Five banded barb - Puntius pentazona
Five banded barb - Puntius pentazona

Five banded barb - Puntius pentazona

Five banded barb
Five banded barb - Picture by lahlumdi

Puntius pentazona is known under several different names in English, such as Five Banded Barb, Fivebanded Barb, Five Band Barb, Fiveband Barb, Pentazona Barb, and Belted Barb.

Puntius pentazona has not been evaluated for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Geographical range, habitat and habits

The Five banded barb lives in South-East Asia, from the Malay Peninsula to Sumatra in Indonesia. It inhabits calm lowland waters, such as stagnant pools and ponds. It appreciates black water with a pH-value of 5-6 and a dH of 5-12. The water temperature normally stays within the 26-29°C / 79-84° F range.

Size and appearance

The largest scientifically measured Five Banded Barb was 8.8 cm / 3.5 in.

The Five Banded Barb has an elongated body with a high back and a pair of barbels. Compared to the size of the body, this fish is equipped with big eyes.

The back colour varies from dark orange to olive brown, while the flanks sport an orange-brown colour. Throat and belly are white. Anal and ventral fins are red, and the other fins may have a hint of orange. The gill cover is red-orange. 

As the common name suggests, the Five Banded Barb is adorned with five transverse bands. The first band runs through the eye, while the last band is found close to the caudal peduncle.

If you want your fish to display vibrant colours in the aquarium, you must keep the water quality up. 

Five banded barb care

The Five Banded Barb is a shoaling fish and it should be kept in groups consisting of at least 5 individuals in the aquarium. It is not advisable to house this species in an aquarium smaller than 20 gallons / 75 litres. Do not use an aquarium shorter than 60 cm / 24 in.

Ideally include floating plants in the set up since this species appreciates a covered surface. Providing cover becomes especially important if the aquarium is brightly lit. A dark substrate is recommended. It is important to include plenty of hiding spots, e.g. by using plants, rocks and roots.

The Five Banded Barb is a peaceful fish, and unlike the Tiger Barb it is not fond of nipping the fins of other fish. It is suitable for peaceful community aquariums. Lively fish can make this species very shy and timid. This is a day active species.

Keep the water temperature in the 26-29°C / 79-84° F range. The water should be soft and a bit acidic, ideally with a water hardness of dH 5-12 and a pH-value around 5-6.

The Five Banded Barb is quite vulnerable when introduced to a new aquarium and needs time to acclimatize itself. Once it has adjusted to its new home, it is a fairly sturdy species. Pay special attention to water values etcetera when you have a new Five Banded Barb in your tank.  

Feeding Five banded barb

The Five Banded Barb is an omnivorous species that will accept most types of food. It needs both meaty and green food in the aquarium to stay healthy. Keep it on a varied diet, e.g. by combining flake food with live, fresh or frozen meaty foods. It is for instance fond of insect larvae and small crustaceans.

Breeding Five banded barb

Males are normally more colourful than females and their bodies are smaller and less plump.

The Five Banded Barb is an egg scattering species. It has been successfully bred in aquariums but it is not considered an easy species to breed.

If you want to breed Five Banded Barb, keep the levels of organic waste really low. The water should be soft, below 5 dH, and the pH-value should be kept in the 5.5-6.0 range. You can for instance use peat moss if your tap water is hard and alkaline.

Decorate the aquarium with fine leafed plants. If you want to let the offspring stay with their parents, it is safest to include marbles in the setup to provide them with suitable hiding spots. The safest course of action is to remove the parents as soon as the eggs have been fertilized.  

Try to trigger spawning by feeding the couple flying insects and insect larvae.

The actual spawning will typically last 1-1.5 hour. The female fish will release about 150-250 eggs which are sticky and stay attached to plants. You can expect the eggs to hatch within 30 hours and the fry to be free swimming 4-5 days after hatching.

You can feed Five Banded Barb fry liquid fry food and infusoria. As they grow bigger, you can start giving them newly hatched brine shrimp. If you want any fry to survive into adulthood, you must keep the water quality at pristine levels. Do not carry out large water changes because the fry are easily chocked.