Max Size: 4cm

Jae Barb (Enteromius Jae)

These fish are shy with a modest nature; they can be easily intimidated by other larger, more boisterous tank mates who will outcompete them for food. Therefore they are not suitable for most community aquariums. Ideal tankmates would be peaceful species that are similar in size.

Even though these fish are sociable, they are not a schooling species. They develop a distinct pecking order between males. It would be better if you kept Jae Barbs in groups of at least eight, and the tank needs to be sufficiently sized with hiding places to allow weaker individuals some respite from the more dominant ones.

The Jae Barbs are small fish with slender reddish-orange bodies that display several vertical dark bars down the flanks. Their fins are translucent with hues of red.

These fish vary in both colour and patterning, depending on where they were collected. Some individuals are blood red but only when in the breeding season, others turn red on the rear half of the body, and some have an almost entirely grey body colour combined with deep red to black ventral and dorsal fins.

Quick Facts
Scientific NameEnteromius Jae
Other NamesDja Barb, Charcoal Barb
OriginsCameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon
Aquarium LevelBottom - Middle
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespan3 - 5 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH5.5 - 7.5
GH1 - 5
TDS18 - 90
70 - 77℉
21.1 - 25℃

Photos of the Jae Barb

Jae barb
Jae barb
Jae barb
Jae barb
Jae barb


Jae barbs - (Enteromius jae) Rare Dwarf Barbs - Tropical Fish (butterfly barbs included)

Natural Habitat

The Jae Barbs are native to the River Nyong Basin in Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in west Africa. They inhabit shallow, slow-moving, rainforest streams and swamps with thick vegetation.

The water is stained a brown colour due to the release of tannins and other chemicals from decomposing plant matter. The substrate is covered with fallen twigs, leaves and branches. These environments contain very soft, acidic cold water and are often fairly dark due to the rainforest canopy above.

What to feed the Jae Barb

In the home aquarium, Jae Barbs will readily accept dried foods of a suitable size, but you should not feed them this solely. Daily meals of small live, freeze-dried or frozen fare such as artemia, daphnia and suchlike will result in the best health and colouration and encourage the fish to come into breeding status.

How to sex the Jae Barb

It is effortless to differentiate males from females. Males are much more brightly coloured, especially when in breeding condition, whereas females tend to be duller sporting a beige-brown coloured body and are larger and bulkier than the males.

How to breed the Jae Barb

Jae Barbs are seasonal spawners with breeding activity occurring over two periods each year from March to June and September to November.

These fish are an egg-scattering, continuous spawner that shows zero parental care and as long as they are in good condition and there are males and females present they may lay small numbers of eggs daily in an equipped aquarium. Hence, it is therefore likely that small numbers of fry may start to appear without human intervention.

If you want to enhance the yield of fry, they will require a somewhat more controlled means. You can still condition the adult group together, but you will need to set up a separate breeding tank with similar water parameters and temperature.

Decoration can be straightforward; good-sized clumps of Java moss or a couple of sinking spawning mops will give the fish somewhere to lay their eggs, A handful or two of real peat moss will help to create the right water conditions. If you prefer to keep the bottom of the tank bare for maintenance purposes, a small air-driven box filter filled with peat and set to run slowly is a good alternative. However, filtration is not necessary. The addition of a few almond leaves is also a good idea.

It would help if you then introduced a single pair of well-conditioned adult fish into the breeding tank. It is better to make the change slowly to avoid unnecessary levels of stress, but if conditions are to their desire, they should begin to spawn daily usually in the evening.

Whether Jae Barbs consume their eggs or not is unclear, although it doesn't seem to hunt for them actively.

Once spawning has begun, it should continue sporadically daily, and it is at this point that the plants or spawning mops become doubly useful as they offer cover for the female when she needs to flee the attentions of the often over-zealous male.

The adults can be left in the tank to spawn until you notice the first free-swimming fry. This is usually around 7-10 days later, and at this point, it would probably be best to remove the adults.

The tiny babies will survive on their yolk sacs for another two or three days, after which they will need to be fed Paramecium or other microscopic foods. Around 6-7 days after that they should be large enough to accept microworm, artemia and nauplii.

As the days go on, the additional fry should start to appear from later spawning results. It's best to wait a week or two before starting to perform small water changes to avoid unnecessarily shocking the young fish.

Frquently asked questions about the Jae Barb

Are Jae Barbs a shoaling species?

Although friendly by nature, Jae Barbs are a shoaling species rather than a schooling species that develop a distinct pecking order between males. Therefore, you should maintain these Barbs in groups of 8 or more individuals; however, your tank must be of an adequate size allowing weaker individuals some respite from dominant conspecifics and decorated a certain way that many broken lines of sight are provided. If you keep these Barbs in tiny groups or cramped conditions, they may become suppressed, and subdominant fish may be bullied incessantly.

How can you tell the difference between male and female Jae Barbs?

It is straightforward to differentiate male from female Jae Barbs. Males are much more vibrantly coloured, especially when in breeding condition, and their fins are a lot brighter than that of the female. In contrast, females tend to be duller and have thicker bodies than males.

What are the best tankmates for my Jae Barbs?

Unfortunately, Jae Barbs are not suitable for most community aquariums because they have a shy, retiring nature and may very well be outcompeted for food or intimidated by more significant and more boisterous tankmates. It is recommended that you choose similarly-sized, peaceful fishes such as Butterfly Barbs, Lampeye Killifish and Tetras, as well as many small South American characins, Otocinclus, small Corydoras Catfish and other Cyprinids like Boraras or Trigonostigma species.

What is the best aquarium setup for Jae Barbs?

Jae Barbs can be maintained successfully in a well-planted aquarium with soft water; however, a biotope style setup is recommended to see these fish at their best. A soft, sandy substrate with a few driftwood roots and branches, placed so that plenty of shady spots are formed, is probably the best choice. The addition of dried leaf litter such as oak, beech, or almond leaves would further emphasise the natural feel and offer even more cover for the fish and bring the growth of microbe colonies as breakdown occurs.

Jae Barbs will do best under fairly dim lighting. However, you could add some African plants that can survive under such conditions, such as Anubias, or a few patches of floating vegetation would be beneficial to diffuse the light entering the aquarium. A slow-flowing air-powered sponge filter is also recommended. You must not add these fish to a biologically immature aquarium as they can be susceptible to changes in water chemistry.

What should I feed my Jae Barbs?

In captivity, Jae Barbs will accept good-quality dried foods of a fitting size; however, you should not feed them this solely. Daily feeds of small live and frozen fares such as daphnia, artemia and bloodworm will result in the best condition and colouration of your fish and will encourage them to come into breeding condition.

Where do Jae Barbs originate?

Jae Barbs are endemic to the West African countries of Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, the Republic of the Congo as well as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They inhabit slow-moving, shallow, shady rainforest swamps and streams that are stained a brownish colour due to the discharge of tannins and other chemicals released by rotting plant matter. These habitats are covered in dense vegetation, and the substrate comprises twigs, branches and fallen leaves.

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)
Butterfly Barb(Barbus hulstaerti)
Checker Barb(Oliotius oligolepis)
View all Barbs
Date Added: 12/11/2020 - Updated: 05/01/2022 16:16:23