Sumatran barb

The Sumatran barb is a freshwater fish that occupies the middle part of the aquarium. It has a beautiful appearance that attracts many aquarists and is really popular. However, it is not suitable for all aquariums. These fish have strong personalities, so it is advisable to be careful when keeping them in a community tank.

Origin of the species and description

Photo: Sumatran barb

Photo: Sumatran barb

The Sumatran barb comes from the carp family and its scientific name is Puntius tetrazona. This fish is native to Indonesia in Southeast Asia. There is an albino fish species and a green variety, all of which are fast swimmers and love to tease other fish. They are very active, excellent swimmers, always on the move in open water, and enjoy chasing and biting the fins of other calmer species. The Sumatran barb is quite sensitive to a large number of diseases.

Video: Sumatran barb

Sumatran barb — This is a fish that is increasingly found in the aquarium. It is a big pollutant and a big oxygen consumer that requires excellent filtration and regular water changes. He is a very good swimmer, the length of the aquarium for him alone should be at least 1m 20 cm. To avoid attacks with other fish in the aquarium, it is necessary to keep them at 10 minimum. Its beauty and behavior will show up better in a spacious aquarium with good company than alone in an aquarium, although its dynamism and aggressiveness interfere with many species.

Fun fact: Healthier fish will bright, saturated colors, as well as shades of red at the tip of the tail, fins and nose.

The Sumatran barb is relatively easy to care for and will reach a maximum size of 7-20cm once it reaches adulthood, making it an ideal size for keeping in an aquarium.

Appearance and Features

Photo: What the Sumatran barb looks like

Photo: What the Sumatran barb looks like

The body shape of the Sumatran barb is convex, the mouth is rounded, without notches. The lateral line is incomplete. General color silvery white, backs olive brown, flanks reddish brown.

There are four dark transverse stripes on the body with green metallic reflections:

  • first crosses the eye and almost crosses the lower edge of the gill bone;
  • the second, located slightly in front of the back, in principle extends to the ventral line, but it is very variable, and sometimes completely absent;
  • the third is adjacent to a large black spot that occupies the entire base of the back and is elongated at the base of the anus;
  • the fourth stripe ends the caudal peduncle.

The ventral fins and dorsal coloration are bright red, anal and caudal more or less red, with variations depending on the age of the fish. The snout is more or less red. In addition, there are more or less random changes: black abdomen and pigmented eyes or albino, or green-black abdomen.

The Sumatran barb is a beautiful fish with black stripes. With a life expectancy of 5 years, the Sumatran barb can grow up to 7 cm as an adult.

Where does the Sumatran barb live?

Photo: Red Sumatran barb

Photo: Red Sumatran Barb

Originating from the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, this species has been widely introduced and grown in many countries as an ornamental fish, but some specimens have escaped into local streams. The Sumatran barb belongs to the group of striped tiger barbs from the Indo-Malay region. The animal is quite difficult to systematize. Very close to it is the four-banded barb of the Malay Peninsula, which is distinguished by a pair of short maxillary antennae and some other differences.

Both forms were imported around the same time (1933 — 1935 in Germany); however, while the Sumatran barb has become one of the most popular species among hobbyists, the four-banded barb is losing ground, becoming infrequent on the market. The large genus Barbus from the subfamily Barbinae lives in the fresh waters of Europe, Asia and Africa. Among the many divisions that, depending on the circumstances, were considered as genera or subgenera.

The following are worth noting:

  • Barbus;
  • Puntius;
  • Systomus;
  • Capoeta;
  • Barbodes.

Some authors have placed all small exotic species in the Genus Puntius, while Genus Barbus is used for large European species. Other authors divide them between Puntius, Capoeta and Barbodes. Finally, the Genus Systomus wins in 2013, but the Swiss ichthyologist Maurice Kottelat placed this species in the new Genus Puntigrus in November 2013 during the nomenclature.

In its natural environment, the Sumatran barb lives in acidic water. Water acidification comes from the decomposition of plants. This phenomenon changes the color of the water, which turns brown. In certain areas, which are especially rich in organic matter, the water becomes so altered that it is characterized as black. The species develops at shallow depths in areas with a high content of plants (aquatic and marsh plants, decaying organic matter, branches, etc.). The soil is usually sandy and humus. The Sumatran barb is a fish that lives naturally between 26° C and 29° C. The pH of the water ranges from 5.0 to 6.5.

What does the Sumatran barb eat? barbus?

Photo: Sumatran barbs in the aquarium

Photo: Sumatran barb in an aquarium

The Sumatran barb is an omnivore and will accept all foods offered for aquarium fish, but he prefers the prey of the living. In the wild, the barb feeds on worms, small crustaceans, and plant matter. Don't overfeed them because they don't know how to limit themselves to their needs.

They will eat just about anything you give them, including tropical fish flakes. All food should be absorbed in less than 3 minutes. When feeding Sumatran barbs, you can alternate live and dry food, but do not forget about vegetables.

Fun fact: Male Sumatran barbs have brighter colors, while females have duller body colors.

Dry food is fine for them to feed, but these fish prefer live prey or, if not available, may eat frozen: brine shrimp, tubifex, grindal, mosquito larvae, daphnia, etc. Some of their diet should be plant-based in the form of algae (e.g. spirulina). Vegetarian fish is also recommended for a daily meal choice.

Sumatran barbs — they are colorful fish, so it is important to offer them food that will support their color and overall vitality. To increase their protein intake, these fish will be happy to accept a random diet of freeze-dried and live foods, including brine, daphnia, and others.

Now you know everything about the content of the Sumatran barb. Let's see how a fish survives in the wild.

Character and lifestyle features

Photo: Female Sumatran Barb

Photo: Female Sumatran Barb

The Sumatran barb has a multifaceted character. It can be very aggressive, especially if kept in a small aquarium. Like most barbs, he is very active and dynamic, has a sociable instinct and needs to live with someone nearby (it is worth making a group of 1 male to 2 females). The larger the aquarium, the more this fish will become wiser with other species.

Indeed, instead, males will tend to quarrel and continue to fight among themselves for the attention of females. As a result, aggression will remain intraspecific. You will also observe more beautiful colors by keeping Sumatran barbs in large numbers: this — competing males who flaunt themselves in front of females.

This species enjoys living in densely planted aquariums with lots of rocks, logs and decorations to swim in and hide in. High-set tanks are not necessary, but they will help keep the fish happy and give them enough space to breed successfully.

Fun fact: Sumatran barbs love to make laws in the aquarium and spend most of their time chasing other aquarium inhabitants. They also have an unfortunate tendency to bite on anything other than food: the hand, the fangs of a fish, or even their fins. If kept in too small a group or alone, this fish can become aggressive with other aquarium inhabitants.

Social structure and reproduction

Photo: Sumatran barb fish

Photo: Sumatran barb fish

Reproduction of the Sumatran barb in the aquarium remains quite possible. To do this, you need to allocate a special aquarium to provide room for fish in adulthood. Place a protective grill on the bottom of this aquarium (15 l) and decorate with thin-leaved plants such as moss. Fill it with water and aim for a temperature of 26°C and a pH of 6.5/7. Add, if possible, peat extract. Prepare your parents by offering them an abundance of live prey.

When the females seem weightless, select a pair and place them in the spawning tank. Males are very aggressive and may even kill non-pregnant females. Therefore, if spawning does not occur within 24 hours, it is best to separate the pair and try again later. All barbs are oviparous. Eggs are laid in batches of 8-12 during sessions that are often started by females.

The fish crowd against each other in bunches of plants and with a strong tremor secrete the hammerhead and eggs (up to 500 & # 8212; 600). The egg tray is at least 60 cm long. It is filled with fresh water, preferably pH 6.5-7 and fresh (well oxygenated), and provided with several bunches of plants or artificial spawning support (mop-type nylon fibers). The water temperature is slightly higher (by 2°C) than the breeders.

They lay their eggs in the evening and, as a rule, the latter lie until the next morning. The rays of the rising sun contribute to this process. Parents are weaned at the end of the laying. Hatching occurs between 24 and 48 hours. Newborn fish should be fed ciliate infusion for the first 4 or 5 days. They grow quickly and if the tank is large enough, the young will lay eggs at 10-12 months of age.

Natural enemies of Sumatran barbs

Photo: What a Sumatran barb looks like

Photo: What a Sumatran barb looks like

Sumatran barbs have few natural enemies. There is a lot of sunlight in Sumatra, and in clear water it is easy to see these fish. But their yellow coloring with black stripes helps to hide from enemies. They go down to the sand to the bottom and take up a place there among the weed stalks, and you won't be able to see it there at all. The dark stems on the yellow sand are similar to the stripes on the body of the Sumatran barbs.

This species is threatened by disease. All fish diseases are divided into infectious (caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi and various parasites) and non-infectious (for example, congenital pathologies or poisoning due to poor ecology). In general, Sumatran barbs are characterized by excellent health and rarely get sick. The most frequent diseases they have are associated with “character”: they often simply infringe on themselves. Treating such cases is simple — hunger and only hunger. However, they, like any inhabitants of the aquarium, sometimes suffer from infectious diseases, but it is very difficult for a simple amateur without a specialist to make a correct diagnosis.

Any white spots on the body of the fish mean that the simplest parasites have settled in it. The common name for this disease is ichthyophthyroidism. The circulation of the protozoan in the aquarium is easy, and getting rid of parasites — the task is not an easy one. If white spots form on the head, closer to the nose, and turn into ulcers, then most likely the fish is sick with hexamitosis, another parasitic disease. Sometimes a simple change in water temperature can help treat both, but special treatments such as miconazole or tripaflavin must be used.

Population and species status

Photo: Sumatran barbs

Photo: Sumatran barbs

Populations of this species are not threatened by external dangers. The Sumatran barb is a particularly widespread species in the aquarium trade. In order to keep it, it is advisable to place at least 8 individuals in an aquarium with a volume of at least 160 liters. At the same time, the service of the group is a prerequisite for ensuring their well-being. The animal can become aggressive if there are few other fish near it. Mixing several species living in the same natural area is not recommended unless the volume matches.

Because the Sumatran barb naturally lives in acidic water, a peat filter setup is ideal for its balance. The addition of decomposing alder leaves and fruits can greatly improve the conditions of its maintenance by naturally increasing the acidity of the water. The species lives in an environment especially rich in vegetation. The addition of plants will offer him plenty of places to hide, which will reduce his potential stress. For good care of this species, it is recommended to keep the nitrate level below 50 mg/l by performing a monthly renewal of 20% to 30% of the water, and the water should be at room temperature. In terms of useful life, a healthy Sumatran barb typically lives 5 to 10 years.

Sumatran barb — an excellent fish to keep in an aquarium, but coexistence with calmer and smaller fish should be avoided. This is a fish that is used to swimming in groups and will not be able to develop without neighbors. For the neighborhood, for example, tetra fish, zebrafish, spotted pecilia are suitable for her.

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