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Cherry Barb: Adding a Splash of Color to Your Aquarium

Want to get a great fish, but don’t know what to get? This article will introduce to you the cherry barb. It is a beautiful fish that is not only easy to take care of but will definitely add an x-factor to your aquarium!

What Is Cherry Barb?

A cherry barb is a tropical freshwater fish. It has roots back in Sri Lanka but is also common in Mexico and Colombia. Its scientific name is Puntius Titteya.

This fish is part of the Cyprinidae family. Other fishes in that family are carps, minnows, and the famous Celestial Pearl Danio. The Cyprinidae family is the largest fish family in the world. It almost has over 2100 species of fish under its clan. Even though the Cyprinidae family is a large family, cherry barbs are declining. This is because of excessive poaching.

The fish is a staple in various family aquariums. These types of fish live in peaceful communities away from busy sea spaces. They also have a gentle temperament. This explains why they want to live in a relaxed environment!

Additional Details

They have a short lifespan of six years. They are omnivorous, which makes them not picky about what they eat. But, certain foods will bring out their color even more. This makes them an excellent addition to your aquarium!

The cherry barb has bright colors. It also has a playful personality. This fish is something that you must have in your aquarium. More than that, they are also effortless to take care of, from their tanking needs, tank mates, and their diet.


The cherry barb is magnificent and aesthetically pleasing to look at. Its body is smaller and more slender as compared to its barb brothers and sisters. It can reach up to around 2 inches in length at its peak.

Let us look at the difference between male and female cherry barbs:

Female Cherry Barb

Have a light yellowish to tan color top that has a greenish hue to their top scales. Their sides and belly are sparkling with silver highlights. This makes female cherry barbs actually very magical to look at.

Their back and upper sides also have a pinkish, rosy hue to their scales. They have a darker horizontal stripe that extends from the tip of their eye down to the bottom part of their fins. This is the cherry barb fish’s signature.

Also, females have two pink stripes on their sides. These stripes become darker when they are in their breeding period.

Male Cherry Barb

Males have even a more slender body compared to the female cherry barbs. Males have a slightly more reddish hue than their female counterparts, and they have a deep red color during their breeding period, hence the name cherry barb.

Male cherry barbs have a brighter color as compared to their female counterparts.

Because of the sexual dimorphism of cherry barbs, many people prefer to buy male cherry barbs. They have brighter colors than the female cherry barb.

If you have more male cherry barbs in your aquarium, there is higher infighting and bullying. You should make sure that there is a healthy ratio between males and females for this type of fish species.


An albino cherry barb also exists. Their color is more muted compared to the average cherry barb. Their color hues range from white to pinkish-white in color.

They also have pink eyes. Aside from their color, they are very much like their cherry barb brothers and sisters. Both fishes have the same size, temperament, and behavioral disposition.

The cherry barb fins are regular or standard-sized for their slender frame. The dorsal fin is actually famous for its shell-like appearance. When the cherry barbs start swimming very fast, they look like tiny red torpedoes.

Their fins are also translucent looking. Females have clearer fins than their male counterparts. Their anal and pectoral fins are also standard and normal-sized. Please note that their caudal fins have fork shapes. They are symmetrical from top to bottom.

Cherry barb fish are a great addition to your aquarium. They have colorful hues that will liven up your aquarium.

Typical Behavior

Cherry barbs are part of a big school of fish. This means that their temperament is very peaceful. They get along with other fishes. The logic behind this is that the more fishes are with other fishes, the more likely they are to be confident. A fish school is more likely to survive a sea predator attack than alone individual fish.

Ensure that you get a group of cherry barbs because their lifespan will be higher than when you take one. At times, you might see a lone cherry barb snooping around in the middle of the tank. They are curious creatures, but they will always go back to their family.


Cherry barbs are active in the fish tank. They like to move around a lot so make sure you have a large enough space for them to swim in. They are very peaceful and easygoing types of fish who like to mind their own business. The only time you can see them aggressive is during the mating season. Males will chase females or other males to protect their lady.

You also need to consider the ratio of cherry barbs in your aquarium. The ideal ratio being one male is to two females. During mating season, males would be aggressive and chase down females. As a result, females can feel stressed out, and health complications can happen. Having two females will allow the other female to have a break from the alpha male cherry barb. In this way, you will have a happy and active aquarium.


The greatest size of cherry barb is around 2 inches long at its peak. Average cherry barb types can only reach 1 inch. Though this depends on many factors. Factors include care, genes, and the environment they are living in.


The average lifespan of cherry bars ranges anywhere from five to seven years. This lifespan assumes that their owners have provided the best care level that they can. The care levels include tanking set-up, water conditions, and tank mates.

There are reports of aquarists who have cherry barbs that have lived to eight years old. I can only assume that they have given the best care and investment for their pretty barbs for them to live a long life.

Cherry Barb Care

Cherry barbs are one of the easiest fish species to take care of. They are relatively low maintenance and peaceful-loving creatures. Let us look at some tips for you to be able to give the best care for your cherry barbs:

● Tank Size

You should buy a tank that can hold at least 25 to 30 gallons of water for the tank size. Because cherry barbs swim with their school, you should never get one cherry barb. You should get a ton of them. Else they will be timid and feel lost and alone. This is the reason why you should get a large enough tank so they can swim around.

● Water Conditions

The recommended water conditions for cherry barbs are very standard. These are the following:

➔ Water temperature: 73°F to 81°F
➔ pH levels: 6 to 8
➔ Water hardness: 5 to 19 dH

For newbies, you can check water parameter conditions through a water test kit. Besides the criteria above, you can also check ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. This is to ensure that your water tank is in its best condition.

● Water Tank Set-Up

Setting up the water tank for your cherry barb is essential to consider in their natural habitat. Remember that their origins are from Sri Lanka and Mexico. Hence, they are more used to an environment with heavy vegetation.

This means that you should replicate this type of environment. You can do this by putting aquarium plants such as hornwort, water wisteria, and anacharis.

Part of the water tank set-up is also thinking about your substrate medium. Again, it is best to replicate the cherry barb’s natural habitat and go for dark sand. The cherry red color will pop out in a darker background.

You can choose to decorate your tank with cavers, rocks, and driftwood to complete the look.

Feeding and Diet

Cherry barbs are omnivorous and what is great about them is that they are not picky eaters! They like eating small plants and small critters. This includes insects, worms, algae, and plankton in their natural habitat.

Feed your cherry barbs with high-protein, high-quality fish flakes. Examples include brine shrimp and bloodworms. You should not overfeed your cherry barbs. This will lead to serious health complications.

Tank Mates

There is a long list of fishes that can be tankmates. You should never pair your cherry barbs with larger or more aggressive fishes. Other than that, they can get along well with other fishes with the same temperament.

Recommended tankmates for your cherry barb are rainbow sharks and neon tetra. You can also pair your cherry barbs with molly fish, and pearl gourami.

Recommended non-fish tankmates include the mystery snail and the cherry shrimp!

A word of caution is not putting a betta fish with your cherry barbs. These two types of fishes do not get along well in the tank because of their territorial disposition.

Common Health Issues

Another great thing about cherry barbs is that they do not have a history of illnesses. They are a pretty healthy fish species. They are also very resilient to many diseases. But, it does not mean that you should take their health for granted. Responsible fish owners should always check on their fishes. Check if anything is not normal with their appearance or behavior.

For most freshwater fishes, Ich is a common disease that your cherry barb may get. The telltale sign of a fish having Ich is white spots and a lethargic behavior so be on the lookout for these signs!

Cherry Barb Breeding

Breeding cherry barbs is easy. In fact, it is so easy that as an aquarist, your prep work happens before you buy your cherry barb.

The preparation work for breeding cherry barbs needs work. Make sure you have enough tanks. One is for the cherry barb. The other for its future eggs because cherry barbs will eat their eggs if you do not take it away.

Once the eggs are in a separate tank, they will hatch in a few days. Make sure that you feed the baby cherry barbs with high protein food such as brine shrimp so they can grow faster.

You must prepare to have proper tank conditions for your cherry barbs. This is so your cherry barbs can feel safe and breed away. This includes making sure that you have enough vegetation. In their natural habitat, cherry barbs use plants to hide their eggs away from the prey. Without enough plants, they think it is not safe to breed.

What Size Aquarium Do They Need?

The recommended aquarium size should be able to carry at least 25 to 30 gallons of water. Why do you need such a big aquarium if the cherry barbs are small, you ask? It is because cherry barbs like to be in groups based on their upbringing. If you buy a cherry barb, make sure to buy them in groups. Your cherry barb might feel alone and lonely if you only buy one.

How Much Water Per Gallon?

The recommended ratio for cherry barbs in a 30-gallon water tank is around 5 to 6. Cherry barbs are active fish, and they want to swim around.


Cherry barbs are a great addition to your aquarium. Their unique red color adds that needed pop in the aesthetic of your aquarium.

Not only that, but they are also very low maintenance and do not have many diet restrictions. They are perfect for newbie aquarists. They have low-maintenance tanking needs like diet and breeding process.

On your next trip to your local pet shop, make sure to be on the lookout for these colorful and pretty cherry barbs. These fishes will add a splash of color to your aquarium!



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