Max Size: 7.5cm

Mahecola Barb (Puntius mahecola)

This Mahecola Barb is usually peaceful and makes an ideal inhabitant of a community aquarium.

These barbs are relatively hardy and have no special requirements in terms of water conditions. You can combine these fish with many other species of fish.

These Barbs are a schooling species and should be kept in groups of at least eight individuals. You should maintain them in adequate numbers as this will make the fish less nervous and result in a more effective, natural-looking display. Keeping them in larger groups will also encourage males to display their best colours as they compete with one other for female attention.

Mahecola Barbs are uncommon in the aquarium trade but are quite popular among hobbyists of native species in India.

As juveniles the Mahecola Barb has a straightforward and dull-looking body with two dark splotches but as they mature they lose the second splotch only displaying it on their caudal peduncle, located behind the anal fin.

Quick Facts
Scientific NamePuntius mahecola
Other NamesNone
Aquarium LevelBottom - Middle
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 8+
Lifespanup to 5 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.0 - 7.5
GH2 - 15
TDS90 - 268
64 - 75℉
17.8 - 23.9℃

Photos of the Mahecola Barb

Mahecola Barb
Mahecola Barbs

Natural Habitat

You can find Mahecola Barbs in rivers draining much of the Western Ghats mountains in Kerala, Tamil Nadu States and Karnataka in South India.

They inhabit shallow, slow-flowing rivers with a muddy or sandy substrate with dense vegetation along their banks. You can also find them in artificial lakes and lagoons formed by damming of rivers.

What to feed the Mahecola Barb

In the home aquarium, these Barbs are easily fed. However, if you would like your fish to have the most excellent colours and condition you should offer them regular meals of small live and frozen fares such as artemia, bloodworm and daphnia. It would be best if you supplement these with high quality dried granules and flakes, making sure these also incorporate algal or plant content.

How to sex the Mahecola Barb

It is somewhat straightforward to distinguish male from female Mahecola Barbs. Adult males are typically smaller and slimmer than females as well as displaying more intense colour patterning than females.

How to breed the Mahecola Barb

Unfortunately, there are no records of successful breeding in the home aquarium and little to no information available on how to breed this species. However, I can imagine they would produce similar to other Puntius species.

Frquently asked questions about the Mahecola Barb

Are Mahecola Barbs a Shoaling fish?

Mahecola Barbs are, in fact, schooling, not shoaling species that you should keep in groups of 8 or more individuals. Sustaining these Barbs in suitable numbers will not only make the fish less timid but will also result in a more efficient, natural-looking display. Males will also display their best colours as they compete with one other for the female's attention.

What are the differences between female and male Mahecola Barbs?

It is pretty easy to differentiate male from female Mahecola Barbs. Adult males are usually slightly smaller, slimmer, exhibit more intense colour patterning, as well as having longer dorsal fins. Also, when in breeding condition, the males form spawning tubercles on their opercula. In contrast, females are somewhat larger than males and are relatively plain.

What is the best set-up for my Mahecola Barbs?

Mahecola Barbs are relatively easy to maintain as long as a dedicated maintenance routine is followed. The decor can be down to personal taste. You can use a substrate of gravel or sand for a natural-style design adding some larger smooth rocks, twisted roots, branches or driftwood.

The lighting can be somewhat subdued, and you can add lower lighting plants if you want. The temperature of your aquarium should be somewhere between 64 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, the pH level should be somewhere between 6.0 and 7.5, and the water hardness should be somewhere between 90 and 268 ppm.

Although choppy water conditions are not required, Mahecola Barbs do better when the water is well-oxygenated with some degree of flow. Therefore, using an oversized external filter or two is suggested. You should perform weekly water changes of around 30 to 50 per cent.

What should I feed my Mahecola Barbs?

In captivity, Mahecola Barbs are not fussy therefore are easily fed. However, for the healthiest, best-coloured fish, you should offer them a balanced diet. It would be best to provide them with regular meals of small live and frozen fares such as brine shrimp, bloodworm, and daphnia alongside good quality dried flakes and granules, at least some of which should include additional algal or plant content.

What temperament do Mahecola Barbs have?

Mahecola Barbs are generally a peaceful species and make excellent residents of a well-researched community aquarium. As they place no particular demands when it comes to water chemistry, you can combine these Barbs with plenty of the most popular fish in the hobby, such as other small Cyprinids, Anabantoids, and Livebearers, as well as Tetras Rainbowfish, Catfish, and Loaches.

Where do Mahecola Barbs originate?

Mahecola Barbs are endemic to Mahe and Kerala in India. Still, they are also currently considered to occur in rivers draining much of the Western Ghats mountains in Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu states. These Barbs inhabit shallow, slow-flowing parts of rivers over substrates of mud or sand; however, water volume and flow rate are likely to alter depending on the time of year and increase significantly during the annual monsoons.

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)
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Date Added: 16/12/2020 - Updated: 05/01/2022 16:17:19