Cherry Barb

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Puntius titteya - Deraniyagala, 1929
Cherry Barb

A favorite species for generations of aquarists. Darker red male shown. Aaron Norman


A classic aquarium species, this small, slender Barb is torpedo-shaped with chameleon-like color variations in different conditions and different strains. The female is often light, iridescent pink, while the male is darker. The anal and tail fins of the male are bright cherry red. An albino morph is now being propagated.

Family: Cyprinidae

Other common name(s):

Native range:

Habitat: Provide lots of open swimming room with plantings kept mostly at the back and ends of the tank, and a cover of floating plants. Barbs need a fine-grade or rounded gravel substrate to burrow in. Will nibble on plants and perform light algae cleanup.

Maximum length: 5 cm (2 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 76 L (20 gal)

Water: Freshwater 22 °C (72 °F) - 26 °C (79 °F)

General swimming level: Midwater


Omnivore. In the wild, the Cherry Barb feeds mostly on vegetable matter, but will accept a wide variety of prepared aquarium fare, including good-quality flakes. Their diets must include algae and plant matter, including Spirulina-based foods. Treat occasionally with frozen or live brine shrimp or bloodworms.

Aquarium Compatibility

The Cherry Barb is a timid, schooling species that should be kept in groups of at least four with smaller community tank residents. Regular water changes are a plus.


Extremely easy to breed, Cherry Barbs scatter their adhesive eggs among plants, and should be immediately removed or they will eat the eggs.


May jump out of the aquarium when spawning, so a tight-fitting cover is a must.

Reference: 101 Best Tropical Fishes
Image credit: AN
Text credit: KW