Profile of the Rosy Barb Fish

Rosy Barb dance of males desplay

Barbs are a diverse group of fish that come in a variety of sizes and colors. Barbs belong to the Barbinae subfamily, which includes representatives from Europe, Asia, and (according to some accounts) Africa. Barbs exist in a variety of sizes and colors, but they always have the same form. are well-known among aquarists as one of the most hardy and excellent egg-layers for newcomers.

Species Overview

Common Names: Rosy barb, red barb

Scientific Name: Pethia conchonius

Adult Size: 4 to 6 inches (often smaller in captivity)

Life Expectancy: Up to 5 years


Family Cyprinidae
Origin India
Social Peaceful, especially in groups; otherwise semi-aggressive
Tank Level All
Minimum Tank Size 20 gallons
Diet Omnivorous
Breeding Eggs scattered to substrate
Care Easy
pH 6.5 to 7
Hardness 5 to 19 dGH
Temperature 75 F (surviving as low as 60 degrees F)

Origin and Distribution 

In 1822, the rose barb was first described. In India, they can be found in running streams, tributaries, lakes, ponds, and even marshes. Singapore, Australia, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Colombia all have wild populations. They are abundant and widespread, and they are not considered endangered or threatened.

The common name "rose barb" comes from the fact that a rosy tint covers the lower section of the male's flanks during spawning. Through selective breeding, several derivations of the wild rose barb have been generated throughout the years. The males of many farm-raised rosy barbs are rosy practically all of the time. Another type has lovely, long, flowing fins and tails, and the male is almost totally rosy crimson.

Colors and Markings

The rose barb has a long, oval-shaped body, a forked tail, and two dorsal fins, much like all barbs. A prominent black patch near the base of the tail on both sexes is slightly defined in brown. On both males and females, look for black patches around the fins. Some have more vibrant colour as well as shiny scales (particularly those from West Bengal).


Because rosy barbs prefer cooler water, tankmates should be able to endure temperatures of 75 degrees Fahrenheit. They are semi-aggressive, especially with slow-moving tankmates. Rosy Barbs thrive in large groups of six or more, and they get along well with other active tankmates.

Rosy Barb Habitat and Care

A tank with a soft, sandy bottom, abundance of plants, and enough of swimming space is ideal for Rosy Barbs. Wood and rock are common in their natural surroundings, so driftwood or similar materials will help them feel at ease.

Because rose barbs are schooling fish, they require ample room to travel as a group through the aquarium. Providing room for your pets is not only beneficial to their health; it also assures that they will be less hostile against other animals and will be more enjoyable to watch.

It's critical that your tank gets at least a few hours of sunshine each day. This is good for the fish's health, and the reflected light also helps them look even more attractive. To get the greatest colour, you'll also need a decent filter and enough of water circulation.

Rosy Barb Diet and Feeding

Rosy barbs are omnivores that need a good variety of foods. These fish should be given a variety in order to maintain a healthy immune system. Include both vegetables and meats.

Provide high-quality flake food, as well as live and frozen brine shrimp, bloodworms, and beef heart. Small aquatic invertebrates and even cooked vegetables are easily consumed by them.

Gender Differences

The male rose barb, like many other fish, wears the brightest colors. When males of this species are kept together, they display their brightest colors. His back has a greenish-gray color that fades into silver on the sides. Males grow a black patch in the dorsal fin as the first indicator of gender in young fish.

When male rose barbs are housed together, they occasionally put on competitive displays. They gyrate from head to tail until the observer is presented to something that looks like a colorful fireworks display. Fins are completely stretched and their colour is at its brightest during this spinning.

Adult female rosy barbs are yellowish-pink and have greenish backs, while males are redder on the underbelly and sides. The younger female is olive-brown all over. 

Breeding the Rosy Barb

From the age of roughly 12 months, breeding is pretty simple. A breeding tank's water should be soft to medium-hard at around 77 degrees Fahrenheit, with a pH of 6.5 to 7.2. The tank may be as small as a 10-gallon if it contains filtration, a sand substrate, an open water area, and a clump or two of or a hanging clump of nylon wool. Allow the female to adapt first, then introduce the male a few days later.

Often, spawning occurs the next morning, with the fish forming a line from flank to flank. The male encircles the female with his body and fins. Spawning takes around two hours; after finished, remove both fish to avoid the eggs from being eaten. In roughly 24 to 48 hours, the eggs will hatch.

When the fry are free-swimming, begin feeding them. Infusoria should be given for one to two weeks, with baby brine shrimp and fine dry fry food added after the first week. Turn off the filtration until the end of the second week, and then use a sponge filter until the fry are 1/2 inch long.

The fry will be strong swimmers by the end of the third week. They will consume practically everything put in front of them and develop swiftly. Feed your rose barbs a diverse diet of live and dry food, as available, just like any other barb.

A mature rose barb can reach a length of 5 to 6 inches in nature. The fish adapted to a length of 2 to 2 1/2 inches when produced for the aquarium, and they grow true to this maximum length whether raised at home or in bigger capacity tanks on a fish farm.

More Pet Fish Species and Further Research

If you're interested in rosy barbs, you might enjoy reading about these barbs:

Check out additional fish species profiles for more information on other  fish.