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Maximum size : 6 cm

African Banded Barb - Barbus fasciolatus : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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African Banded Barbs, scientifically (Barbus fasciolatus), are a stunning addition to any community tank. These charming and active fish are peaceful and thrive when kept in groups of six or more. When selecting suitable tank mates, it is essential to consider their temperament and ensure they are not semi-aggressive or boisterous, as this can cause stress for the Barbs. While the occasional scuffle may occur as they establish a pecking order, it is not harmful to the fish or other species in the aquarium. However, Your aquarium needs to be sufficient in size and allow the weaker individuals some respite from the dominant male by providing broken lines of sight with some decor. In tiny groups, in cramped conditions, or alone, these Barbs can become withdrawn, and the dominant fish may bully the subordinates. Unlike other Barb species, African Banded Barbs have an elongated olive-orange body with a creamy-yellow stomach. During the breeding season, males' bodies turn a rusty red colour, and they display 10-15 thin blueish-black bars, with the second or third bar being egg-shaped and the last bar forming a spot at the caudal peduncle.

African Banded Barb Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Distinguishing between male and female African Banded Barbs is a straightforward task. During the spawning period, males exhibit vibrant and intense colors compared to their female counterparts. Males also have smaller body size in comparison to females. Conversely, females have a larger body size, with rounder stomachs and are relatively less colorful than males.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameBarbus fasciolatus
Year Described1868
Other NamesFire Barb, Angola Barb, Blue-barred Barb
OriginsNamibia Zimbabwe Democratic Republic of the Congo Botswana Angola Zambia
Max Size6 cm
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespan3 - 5 years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.0 - 7.0
GH5 - 12
TDS18 -215
71 - 79
21.7 - 26.1

Natural habitat

African Banded Barbs are indigenous to some of the most stunning and exotic rivers in Africa, including the Zambezi, Okavango, and Congo Rivers. Their natural habitats are characterized by slow-flowing waters with high oxygen content, abundant vegetation, and dark brownish colouration due to the presence of decaying organic materials, chemicals, and humic acids. In the wild, these fish are known to thrive in habitats with a lot of structure such as overhanging vegetation, sunken logs, and rocks. They are also known to seek out areas with low current and deep pools to rest and feed.
 Congo River - Democratic Republic of the Congo
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 Zambezi River - Zambia
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How to breed the African Banded Barb

In order to increase the yield of African Banded Barb fry, a more controlled approach is necessary, although they may appear in a well-planted aquarium without human intervention. To create an ideal spawning environment, set up a separate tank with soft acidic water that has a slightly higher temperature than usual. The tank should contain a mix of floating plants to provide cover and diffuse light, as well as spawning mediums such as java moss or spawning mops on the base of the aquarium. Substrate is unnecessary, but an air-powered filter is recommended. To ensure successful breeding, condition the adults in a separate tank by feeding them a diet rich in live and frozen foods. Once the females are plump, select the most colourful male and the fattest female and place them in the spawning tank. If the pair does not spawn immediately, leave them in the tank for a few extra days before choosing a different pair. Once the pair has successfully spawned and laid their eggs, it is crucial to remove the parents to prevent them from consuming the eggs. The spawning tank can now be used as a rearing tank for the babies. The fry will hatch within 48 hours and become free-swimming around a week later. As the fry grows, they will require infusoria as their first food and gradually move onto nauplii, microworm, and artemia.

Diet & feeding

The African Banded Barb is a versatile omnivore, which makes feeding it in captivity relatively simple. It will accept a variety of foods, including dried pellets, flakes, freeze-dried, and frozen options such as bloodworms, daphnia, and artemia. In addition, providing infrequent meals of vegetable matter, such as blanched spinach or dried products with a vegetable content, can help diversify its diet and promote good health.

Frequently asked questions

African Banded Barbs can reach up to 6 cm in length, with the females usually being slightly larger than the males.

African Banded Barbs will readily accept high-quality flake or pelleted products and will also enjoy small frozen or live foods such as bloodworm, artemia and daphnia. In addition, these Barbs will also appreciate the occasional treat of vegetable matter both in the form of a dried product with added vegetable content or blanched vegetables such as courgette or spinach.

The ideal tankmates for African Banded Barbs include Dwarf Cichlids and Pelvicachromis species, Tetras, smaller Catfish such as Microsyndontis species and other similarly-sized African Barbs. However, it would be best if you didn't house these Barbs with larger, more boisterous species.

It is pretty straightforward to determine the sex of African Banded Barbs. Males are typically more intensely coloured, especially when in breeding condition or displaying to their rivals. Females are slightly duller are usually slightly larger, and they possess much rounder stomachs when they are gravid.

African Banded Barbs can be maintained successfully in a densely planted aquarium with soft water. However, if you wish to see your fish at their best, then a biotope style setup with a sandy substrate and several driftwood roots and branches placed in such a way that there is plenty of shady areas is highly recommended. You can also add some dried leaves such as oak, beech or Indian almond as these will further emphasise their natural habitat as well as providing more cover for your fish.

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