Cherry Barb Care: A Complete Fish Species Profile

Cherry Barbs are vibrant, peaceful, and easy to care for fish that make a great addition to any aquarium. Because of their beauty, it’s no wonder they’re one of the most popular fish among aquarists.

In this article, we’ll dive into the essentials of Cherry Barb care, so keep reading to find out everything you need to know.


Cherry barbs are a fantastic choice for beginners due to their adaptability and how easy they are to care for. They prefer being in schools, so a group of at least six is recommended. The tank should be 30 gallons minimum with more horizontal swimming space than depth.

They thrive in a temperature range of 73-81°F and a pH between 6.0-8.0. Cherry barbs are omnivorous and will eat a broad range of food, though a diet primarily composed of high-quality flakes or pellets is beneficial.

If you take proper care of your cherry barbs, you can expect them to live up to 4 years!

When considering tank mates, choose peaceful, non-aggressive species that have similar water parameter requirements. Other barbs, tetras, guppies, corydoras, and small gouramis can cohabitate well with cherry barbs.

Are Cherry Barbs Easy To Keep?

Keeping cherry barbs healthy is easy. Just make sure to change the water regularly and maintain a clean aquarium with some vegetation for them to hide in. And remember, they prefer to live in groups, so having a small school of cherry barbs will create a natural and enjoyable environment for them.

And in terms of feeding, you’ll be happy to know that cherry barbs are not picky. They’ll mostly need a diet of flakes, pellets, and occasional live or frozen treats. However, it’s essential to provide them with the right portion sizes to ensure they remain in good health.

(If you’re curious about 15 of the easiest fish to keep, then check out this article!)

NameCherry Barb (Puntius titteya)
Cost$6.99+ Per Fish
OriginSri Lanka
Care LevelEasy
Lifespan4 Years
Size2 Inches
Tank Size30 Gallons
FeedingFish Flakes, Live Food, Blanched Vegetables
Community Tank Yes
Tank LevelMid Level
PlantsJava Moss, Anubias, Java Fern, Amazon Sword, Water Wisteria
Tank MatesCorydoras Catfish, Harlequin Rasboras, Neon Tetras, Guppies, Ember Tetras, Otocinclus Catfish, Kuhli Loaches, Swordtail, Dwarf Gourami, Zebra Danios
Breeding TypeEgg Layer

Cherry Barbs Appearance

Cherry Barbs have a really eye-catching look that brightens up any fish tank. They’re vivid red, just like ripe cherries, which is why they’re called “Cherry Barbs.” Alongside the red, their scales also have a shimmering gold color, making them look like precious jewels in the water.

Cherry Barbs also have a slender body that helps them move gracefully through the water. Their fins are quite translucent with a hint of beautiful colors, with some red and sometimes a bit of black or white too. When the males want to breed, their colors get even more intense, making them even more stunning.


In terms of size, Cherry Barbs are pretty small, which is great for different tank sizes. On average, they grow to about 1.5 to 2 inches long. The females are usually a bit bigger and rounder compared to the males, but it’s not a very obvious size difference.


Cherry Barbs have friendly behavior, getting along well with others in the tank. They also swim together in a group, creating a harmonious atmosphere. During feeding time, they become quite active, zipping around the tank to catch their food, adding a lively touch to the aquarium.

Moreover, Cherry Barbs are curious explorers. They love checking out plants, rocks, and anything else in the tank, making them playful and fun to watch.

Furthermore, these little fish are peaceful and gentle. They rarely show aggression towards their tank mates, making them great companions for community aquariums.


With proper care, Cherry Barbs can live for around 4-6 years. To ensure they live a long and happy life, provide them with a well-maintained tank, a balanced diet, and a stress-free environment. Regular water changes, good filtration, and suitable tank mates all contribute to their well-being.

Cherry Barbs Water Parameters

Now that you know what they look like and how long they live, here is the ideal water parameters for your cherry barbs!

NameCherry Barbs
Tank Size30 Gallons


Cherry Barbs prefer a pH range of 6.0 to 8.0 in their tank. This means the water should be slightly acidic to slightly alkaline, to keep them as happy as possible.


When it comes to temperature, Cherry Barbs thrive in water that’s between 73°F to 81°F. Keeping the water within this range ensures they stay healthy and active.

Water Hardness

Regarding water hardness, Cherry Barbs are adaptable but generally do well in a range of 5-19 dGH. It’s important to strike a balance and avoid extreme hardness levels to keep them comfortable.

Tank Size

Cherry Barbs need a tank with a minimum size of 25-30 gallons or more. Providing enough space is essential to keep these fish happy and healthy.

In a larger tank, they have more room to swim freely and display their natural behaviors. It also helps reduce any potential stress caused by overcrowding.

Having a spacious tank allows you to create a beautiful and dynamic environment for your Cherry Barbs. You can also add various plants, decorations, and hiding spots, providing them with a more natural and rich habitat.

Cherry Barb Care Sheet

If you love how colorful cherry barbs are, then you should check out these 58 most colorful fish for your tank!

What Do Cherry Barbs Like In The Wild?

Cherry Barbs feel at home in slow-moving streams, rivers, and flooded areas of Southeast Asia. They prefer water with a slightly acidic to neutral pH range of 6.0 to 8.0 and a temperature between 73°F to 81°F.

In their natural habitat, they enjoy exploring areas with a mix of shallow and deeper spots. They especially love places with lots of vegetation, like aquatic plants and submerged roots. These spots provide them with hiding places and keep them safe from predators.

Moreover, Cherry Barbs actively search for food in the wild. They eat small insects, worms, and various types of zooplankton they find in the water.

Understanding what Cherry Barbs like in the wild helps us create a happy and healthy environment for them in our aquariums. By mimicking their natural preferences, we can make sure they feel at ease and can display their natural behaviors just like they would in their home in the wild.

How To Setup A Tank For Cherry Barbs 

Setting up your Cherry Barbs’ tank is one of the most exciting parts about caring for them. But to be successful, it’s important to know the right steps. So, here’s how you can do it.

Choosing the Right Tank Size

To give your Cherry Barbs enough space, pick a tank size of at least 25-30 gallons or more. A bigger tank lets them swim freely and explore comfortably.

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Maintaining the Ideal Water Conditions

Make sure the water pH is between 6.0 to 7.5, a bit acidic to neutral. Keep the temperature from 73°F to 81°F, just like in their natural habitat. Aim for a water hardness of 5-19 dGH to create a good environment.

Aquascape with Vegetation

Add different aquatic plants and hiding spots using submerged roots or decorations. Cherry Barbs love vegetation; it makes them feel safe and encourages their natural behavior.

Adding the Heater

Put a submersible heater in the tank to keep the water at the right temperature. Adjust it to 73°F to 81°F as Cherry Barbs prefer.

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Adding the Filter

Make sure your tank has a good filter to keep the water clean. Cherry Barbs need clean water to stay healthy.

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Adding the Substrate

Pick fine-grained substrate like sand or small gravel. Cherry Barbs like to explore and sift through it, so it should be safe for their delicate barbels.

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Water Conditioner

Treat the water with a water conditioner before adding it to the tank. This removes harmful substances like chlorine, keeping the water safe for Cherry Barbs.

Seachem Prime Fresh and Saltwater Conditioner – Chemical Remover and Detoxifier 250 ml
  • POWERFUL TREATMENT: Seachem Prime is a complete and concentrated conditioner for both freshwater and saltwater fish tanks, working hard to remove chlorine and chloramine.

Testing the Water

Use a water testing kit often to check the pH, temperature, and water hardness. This keeps the water stable and suitable for your Cherry Barbs.

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If you’ve never setup an aquarium before, then here are the steps you need to take, as well 24 of the most common beginner mistakes!

Cherry Barbs Male Vs Female

Males and female Cherry Barbs look different, especially during breeding. The most obvious difference between male and female cherry barbs is their color. Male cherry barbs have a bright red color, while females are more orange. 

During spawning, males will be more vibrant, while female colors stay the same. The males also have a more pronounced black lateral line stripe. You may also notice that your female Cherry Barbs have fins that are much more translucent compared to the males.

In addition, male cherry barbs are slightly smaller than females, but their difference in size is not really noticeable. Male cherry barbs have a more slender body than females.

Males also have a longer tail, while females have a rounder body, especially as their eggs grow, and a shorter tail.

In terms of behavior, Male cherry barbs are more aggressive than females. They often chase each other around the tank and compete for food. On the other hand, females are more peaceful and tend to stay together in groups.

Cherry Barbs Diet

Cherry Barbs have a simple and varied diet, and they’re not picky eaters. In their natural habitat, they mainly feed on small insects, worms, and various zooplankton found in the water. However, in an aquarium setting, it’s easy to provide them with a balanced diet using commercial fish foods.

The main part of their diet should be flakes or pellet food designed for tropical fish. These foods contain essential nutrients that keep Cherry Barbs healthy. You can easily find these commercial fish foods at pet stores.

And to add variety to their diet, occasional treats are a great idea. Cherry Barbs enjoy live or frozen foods like bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia. These treats not only add excitement to their mealtime but also provide extra nutrients.

When feeding Cherry Barbs, it’s crucial not to overdo it. Offer them small portions of food 2-3 times a day, making sure they finish it within a few minutes. Overfeeding can lead to water quality problems and harm the health of the fish.

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How Long Can A Cherry Barb Go Without Food?

Cherry Barbs can go without food for a few days, but it’s best not to leave them unfed for more than 3 to 4 days. Providing regular meals ensures their health and well-being.

What Should You Feed Cherry Barb Fry?

Cherry Barb fry are tiny and require special food. So, infusoria or liquid fry food are suitable choices for their initial diet. As they grow, you can transition them to baby brine shrimp and finely crushed flake food. And remember, giving your fry frequent, small meals will help them grow healthily.

Cherry Barbs Tank Mates 

Here is a list of 10 best tankmates for Cherry Barbs:

Corydoras Catfish

Common Corydoras Care Sheet

Harlequin Rasboras

Harlequin Rasbora Care Sheet

Neon Tetras

Neon Tetra Care Sheet


Guppy Care Sheet

Ember Tetras

Ember Tetra Care Sheet

Otocinclus Catfish

Otocinclus Catfish Care Sheet

Kuhli Loaches

Kuhli loach care sheet


Swordtails Care Sheet

Dwarf Gouramis

Dwarf Gourami Care Sheet

Zebra Danios

Zebra Danio Care Sheet

If you want to know about over 50 great community fish, the check out this article!

Cherry Barb Tank Mates

Cherry Barbs Plants

Here are five of the best plants for cherry barbs that you should consider adding to your tank.

Java Moss

Java Moss is a hardy and versatile plant that requires minimal care, making it perfect for beginners and busy aquarium owners. Its dense, lush growth provides Cherry Barbs with ample hiding spots and contributes to the overall health of the tank by helping to maintain water quality.

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Anubias is a popular choice among aquarists due to its attractive appearance and ease of maintenance. The broad, thick leaves of Anubias offer Cherry Barbs shelter and create a natural feel to the aquarium, enhancing the overall aesthetic.

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Java Fern 

Java Fern is an eye-catching plant that adds a touch of elegance to any tank. Its unique leaf shape and slow growth rate make it an excellent option for Cherry Barbs, as it doesn’t demand excessive pruning and offers them places to explore.

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Amazon Sword

The Amazon Sword is a striking centerpiece plant that provides Cherry Barbs with a spacious environment to swim and explore. Its broad, vibrant green leaves create a visually appealing backdrop to the aquarium.

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Water Wisteria

Water Wisteria is a fast-growing and undemanding plant that thrives in a variety of conditions. Its bushy growth adds a dynamic element to the tank, and its long, flowing stems offer Cherry Barbs additional places to seek refuge.

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Cherry Barbs Breeding

Cherry Barbs are relatively easy to breed, making them a popular choice for beginner breeders. Let’s explore the key aspects of Cherry Barbs breeding to ensure your success.

Tank Setup

To encourage breeding, create a well-planted tank with plenty of hiding spots. Use fine-leaved plants like Java Moss and floating plants like Water Wisteria to provide safe spaces for the fish to lay their eggs.


Before breeding, you need to condition the breeding pair. Feed them a varied and nutritious diet, including live or frozen foods like bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia. This helps prepare the fish for the breeding process.

Choosing a Breeding Group

Select healthy and active males and females to form a breeding group. It’s always best to go with the ratio of 3 females for every male. You can easily distinguish between males and females by their size and colors. Males are typically smaller and more colorful, while females are larger and less vibrant.

Courtship Behavior

Male Cherry Barbs will display courtship behaviors to attract females. They might chase the females and perform a “zig-zag” dance to impress them.


Once the female is ready to spawn, she will scatter her eggs among the plants. The male will then fertilize the eggs. Be sure to provide enough hiding places for the female to deposit her eggs to protect them from being eaten by other fish.

Removing Adults

After spawning, you need to remove the adult fish from the breeding tank to prevent them from eating the eggs. Alternatively, you can provide a separate breeding net or box for the eggs to hatch safely.

Hatching and Raising Fry

The eggs will typically hatch within 24 to 48 hours. The fry are tiny and will need to be fed with infusoria or commercial liquid fry food until they’re large enough to consume baby brine shrimp and finely crushed flakes.

Water Quality

Maintaining good water quality is crucial during the breeding process and while raising the fry. Perform regular water changes and ensure stable water parameters to promote the health and growth of the young fish.

When Can You Add Cherry Barb Fry With Adults?

It’s best to wait until the Cherry Barb fry are large enough to avoid being eaten by the adults. Once they reach a size of about 1/2 inch, usually after a few weeks, you can safely introduce them to the same tank as the adults.

Cherry Barbs Common Diseases

DiseaseSymptoms or CausesSuggested Action or Treatment
IchWhite spots on body and fins, flashing behaviorTreat with medication containing formalin or malachite green
Fin RotDeterioration or fraying of fins, redness or inflammationImprove water quality, treat with antibiotics if severe
Velvet DiseaseYellow or grayish film on body, loss of appetiteTreat with copper-based medication
DropsySwollen abdomen, protruding scalesIsolate infected fish, treat with antibiotics
ColumnarisCotton-like growth on body or fins, ulcers or soresImprove water quality, treat with antibiotics or antifungals
Swim Bladder DisorderFish floating at the surface or sinking to the bottomAdjust feeding habits, provide a balanced diet

How Many Cherry Barbs Can You Keep Together?

You can keep at least six Cherry Barbs together in the same tank. Cherry Barbs are social fish and feel happier when they’re in a group. Keeping them in a group allows them to behave naturally, just like they do in the wild.

By having six or more Cherry Barbs, you’ll see them swimming together and interacting, making your tank more lively and enjoyable to watch. Having more Cherry Barbs also helps reduce any aggressive behavior and establishes a friendly atmosphere in your aquarium. 

Facts About Cherry Barbs 

  1. Cherry Barbs can change their color intensity depending on their mood and surroundings. Males often display brighter colors during courtship and when they feel comfortable.
  1. During breeding, male Cherry Barbs may become more aggressive, especially if they want to impress a female.
  1. Cherry Barbs are egg-scattering breeders, meaning the female scatters her adhesive eggs among plants and substrate for the male to fertilize.
  1. Cherry Barbs are native to slow-moving waters, such as ponds, marshes, and streams, in Southeast Asia, particularly Sri Lanka and southern India.
  1. In the wild and aquarium settings, Cherry Barbs love to form peaceful schools, swimming together for safety and socialization.
  1. Cherry barbs have a black lateral stripe that runs along their entire body.


Here are some frequently asked questions people have about cherry barbs

What Section Of The Water Column Do Cherry Barbs Use?

Cherry Barbs tend to use the middle and upper sections of the water column. They’re active swimmers, often seen exploring the middle area of the tank and occasionally swimming near the surface.

What To Do If A Cherry Barb Lays Too Many Eggs In Your Aquarium?

If a Cherry Barb lays too many eggs in your aquarium, it’s essential to remove some of the eggs to prevent overcrowding. You can carefully scoop out some eggs using a small container or sponge to maintain a manageable number for successful hatching.

What Do Cherry Barb Eggs Look Like?

Cherry Barb eggs are tiny and sticky. They’re usually scattered among plants and substrate in the aquarium. The eggs appear translucent and may be hard to see without close inspection.

Why Does Your Cherry Barb Hide?

Cherry Barbs may hide in the aquarium for various reasons, including feeling stressed or threatened. New environments, aggressive tankmates, or changes in water conditions can cause them to seek shelter. 

How To Tell If Cherry Barb Has Neon Tetra Disease

Neon Tetra Disease can affect Cherry Barbs too. Common signs include loss of color, lack of appetite, difficulty swimming, and odd swimming patterns. 

How Many Cherry Barbs In A 10 Gallon Tank?

A 10-gallon tank is relatively small, and it’s recommended to keep a small group of 4 to 6 Cherry Barbs at most. However, if possible, always go for a bigger tank of 25-30 gallons.


Now you know all the essentials of Cherry Barb care, and you’re ready to create a beautiful and peaceful aquarium for these lovely fish. Remember to keep their tank clean, provide them with good company, and feed them a balanced diet. With a little TLC, your Cherry Barbs will thrive and bring joy to your aquarium.

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