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Maximum size : 4 cm

Lipstick Barb - Pethia erythromycter : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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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 Photos

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.

Quick Facts

Scientific NamePethia erythromycter
Year Described2008
Other NamesTulip Barb, Red Lipstick Barb
Max Size4 cm
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

Natural habitat

You can find Lipstick Barbs in Lake Indawgyi and small tributaries of the Irrawaddy River at Myitkyina in Myanmar in Southeast Asia. These Barbs inhabit clear water with dense growths of aquatic vegetation and various algae. The substrate in their habitats comprises soft clay and decomposing vegetation.

How to breed the Lipstick Barb

It is relatively easy to breed Lipstick Barbs if your fish have the right conditions. You can breed these fish in groups or as pairs. Your breeding tank should have soft acidic water with plenty of fine-leaved plants such as java moss. If these are unavailable, spawning mops will do just fine. The lighting must be dim as the eggs are sensitive to bright light. Feeding the Lipstick Barbs frozen or live food such as bloodworm or brine shrimp will induce their spawning mood and allow them to produce high-quality, healthy eggs, henceforth producing quality fry. You can tell when spawning has begun as you will see the male swimming around the female in a courting display while spreading out his fins. This process can take several hours, and they can produce as many as 100 eggs which they will scatter amongst the plants. Just like many other species of fish, you will need to remove the adults once the eggs have been laid or given the opportunity they will eat them. The laid eggs will hatch within 24 hours, and the babies will become free swimming 24 hours after that.

Diet & feeding

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 other benefits to your fish's health and well-being but is not a must for this fish. Ensure you do not overfeed your fish and remove any leftovers the following day.

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