Cherry Barb

Red Cherry Barb

Family: CyprinidaeCherry Barb, Puntius titteya, Red Cherry BarbPuntius titteyaPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy David Brough
Latest Reader Comment - See More
my male looks staved even after being fed blood worms, he is eating fine has no ripped fins no symptoms of being sick and acts fine? anyone know whats wrong? hes... (more)  kye turnbull

Keeping a few Cherry Barbs in full color will create a dazzling color show in any aquarium!

The Cherry Barb Puntius titteya (previously Barbus titteya) is a pretty little fish that ranks near the top of the barbs in popularity. Like its name implies, the Cherry Barb can develop a deep red "cherry" color. This color intensifies during spawning times with the male becoming a bright beautiful red. Wild caught Cherry Barbs are more intensely colored than captive bred. It is also called the Red Cherry Barb and there is an albino color morph bred in captivity, called the Albino Cherry Barb.

This is recommended as a good beginner barb. It can be kept in a community tanks and is generally peaceful with everybody. It is undemanding and fairly easy to breed as well. It is actually great for any level of fish keeper as long the tank is properly set-up and maintained.

This barb does tend to be a loner and can be a bit nervous with others, sometimes even with its own species. Although this little guy is generally peaceful with its conspecifics, It would be perfectly content to be kept singly. The drawback to keeping it singly is that it won't color up well. It's best to keep a mixed group with males and females to get the most color. It does best, and looks best, in a planted tank.

Like most barbs, these are lively little fish and make a fun addition to a community aquarium.The best tankmates are a small school of their own kind and a selection of other smaller fishes. Add a dark substrate and have an open area in the center for swimming. Because they tend to be shy, they are almost always found in shaded areas. It's important to have an aquarium with lots of dense vegetation and floating plants where it can seek cover.

For more Information on keeping freshwater fish see:
Guide to a Happy, Healthy Freshwater Aquarium


Geographic Distribution
Puntius titteya
Data provided by FishBase.org
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Actinopterygii
  • Order: Cypriniformes
  • Family: Cyprinidae
  • Genus: Puntius
  • Species: titteya
Cherry Barbs

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Cherry Barbs in a Planted Aquarium

This pretty little fish ranks near the top of the list for popular barbs. Like its name implies, the Cherry Barb can develop a deep red "cherry" color. This color intensifies during spawning times with the male becoming a bright beautiful red. Wild caught Cherry Barbs are more intensely colored than captive bred. Recommended as a good beginner barb, the Cherry Barb is generally peaceful, undemanding, and fairly easy to breed. Like most barbs, it is a lively little fish and makes a fun addition to a community aquarium. It does tend to be a loner and can be nervous with others, sometimes even with its own species. The best tankmates are a small school of its like kind and a selection of other smaller fishes.

Cherry Barb - Quick Aquarium Care
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Aquarium Hardiness: Moderately hardy
  • Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner
  • Diet Type: Omnivore
  • Minimum Tank Size: 10 gal (38 L)
  • Temperature: 73.0 to 79.0° F (22.8 to 26.1° C)
  • Range ph: 6.5-7.0
  • Hardness Range: 2 - 18 dGH
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Habitat: Distribution / Background

The Cherry Barb Puntius titteya (previously Barbus titteya) was described by Deraniyagala in 1929. They are from Asia where they are found in Kelani to Nilwala basins of Sri Lanka. There are also a feral populations in Colombia and Mexico. Another common name they are known by is the Red Cherry Barb.

They are listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as Least Concern (LC), with a more specific designation of Lower Risk and conservation dependent (LR - cd). In previous years, from 1988 to 1994, they were listed as Vulnerable (VU) but their status has been upgraded more recently.

This fish is found in heavily shaded streams and rivers on the plains of Sri Lanka. They prefer areas of slow moving, shallow water with a bottom of silt and littered with branches and leaf litter. In nature this barb is an omnivore and feeds on diatoms, algae, invertebrates and detritus.

  • Scientific Name: Puntius titteya
  • Social Grouping: Groups
  • IUCN Red List: LC - Least Concern

Description

The Cherry Barb has a torpedo shaped body and its tail is forked. It has only one dorsal fin. Lacking an adipose fin, a second dorsal fin to the rear of the first, is a characteristic of all the Cyprinid fishes. This is a small fish reaching just shy of 2 inches (5 cm) in length. They have an average lifespan of 4 years, but can live 5 to 7 years with proper care.

The body has a silver color, tending toward a rich reddish brown. Like its name implies, the Cherry Barb can develop a deep red "cherry" color, sometimes becoming almost maroon. The color intensifies during spawning times with the male becoming a bright beautiful red. There is a horizontal black stripe running from the tip of the mouth to the tail with a rather metallic stripe just above that.

  • Size of fish - inches: 2.0 inches (5.08 cm)
  • Lifespan: 4 years - Their average lifespan is 4 years, but with proper care they could live between 5 - 7 years.

Fish Keeping Difficulty

Cherry Barbs are very hardy little fish. They are great eaters and get along with most tank mates. Their water requirements are fairly easy to maintain with regular partial changes. Provided with proper care these little beauties make a great choice for the beginning fish keeper.

  • Aquarium Hardiness: Moderately hardy
  • Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner

Foods and Feeding

Since they are omnivorous the Cherry Barb will generally eat all kinds of live, fresh, and flake foods. To keep a good balance give them a high quality flake food everyday. Feed brine shrimp (either live or frozen) or blood worms as a treat. Several small feeding a day are ideal, and at least one feeding a day is absolutely necessary. A general rule of thumb when offering food several times a day is to offer only what they can consume in 3 minutes or less at each feeding. When offering food just once a day, provide what they can eat in about 5 minutes.

  • Diet Type: Omnivore
  • Flake Food: Yes
  • Tablet Pellet: Yes
  • Live foods (fishes, shrimps, worms): Some of Diet
  • Vegetable Food: Some of Diet
  • Meaty Food: Some of Diet
  • Feeding Frequency: Several feedings per day - Offer only what they can consume in 3 minutes or less with multiple feedings per day.

Aquarium Care

The Cherry Barb is easy to care for provided the water is kept clean. Aquariums are closed systems and regardless on size all need some maintenance. Over time decomposing organic matter, nitrates, and phosphate build up and the water hardness increases due to evaporation. Replace 25 - 50% of the tank water at least once a month. If the tank is densely stocked 20 - 25% should be replaced weekly or every other week.

  • Water Changes: Monthly

Aquarium Setup

Cherry Barbs are a species that will swim in all parts of the tank, but especially like to take cover in planted areas. They are very active so will also need stretches of open areas for swimming as well. A small school will need at least a 10 gallon aquarium. Provide good filtration and do regular water changes.

These fish will do best and are most effectively displayed in tanks which simulate their natural habitat. An aquarium with lots of dense vegetation and floating plants where it can seek cover is best suited to this fish. Provide a dark substrate and an open area in the center for swimming.

An efficient filter and good water movement are needed for the male fishes to develop their coloration. Try, if possible, to plan for one or two hours of sunlight hitting the tank at a time when you can view the tank. This illumination will make the fish even more stunning.

  • Minimum Tank Size: 10 gal (38 L)
  • Suitable for Nano Tank: Yes
  • Substrate Type: Any
  • Lighting Needs: Moderate - normal lighting
  • Temperature: 73.0 to 79.0° F (22.8 to 26.1° C)
  • Breeding Temperature: - Breeding temperatures are between 74 - 79° F (24 - 26° C).
  • Range ph: 6.5-7.0
  • Hardness Range: 2 - 18 dGH
  • Brackish: No
  • Water Movement: Moderate
  • Water Region: All - These fish will swim in all areas of the aquarium. They especially like to take cover in planted areas.

Social Behaviors

Cherry BarbThe Cherry Barbs are lively and fun to watch. They are a very good community fish but are shy, so should be kept with smaller tankmates. They will be more confident and social when they have a well planted aquarium. These fish do best in groups of 6 or more with a good mix of males and females to keep the colors strong.

  • Venomous: No
  • Temperament: Peaceful - This fish is a little shy unless given a tank with some plant cover.
  • Compatible with:
    • Same species - conspecifics: Yes
    • Peaceful fish (): Safe
    • Semi-Aggressive (): Threat
    • Aggressive (): Threat
    • Large Semi-Aggressive (): Threat
    • Large Aggressive, Predatory (): Threat
    • Slow Swimmers & Eaters (): Safe
    • Shrimps, Crabs, Snails: Safe - not aggressive
    • Plants: Safe

Sex: Sexual differences

Difficult to tell when they are young, but as they get older the male becomes redder and slender while the female remains smaller and plumper. The male turns bright red during spawning season.

Breeding / Reproduction

The Cherry Barbs are egg layers. These fish will spawn in areas with dense vegetation to deposit the eggs. The eggs are adhesive and will be seen hanging from plants by a small thread. They are moderately easy to breed and raising the fry is relatively simple.

A separate breeding tank should be set up that is dimly lit with clumps of Java moss or spawning mops. The water should be a medium hardness of 12° dGH, slightly acidic with a pH of 6.0 - 6.5, and a temperature between 74 - 79° F (24 - 26° C). The female will deposit 1 to 3 eggs at a time until as many as 300 eggs are released. After the spawn, remove the parents as they will eat the eggs. Males can be very aggressive during breed. The Female may need to be put in a rehabilitation tank until she gets her strength back.

The eggs will hatch in about 24 hours. Free swimming fry can be fed infusoria, a liquid fry food, or newly hatched baby brine at least three times a day. Pay close attention when feeding, as foods if uneaten can quickly foul the water. The fry will require clean water to survive. See the description of breeding techniques in: Breeding Freshwater Fish: Barbs. Also see Fish Food for Fry for information about types of foods for raising the young.

  • Ease of Breeding: Moderate

Fish Diseases

Cherry Barbs are extremely hardy so disease is not usually a problem in a well maintained aquarium. They are primarily susceptible to Ich if good water quality is not provided. Anything you add to your tank can also bring disease. Not only other fish but plants, substrate, and decorations can harbor bacteria. Take great care and make sure to properly clean or quarantine anything that you add to an established tank so not to upset the balance.

A good thing about these barbs is that due to their resilience, an outbreak of disease can often be limited to just one or a few fishes if you deal with it at an early stage. The best way to proactively prevent disease is to give your Barb the proper environment and give them a well balanced diet. The closer to their natural habitat the less stress the fish will have, making them healthier and happy. A stressed fish will is more likely to acquire disease.

These fish are very resilient, but it is recommended to read up on the common tank diseases. Knowing the signs and catching and treating them early makes a huge difference. For information about freshwater fish diseases and illnesses, see Aquarium Fish Diseases and Treatments.

Availability

The popular Cherry Barb is available basically anywhere, both in stores and online and is moderately price.

References

Author: David Brough CFS, Jeremy Roche
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Lastest Animal Stories on Cherry Barb

kye turnbull - 2013-05-12
my male looks staved even after being fed blood worms, he is eating fine has no ripped fins no symptoms of being sick and acts fine? anyone know whats wrong? hes been like this for about 5 months

  • Jeremy Roche - 2013-05-12
    What else do you feed the fish?  How often?
  • kye turnbull - 2013-05-12
    2 blocks of blood worms per day it is with a whole bunch of guppies and some more cherry barbs
  • Jeremy Roche - 2013-05-13
    I would try adding some High quality flake food to their diet.
  • kye turnbull - 2013-05-13
    i feed em some fish eggs, flake and pellets to
Reply
alex .e - 2006-02-11
hi, i have a lot-well i say alot, probably about 20 little fish and i have had my cherry barbs for a while now -i only chose 5- and one female has got pregnant so i came on to this site looking for their breeding strategy and now i know what to look out for so thankyou very much for being so informative. i also had a glance at the information on owning them and i found out that without requiring any informatio that i have looked after them incredibly well. so thanks again for providing such valuable information.

Reply
Darren Lim - 2005-12-02
Thanks alot! i'm a 14 year old boy from Singapore and after your help from this website, my cherry barbs have finally spawned! Anyway thanks!

Reply
Gilly - 2009-06-01
I would really like to start an aquarium with 3 or 4 cherry barbs but am looking for something else to put with them - I'd like a nice blue or yellow/orange fish of no more than 5cms size if there are any that would live happily with them. Can anyone recommend anything?

  • fish boy - 2011-02-18
    Dwarf Gouramis or gold barbs would be a good choice. Also platies.
  • kye turnbull - 2013-03-25
    Even though it's not yellow, blue, or orange, the kissing gourami is a very nice peaceful fish.
  • Jeremy Roche - 2013-03-26
    mixing other barbs is always a nice look and there are many variations.
Reply
patrick - 2011-07-16
Can you use fake foliage in the aquarium or do I need to use real plants with these?

  • David Brough - 2011-07-17
    You can use whatever you like. Plastic plants work great!
Reply

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