Rosy Barb (Pethia conchonius)
Scientific name Pethia conchonius commonly called Rosy Barbs or Red Rosy Barb are native to the continent of Asia, their natural habitat ranges from India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Afghanistan, Pakistan etc. Natural habitat includes slow moving rivers, streams, lakes & ponds. In their natural habitat these fish are omnivores, they feed on small insects, insect larvae, small worms, crustaceans & plant matter. Sometimes in an aquarium you would see them taking small bites on plant leaf's; they can also be fin-nippers in not kept with compatible tank mates & in the right numbers. Rosy barb are among the hardiest of fish available in Fish Keeping Hobby; these fish can grow to around 3 inches in an aquarium & easily live up to 5 years with proper care.
Rosy barbs are schooling fish, they should always be kept in a group of 6 or more. The best ratio would be 1 male for every 2 or 3 females. These fish are non-aggressive when kept in group & usually well behaved in a community aquarium. They make good tank mates for a variety of similar sized fish; tank should be a minimum of 20 gallon or bigger & preferably a Planted Set-up as this impacts both color & their health. Naturally occurring fish have silver body coloration which changes to smokey reddish coloration (if that color makes sense) especially the males during breeding. Their long torpedo shaped body has a black spot at the lower end of the body & fin, this spot may not be clear in all captive bred strains. There are lot of strains of Rosy Barb available now in Ornamental Fish Keeping hobby to choose from; the popular Veil-tail Rosy Barb is one of them with long fins, some strains have prominent Green, Yellow or Red coloration. They go by names as Silver Rosy Barb, Green Rosy Barb, Red Rosy Barb, Yellow Rosy Barb or Golden Rosy Barb etc.
Caring for Rosy Barbs in an aquarium is as easy as it gets, the reason I say this because they require very little maintenance, right from tank size, food, tank mates, water chemistry etc. these fish are less demanding. Below information on how to Care for Rosy Barbs in an Aquarium will help you further.
Visual differences between Male & Female Rosy Barb
Male Rosy Barbs display deep red under belly coloration & this intensifies during breeding ( This may not apply to all strains of Rosy Barb) Males appear a bit Slimmer & smaller than females.
Female Rosy Barb lack reddish under belly coloration, ones they mature they hold eggs in their abdomen which makes them look larger in size than Male Rosy Barbs.
Rosy Barb Aquarium Care
Rosy Barbs make a good choice for beginners as these fish are among the hardiest Barbs in fish keeping & can be included in aquariums with Live Plants or Artificial Decoration. They also make great tank mates in community aquariums with similar sized non-aggressive fish; there is no aggression in Rosy Barbs if kept in a group of 6 or more. However, if you keep them in group of 2 or 3 they seem to be aggressive to other smaller fish & fight among themselves. This fish can be kept with Tiger Barbs in a 30 gallon or bigger tank. If you do keep Tiger Barbs & Rosy Barbs in the same aquarium, ensure to keep more Rosy Barb numbers. In their natural habitat these fish are omnivores, they feed on small insects, insect larvae, small worms, crustaceans & plant matter. This makes it easier to feed the readily available fish food, like pellets, flakes, live or frozen food. Sometimes in an aquarium you would see them taking small bites on plant leaf's; they can also be fin-nippers if not kept with compatible tank mates & in the right numbers. If you want to see these fish thrive in your aquarium below information will help.
What your Rosy Barbs need?
Aquarium size for Rosy Barb : These fish should kept in in group of 6 or more & rosy barbs may reach a size close to 3 inches when fully grown in an aquarium. Hence absolute minimum tank size is 20 gallon if not bigger; smaller tanks need more frequent water changes & water parameters should be monitored, if you have the budget my advise would be start Big with at least 30 gallon aquarium for a community set-up.
Aquarium decoration: If you want to see Rosy barbs thrive in an aquarium, planted set-up would be the way to go. Goldish colors of these fish with green live plants in the background is an amazing visual. You can choose low maintenance plants which require low light & minimal fertilizers for Rosy Barb Aquarium. Also ensure plants you choose are having thick leafs, plants like Java fern, Anubias, Vallisneria etc. work fine. Driftwood & rocks can be added & used to decorate the aquarium, make sure there is lot of open swimming place for these fish to hang around in group. They use all bottom, middle & surface area of the tank.
Rosy barbs can also be kept in aquariums with artificial decoration but they seem 'less thriving' to put it in better words.
Temperature range: 64.0 to 75.0° F (17.8 to 24° C) The temperature range is what is found in their natural habitat across all seasons. If the temperature in aquarium is not steady or drops below the ideal temperature it might affect their health.
pH range: 6 to 8, what's important in Rosy Barb Aquarium is pH level should never change drastically. Ideal pH is a steady 7 which is recommended. Lower pH & warm water triggers spawning in these fish.
Water Hardness: Soft to moderately hard i.e. 60 to180 ppm.
Lights : If you are planning on live plants in your tank, make sure you get suitable light for your plants. If you get artificial plants any light will do. Just make sure the light does not heat up the water in the tank too much. Remember to turn the light on & off everyday at the same time or as required by the plants you have in the aquarium.
Filter/Air pump : Filter will help you keep the tank clean & an Air pump will keep the tank nicely oxygenated if you have fry or planning to breed Rosy Barbs. They tolerate low to moderate water movement in the tank. Hang on Back (HOB) filter is recommended if you are planning a planted aquarium.
Water conditioner : Tap water in most places are treated with chlorine. This is not good for fish. So get a water conditioner & make the water safe.
Rosy Barb Fish food : The wild Rosy Barbs are Omnivores, they feed on small insects, insect larvae, crustaceans, small worms & Plant matter. In an aquarium Rosy barbs can be fed varied fish food like Quality Flakes, Pellets, Freeze dried worms, Live food like micro worms, mosquito larvae, Daphnia, blood worms, Spirulina based food etc. Protein based food can be fed once in 3 days.
Tank Mates for Rosy Barbs
Since Rosy Barbs are well behaved fish if kept in a group of six or more, they make great compatible tank mates to a variety of freshwater fish in an aquarium who share the same size & temperament. However, they have a reputation of being fin-nippers, hence choose tank mates carefully. If kept in a a group of 6, a 20 gallon aquarium should suffice; in case of a community aquarium with other fish 30 gallon or bigger aquarium is recommended. If you are planning to include tank mates for Tiger Barbs, then Rosy barbs make great tank mates for Tiger Barbs, for this to work you would require at least a 30 gallon Planted Aquarium & the number of Rosy Barbs should be more then Tiger Barbs. Other tank mates for Rosy Barb include Giant Danio, Serpae Tetra (short-finned), Dwarf Gourami, Botia Dario Loach, Clown Loach, Yoyo Loach, Green Tiger Barb & Albino Tiger barbs, Rainbow shark, Swordtail fish, Sail-fin Mollies, Red-eye Tetra, Black Neon Tetra; I had included Rosy barbs with Blue Gourami, Pearl Gourami, Juvenile Tin foil Barb, Juvenile Silver Dollar fish etc. without any problems.
Community Aquarium works best with the right number of fish, right tank decoration & live plants. I also used Clay pots like you can see in the video above. If you do come across a problem fish disrupting the peace in aquarium, remove it from the community aquarium. The reason I warn about problem fish is because the worst fin-nipper I had ever kept was a Female Guppy, it even went after bigger fish twice its size like the Western Rainbow fish, hence always look out for any kind of aggression in the aquarium.
Breeding Rosy Barb
Breeding Rosy Barbs in an aquarium is not an difficult task; since, adult Rosy barb show no parental care, in case you are breeding Rosy barbs in an aquarium you must care for them in a separate Nursery tank/ Grow-out Tank to ensure higher survival rate of the fry. If Rosy barbs do spawn in the main tank & somehow the adult Rosy barbs did not eat the eggs, fry will be eaten if spotted for sure. So a breeding Tank would be required first for the Adult Rosy Barbs to spawn & later the fry can be taken care in the same tank.
First step to breed rosy barbs involves a breeding tank about 15 gallon or bigger, a sponge filter powered by an air pump, you can use mess with tiny holes for eggs to fall on tank bottom where the adult fish cannot reach, or floating plants like Java moss can be used, an alternate method is the breeding or spawning mop which is made of cotton or jute thread which collects the eggs.
Next step would be moving the adult Male & Females into the Breeding aquarium, matured Female would have a bloated abdomen that's because she would carry eggs, & the matured male rosy barb would have intense red coloration under belly in most strains or would appear slimmer; at this stage you would see the Males chasing each other. This is observed only during breeding, hence its best to move a group into the breeding tank as the Male Rosy Barb would harass a single Female barb & force her to spawn. The spawning always takes places in a densely planted or covered area, use minimal lighting in this tank, reduced pH level under 7 & increased temperature triggers spawning; I use Indian Almond Leaf when breeding Barbs, this is beneficial to their health & helps reduce pH level slowly. You would see them spawn frequently & the female may lay 200 eggs each time. Once the eggs are laid move the adults back to main tank. Eggs hatch in about 24 to 48 hours; once Rosy Barb Fry are born they would absorb nutrition's from the yolk sac for a day or 2. Rosy barb fry are free swimming in 24 hours after they are hatched. In the wild Rosy Barbs can spawn every 8 to 10 days, in an aquarium they spawn at least every 15 days that I've noticed.
Rosy Barb Fry Care
Like most Barbs, the Rosy Barb after spawning scatter their eggs & show no parental care for the fry. They would also eat their eggs & the fry if given a chance, hence raising Rosy Barb Fry in a separate Tank is important for better survival rate. Eggs hatch in about 24 to 48 hours; you can expect an average brood size of 60-100 or more; once Rosy Barb Fry are born they would absorb nutrition's from the yolk sac for a day or 2. Usually the Rosy barb fry are free swimming in 24 hours after they are hatched, after 2 to 3 days you can start feeding them food. Rosy barb fry consume baby brine Shrimp, crushed flakes, mosquito larvae, micro worms, infusoria etc. Feed the fry at least 3 times a day & follow about 25% water change every 3 days. Keeping plants in the breeding tank helps the fry with shelter, conditioning water & also they consume plant matter. The tank should be at least 15 gallon or bigger as each spawn would have 60-100 fry on an average. After the fry are free swimming remove the unhatched eggs as there would be fungal growth on it if not removed, this could contaminate the water & effect the health of the new born fry. I use the aquarium air pump pipe & remove the debris on the tank bottom. Adding Indian almond leaf to the Rosy barb fry tank also helps with their health & achieving optimal growth rate. The temperature should be around 78 to 80°F as I find at these temperature the fry seem to grow faster. Ideal pH for Rosy Barb Fry is around 7 without drastic changes.