to accumulate waste products, it is necessary to change up to 30% of water regularly once a week.
The cherry barb is one of the calmest representatives of the genus, so it will be an excellent choice for a community aquarium.
The most suitable neighbors for him will be other types of barbs, scalars, thorns, gourami, peaceful catfish, swordtails, mollies, zebrafish.
You should not settle barbs with owners of long fins: goldfish, guppies, cockerels, because it is very likely that cherry barbs will bite them. Cherry barbs are completely incompatible with large cichlids, as they will quickly become dinner for predators.
Feeding the cherry Barbus
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 barbs with live and frozen food, but remember that this carries the risk of contaminating the aquarium with dangerous infections and parasites, moreover, these types of food are deficient, 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. The following dry foods are great for cherry barbs:
- Cherry barbs attract, first of all, for their bright color, which directly depends on the composition of the feed. To enhance the natural color feeds with a high content of natural carotenoids are required – Tetra Rubin or TetraPro Color. The results will be visible after two weeks of regular feeding.
- TetraMin Flakes is a universal flake food for all ornamental fish. It is made from more than 40 types of selected raw materials, contains all the necessary nutrients and vitamins, as well as probiotics to improve the digestive tract. The high digestibility of the feed reduces the amount of fish waste, therefore, the water stays clean longer.
- Spirulina algae feed – Tetra Phyll and TetraPro Algae will help to enrich the diet with vegetation.
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 sex differences in the fish are well pronounced: the females are much more modestly colored, have a creamy yellow color, are slightly larger, and differ in a rounded abdomen.