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Uditha Thejan, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Cherry Barb fish, whose scientific name is Puntius titteya, is a bright-colored fish that is very common in the family. They are admired by most aquarists because of their colors that are so bright, and their schooling nature. They are hardy fish, and this makes them the ideal choice for most beginners. It is a freshwater fish. Due to their hardy nature, these fish will, in most cases, adapt well to the new tanks; this makes it a bit easier after having gone through the challenges of acquiring new tanks and setting them up. This species is very beautiful and fun to observe. It is, therefore, an ideal choice for someone who adores the aesthetic of fish.

The Cherry Bard fish is easy to take care of, it is easy for both a beginner and an experienced aquarist to provide all the necessary parameters. However, if you are considering keeping a Chery Bard fish or you already have one, then it is crucial to have knowledge of what needs to be done when it comes to caring. This article will cover all the aspects of keeping and caring for Cherry Barbs.


Common Names:Cherry Barb
Origin:Shallow waters in Sri Lanka
Scientific Name:Puntius Titteya
Lifespan:5 – 7 years
Size (average)  Up to 2 inches long  
Minimum Tank Size:25 gallons
Tank Environment   Freshwater Sandy and gravel, Rocks and Caves, Driftwood, A lot of vegetation  
Water Hardness:4 – 15 dGH
Temperature:73 – 81 °F (22 – 27 °C)  
Water pH Level:6.0 – 7.5


They are peaceful fish, and this means that they can be kept together with other fish in a community tank. This means some fish species like celestial, tetras pearl danios, and glass catfish will make perfect tank mates for the Cherry Barbs. This peaceful nature extends to shrimps and other small, invertebrates and therefore, you can also add some ghost shrimp, mystery snails, cherry shrimps, among others. Below are some of the ideal tank mates of cherry Barbs;

  • Mollies
  • Clown loaches
  • Neon or Cardinal Tetra
  • Otocinclus catfish
  • Rainbow shark
  • While cloud mountain Minnow
  • Platies
  • Harlequin rasbora
  • Gourami

These Cherry Barbs make great mates to peaceful communities. It is important to note that once you have added these fish into a new tank, they might be a little inactive, and you might see them hiding under the plants or away from the center. You should not be worried since when they get used, they will be back to normal. You should give them time to get used to the new environment. As you add some tank mates in your community tank, the most important factor to consider is the temperament because if the fish is aggressive, it will end up stressing the others, and you will not be able to see the Cherry Barb. A fish-like Tiger Barb, despite the fact that it belongs to the barbs family it will harass others since they are known to be aggressive to others. You should keep such fish away from your Cherry barbs.


  • Very hardy and beginner-friendly.
  • Stands out in any tank.
  • Fun to watch in a group.
  • Easy to feed.
  • Friendly to other fish.


  • They cannot be kept on their own.
  • Very shy and easily startled.
  • Can be aggressive during mating.
  • Cannot handle temperature changes.


Akino yuugure, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Cherry Barbs have a slender, elongated body that reaches about 2 inches in length. They also have a lateral stripe that runs from the head to the tail. Males tend to be more of a red/cherry color while the females are a bit whiter. The body’s long lateral line is also usually browner in females. The females are a bit rounder around the stomach while the males are slimmer, and in general, they are brighter colored. This is the reason why most keepers of Cherries choose the males. However, this is not a good idea since the bright colors are deceiving, and without a balance of males and females, especially in a community tank, it will lead to aggressiveness as the males’ fight for the few females.

Irrespective of the sex, the Cherry Barbs add so much color whenever they are placed in a planted tank. Due to their schooling nature, the Cherry Barbs will constantly be moving and catching the attention of everyone who passes. Genetic selection has been used to create an albino variant of the cherry barb. They are like Cherry Barb but with different behavior. The only difference in behavior is that they do not school nearly as the normal ones do, but the rest of the conditions are constant.


Cherry Barbs are freshwater fish that are freshwater fish that live in slow-moving waters. The water put in the tank should be fresh such as distilled water with no components in it.


This lifespan is achieved by providing good care when it comes to water conditions, habitat setup, and tank mates. There are a few owners who have reported their cherries to have lived up to 8 years, but this has happened under top-notch care. If you want to maximize the lifespan of your Cherry Barb, then you should ensure you give the best of the best from the beginning.


Cherry Barbs are mainly found in heavily shaded, calm water bodies, and they originate from Sri Lanka, specifically to the Kelani and Nilwala River valleys. However, at times they have also been found in Colombia and Mexico. The ideal climate for these fish to thrive is tropical that experiences little to no change in temperature. You will notice them living out in streams and ponds in the rainforest. They prefer living in shallow and slow-moving water that contains a substrate of a combination of leaf litter and silk due to their love for heavily shaded areas. The presence of thick vegetation in the water where they live further blocks light from penetrating the water.


As a result of their schooling behavior, the Cherry Barbs bring a lot of color and activity to your tank. The reason for this comes from the fact that the more fish in a group you have, the more confidence they will get. Also, from a social survival aspect, a group of fish is more likely to survive an attack compared to an individual. It is therefore important to ensure that you keep your Cherry Barbs in a group so that they do not hide or feel shy or intimidated. As you keep your Cherry Barb in the group, you should always keep in mind the ratio of males to females. During the season of spawning, the males will harass the females as they look for mates, and this means you need to have the right ratio of males to females. For instance, if a male is going for only on female although she is likely to feel stressed, which might affect her health.

The right ratio for the male to females is one male to two females. It gives the female some rest from being chased by the same male and also gives your bright colored male an opportunity to display. If you do not get it right on matters ratio, you will have timid and shy fish instead of a confident fish you would wish for.


The only means to ensure that your fish feels at home is by ensuring that your tank is planed excellently. When your tank contains enough plants, this gives a direct picture of its natural habitat and gives them a perfect place to hide. Your fish will stand out with this. There is no specific plant that you should plant, but there is a section we are going to discuss the suitable plants that are compatible with the cherry barbs. You will also need a dark substrate in order to enhance your tank, but there is no specific one to use. You can choose between sand or coarse gravel. This will make the bright colors of the fish stand out. You should ensure that you have a large tank that can hold 25 gallons at least for a schooling group, but you can also get the largest tank. In case you have fewer plants, use low light to generate sufficient shade. When it comes to water conditions, this fish does very well since they do not respond negatively to fluctuations.


In order to set up the fish tank correctly, you should consider its natural habitat. Keeping in mind that the Cherry barb comes from calm and shallow waters with vegetation, you will need to consider substrate on your setup list because these fish are from a silky and dark substrate. You will need to emulate the same in your tank, and therefore you need to know that darker and is suitable for this fish because it adds aesthetic overall to your entire tank.

You should make sure that you also include rocks, caves, and driftwoods so as to make the hiding places for the fish whenever they feel threatened or excited. However, there are secondary necessities that should not interfere with the fish swimming freely as they explore the tank. The lighting should be low more so if you do not have enough plants in the tank. This habitat should be made as decorative as possible.


Nothing is as suitable as providing your tank with the appropriate plants for your Cherry barb. Consider floating aquarium plants that are excellent for your fish. Some of the most outstanding plants include the;


Anubias Nana

Water Wisteria


You need to provide a filter to the tank that you are holding your Cherry Barbs, and this filter must have a low or adjustable flow rate. Therefore, it is advisable that you go for a hang-on back filter since it will allow you to regulate the water flow. You can also opt for a sponge filter to perform the same function. The presence of a filter will also ensure that the water remains oxygenated and clear of the harmful toxins and the waste products inside. The aqua clear power filter is a great buy in this case since its durable design, biological filtration, cycle guard, and activated carbons help your tank to run smoothly.


One of the main reasons why the Cherry Barbs are beginner-friendly fish is the wiggle room you have with the water parameters. The acceptable range is very generous and perfect for a newer aquarist who is learning the ropes. Despite the fact that these fish are hardy, you should at least try to keep these conditions constant as much as possible. Change in the parameters can cause some serious health problems to any species;

The average water temperature should be between 73 to 8 degrees F with a pH of 6.0 to 8.0. The water hardiness should range between 4 to 15dH. In order to ensure that these parameters are consistent all the time, it is important to conduct regular tests on the water. By doing this consistently, it will allow you to make adjustments before things reach a point of concern.


Once you have bought everything that is needed, you will now need to set up the Cherry Barb tank. The first step in setting up is ensuring that everything is clean. You should not use any soap or disinfectant to clean as this may be harmful to your fish; you can just rinse it underwater. The substrate should then be added to the tank for a couple of inches. Once you are done, you then place an upturned bowl of the substrate, and this will make the process of adding water easier. The filter and the heater should then be added but not yet switched on. You can then add some dechlorinated tap water into the tank. This should be done by pouring it over the upturned bowl so that the substrate is not displaced all over the tank. You then need to start the nitrogen cycle so as to make the water fish friendly. That can be done by adding a little liquid ammonia to the water.

You can then add your decorations and live plants and make sure that they have been rinsed through. Live plants can be planted into the pots or directly into the substrate, and all the damaged leaves should be removed. The filter system and the heater should be switched on and kept all day and all night. You should also switch on your lighting since your live plants need some light to survive. At this point, the tank is ready, but you should not add the fish yet. The tank should be left to establish itself with no fish for at least ten days. You should then conduct a test for water parameters to ensure they are up to standards. The parameters should be corrected before adding any fish. You can then add the fish after ensuring all the parameters areas required.


The Cherry barbs are Omnivores in nature, and this means that they feed on plant matter and some fresh. Thye generally feeds o anything they come across as long as they are able to eat. In the wild, they are not so selective in terms of what they feed on. The Cherry barbs will feed on anything they come across, from worms to insects to plant matter, algae, crustaceans, diatoms, and zooplankton. Thye will consider it a great opportunity to eat, and they will get right into it. Having these fish in the aquarium setting means that their omnivore preferences can be transferred here. You will have plenty of things to feed them, and they will be happy to feed on them. There are some of the common foods that most aquarists choose to feed these fish, and they include live or frozen brine shrimp, daphnia, or blood worm. The owners can also opt to feed them on fakes that include plant Material in order to help enrich their diet.

This ensures that the diet of the fish has the needed minerals. The fish should be fed at least two to three times a day, and they will be healthy. You also need to be careful about the amount of food you give to the cherry barbs. Read the instructions carefully to avoid overfeeding them or feeding too little since this will be detrimental to their health.


If you are an aquarist or aspiring one and you are worried about how to breed the cherry barbs, then you need to first know how to sex them so that you have the right pairs. As discussed above, the ales are very easy to distinguish from the females. They have that red coloring when the females range more from gray to green to yellow. Both the male and female will have that lateral reddish line, and therefore you need to look at the body of the fish for the red coloring. If you want to encourage the Breeding among the cherries and you need to increase the temperature into the tank to between 78- and 82-degrees F. This will spark that natural interest in the opposite sex, and this will get the things going from there. It is easy to tell when the males are ready to span since their color will become brighter red, and this will automatically give you a signal that they are ready for Breeding.

AT this point, separate the male and the female from the tank for about 7 to 10 days with loads of plants feeding them more than usual. This will boost the energy and strength levels and provide the best conditions to breed the Cherry Barbs. If you want to breed the barbs, there is some good news. Thye is easy to breed and will spawn often. A singular pair will lay between 200 to 300 eggs per spawning period. Just like the rest of the fish in their family fish, the cherry barbs are eggs scattering fish, and this means that They lay their eggs and abandon them to hatch on their own. It is important to note that after spawning, the males will be the most aggressive while the females have less energy. This is normal behavior among both, and you can consider putting the females in a separate tank until the male aggressiveness lowers again to normal.

During the breeding season, the plants are very important since this is where the eggs are laid. Once the eggs have been laid, it is crucial to remove them from the adults in the breeding tanks since some Cherries and some fish will eat the eggs. This smaller tank provides minimal light, and there should be no water movement. The water should be a bit acidic and warmer. This will imitate their natural habitat and will give the eggs the greatest chance of survival. After a few days, the eggs will hatch and start to swim around their larval stage. After about two to three days, they will develop to the juvenile stage. You should ensure that you feed them on tiny food like vinegar eels or micro worms. Do this until they are big enough to eat the brine shrimp, which is the particular favorite for the juveniles. The fry will continue to grow for about two months, and then they will hit the adult size and reach sexual maturity by themselves. At this point, it will be safe to introduce them to the community tank where the school awaits them.


There are a few things you need to do in order to keep these fish happy. It is a must to keep them in groups. These fish are highly social, and therefore they need to be in a group that is very active in the water. If you have a few of these, then you will see them hiding more than swimming. Larger groups will give them confidence and allow you to enjoy their presence and color. The ratio of males to females should be maintained at 1:2 to avoid any male aggression during spawning.


The barbs have an elongated body, and they have a length of at least 2 inches. Furthermore, they have a lateral stripe that runs from the head to the tail. The make cherries feature a red color while the females are somehow whiter. Similarly, the female body lateral line is browner. You must know that the females have a rounder stomach compared to the males, who are slimmer with a color that stands out brightly.

You must also know that the Cherry Barbs have albinos, which are similar to the cherries but with different behaviors.


As said earlier, the Chery Barbs are extremely hardy fish, and therefore, most diseases are not a big deal to them. They are prone to common freshwater fish diseases, and this happens if the water conditions are not up to the standards. 

Diseases like ich can come in and take over the tank. This may happen as a result of introducing new fish, new decoration, new plants, or something else into the tank. So, it’s best to prevent these diseases by quarantining everything before introducing them to the tank. If you notice something that looks like small white dots n your barb’s body, this means that he has ich. This is a common disease among freshwater fish. Whenever you spot a fish with these symptoms, it should be removed from the tank and isolated immediately. The best way to treat this disease is by raising the water temperature as high as the Chery Barbs can handle and maintaining it for two weeks. This will power through the life cycle of this nasty bug at a faster rate and get rid of it faster.

The best recommended antibiotic for this disease is the Rid ich plus or any antibiotic for freshwater fish.


A healthy cherry barb is colorful and should be swimming around the tank with its group.


The fists and common sign of illness among the fish is a change of behavior. If you note that your barb is no longer eating, rubbing their body on the tank, lethargy, then it could mean that they are ill. Sometimes they could be suffering from a ripped fin.


How many cherries can I keep together?

These fish love school. A good amount would be up to 6, allowing them to grow together in a 30-gallon tank.

How can I make the Cherry Barb stand out in an aquarium?

This is easy to accomplish. You can add certain green plants into the tank, and this will add the color and help the red color of the fish to stand out. A darker course of the substrate will provide a contrast than that of gravel, helping the redfish to shine as the main focus in the aquarium.

Are Cherry Barbs Nippers?

There is a great possibility that the cherry barb can be a fin nipper, but this depends on the surrounding. If you have a crowded tank where the fish are competing for space, the aggressive behavior is likely to develop rapidly. The group size s also essential since they like being kept in a group of six.

Can Cherry barb live alone?

When a cherry barb lives alone, it is not happy and ends up becoming shy, skittish, and timid. They thrive in groups, and each tank should have at least 6 of them. This makes them more active and live in the tank, and it guarantees a beautiful sight.


The Cherry Barb is one of the best fish to keep since they are as demanding. You do not have to be worried about the diet, tank, Breeding, or medical need since you need to put minimum effort, and they will live a healthy life. You should ensure that the tank has all the conditions discussed and you are good to go. In case you have an interest in keeping fish at home, then this is the ideal choice for you.

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