Maximum size : 5 cm

Stoliczkae's Barb - Pethia stoliczkana : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

Table of contents


Stoliczkae's Barbs (Pethia stoliczkana) exemplifies a tranquil demeanour that harmonizes seamlessly within a community aquarium alongside fellow placid species. A well-considered selection of tankmates aligns with those species that share similar natural habitats, notably focusing on comparably-sized Cyprinids, which often emerge as optimal companions. Additional viable options include Loaches, Algae Eaters, and members of the Garra genus.

Optimal group dynamics dictate the maintenance of Stoliczkae's Barbs in groups ranging from 8 to 10 individuals, whereby their inherent shyness wanes, giving way to captivating behaviours and resplendent colouration. During courtship, the male members exemplify a heightened allure as they compete ardently for female attention, adorning themselves with vivid hues.

While the aesthetic choice of decor is flexible, a robust presentation of colouration is often achieved within a lushly planted environment enriched by a dark substrate. Incorporating floating vegetation and strategically positioned driftwood roots or branches diffuse incoming light, fostering an ambience of authenticity and naturalism. Filtration need not exhibit excessive force, yet a fraction of water movement is generally favoured.

Stoliczkae's Barbs feature a silver-green hue adorned by a vertically elongated black blotch behind the gill opening, coupled with a corresponding mark on the caudal peduncle. A sexually mature male's dorsal fin manifests a captivating interplay of red and black, complemented by paired rows of distinctive black spots. Void of barbels, the species is characterized by a last simple dorsal ray posteriorly serrated, underscoring its unique anatomical attributes.

Stoliczkae's Barb Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Distinguishing between male and female Stoliczkae's Barbs presents a straightforward process. Adult males exhibit a discernibly leaner physique and a heightened vibrancy of colouration, notably accentuated in the unpaired and ventral fins. 

Conversely, adult females manifest a more rounded body morphology, accompanied by a comparatively subdued colour palette that diverges from the vibrant hues that are evident in males.

Featured Male
Featured Female
Female Male

Quick Facts

Scientific NamePethia stoliczkana
Year Described1871
Max Size5 cm
Aquarium LevelMiddle
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 8+
Diet & FeedingOmnivore
LifespanUp to 5 Years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
pH 6.5 - 7.5
GH 5 - 15
TDS 18 - 268
Ideal Temperature
73 - 79
23 - 26

Natural Habitat

Stoliczkae's Barbs are indigenous to the upper regions of diverse river basins, including the Mekong, Salwen, Irrawaddy, Meklong, and upper Charo Phraya, spanning across nations such as Nepal, India, Pakistan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Laos, Thailand, China, and Sri Lanka. Their habitation primarily centres around the sheltered and coursing streams, as well as tributaries, rather than the principal river channels or stagnant water reservoirs.

These aquatic domains are characterized by optimal oxygenation, clear water clarity, and a substrate composition featuring sand, gravel, rocks, boulders, and fragments of leaf litter, often enveloped in a robust biofilm that adheres to solid surfaces. Submerged driftwood and the presence of roots from marginal vegetation emerge as discernible elements in these ecosystems. Moreover, within areas of decreased water movement, aquatic plants proliferate, further enriching these well-aerated habitats.


Under favourable circumstances, Stoliczkae's Barbs demonstrate prolific spawning behaviours, occasionally leading to a modest number of fry emerging within an established aquarium without external intervention. 

However, for optimal yield, a controlled approach is recommended. While conditioning the adult cohort together remains a viable method, it is advised to dedicate a smaller aquarium containing seasoned water. The designated breeding tank should be softly illuminated, featuring a substrate covered by a suitably meshed layer that permits eggs to descend while precluding adult access. 

Alternatively, spawning surfaces can be established using artificial grass matting, fine-leaved plants, pebbles, or marbles. Water parameters should encompass a slightly acidic to neutral pH range aligned with the upper limit of the species' preferred temperature range.

Incorporating an air-powered sponge filter or air stone is prudent, ensuring adequate oxygenation and gentle water movement within the breeding environment. Upon reaching a state of optimal conditioning and observing gravid females, introducing one or two pairs into the tank is recommended, with spawning typically transpiring the subsequent morning. Alternatively, a group spawning approach involving six individuals of each gender is an ideal option, though this may necessitate a more spacious aquarium.

Considering the adults' tendency to consume eggs, swift removal upon identification is imperative. Following an incubation period ranging from 24 to 48 hours, the eggs will hatch, and the fry will attain free-swimming status within 24 hours. To support their initial development, providing infusoria-type food is advisable until they can accept food such as Artemia and microworms.

Diet & feeding

Stoliczkae's Barbs possess an omnivorous feeding behaviour encompassing a varied dietary repertoire. In their native habitats, these Barbs engage in foraging activities, consuming both plant matter and small invertebrates that inhabit their surroundings. 

In a captive setting, their diet can be catered to with a combination of high-quality flakes, pellets, and granules supplemented by live or frozen offerings such as daphnia, brine shrimp, and bloodworms. Providing a diverse array of nutrient sources ensures the well-rounded nourishment necessary to maintain their health, vibrancy, and natural behaviours.


Stoliczka's Barb - Pethia stoliczkana Freshwater Aquarium Fish Species Spotlight & Care Guide Thumbnail

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