Profile of the Gold (Chinese) Barb Fish species

Gold Barb - Puntius semifasciolatus

Originating from China, Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand, this fish is known worldwide as the Chinese barb, but the species is naturally green in color.

Due to its widespread adoption in the aquarium industry, the gold-colored, captive-bred variety has earned the moniker "gold barb," which is how it is frequently marketed. Although it is a colorful, calm fish for a communal tank, its artificially polished coloration would make it easy prey for predators in the wild.

Species Overview

COMMON NAMES: China barb, Chinese barb, Chinese half-striped barb, gold barb, green barb, half banded barb, half-stripes barb, Schubert's barb, six-banded banded barb

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Puntius semifasciolatus

ADULT SIZE: 4 inches (10 cm)



Family Cyprinidae
Origin Red River Basin China, Taiwan, Vietnam
Social Peaceful schooling fish
Tank Level Bottom, Mid-dweller
Minimum Tank Size 20 gallon
Diet Omnivore
Breeding Egg scatterer
Care Easy
pH 6.0 to 8.0
Hardness Up to 10 dGH
Temperature 64 to75 F (18 to 24 C)

Colors and Markings

The mouth corners of the gold barb are adorned with small barbels that have a rear that slopes sharply. Along the sides of the fish are many black vertical stripes or blotches. Specimens in good condition may also have red coloring on their fins.

Although this barb's native color is green, the gold version of P. semifasciolatus is far more common in the aquarium commerce than the green variety. Virtually every specimen that is now for sale has been produced in captivity, leading to the emergence of a few more color variants, such as an albino version and a multicolored variant.

The gold variety, also known as Barbus schuberti or P. semifasciolatus var. schuberti, was carefully grown by Thomas Schubert in the 1960s and was formerly considered to be a separate species. Today, it is understood to belong to the same species as the wild variant.


As schooling fish, gold barbs should be kept in groups of at least six or more. This species' docile disposition makes them a great choice for community aquariums with other calm fish of a similar size, such as tetras, danios, and other tiny barbs.

Gold Barb Habitat and Care

Gold barbs are quite hardy and undemanding of water conditions or habitat essentials. They originate in free-flowing streams and rivers, so use a powerhead to provide a decent current.

They should have access to a sizable open area for swimming, as well as plants, driftwood, or other decorations they may utilize as hiding places. Use a fine-grade substrate, especially one that is darker to highlight the fish's colors.

Gold Barb Diet and Feeding

This species feeds on insects and their larva, worms, grass, and even debris in its native environment. It is the epitome of an omnivore, consuming nearly everything in its path. It is advised to have a diversified diet to preserve good health.

Foods that are flake-, pellet-, freeze-dried-, and frozen will all be well-accepted. Include live meals like insects, brine shrimp, and worms of all kinds whenever you can. The use of fresh veggies is a great addition.

Gender Differences 

Females are overall much duller in coloration and larger than the male, as well as rounder in the belly. The belly of mature males who are ready to spawn will turn red to red-orange in color.

Breeding the Gold Barb

Although breeding gold barbs is not too difficult, it is advised to use a separate breeding tank as with other fish species. The tank should be densely covered in fine-leaved vegetation, such java moss. Mops that can spawn are also an option. To allow the eggs to fall through, the tank bottom might be covered with a mesh cover.

No matter what method is employed for spawning, make sure the female has lots of places to hide because the male can get extremely hostile throughout the spawning process. The environment should include low lighting, soft water with a pH between 6 and 7, and soft water at roughly 8 dGH. Use a filter with a very mild flow, like a sponge.

Attempts at spawning might be made in groups or in pairs. Use six of each sex when spawning in a group. Maintain separate tanks for the men and females if you're spawning in pairs. Late in the day, introduce the plumpest female and the male with the brightest coloring to the spawning tank. Either way, condition the breeders with live meals for a few days before spawning.

Spawning often takes place at daybreak in the early morning. Males will start to circle the female and gently prod her to place her close to the spawning location he has chosen. Up to 300 eggs may be released by the female, and the male will subsequently fertilize those eggs. As soon as the eggs are fertilized, the adults should be taken out of the tank since they will quickly consume the eggs.

In approximately 48 hours, the light yellow eggs will hatch, and in a few days, the fry (young fish) will be able to swim on their own. Feed the fry recently born brine shrimp, infusoria, and quality fry chow. Keep the tank as dark as you can until the fry are several weeks old since both the eggs and the fry are quite sensitive to light.

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