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Maximum size : 7.5 cm

Gold Barb - Barbodes semifasciolatus : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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The vibrant and hardy Gold Barb (Barbodes semifasciolatus) is an ideal choice for beginner aquarists, thanks to its adaptability to a wide range of water parameters and its peaceful nature. While they may occasionally nibble on plants, they typically coexist well with most tankmates. To truly appreciate their shoaling behavior and stunning colors, keep these fish in groups of at least six. Larger groups make for a mesmerizing display and allow for a closer look at their fascinating interactions. Ensure that other tankmates share similar temperature preferences, as Gold Barbs thrive in lower tropical temperatures. A well-filtered tank with good oxygenation and a moderate current is essential for their wellbeing. Gold Barbs have a sloping back and short barbels at the corners of their mouth. Their metallic yellow-gold bodies feature several dark vertical bars or blotches, with a brassy or golden sheen underneath. With light to reddish-brown backs and whitish bellies, males will exhibit an orange-red hue during mating. Healthy specimens often have red fins. The green version of this barb is now rarely seen in the aquarium trade, as the gold form has become more popular.

Gold Barb Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Distinguishing between the sexes of Gold Barbs is fairly straightforward. Female specimens exhibit duller coloration and possess rounder abdomens, whereas males showcase more vibrant hues, have streamlined bodies, and are generally smaller in size compared to females.
Featured Male
Featured Female
Male Female

Quick Facts

Scientific NameBarbodes semifasciolatus
Year Described1868
Other NamesChinese Barb, Green Barb, Schubert's Barb
OriginsVietnam China Taiwan Laos
Max Size7.5 cm
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespan3 - 5 years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.0 - 8.0
GH1 - 10
TDS36 - 357
64 - 75
17.8 - 23.9

Natural Habitat

Prepare to be transported to the beautiful landscapes of Southeast Asia, where the magnificent Gold Barbs can be found thriving in their natural habitat. This species is native to the free-flowing freshwaters of the Red River Basins, where they can be observed swimming gracefully in the tranquil waters of Vietnam, Taiwan, northern Laos, and southwestern China. Not limited to just their native waters, these exquisite creatures have also been introduced to new environments in Hong Kong, Uruguay, Taiwan, and Hawaii, further expanding their reach across the globe. In their preferred habitat of swamps and irrigation channels, these Barbs tend to gravitate towards slow-moving tributaries and standing water bodies. In these serene aquatic environments, they form schools, darting in and out of dense vegetation near the substrate, creating a picturesque and lively scene. For those with a passion for aquatic life and nature, the chance to witness these dazzling Gold Barbs in their natural habitat is an experience not to be missed. Observing their playful behaviour and shimmering golden scales is truly a sight to behold.


Breeding Gold Barbs is moderately straightforward, and a separate, densely planted breeding tank with fine-leafed plants, such as java moss, is required. Spawning mops or mesh can be placed at the bottom of the tank to allow eggs to fall through, protecting them from the parents. Ensure ample hiding spots are provided for the female, as the male can be quite assertive during the spawning process. The tank should be dimly lit, have soft water, a relatively low pH, and a slow-flowing filter. To maximize breeding success, you can pair the healthiest female with the most vibrant male, or introduce a group with six individuals of each sex. Prior to breeding, condition them with live foods for several days. Once the eggs have been laid and spawning is complete, they should hatch within a few days.

Diet & feeding

Gold Barbs are not particularly fussy eaters and will readily consume a variety of available foods. To maintain their overall health and wellbeing, provide them with high-quality flake foods, freeze-dried or frozen brine shrimp, bloodworms, and vegetables. Offering a diverse diet will help to ensure optimal nutrition for these fish.

Frequently asked questions

Gold Barbs can grow up to 7.5 cm in length, with the females being slightly larger than the males.

Fish that inhabit similar biotopes in the wild, especially similarly-sized, peaceful Cyprinids, would be the best choice for tankmates. However, other possible species could include Cobitid, Balitorid and Nemacheilid Loaches, as well as Garra species and Benthic Cyprinids such as Crossocheilus.

Gold Barbs have gold coloured bodies with small dark to black patches running down the lateral line and upper half of their body. Sometimes these appear as vertical bars. The tips of their fins are somewhat see-through; however, some species are bred with red fins. There is also an albino version of this fish.

Gold Barbs are not fussy and are easily fed. However, it would be best to offer your Barbs regular meals of small live and frozen foods for the best colours and condition. These foods can include brine shrimp, bloodworm, and daphnia combined with good quality dried flakes and granules, some of which need to have an additional plant or algal content.

Gold Barbs are somewhat peaceful and definitely not as aggressive as other Barb species. Therefore, these Barbs will get on well in community aquariums as long as you do not house them with long-finned species.

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