The cherry barb (Puntius titteya) is a small fish native to Sri Lanka where it is restricted to the Kelani and Nilwala river basins in the southwestern ‘wet zone’ of the island, plus smaller drainages in the area between them. The cherry barb grows to an adult size of 1.5 to 2 inches long. Males are smaller, more slender and more intensely colored, while females are larger and tend to have a more rounded belly.
The majority of cherry barbs available in the aquarium hobby are commercially farmed. In addition to the standard variety, there are also albino, "super red", and veil tailed varieties available.
The cherry barb should be maintained in an aquarium of 20 gallons or larger. A soft, sandy substrate (CS7581) is a good choice. Driftwood (ZM2000) and live or artificial plants may also be incorporated.
The cherry barb is an adaptable fish that prefers a temperature of 68°F to 80°F, a pH of 6.0 to 8.0, and a hardness of of up to 2 to 20°H.
The cherry barb is an excellent fish for a community aquarium as it is lively and peaceful. Keep it in groups of 6 or more for the best effect. Good tank mates include other small barbs, livebearers, danios, rasboras, dwarf gouramis, cory catfish, smaller Loricariids, other tetras, pencil fish, and peaceful dwarf cichlids.
In the wild, the cherry barb is most likely a forager feeding on diatoms, algae, organic detritus, small insects, worms, crustaceans, and other zooplankton. In the aquarium it will accept dry and frozen foods of similar sizes. Good choices include frozen bloodworm (SF4792) and cyclops, as well as high quality flakes that include some vegetation (AL165). For maximum color, growth, and health these fish will look their best when given probiotics (AL169) in addition to a balanced diet.