Max Size: up to 6 cm

African Banded Barb (Barbus fasciolatus) Species Profile & Care Guide

African Banded Barbs are a peaceful, active and charming fish that make an excellent addition to a community tank. It would be more beneficial for these fish if you kept them in shoals of six or more.

The African Banded Barbs may be shy initially but will soon settle down when housed with the correct tank mates. You should avoid semi-aggressive or boisterous tank mates otherwise; these barbs will remain retiring and nervous.

Once established, you may find them sparing with each other to prove a pecking order. Still, this sparing is carried out amongst themselves and does not involve other species in the aquarium, and they do no harm to each other during these minor conflicts.

Your aquarium needs to be sufficient in size, which will allow the weaker individuals some respite from the dominant species and decorated so that broken lines of sight are provided. If you keep these Barbs alone, in a tiny group or cramped conditions, they can become withdrawn, and the dominant ones may bully subdominant fish regularly.

The African Banded Barb is not as heavy-bodied as other Barb species and has an elongated olive-orangy body and a creamy-yellow stomach. During the breeding season, the male's body turns a bright rusty red. A distinctive characteristic of this barb is the 10-15 blueish-black thin vertical bars of which the second or third tends to be egg-shaped, and the last bar usually forms a spot at the caudal peduncle.

Quick Facts
Scientific NameBarbus fasciolatus
Other NamesFire Barb, Angola Barb, Blue-barred Barb
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespan3 - 5 years
Water Conditions
Water TypeFreshwater
Temperature71 - 79 ℉ (21.7 - 26.1 ℃)
PH6.0 - 7.0
GH5 - 12
TDS18 -215
African Banded Barb
African Banded Barb

Natural Habitat of the African Banded Barb

The African Banded Barbs are endemic to Zambia, Angola and Botswana as well as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zimbabwe and Namibia.

These Barbs natural habitats are the middle and upper Kafue, Luapula River and Cunene Rivers the Zambezi River as well as the Okavango and Congo River. Their habitats are also in Lake Kariba and Lake Mweru.

The African Banded Barbs inhabit shallows and bays of lakes and floodplain lagoons as well as rainforest rivers and streams. These waters are identified by a high oxygen content, slow flow and heavy vegetation. The water itself has stained a dark brown colour from chemicals and humic acids released by decaying natural material. The Barbs spend the hottest part of the day under cover of the vegetation usually only appearing in the late afternoon and early morning to feed.

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In captivity African Banded Barbs will accept high-quality pelleted or flake foods and also enjoys small frozen and live foods such as bloodworm, daphnia, artemia and suchlike. These Barbs will also appreciate infrequent meals of vegetable matter such as blanched spinach or dried products with added vegetable content.

Sexing the African Banded Barb

It is relatively easy to differentiate males from female African Banded Barbs. Males are more intensely-coloured, especially when in spawning and are smaller than females. In contrast, females are larger are much less colourful than males and have rounder stomachs.

Breeding the African Banded Barb

In a well-planted aquarium, fry may likely begin to appear without any human intervention. However, if you wish to increase the yield of fry, a more controlled approach is required.

You should set up a spawning tank containing soft acidic water with a slightly higher temperature than usual. The tank should be dimly lit with floating plants as cover and vast amounts of spawning medium such as java moss or fine-leaved plants. You will not need substrate just a small air-powered filter will be adequate.

It would be better if you conditioned the adults in a separate tank by feeding them with plenty of live and frozen foods. Once the females are plump, you should choose the fattest female and the most colourful male and place them into the spawning tank.

If they fail to spawn straight away, leave them in the tank for a few extra days before proceeding with a different pair.

Once the pair have successfully spawned and laid their eggs, it is advisable to remove the parents; otherwise, they will consume the eggs if given a chance.

You can now use the spawning tank as a rearing tank for the babies. They should hatch within 48 hours, and become free-swimming around a week later.

The fry will be tiny and require infusoria as a first food and as they grow will need foods such as nauplii, microworm and artemia.

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Date Added: 12/8/2020 - Updated: 12/8/2020 5:12:31 PM