Cherry barbs (Puntius titteya) are family Cyprinidae fish that originated in South Asia's Sri Lanka. Freely roaming cherry barbs live mostly in the river basins of both the Nilwana and Kelani rivers. The "cherry" element of their common names come from the conspicuous crimson coloring that the males take on when spawning.
Cherry barbs are frequently kept inside of community tanks. They tend to possess serene temperaments, and do well when they live alongside other similarly tame and calm types of fish, including their own species. Always keep them in units of around six fellow cherry barbs, and never alone. It is important to quarantine these tropical fish before placing them inside of community aquariums, however, as they are extremely vulnerable to a parasitic disease that is known as "velvet." Preventative management in quarantining can protect cherry barbs against the ailment, which is sometimes also called "coral fish disease."
These meek schooling fish usually grow to around two inches. Although the males are generally red, the females are somewhat duller in coloration -- think tan or brownish. Physique-wise, female cherry barbs tend to be significantly rounder and sturdier than the comparably lithe males. Because of these factors, it is usually easy to tell the genders apart.
Out in nature, cherry barbs dine on an array of different sustenance, including worms, bugs, algae and crustaceans. They are omnivores. In captivity, cherry barbs are similarly open to eating, and rarely if ever reject any food offerings. Fish flakes work well as the basic foundation of their meal plans, and they also enjoy both live and frozen items. They like veggies, such as diced seedless zucchini, too. When planning a cherry barb's diet, always consult an aquatic veterinarian first, for safety purposes.
Cherry barbs thrive in water temperatures that are anywhere between 72 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Ample swimming space is also beneficial for them, as are sufficient spots to hide. Thick plants allow cherry barbs to feel cozy and at ease with their surroundings. Pebbles, especially when darkly colored, also make strong additions to their tanks, as these substrates also help cherry barbs feel safer and more relaxed. For the most part, these fish spend their time around the bottom of the aquarium, unlike other varieties of barbs. Dim lighting also is preferable for cherry barbs, as bright lighting tends to make them antisocial. If at all possible, cherry barbs like to reside in aquariums that are around 30 gallons long, as they offer lots of swimming room.
Cherry Barbs Internationally
Cherry barbs are known in Sweden as kopparbarbs, in Denmark as stregbarbe, in the Czech Republic as titeja and as vishnevyi puntius in Russia. Most cherry barb rearing, for mercantile purposes, takes place either in Florida or Asia.