Barb care sheet

Barbs Generally the Barbus and Puntius genera

General Information:

Barbs belong to the Family Cyprinidae which is one of the largest fish Family’s in the world, and contains more than 2,600 species. The Family consists of a number of important groups of ornamental fish including Goldfish, Loaches, Rasboras and Sharks. 

Natural Range:

Southern (Sri Lanka) and Eastern Asia, with a few from Africa. Their natural environment varies from fast flowing streams and rivers to calmer lake environments. Many species also prefer shaded areas with aquatic plants. 

Maximum Size:

Barbs come in a wide variety of sizes ranging from just a few centimetres for the Rosy barb (Puntius conchonius) to the monstrous 35cm for the Tinfoil Barb (Barbus schwanenfeldi) making their diversity very impressive. 

Water Quality:

Barbs are not fussy about their water conditions and they will thrive in parameters such as: Temperature: 18 oC – 26oC pH: 6.5 – 7. 5 General Hardness: 50 – 150 ppm Feeding They are omnivorous and will thrive on live, frozen and dry food. It is also a good idea to provide some vegetable matter as well. 


Barbs are hardy, active and mostly a peaceful fish that are best kept in groups in a community tank. Tiger Barbs are known to nip at fins therefore it is best not to keep them with long finned fish and with small slow moving fish. Provide enough fish to school and the fin nipping tendency will be lessened. 

Colour and Varieties:

Barbs have been selectively bred to emphasise colour bright colour combinations. This group of fish includes popular fish like Rosy Barbs, Moss Green Tiger Barbs, Black Ruby Barb, Tiger Barbs, Checker Barbs, Cherry Barbs and Diamond Scale Barbs. 

Sexing and breeding:

Male barbs are generally slender in shape and more brightly coloured than females. Females are also recognised by their fuller abdomen particularly when in spawning condition. Barbs will readily breed in captivity. For breeding a separate densely planted tank should be set up and the adults should be removed as Barbs do not engage in brood care after laying their eggs. Most male barbs change colour during breeding. 


The tank set up should avoid bright lights as a moderate amount of light will bring out the best colours on them more effectively. Secondly provide a lot of swimming space and hiding places for these active fish. Barbs are undemanding and will be a stunning addition to the home aquarium.

The Five Animal Welfare Needs

The Animal Welfare Act 2006 means all pet owners have a legal duty of care to their pets. Anyone who is cruel to an animal or is found not to be providing the five animal welfare needs, as listed below, can be fined and sent to prison.

Environment: Pets should be given the correct housing according to its size, this includes shelter, space to exercise. 

Diet: Pets should be offered the correct type and volume of food to cover all their nutritional needs alongside access to clean, fresh water and a secure, comfortable place to rest.

Behaviour: All pets should be allowed to exhibit normal behaviour patterns and should be provided with the facilities to do so.

Health: All animals should be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease, and given veterinary treatment if they become sick or injured.

Company: Some animals require the company of their own kind, whilst others should be kept on their own