Information, Barbs, Cyprinids, Freshwater fish, Species

Rosy Barb: Complete Species & Care Overview

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by Jason Matthews



Rosy barbs are a popular aquarium fish. This is because they are colorful, active, and peaceful, making them ideal for both seasoned aquarists and beginners.

If you are considering keeping rosy barbs, you need to know all their needs – from their diet, tank setup, compatible tankmates, and how to breed them.

This article will guide you on how to take care of rosy barbs and ensure that they stay healthy.


Scientific Name: Puntius conchonius
Common Name: Rosy barb, red barb
Life Expectancy: About five years
Adult Size: 6 inches


TemperamentPeaceful and active
Primary DietOmnivore
Beginner FriendlyEasy to intermediate
Tank preferenceMid-level to top
Tank Size30 gallon
Water Temperature64 – 79 F
Water ParametersA pH of 6.5, water hardness 4 – 10 dGH
BreedingEgg layer

Fun Fact Corner

Rosy barbs are powerful jumpers. Therefore, they can easily jump out of the fish tank if you don’t have a lid. To avoid this, ensure that you have a tight lid on your aquarium.


This fish species is native to Southern Asia; therefore, you’ll find them in large populations in tropical waters. You can now find rosy barbs in different countries, including Australia, Colombia, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Singapore. In their natural habitat, rosy barbs live in areas that have fast-flowing water.

They are popular shoaling fish, so they move together in their natural habitat. Feral communities of this fish species have developed in other non-native regions because they have been part of the pet trade industry for a long time.


rosy barb fish
Image: danykur, depositphotos

The rosy barb is the perfect option if you are looking for a colorful addition to your fish tank. This fish species has gained popularity due to its attractiveness. They have a reddish-pink color all over their body which intensifies during mating and fades when they are stressed.

Their appearance is quite simple. They don’t have any standout features or distinct markings. They have torpedo-shaped bodies and forked tails.

While the tail has a dorsal fork, the anal and dorsal fins are actually shorter. Both males and females have black markings on the sides and fins.


Rosy barbs are hard to differentiate when young. However, as they grow older, there are several ways to differentiate between males and females.

Male rosy barbs have a brighter red coloration on their bodies than females. The male bodies are also more slender. On the other hand, females are plumper and lack red coloration. Instead, they are more gold, olive, and yellow.

Average Size

As adults, rosy barbs grow to about 6 inches. However, they mature when they are about 2.5 inches long. Therefore, if you buy them from the pet store when they are still young, keep in mind that they will become larger as time goes by.


Rosy barbs are peaceful; therefore, they work well as part of a community tank. They tend to be quite shy on their own or once they get introduced to a new environment. However, after they start socializing with others, they gain confidence.

In addition, they are shoaling species, so they become stressed if you stock them on their own. Like most barbs, rosy barbs also have a reputation for fin-nipping.

Since they are an active and powerful swimmer, you’ll notice that they chase around fish with flowing tails. However, this behavior tends to reduce if you keep them in a shoaling group.


Ideally, you should house more than five rosy barbs together because they are shoaling fish. Although they are peaceful, they are fin-nippers, so you should avoid stocking them together with long-finned or slow-moving species. The best tankmates for rosy barbs should be peaceful and also species that prefer cooler water.

Some species that co-exist peacefully with rosy barbs include cherry barbs, tiger barbs, swordtails, gouramis, angelfish, mollies, neon tetras celestial, American cichlids, and pearl danios. Most aquarists stock rosy barbs with cichlids to attract shy cichlids from their hiding spots.

Additionally, you can add kuhli loaches, shrimps, and different types of snails at the bottom of the tank. You should also avoid keeping rosy barbs with aggressive and territorial fish species.

Tank Conditions

In the wild, you can find rosy barbs in fast-moving lakes and rivers. They are hardy species, meaning they can adapt easily to a wide range of conditions.

Although they can live comfortably in a 20-gallon tank, a bigger 30-gallon tank is much better. In captivity, rosy barbs don’t spend a lot of time at the bottom; however, you should use sand or fine-grained gravel as a substrate.

Rosy barbs can survive in a tank with a temperature range between 64-79F. The water pH should be between 6 to 7, and the hardness between 4-10 dGH. Although this fish species is hardy, it’s advisable to conduct regular water tests and confirm that the parameters are in order.

As you set up the tank, ensure it’s well-decorated because rosy barbs are active and playful. Add substrate to help with the plants. Keep in mind that rosy barbs are known for shredding plant leaves, so you should choose the right plants, such as Java ferns.


Rosy barbs are omnivores; therefore, you shouldn’t have difficulty feeding them. They can feed on worms, insects, crustaceans, flakes, pellets, frozen foods, brine, shrimp, and bloodworms.

You can also offer them peas or zucchini as a treat. Feed your fish at least twice a day and ensure that you feed them only for two minutes to avoid overfeeding.


Breeding rosy barbs is relatively easy. While you can breed them in the community tank, doing it in a separate tank is advisable. This fish species prefer to breed in shallow waters; therefore, you should add a few inches of water in the separate tank.

Once the female lays eggs, remove the bonded pair and wait for 30 hours for the eggs to hatch. Keep the fry in a separate tank until they can start swimming on their own.


Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned aquarist, rosy barbs are an excellent choice for your community tank. They are peaceful, easy to care for, and a colorful addition to your tank. As long as you feed them and ensure the tank is in good condition, they will thrive.


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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