Max Size: 7.5cm

Mahecola Barb (Puntius mahecola)

Mahecola Barbs, Puntius mahecola, are usually peaceful and make excellent community aquarium residents. In the aquarium trade, these Barbs are uncommon but are quite popular with hobbyists who collect native species from India. As far as water conditions are concerned, these barbs are relatively hardy. This means you can combine these fish with a wide variety of other fish species.

Keeping these Mahecola Barbs in groups of eight or more is recommended since they are a schooling species. As long as you maintain them in adequate numbers, the fish will be less stressed, and the display will appear more natural. Additionally, if they are kept in large groups, they will compete with one another for female attention, encouraging the males to display their best colours.

Rainbowfish, Tetras, Livebearers, Gouramis, Catfish, and Loaches, as well as other Cyprinids, can all be housed with Mahecola Barbs

Mahecola Barbs will thrive in an aquarium with soft sand or fine gravel substrate. These fish will also appreciate good oxygen levels and plenty of free swimming space. In addition, these Barbs prefer dim lighting and enjoy a good flow of current.

Young Mahecola Barbs have a dull-looking body with two dark splotches, but as they mature, they lose the second splotch and only display it on their caudal peduncle behind their anal fin.


Mahecola Barb
Mahecola Barbs
Quick Facts
Scientific NamePuntius mahecola
Year Described1844
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℃


In the home aquarium, the Mahecola 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

Identifying male Mahecola Barbs from females is relatively straightforward. Compared to females, adult males are typically smaller, slimmer, and have more intense patterns of colour.

Frequently asked questions

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 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)
Borneo Red Fin Silver Shark(Cyclocheilichthys janthochir)
Butterfly Barb(Barbus hulstaerti)
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Date Added: 16/12/2020 - Updated: 11/08/2022 19:07:21