Barb Species Habitat and Care Information

Barbs are lively, hardy and colorful fish. They are all schooling species that do best if kept in groups of at least five or more, so keep that in mind when considering this family of fish. Most prefer soft acidic to neutral water that is well aerated and a bit on the cooler side. Because they are so active, tank mates should only be species that can tolerate boisterous companions. Long-finned fish, in particular, are usually not the best tank mates for members of the Barb family. These Barb...MORE species overviews will help you choose one that is right for you. More detailed profiles are available via the links provided for each species.

  • 01 of 07
    Puntius nigrofasciatus - Black Ruby Barb
    Black Ruby Barb. DigitalCanvas72

    Scientific Name: Puntius nigrofasciatus
    Also Known As: Purple-Headed Barb or Ruby Barb
    Adult Size: 2.5 inches (6.5 cm)
    Lifespan: 5 years
    Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallon
    pH: 6.0-6.5
    Hardness: 5-12 dGH
    Temperature: 72-79 F (23-26 C)
    Tankmates: Peaceful schooling fish

    Similar in shape to the popular Tiger Barb, the male Black Ruby Barb assumes a striking deep red color when reaching breeding age. Peaceful and easy to care for, they should be kept in schools of five or more, and look particularly attractive...MORE when kept with barbs having vertical stripes, such as the Tiger Barb. Read the detailed Black-Ruby Barb profile for more information on habitat, care, and breeding.

  • 02 of 07
    Denison Barb - Puntius denisonii
    Denison Barb. Mark Connell

    Scientific Name: Puntius denisonii
    Also Known As: Bleeding Eye Barb, Denison’s Flying Fox, Red Comet Barb, Red Line Barb, Red Lined Torpedo Fish, Roseline Shark, Torpedo Barb, Miss Kerala
    Adult Size: 6 inches (15 cm)
    Lifespan: 5+ years
    Minimum Tank Size: 55 gallon
    pH: 6.8-7.8
    Hardness: 5-25 dGH
    Temperature: 60-77°F ( 15-25°C)
    Tankmates: Peaceful with similarly sized fish

    A larger Barb, this species should only be kept with fish of similar size. Because they large and are schooling fish, they are only...MORE suitable for larger aquariums. Even if the specimens in the shop are small, keep in mind that the will grow much larger. Read the detailed Denison Barb profile for more information on habitat, care, and breeding.

  • 03 of 07
    Gold Barb - Puntius semifasciolatus
    Valentin Hintikka. Gold Barb

    Scientific Name: Puntius semifasciolatus
    Also Known As: China Barb, Chinese Barb, Chinese Half-Striped Barb, Gold Barb, Green Barb, Half Banded Barb, Half-Stripes Barb, Schubert's Barb, Six-Banded Banded Barb
    Adult Size: 3 inches (7.5 cm)
    Lifespan: 5 years
    Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallon
    pH: 6.0 - 8.0
    Hardness: 10 dGH
    Temperature: 64-75 F (18-24 C)
    Tankmates: Peaceful schooling fish

    Gold Barbs a hardy community fish that's easy to care for. In nature they are green, but the gold colored hybrid has...MORE become so popular that it is usually the only color available for sale. They should be kept in schools of a half dozen or more, and they get along with other peaceful fish. Read the detailed Gold Barb profile for more information on habitat, care, and breeding.

  • 04 of 07
    Puntius conchonius - Rosy Barb
    Rosy Barb. Dornenwolf

    Scientific Name: Puntius conchonius
    Also Known As: Red Barb
    Adult Size: 6 inches (15 cm)
    Lifespan: 5 years
    Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallon
    pH: 6.5
    Hardness: to 10 dGH
    Temperature: 64-72 F (18-22 C)
    Tankmates: Peaceful schooling fish

    Rosy Barbs are one of the more popular of the larger Barb species. They are very tolerant of water conditions and do well in a newly set up aquarium, making them a popular first fish. They do have a reputation for nipping fins, so don't keep them with slow species,...MORE particularly if they have long trailing fins. Read the detailed Rosy Barb profile for more information on habitat, care, and breeding.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07
    Tiger Barb - Barbus tetrazona
    Tiger Barb. Kai Schreiber

    Scientific Name: Puntius tetrazona
    Adult Size: 3 inches (7 cm)
    Lifespan: 6 years
    Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallon
    pH: 6.5
    Hardness: to 10 dGH
    Temperature: 68-79 F (20-26 C)
    Tankmates: Active schooling fish that nips fins

    Easily the most recognizable of the Barb family, Tigers are extremely popular for home aquariums. They also are well known for their tendency to nip fins, particularly those of slower moving fish. For this reason, they are not suited to all community aquariums. They are best kept in large...MORE schools with other lively Barb species of similar size. Read the detailed Tiger Barb profile for more information on habitat, care, and breeding.

  • 06 of 07

    Tinfoil Barb

    Tinfoil Barb
    Tinfoil Barb. Shirlie L Sharpe

    Scientific Name: Barbonymus schwanenfeldii
    Also Known As: Schwanefeld's Barb
    Adult Size: 13 inches (35 cm)
    Lifespan: 8-10 years
    Minimum Tank Size: 55 gallon
    pH: 6.5
    Hardness: to 10 dGH
    Temperature: 72-77 F (22-25 C)
    Tankmates: Peaceful, but keep only with large fish

    Tinfoil Barbs are the largest member of the Barb family. Unfortunately, they are often only an inch or two long when sold, and many owners have no idea how large they grow. They should only be kept in large tanks of 55 gallons or more...MORE with other large species of fish. They make good companions with large cichlids or other large species such as Silver Dollars.

  • 07 of 07

    Zebra Barb

    Zebra Barb
    Zebra Barb. Steve T

    Scientific Name: Puntius johorensis
    Also Known As: Striped Barb
    Adult Size: 4.25 inches (12 cm)
    Lifespan: 5+ years
    Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallon
    pH: 5.8 to 6.3
    Hardness: 2 to 3 dGH
    Temperature: 73-77 F (23-25 C)
    Tankmates: Peaceful schooling fish

    An attractive and peaceful member of the Barb family, this species is not as often see for sale. Unlike many members of this family, the Zebra Barb has horizontal stripes rather than vertical stripes, giving rise to the name Zebra. Although they are not...MORE extremely large, they are quite active and therefore require a larger aquarium to allow for swimming space.