T-Barb / Spanner Barb
T-Barb / Spanner Barb

T-Barb / Spanner Barb - Puntius laterstriga

T-Barb / Spanner Barb
T Barb - Pictures by JJphoto.dk

Common name: T-barb, spanner barb
Scientific name: Puntius laterstriga
Synonyms: Barbus laterstriga, B. zelleri, Systomus laterstriga
Size: 18 cm / 7 inches
pH: 6.0 -6 .5
Temperature: 23 - 29 °C (73.4 - 84.2 °F )
Hardness: 4 - 12 °N
Lifespan: 8 years

The T-barb is a large active barb. While young it is a shoaling fish but adult specimens might become solitary. Unlike most other barbs, adult T-barbs can therefore be kept alone instead of in a shoal.

The T-barb originates from southeastern Asia where it is found in Borneo, Sumatra, Java, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. They are usually found in clear oxygen rich streams with a lot of rocks and boulders to hide among. They love oxygen rich waters and can often be found behind waterfalls throughout their native range.

This species is mainly seen swimming through the lower water levels and can be aggressive towards other fish in the aquarium. T-barbs are suitable for aquariums with other mid-sized fast moving species as well as slower species that are not disturbed by this fast moving species.

Aquarium & care

This species is easy to keep and does not require much pampering as long as the water quality is kept high and the water is well oxygenated. They do however prefer an aquarium with areas of densely planted vegetation along the sides and back of the tank and plenty of open space for swimming in the middle of the aquarium. The T-barb likes to have a few shaded spots available for resting. These spots can be created using bogwood or rocks and boulders. It is important to keep the water well circulated and strong filtration is preferable.

Feeding T-Barb

The T-Barb is very easy to feed as it will accept almost all food types. In the wild they are omnivores that eat virtually anything they come across of the right size. You can feed them a varied diet based around flake food but also containing live and frozen food as well as vegetable matter. They will be much more colourful when kept on a varied diet then they would on a diet consisting of flake food only.

Sexing T-Barb

It is not always easy to sex T-barbs. Females are less colourful and fatter then the more slender and colourful males. This grows more apparent as the fish matures. It is easy to tell the sex in fish that have been conditioned for spawning.

Breeding T-Barb

T-barbs are easy to breed as long as they are provided with a large enough spawning tank. It is a large species that carry out intensive spawning rituals and therefore needs an aquarium of at least 30 gallon / 110 L to spawn in. They spawn more easily if you keep the water level low in the breeding aquarium, 10-15 cm (4-6 inches) is ideal.  The bottom of the tank should be covered by marbles or a mesh that protects the eggs from the parents who wants to eat them. The aquarium should also contain dense areas of fine leafed plants and java moss. Spawning mops can be used if you don’t want to use live plants.  The pH-value in the tank should be kept close to pH 7.0 and the temperature at 26-29°C (79-84°F). This species spawns more willingly in soft water.

Separate males and females for three weeks and feed them a varied diet including a lot of live and frozen food to condition them to spawn. Move the fattest female and the most colorful male into the spawning aquarium. Spawning usually takes place the morning after the male and female have been moved to the tank. Sunlight that hits the aquarium helps trigger spawning. This is a very fertile species and one spawning can result in 3000 eggs and fry. Remove the parents from the tank once spawning is completed to prevent them from eating eggs and fry. The fry hatch after 24-48 hours (usually closer to 48) and are free swimming a few days later. They fry are small and need to be feed infusorians or other small food until they are large enough to start eating newly hatched brine shrimp and, later, crushed flake food.