The term ”Barb” can cause some confusion, since it is used for a wide range of different fish species. Strictly speaking, it is only the species found within the genus Barbus in the family Cyprinidae that are considered true barbs. A lot of species belonging to other genera within this family are however also referred to as barbs, since they look similar to the Barbus-species. To make things even more confused, a lot of species that used to belong to Barbus has been moved to the genera Puntius. In everyday speech they are naturally still referred to as barbs and their common names often include the word barb.
Many different barb species are kept by aquarists and even a beginner aquarist can find barbs that are beautiful, hardy and easy to care for. Generally speaking, barbs are tolerant to varying conditions, peaceful enough to keep in community aquariums and easy to breed in captivity. There are of course exceptions and it is therefore always advisable to research the specific species that you are interested in before making a purchase.
Examples of well known barb species include Puntius tetrazona (Tiger barb) from South East Asia and Barbus brevipinnis (Shortfin barb) and Barbus callipterus (Congo barb)from Africa. Puntius tetrazona (Tiger barb) is one of the species that were moved from Barbus to Puntius.
Most barbs should be kept in groups or large schools, since they are schooling species. Keep at least 5-8 individuals together, preferably more. Peaceful barbs should not be combined with more aggressive aquarium fish, since aggressive species may harass the docile barbs. A few Barb species, including the popular Tiger barb, is know to be fin nippers and should not be kept together with fish equipped with long and flowing fins.
When you set up an aquarium where you plan to keep barbs it is always a good idea to mimic their natural habitat. Include plenty of plants in the set up. Floating plants are recommended, since strong light can make the barbs shy. Strong light can also affect their coloration. Plants are not the only type of aquarium decoration appreciated by barbs, they love al sorts of hiding spots, including roots and cleverly arranged stone formations. Do not crowd the aquarium since barbs needs at least one open area for swimming.
Most barbs prefer a neutral or slightly acidic pH-value. Barbs are known to be hardy and able to adjust themselves to other circumstances, but there is a difference between surviving and doing well. Unsuitable water conditions can cause dull colours and prevent spawning.
If your barbs have been kept in unsuitable water conditions, they must be allowed to gradually acclimatize themselves to better conditions. Rapid changes are not recommended.
Barbs accept most types of food in captivity. Ideally research you particular species to find out more about its diet in the wild and the right proportions between meaty food and vegetable based food. If you are unable to find any information, high-quality flake food for omnivores will most likely be a good base. Make the diet more varied by giving your barbs occasional surprises in the form of Artemia or similar food.
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Barb fish articles
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Checkered barb - Information about keeping checkeed barbs.
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Giant barb - Information about the giant barb
Glowlight Rasbora - How to keep and breed glowlight rasboras.
Gold Barb - Information about keeping and breeding Gold barbs in aquariums.
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Odessa Barb - Information about keeping and breeding Odessa barbs in aquariums.
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Rosy Barb - Information about keeping and breeding Rosy barbs in aquariums.
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Ruby Barb - Ruby barbs are easy to spawn and a good beginner species.
T-Barb / spanner barb - Learn more about the T-barb.
Tiger Barb - Information about keeping and breeding Tiger barbs in aquariums.
Tinfoil Barb - Information about keeping and breeding Tinfoil barbs in aquariums.
Keeping Barb Fish- Information about keeping barb fish and what makes them such ideal aquarium fish.
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Bengal Danio - Devario devario
Brilliant rasbora - Rasbora borapetensis
Cherry Barb - Barbus titteya
Clown Barb - Barbus Everetti
Giant Danio - Danio aequipinnatus
Koi Carp - Cyprinus carpio carpio
Leopard Danio - Danio rerio var. frankei
Mountain Minnow - Tanichthys albonubes
Olive Danio - Danio danglia
Orange Finned Danio - Danio kyathit
Pearl Danio - Danio albolineatus
Red Dwarf Rasbora - Microrasbora rubescens
Rose Danio - Danio roseus
Scissortail - Rasbora trilineata
Striped barb - Puntius johorensis
Zebra Danio - Danio rerio
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Marine Aquarium Fish
Responsible Fish Keeping
South American Cichlids
Tropical Fish Food