Barbus

Barbus is a genus of ray-finned fishes belonging to the family Cyprinidae. This type of species is the common barbel, first named Cyprinus Barbus, now named Barbel Barbus. Their common names - barbs, and barbels refer to the fact that most members of the genera have a pair of barbels on their mouth, which they can use to search for food at the bottom of the water.


Barbels are often fished for food, in some areas they are of commercial significance.  The hard roe of the Barbus is often poisonous. The larger Barber Barbus are often eaten in their native regions.

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What is Barb Fish?

Barb, also known as Barbel, (genus Barbus) is any of the freshwater fishes belonging to the genus in a carp family, Cyprinidae. Barbs are inborn in Europe, Africa, and Asia. The members of these species generally have one or more pairs of barbels near the mouth and often have very large shining scales. These species vary widely in size; certain barbs are only 2.5 - 5 cm long whereas the mahseer of India is maybe 2 cm long. Several species are recorded as endangered in the Red Data Book.


Types of Barb Fish 

Following are the different types of Barb fish:


Tiger Barb

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Tiger barb, also known as Sumatra Barb, species of tropical Cyprinid fish. The national geographic regions of these species extend throughout the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, and Borneo in Indonesia with unverified sightings reported in Cambodia.


The tiger barb can grow about 7- 8 centimeters long and 3 - 4 centimeters wide, although they are often smaller when kept in captivity. Some barbs can grow around 13 centimeters as well.


The tiger barbs are often found in clear or turbid shallow waters of moderately flowing streams. They live in Borneo, Indonesia, and the tropical climate and prefer water with 6.0 - 8.0 pH, a water hardness of 5 - 19 dgh, and a temperature range between. The average lifespan of tiger barbs is 7-8 years. 


The tiger barb, an active shoaling fish, is generally kept in a group of 6 or more. They often get aggressive when kept in a group of less than five, and are known as fin nippers. The tiger barb was also used to make genetically modified fluorescent coloured fish, known as Glo fish.


The tiger bard generally attains sexual maturity at approximately six to seven weeks of age or a body length of 2 -3 centimeters in total length. 


Rosy Barb

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The rosy barb is a subtropical freshwater fish belonging to the family Cyprinidae. They are mostly found in Southern Asia from Afghanistan to Bangladesh. This pinky species of barb fish can grow up to 6 inches ( 14 cm) in length. The colour of the Rosy barb fish becomes bolder during mating season. The female is slightly plumper and the male has a brighter pinkish colour. Also, females do not have black colour in their fins whereas males do have. They may weigh up to 340 grams when grown fully but can weigh much less during adolescence. They are mature at 63.5 mm.


Rosy barbs are omnivores and their diet consists of insects, crustaceans, worms, and plant matter. The lifespan of this species is up to 5 years. Rosy barbs are mostly found in lakes and fast-flowing waters in a subtropical climate. The natural habitat of this species has a ph of 6 to 8, a water hardness of 5  - 19 dgh, and a temperature ranges from 64 - 72.


These active peaceful species are well suited for community aquariums. It is considered one of the hardiest barb, undemanding, beautiful, and most attractively coloured during the mating period.  


They are best kept in a group of 5 or more in an aquarium with a length of at least 76 cm. It can be kept together with small fish but can be more aggressive towards other fish and nip their fins. They will eat most of the food provided to them. They generally reach a maximum size of 10.2 cm (4 inches). Generally, dark-coloured gravel will show off the colour of the fish. 


Gold Barb

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The gold barb or Schubert barb is an extremely popular barb fish. They are found in the red river basin in Southeast Asia where they occur in freshwater at a depth of 5 meters or (16 ft) in length. 


Adults of these species have a highly arched back and a short pair of barbels on the upper jaw at the corners of their mouth. The back of these species is light to reddish-brown, the sides are yellow-green to metallic-green, with a brassy or golden sheen below. The belly is whitish turning orange-red in males during mating season. Females can be differentiated by their dull colours and their overall size. These species can reach a length of 7 centimeters though most do not exceed 3.5 centimeters.


The diet of this species consists of invertebrates (such as worms, insects, and crustaceans) and plant matter. An egg- scatter, adult gold barb usually spawn around 100 eggs, although 400 eggs have been observed from exceptional females. This breeding occurs at first light during the breeding season.


The gold barb is an active, mildly aggressive schooling fish that spends most of its life in mid-level and bottom of the water. The lifespan of this species is four to six years in captivity. This species is often used in community tanks by fish-keeping hobbyists. The gold bard breeds rapidly in outdoor pools and free-standing ponds during summer months and withstands cooling temperatures better than other tropical fish.


Gold barbs in aquariums consume fish food happily but benefit from the sporadic feeding of live food such as mosquito larvae or daphnia.


Black Ruby Barb Fish

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The black ruby barb or purple head barb is a tropical cyprinid fish. They are found in streams in hills around 1000 ft  ( 3 mt) in elevation. The young black ruby barb fish has a yellowish-grey body with black vertical stripes. The silver body transforms into a dark ruby, black colour in mature, breeding males. In females, the basal part of all vertical fins is black whereas, in males, the whole dorsal fin is a deep black. The fish will grow to a maximum length of 2 - 3 inches ( 6 -8 cm), with females being slightly longer than males.


Black ruby barbs or purple head barbs live in a tropical climate among cool, shady, quietly flowing forested streams with either gravel or sand substrates. The diet of these species consists of filamentous algae and detritus. The water preferred by them with a 6.0- 6.5 ph, water hardness should be 5 - 12 dgh, and a temperature range should be between in the range of 72 - 79


The barb fish has commercial importance in the aquarium hobby and is successfully bred in captivity. These species are also used to create hybrid forms of "tiger barb" for the aquarium trade.


These species spawn more than 100 eggs in shallow water among plants. The egg hatch in 1 - 2 days and then will be free-swimming after 24 hours. The black ruby barbs are active swimmers and are best kept in schools of at least six.


Giant Barb

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The Giant barb is the largest species of Cyprinid in the world. These species are found only in the Mae Klong, Mekong, and Chao Phraya river basin in Indochina. Giant barbs are found in large pools along the edge of large rivers but seasonally enter canals, floodplains, and flood forests. The young Giant barb is generally found in small estuaries but can also adjust in the ponds, swamps, and canals. The migratory fishes generally live in pairs. The migratory Giant barb fishes swim to the favourable area of breeding and feeding in different parts of the year.


The Giant barb is known to be the largest freshwater fish in the world and is probably the largest fish in the family Cyprinidae. The head of this fish is rather larger than the body with no barbels. It may weigh up to 300 kg and reaches a height of 3m(9.8 feet).


This Giant fish is a tetraploid, meaning it has four chromosomes. Today few Giant barbs live to maturity. The main threat of this species is habitat loss (eg. pollution and dams) and overfishing. 


In 2005, the giant barb was successfully domesticated and reproduced for the first time at the Vietnam National Breeding Centre for Southern Freshwater aquaculture. 


Giant barbs are harvested after 3 years of cultivation when they weigh up to 6 to 10 kg, but some farmers keep raising their fishes in ponds for more than 7 years for them to reach 50 Kg before harvesting.


Did You Know?

  • The optimum ph level of barb is between 6.0 - 7.5.

  • Barb can live for 3 to 7 years.

  • There are almost 2000 known species of the barb.

  • Barbs live in lagoons and slow-flowing rivers.

  • The Giant Barb is the largest freshwater species in the world.

  • The barbs are born in Europe, Asia, and Africa.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are the Main Prey and Predators of Barbs?

Barbs prey on fish, algae, and shrimp whereas predators of barbs include fish, birds, and reptiles.

2. What Family, Order, and Genes Do Barb Belong To?

Barbs belong to the family Cyprinidae, order Cypriniformes, and genus Barbus.

3. What Type of Coverage Do Barbs Possess?

Barbs are generally covered in scales.

4. What Kingdom, Phylum, and Class Do Barbs Belong To?

Barb belongs to the kingdom Animalia, phylum Chordata, and class Actinopterygii.

5. Are Barbs Herbivores, Carnivores, and Omnivores?

Barbs are omnivores which means they eat both plants and animals.

6. What is the Scientific Name of Barb?

Barbus is the scientific name of barb fish.