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Maximum size : 15 cm

Swamp Barb - Puntius Chola : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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The Swamp Barb (Puntius chola) is a fantastic addition to any community aquarium due to their peaceful nature. They are a schooling species, and it is best to keep at least six of them together to reduce their nervousness and promote natural behavior. When kept in appropriate numbers, any aggression is typically subdued as the fish focus on maintaining their pecking order. Swamp Barbs are compatible with a variety of peaceful larger fish, and since they are not typically seen as food, they can be combined with many tankmates. With proper care and maintenance, Swamp Barbs are easy to keep. You can use sand or gravel as the substrate, and the addition of rocks, pebbles, driftwood, and aquatic plants like Anubias or Microsorum can make a great naturalistic environment for them. Swamp Barbs have a striking appearance with silvery bodies that have a subtle golden hue, a black mark on the dorsal's second and fifth rays, and a dark blotch at the base of the caudal fin. Additionally, there are usually one or two rows of dark spots visible along their center. For those looking for something different, there is even a long-finned variation of this species.

Swamp Barb Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Distinguishing male and female Swamp Barbs is a relatively simple process. Females typically grow to be slightly larger, are more robust, and exhibit less vibrancy in coloration when compared to males. Conversely, males are known for their striking appearance, showcasing brighter coloration than females, particularly in their orange pelvic and anal fins. In contrast, females do not have the same vivid coloring in these fins.

Quick Facts

Scientific NamePuntius Chola
Year Described1822
Other NamesChola Barb
OriginsIndia Nepal Pakistan Myanmar Sri Lanka Bangladesh Bhutan Thailand
Max Size15 cm
Aquarium LevelMiddle
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespanup to 10 years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.0 - 6.5
GH8 - 15
TDS36 - 268
68 - 77
20 - 25

Natural Habitat

The captivating Swamp Barb, native to Southeast Asia, can be found in a diverse range of habitats, from minor rivers and streams to swamps and marshes. Their natural range spans across several countries, including India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. These fish are well-adapted to living in shallow waters and can be found in areas with plenty of vegetation and leaf litter. In their natural environment, the substrate consists of a mixture of boulders, bedrock, gravel, sand, and cobbles, all of which provide the perfect environment for these fish to thrive. Whether you're a seasoned aquarist or a beginner, the Swamp Barb is a fascinating fish to add to your collection. With their unique habitat requirements and interesting behavior, these fish are sure to capture your attention and become a centerpiece in your aquarium.


Regrettably, there is no documented record of successful breeding of the Swamp Barb in home aquariums. Nonetheless, it is known that the Swamp Barb is an egg-scatterer that lays its eggs in open water and on the substrate. Neither parent takes responsibility for guarding the eggs or nurturing the fry. During breeding season, male Swamp Barbs exhibit distinct vertical bands that persist for about two days, while females develop striking red vertical stripes that remain visible for approximately 5 hours.

Diet & feeding

To ensure that the Swamp Barb is in optimal health and displaying vibrant colors, a well-rounded diet is essential. Although they are not picky eaters, a mixture of small live and frozen foods such as artemia, daphnia, and bloodworms, as well as high-quality dried flakes and granules, should be provided regularly. Adding foods with algal or plant content can also be beneficial for their diet.

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