Max Size: 7.5cm

Gold Barb (Barbodes semifasciolatus)

In addition to being very colourful and getting along with most tank mates, Gold Barbs, Barbodes semifasciolatus are hardy, peaceful fish that can handle a wide range of water parameters, making them ideal fish for beginner aquarists. However, if given a chance, these Barbs will nibble at the plants in planted aquariums, so it is best to avoid aquariums with a lot of plant life.

The shoaling nature of these fish makes it better to keep them in groups of at least six individuals. However, a larger group of these fish will make for a stunning display, and you'll be able to observe their fascinating behaviour.

As the Gold Barb prefers temperatures at the lower end of the tropical range, make sure other tankmates have the exact requirements. There should be a good oxygenation level and moderate current in the water, and it will need to be well-filtered.

There are short barbels at the corners of the mouth of the Gold Barb, which has a sloped back. Additionally, these Barbs have metallic yellowy-gold bodies; several dark vertical bars or blotches are visible along the fish's flanks and are a brassy or golden sheen underneath. Their backs are light to reddish brown, and their belly is whitish, turning orange-red when males are mating. The fins may be red in healthy specimens.

Due to the popularity of the gold form, the green version of this barb is rarely seen in the aquarium trade.


Gold Barb
Gold Barb
Gold Barbs
Gold Barb
Gold Barbs
Gold Barbs
Gold Barb
Gold Barb
Quick Facts
Scientific NameBarbodes semifasciolatus
Year Described1868
Other NamesChinese Barb, Green Barb, Schubert's Barb
OriginsChina, Laos, Taiwan, Vietnam
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℃


In the home aquarium, the Gold 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.

Tank Mates

1 interesting tank mate ideas for the Gold Barb could include:

Giant Chocolate Gourami(Sphaerichthys acrostoma)

Sexual Dimorphism

Identifying Gold Barbs by their sexes is relatively easy. Females are duller and have rounder stomachs than males, while males have brighter colours, streamlined bodies, and smaller bodies than females.

Frequently asked questions

Are Gold Barbs aggressive?

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.

How big do Gold Barbs get?

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

What do Gold Barbs look like?

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.

What should I feed my Gold Barbs?

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.

Which tankmates are suitable for my Gold Barbs?

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.

Other Barbs of interest

African Banded Barb(Barbus fasciolatus)
Arulius Barb(Dawkinsia arulius, Puntius arulius)
Black Ruby Barb(Pethia nigrofasciata)
Blue Spotted Hill Trout(Barilius bakeri)
Borneo Red Fin Silver Shark(Cyclocheilichthys janthochir)
Butterfly Barb(Barbus hulstaerti)
View all Barbs
Date Added: 23/08/2020 - Updated: 04/10/2022 13:00:56