One of the most popular freshwater aquarium fish is Cherry Barb. Cherry Barb, scientifically known as Puntius titteya, is a brightly colored freshwater fish that can be commonly found in tropical and subtropical regions throughout Sri Lanka. Cherry Barbs are typically very easy to care for and make great tank mates with nearly any other type of fish or invertebrate. In this article we will go over everything you need to know about Cherry Barbs including how they behave, what conditions they need to survive in order live their best lives possible!


The cherry barb (Puntius titteya) is one of the most popular freshwater aquarium fish. Cherry Barbs are typically very easy to care for and make great tank mates with nearly any other type of fish or invertebrate. These brightly colored freshwater fish typically have a peaceful demeanor making it an ideal community member when living alongside many different types of aquatic life as well as plantlife.

Male Cherry barb

Cherry Barbs have an average lifespan of about 4-5 years, which means they will need your attention throughout their lives!

Scientific NamePuntius titteya
OriginSri Lanka
Care levelEasy
Tank levelMiddle
ApperanceRed, pink for male
Silver or slightly less colorful for female
Lifespan3-4 years
Minimum tank size15 gallons (50 litres)
Water temperature72°F – 82°F (22 °C – 28°C)
pH levelNeutral (6-7)
Water typeFresh water

Appearance & Gender Differences

The cherry barb is a small fish with a compressed body and an elongated shape. Their body can typically reach to 2 inches (5 cm), some extreme cases can reach up to 3 inches (8 cm).

The female Cherry Barb Fish may be light brown on top, with a slight gold and green sheen. The sides and belly of this fish have gleaming silver highlights. Some cherry barbs have a pink tint to their upper and back fins. Their tail fin is striped horizontally with a red line that extends from the tip of the fish’s snout to the base of his or her caudal fin.

Pregnant cherry barb
Pregnant cherry barb

Male cherry barbs have a deep red coloration that becomes even more profound when breeding, while females have two pink stripes on their body that deepen in hue when ready to breed.

In addition, the female fish is often rounder in shape than a male. Female color also tends to be brighter and more vibrant than males.

There is also albino cherry barbbs that have a white body with red fins.

Natural Habitat & Living Conditions

Cherry barbs are endemic to Sri Lanka, and can be found only in the Kelani and Nilwala river basins in southwestern Sri Lanka. Cherry barb populations in natural habitat are believed to be in decline and the fish is listed as a vulnerable species on the IUCN Red List.

Cherry barb

The cherry barb lives in warm water with few other significant predators living alongside it. The only predator that presents a significant danger to Cherry Barb populations are the snakeheads of southern and southeastern Asia.

Cherry Barbs prefer habitats with abundant vegetation, as this helps protect them from predators. Cherry barbs can live in water up to 18 feet deep but they usually stick near rocks or submerged logs on a river bed. They spend much of their time hiding in these areas.

Cherry barbs prefer its environment around 26 degrees Celsius; it does not take kindly to temperatures that fall below 18 degrees Celsius for extended period of time.


This Cherry Barb fish is lively and energetic, which make them great for living in small tanks. They can be trained to eat right out of your hand or off the glass surface of their tank when you feed them. Cherry barbs are also very social creatures and will often live well with other peaceful

Cherry Barbs are generally peaceful, but they can become territorial when breeding or feeding on food found in shallower water. Cherry barbs will aggressively defend the area around the plant from other Cherry Barb fish by nipping at their fins and chasing them away with impressive speed for a small fish!

Tank conditions

There is no exact formula to calculate tank size for housing cherry barbs. But it’s advised that you should have at least a 15-gallons aquarium tank for a dozen of cherry barbs. Since cherry barbs are very active, they need a lot of space to swim around in.

The size of the tank is not only dependent on number of fish but also by what other species you want to keep with cherry barbs. Cherry barb can co-exist well with tetras, guppies and many more so think about which combination will suit your needs best before buying a new aquarium.

You should always add a lot of decorations to create hiding places that will make them feel safe. Cherry barbs also enjoy having a lot of plants and algae in their tank as they can get very territorial if not given enough hiding spaces within the aquarium.

Cherry barbs may not need pristine water condition but they will need a well-established filter to keep it from becoming dirty quickly. Cherry barb fish also needs regular water changes as their waste can make the tank very toxic for other species of fish and plants if not done on time.

You may want to refer to our information table at the top of this article for a more exact number for water conditions. But again, those number are just for reference purposes, cherry barbs are quite adaptable to fluctuation in water conditions so in our opinion, you won’t have to worry much.

Diet & feeding

One aspect that makes cherry barbs extreme beginner-friendly is that they will eat anything! Cherry barbs are omnivorous, meaning they eat both plant and animal matter.

They will happily munch on all types of fresh vegetables, pellets made just for them (such as Tetra’s Black Cherry Barb Pellets), frozen foods like bloodworms or brine shrimp, freeze-dried daphnia cultures such as Hikari Daphnia Plus Freeze-Dried Culture. So if you’re looking to mix up the menu a bit without more work than is absolutely necessary? Add some variety! It’s easy with cherry barbs.

Live feeds are also important diet for cherry barbs, as live feeds can provide a natural source of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Cherry barbs will readily eat live feeds such as brine shrimp or bloodworms from a feeder tank or aquarium with an airstone bubbling to provide oxygen for the small crustaceans (or you can make your own live culture by adding dried leaves/grass into a container of water).


Read more: 5 Must Know Facts & Guide to Successful Cherry Barb Breeding

Breeding Cherry Barbs is fairly simple and straightforward due to them being an egg-laying species of freshwater aquarium fish that doesn’t require parental involvement after mating has occurred. Cherry Barbs can be bred in a Cherry Barb breeding tank, or an aquarium that has been specifically set up for Cherry Barb fish.

The water parameters should not need to change much when you are trying to breed Cherry Barbs unless they are given new food sources by the breeder. The temperature range is between 70 and 80 degrees Farenheit (21-27 degree Celsius). A pH of around neutral is best but it will also work with acidic conditions as long as there is no ammonia present. It’s necessary to keep them out of soft water environments because their scales may start falling off due to being too rough on their skin.

Breeding Cherry Barbs will require some space since females usually show preference for males who have bodies that are slimmer than theirs. Cherry Barb fish should be fed very little food, if any at all for the first few days while they establish their territory. Once this is done you can feed them live foods like fruit flies and mosquito larvae or frozen food such as brine shrimp and bloodworms.

Pregnant cherry barb will look plump and have a big belly (she’ll also begin to press her pelvic fin against the surface of the water). Cherry barb fish can produce up to 4000 eggs at a time.


Cherry Barbs are very peaceful specie that will get along well with other Cherry Barbs, Tetras and Danios.

Cherry barb

They can be kept in a community tank of up to six cherry barb fish or they can also be housed alone but it is best if you give them plenty of hiding places such as plants, driftwood and rocks for cover.

Some other tankmates that can be housed together with cherry barbs include freshwater pom pom crabs, guppies, swordtails and mollys. Cherry barbs are not compatible with any other species of fish though.


Cherry barbs are some of the best community aquarium fishes you could ever get. They do require more work than most types but the result is something worth seeing with an aquarium full of colors that makes any day better! Cherry barbs are perfect for those who want to create a true ecosystem in their home without having too much maintenance or experience.

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