Max Size: 35cm

Tinfoil Barb (Barbonymus Schwanenfeldii)

In their juvenile stage, Tinfoil Barbs, Barbonymus Schwanenfeldii, are beautiful, peaceful and active fish that spend most of their time at the mid-level and bottom of the water. Their growth is rapid, however, and they will reach a size of 35cm within a short period. As a result, a beginner aquarist or most fish keepers cannot keep them because they require a large aquarium.

It is recommended that you keep them in a group of at least six as Tinfoil Barbs are schooling species and prefer to be with their own species. Also, insufficient numbers may cause some individuals to become skittish or even aggressive.

Despite not being aggressive, these fish will eat small fish and may upset slow-moving, more timid species with their constant activity and vigorous feeding behaviours. Therefore, you should house these Barbs with strong tankmates of similar size or larger. However, there are a number of suitable options, the most popular being Larger Cichlids.

Inexperienced hobbyists often buy juveniles and discover too late how large they can grow.

To maintain the desired level of oxygen and flow, the Tinfoil Barb will need a massive external filter or two. You must provide a strong current in the aquarium to keep these Barbs happy. Their native streams have strong currents, so ensure your aquarium has one as well. The aquarium should also have a tight-fitting lid because they can sometimes be quite skittish and leap quite high.

Tinfoil Barbs have a golden-silver body with a blood-red dorsal fin with a black blotch on the tip. Additionally, the pelvic, anal, and pectoral fins are red with white edges. There is a dark black submarginal stripe running along each section. There are also eight scale rows between the dorsal-fin and the lateral line.


Tinfoil barb
Tinfoil barb
Tinfoil barb
Tinfoil barb
Quick Facts
Scientific NameBarbonymus Schwanenfeldii
Year Described1853
Other NamesGoldfoil Barb, River Barb, Schwanefeld's Barb
OriginsIndonesia, Myanmar
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
DifficultyIntermediate - Advanced
Best kept asGroups 5+
Lifespan8 - 10 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.0 - 7.5
GH5 - 15
75 - 80℉
23.9 - 26.7℃


In the home aquarium, the Tinfoil 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.

Sexual Dimorphism

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

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: 15/09/2020 - Updated: 22/08/2022 18:05:24