Information, Barbs, Cyprinids, Species

Spanner barb (Barbodes lateristriga)

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by Jason Matthews



The Spanner Barb, also known as the Slender Barb, is a popular and hardy fish species that is widely sought after by pet fish owners and hobbyists. Originating from Southeast Asia, this species is known for its sleek and vibrant appearance, making it a great addition to any aquarium. With their active and playful behavior, Spanner Barbs are sure to bring a spark of life to any tank. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced pet fish owner, you will find the Spanner Barb to be an entertaining and low-maintenance species. In this article, we will explore the fascinating world of the Spanner Barb, covering everything from their origin and appearance to their diet, breeding, and disease prevention. So, buckle up and get ready to dive into the exciting world of the Spanner Barb!


Scientific Name: Barbodes lateristriga
Common Names: Spanner barb, T-barb
Life Expectancy: Up to 10 years
Adult Size: Up to 7 inches (18 cm)


HabitatLarge rivers, lakes and floodplain
OriginSoutheast Asia
Care LevelModerate
TemperamentSchooling and peaceful
Tank LevelAll levels, but prefer mid to upper levels
Minimum Tank Size50 gallons
Water pH6.5-7.5
Water Temperature72-79°F (22-26°C)
Water Hardness5-15 dGH
LightingLow to moderate
Tank MatesOther peaceful fish of similar size and temperament, avoid slow-moving fish with long fins

Fun Fact Corner

Did you know that Spanner Barbs are known for their unique courtship display? During breeding season, males will display their vibrant colors and swim around the female in an attempt to attract her attention. The male will also construct a nest using bubbles to entice the female to lay her eggs.


The Spanner Barb is native to the tropical waters of Southeast Asia, specifically in the rivers and streams of Thailand, Cambodia, and Malaysia. These fish have been a staple in the pet fish industry for many years and have been widely exported to other countries for their beauty and hardiness.

Spanner Barbs are well-suited to life in aquariums and are popular among hobbyists for their ease of care. They are known for their ability to adapt to various water conditions and are generally hardy fish, making them a great choice for beginner and intermediate pet fish owners.

In the wild, Spanner Barbs are social and active fish that live in large schools and feed on various small aquatic insects and crustaceans.

Appearance & Size

The Spanner Barb is a visually stunning species that is known for its sleek and vibrant appearance. Their body is covered in metallic green scales that shimmer and shine under the right lighting conditions, giving them a mesmerizing and eye-catching look.

The fins are long and flowing and add to the species’ overall graceful and elegant appearance. The Spanner Barb’s body and fins are also accented with black markings, giving them a bold and dramatic look.

The Spanner Barb is a small to medium-sized fish species, typically reaching a size of 7 inches in length when fully grown. This compact size makes them a great choice for smaller aquariums and setups, as they do not require a lot of space to thrive. However, it is important to note that while they are small in size, they are still active and energetic fish that need plenty of room to swim and explore.

It is also worth mentioning that Spanner Barbs are relatively fast-growing fish and can reach their full size in as little as one year with proper care and nutrition. They have a life span of around 10 years, which is typical for most small-sized tropical fish species.


The Spanner Barb is a species that exhibits sexual dimorphism, meaning that males and females have distinct physical differences that can be used to distinguish between the two genders.

Male Spanner Barbs are more brightly colored and have more pronounced fins than females. Their bodies are often slimmer and more streamlined, and their red fins are typically longer and more vibrant.

Female Spanner Barbs, on the other hand, are generally plumper and have less vibrant coloration. They also tend to have shorter and less pronounced fins compared to males.

These differences are most pronounced during breeding season, when males will become even more colorful, and their fins will become even more elongated and pronounced.

It is important to note that sexing Spanner Barbs can be difficult for inexperienced pet fish owners, as the differences between males and females are not always obvious. However, with a little experience and observation, it is possible to determine the gender of your fish and ensure that you have a healthy and balanced population in your tank.


The Spanner Barb is a highly active and energetic species that is known for its lively and playful behavior. In the wild, they are known to swim in large schools, and in captivity, they are best kept in groups of at least six individuals to encourage social behavior and reduce stress. When kept in a spacious and well-maintained aquarium, Spanner Barbs swim energetically and playfully throughout the day, adding a vibrant and lively dynamic to your tank.

It is important to note that Spanner Barbs can be somewhat nippy and may chase other fish species, especially if they are not kept in a large enough group. To reduce aggression and encourage peaceful behavior, keeping them in a well-planted tank with plenty of hiding places and open swimming space is recommended.


When it comes to choosing tankmates for your Spanner Barbs, it is important to consider their behavior and temperament. Spanner Barbs are relatively peaceful fish that will do well in a community tank, but they can become aggressive towards other fish if they are kept in a crowded or overly-stressed environment.

Here are some good tankmates for Spanner Barbs:

It is important to note that Spanner Barbs are known to be fin-nippers, and may nip the fins of slow-moving or long-finned fish, such as angelfish and bettas. As a result, it is best to avoid these types of fish when choosing tankmates for your Spanner Barbs.

Tank conditions

The SpannerBarb is a hardy and adaptable species that can tolerate many tank conditions. However, to maintain their health and well-being, providing them with an aquarium that meets their basic needs is important.

Regarding water quality, Spanner Barbs prefer a neutral pH of 7.0-7.5, with a water hardness between 10-20 dGH. They are also tolerant of a range of water temperatures, but it is recommended to maintain a temperature of 76-82°F to ensure optimal health and well-being.

Regarding tank size, Spanner Barbs are a relatively active and energetic species that will thrive in a spacious tank. A minimum tank size of 50 gallons is recommended for a small group of Spanner Barbs, with larger tanks being needed for larger groups or for keeping multiple species.

Regarding filtration and aeration, Spanner Barbs are not particularly demanding, but it is important to provide a well-filtered and well-aerated environment to maintain good water quality and stability. Regular water changes and maintenance are also important to ensure the health and well-being of your Spanner Barbs.

Spanner Barbs are a highly active species that will appreciate a well-planted tank with plenty of hiding places and open swimming space. Live or artificial plants, rocks, and caves can all be used to create a suitable habitat for your fish and will help to reduce stress and encourage natural behavior.


The Spanner Barb is an omnivore, requiring both plant and animal-based food in its diet. In the wild, these fish feed on various small insects, crustaceans, and plant matter.

In captivity, Spanner Barbs will do well on a diet of high-quality flake or pellet food and frozen or live foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia. It is important to provide a varied diet to ensure they receive all the necessary nutrients and vitamins needed to maintain their health and vitality.

Spanner Barbs will also appreciate the occasional feeding of fresh or blanched vegetables, such as spinach, lettuce, or peas. This will give them a healthy fiber source and essential vitamins and minerals.

When feeding your Spanner Barbs, it is important to be mindful of overfeeding, as this can lead to water quality issues and other health problems. Feed them small amounts 2-3 times a day, and only offer as much food as they can consume in a few minutes. Providing a well-balanced diet can help ensure your Spanner Barbs stay healthy and thrive in your aquarium.


Breeding Spanner Barbs can be a challenging but rewarding experience for intermediate to experienced fishkeepers. These fish are relatively easy to breed in the right conditions, but providing the proper setup and care is important to ensure success.

The first step in breeding Spanner Barbs is to ensure that you have a healthy and sexually mature pair. The males will have more pointed fins and vibrant colors, while the females will be slightly larger and have a rounder appearance.

Next, you must create a breeding tank that mimics their natural habitat. This should include a fine-grained substrate, such as sand or fine gravel, and plenty of live or artificial plants for the female to lay her eggs in. Additionally, you should provide a strong, steady flow of water to keep the eggs and fry oxygenated.

When the female is ready to lay her eggs, she will do so in the plants or on a flat surface. The male will then fertilize the eggs and both parents will protect and care for the eggs and fry.

It is important to note that Spanner Barbs are not known for being the most attentive parents, so removing the parents from the breeding tank and raising the fry in a separate tank may be necessary. This will ensure that the fry receives adequate nutrition and are not at risk of being eaten by their parents.

By providing the proper setup and care, you can successfully breed Spanner Barbs and enjoy watching the next generation grow and thrive in your aquarium.


The Spanner Barb is a hardy fish species, but like all fish, they can still fall prey to diseases. Common fish diseases such as fin rot, ich, and parasites can affect Spanner Barbs if proper tank conditions are not maintained.

It is important to keep the water clean and maintain a stable water environment by regularly testing for pH levels and other parameters to prevent diseases.

Additionally, it is crucial to quarantine new fish before adding them to the tank to prevent the spread of diseases from one fish to another.


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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