Rosy Barb
barb fish

Rosy Barb

Puntius conchonius

Rosy barb information:

Scientific name: Puntius conchonius    
Common name: Rosy barb     
Max. size: 14.0 cm / 5.5 inches
pH range: 6.0 – 8.0
dH range: 5 - 19
Temperature range: 18 – 22°C / 64.5 – 71.5°F (Will accept higher temperatures but 18 – 22°C / 64.5 – 71.5°F is preferable)

The Rosy barb is hardy and stays relatively small. These two factors, combined with its peaceful temperament and attractive colouration, has made it a very popular aquarium fish that can be kept even by novice aquarists with comparatively small aquariums. The Rosy barb has been popular in the aquarium hobby for several decades and will most likely continue to be so in the future. It is not difficult to breed in captivity and a lot of the specimens in today’s aquarium trade are captive bred. The sturdy Rosy barb can also be kept as pond fish.

Rosy barb habitat and range:

The Rosy barb is a benthopelagic species that inhabits subtropical parts of Asia. It is native India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Afghanistan. It might also be present in Burma (Myanmar). The Rosy barb has been spread to other parts of the world by man, and established populations of Rosy barb can today for instance be found in comparatively nearby Singapore and Australia, but also in Colombia, Mexico and Puerto Rica in the Americas. The natural habitats for wild Rosy barbs are lakes and fast flowing stream; they are often found in hilly landscapes where the water runs fast.   

Rosy barb common names:

The Rosy barbs are known by many different names in its native region. In multi-languaged India, it is for instance referred to as Khavli in Marathi, Puthi in Assamese and Chikka karsae or simply Karse in Kannada. In Nepal, the Rosy barb is called Pothia sidre and in Bengladesh, the Bengali speaking population has named this species Kanchan punti.  

Rosy barb description:

The Rosy barb is appreciated by aquarists due to its charming colouration. The female Rosy barb is silver coloured with a red tinge, and the male Rosy barb will change from silver to rich claret flush during the breeding period. The female will also change during the breeding period and her look becomes more luminous. Both male and female Rosy barbs have black decorations on their fins; a feature that creates striking contrasts against the rest of the body colouration. Some Rosy barbs also display black markings on their sides. Female Rosy barbs tend to grow larger than male Rosy barbs. There is a long-finned variety of Rosy barb available for aquarists. 

Rosy barb setup:

Rosy barbs can be kept in aquariums as well as in outdoor ponds. If you keep your Rosy barb in an outdoor pond, you might need to bring them indoors during the winter if you live in a cold part of the world since water temperatures below 16°C (60°F) should be avoided.

Always keep at least 5 Rosy barbs together, since this fish will feel very stressed if kept alone. A 30 gallon aquarium (114 litres) or larger is recommended. When you set up the aquarium, it is important to keep in mind that Rosy barbs can grow up to 14.0 centimetres (5.5 inches) in length. Pet stores will typically sell Rosy barbs that are much smaller in size.

Try to mimic the natural Rosy barb habitat when you set up the aquarium. Include a lot of aquatic plants, but avoid soft leaved plant species since the Rosy barb might destroy them by nibbling too much. If you want to be on the safe side, you can choose extremely hardy plant species such as Java moss that will tolerate Rosy barb attacks. Some aquarists have reported that their Rosy barbs help controlling algae growth in the aquarium by eating hair algae.

Rosy barb tank mates:

The Rosy barb is a great community fish that can be kept together with a wide range of other small and non-aggressive fish species that appreciate the same type of environment, temperature, water chemistry etcetera. As mentioned above, you should never house less than five Rosy barbs together. Rosy barbs can sometimes display aggressive tendencies, but most of the time they are really peaceful fishes that swim around together and mind their own business.

rosy barb
Rosy barb picture. Copyright

Rosy barb care:

Rosy barbs are considered to be one of the easiest fish species to care for in captivity. It is one of the toughest barb species and it is frequently successfully kept by beginner aquarists. Rosy barbs are sturdy and can adapt to most water conditions as long as you avoid the extremes. They can however suffer if the pH is allowed to become too acidic or too alkaline. In the wild, Rosy barbs have been found in water conditions ranging from pH 6 to pH 8, but it is recommended to keep the pH value in the aquarium in the 6.5-7.5 range. The dH should be between 5 and 19.

Wild Rosy barbs live in subtropical waters where the temperature stays between 18 and 22° C (64.5 and 71.5° F). They can however tolerate a greater temperature span, typically from 16 to 26° C (60 to 78° F), if the change is slow and gradual and provide the Rosy barb with plenty of time to accommodate.

Rosy barb feeding:

Wild Rosy barbs are opportunistic omnivores that feed on plant matter, insects, worms and crustaceans. They are happy eaters in the aquarium and will accept a wide range of food types, including flakes, pellets and frozen food. Vegetables, such as boiled zucchini and peas are much appreciated. Rosy barbs will also eat live food if the food is small enough to be considered prey. Rosy barbs can help controlling excessive algae growth since they feed on algae, and some aquarists have reported that Rosy barbs are a great way of combating hair algae. They will however also feed on the plants in the aquarium, so sensitive soft leaved species should generally be avoided. Since Rosy barbs are such happy eaters in captivity, they are prone to over feeding and fatty degeneration. They can also develop nutritional deficiencies if kept on a monotonous diet of low quality prepared food that does not include all necessary nutrients.  

Rosy barb breeding:

Wild Rosy barbs will scatter their eggs on some form of substrate or simply release them in open water. The female Rosy barbs can produce hundreds of eggs per spawning. Rosy barbs do not care for egg or fry and may eat their own offspring. If you want to ensure a higher fry survival, you can set up a separate breeding aquarium. A 20 gallon aquarium is large enough. Preferably include plants in the set up. Professional Rosy barb breeders often let Rosy barbs breed in outdoor ponds where there is more space for the offspring to stay away from the adult fish. If young Rosy barbs are raised in a small aquarium, their growth can become stunted.



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