Max Size: 4cm

Lipstick Barb (Pethia erythromycter)

Lipstick Barbs are relatively new to the aquarium trade, having first been imported around 2006 and only being scientifically described in 2008. These fish have a delicate beauty and are generally peaceful toward other fish. Therefore, you can keep these Barbs in a community set-up as long as tankmates are chosen carefully.

Lipstick Barbs do very well when kept alongside other small, robust species such as other active Barbs, Rasboras, Danios, Garras, Rainbowfish, Gouramis, Loaches and Catfish. However, these Barbs may outcompete slow-moving species, and species with long fancy fins may get nipped at, so they are best avoided.

There can be some animosity between the males. However, it is possible to control this behaviour by acquiring a large shoal of 15 to 20 individuals, with at least three females for every male.

Despite its small size, the tank must be spacious and furnished with plenty of decor. It can consist of dense planting areas, driftwood tangles, rocky caves, and cobbles, all of which can create visual barriers.

The water should be well-filtered with a decent level of oxygenation and moderate current areas. It would be best if you also carried out frequent partial water changes to keep nitrate levels at a minimum.

This unique Dwarf Barb has a silvery body with a large black blotch just above the caudal fin base. In addition, these Barbs have a bright red marking on their top lip hence their name, which is much more apparent in males. The fins of these barbs all appear transparent.


Lipstick Barb
Quick Facts
Scientific NamePethia erythromycter
Year Described2008
Other NamesTulip Barb, Red Lipstick Barb
Aquarium LevelMiddle
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 8+
Lifespan3 - 5 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.5 - 7.5
GH5 - 15
TDS90 - 215
68 - 77℉
20 - 25℃


In the home aquarium, the Lipstick 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.

Sexual Dimorphism

It is straightforward to differentiate between male and female Lipstick Barbs. Mature females are slightly larger, fuller bodied and slightly duller than males, whereas adult males are more colourful and possess a much brighter red pigmentation around their mouth. In addition, when in spawning condition, the male's entire body darkens to an inky blue.

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: 28/09/2022 13:18:10 - Updated: 28/09/2022 13:45:18