Barbs are native to Asia and Africa, living in shallow, moderately fast-flowing waters rich in vegetation; among the hundred-odd known species in Nature, only a dozen or so are currently available commercially under this collective name. The different species can be distinguished by the number of barbels, which varies from none to four. They are active fish, living in groups or small shoals, and the liveliest ones may even tease other species with quite large fins. They are best kept in aquariums with plenty of plants and where the water is soft, slightly acidic, and well-filtered and oxygenated. Barbs are omnivorous (taking small, live prey or vegetable material) and adapt well in captivity to artificial foods. Spawning (reasonably straightforward) requires soft, mature water; the optimal temperature is usually around 28°C. After hatching, the fy measure just over 3 mm; food when they are at this stage should be Artemia nauplii.


Some species of barbs can be crossed to produce viable fry, as with Puntius nigrofasciatus (black ruby barb) and Capoeta tetrazona (tiger barb), a hybrid of which is shown here. Size: 5-6 cm.

Capoeta semifasciolatus The green barb or half-striped barb is perhaps the species responsible for the production, by mutation or hybridization, of the golden barb - see C. schuberti The male is more elongate and brightly colored than the female. Size: 8-10 cm. •

• Capoeta titteya

The cherry barb is one of the smallest members of this family. It owes its common name to its color, which, in the male, deepens noticeably at mating time. It is quite timid, preferring shaded areas. The female can produce several hundred eggs. Size: 5 cm.

• Capoeta schuberti

Thegoldenbarbisa curiosity: unknown in the wild,itis most likely a mutation or a hybrid of relatedspecies. It is gregarious, swimming activelyingroups. Breedingisquiteeasy;the eggs hatch in 36 hours in Water at 26°C. The fry growquicklyandmature within 10-12 months. Size: 5-6 cm.

• Banded barbs Certain species have "stripes", as a means of identification. Size: 5-7 cm.

• Capoeta tetrazona

Golden tiger variety. Size: 5-6 cm.

Capoeta tetrazona

The tiger barb is one of the most common species. During mating, the males become markedly aggressive towards the females. The stripes appear on the fry within 2 weeks or so. There are several varieties of this species: the green tiger, the albino tiger, and the golden tiger (without the black pigmentation). Size: 5-6 cm.

mainly in the form of transverse bands; their size and number serve

Capoeta tetrazona (tiger barb)

Barbodes pentazona (five-banded barb)

Barbodes everetti (clown barb)

Puntius lateristrigata (T-barb or spanner barb)

Puntius nigrofasciatus (black ruby barb)

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