Snakeskin Barb (Desmopuntius Rhomboocellatus) Fish Species Profile

The Snakeskin Barb is a small, active, peaceful species that will make great additions to the planted or community aquarium with other temperate species.

These fish have a red-orange body colouration with dark green body markings that look almost like teardrops which give this beautiful species its common name the Snakeskin Barb.

They have relatively small eyes which are located within the first body splotch, the dorsal fin has a black and yellow edge and the anal, pectoral and caudal fins are transparent.

Scientific NameDesmopuntius Rhomboocellatus
Other NamesRhombo Barb, Orange Buffalo Barb, Red Ocellated Barb
OriginsSoutheast Asia
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespan3 - 5 years
Maximum Sizeup to 5.5 cm
Water Conditions
Water TypeFreshwater
Temperature68 - 82 ℉ (20 - 27.8 ℃)
PH4.0 - 7.0
GH3 - 12
TDS18 - 90


The Snakeskin Barb is native to Western and Central Kalimantan in Borneo, Indonesia in Southeast Asia. They inhabit still, tannin-stained backwaters from fallen leaves, submerged roots, tree branches, and decaying organic matter.

You will find them in peat swamps with loads of dense riparian vegetation and submersed aquatic plants or grass where they will feed on small insects, worms, crustaceans, and other zooplankton.


Snakeskin Barbs will accept most dried foods relatively small in size, but you shouldn't make this their primary food source. You will also need to feed them little live, freeze-dried and frozen food such as brine shrimp, daphnia and equivalent. That will give your fish the best colouration and will encourage the fish to come into breeding status.

Sexing the Snakeskin Barb

It is relatively easy to differentiate the males from the females.

Males are smaller, evidently slimmer, and more intensely coloured than females. In contrast, females are broader and fuller-bodied than males, especially when carrying eggs.

Breeding the Snakeskin Barb

Successful breeding of the Snakeskin Barb needs strict commitment to water acidity and softness, which is why being bred in the home aquarium environment hasn't been heard of to date.

These fish are free spawners that present no parental care for the eggs or their fry.

In a densely planted, mature, dimly lit aquarium, well-conditioned Barbs will spawn frequently, and in numerous cases, small numbers of fry will start to appear from the plants.

However, for maximum supply, it would be best to condition a small group of adults with live or frozen foods, place them in a dimly lit tank filled with aged water and a plastic grass matting or a substrate of large pebbles covering the bottom. That will enable the eggs to fall through the substrate so the parents can't get to the eggs.

The water needs to be slightly acidic with a somewhat higher temperature than usual, and an air-powered filter should be provided for some water movement and oxygenation along with an aged bag of peat to sustain the best water chemistry.

When the females look gravid, place your best conditioned and coloured pairs into the breeding tank and spawning should take place the next morning.

As soon as the eggs have been laid, you need to remove the parents, and if everything goes as it should, and the adults haven't consumed the eggs as they fall, the remaining eggs should hatch around 24 to 36 hours later and then they will become free swimming 3-4 days after. The fry will need to be fed with infusoria or similar until they are big enough to accept more extensive food.

You maybe interested in the following profiles

Read More
White Cloud Mountain Minnow
Read More
Assassin Snail
Read More
Rosy Barb
Read More
Boesemans Rainbowfish
Read More
Clown loach
Date Added: 9/10/2020 - Updated: 9/10/2020 1:07:24 PM