Cherry Barb [Care Guide] – Size, Temperature, Tank Mates, Breeding & More

The cherry barb is a beautiful freshwater fish that is perfect for beginners. This care guide explains everything from size to tank mates, diet, breeding, and much more.

Cherry Barb – Quick Facts

In a rush? Check out the quick facts about Cherry Barb below.

Fish Info

Scientific NamePuntius titteya
Common NamesCherry barb, Barbus titteya, Capoeta titteya
AppearanceSmall fish with vibrant cherry red coloration across their entire bodies 
DifficultyThe Cherry Barb is an easy fish to care for.
DistributionThe Cherry Barb is native to Sri Lanka and is found in the Kelani to Nilwala basins.
LifespanThe lifespan of a cherry barb is around 4 to 6 years.
TemperamentCherry barbs are peaceful schooling fish that do well in community aquariums.
Keep in Groups ofAt least five
Tank MatesTetras, rasboras, otos, honey gourami, sparkling gourami, and rainbowfish.
DietCherry barbs eat small crustaceans, insects, and algae.
LengthAround 2 inches,
Sexual DimorphismMales are smaller and more colorful than females.
Breeding DifficultyCherry barbs are easy to breed.

Water/Tank Recommendations

Water TypeFreshwater
Water TemperatureThe ideal water temperature for cherry barb is 73 °F to 81 °F (23 °C to 27 °C).
Water pHThe ideal water pH for cherry barb is 7.2 to 7.5.
Water HardnessThe ideal water hardness for cherry barb is 12 dGH.
Tank sizeThe minimum tank size for cherry barb is 5 gallons, and the recommended tank size is 25+ gallons.


Cherry Barbs are a beautiful freshwater species that will add some color and life to your tank. They’re also relatively easy to care for, which makes them an excellent choice for aquarists of all experience levels!

You will learn everything there is to know to know about Cherry Barb fish, so after you finish reading this, you’ll be ready to go out and get some for yourself.

Let’s get started.

About Cherry Barb

The Cherry Barb is a vibrant fish that can bring some brilliant color to your tank. It’s also one of the most common freshwater species in the aquarium trade.

Originally found throughout Sri Lanka, these fish are surprisingly hardy and easy to care for. They’re perfect for community tanks or even to keep on their own!

Cherry Barbs are small fish that have a lot to offer. They’re quite active and will spend most of their time darting around the tank or swimming in groups with other species.


The primary colors of this species are red and black. The exact mix of colors may vary from one specimen to another, but most will have some shade of bright cherry red covering their entire body!

In most cases, that vibrant red is accompanied by dark black or gray for the rest of their bodies (though there are examples out there where it’s reversed). This combination creates an eye-catching contrast that really pops in your tank!

Cherry Barb fins also add to their distinct appearance. Their dorsal fin has a triangular shape when fully extended. It sits directly behind their head at about midbody and extends back between halfway and three-quarters of the way down the length of their body.

Their Length

The average Cherry Barb size is around 2 inches (5 cm). These fish are not very large, making them a great option for smaller tanks.

NOTE: Some specimens have been recorded as getting up to 3 or more inches in length but this is quite rare.


The lifespan of a cherry barb is around 4 to 6 years.

Several elements can impact Cherry Barb’s life expectancy, but genetics and tank conditions play a big part.

It’s never easy to predict lifespans, but those Cherry Barbs that are kept in pristine environments tend to live longer than their counterparts.

If you want your Cherry Barb to live as long as possible, there are a few tank conditions that you need to adhere to. The fish should have plenty of room in their habitat and be kept with other peaceful species.

Sexual Dimorphism

Compared to females, males are usually smaller and brighter in color. Males also have a red coloration on the caudal fin that is not present in female fish of this species.


Cherry barbs originate from a broad range of freshwater habitats. They are found in streams, rivers, ponds, and ditches throughout the Kelani River in Sri Lanka.

These fish prefer bodies of water with plenty of vegetation

Caring for Cherry Barb

Cherry barbs don’t require a lot of care and can adapt well to most tank setups. However, you should have some knowledge of their essential needs before adding them to your aquarium.

To begin, you must set up a proper habitat for these fish. Cherry barb fish prefer warmer waters with ample vegetation around the edges of the tank. Their natural environment has plenty of plants in rivers and streams, so introducing live plants into an aquarium makes perfect sense.

You can choose from many types of plants, such as Hornwort or Java moss, among others. Keep in mind that cherry barbs are active swimmers who like having places they can hide when they feel threatened (such as hiding behind plant leaves).


Cherry barbs are omnivores and will eat pretty much anything that is convenient. They feed on crustaceans, insects, plants and algae in the wild, but they’re not too picky when it comes to food!

A varied diet of dry foods works just fine, but you can also provide live or frozen snacks as well. Cherry barbs enjoy small crustaceans, bloodworms and brine shrimp, so feel free to mix those every now and again for kicks.

Frozen foods should be thawed out before feeding time. You can drop them into the tank, and your fish will go after them if they want them.

How Often & How Much to Feed Them

Cherry barbs are omnivores. They will munch on anything they can get their little mouths on! Twice-per-day feedings are best, but you should keep the amount of food small so your fish don’t overeat.

Aim to feed your Cheery Barbs with just enough food that they can finish in 3 minutes.

Possible Diseases

Cherry barbs are pretty hardy, but there are some common diseases that you need to watch out for. One of the most prevalent in freshwater fish is Ich.

Ich is a parasitic disease that causes white spots to appear all over your fish’s body. Fortunately, it’s quite easy to treat and avoid altogether with proper tank maintenance and care!

Another common issue you might encounter is fin rot or tail rot. Both of these issues cause tissue damage on your Cherry Barb, so they should be treated as soon as possible (before they spread).

Tank Setup

The tank setup for Cherry Barbs is pretty straightforward. The most important thing you need to include is plenty of vegetation and hiding places. Cherry barbs spend most of their time swimming throughout the bottom half of your aquarium, but they’ll use plants and driftwood as a place to rest periodically (they won’t stay there long).

Aquarium Size

The minimum tank size for Cherry Barb is 5 gallons, but it’s recommended to go for something larger if possible. Tank sizes between 20 and 30 gallons are ideal.

We recommend sticking with the larger tank. Cherry Barbs need plenty of room to swim around.

Water Conditions

Cherry barbs do well in most freshwater conditions. They’re not as picky as other species regarding water parameters.

However, you can still encounter some issues if the following guidelines aren’t met:

  • Ensure that the tank has a snug lid and an airtight seal (this is true for any fish). Cherry Barb have been known to jump out of the water at times!
  • Avoid overcrowding.
  • Keep objects like plants and driftwood in their tanks (again, this is recommended for all fish). A lack of hiding places where they can retreat from others may result in stress.


The ideal pH level for Cherry Barbs is 7.2 to 7.5. The best way to keep the tank water at that level is by constant monitoring with test strips (either electronic or dip kits). If there is a drastic transformation in the pH levels, there’s a chance that your aquarium could experience an irreversible shift toward acidic or alkali conditions.

To keep this from occurring, you should act fast when conditions change.


The ideal water temperature for Cherry Barbs is 73 °F to 81 °F (23 °C to 27 °C). When purchasing one of these fish, it’s important that you do your homework and ensure the seller is providing them from a healthy living environment.

Temperatures outside the recommended range are harmful and can shorten their lifespan.

NOTE: It’s also important to make sure you have a high-quality thermometer on hand to be able to monitor temperature yourself.


Cherry barbs can tolerate water hardness levels of up to 12 dGH.

Keep the hardness level consistent throughout the tank at all times and monitor it regularly with a test kit, as if it should change too much it could stress your fish.


For the sake of keeping your tank clean, it’s important to choose a filter that can handle the bioload of this species. With their high activity level, they produce a lot of waste and can quickly overload lesser filters.

Go with an efficient hang-on-back model. A weekly water change is also recommended if you want to keep nitrate levels low.

Aquarium Plants

Heavily planted tanks are best for Cherry Barbs because the fish can use plant leaves and stems as hiding places when they feel stressed out or scared of their surroundings.

Plants also give these fish a place to breed.

You can choose hardy freshwater aquarium plants like Hornwort and Java Moss for your Cherry Barb tank.

Behavior and Compatibility

Cherry barbs are a social fish that prefer to be in groups. When kept alone, the Cherry Barb can quickly become uncomfortable and stressed out.

When they’re with other Cherry Barbs or peaceful species of the same size, these fish will swim around happily without any stress or anxiety. There’s no need for shy behavior when they have friends to play with.

How Many to Keep Together

Always start with at least five of the same species. Cherry barbs are shoaling fish and will feel more comfortable if they’re part of a group.

But, it’s always good to have more than five, if possible. More cherry barbs mean more activity in your tank!

NOTE: The ideal group size is 10 or more. If you have the space and budget, it’s always better to keep a larger shoal!


Cherry barbs are very peaceful fish that will spend most of their time darting around the tank. While they can be a bit skittish at times, Cherry Barb fish do well in community tanks with other similarly sized fish.

They also get along fine with shrimp and snails as long as there aren’t too many (more on this later).

These fish are best when kept in groups. When kept alone, Cherry Barbs can become stressed and spend most of their time hiding out at the bottom of the tank.

Tank Mates

Cherry barbs tend to be more passive and peaceful than other species (of course, this will vary depending on the individual fish). Thus, they do well with others of their kind.

It’s best to keep a group together for socialization purposes. A shoal of five or more Cherry Barbs is ideal. The fish will predominantly reside in the middle of the water column as a group. When you see that behavior, they are clearly comfortable living in a school and feeling safe within it!

Here is a list of compatible tank mates for Cherry Barb:


Cherry barbs are very easy to breed in captivity. These fish do not need any elaborate breeding setups or lighting conditions. They’re pretty adaptable and can be bred in standard freshwater tanks.

Bring the water up to around 79 Degrees Fahrenheit or slightly higher. Aim to have around two males for every female.

Once there are eggs, the fish should be removed from the tank and eggs left in darkness. After a few days you will see the new fry!

Are Cherry Barb Fish a Good Choice For Your Tank?

Cherry barbs are a fantastic freshwater fish species that can thrive in many different aquarium setups. We would definitely suggest them to anyone looking for an easy-to-care-for tropical fish!

They have beautiful colors and peaceful natures and will do well with just about any other species you pair them with. That’s why we think they should be on your list of potential tank mates if you’re still unsure what kind of fish to match with your existing breeds.


  • Cherry barbs are one of the easiest freshwater fish species to care for. They’re hardy and low-maintenance.
  • They are peaceful with other nonaggressive fish of a similar size.
  • They don’t require any complicated equipment or special requirements.


While Cherry Barbs are a beautiful and fun fish to care for, you should be aware that they can be sensitive to temperature changes. These fish can’t tolerate sudden swings in water temperature, so it’s important that you set up your tank with this in mind.


Cherry barbs are a fun and easy fish to care for. They’re small, peaceful, and very pretty!

Provided that you have the correct tank setup, they’ll be content! We love recommending this species because we know that owning them is hassle-free.

If you decide to give Cherry Barbs a shot, we hope you enjoy them just as much as we do!

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