Tinfoil Barb (Barbonymus Schwanenfeldii) Fish Species Profile

Tinfoil Barbs are highly attractive, peaceful, active community fish when young, but these fish will grow rapidly and soon reach up to 35cm. They, therefore, require a large aquarium making them unsuitable for the beginner aquarist and most fishkeepers.

The Tinfoil Barb sports a golden-silvery body and has a blood-red dorsal fin that displays a black blotch on the tip. The pelvic, anal and pectoral fins are also red with white edges. Along each section, you can see a dark black submarginal stripe. There are eight scale rows based between the dorsal-fin and the lateral line.

Scientific NameBarbonymus Schwanenfeldii
Other NamesGoldfoil Barb, River Barb, Schwanefeld's Barb
OriginsSoutheast Asia
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
DifficultyIntermediate - Advanced
Best kept asGroups 5+
Lifespan8 - 10 years
Maximum Sizeup to 35 cm
Water Conditions
Water TypeFreshwater
Temperature75 - 80 ℉ (23.9 - 26.7 ℃)
PH6.0 - 7.5
GH5 - 15


The Tinfoil barb is indigenous to Mekong and Chao Phraya basins, Malay Peninsula, Borneo and Sumatra in Indonesia, Southeast Asia.

They inhabit streams and large rivers as well as ditches and human-made canals. Tinfoil Barbs can also enter flooded fields.


Tinfoil Barbs will accept most types of food, so give them a varied diet of pellets, flakes, algae wafers, frozen and freeze-dried foods. They will also consume your live plants and any smaller fish if given the opportunity.

Sexing the Tinfoil Barb

Sexing Tinfoil barbs can be tricky since there are no distinguishing characteristics used to differentiate between males and females.

Breeding the Tinfoil Barb

Tinfoil Barbs are not easy to breed in the home aquarium because they are so large.

According to several unverified sources, a public aquarium has succeeded to produce them in captivity on at least one occasion; however, no details have been published on how to breed them since 2006.

If you would like to breed these barbs, you will ideally need outdoor aquaculture in a tropical environment or a giant aquarium.

As the Tinfoil barbs are egg scatterers, they will not care for their eggs properly. They will probably eat the eggs and the fry if they are kept together in the same aquarium so therefore it is ideal to have a separate breeding tank where the babies can be raised without the presence of adult fish.

Suppose you decide you want the offspring to stay together with the adult fish in the larger aquarium. In that case, you can sustain a higher fry survival rate by adding a lot of plants in the aquarium, This will produce a lot of hiding spots for the young barbs, as Java moss grows an abundance of bushy leaves. The fry will naturally seek shelter and try to stay away from adult fish in the aquarium, just as they would do in the wild.

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Date Added: 9/15/2020 - Updated: 9/15/2020 8:32:22 PM