The Neon Rosy Barb is pretty and always on the move, a lively flash of glowing color!

The Neon Rosy Barb is one of the most colorful varieties developed from the popular Rosy BarbPuntius conchonius. This variety is truly striking with its glowing, rosy body. A school of these illuminated beauties are fun to watch because they are constantly on the move. They are just one of several varieties developed from the Rosy Barb. Others include the Long Fin Rosy Barb, Red Glass Rosy Barb, and Gold Neon Rosy Barb.

These colorful fish are hardy and undemanding and will give any aquarium an energetic boost. Like all varieties of the Rosy Barb, they enjoy the companionship of 4 to 6 of their own kind. They are always active, so they need plenty of room to swim. These peaceful fish will do well in a community aquarium and will only occasionally nip a tankmate’s fins. Neon Rosy Barbs prefer cooler water, 64 to 72° F (18-22° C), so take care to select tankmates that will also thrive in cooler temperatures.

These barbs are a good choice for beginning fish keepers, but they make a dynamic display in any aquarium. These good-sized Cyprinids will reach about 4 inches (10 cm) in length in the aquarium, though wild populations of its parentage can reach up to about 6 inches (15 cm). A school of Neon Rosy Barbs will need at least a 20-gallon aquarium, but being very active, they will do much better in a larger tank that is at least 20 inches long and 30 or more gallons. These fish are great jumpers, too, so keep the tank securely covered.

A school of these delightful fish display some very interesting behaviors. The males will spend most of their time swimming around each other displaying, spreading out their fins to show off their best colors. Like all varieties of this species, they are prolific breeders, and when spawning, the males’ colors intensify. To successfully spawn, they will need a breeding tank with shallow water that is just a couple inches deep.

For Information on keeping freshwater fish, see:
Freshwater Aquarium Guide: Aquarium Setup and Care

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Actinopterygii
  • Order: Cypriniformes
  • Family: Cyprinidae
  • Genus: Puntius
  • Species: conchonius
Neon Rosy Barb – Quick Aquarium Care
  • Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner
  • Size of fish – inches: 5.9 inches (15.01 cm)
  • Minimum Tank Size: 20 gal (76 L)
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Aquarium Hardiness: Very Hardy
  • Temperature: 64.0 to 73.0° F (17.8 to 22.8&deg C)
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Habitat: Distribution / Background

The Rosy Barb Puntius conchonius (previously Barbus conchonius) was described by Hamilton in 1822. They are found in northern India, Bangal, and Assam. There are also feral populations in Singapore, Australia, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Colombia.

These barbs occur in a variety of habitats, from swift-moving rivers and streams to ponds and backwater. They are omnivorous and feed on insects, diatoms, algae, small invertebrates, and detritus. This species is listed on the IUCN Red List as Least Concern (LC). They are widespread and common in their range with no major identified threats.

The Neon Rosy Barb is a captive-bred color morph developed from the Rosy Barb. Many of these barbs are captive-bred for the aquarium industry. Other varieties include the Long Fin Rosy Barb, Red Glass Rosy Barb, and Gold Neon Rosy Barb. There are no wild populations of this variety.

  • Scientific Name: Puntius conchonius
  • Social Grouping: Groups
  • IUCN Red List: NE – Not Evaluated or not listed – There are no wild populations of this color morph.


The Neon Rosy Barb has a torpedo-shaped body and a forked tail fin. 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 good-sized fish will reach about 4 inches (10 cm) in the aquarium. They are mature at 2.5 inches (6 cm) and have an average lifespan of about 5 years.

The general coloration is silvery or coppery pink body though the males have a more reddish color. They have a black spot just in front of the caudal peduncle, and there may be some black along the top margins of the anal and dorsal fins. When spawning, the male’s color intensifies to a deep rosy red or a purplish red.

  • Size of fish – inches: 5.9 inches (15.01 cm) – In the wild, the regular Rosy Barb can reach up to 6 inches (15 cm), but these captive-bred varieties generally only reach about 4 inches (10 cm) in length.
  • Lifespan: 5 years

Fish Keeping Difficulty

The Neon Rosy Barb is a delightful addition to most any tank and a great choice for beginning aquarists. They are hardy, handle changes in their water conditions very well, and will readily accept aquarium fare. Take care to pick tankmates that will thrive with these fish. Companions must be able to handle the cooler temperatures this barb needs, and they need to be active. This barb will on occasion nip the fins of slow-swimming and long-finned tankmates.

  • Aquarium Hardiness: Very Hardy
  • Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner

Foods and Feeding

Since they are omnivorous, the Neon Rosy Barb will generally eat all kinds of live, fresh, and flake foods. To keep a good balance, give them a high quality flake food every day. Feed brine shrimp (either live or frozen) or blood worms as a treat. Supplement with color foods for best results in appearance. When offering food just once a day, provide what they can eat in about 5 minutes. When offering food several times a day, offer only what they can consume in 3 minutes or less at each feeding.

  • 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

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

  • Water Changes: Monthly – If the tank is densely stocked, water changes should be done every other week.

Aquarium Setup

Neon Rosy Barbs are lively fish that will swim in all parts of the tank. They are also good-sized, reaching up to 4 inches in length. A school will need at least a 20-gallon aquarium, but because they are very active swimmers, a tank that is 30 inches long and 30 gallons or more is ideal. They prefer cooler water, between 64 to 72° F (18-22° C). Additionally, the tank should be securely covered as these fish are skilled jumpers and will probably do so if given the opportunity.

As with most barb species, an aquarium best suited to them will have plenty of room for swimming, a soft bottom, and plants around the edges. A sandy substrate, dense vegetation, and drift wood will show them off to best effect. Try to plan for one or two hours of sunlight hitting the tank as the illumination will make the fish even more stunning. An efficient filter and good water movement are needed for the male fishes to develop their coloration.

  • Minimum Tank Size: 20 gal (76 L)
  • Suitable for Nano Tank: Yes
  • Substrate Type: Any
  • Lighting Needs: Moderate – normal lighting
  • Temperature: 64.0 to 73.0° F (17.8 to 22.8&deg C)
  • Breeding Temperature: – Breeding temperatures between 73 and 77° F (22 – 25° C).
  • Range ph: 6.5-7.0
  • Hardness Range: 2 – 10 dGH
  • Brackish: No
  • Water Movement: Moderate
  • Water Region: All – These fish will swim in all areas of the aquarium.

Social Behaviors

These fish are lively and fun to watch. They are a very good community fish. The peaceful Neon Rosy Barb will do well in a community aquarium with only an occasional nip on their tankmates’ fins. These schooling fish will do well when kept in a group of 4 to 6 of their own kind. They do best with lively tankmates that also like cooler water.

  • Temperament: Peaceful – This fish is fairly peaceful although some may be a bit more dominant than others. They will nip the occasional fin.
  • Compatible with:
    • Same species – conspecifics: Yes – They do well when kept in groups of 4 to 6.
    • Peaceful fish (): Safe
    • Semi-Aggressive (): Monitor
    • Aggressive (): Threat
    • Large Semi-Aggressive (): Threat
    • Large Aggressive, Predatory (): Threat
    • Monitor – These are aggressive feeders, which can make it difficult for slower or more timid fish to eat.
    • Shrimps, Crabs, Snails: Safe – not aggressive
    • Plants: Safe

Sex: Sexual differences

These fish are difficult to sex when they are young. As they get older, the male becomes redder and more slender while the female remains smaller in general.

Breeding / Reproduction

The Neon Rosy Barb is moderately easy to breed. They become sexually mature when they have attained a size of 2.5 inches (6 cm). Select breeding pairs from the school that have excellent markings and strong color. These egg layers will scatter their eggs rather than using a specific breeding site. The eggs are adhesive and will fall to the substrate.

These fish can spawn in a 5 to 10 gallon breeding tank with very shallow water, just a few inches deep, with a temperature between 73 and 77° F (22 – 25° C). Use a coarse gravel on the bottom or a divider that allows the eggs to pass through out of the parents’ reach. Put one male with two females in a breeding tank. The spawn is preceded with mock matings and courting, and several hundred eggs will be laid. After the spawn, remove the parents as they will eat any eggs they can reach.

The eggs will hatch in about 30 hours. Free-swimming fry should be fed infusoria, a liquid fry food, or newly hatched baby brine at least 3 times a day. Pay close attention when feeding as uneaten foods can quickly foul the water. The fry require clean water to survive. For a description of breeding techniques, see Breeding Freshwater Fish: Barbs. Also, see Fish Food for Fry for information about types of foods for raising the young.

  • Ease of Breeding: Easy

Fish Diseases

Neon Rosy 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 introduce 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 as 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 dealt with at an early stage. The best way to proactively prevent disease is to give your Barb the proper environment and a well-balanced diet. The more closely their environment resembles their natural habitat, the less stress the fish will have, making them healthier and happier. A stressed fish will more likely to acquire disease.

These fish are very resilient, but aquarists should read up on 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.


The Neon Rosy Barb is reasonably priced and readily available in pet stores and online. Females generally cost less than males.