Max Size: 10cm

Arulius Barb (Dawkinsia arulius, Puntius arulius)

Arulius Barbs are a peaceful and active shoaling species that you should keep in a group of 8 or more individuals. If you maintain them in smaller groups, they will feel unsafe and not display their true colours. In addition, they might harass other fish species if kept in too small a group.

Arulius Barbs are an excellent choice for any community aquarium containing mid-size species that appreciate the same environment. These Barbs will not harm or harass fish that are too big to eat. However, they should not be kept with timid species that might be spooked or stressed by this fast-moving species. Ideal tankmates for these Barbs could include Tiger Barbs, Rosy Barbs and other fast swimming Cyprinid species similar in size. You can also house these fish with some Cichlid species, but they would predate on smaller fish such as Neon Tetras. Like many Barbs, Arulius Barbs can display some nippy behaviour towards other fish; however, you can avoid this if you maintain them in more significant numbers in the aquarium.

Arulius Barbs are a very hardy species that adapt to most aquarium conditions as long as it has pristine water quality. However, these fish show a more vivid colouration in aquariums containing a few hiding places. Therefore, you should ideally decorate the aquarium with areas of dense vegetation and open spaces for this fast-moving fish to swim around. A few shaded areas among roots are also appreciated, and filtration is essential when keeping Aurulius Barbs.

Adult Arulius Barbs have dark brownish-olive colouring on their backs that become lighter on their sides. These fish also have white shading on their ventral surface. In addition, these fish have a black, vertical patch on the middle of their body, above the beginning of their pelvic fin, as well as a second black, vertical blotch above its anal fin and a third black bar or blotch on the base of their caudal fin. However, these marks are not as defined as the other two blotches. Most of the fins on these fish are thin and transparent except for the anal and caudal fins that display some reddish hues, and their Dorsal fin is long and flowing and often striped with grey or black. Adults possess more pronounced colours than juveniles.

Quick Facts
Scientific NameDawkinsia arulius, Puntius arulius
Other NamesTamiraparani Barb, Silas Barb, LongfinBarb
Aquarium LevelMiddle
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespan4 - 6 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.0 - 8.0
GH5 - 12
TDS36 - 179
66 - 77℉
18.9 - 25℃

Photos of the Arulius Barb

Arulius Barb
Arulius Barb
Arulius Barb
Arulius Barb

Natural Habitat

The Arulius Barb is widespread throughout the Kaveri and Tambraparni River Basin in southern India. The Tambraparni river has a red tinge due to the high amounts of saturated copper in the water. This species inhabits clean, well-oxygenated large streams, lakes and rivers with flowing water with substrates of pebbles, gravel, rocks, and stones.

Unfortunately, Arulius Barbs are becoming an endangered species due to pollution, sand mining and natural disasters. Now, most, if not all, Arulius Barbs you see for sale today have been cultivated in commercial farms for the ornamental fish trade.

What to feed the Arulius Barb

Arulius Barbs are very easy to feed and will ferociously consume any food that is given to them. In the wild, these fish are omnivores feeding on both meaty foods and plants.

In the aquarium, good quality dried food such as flakes and granules should be the staple diet. However, for the best colours and condition of these fish, you should also provide them with frequent meals of live, frozen or freeze-dried foods such as bloodworm, Mysis shrimp and daphnia. In addition, these Barbs will also appreciate the occasional vegetable treat such as spinach, cucumber and courgette.

How to sex the Arulius Barb

It is relatively straightforward to differentiate between male and female Arulius Barbs when they are adults; however, it is harder to sex these fish with juveniles. Males are usually more vibrantly coloured, have more intense colour patterns, and are usually more slender than females. In addition, when adult males are in spawning conditions, they present white dots around their mouths. This can look similar to a disease, but if the spots are focused only on the mouth, it is probably just the spawning pattern of this species. In contrast, females are rounder bodied and somewhat duller than males.

How to breed the Arulius Barb

It is relatively straightforward to breed Arulius Barbs. However, due to their size, the breeding tank needs to be quite large 75 litres would be ideal.

You will need to cover the bottom of the breeding tank with marbles, pebbles or a mesh to protect the eggs from the parents. The aquarium will also need to contain fine-leaved plants and java moss. If you don’t wish to use live plants, spawning mops will also work well. The breeding tank will also need to be dimly lit as this helps trigger spawning. The water conditions are not that important; however, having a neutral pH and a temperature between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit would be ideal.

You can spawn these fish in either a pair or in groups. If you decide to breed them in groups, you will need to condition the group in the breeding tank by giving them lots of live and frozen food. Once you notice eggs, you will need to remove the adults.

If you choose to breed the species in pairs, you will need to separate the males and females and condition each group separately with plenty of live and frozen food. Once they are conditioned, you should choose the most brightly coloured male and the plumpest female and move them into the breeding tank. Again, once spawning is complete, remove the pair from the tank. Arulius Barbs do not present any parental care and will eat their own eggs and fry.

The eggs will hatch somewhere between 24 and 48 hours later; however, if the temperature is relatively high, you may find that they will hatch after only 18 hours. The fry will become free swimming around 24 hours after hatching. Arulius Barb fry are tiny and need to be fed infusorian or paramecium during their first days. After about a week to 10 days old, they should then be large enough to accept newly hatched brine shrimp.

The Arulius Barb has been featured on the following stamps

Cuba - 1978