Maximum size : 10 cm

Arulius Barb - Puntius arulius : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

Table of contents


Arulius Barbs (Puntius arulius) are charismatic and highly social creatures that thrive in the company of their own kind. To witness their vibrant colours and exuberant behaviour, keeping them in groups of eight or more individuals is recommended. These barbs may feel insecure in smaller groups and fail to showcase their true beauty. Moreover, inadequate numbers can lead to potential harassment of other tank mates. Arulius Barbs make a fantastic addition to community aquariums housing medium-sized species that share a similar environment. However, avoiding pairing them with timid species that may become startled or stressed by their energetic nature is crucial. While occasional nipping tendencies may arise, maintaining a substantial school of Arulius Barbs will help mitigate such behaviour.

Adaptable to a wide range of aquarium conditions, Arulius Barbs thrive when provided with pristine water quality. Incorporating a few hiding spots in the aquarium enhances their natural colouration, creating a visually captivating display. Therefore, creating a well-balanced habitat with dense vegetation and ample open spaces for these agile swimmers is highly recommended. Offering shaded areas among roots will be appreciated by these barbs, while efficient filtration ensures a healthy and thriving environment.

The distinguishing features of Arulius Barbs are truly captivating. Their dark brownish-olive backs elegantly contrast with lighter sides, creating an eye-catching visual contrast. A white shading on their ventral surface further adds to their allure. Notably, these barbs boast a distinctive black vertical patch above their pelvic fin, complemented by a striking black blotch above their anal fin. A third black bar or blotch at the base of their caudal fin adds a touch of sophistication. In addition, the anal and caudal fins display subtle reddish hues, while the dorsal fin, characterized by its elongated and flowing structure, is often adorned with delicate stripes of grey or black. As these barbs mature, their colours become more pronounced, adding an enchanting charm to any aquarium setting.

Witness the captivating beauty and lively nature of Arulius Barbs as they gracefully navigate their aquatic realm, creating an enchanting spectacle that is sure to captivate any observer.

Arulius Barb Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Distinguishing between male and female Arulius Barbs becomes relatively straightforward once they reach adulthood; however, sexing these fish can be more challenging during their juvenile stage. Adult males exhibit vibrant colours, intense patterns, and a slender physique compared to females. Furthermore, when males enter spawning conditions, they develop distinct white dots around their mouths. Although these spots may resemble a disease, it is merely a natural spawning pattern unique to this species. On the other hand, females possess a rounder body shape and display less pronounced colouration, appearing somewhat duller in comparison to their male counterparts.

Featured Male
Featured Female
Female Male

Quick Facts

Scientific NamePuntius arulius
Year Described1849
Other NamesTamiraparani Barb, Silas Barb, LongfinBarb
Max Size10 cm
Aquarium LevelMiddle
Best kept asGroups 6+
Diet & FeedingOmnivore
ReproductionEgg Depositor
LifespanUp to 7 Years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
pH 6.0 - 8.0
GH 5 - 12
TDS 36 - 179
Ideal Temperature
64 - 72
18 - 22

The Arulius Barb has been featured on the following stamps.

Natural Habitat

Arulius Barbs are native to the Kaveri and Tambraparni River Basins in southern India, showcasing their remarkable adaptability to diverse aquatic environments. The Tambraparni River, in particular, is renowned for its unique characteristic of possessing water with a reddish hue owing to elevated concentrations of saturated copper. These barbs inhabit the flowing waters of large streams, lakes, and rivers, with their habitats characterized by pebbles, gravel, rocks, and stones forming the substrate.

Sadly, the population of Arulius Barbs has been significantly impacted by various factors, including pollution, sand mining, and natural calamities. These threats have led to their numbers declining, placing them on the endangered list. To safeguard their existence, conservation efforts have become vital. Notably, many Arulius Barbs available for purchase today are bred in commercial fish farms dedicated to the conservation and propagation of these fish, primarily for their aesthetic appeal in ornamental aquariums. By supporting responsible fish farming practices, we contribute to the preservation of this remarkable species and the ecological balance of their natural habitats.


Breeding Arulius Barbs can be a rewarding endeavour with the right approach. To ensure successful breeding, it is recommended to use a spacious breeding tank, ideally around 75 litres in size. Covering the bottom of the tank with marbles, pebbles, or a protective mesh will safeguard the delicate eggs from the parents' voracious appetite. Providing fine-leaved plants and java moss in the breeding tank will create suitable spawning sites. Alternatively, spawning mops can be employed if live plants are not preferred.

Dim lighting plays a crucial role in triggering spawning behaviour, so maintaining a subdued illumination in the breeding tank is essential. While water conditions are not overly demanding, a neutral pH and a 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit temperature range are considered ideal for successful breeding.

Depending on your preference, Arulius Barbs can be bred in pairs or groups. When breeding in groups, it is necessary to condition the entire group in the breeding tank, providing them with ample live and frozen food. Once you observe the presence of eggs, removing the adult fish promptly is imperative. If you opt for breeding in pairs, separate the males and females and condition each group separately, ensuring they receive a nutritious diet of live and frozen foods. Once properly conditioned, select the most vibrant male and the plump female to be moved into the breeding tank. After spawning is complete, the pair should be promptly removed from the tank, as Arulius Barbs do not exhibit any parental care and may consume their own eggs and fry.

The eggs of Arulius Barbs will typically hatch within 24 to 48 hours, although higher temperatures can accelerate hatching to approximately 18 hours. Once hatched, the fry becomes free-swimming around 24 hours later. These tiny fry require nourishment in the form of infusoria or paramecium during their early days. As they grow and develop, they can be transitioned to newly hatched brine shrimp, which they will readily accept after approximately one week to 10 days.

By following these guidelines and providing the appropriate conditions and nourishment, you can embark on a successful breeding journey with Arulius Barbs, witnessing the fascinating stages of their life cycle unfold before your eyes.

Diet & feeding

The Arulius Barb is an opportunistic feeder that readily consumes various food sources. In their natural habitat, these fish exhibit an omnivorous diet, consuming both meaty and plant-based foods. In an aquarium setting, a balanced diet consisting of high-quality dried foods, such as flakes and granules, should serve as the primary staple. However, to enhance their colouration and overall health, it is advisable to supplement their diet with regular servings of live, frozen, or freeze-dried foods, including bloodworms, Mysis shrimp, and daphnia. Additionally, these Barbs will appreciate providing occasional vegetable treats like spinach, cucumber, and courgette.

Frequently asked questions

The scientific name of the Arulius Barb is Puntius arulius.

In an aquarium setting, an Arulius Barb typically grows to about 4 inches (10 cm) in length.

Arulius Barbs can live up to 5-7 years under appropriate aquarium conditions.

Arulius Barbs thrive in a well-planted aquarium with plenty of swimming space. They prefer a water temperature of 64-72°F (18-22°C) and a pH range between 6.0 and 7.0.

Arulius Barbs are omnivorous and enjoy a varied diet. A mixture of high-quality flake food, along with live and frozen foods such as brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms, can provide balanced nutrition.

Male Arulius Barbs are generally more colourful with longer fins and have a more streamlined body shape. Females are usually larger and have a more rounded belly.

Yes, Arulius Barbs are peaceful and can be kept in a community tank with similarly sized, non-aggressive fish. They are shoaling fish and should ideally be kept in groups of at least 6+.

Arulius Barbs are egg scatterers. They do not exhibit any parental care and will often eat their own eggs. It's recommended to set up a separate breeding tank and remove the parents after spawning to protect the eggs.

Other Barbs of interest