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Maximum size : 5 cm

Cherry Barb - Puntius titteya : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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The Cherry Barb (Puntius titteya) is a highly coveted addition to community aquariums, revered for its tranquil disposition, hardiness, and low-maintenance requirements. Despite their occasional timidity, Cherry Barbs thrive in stable water conditions and appreciate the availability of hiding spots. To accommodate the social nature of Cherry Barbs, it is recommended to maintain a group of at least five individuals. Males frequently establish their own secluded territories at the lower levels of the aquarium, displaying their most vibrant coloration as they court passing females and compete with rivals. For a harmonious tank environment, Cherry Barbs should be housed alongside other gentle, similarly-sized fish species. Suitable companions include Tetras, Dwarf Rainbowfish, Rasboras, Catfish, and Plecos. However, it is essential to avoid larger fish, which may perceive Cherry Barbs as prey. The striking appearance of Cherry Barbs sets them apart from other Barb species, featuring a beautiful brownish-red hue, a dark horizontal stripe along their bodies, and yellowish to red fins. Their distinct body shape, characterized by a thicker and taller midsection, further accentuates their uniqueness within the Barb family.

Cherry Barb Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Distinguishing between male and female Cherry Barbs can be achieved by observing their physical characteristics. Females typically display a more robust body shape, while males exhibit a comparatively slender form. Additionally, males tend to be larger in size and possess a more vivid coloration, contrasting with the muted orange hue of their female counterparts.
Featured Male
Featured Female
Male Female

Quick Facts

Scientific NamePuntius titteya
Year Described1929
Other NamesRed Barb
OriginsSri Lanka
Max Size5 cm
Aquarium LevelBottom - Middle
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespan3 - 5 years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH7.2 - 7.5
GH8 - 16
KH4 - 7
TDS180 - 250
70 - 80
21.1 - 26.7

The Cherry Barb has been featured on the following stamps.

Natural Habitat

If you're on the hunt for a captivating and visually stunning species to add to your aquarium, the Cherry Barb is an excellent choice. These striking fish are native to the freshwater Kelani and Nilwala Rivers in Sri Lanka and are renowned for their captivating appearance and engaging behaviours. In the South-West regions of Sri Lanka, where these fish are found, very little light reaches the water's surface due to the thick tree canopy, creating an environment that is perfect for these Barbs. They are typically found in shallow, small, and slow-moving rivers and streams with a silt or sand substrate, and the bottom is covered with leaves and tree branches. So, if you're looking to add a touch of exotic beauty to your aquarium, the Cherry Barb is an excellent choice. With their captivating appearance and charming personalities, these fish are sure to make a lasting impression in any aquatic setting.
 Nilwala River - Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka Flag
 Kelani River - Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka Flag


Cherry Barbs exhibit a high propensity for breeding, often spawning successfully when provided with an appropriately conditioned environment. Key factors include a dimly lit aquarium, slightly acidic water, and an abundance of plant life, which serves as a substrate for egg scattering. A mating pair can produce between 200 and 300 eggs. Following the deposition of eggs, it is crucial to either remove the parent fish or relocate the eggs to a separate tank. This precautionary measure ensures the protection of the eggs from potential predation by the adult Cherry Barbs. The incubation period for Cherry Barb eggs typically ranges from one to two days, after which the fry emerge and become free-swimming within an additional two-day span. Following a growth period of approximately five weeks, the juveniles will have attained a length of roughly 1 cm, at which point they can be readily identified as Cherry Barbs.

Diet & feeding

Cherry Barbs readily consume a diverse range of food sources, making them amenable to various dietary options. They can be fed flake food or other forms of dry sustenance specifically formulated for tropical fish species. To further enrich their diet, it is recommended to periodically provide supplementary treats such as vegetables, daphnia, bloodworms, brine shrimp, plankton, or other similar items. This balanced approach to nutrition will help maintain the health and vitality of your Cherry Barbs.

Frequently asked questions

Cherry Barbs are very peaceful and hardy fish, and they can tolerate a vast range of water parameters, making them perfect for the beginner aquarist as well as more advanced fish keepers.

Cherry Barbs are small elongated fish with a moderately compressed body. Cherry Barbs can grow up to 5 cm in length, with the males being slightly smaller than the females.

In captivity, Cherry barbs are not picky eaters; therefore, they are easily fed. However, suppose you want your fish to be healthier with better colouring. In that case, you should offer them regular meals of small frozen and live foods such as daphnia, bloodworm and brine Shrimp alongside high quality dried food such as granules or flakes, some of which must include additional algal or plant content.

Ideally, Cherry Barbs require a 95-litre aquarium. However, a 115-litre aquarium would be very much appreciated as this extra room will allow your fish to swim around in schools and hide if they feel threatened. Cherry Barbs will thrive in larger tanks, so don't be afraid to add them to larger communities.

Cherry Barbs are very peaceful and should be housed with fish that have a similar nature. Rasboras, Platies, Danios, Gouramis, Mollies, Tetras and Otocinclus Catfish all make ideal tankmates for Cherry Barbs. You can also put Shrimp and other invertebrates in an aquarium with Cherry Barbs.

Cherry Barbs are endemic to Sri Lanka in South Asia. These Barbs are restricted to the Nilwala and Kelani river basins southwest of the island, plus more minor drainages between them. They inhabit clear or slightly stained, slow-moving, calm shallow waters in streams and ponds where the substrates are sandy and covered by a layer of leaf litter with fallen branches and twigs.

3 tank mate ideas for the Cherry Barb

Looking for some awesome tank mate ideas for your Cherry Barb? Look no further! Here are 3 of the most captivating and fascinating options that will liven up your aquarium!

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