Cherry Barbs (Barbus titteya)

male cherry barb
Male Cherry Barb in Breeding Condition

Cherry barb (Barbus titteya also known as Puntius titteya) are small, colorful tropical fish from the family Cyprinidae (carp family).

Cherry barbs reach an adult size of only about 1.75-2 inches (4.4-5 cm) in length.

Their name is derived from their red or "cherry-colored" coloration. This red coloration is typically seen in males at breeding time. The top photo on this page is of a male cherry barb that is in breeding condition, whereas the photo below is of a female cherry barb.

Cherry barbs make good community tank fish. You should keep them in a group of 6-8 in a heavily planted tank.

They prefer soft, slightly acidic water, and a water temperature between 72-79 °F (22-26 °C).

female cherry barb
Female Cherry Barb

Cherry barbs are omnivores, which means they need both meaty and plant-based foods. They will eat flakes, freeze-dried, and small live and frozen foods.

Breeding Cherry Barbs

Cherry barbs are easy to breed in the aquarium. This is good because their numbers are dwindling in the wild. They are originally from Sri Lanka.

Cherry barbs are egg scattering fish. As mentioned previously sexing cherry barbs is easy because males become brightly colored when in breeding condition. Even when not displaying breeding colors the male is typically more colorful than the female. The male's fins are typically red, whereas the females are usually yellow.

They are most likely to spawn in soft water (pH of about 6.5) and at a water temperature of 77-78 degrees Fahrenheit (around 25-26 Celsius). As with most other fish, feeding them live or frozen meaty foods will help to get them into breeding condition.

Once you have a pair that is in breeding condition they should be placed in a breeding tank. You should have marbles on the bottom of the tank. During spawning they scatter their eggs. Like most of the other egg scattering fish, cherry barbs will eat their eggs. Placing marbles in the bottom of the tank prevents the barb parents from being able to get to the eggs because the eggs will fall through the spaces between the marbles so that their parents can't get to them. After spawning is over, remove the parents from the breeding tank.

The fry will hatch about 24 hours later. When the fry become free-swimming they should be fed infusoria if you have it available. If not, feed them liquid fry food for egglaying fish. When they are large enough to eat them feed them newly hatched brine shrimp. About a week or two later they should be able to eat finely crushed flakes or powdered dry food for fry.