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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Pet Care Library > Articles > Barbs

Barbs

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Traits & behavior

Omnivores
Barbs eat both plant and animal matter, including prepared foods, small live foods and certain vegetables.

Middle swimmers
You will see your barbs swimming in the middle of your aquarium. To create a beautiful environment, be sure to add some top and bottom swimmers as well. Ask a PetSmart associate to help you choose.

Active
Barbs are lively, playful, active swimmers and may harass or nip the fins of slow-moving fish.

Schoolers
That means they like to swim in groups of 3-5 or more.
 

Things to remember

Adding fish
Whether you're just starting your aquarium or introducing new fish into your tank, don't forget to add only 1-3 at a time.

Safety & cleanliness
Please remember that all pets may bite or scratch, and may transmit disease to humans. Keep your pet's home clean and wash your hands before and after handling your pet or cleaning his home. Infants, young children, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems, and the infirm or elderly are at greater risk of infections and should use caution when in contact with the pet or its habitat. Consult your doctor for more information.
 

Nutrition

Staple diet
Choose a tropical flake or pellet food. Feed according to the directions on the package.

Vegetables
Small amounts of romaine lettuce, zucchini and peas are a good addition to the diet. Also try a prepared food made with spirulina (a nutritious type of algae). Remove uneaten vegetables after four hours.

Specialty foods
Vary their diet by including frozen or freeze-dried bloodworms, tubifex worms and other small worms, mosquito larvae and daphnia. Always remember to thaw frozen foods before feeding.

Frequent feedings
For optimum health, feed your barbs as much food as they will consume in 1-3 minutes, twice a day. You can alternate between regular staple diet feedings and 2-4 meals per week of a specialty food.

Health

Signs your barbs are healthy:

  • Eating vigorously and actively swimming
  • Clear eyes, smooth, clean skin and fins free from any lesions or inconsistent colorations
  • Calm, steady gill movements

Things to watch for:

  • Lying on bottom of aquarium
  • Poor growth or weight loss
  • Inflamed gills, skin or fins
  • Fins clamped to sides
  • Scraping body on rocks
  • Swimming away from the school

If you notice any of the signs described above, check your aquarium water quality and consult a PetSmart Aquatics Specialist.
 

Environment

Aquarium
Start with a 20-gallon or larger, long aquarium. A good rule of thumb is one gallon of water for every one inch of full-grown fish.

Décor
Decorate their aquarium with rocks, driftwood and plants, but be sure to place them on the sides and back of the tank so they'll have enough space to swim in the center.

Fish compatibility
Barbs are healthiest and happiest in an aquarium with a large school for active swimming and games. They may become aggressive if kept in too small a group, or may become shy and withdrawn if kept alone.

Water changes
Test water weekly to assess water quality. It is recommended that 10% of your aquarium water be changed per week. At the very least, 25% of your aquarium water should be changed per month.

Water temperature
Barbs require a tropical community aquarium with water temperatures ranging between 68-78° F. Use an aquarium heater to maintain water temperature.

Aquarium placement
Place your aquarium in a low-traffic area, away from direct sunlight and drafts.

Aquarium stand
An aquarium stand will safely support the weight of your filled aquarium.

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