Max Size: up to 6 cm

Melon Barb (Haludaria fasciata)

The Melon Barb is an active, peaceful, good looking fish that will make an ideal resident of the community aquarium.

There are several variants of this fish which differ in both colour and patterning depending on locality and habitat type.

Species from highland environments typically display an orangey-gold base colour. In contrast, at lower altitudes, they are generally purple or reddish. The number of thick dark bars on their body also depends on the habitat, and they can range from 1 bar to 5 bars.

Quick Facts
Scientific NameHaludaria fasciata
Other NamesNone
FamilyCyprinidae
GenusHaludaria
OriginsIndia
TemperamentPeaceful
Aquarium LevelBottom - Middle
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
ShoalingYes
Best kept asGroups 6+
DietOmnivore
ReproductionEgg-Scatterer
Lifespan3 - 5 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
Temperature72 - 79 ℉ (22.2 - 26.1 ℃)
PH5.5 - 7.5
GH2 - 8
TDS36 - 179
Melon barb
Melon barb
Melon barb

Habitat

Melon Barbs inhabit soft, acidic, moderate fast-flowing waters in a variety of regions from canals, lakes, ditches, ponds, hill streams as well as major rivers in Kerala, Goa, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka in the Western Ghats of South India.

Other Barbs of interest

African Banded Barb(Barbus fasciolatus)
Black Ruby Barb(Pethia nigrofasciata)
Blue Spotted Hill Trout(Barilius bakeri)
Butterfly Barb(Barbus hulstaerti)
Checker Barb(Oliotius oligolepis)
Cherry Barb(Puntius titteya)
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Diet & Feeding

Melon Barbs are easily-fed and are not fussy. To give them the best health and colour, offer them regular meals of small frozen and live foods such as Daphnia, bloodworm, mosquito larvae and artemia.

To balance their diet its recommended to give them good quality dried flakes and granules, as well as supplements that include algae or plant content.

Sexual Dimorphism

It is quite simple to differentiate males from females. Females are usually larger and fuller-bodied, especially when in breeding condition than males. In contrast, the males are more slender and a lot more colourful, usually with red or red and black colouration in the dorsal fins.

Breeding

It is relatively easy to breed Melon Barbs. A separate breeding tank will be required, set up with soft water, a substrate of marbles or a mesh along the bottom and plenty of fine-leaved plants or spawning mops.

You should raise the temperature by a few degrees higher than usual, have dim lighting, and you will need a sponge filter with a gentle flow.

Place one or two well-conditioned pairs into the breeding tank and make sure the lid is tightly shut as spawning can be a very active affair.

The first sunlight will often trigger the fish into spawning, and as soon as this takes place, the female will scatter her eggs over the available plants or on the substrate.

Once the female has used up all her eggs and laid them, the parents will then need to be removed; otherwise, they will consume the eggs.

Frquently asked questions about the Melon Barb

Are Melon Barbs a shoaling fish?

Melon Barbs are a shoaling fish that you should keep in groups of at least six individuals, although 8 to 10 would be much better as this provides security, and you'll be rewarded with a more natural-looking display. The interaction between rival males is captivating to watch, plus they display their best colours when they are competing for female attention or hierarchical dominance.

How do you differentiate between male and female Melon Barbs?

It is relatively straightforward to distinguish males from female Melon Barbs. The males are by far the more vibrantly coloured sex and usually have red, black or both colours in their dorsal fin. In contrast, females tend to be fuller-bodied, especially when in breeding condition and larger than males.

What are the best tankmates for Melon Barbs?

Melon Barbs are generally very peaceful fish, making them an ideal resident of the well-researched community aquarium. However, these Barbs may outcompete timid, slower-moving fish as they are somewhat of a vigorous feeder. These Barbs have no particular demands regarding water chemistry; therefore, you can combine them with several popular fish in the hobby. These can include Tetras, other small Cyprinids, Livebearers and Rainbowfish, as well as Catfish, certain Anabantoids, and loaches.

What do Melon Barbs look like?

There are some Melon barbs in the hobby, and they subtly differ in intensity and markings. If your fish originated from high altitudes, you could expect them to be distinctly peach. However, If your Barbs are from lower altitudes, you can expect them to display purple, violet and red hues. The number of black bars they show also varies depending on their location. For example, fish from the south of Kerala have three bars on their flanks, whilst those from the north possess four; on the other hand, those from Goa have an impressive five.

What should you feed Melon Barbs?

In the wild, Melon Barbs are scavenging omnivores that feed on algae, organic detritus, diatoms, worms, crustaceans, small insects and other zooplankton. In captivity, these Barbs are not fussy and will eat pretty much anything. However, it would be better for the best colours and condition to offer them frequent meals of frozen and live foods such as daphnia, bloodworms and brine shrimp, as well as good-quality dried flakes and granules, some of which should include additional algal or plant content.

Where do Melon Barbs originate?

Melon Barbs are endemic to the Western Ghats mountains in the south Indian states of Karnataka, Kerala, Goa and Tamil Nadu. They inhabit a variety of biotopes from significant rivers to hill streams as well as lakes, ponds, irrigation canals and ditches. These Barbs show a preference for shallow, quiet zones with submerged cover in the form of leaf litter or aquatic vegetation.

All the rivers in the Western Ghats are rain-fed and annual, so a majority of habitats experience changes in temperature, depth, turbidity, water chemistry and flow rate depending on the time of year. For example, undammed rivers can almost dry up entirely during the summer but can have flow like a torrent after the monsoons.

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Date Added: 01/09/2020 - Updated: 01/09/2020 07:31:30