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One of the Most Peaceful Barbs

Cherry Barb Fact Sheet 

The Cherry Barb, Puntius titteya,is a much more peaceful fish than some of the barbs.  It comes from Sri Lanka (which used to be called Ceylon).  In its native area it is not common and is threatened by habitat destruction.  In the aquarium hobby, it is alive and thriving, being a peaceful and well loved community fish.  An alternative scientific name is Barbus titteya.
The Cherry Barb grows to about two inches (5cm) long.  The average life span of the Cherry Barb is about four years, but some have been recorded up to seven years old.

 Threatened Species

The Cherry Barb is threatened in the wild. Juniper Russo Tarascio in his excellent article on Yahoo
"The Cherry Barb: A Threatened Freshwater Aquarium Fish" puts its rarety down to over fishing for the Aquarium Trade. Although this may certainly have been a factor in the reduction in numbers of this fish, my own research suggests that the continuing problems the wild population of the Cherry barb are more to do with destruction of habitat rather than over fishing.
In our own shop, all the Cherry Barbs sold (and nearly all the fish) are bred in captivity.

Water Conditions

The Cherry Barb will be happy at a temperature of 24̊ C (75̊ F), with a pH of 7 and soft to moderate hardness. Nowadays, practically all the Cherry Barbs offered for sale are captive bred, and like many captive bred fish tend to be able to adapt to a wider range of conditions than the wild ones could. Particularly for this fish, do not change the water temperature or chemistry too quickly.

The Tank set up should have plants, preferable growing right up to the surface, and some clear section for swimming.


Like most fish, Cherry Barbs are omnivores. In the wild they will eat insect larvae, especially the young of mosquitoes, algae, and a wide range of other things of the right size. In the aquarium they will eat all normal fish foods, and are an easy fish to feed.

Like nearly all aquarium fish, they appreciate the occasional feed of live food like daphnia or wrigglers. Good frozen foods like frozen blood worms are a good treat.

The Cherry Barb is not a fish that forms a very tight school. Nevertheless, if only one is kept it tends to be stressed.  I recommend a group of at least six Cherry Barbs.

The Cherry Barb is one of the most peaceful barbs, and I have kept them even with slow moving, long finned fish like Siamese Fighting Fish, Guppies and Endlers Guppies.  However, this combination does not always work, so be careful.

Cherry Barbs are also happy with other small reasonably peaceful fish like Pristella Tetras, Rummy Nose Tetras, Harlequin Rasboras, Scissortail Rasboras, Lemon Tetras , Black Widow Tetras, Emperor Tetras, Head and Tail Light Tetras, Glass Bloodfin Tetras, Swordtails, Platies, Mollies, Zebra Danios, Glowlight Tetras, and White Cloud Mountain Minnows, as well as the Corydoras catfish like the Peppered Catfish.
I have also kept them with slightly more aggressive fish like Paraguay Tetras, Buenos Aires Tetras, Colombian Tetras, Rosy Barbs, and Tiger Barbs, but I would hesitate to recommend these fish as companions for Cherry Barbs. I suggest caution with these fish.


The Male Cherry Barbs are a much more definite cherry color than the females which are more faded in color. The females tend to be plumper.


The Cherry Barb is an egg laying species, producing something like 200 eggs from one female and spawns readily. A fine leaved plant in the breeding aquarium will increase the chances of them laying.

The eggs hatch in about one day. The parents eat their own eggs as well as the young babies, so to have much chance of raising the young, the parents need to be removed as soon as possible after spawning.

An alternative way of breeding the Cherry barb is simply to keep a small group of them in a large aquarium with a lot of plants, and no other fish. Under these conditions, many of the eggs and fry will get eaten, but some may survive. This is a little closer to what would happen in the wild.

Pest Fish

I do not have evidence that the Cherry Barb is a pest fish anywhere, but any fish introduced into a foreign ecosystem can damage it.  The fact that the Cherry Barb is not common in its native area is not a good reason to put it into inappropriate places in the wild.


I an indebted the following very informative sites for information about this fish: Animal World,  Aquatic-Hobbyist and Aquatic Community.
Steve Challis


Male Cherry Barb

Photo by sannse. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Female Cherry Barb
Photo by sannse. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Female and Male Cherry Barb
By Akino yuugure (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons