Barbs are one of the most common genera of aquarium fish in terms of numbers. Their distinctive feature is unpretentiousness – barbs surviving in the harsh conditions of tropical reservoirs teeming with enemies who want to feast on small fish, even in a neglected aquarium, barbs will feel very comfortable. This species is also remarkable in that its representatives have a cheerful, bright and varied color, are unusually active, cheerful and mobile. With these qualities, they attract the attention of young aquarists.

Origin of the species and description

Photo: Barbus

Photo: Barbus

Under natural conditions, the genus of barbs inhabits the water basins of China, Africa and (mainly) Southeast Asia. In the wild, without exception, all representatives of the genus barbus live in flocks, and unusually large ones. Ichthyologists believe that it is easier for them to get their own food and defend themselves from natural enemies. It’s hard to say whether it’s true or not, but this kind of tactic allows the population of barbs to stably hold the palm in terms of the number of individuals.

Keeping barbs in artificial conditions presents practically no difficulties – that is why they start their life with “striped robbers”. career young aquarists. The chemical indicators of water, which are necessarily taken into account when choosing a fish breed (meaning hardness and acidity), do not play a special role in this situation.

Video: Barbus

Regarding water — barbs prefer the old one, which is replaced according to the classic 1/3 version. The variability of the temperature regime of water is within 20 – 26C. Ideally, consistently maintain 23-26 gr. There are several varieties of barbs that differ both in their morphometric parameters (color, size, fin features) and in character.

What's there – they even have different habitats! So, most often for aquarists and ichthyologists (these fish are ideal for all kinds of experiments).

We have to deal with the following representatives of the barb genus:

  • Sumatran barb;
  • fire barb;
  • cherry barb;
  • mutant barb;
  • denison barb;
  • black barb;
  • scarlet barb;
  • shark barb;
  • green barb;
  • linear barb;
  • clown barb

The main representatives of the genus of barbs, which have received the most wide distribution and popularity, will be discussed in detail below. Looking ahead, it is worth saying a few words about the species diversity of barbs.

The Denison barb will help to destroy all stereotypes regarding these fish – this is not a small “round fish”, as everyone imagines a barb, but a medium-sized fish with an elongated, spindle-shaped body covered with silvery scales. Yes, the classic features of the barb are preserved – stripes, but unlike other species, they do not go reproachfully, but along the body, in the direction from the tip of the snout to the caudal fin.

Appearance and Features

Photo: What a barb looks like

Photo: What a barb looks like

When the word “barb” is mentioned in people's minds (unless, of course, they are ichthyologists) a picture of a yellow striped fish pops up. This is — Sumatran barbus, a resident of aquariums of all sizes. The body of this fish is short, high and slightly compressed on the sides.

If you turn on the imagination, then you can come to the conclusion that the shape of the body of the Sumatran barb is very similar to the shape of the body of a crucian. But the sizes are different – in natural conditions, the “striped robbers” do not grow more than 15 cm, and in captivity their dimensions do not exceed even 8 cm. Yes, and the color is very different – even more similar yellow carp never has stripes.

The “visiting card” of the Sumatran barb is its signature 4 black stripes that cross the body of the fish in the transverse direction. The extreme stripes are visible at the very tail – on the one hand, on the other, the stripes pass through the eye. At the end of the dorsal fin there is a bordering red stripe.

The less famous fire barb has an oval body, somewhat elongated in length, but also flattened on the sides. For the color of this fish, mother nature used bright, catchy and quite colorful colors. A distinctive feature of this species is the presence of a noticeable dark spot, bordered by a golden circle.

This spot is located on the front of the tail. The scales on the back of the fire barb have a greenish-olive tint, but the sides and abdomen have a bright red, pronounced tint (it was he who became the reason for such a name). Unlike the Sumatran barb, “a fighter and fidget”, this fish shows a strikingly peaceful character and gets along well with all the fish, even in a small aquarium. Best of all, he makes contact with his relatives – flocks of barbs lead a restless lifestyle.

Unless conflicts can arise with veiltails and scalars – seeing their amazing “forms”, even this quiet one will remember his origin. As a result, luxurious tails and fins will be hopelessly damaged. The only exception is goldfish. Their barbs do not touch, even being in a flock — fear. Or they respect it – no one has yet learned to understand the fish language.

Where does the barb live?

Photo: Barbus fish

Photo: Barbus fish

Regarding the Sumatran barb, this question not relevant – from the name it is easy to guess that the main “registration” of this fish is the island of Sumatra and the regions of Southeast Asia adjacent to it. The natural habitat of the fire barb is the water basins of northeastern India.

The main requirement that these bright and cheerful fish make for a pond is the absence of an intense current – unpretentious barbs will populate a lake or pond with stagnant water. Slow-flowing rivers are also suitable.

Interesting fact: As it turned out, this fish, in addition to aquarists, is very respected by ichthyologists. It has the perfect set of qualities vital for experimenting with members of the bony fish class.

The homeland of the cherry barb is considered to be Southeast Asia (more specifically, the island of Sri Lanka). The fish lives (in fact, almost like all its relatives) in stagnant and sluggishly flowing reservoirs. Another criterion for the suitability of a reservoir is a dark, silty bottom.

In Europe, the cherry barbus first arrived in 1936, in the USSR — in 1959 Like the Sumatran, the red barius is a frequent resident in amateur aquariums. There is also an albino form of the cherry barb, but these individuals are considered mutants and are not in demand among aquarists. Some breeders sell them to beginners at exorbitant prices – under the guise of “the rarest tropical fish.” And this is where marketing comes in!

The Denisoni barb mentioned above was originally discovered by the explorer whose name he immortalized in the waters of the Manimala River (near the city of Mundakayam, Kerala, southern India). The species is notable for being endemic to the Indian states of Kerala and Karnataka. Small populations can be found in the basins of the Valapatanam, Chalia and Kupam rivers.

But still, the main habitat of almost all representatives of the barbus genus is an aquarium! An ideal aquarium for any barb should have an elongated, somewhat elongated shape (and by no means round) – this is necessary so that frisky fish have the opportunity to “gain acceleration”. The presence of floating plants, bright lighting, powerful filtration and aeration are the necessary conditions for the successful breeding and keeping of barbs.

What does a barb eat?

Photo: Barb female

Photo: Barb female

In natural conditions, fish feed small insects, bugs, worms, insect larvae, do not disdain plant food. The barbs living in the aquarium are treated to the usual food for all aquarium fish – bloodworms and daphnia.

The fish throws itself at the bloodworm thrown into the aquarium with amazing greed (regardless of whether the barb is hungry or not). At the same time, having swallowed a couple of bloodworms, he swims away from the food sent to the aquarium and does not approach him again.

This once again indicates that these fish are completely unpretentious in feeding, they happily eat both live and dry food. Adult Sumatran barbs need additional plant food, although they themselves manage to find it by plucking aquarium vegetation.

They consume food in the water column, but if necessary, they can find food both from the surface and from the bottom. Despite all their mobility and active lifestyle, barbs are prone to obesity. The output of — for adults, it is necessary to arrange one unloading day. Once a week, not more often.

And one more very important point that must be taken into account when choosing neighbors for the barb in the aquarium. Under natural conditions of life, the barb is the main destroyer of eggs and fry of other fish and frogs. Moreover, the striped robber does not disdain anyone's offspring, except, of course, his own breed.

Barbs skillfully look for even securely hidden masonry and enjoy caviar, which contains a lot of useful nutrients. Moreover, in captivity, barbs retain such an ugly habit – they will destroy the eggs of any other fish, and even go for it at the risk of their lives.

Well, the barb will not stand aside as long as at least one egg is intact or one fry is alive! Therefore, if you want to breed fish in an aquarium, do not put them together with barbs in any case – they will eat the offspring, guarantee & # 8212; 100%. And do not add young animals to them – they will also be destined to suffer.

Peculiarities of character and lifestyle

Photo: Red barb

Photo: Red barb

The life expectancy of barbs is about 5-6 years in natural conditions, and 3-4 years in captivity (subject to the observance of all the fish necessary for a comfortable life in the aquarium). The life expectancy of all barbs is approximately the same. They live for about five years.

Interesting fact: A favorite pastime of barbs is to sneak up behind the veil-tailed lumps and bite off pieces from their fins. They do this because the lush fins themselves cause irritation, taking up too much space in the already limited water space. It is possible that the barbs, modestly decorated by Mother Nature, feel black envy towards their overdressed brothers.

Undemanding, unpretentious barbs will survive even the most illiterate aquarists – there would be a water filter and aerator. Everything, nothing else is needed – and in terms of food, these fish are generally omnivorous, they will eat everything they give. Don't feed — barbs will be happy to refresh themselves with the leaves of aquarium plants. In extreme cases, other fish will become food – even a cichlid will not be able to resist a flock of barbs.

Barbs show unhealthy interest in relation to guppies – clumsy fish with beautiful, fluttering tails, cause an attack of unmotivated aggression in barbs (mainly Sumatran). They almost never get along with these fish in the same territory.

Social Structure and Reproduction

Photo: Male barb

Photo: Barb male

Barbs in artificial conditions can spawn at almost any time of the year. In order to allow the fish to realize a successful spawning, it is necessary to properly select the producers and follow their preparation for it. The ability to reproduce occurs in fish that have reached the age of approximately 7-8 months, but the process of preparing spawners should be carried out much earlier.

At the age of 3.5-4 months, the most brightly colored fish are selected from the young, in accordance with the age of the developing fish, and they are moved to a special aquarium. The water temperature there should not go beyond the range of 23-25 ​​C. This is due to the fact that if the temperature is higher, then the barbs will reach puberty faster. But as practice shows, fast does not mean good. The thing is that barbs that have reached puberty prematurely do not show their best side in spring spawning.

Breeding barbs, as a rule, is carried out in separate pairs. However, the ideal option would be the resettlement of a small group (the classic version & # 8212; female and 2-3 males). This will ensure the maximum percentage of fertilization of eggs. In the event that the fish were initially prepared correctly, the duration of spawning will be several hours (the process usually occurs in the morning).

Natural enemies of barbs

Photo: What a barb looks like

Photo: What a barb looks like

There is one very An interesting (and logical) rule that aquarists often forget about. Especially beginners. Either they simply do not take it into account, or they naively believe that it will not work due to certain circumstances. But alas, it is not.

Those species of fish that are enemies (competitors) of the barb in the natural environment remain the same for him in the aquarium. That is, if the barbs stubbornly “do not get along” with cockerels and guppies in tropical waters, then they will also fight with them in the aquarium. Genetic memory, there's nothing you can do about it. These fish are their enemies for resources, so they will definitely not be able to live peacefully together.

Another sworn enemy of barbs is gourami. If sometimes (in large aquariums and with systematic generous feeding) they sometimes get along with cockerels, then when they see the gourami, the barbs immediately proceed to sort things out.

Most likely, in this case it played a role interspecific competition – the gourami diet is similar to the barb diet, so competition for food can be completely tolerated. And what a perfectly logical explanation! After all, every fish wants to eat daphnia and bloodworms, and not be content with plant foods in the form of young shoots of algae.

Population and species status

Photo: Barbus fish

Photo: Barbus fish

Something, but barbs are definitely not threatened by extinction. Neither in the natural environment, nor in the artificial. These fish confidently keep their ecological niche, gradually replacing representatives of less competitive species. And among aquarists, the fashion for barbs will never go away – these fish are strongly associated in the minds of people as an attribute of any aquarium. Especially the little one. So unpretentiousness and the ability to adapt even to such conditions of survival, where any other fish would die, make the little barb the “king” of tropical reservoirs and aquariums.

Another reason for its survival is the massive, purposeful destruction of fish eggs of species competing for the main natural resources (food and living space). At the same time, the same fish, whose “future” is actively destroyed by striped robbers, practically do not damage the laying of barbs. No, not because of excess nobility. And for the reason that the barbus hides them very well! In addition, few fish are able to search for eggs as masterfully as a small, but very cunning and treacherous barb does.

Even the release of herbicides from the fields did not lead to a narrowing of the barb population – they adapted to survive under the condition of exposure unfavorable anthropogenic factor.

The barbus is an unusual animal that has many species that differ from each other not only in appearance, but also in character, lifestyle, and many other features. The most popular was the Sumatran barb – these yellow little striped fish demonstrate miracles of survival, easily adapting to any, even the most adverse conditions. That in natural conditions, that in an aquarium. This allowed barbs to become one of the most popular fish among aquarists, especially beginners.

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