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FAQs on the Minnows called Barbs, Danios and Rasboras Identification

Related Articles: Barbs, Danios & RasborasA Barbed Response; Wrongly maligned for being fin-nippers, barbs are in fact some of the best fish for the home aquarium by Neale Monks

Related FAQs:  Barbs, Danios, Rasboras 1, Barbs, Danios, Rasboras 2, B,D,R Behavior, B,D,R Compatibility, B,D,R Selection, B,D,R Systems, B,D,R Feeding, B,D,R Disease, B,D,R Reproduction,

Mystery fish?  5/8/11
Hi Neale,
I finally have a picture of the "mystery" fish from my inherited tank - not great pictures, but good enough I hope.
<Should be!>
There was a pair of them, but regrettably one didn't survive the move. If you can't tell from the pictures, it's about 4cm long. It's quite shy, hiding away from movement, but will swim out in the open if everything is still. It's been fed on flakes and kept in the dark for a year, and isn't that interested in food at the moment - will try some frozen brine shrimp later. I've popped it in the "new" 20 gal tank (the filter is mature) with a few Neons to keep it company.
<Sounds good.>
Whilst taking the unwanted striata loaches to the LFS, I asked them to look at the pictures of this fish. The guy there was convinced it's a Jae Barb (barbus jae) - they received a fish identical to mine in a one off batch from a customer, and have spent some time trying to identify it.
<Yes, would agree that these are an African barb, a true Barbus species rather than Asian Puntius.>
Having looked at images of barbus jae, however, I'm not convinced - this fish is bigger, has a different shape and the colouring is also not the same.
<Not Barbus jae, but, I think, Barbus fasciolatus.>
What do you think? And whatever it is, can it live with a few Neons, panda and julii Corydoras, the Ancistrus, Amano shrimp, and very young Bolivian rams?! If so I'll race back to the LFS and buy the other one!
<Barbus fasciolatus gets to about 6 cm long and does well provided not kept too warm. Neons and Corydoras are ideal companions in an aquarium maintained between 22-24 C and where the water isn't too hard. Colour can be remarkable in tanks where the water is stained with tannins or there's a good amount of overhead shade together with a dark substrate. In bright, open aquarium this species may look a bit drab. A nice species, but like other Barbus, can be an annoying mix of intensely social but also prone to fighting within the group. A singleton might do okay, but a half dozen or more is the optimal. Not terribly widely traded, so quite a nice addition to your tank. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Mystery fish + Microgeophagus altispinosa..., barb ID,    5/9/11
Hi Neale,
Brilliant, thanks very much for identifying it - barbus fasciolatus, that's the very fish! Having read up on the species I hesitate to rush out and get a replacement for his lost companion, he might be happier by himself after all.
In the meantime, something is afoot with the rams (Mikrogeophagus altispinosa). From the attached, you'll see that one of the three has dug quite a significant pit in the substrate this afternoon. He (I'm hoping he is a male) is guarding it to a point, shooing away all the fish that like to nose around in it, and doing quite a bit of flaring and chasing and posturing with one of the other rams (which I'm hoping is the female). Pic of the supposed "pair" attached, not really good enough pictures to know for sure, but fingers crossed. He keeps making way for her to come and have a little look around his pit, then chases her away again.
<Is what they do. She won't be accepted into a male's territory until she's ripe with eggs. To some degree, females are merely chased away, while rival males are attacked more aggressively, "with extreme prejudice" as our American cousins would say.>
If I do finally have a pair, I'll be dead excited.....but whilst I had planned on removing the Ancistrus and Corys from this tank, I hadn't planned on doing it this soon - the new tank is showing no ammonia or nitrite, but precious little nitrate, so I think it needs a bit longer to mature. Plus the banded barb in there is still very nervous.
Apart from that I'm also worried that in order to catch and move the disruptive fish from my planned breeding tank, I'll have to take the tank apart, and then re-plant and re-scape (all of which I love doing of course), which is going to disturb the rams and ruin the carefully built spawning area. If they do spawn in the meantime (I don't think they have already), the Ancistrus will surely eat the eggs instantly, having no fear of the rams attacks.
<Indeed, this is typical for the genus, family; cichlids and catfish have worked this way against each other since time immemorial. Still, a healthy, well-matched pair of cichlids should be able to keep their nest reasonably safe, and if you want, you can always isolate the catfish.>
AND.....will the big bossy Ancistrus terrify the nervous barbus fasciolatus in the new tank?!!
<Hmm'¦ shouldn't do.>
The Ancistrus needs her own special ASBO.
Thanks Neale
<Cheers, Neale.
Re: Mystery fish + Microgeophagus altispinosa   5/10/11
Evening, thanks for the reply. As it turns out, I felt that my hand was forced tonight....I spotted one of the julii Corys in a peculiar position (standing on it's tail), and inspected to find that he had been stripped of his entire tail fin. He's been left with a raw looking stump and some chewed up rays.
<Ah, well, as I think I've mentioned before, these Dwarf Cichlids can be hard on Corydoras. On the whole Bolivian Rams are acceptably well-behaved community fish, but sometimes they cause problems. Be sensitive to the risk, and plan your community accordingly. This is a topic discussed in Paul Loiselle's "The Cichlid Aquarium", a book that really is worth reading when dealing with cichlids. Contrary to popular misconception, no cichlid is 100% peaceful, and none of them make perfect community fish.>
I hurriedly set up a little QT for him, but I don't fancy his chances of recovering.
<We'll see.>
I suspect the big bolshy male cichlid of an attack, as he has been more aggressive to the other species in the tank since he built his nest. So I've charged ahead and moved the other Corys and the Ancistrus to the new tank - I'll just have to be very vigilant in testing the water and doing changes while the filter catches up.
<All sounds wise. Ancistrus generally hold their own with Dwarf Cichlids without problems.>
Thanks for all the help, I'll soldier on and see how things work out'¦..
<Cheers, Neale.>

Large Barb ID??? No info on web  11/15/10
I have a large barb (12 inches +) that I am trying to identify. It has 2 whiskery barbs on either side of it's head and has fairly large eyes. All of it's fins and tail are pink/red in color except the dorsal and pectorals
which are gray. The torpedo shaped body is silver and covered in very large scales. Note: He has a low dorsal profile. He is a large peaceful guy but does like his carnivore pellets. Any help is appreciated.
<Hello Bonnie. This chap looks like Leptobarbus hoevenii to me, a Southeast Asian carp that reaches a maximum length of about a metre (over three feet) and a maximum weight of 10 kilos (over 22 pounds). So yes, this is a big fish! Under aquarium conditions it probably won't get quite so big, but you can reasonably expect this fish to get to about half that size, say, 50 cm (about 20 inches) in length. You'll need at least 200 gallons to keep a fish that size, plus some really heavy duty filtration, i.e., turnover rates at least 8 times the volume of the tank, so for a 200 gallon tank, the filter (or filters!) should produce a total turnover of about 1,600 gallons/hour. On the other hand, water temperature and chemistry aren't major issues, and like most carp this species will adapt to a broad range of conditions. Like most carps this species is omnivorous, so offer both plant-based foods and meaty foods in its diet. Cooked peas and spinach, Sushi Nori, algae pellets, algae flake and so on make good "greens", while chopped tilapia fillet, earthworms, and the occasional prawn or mussel can be offered as meaty treats. Koi or Goldfish flake, if accepted, would be excellent foods for this sort of fish. Without enough greens and fibre, like all carps, this species will be prone to problems such as bloating.
Moreover, high protein diets will increase its growth rate, which is the last thing you want! Although this species is not predatory as such, it will eat very small fish should the situation present itself, and for a
variety of reasons that's not a good thing. So choose placid tankmates of suitable size: Oscars, Severums, Suckermouth catfish, Clown Loaches, Silver Dollars, Snakeskin Gouramis, Senegal Bichirs, etc. One final note. Some authorities suggest the fish traded in the hobby is Leptobarbus rubripinna rather than Leptobarbus hoevenii. While that may be interesting so far as taxonomy goes, it doesn't seem the change much when it comes to care, both species getting to about the same size and requiring much the same care. Cheers, Neale.>

Spanner barbs or t-barbs   7/13/10
Hi Bob,
Quick question -- in the US, is "spanner barb" at all used for Puntius lateristriga? Or is it always t-barb?
As I understand it, a "spanner" doesn't mean anything in American English.
Cheers, Neale
<Have seen this species with both these common appellations here. B>
New Species... going, gone   7/13/10

Thanks Bob!
This is fairly depressing:
"Balantiocheilos ambusticauda, a new and possibly extinct species of cyprinid fish from Indochina (Cypriniiformes: Cyprinidae)"
A new fish is described and declared extinct at the same time! What a mess we're creating.
Cheers, Neale
Ahh, yes... what (more) to do? My/the central thread (yes a ref. to Confucianism, Taoism) in my actions, activities is to enhance other people's' love of their own lives through appreciation of the (living) world... Including urging them to consider, reconsider not reproducing... B

Odessa Barbs, ID, comp.  2/1/2010
Hello again,
I was looking at adding at some schooling fish to my tank, and saw some Odessa Barbs at my LFS that were black with red markings.
<Yes; Puntius padamya, a species for long assumed to be a variety of Ticto Barb, Puntius ticto, but now recognised as a truly distinct species. Nice fish; the colours on mature fish are outstanding.>
I have read/heard conflicting things on the tendency of barbs to nip at other fish.
<"Barbs" range from big, predatory species through to small species that only eat plankton. Like cichlids and catfish, it all depends on the species.>
I have also read conflicting things regarding the temperature range of Odessa barbs.
<Like most barbs, they prefer cooler rather than warmer temperatures. As such, they're good companions for tanks around 20-25 C, e.g., alongside Danios and Corydoras, which also like fairly cool water.>
I currently have 2 pearl gouramis and a dwarf Gourami, along with some platys and a some Cory catfish. The tank is well planted and cycled. Should I be concerned about fin nipping/ and or temperature incompatibility?
<Puntius padamya is an occasional rather than serious fin nipper, so Corydoras and Platies should be fine, but Gouramis less so. It will depend on their environment though, in a big tank with lots of plants, and if kept in a big group (at least 6 specimens, ideally 10+) the barbs should spend more time chasing one another than harassing tankmates. Can't guarantee that though.>
Thanks again,
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Odessa Barbs, other stkg. poss.  2/1/2010
In lieu of Odessa barbs, could you recommend a colorful, relatively small schooling fish that won't potentially pose a problem to the pearl gouramis?
Thanks again,
<Any of the Rainbowfish family would do the trick nicely. Depending on the size of your tank, you might consider things like Iriatherina werneri and Melanotaenia praecox at the small end of the range, through to Glossolepis
incisus to Melanotaenia boesemani at the larger end of the range.
Melanotaenia herbertaxelrodi and Bedotia geayi are another pair of lovely species. They all mix with each other perfectly well, assuming similar size, so you can keep multiple species in groups of six (equal numbers of males and females recommended for best colours and personality). Cheers, Neale.>

Fishy time-out, Tetra comp., ID!    - 05/31/08 Hello, <Hello,> A couple of months ago at an aquarium society auction I bought a bag of three fish under the common name "melon tetra". <No idea what these are. Sounds like some kind of nickname for a ghastly, cruelly dyed fish (cf. "jellybean tetra"). Photo?> Turns out I can't find anything on the fish so that must not be it's name, but oh well. <Never, ever buy a fish you know nothing about. Otherwise you'll likely end up with a problem.> Anyway, one of the larger of the three has started turning colors (from white and black to now with bright red and blue fins) and is now terrorizing all of my other fish. <Hmm... some tetras are habitual fin- and scale-eaters, while others are highly social and go a bit nutty if kept in too-small a group. In any case, all tetras should be kept in groups of 6+ for your sanity as much as theirs. Your fish may well behave fine in big groups, but terribly in trios. This isn't at all uncommon, and you wouldn't believe the number of times I've encountered aquarists with small tanks where a single tetra or Danio has become an almighty terror!> All of the fish were hiding in the leaves of the plants until they were eventually found and chased ceaselessly around the tank. So to solve the problem I bought a breeders net and am keeping the problem fish in isolation. <Not a solution. Isolating a fish that is merely expressing its innate behaviour is cruel. Even if that leaves you unmoved, cramping an adult fish in a breeding trap will ultimately cause its demise through stress or jumping out. I personally call breeding traps "death traps".> This has seemed to help for now, all the other fish are already swimming about much more, but I'm wondering if this will have any negative affects on my bully tetra? <Yes it will.> Will he become too stressed by himself all cramped up? <Precisely so; your instincts are sound here and you should listen to them! Great fishkeepers aren't the ones who read all the books, but the ones who can "think like a fish" and act accordingly.> What should I do? <For a start identify the tetras, either by going through a decent aquarium encyclopaedia of your choice or sending us a photo (please, 500 kb or less). Then buy some more, so you get a group of at least 6 specimens. There's a good chance that they'll settle down, or at least no single fish will be able to bully the other five all at the same time, so there'll be a certain level of peace. Do also review the size of your aquarium. It would be insane to keep clearly active tetras like these in anything smaller than a 20 gallon tank. Lots of people stick relatively big or active fish in 10 gallon tanks, and they get surprised when they find their fish becoming "stir crazy"! Another thing you can do is make the aquarium more interesting and complex by adding plants and rocks. For a lot of aggressive fish, "out of sight is out of mind", so by breaking up the line of sight you can give the other fish places they can rest. But ultimately you may simply have bought some fish here that just aren't compatible with your mode of fishkeeping. Again, the lesson here is read up on a species before laying down the cash.> Thanks, Jessi <You're welcome, Neale.>
Re: Fishy time-out  6/3/08
Neale, <Jessi,> Thanks a bunch for your help so far. I know the breeder net isn't a long term solution, I just thought it might be good to give some of the other fish a break. <Fair enough.> I've attached a picture of the fish, but it's really low quality since I don't have a camera and ended up taking it with my phone. Hopefully you'll be able to tell what it is anyway. <It is definitely a Puntius species (what in old aquarium books are called Barbus species, or simply "barbs"). I'm not completely sure which species though. It is either Puntius fasciatus or Puntius melanampyx. Both have been called "Melon Barbs" in the trade (don't you love common names!). Puntius melanampyx is the smaller of the two, and gets to about 7 cm in length; Puntius fasciatus gets to twice that size in the wild, though infrequently so in captivity. Both are considered peaceful, community fish when kept in a decent sized group, and neither are reported to be fin-nippers.> The red color didn't show up much, but this white and black coloration is what the other two have as well. <Could easily be males and females; sexual dimorphism among barbs is common.> The stripes remind me a lot of a tiger barb just slightly less defined, but from what I can tell the body shape is much different. <Indeed; it has the streamlined body of one of the fast-water barb species.> I called my LFS today to try and get rid of the three of them, but they said they wouldn't take them. <Sometimes the case. Regardless, the problem is most likely insufficient members of the group. Barbs are notoriously badly behaved when kept incorrectly. They really must be kept in big groups because they have a very strong "play" instinct (really chasing and fighting over pecking order). While this behaviour makes them lots of fun and keeps them constantly active, if not catered for it can cause problems.> I think the woman over the phone thought what I was describing was a convict cichlid and I wasn't sure how to explain to her that it's definitely something else. I'm not really sure what to do. I don't want to set up a new tank, but if I have to any information on whatever kind of fish this is would obviously be really helpful. Thanks again, Jessi <I suspect these fish be very nice fish if kept in a bigger group, say 6 specimens. Also provide them with swimming space and lots of water current. Puntius melanampyx will need a tank not less than 90-100 cm in length, and adult Puntius fasciatus a tank 120 cm upwards. Hope this helps, Neale.>

To Be A Tinfoil, or Not To Be A Tinfoil.... - 12/13/2005 Hey guys, I saw these fish that look almost identical to a tinfoil barb.  In the pet store they were actually considering them "tinfoil barbs", but I was able to tell a significant difference.  The mystery fish looks and swims similar, and they're shiny silver just like the Tinfoils.  The only difference is that there are no red on their fins but they're fins sort of have a pearl finish on the ends of them.  Any idea of what this fish could be?  I want to find some info on it so I can see how big it gets, aggressive, etc. <Jason, does this look about right?   http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=27525 You might also do a search on http://www.fishbase.org for genus Barbonymus and genus Poropuntius to see if you find a match with any of the species listed.> Thanks  -Jason McCorry <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina> Identifying the Red Glass Barb <<Hello, JasonC here filling in for Bob while he is away.>> Hello, I have a barb that is known as the red glass barb and recently spawned these and have thriving fry. However, I cannot find any info or the true name of these barbs. Can you help? <<Could this be the rosy barb, just misnamed? Check Bob's article: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/barbsdaniosrasboras.htm >> Wilma <<Cheers, J -- >>

Re: red glass barbs No, they have the body appearance of the Puntius sachsii, with the one black spot near the caudal fin. The males are a bright reddish orange the females are a pale yellow. They lay eggs over a period of days, the first time I spawned them I remove the parents that evening and had only six fry, second time same steps - 4 fry, third attempt, left them in a tanks for 5 days and now have around 50 fry. Not typical spawning for rosy barbs. I have seen them listed on fish lists but not their true name. Wilma <Hmm, this well may be a sport of the Gold-finned barb... Please see: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/barbsdanias.htm for some pix and further input. Bob Fenner>

Is it a tinfoil or what? >Hi, >>Hello, Marina available for a short time today. >I possess what I believed to be a tinfoil, however I did at one point looked after two Tinfoils in same tank.  The problem is the two Tinfoils are Tinfoils but my one has larger scales more streamlined body but has same colouring.  Is there a variant or is it an uncommon type of barb.   >>Difficult to say, as there are many similar barbs available in the trade.  I would venture a guess that this is actually a different species, and it's quite difficult to determine further without a picture what species it is (the problem with common names, eh?). >It was bought as a tinfoil but I'm unsure of its id.  Also I have read that Tinfoils are best kept in groups as my one is on its own & seems to be quite happy.  Is that ok? >>Generally true, but keeping fish is as much art as science, and if yours are happy then don't rock the boat, is my philosophy.  You can try looking at http://www.fishbase.org (though I've only used this site for saltwater specification), or use the Google bar at the bottom of the homepage for our site--MANY pictures are available, and you might find the animal you actually possess.  Best of luck, Marina

Tinfoil barb Hi,     I possess what I believed to be a tinfoil however I did at one point looked after two Tinfoils in same tank. The problem is the two Tinfoils are Tinfoils but my one has larger scales more streamlined body but has same colouring. Is there a variant or is it an uncommon type of barb. It was bought as a tinfoil but I'm unsure of its id. Also I have read that Tinfoils are best kept in groups as my one is on its own & seems to be quite happy. Is that ok? Many thanks P Mitchell <I am sure there are some variations from fish to fish, but the should look pretty similar, search for tinfoil barb on fishbase.org for a positive ID.  Depending on your tank size, and assuming it is a tinfoil barb, I would go with at least 3.  Best Regards, Gage>

What it IS! Goldfin tinfoil barb, that is. >Hi it's Paul again, >>Hello Paul. >Thanks for your advice.  I looked into fishbase.org & established that my fish is in fact a Goldfin tinfoil barb (Poropuntius malcolmi) & grows to 50cm from same family order & has similar habits.  This problem has bugged me for quite a while so many thanks again for sending me in the right direction. Best regards P Mitchell. >>Very glad I could be of help, Paul.  May you never again be so bugged.  ;)  Marina

Lamb chop Rasbora - a Harlequin Look-Alike Hello WWM Team, <Hi Craig, Sabrina here, today> Hope you can help me. I recently bought fish labeled Harlequin Rasbora. The problem is, I know what a Harlequin looks like and the reason I bought these fish was they are a Rasbora I have not seen before. I am hoping you can identify them for me. <Will gladly try!> They have the same colouring as the Harlequin with some changes. The blue triangle is evident as in the Harlequin, however, the same blue is also displayed in a very thin line along the anal area. The iridescent orange is a definite mark confined to the edge of the triangle and then extending past the triangle towards the gill in a definite half-circular mark. The remainder of the body colour is golden  .The body is far more slender than the Harlequin and the fins are all translucent, unlike the Harlequin which are reddish/orange. The eyes are also golden and not orange...any ideas?  Craig <This sounds unmistakably like the "Lamb chop" Rasbora, Trigonostigma espei.  The "Harlequin" Rasbora, Trigonostigma heteromorpha, as you've mentioned, is quite a bit more common in the US, but the lamb chops do show up a lot.  T. espei will only grow to about half the size of T. heteromorpha, and is a touch more sensitive as well.  More info from fishbase on the harlequin:  http://filaman.uni-kiel.de/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?genusname=Trigonostigma&speciesname=heteromorpha  and on the lamb chop:  http://filaman.uni-kiel.de/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?genusname=Trigonostigma&speciesname=espei .  Be sure to make use of all the links throughout those pages if you wish to learn more detail on the fish, there is a lot of info there!  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Rosy Barbs mistakenly mixed with another species? I have a 29 gallon tank with (among others species) 5 Rosy Barbs (1 male and 4 females).  One of the females is considerably smaller than the others (she is also younger, so at first this did not bother me) and she  is a different shape.  Rosy Barbs are more or less symmetrical from nose to tail; she is shaped like a Rosy in her top half, but nearly flat along her bottom half (she's almost shaped more like my clown loaches, although much smaller!) <Interesting> I became alarmed when, in addition to being smaller, I noticed that she was behaving oddly.  She swims listlessly, and then will suddenly perform a series of aerobatic maneuvers in just a small area of the tank. (upside down, sideways, back and forth, loop-de-loops, etc.) After a few minutes, she goes back to being listless.   She doesn't race to the top of the tank to eat like the other Barbs do either. I looked online, wondering if she was another species accidentally mixed in with Rosies, and her behavior was as a result of being a schooling fish with no "friends", and found this photo: http://www.jjphoto.dk/fish_archive/aquarium/puntius_bimaculatus.htm which is similar, but not quite identical to my fish. <Okay... another Puntius species> When I researched this fish, I found they are native to Sri Lanka, and not much else.  But I thought Rosy Barbs were native to Indonesia, which makes my accidental theory not very likely. <Mmm, likely both or at least the Rosies were cultured... so not wild-collected in the country of their origin> So my question is, is it possible that she is a different species, and if so, any theories on which one?  And, is she sick, lonely, or simply nutty, (or perfectly normal for her species), and how do I deal with it? Thanks, Paul PS: Wonderful website!! <Thank you Paul. Yes to being (likely) a "contaminant"... an accidentally mixed in species... not able to say of course, which species... but likely another minnow/barb... can/will live with the others very likely. You can trade in, look for others of its kind, or keep and enjoy. Bob Fenner>

Re: Rosy Barbs mistakenly mixed with another species? Thanks. About the behavior, (assuming she is a Puntius species of Barb) is that likely a sign of illness?  Or possibly normal? <Possibly normal, but if illness, not contagious, but genetic, developmental in nature> "She swims listlessly, and then will suddenly perform a series of aerobatic maneuvers in just a small area of the tank. (upside down, sideways, back and forth, loop-de-loops, etc.) After a few minutes, she goes back to being listless.   She doesn't race to the top of the tank to eat like the other Barbs do either." Thanks again, Paul Lord <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

What IS IT? I've had these fish for 2 years in my tank, they are peaceful but have grown from 2 inches to 10 inches. The place where I bought them has gone out of business, and nobody knows what they are. Can you help? Should I be feeding them anything besides flake food? <Your photo makes accurate ID difficult. The dorsal fin is obscured in the flash and the caudal fin is bent back the other way. Even with all this I think we can narrow it down. I am pretty sure you fish is in the family Cyprinidae, it includes the carps. You fish probably came in as a contaminant from Asia. Take a look at the red finned cigar shark. It comes from Indonesia and gets about 2 feet long. It is not fussy about water chemistry or food. The scientific name is Leptobarbus hoevenii.-Chuck>


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