Mossy Barbus (Mutant)

The word “mutant” in the name of the Barbus should not scare aquarists. It does not mean at all that the fish will have any strange features, but only indicates the way to obtain this unusual breeding form.

General information

The fish, which will be discussed in our article, has several names, and each of them is used quite often, which sometimes leads to confusion. It is a breeding form of the well-known Sumatran Barbus (Puntigrus tetrazole) and was obtained as a result of a mutation that led to the fact that individual stripes on the body became so wide that they merged together, forming an integral pattern. Therefore, the first name of the hero of the article sounds like this – mutant Barbus. However, some breeders noticed the unusual emerald color of the resulting shapes and called it a green (or mossy) barb. Thus, when meeting one of these names, it is important to understand that we are talking about the same fish.

Despite the fact that the color of the Barbus is radically different from the color of the ancestor, the fascinating behavior, gregarious lifestyle, and endurance were inherited by the new form. Therefore, the conditions of detention do not differ from those of the Sumatran Barbus. The fish can be recommended for novice aquarists without any problems.


The body shape of the mutant Barbus is a complete copy of its progenitor. It is tall, with a pointed head and a forked tail. The fins are small, black, often with a red border. In males, the area near the mouth is also colored red. Fish can reach a size of 6-7 cm. The peculiarity of this Barbus is its color. There are no stripes on the body, and the scales themselves are painted in an emerald green color with a metallic sheen.


The mutant Barbus does not live in natural reservoirs, as it is a selection form. For sale, fish, for the most part, come from the countries of Southeast Asia, where they are bred on special farms.

Care and maintenance

The most important condition for keeping a mutant Barbus is the presence of a flock. It is necessary to settle at least 6 individuals in the aquarium, since fish, when kept alone, experience severe stress, which negatively affects their immunity. Also, lonely fish sharply increase the level of aggression, they begin to attack their neighbors in the aquarium. When there is a flock, the barbs are mainly engaged in sorting out relations only among themselves.

To keep a minimum school of fish, you need an aquarium of 60 liters or more with a lid. It is necessary to prevent these active fish from jumping out. It is better to give preference to a long aquarium so that the mutant barbs have more room to swim. Decorations are tailored to the taste of the aquarist. Fish look best with natural snags, stones, and, of course, live plants. Be sure to create corners of dense thickets in which barbs can hide for rest or in case of danger.

Mutant barbs are lovers of pure oxygen-rich water, so the aquarium must be equipped with a suitable filter and compressor. A moderate flow from the filter has a positive effect on the tone of the fish. Remember to replace 30% of the water with fresh water once a week.


When keeping a mutant Barbus in a common aquarium, you cannot call it a quiet one. This bully can make many fish restless, especially if they are slow and have large veil fins. Aggression is not badly reduced by the flock, but it is not an absolute guarantee of the peaceful existence of neighbors. Thus, it is not recommended to add mutant barbs to goldfish, cockerels, lalius, and gourami. Large predatory fish will also not be the best neighbors for them.

The optimal content will be in a species aquarium or together with other barbs. Flocks of mutants and Sumatran barbs look especially impressive together. Also, this form can be combined with zebrafish, tetras, mollies, thorns, peaceful catfish.

Feeding the mutant barb

It is best to feed the mutant Barbus with high-quality dry food – this is the key to good health, longevity, and activity of your pets. Fish prefer to take food from the surface and in the middle layer.

Feeding live and frozen food 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.

The following dry food is perfect for the mutant Barbus:

  1. 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.
  2. TetraPro Energy high energy chips are specially designed for active fish. They are made using a gentle low-temperature technology, which allows you to keep even more nutrients in the feed.
  3. Tetra Phyll and TetraPro Algae feeds will enrich the barbs’ diet with a very important plant component, which will have a positive effect on health and longevity.

The appetite of mutant barbs is excellent, so the fish tend to overeat. It is better not to allow this in order to prolong the life of your pet. To do this, be sure to follow the feeding norms (once or twice a day with a small portion of food, which will be eaten in a few minutes) and regularly arrange a “fasting day” for the fish once a week.

Reproduction and breeding

The process of breeding a mutant Barbus is not difficult. Puberty occurs at the age of 4-6 months when the fish reaches 3-4 cm in size. Before spawning, it is extremely problematic to distinguish the female from the male. But during the breeding season, the differences become more pronounced: the female has a rounded abdomen and is usually larger than the male. The male, on the other hand, acquires a bright color of fins and muzzles.

Alice White

Written by Alice White

Alice White, a devoted pet lover and writer, has turned her boundless affection for animals into a fulfilling career. Originally dreaming of wildlife, her limited scientific background led her to specialize in animal literature. Now she happily spends her days researching and writing about various creatures, living her dream.

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