Butterfly Barb (Barbus hulstaerti)
Butterfly Barbs are one of the smaller species of Barb. These Barbs are rarely available in the hobby due to decades of political unrest in its native Congo region. It is also known to be tricky to keep and very difficult to breed. However, these fish are very peaceful, active and attractive and would make an excellent project for the willing hobbyist.
Butterfly Barbs are not recommended for community aquariums as they are quite shy and have a retiring nature and will be intimidated and outcompeted for food by the bigger and more boisterous tankmates. It would be more beneficial if you house them with fish of similar size that has an equal temperament.
Although these fish are gregarious in the wild, it is a shoaling species rather than schooling, and they develop a distinct pecking order between males. You should ideally maintain these fish in a group of at least eight or more individuals. Still, the tank must be of adequate size so that the weaker individuals can get some respite from more dominant fish and decorated in such a way that plenty of hiding places are provided.
It is, however not ideal to keep these fish on their own, in a small group or a cramped aquarium; otherwise, they may become withdrawn, and they may be bullied by subdominant fish continuously.
The Butterfly Barb has an elongated pale body colouration and a blunt head. Their body displays three bold blueish-black splotches of varying size and yellow shading in the maleâ€™s dorsal, ventral and anal fins, and the caudal fin is typically translucent.
|Scientific Name||Barbus hulstaerti|
|Origins||Democratic Republic of the Congo|
|Difficulty||Intermediate - Advanced|
|Best kept as||Groups 8+|
|Lifespan||2 - 4 years|
|PH||4.5 - 6.5|
|GH||0 - 6|
|TDS||18 - 90|
|62 - 75℉|
16.7 - 23.9℃
In the home aquarium, the Butterfly Barb will readily accept most good quality dried foods such as granules, flakes and sinking pellets. These modern food products have been developed to provide all adequate nutrition to maintain your fish's health and dietary requirements.
Providing additional foodstuffs such as live, frozen, and freeze-dried meals such as bloodworm, daphnia, and tubifex once or twice a week will provide additional benefits to your fish's health and well-being but is not a must for this fish.
It should be noted that bloodworms should only be given as an occasional treat and should not be used as the staple diet as they are difficult for fish to digest and can potentially cause blockages.
This fish is an omnivore in the wild, meaning it will consume some vegetable matter. Although most modern fish foods take this into account and include them in their products, you can still supplement your fish's diet with blanched vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and zucchini. Ensure you do not overfeed your fish and remove any leftovers the following day.
2 interesting tank mate ideas for the Butterfly Barb could include: