Golden barb
Golden barb

Golden barb, Geli barb - Puntius gelius

golden barb
golden barb - Picture by

Common name: Golden barb, Geli barb, Dwarf barb, Golden dwarf barb
Scientific name: Puntius gelius
Synonyms: Barbus gelius, Cyprinus gelius, Systomus gelius
Size: 5 - 6 cm / 2 - 2.5 inches
pH: 6-7 (7.5)
Temperature: 21 - 25 °C ( 70  - 77 °F )
Hardness: 6 - 14 °N
Lifespan: 2-3 years

The Golden barb is also known as the Geli barb and is sometimes also called Dwarf barb due to its limited size. It is a friendly species highly suitable for aquariums with other small barb and rasbora species. The Goden barbs originate from Bengal in central India were they are found in calm slow moving waters.

The Golden barb is often confused with the Gold barb. The two species have very different appearance and size but are confused with each other due to the similar names.

The Golden barb can be kept in small aquariums. It is a shoaling species that should be kept in shoals of at least 8-10 individuals. If kept alone or in smaller groups the fish will never reach its full potential.

Aquarium & care

The Golden barb is a somewhat sensitive species and is only suitable for well established aquariums. The aquarium should be covered in a dark soft substrate. Ideal substrates include peat. The peat will also help maintain the water parameters the Golden barb prefers. Make sure that the other fish species you keep like the same water values. The aquarium should be decorated using roots and cryptocoryne plants or other similar plants. The water should be soft and acidic. Only low filtration is needed when keeping this species.

Feeding golden barb

The Golden barb has a very small mouth and all food need to be chosen with that in mind. They prefer live and frozen food but will often accept flake food and other dried foods as well. It is important to give them a varied diet that includes vegetables. The diet can be based around flake food but should include a lot of frozen and live food as well. This species like to eat soft algae.

Sexing golden barb

It can be hard to sex the Golden barb but the males usually have a more pronounced copper colour in the vertical stripe and are usually more slender then the females. The females are often a bit rounder than males and often somewhat larger as well.

Breeding golden barb

The Golden barb is a little more challenging to breed than many other barbs but can not be said to be hard to breed. Separate male and female golden barbs into different tanks and condition them to spawn by giving them a lot of frozen and live food.

Prepare a small breeding aquarium with a mesh that prevents the parents from eating the eggs. The water level in the breeding aquarium should only be 15 cm / 6 inches. A few fine leafed plants and some java moss can help put the barbs into spawning mode.

The water in the breeding aquarium should be soft and pH 6-6.5. Keep the water temperature in the middle of their preferred range. It is important to not use too warm water when breeding this species as a lot of the eggs remain unfertilized in temperatures that are too high.

During spawning, the eggs are scattered over the substrate. The parents should be removed after spawning as they will eat the eggs and fry. Each spawning produces about 70-100 egg. Small fry will emerge from the eggs after 24 hours and can be feed infusorians and, after a week or so, newly hatched brine shrimp.

Only use adult specimens more than 2 years of age to breed this species. If younger fish are used the offspring quickly degenerates and the fry will never reach the size of the parents. It is also important to introduce new fish into the breeding pool ever so often to avoid inbreeding.