Hot Water Fish

Barbel Cherry

  • Scientific name: Barbus titteya, Puntius titteya (Latin)
  • Common Name: Cherry Barbel
  • Aquarium size : 80 liters
  • Temperament: Calm if kept in groups
  • Temperature : 20ºC to 28ºC
  • pH: 6.5 to 7.5
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Length: 5 cms.


The Cherry Barbel or Barbus titteya , is one of the most common and favorite among aquarists who are fond of oviparous fish. Not in vain does it come from a very common family in aquariums, the Cyprinids .

There are many reasons why the Cherry Barbel is so appreciated. I would highlight its attractive coloration, but I would not forget that it is a fish that can live on average about 4 years.

Its name, Barbel cherry, is due to the spectacular cherry red coloration, which the males adopt during the spawning period.


It is a suitable fish for a not very large aquarium, since it measures only about five centimeters when it reaches its adult stage.

The most spectacular thing about this fish is its coloration. Males take on a bright cherry red hue when mating.
The female has a coloration that goes from dark brown to light. The two specimens are crossed by a longitudinal dark band, which runs from the mouth to the tail. Another difference with males is that they are somewhat more rounded.
Its ventral area is lighter, white-yellowish.

Distribution and habitat

They are native to and endemic to Sri Lanka, where they can be found in streams and small rivers (Kelani and Nilwala) with abundant vegetation and decaying material.

Aquarium conditions

They need an aquarium with an abundance of vegetation and floating aquarium plants , where we must ensure a temperature between 20ºC and 28ºC, with a water pH between 6.5 and 7.5.
The size of the aquarium can be about 80 liters, with a bottom of fine sand . If we put the background in dark tones, the beauty of the Cherry Barbel will be more highlighted.

The decoration is not too important, although they appreciate that we place some floating roots or trunks, if we do not add floating plants.
They like that there is movement of water in the aquarium , it reminds them a lot of the currents of their rivers of origin. A good idea would be to put an external filter in the aquarium with a lot of power.


They are omnivores, they will accept all kinds of dry artificial food, although we must provide them with live prey based on small insects and worms, especially in the breeding season.

It will accept Daphnias or Artemia without problems, although it is convenient to complete its diet with plant foods, such as algae and if we do not have on hand, chard, spinach …

Behavior and compatibility

The Cherry Barbel is a quiet fish, under certain circumstances.
If we raise a single Cherry Barbel inside the aquarium, it will become aggressive.

It prefers to live with more specimens of its species, ideally in groups of 3 to 6 specimens, where we will keep a single male, if the aquarium is not very large, to avoid territorial fights.

Unlike other barbels, it does not usually bother the rest of the aquarium species.


Its reproduction in the aquarium is relatively simple, as long as we create the right conditions.

  • They are more likely to start the breeding period, with a temperature between 22ºC and 24ºC . The water should have a slightly acidic pH, tending to neutral.
  • They are not fish that care much about their eggs. If we want to control the process, we should get a somewhat smaller aquarium or a breeding aquarium.
  • The lighting must be poor, and a mesh must be provided for the bottom of the aquarium, so that we avoid that the eggs that reach the bottom of the aquarium are eaten by the adults.
  • If we keep them in the usual aquarium, they will lay their eggs on plants with thin leaves.

    In this case we will have to weigh whether it is a good idea to keep the adults, once the spawning has taken place, since if they have a chance they will eat the eggs.

  • The eggs will hatch between 24 and 48 hours after laying.
  • The fry must be fed infusoria, until they can begin to eat Artemia nauplii, or similar foods.

Cherry barbel photos

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