Max Size: 8.5cm

Pentazona Barb (Desmopuntius Pentazona)

Quite rare in the aquarium trade, the Pentazona Barb, Desmopuntius Pentazona, is a small attractive non-aggressive, peaceful and active schooling fish. These Barbs make excellent additions to a community aquarium.

Keeping Pentazona Barbs with similar-sized and temperamental fish would be best. It is possible to keep Guppies, Endlers, Mollies, Micro Rasboras, and smaller varieties of Tetras in the aquarium with these fish. Keeping them with boisterous fish, however, will result in them becoming timid and withdrawn.

In the wild, Pentazona Barbs inhabit heavily vegetated ditches, ponds, and streams with calm waters. It is therefore important that the aquarium emulates these conditions and provides plenty of plant cover and gentle water circulation for the fish. Additionally, dark substrates, driftwood, and rocks will enhance the fish's beautiful coloration.

A Pentazona Barb's body is orange-yellow with 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, a fourth bar near the anal fin, and the fifth bar is in the middle of the caudal peduncle. Lastly, at the posterior base of the dorsal fin, they have a small dark marking.


Pentazona Barb
Pentazona Barb
Pentazona Barbs
Pentazona Barbs
Pentazona Barb
Quick Facts
Scientific NameDesmopuntius Pentazona
Year Described1894
Other NamesFive-Banded Barb, Banded Barb, Fiveband Barb
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespan5 - 8 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH4.5 - 6.5
GH5 - 12
74 - 84℉
23.3 - 28.9℃


In the home aquarium, the Pentazona 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.

Tank Mates

3 interesting tank mate ideas for the Pentazona Barb could include:

Black Widow Tetra(Gymnocorymbus ternetzi)
Cardinal Tetra(Paracheirodon axelrodi)
Ivantsoffs Blue Eye Rainbowfish(Pseudomugil ivantsoffi)

Sexual Dimorphism

Pentazona Barbs can be differentiated easily between males and females. Compared to females, adult males tend to be slightly smaller, noticeably thinner, and exhibit more intense colouration.

Frequently asked questions

Are Pentazona Barbs a shoaling fish?

Yes, Pentazona Barbs are a shoaling species in nature, so you should ideally keep them in groups of at least eight individuals. Maintaining these fish in decent numbers will make the fish less skittish, and you will end up with a more effective, natural-looking arrangement. Plus, males will also showcase their best colours as they compete with each other for female attention.

How do you tell if your Pentazona Barbs are male or female?

It is relatively simple to determine the males from females. Adult males are usually noticeably slimmer, slightly smaller, and they present a more intense colouration than females.

What is the most suitable Aquarium setup for Pentazona Barbs?

Pentazona Barbs will fare much better in either a forest stream type setup or a heavily planted setup. The aquarium will also need to contain a soft substrate and dim lighting as well as branches, roots and leaf litter as decor. Strong filtration will not be required as they mainly inhabit slow to almost still waters.

What tankmates are sutible for Pentazona Barbs

Similarly-sized Cyprinids, certain Anabantoids and Cobitids are the best tankmates for Pentazona Barbs. However, it would be best if you avoided boisterous or very robust tankmates as they may outcompete your Barbs for food.

Where do Pentazona Barbs originate?

Pentazona Barbs inhabit peat swamps and blackwater streams, and other still waters, usually in areas with submerged aquatic plants or grasses and thick riparian vegetation in the Malaysian state of Sarawak, Borneo in Southeast Asia.

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)
View all Barbs
Date Added: 16/09/2020 - Updated: 12/08/2022 13:18:55