Max Size: 5cm

Black Ruby Barb (Pethia nigrofasciata)

The Ruby Barb is a gorgeously coloured, peaceful, small fish that is well suited to any community aquarium with many other fish species.

They are hardy and adaptable and show there best colours and their confidence when in the right tank conditions.

This species of barb possess a pointed deep purple-red coloured head, high back, and ruby red body. They have three black bands that run vertically through there body.

Tank Mates for the Black Ruby Barb

1 ideal tank mate ideas for the Black Ruby Barb include:

Denison Barb(Sahyadria denisonii)
Quick Facts
Scientific NamePethia nigrofasciata
Other NamesPurple-Headed Barb, purple head barb, ruby barb, black barb
OriginsSri Lanka
Aquarium LevelBottom - Middle
Best kept asGroups 5+
Lifespan3 -4 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH5.5 - 7.5
GH5 - 12
TDS36 - 268
72 - 79℉
22.2 - 26.1℃

Photos of the Black Ruby Barb

Black Ruby Barb
Black Ruby Barbs Spawning

Natural Habitat

Black Ruby Barbs come from the soft acidic, cooler, shaded, slow-flowing, clear mountain forest streams on hills of the Niwala and Kelani river basins of Sri Lanka, in South Asia.

They inhabit areas with dense vegetation with fine sand or gravel substrate that is covered by a layer of leaf litter, fallen branches and twigs.

What to feed the Black Ruby Barb

Black Ruby Barbs are easily-fed but for optimal colour and condition

give them frequent meals of small frozen and live foods like Daphnia, Artemia and bloodworm.

As the primary source of their diet, you should give them good quality dried granules and flakes which ideally should contain some algae or plant content.

How to sex the Black Ruby Barb

It is easy to recognise a female from a male Black Ruby Barb in several different ways.

The males develop a more intense ruby colour, not only in their bodies by also on their dorsal and anal fins.

The females are much paler, and only the base of their dorsal fin turns black as well as having more rounded bellies, and they grow slightly longer than males.

How to breed the Black Ruby Barb

It is relatively easy to breed Black Ruby Barbs as long as you follow the suitable requirements. They can be bred in groups or as pairs.

Your breeding tank should have soft acidic water with plenty of fine-leaved plants such as java moss. If these are unavailable spawning mops will do just fine.

The lighting needs to be dim as the eggs are sensitive to bright light.

Feeding the barbs frozen or live food such as bloodworm or brine shrimp will induce their spawning mood as well as allowing them to produce high-quality, healthy eggs henceforth producing quality fry.

You will be able to tell when spawning has begun as you will see the male swimming around the female in a courting display while spreading out his fins.

This process can take several hours, and they can produce as many as 100 eggs which they will scatter amongst the plants.

Just like many other species of fish, you will need to remove the adults once the eggs have been laid or given the opportunity they will eat them.

The laid eggs will hatch within 24 hours, and the babies will become free swimming 24 hours after that.

Frquently asked questions about the Black Ruby Barb

Are Black Ruby Barbs aggressive?

Black Ruby Barbs generally have a peaceful disposition and can be somewhat shy. Therefore, these fish are best kept in groups of 6 or more individuals. However, these Barbs misbehave in small groups as the stress from being isolated virtually always comes out as aggression towards other tankmates.

How big do Black Ruby Barbs grow?

Black Ruby Barbs can grow up to a maximum length of 8 centimetres, with the female usually being slightly longer than males.

What are the best tankmates for my Black Ruby Barbs?

Black Ruby Barbs have no unique demands in terms of water chemistry; therefore, you can combine them with a majority of popular fish in the aquarium hobby, such as other small Cyprinids as well as Livebearers, Rainbowfish, Tetras, Loaches, Anabantoids and Catfish.

What is the best aquarium set up for my Black Ruby Barbs?

When it comes to Black Ruby Barbs, the choice of decor is not particularly critical; however, these fish seem to display better colouration in a heavily planted aquarium with a dark substrate. Adding some driftwood roots or branches, floating plants, and leaf litter also appears to be appreciated and adds a more natural feel. Strong filtration is not required; however, they seem to enjoy a certain level of water movement and will thrive in a hill stream-type aquarium set-up.

What should you feed Black Ruby Barbs?

In the aquarium, Black Ruby Barbs are unfussy and easily fed. However, suppose you would like the best condition and colours of your fish. In that case, you should offer regular meals of small live and frozen foods such as artemia, bloodworm and daphnia, alongside high quality dried food such as flakes and granules, some of which must include additional plant and algal content.

Where do Black Ruby Barbs originate?

Black Ruby Barbs are endemic to the Nilwala and Kelani river basin alongside other more minor drainages between them in the southwestern islands of Sri Lanka in South Asia. Their natural habitat consists of several small, pristine streams containing clear or slightly stained, shallow water. Not much sun can penetrate the forests floor, so these aquatic habitats are shaded, and the water temperature is usually relatively cool.

Other Barbs of interest

African Banded Barb(Barbus fasciolatus)
Arulius Barb(Dawkinsia arulius, Puntius arulius)
Blue Spotted Hill Trout(Barilius bakeri)
Butterfly Barb(Barbus hulstaerti)
Checker Barb(Oliotius oligolepis)
Cherry Barb(Puntius titteya)
View all Barbs
Date Added: 06/08/2020 - Updated: 05/01/2022 16:10:05