Pentazona Barb (Desmopuntius Pentazona) Fish Species Profile

Article Contains

The Pentazona barb is a small attractive non-aggressive, peaceful and active schooling fish that is usually kept in groups of 5 or more. They prefer a well-planted aquarium with driftwood and rocks but still need plenty of space to school. They make an excellent addition to a community tank. They are quite rare to find in the aquarium trade.

This species of barb has an orangy-yellow body which displays five black vertical bars. The first bar is across the eye, the second bar is behind the gill opening, the third bar is around the dorsal-fin, the fourth bar is near the anal-fin, and the fifth bar is in the middle of the caudal peduncle. They also possess a small dark marking at the posterior base of the dorsal fin.

Scientific NameDesmopuntius Pentazona
Other NamesFive-Banded Barb, Banded Barb, Fiveband Barb
OriginsSoutheast Asia
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespan5 - 8 years
Maximum Sizeup to 8.5 cm
Water Conditions
Water TypeFreshwater
Temperature74 - 84 ℉ (23.3 - 28.9 ℃)
PH4.5 - 6.5
GH5 - 12

Origins of the Pentazona Barb

The Pentazona Barb can be found in the Baram River drainage in the Malaysian state of Sarawak, Borneo in Southeast Asia. They inhabit calm blackwaters of heavily vegetated, peat swamps, ditches, streams and ponds.

You will find that the water is typically stained brown with humic substances and other chemicals released by decaying organic matter, and the substrates are usually littered with fallen branches, leaves, and submerged tree roots.


These fish are not fussy eaters. So this allows the Pentazona Barb to flourish and remain very vibrant in colour on a varied diet of high-quality pellets and flake food, as well as live, frozen, or freeze-dried such as microworms, mosquito larvae, artemia, bloodworms or tubifex.

Sexing the Pentazona Barb

It is quite simple to differentiate males from females. Adult males are usually slightly smaller, are noticeably thinner and exhibit more intense colouration than females.

Breeding the Pentazona Barb

Pentazona Barbs are a moderately tricky species to breed in the home aquarium.

When breeding Pentazona Barbs, it is advisable to set up a separate breeding tank that can also be used as a grow-out tank for the fry.

The tank should have soft, peat-filtered water with lots of fine-leaved plants. And you will need to raise their temperature by a few degrees than usual as this will encourage spawning. A bare bottom is advisable but

Some breeders use marbles, pebbles or a spawning mesh on the bottom of the tank allowing eggs to drop through them, keeping them out of the parents reach so they don't consume them.

You should place half a dozen of your healthiest, and most colourful fish in the breeding tank and allow them to couple off and then condition them with plenty of live foods. Once they have paired off, remove the other fish from the tank.

Spawning will generally take place in the early morning. The female will lay around 200 clear to yellowish eggs which the male will then immediately fertilise. After the eggs have been fertilised, the parents will need to be removed.

Around 24-36 hours later, the eggs will start to hatch, and then 4-5 days after that, the fry will become free-swimming.

It would be better to feed the fry infusoria or similar until they are large enough to consume newly hatched brine shrimp and finely crushed flake food.

The fry is especially sensitive to any decline in water quality, so the best conditions must be maintained at all times. Make sure that any freshwater used in partial water changes is of the same temperature and chemistry as the breeding aquarium water and add it very slowly to avoid any undesirable losses.

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Date Added: 9/16/2020 - Updated: 9/16/2020 8:03:32 PM