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Maximum size : 7 cm

Narayan Barb - Pethia setnai, Pethia narayani : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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The Narayan Barb, or Two Spot Barb (Pethia Narayani), is a rare and captivating species in the aquarium trade, renowned for its striking earthy hues and tranquil temperament. This hardy and undemanding fish thrives in a broad range of water conditions, making it an excellent choice for aquarists of all levels. An amiable and sociable species, the Narayan Barb is compatible with many popular aquarium inhabitants, including Livebearers, Tetras, Gouramis, Rainbowfish, Loaches, Catfish, and other Cyprinids. However, while they are generally peaceful, it is best to avoid keeping them with species that have long fins or slow-moving tank mates, as these barbs are highly active and can outcompete slower inhabitants when feeding. Narayan Barbs should be kept in groups of at least 6 to 10 individuals to ensure optimal health and happiness, as they are schooling and shoaling species. Larger groups will exhibit more confident and natural behaviour, resulting in more impressive displays and the males ' most vibrant colours as they vie for female attention. The Narayan Barb boasts a delightful light brown earthy tone with a pinkish/brown sheen and a brilliant golden glow towards the rear before the caudal fin. Males exhibit vivid orangy-red dorsal, anal, and pelvic fins, with white tips on their pelvic fins. Additionally, this species has three prominent black patches, with the most conspicuous located on its caudal peduncle and behind the gill plate. The third patch is midway through the body but is less noticeable than the other two.

Narayan Barb Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

In Narayan Barbs, sexual dimorphism is readily observable, as males exhibit a more pronounced colouration pattern, a relatively slender physique, and a smaller size than their female counterparts. Conversely, females possess a fuller bodies and a less vibrant pattern than males.

Quick Facts

Scientific NamePethia setnai, Pethia narayani
Year Described1992
Other NamesSunset Barb
Max Size7 cm
Aquarium LevelMiddle
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 8+
Lifespan5 - 8 years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.0 - 7.5
GH2 - 12
TDS90 - 268
68 - 79
20 - 26

Natural Habitat

Nestled within South Asia 's lush and biodiverse Western Ghats, the Narayan Barbs (Pethia narayani) reign supreme as an endemic species of the Hemavathi, Tunga, Kumaradhara, and Cauvery Rivers. These vibrant fish are found in small rivers, hill streams, and backwater pools, where they congregate and thrive amidst an array of unique flora and fauna. Their habitats are often covered with vegetation and decaying materials, providing a natural and dynamic environment that is integral to their survival. However, these hardy fish have adapted to this ecological niche, showcasing a remarkable resilience and a dazzling display of colours that will surely capture any aquarist 's heart.


In favourable conditions, Narayan Barbs exhibit prolific spawning, and under certain circumstances, a small number of fry may appear in an established aquarium without human intervention. However, to achieve the maximal yield, a more controlled approach is advisable. Conditioning the adult group together is still an acceptable practice, although it is recommended to establish a smaller aquarium filled with seasoned water instead. This aquarium should be dimly lit, with the bottom covered by a mesh of sufficient gauge to enable eggs to fall through while preventing adult access. Alternatively, a layer of artificial grass matting, pebbles or marbles, or fine-leaved plants can be used to provide spawning surfaces. The water should possess a slightly acidic to neutral pH and be maintained at the upper range of the species ' temperature preference. Including an air-powered sponge filter or air stone is also advised to provide oxygenation and water movement. Once the adults are well-conditioned and the females appear gravid, one or two pairs should be introduced to the tank, with spawning typically taking place the following morning. Alternatively, spawning the fish in a group of six individuals of each sex is ideal, although a more spacious aquarium may be required. Adults are prone to consume eggs, and prompt removal is necessary upon detection. Eggs will hatch within 24 to 48 hours, and the fry will become free-swimming 24 hours later. Therefore, feeding the fry with infusoria-type food for the initial few days is recommended until they can accept Artemia, microworm, and similar fare.

Diet & feeding

In the captive environment, feeding Narayan Barbs (Pethia narayani) is a straightforward process. However, to maintain optimal health and enhance their striking colouration, offering them a diverse diet consisting of live and frozen small fares, including daphnia, Artemia, brine shrimp, and bloodworm, is advisable. In addition to live and frozen options, high-quality dried food such as granules, pellets, and flakes enriched with plant or algal content should also be provided to ensure a balanced and nutritious diet. This approach will promote optimal growth and vibrant colouration, leading to healthy and thriving Narayan Barbs in the aquarium.

Frequently asked questions

You can feed Narayan Barbs easily as they are not picky eaters. However, it would be best to offer them regular meals of small live and frozen fares such as daphnia, brine shrimp, and bloodworm for the best colours and condition. You should also provide your fish with high quality dried food such as flakes, granules and pellets that contain additional plant or algal content.

Narayan Barbs are generally a peaceful species and make a perfect resident of the well-researched community aquarium. These fish have no particular requirements when it comes to water parameters; therefore, you can house them with most fish in the hobby. These include other small Cyprinids as well as Rainbowfish, Tetras, livebearers, Catfish, anabantoids and loaches.

Narayan Barbs are a schooling species by nature, and you should ideally keep these fish in groups of at least eight, although slightly more would be better. Keeping them in suitable numbers will not only make your fish less apprehensive but will result in a more powerful, natural-looking display. Males will also showcase their best colours as they compete with one another for female attention.

Narayan Barbs can grow to a maximum length of 6.5 cm, with the females being slightly larger than the males.

Narayan Barbs are relatively easy to maintain as long as a dedicated maintenance routine is followed. when it comes to decor that is more or less down to personal taste. For example, a natural-style arrangement could include a substrate of gravel or sand with plenty of medium to large-sized smooth pebbles and rocks as well as some driftwood or twisted branches and roots. Lighting for these fish can be relatively subdued, and you can add robust plants such as Taxiphyllum, Microsorum, or Anubias. These have an added advantage as they can be attached to the decor.


Narayan Barb Pethia setnai, Pethia narayani Rare Freshwater Indian Barb Aquarium Fish Profile Thumbnail

2 tank mate ideas for the Narayan Barb

Looking for some awesome tank mate ideas for your Narayan Barb? Look no further! Here are 2 of the most captivating and fascinating options that will liven up your aquarium!

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