Maximum size : 3.5 cm

Eight Banded False Barb - Eirmotus octozona : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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In the world of aquarium enthusiasts, the Eight Banded False Barb (Eirmotus octozona) is highly coveted for its stunning appearance and schooling behaviour, making it a perfect addition to a nano or planted tank. These small, striped Barbs are a rare find in the hobby, adding a touch of exclusivity to any collection.

To showcase their vibrant colours and social behaviour, keeping them in groups of at least eight individuals is recommended. When kept in larger groups, these Barbs will become less timid and more confident in displaying their dazzling hues while vying for the attention of females. Due to their shy and reluctant feeding behaviour, it's recommended to keep them in a species-only setup or with similar Dwarf African Barbs, such as the Jae Barb or African Banded Barb.

However, it is important to avoid keeping them with larger, aggressive fish that may outcompete them for food, as they will not fight back and may suffer from malnutrition. For a harmonious community aquarium, consider pairing these Barbs with small South American Characins, Pygmy Corydoras Catfish, and Otocinclus species. However, keep in mind that smaller Dwarf Shrimp shrimplets may be at risk of becoming prey for these active swimmers. 

In their natural habitat, Eight Banded False Barbs inhabit blackwater forest streams, a delicate environment that must be meticulously recreated in the home aquarium to ensure their well-being. These fish are highly sensitive to water conditions, favouring soft and acidic parameters over harder, alkaline settings. To mimic their native habitat and promote their health, aquarists may find it advantageous to introduce Indian Almond Leaves to the filtration system, contributing to a more suitable aquatic environment for these remarkable fish.

The Eight Banded False Barb boasts a yellowish-red body adorned with eight dark bars along its snout and caudal peduncle. Diffused chromatophores can be found on the last dorsal-fin ray of these fish, while the translucent dorsal-fin rays may be adorned with black, extending onto the first branched ray.

Eight Banded False Barb Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Distinguishing male from female Eight Banded False Barbs is a relatively simple task. The unpaired fins are thinner in males and exhibit a pale red hue when in prime condition. Conversely, females have a larger body size than males.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameEirmotus octozona
Year Described1959
Other NamesOctozona Barb, False Eight-Banded Barb
Max Size3.5 cm
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
Best kept asGroups 8+
Diet & FeedingOmnivore
LifespanUp to 3 Years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
pH 5.0 - 7.0
GH 2 - 12
TDS 18 -143
Ideal Temperature
75 - 79
23 - 26

Natural Habitat

The Eight Banded False Barb has a fascinating and somewhat mysterious history. Initially discovered in Lake Bueng Boraphet in western Thailand, this fish has not been spotted in that area for some time. However, a small group of these striking barbs was found in Johor state, located in Peninsular Malaysia, in 2008. Today, these fish are thought to call Ayer Hitam, a town in Johor state, their home. In this region, they inhabit the peat swamp forest areas surrounding the town. Sadly, much of this natural habitat has been severely disturbed by human activity, and it remains unclear what the current state of many species in the area, including the Eight Banded False Barb, may be. Yet, despite these challenges, this unique and beautiful fish continues to captivate and intrigue fish enthusiasts around the world.


Given that the Eight Banded False Barb is a relatively recent addition to the aquarium hobby, breeding this species remains a somewhat enigmatic process. Nevertheless, available evidence suggests that the water conditions must be highly specific, with an ultra-low pH and minimal hardness likely to be crucial factors for successful reproduction.

Diet & feeding

The Eight Banded False Barb, a relatively new addition to the aquarium trade, can be pretty finicky about their diet. While they will accept most dried and flaked foods suitable for their size, it is highly recommended to supplement their diet with small live and frozen foods such as Artemia and Daphnia. These foods not only ensure optimal health and colouration but also encourage the fish to reach breeding conditions. It's important to note that this barb can be fragile when first imported, and it's best to start with small live foods as their initial diet. Then, as the fish begin to settle into the aquarium, dried and frozen food can be gradually introduced.

Frequently asked questions

The Eight Banded Barbs typically occupies the middle and the top of the water column. However, you may often see them swimming in the middle and bottom levels when searching for food.

The Eight Banded Barb requires a varied diet; therefore, it would benefit these fish if you provided them with high quality dried and frozen food remembering they have tiny mouths, so they will need to be suitably sized.

Eight Banded False Barbs are fine with other peaceful, small fish and can also be housed with larger Invertebrates. However, they may prey on smaller Dwarf Shrimp and their shrimplets.

Yes, Eight Banded Barbs are a shoaling fish. They are a timid and delicate species that must be maintained in groups of at least six individuals, preferably more so they feel less nervous. A shoal of these fish will also make for a beautiful display.

Eight Banded Barbs will do much better in either a heavily planted or forest stream type setup. The aquarium should also have a soft substrate and dim lighting and branches, roots and leaf litter as decor. Strong filtration is not required as they mainly inhabit sluggish waters.

It is quite challenging to distinguish males from females. However, adult males are somewhat slimmer than females and present a pale red colouration on their unpaired fins when they are in good condition.


Eight Banded False Barb (Eirmotus octozona) Species Profile & Care Guide Thumbnail

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