Freshwater Fish

Roseate Barbel – Puntius conchonius: Care guide

The Pink Barbel is a wonderful freshwater fish that we recommend to aquarists of all experience levels. They are cute, easy to care for, and fun to watch!

However, it is still important to understand their needs in captivity if you want to have some. Although this is a hardy species, your goal should always be to provide the best possible care.

And that’s where this guide comes in. In it, she’ll find everything she needs to know about caring for the Rosy Barb. She will learn about her diet, compatible tank mates, size, tank setup, and even how to breed them!

Species Summary

If you are looking to add a splash of color to your aquarium, the Rosy Barbel is a freshwater species worth considering. The Pink Barbel (scientific name: Puntius conchonius) is a popular schooling fish. When kept in large groups, they can move around together to create a beautiful pink glow in your tank.

Originally, Pink Barbel comes from various countries in South Asia. They are most often found in India and Bangladesh. Wild populations have also appeared! These non-native populations are found in countries like Australia, Singapore, and Mexico, to name a few.

Roseate Barbel has been a part of the pet trade for a long time, which is why wild fish communities have developed in non-native regions.

These fish are a staple in fish stores around the world. Costing only a few dollars, they are an affordable fish species that can be enjoyed by new and experienced aquarists alike.

Life expectancy

The typical lifespan of the Pink Barbel is around 5 years when cared for properly.

Although Roseate Barbels are quite hardy, they can react negatively to poor water conditions and a lack of quality care. They can suffer from illness and stress, which significantly shortens their life expectancy.

To avoid this, it is important to provide the best possible care. You never want to rely on the natural resistance of a species.


Compared to other fish species, Puntius conchonius are quite plain in terms of appearance. They don’t have distinctive markings or too many standout features.

But it is that simplicity that makes seeing a group of Pink Barbel such a joy.

The body of the fish is broad and torpedo-shaped. The tail is deeply forked, while the dorsal and anal fins are quite short. The fins are transparent and have a color similar to that of the body. However, most fish also have some subtle black borders.

Author’s Note: Speaking of body color, there are some differences between men and women. Males are the most vibrant of the sexes. They usually take on a beautiful red or pink hue. The females have a more subdued color. They will usually be gold or silver.

Many specimens also have a single black dot. It is located at the rear of the body near the tail.

Average size

The average size of Puntius conchonius is around 6 inches long when fully grown. Generally, this species is considered mature when they are only about 2.5 inches long.

Most Pink Barbels sold in stores are only a couple of inches in size. This sometimes fools inexperienced owners into thinking they are not as great as they are!

Puntius conchonius care

Rosy Barb care is fairly easy, which is one of the reasons this fish is so popular on the freshwater aquarium scene. In fact, it is one of the easiest fish to care for!

Known for its hardiness, this species can adapt to a wide range of conditions without any problem.

Of course, there are still some basic guidelines to follow. The key to keeping your fish healthy and thriving is meeting all of their basic environmental and dietary needs.

Here are some care tips to help you get started!

tank size

When choosing the right tank for your Puntius conchonius, choose one that holds at least 20 gallons of water.

Author’s Note: Remember, these are school fish. Therefore, you are not only considering the needs of a single fish. Instead, you should think of the whole group.

However, we believe that a 20 gallon tank is the bare minimum for a small group of five fish.

If you have the space in your home and the budget to buy something a little bigger, a 30-gallon tank is definitely a better option. At 30 gallons, your fish will have more room to explore the tank together.

water parameters

In the wild, you can find the Roseate Barbel living in fast-moving rivers and lakes. These are tropical fish that do best in slightly warmer waters.

However, they can adapt quite well to basic freshwater tank conditions. Unlike other species, Rosy Barbs can tolerate fluctuations in level here and there. As long as there are no extreme changes, these fish can survive without serious problems.

Rosy Barbel also has a reputation for handling higher levels of nitrates. This is particularly useful for new aquarium setups, as you don’t have to wait for a full nitrogen cycle to introduce your fish to their new home.

But before you do that, make sure your tank water meets the following parameters.

  • Water temperature: 64°F to 79°F (somewhere around 72° to 74° is best)
  • pH level: 6.0 to 7.0
  • Water hardness: 4 to 10 KH

Despite its rugged nature, regular water testing is still recommended to ensure these parameters are where you want them. Never use resistance as an excuse to be lazy!

Tank Configuration

Puntius conchonius prefers a well decorated environment. This species is quite curious and playful. As a result, having a ton of decorative items will go a long way in keeping your fish enriched and happy.

At the bottom of the aquarium, create a base layer of sandy substrate. Roseate Barbel does not spend much time at the bottom of the tank. They usually stick to the middle and upper parts of the aquarium. However, the sand will help with the plants.

You have to be careful about the types of plants you introduce. Roseate Barbels are known for shredding the leaves of plants. A bit of trial and error may be necessary, but most homeowners see success with plants that have firm leaves. Java ferns are a good option.

Once you’ve decided what to add, introduce lots of greenery. Plants will serve as a place to explore while also giving your fish plenty of places to hide and feel safe.

You can also add caves, driftwood, rocks and plastic decorations.

In terms of equipment, an efficient filtration system is essential. These fish have no special needs. But they prefer highly oxygenated waters. A back-strap filter with a waterfall outlet is perfect as it continuously adds oxygen to the water.

Author’s Note: Make sure you have an airtight lid! Puntius conchonius are powerful jumpers. They can easily jump out of the tank if you don’t have a lid.

Possible common diseases

No fish is immune to disease, but some species are more resistant than others. Pink Barbel turns out to be one of the most resistant freshwater species that exist. Most owners do not have a problem with disease!

If your fish gets sick, it is most likely from Ich. Also known as White Spot Disease, Ich is one of the most prevalent freshwater diseases and can affect all species.

Caused by an ectoparasite, the disease is easily identified by the white spots that form all over the body. It is highly contagious, so an entire community can be sickened quite quickly.

The good news is that Ich is easy to treat with some over-the-counter medications. Puntius conchonius handles copper-based medications well, so you can tackle Ich problems quickly.

The best way to prevent Ich in the first place is to stay aware of water conditions. The disease is known to affect stressed fish. Monitor temperatures and pH levels. Also, do weekly water changes to keep ammonia and nitrate levels low.

Food and Diet of the Pink Barbel

Pink Beard will not shy away from food! They are opportunistic eaters that will accept just about anything you drop into the tank.

The easiest thing to feed Puntius conchonius is dry fish food. Look for a balanced flake or pellet feed that provides all the nutrients your fish need.

If you prefer to take a more natural approach, you can also provide many other foods. These fish enjoy live, frozen, and freeze-dried foods. Protein-packed foods like bloodworms, small insects, crustaceans, and brine shrimp are good choices.

They will even accept plant-based foods. Balanced peas and zucchini are a favorite among pet owners.

Feed your fish twice a day and only give them enough food to last them two minutes. Be careful about overfeeding. Puntius conchonius will eat as much as it can, so weight gain is possible.

behavior and temperament

Pink Barbels are peaceful and non-aggressive. They can be a bit shy when alone or when introduced to a new environment.

However, they will gain confidence over time. This is especially true if they have a large group to socialize with.

The only form of aggression it can experience is nipping with its fins. Pink Barbels have a bad habit of chasing fish with loose tails. Because they are powerful swimmers, it is not uncommon for Pink Barbel to destroy the tails of other fish!

Author’s Note: Fortunately, that behavior tends to become less common when Puntius conchonius is in a small group. They will focus more on group activities instead of flapping.

Rosy Barb Tankmates

Several species can co-exist as tankmates with the Roseate Barbel. In general, these freshwater fish are very peaceful and do well in community tanks.

As long as you avoid long-finned fish to avoid the aforementioned fin-pinching behavior, you should find yourself in too much trouble.

Before you start looking for other species, make sure you have enough Puntius conchonius to start with. At a minimum, we recommend keeping a group of five. A group is necessary for the health and well-being of this species, so don’t try to keep a Rosy Barb solitary.

In addition to the group, here are some other species that make great Roseate Barbel tankmates:

  • dwarf gourami
  • cherry pick
  • Mollies
  • neon tetra
  • Danio Celestial Pearl
  • Ember Tetra
  • sword tails
  • rope fish
  • Black Ghost Knifefish
  • gourami pearl
  • emperor tetra

Rosy Barbel can also get along with various types of snails and shrimp.

Author’s Note: It’s worth noting that keeping snails and shrimp as tankmates does not have a 100% success rate. If you see any signs of aggression or that your Rosy Barb sees them as food, you should separate them immediately.

Pink Barbel Breeding

The breeding of Puntius conchonius is quite feasible in captivity. You might even be able to witness spawning behavior in the main community tank! However, it is always best to breed these fish in a separate environment for safety.

Interestingly, Pink Barbel prefers to breed in shallow water.

Because of this, you need to set up a separate 20 or 30 gallon breeding tank. Fill it with a few inches of water. Like the main tank, it should have a sand substrate and lots of plants.

Now, place a conjoined pair in the breeding tank. When she is ready, you will notice that the color of the female becomes more vibrant. You can also swell with eggs.

The pair will then engage in strange mating behavior. They will move together in the tank as the male continually pushes the female. Eventually, she will lay her eggs.

Eggs are sticky so there are plenty of places you could put them. Some Rosy Barbels spread them all over the substrate while others drop them on plant leaves.

Once the female has laid her eggs, remove the conjoined pair. They will not exhibit any parental behavior. Instead, they will try to eat the eggs!

Let the eggs hatch in the tank. The eggs will take about 30 hours to hatch. In the meantime, set up a separate tank for the fry. They need room to grow. The few inches of depth in the breeding tank is not going to cut it.

After the eggs hatch, they will feed on the egg until they are free swimming. At that time, provide infusoria or liquid food. Once they are large enough, move on to the small brine shrimp. They should be fed three times a week.

Once the fry are big enough to swim on their own, move them to the larger rearing tank.


As you can see, Pink Barbel care is not difficult at all. These freshwater fish are extremely low maintenance and a joy to own.

But don’t fall into the trap of taking shortcuts because of their resistance! At the end of the day, your job should be to help your fish thrive as much as possible (no matter what they can tolerate).

Feel free to send us any questions you have that we haven’t covered in this guide. We are more than happy to help!

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