Information, Barbs, Cyprinids, Freshwater fish, Species

Melon barb “Panda Barb” (Haludaria fasciata)

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by Jason Matthews



The Melon Barb, also known as the Panda Barb (scientific name: Haludaria fasciata), is a unique and captivating fish species that makes a fascinating addition to any fish tank. Native to the streams and rivers of Southeast Asia, this species is prized for its striking appearance and peaceful demeanor.

The Panda Barb has a distinctive black-and-white coloration, making it a standout in any aquarium. In this article, we will delve into the world of the Panda Barb, uncovering the secrets of its origin, appearance, size, behavior, and much more.


Scientific Name: Haludaria fasciata
Common Names: Panda barb, Melon Barb
Life Expectancy: 3-5 years
Adult Size: 2-2.5 inches (5-6 cm)


HabitatSlow-moving rivers, streams, and ponds
OriginThailand, Indonesia, Malaysia
Care LevelEasy
Tank LevelAll levels
Minimum Tank Size20 gallons (75 liters)
Water pH6.0-7.5
Water Temperature72-79°F (22-26°C)
Water Hardness5-12 dGH
Tank MatesPeaceful community fish, such as tetras, rasboras, and dwarf gouramis

Fun Fact Corner

A fun fact about Panda Barbs is that their unique black and white coloration is said to resemble the iconic black and white markings of the giant panda bear. This is where they get their name from. Additionally, Panda Barbs are known for their energetic and lively behavior, making them popular among aquarium enthusiasts for their playful personality.


The Panda Barb or Melon Barb is native to the streams and flowing rivers of Southeast Asia, specifically in the countries of Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos. These bodies of water are known for their crystal clear waters and abundant aquatic life, providing a natural habitat for the Panda Barb to thrive. This species has been known to inhabit both fast-moving and slow-moving waterways, adapting to its surroundings and adapting to the available resources.

The exact origin of the Panda Barb is not well documented, but it is believed to have been first discovered in the mid-twentieth century. Since its discovery, the Panda Barb has become popular among fish keepers and has been selectively bred to enhance its unique coloration and pattern.

As an avid fish keeper, it’s always fascinating to learn about the origin and background of different species, and the Panda Barb is no exception. With its striking appearance and peaceful temperament, this species will surely become a beloved member of any aquarium.

Appearance & Size

The appearance of the Panda Barb is one of its most distinctive features, making it a popular choice among fish keepers. The base color of the body is white, while the fins and tail are black with white edges. The black markings on the fins and tail resemble a panda bear, hence its name.

The coloration of the Panda Barb is not just aesthetically pleasing; it also serves a functional purpose. In the wild, the black markings help the fish blend into its surroundings, providing camouflage from potential predators. In an aquarium, the bold contrast between the black and white colors makes it easy for fish keepers to monitor their fish’s health and activity levels.

In addition to its striking coloration, the Panda Barb also has a streamlined body shape and a small, delicate mouth. These physical features and its peaceful demeanor make the Panda Barb a graceful and attractive addition to any fish tank. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced fish keeper, the Panda Barb is sure to impress with its distinctive appearance and charming personality.

The size of the Panda Barb is relatively small, making it an ideal choice for those with limited space or who prefer a more compact aquarium setup. On average, adult Panda Barbs reach a maximum length of around 5-6 cm (2-2.5 inches). This compact size makes them a popular choice for smaller aquariums or for those who prefer a more peaceful, low-maintenance setup.

It’s important to note that while the Panda Barb is small in size, it still requires adequate space and a well-maintained aquarium to thrive. A minimum tank size of 20 gallons is recommended for a small group of Panda Barbs, with an additional 10 gallons of space required for each additional fish. Proper water conditions, including temperature, pH, and filtration, are also crucial to ensure the health and well-being of this species.


The gender of the Panda Barb can be determined by observing several physical and behavioral characteristics. Adult male Panda Barbs are typically more slender and have more pronounced fins, while female Panda Barbs tend to be rounder and more robust in build. Additionally, male Panda Barbs may display more aggressive behavior, such as chasing and displaying dominance towards other males.

It’s important to note that in the aquarium setting, sexing Panda Barbs can be challenging and may require close observation over time. If you’re unsure about the gender of your fish, a professional aquarium expert or veterinarian may be able to assist you.

In a well-maintained aquarium, male and female Panda Barbs can coexist peacefully and form a close-knit social group. These charming and peaceful fish can be a joy to keep and observe with proper care and attention. Whether you have a male, female, or a mixture of both, the Panda Barb will surely bring elegance and serenity to any aquarium.


The behavior of the Panda Barb is one of its most endearing qualities, making it a popular choice among fish keepers. These peaceful fish are known for their social and schooling behavior in the aquarium. They are highly active and enjoy swimming in groups, making them a great choice for community aquariums.

It’s important to note that the Panda Barb is a relatively timid species and may become stressed in an overcrowded or poorly maintained aquarium. They do best in a well-maintained, peaceful environment with plenty of hiding places and plenty of swimming space. Adequate space, good water quality, and a stable environment are crucial to maintaining the health and well-being of this species.

In addition to their active and social behavior, the Panda Barb is known for its peaceful demeanor. These fish are non-aggressive and do not threaten other species in the aquarium. They can be kept with various other peaceful species, making them a great choice for community aquariums.


When it comes to selecting suitable tankmates for the Panda Barb, it’s important to consider both compatibility and size. These fish are generally peaceful and are best kept with other peaceful species of a similar size.

Here are some good tankmates for the Panda Barb:

It’s important to note that the Panda Barb may exhibit territorial behavior towards its own species, so keeping a group of five or more individuals is recommended to diffuse any aggression. Additionally, it’s best to avoid keeping the Panda Barb with aggressive or large fish species, as they may harass or attack the more peaceful barbs.

Tank conditions

The Panda Barb is a hardy species that can adapt to a wide range of water conditions in the aquarium. However, to maintain the health and well-being of these fish, it is important to provide them with an environment that closely mimics their natural habitat.

Regarding water parameters, the Panda Barb prefers a neutral pH between 7.0-7.5 and a water hardness of 10-20 dGH. It’s important to maintain stable water conditions and avoid rapid changes, as this can cause stress to the fish. Regular water changes and a high-quality filtration system are key to maintaining a healthy environment for the Panda Barb.

Regarding tank size, a minimum of 30 gallons aquarium is recommended for a single fish, with larger tanks being preferred for groups. The Panda Barb is an active swimmer and benefits from plenty of swimming space, so a taller aquarium is preferable over a wider one.

Plenty of hiding places and aquarium decorations, such as plants, caves, and rocks, can also provide the Panda Barb with a sense of security and a place to retreat to if needed. Additionally, these fish prefer moderate lighting, so it’s important to avoid placing the aquarium in direct sunlight or in areas with bright, direct lighting.


The diet of the Panda Barb is relatively straightforward and they are considered to be omnivores, meaning they will feed on both plant and animal matter. In their natural habitat, they feed on a variety of small invertebrates and algae.

The aquarium will readily accept a varied diet of both commercial and live foods. A good quality flake or pellet food forms the staple diet, while frozen or live foods, such as brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms, should be offered as a supplement.

It’s important to avoid overfeeding the Panda Barb, as this can lead to water quality issues and health problems for the fish. A couple of small feedings per day, rather than a large feeding once per day, is recommended to maintain a healthy diet.


Breeding the Panda Barb can be a challenging but rewarding experience for experienced fish keepers. In their natural habitat, these fish breed during the rainy season when water levels rise and the water becomes more alkaline.

In the aquarium, it can be difficult to replicate these conditions, but it is possible to breed them if the water quality, temperature, and pH levels are kept within the optimal range. A breeding tank with a capacity of at least 40 gallons is recommended, with a water temperature between 75-79°F and a pH range of 6.5-7.5.

The male and female Panda Barbs will usually show their readiness to breed by exhibiting specific courtship behaviors, such as chasing each other and nipping at each other’s fins. Once the female has laid her eggs, the male will fertilize them, and both parents should be removed from the breeding tank to prevent them from eating the eggs.

The eggs will hatch in 2-3 days, and the fry will be free-swimming in another 2-3 days. At this point, they can be fed a diet of newly-hatched brine shrimp or other small foods.


Like all fish species, the Panda Barb is susceptible to certain diseases if proper tank conditions and hygiene are not maintained. Common diseases affecting the Panda Barb include fin rot, ich, and bacterial infections.

It is important to regularly monitor the health of your fish and keep the tank clean to prevent the spread of diseases. This can be achieved by performing regular water changes, testing the water parameters, and keeping an eye out for any signs of illness, such as changes in behavior, loss of appetite, or visible signs of infection, such as cloudy eyes or frayed fins.

In the event of a disease outbreak, it is important to act quickly to prevent the spread of the disease to other fish in the tank. This may involve isolating affected fish, increasing the frequency of water changes, and adding aquarium salt or using aquarium-specific medications.


Jason Matthews

My name is Jason Matthews, and welcome to my website. When other kids were bragging about how their dog could sit and roll over, I was bragging about my latest Betta Fish and the cool sea castle I just added to his aquarium. 

Jason aquariume

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