Cherry Barb

Species NamePuntius titteya
Common NameCherry Barb
Care LevelEasy
Lifespan5-7 years
Adult Size1.5-2 inches (3.8-5 cm)
Minimum Tank Size20 gallons
Temperature74°F – 81°F (23°C – 27°C)
Water ConditionspH 6.0-7.5, Soft to medium hardness

About the Cherry Barb – Species Summary

Originating from the freshwater streams of Sri Lanka, the Cherry Barb, or Puntius titteya, is a small tropical fish renowned for its vibrant reddish hue, especially pronounced in males. Their easygoing nature and resilience against common mistakes made by novice aquarists have bolstered their popularity within the aquarium community. These characteristics, coupled with their visually pleasing appearance, make the Cherry Barb an excellent choice for both beginners and experienced fishkeepers.

Although their native habitats are under threat due to deforestation and pollution, Cherry Barbs thrive in well-maintained aquarium settings, providing enthusiasts with a mesmerizing display of colors and social behaviors.

Cherry Barb Lifespan

When provided with an optimal environment, Cherry Barbs can enjoy a life span of 5 to 7 years. This lifespan is a testament to their hardy nature and adaptability. It’s not uncommon for well-taken-care-of Cherry Barbs in stable conditions to outlive their average expectancy.


The Cherry Barb’s name is derived from the bright cherry-red coloration that mature males exhibit, especially during spawning seasons. Females, on the other hand, are usually more subdued in color, leaning towards a silverish or brownish hue with a tinge of pink. Both genders showcase a dark horizontal stripe that runs from their snout to the base of their tail fin. This stripe is particularly more pronounced and broader in females.

Average Size

Typically, adult Cherry Barbs grow to an average size of 1.5 to 2 inches (3.8 to 5 cm). Their compact size makes them suitable for various aquarium sizes, provided they are housed with compatible tank mates.

Cherry Barb Care

Tank Size

For a small group of Cherry Barbs, a minimum tank size of 20 gallons is recommended. This space allows them to swim freely, engage in natural behaviors, and reduces stress, which can lead to diseases and shorter life spans.

How To Set Up Their Tank

To emulate their natural habitat, it’s advisable to incorporate a mixture of open swimming areas and densely planted sections. Utilize fine substrate, such as sand or fine gravel, and introduce live plants like Java moss, Anubias, or Amazon swords. Driftwood and rock formations can be added for an aesthetic touch and to provide hiding spots.

Lighting Requirements

Cherry Barbs don’t have stringent lighting demands. However, moderate lighting accentuates their coloration and supports plant growth. Dimmable lights or floating plants can be employed to adjust the intensity, ensuring a more naturalistic environment.


A pH range between 6.0 and 7.5 is optimal for Cherry Barbs. Maintaining a stable pH is essential, as drastic fluctuations can induce stress and adversely affect their health.


Cherry Barbs thrive in water temperatures ranging from 74°F to 81°F (23°C to 27°C). Employing a quality heater and frequently checking with an aquarium thermometer ensures that the temperature remains stable.

Water Parameters

Soft to medium water hardness is suitable for Cherry Barbs. Regular water changes, typically once a week, and a reliable filtration system are vital to maintaining pristine water conditions and keeping toxins at bay.

Disease Potential

Like many aquarium species, Cherry Barbs are susceptible to common ailments like Ich, fin rot, and fungal infections. Maintaining clean water, quarantining new additions, and ensuring a stress-free environment can largely mitigate these risks.

Food & Diet

Being omnivorous, Cherry Barbs have a diverse diet. They readily accept high-quality flake foods, pellets, as well as live or frozen offerings like daphnia, brine shrimp, and bloodworms. Regularly rotating their diet ensures they receive all the essential nutrients and keeps them in peak health.

Behavior and Temperament

Cherry Barbs are peaceful and tend to be shy when kept in smaller numbers. Their true colors, both in terms of vibrancy and behavior, shine through when they are in larger groups, where they engage in playful chasing and display their schooling nature.

Tank Mates

Their peaceful temperament makes them compatible with various tank mates. Suitable companions include other small barbs, tetras, rasboras, Corydoras catfish, and many species of dwarf cichlids. Avoid housing them with larger or aggressive species.


Breeding Cherry Barbs is relatively straightforward. When in a conducive environment, males will display intensified colors and engage in courtship dances to attract females. After spawning, it’s essential to separate the adults from the eggs to prevent predation. Once the fry hatches, they can be nourished with infusoria or finely crushed flake food until they grow larger.

Cherry Barb FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)