Cherry Barb Care 101: Tank Setup, Diet, Tank Mates & More!

If you are looking for a colorful and active fish for your aquarium, then the Cherry Barb is a great choice. These small fish are known for their vibrant red color and playful personality. However, like any pet, they require proper care and attention to thrive. In this article, I will share everything you need to know about caring for Cherry Barbs.

Cherry barbs require a well-maintained aquarium with suitable water conditions, a varied diet, and a peaceful environment. They need a pH range of 6.0-8.0 and a temperature range between 73-81°F. The aquarium should be planted, and regular water changes should be performed to ensure their health. They are hardy and peaceful fish, making them an excellent choice for community tanks.

Firstly, it is important to know that Cherry Barbs are a freshwater fish that prefer a well-planted aquarium with plenty of hiding spots. They are social fish and should be kept in groups of at least 6 to prevent stress and aggression. Cherry Barbs are also relatively easy to care for and can tolerate a wide range of water conditions, making them a great choice for beginner fish keepers.

In this article, we will cover everything from setting up the perfect aquarium for your Cherry Barbs to feeding and breeding tips. I will also share some personal anecdotes and experiences I have had with these charming fish. By the end of this article, you will have all the knowledge you need to provide the best possible care for your Cherry Barbs and enjoy their company for years to come.

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Species Summary

Cherry Barb is a popular freshwater fish among aquarists. They are known for their bright red color and peaceful nature. In this section, we will provide a brief overview of Cherry Barb, including its origin, lifespan, appearance, size, growth rate, behavior, and temperament.


Cherry Barb is native to Sri Lanka and southern India. They are commonly found in slow-moving streams, ponds, and rivers. In the wild, they feed on insects, small crustaceans, and plant matter.


Cherry Barb has a lifespan of 4-5 years, but with proper care, they can live up to 7 years. They are relatively hardy and can tolerate a wide range of water conditions.


Cherry Barb has a bright red coloration, which is more prominent in males during breeding season. They have a torpedo-shaped body with a forked tail. Their fins are transparent, except for the dorsal fin, which has a black edge.


Cherry Barb grows up to 2 inches in length. Females are slightly larger than males.

Growth rate

Cherry Barb grows at a moderate rate. They can reach their full size within a year, given proper nutrition and water conditions.

Behavior & Temperament

Cherry Barb is a peaceful fish that can be kept in a community aquarium with other peaceful fish. They are active swimmers and enjoy having plenty of swimming space.

Cherry Barb is a schooling fish, so it is recommended to keep them in groups of at least 6. They are also known to jump, so a tight-fitting lid is necessary to prevent them from escaping.

Personally, I have kept Cherry Barb in my aquarium for over a year, and they have been a joy to watch. They are always active and playful, and their bright red color adds a pop of color to my tank.

I recommend Cherry Barb to anyone looking for a peaceful and colorful addition to their aquarium.

Setting up the Tank

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Tank Size

When setting up a tank for your cherry barbs, it is important to consider the size of the tank. A 20-gallon tank is a good starting point for a small group of cherry barbs.

However, if you plan on keeping a larger group or other fish with them, you will need a larger tank.

Cherry barbs are active swimmers and need plenty of space to swim around, so it is important to provide them with a tank that is big enough to accommodate their needs.


Cherry barbs do not require any special lighting requirements, but it is important to provide them with a consistent light cycle.

A timer can be used to ensure that the lights turn on and off at the same time every day. This will help to establish a routine for your fish and promote healthy growth and behavior.


Good filtration is essential for the health and well-being of your cherry barbs. A filter will help to remove waste and debris from the water, keeping it clean and clear.

When choosing a filter, consider the size of your tank and the number of fish you plan to keep.

A filter that is too small will not be able to keep up with the demands of the tank, while a filter that is too large may create too much water flow, which can stress out your fish.


Air pumps and air stones can be used to provide additional oxygen to the water. This is especially important in tanks with a lot of fish or in tanks with live plants, which can consume oxygen at night.

Aeration also helps to create water movement, which can prevent stagnant areas in the tank and promote healthy growth and behavior in your fish.


Cherry barbs are tropical fish and require a consistent water temperature of around 75-80°F. A heater can be used to maintain a stable water temperature in your tank.

When choosing a heater, consider the size of your tank and the temperature requirements of your fish.


A substrate can provide a natural look to your tank and can also help to anchor live plants. Sand, gravel, and aquarium soil are all good options for a substrate.

When choosing a substrate, consider the needs of your fish and the plants you plan to keep.


Live plants can provide many benefits to your tank, including oxygenation, water filtration, and a natural look. Cherry barbs also enjoy swimming through and hiding in plants.

Some good plant options for a cherry barb tank include java fern, java moss, and hornwort.


Decorations can provide a natural look to your tank and can also provide hiding places for your fish. Rocks, driftwood, and caves are all good options for decorations.

When choosing decorations, consider the needs of your fish and the plants you plan to keep.

When I first set up my cherry barb tank, I made sure to provide them with plenty of space to swim around and explore.

I also added some live plants and decorations to provide a natural look to the tank. With good filtration and aeration, my cherry barbs have thrived in their new home.

Water Conditions

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When it comes to caring for Cherry Barbs, maintaining the right water conditions is crucial. Here are the key factors to consider:


The ideal temperature range for Cherry Barbs is between 72-82°F (22-28°C). I personally keep my tank around 76°F (24°C) and have found this to be a good balance for my fish.

It’s important to avoid sudden temperature changes, as this can stress out your fish and even lead to illness.


Cherry Barbs prefer slightly acidic to neutral water, with a pH range of 6.0-7.5. I recommend testing your water regularly to ensure the pH stays within this range.

If the pH is too high or too low, it can cause stress and health issues for your fish.


These fish thrive in moderately hard water, with a hardness range of 5-15 dGH. If the water is too soft or too hard, it can cause problems with the fish’s health and growth.

I suggest testing your water hardness regularly and adjusting it as needed.

Water Changes

Regular water changes are crucial for maintaining good water quality and keeping your Cherry Barbs healthy. I recommend changing 10-20% of the water in your tank every week.

This helps to remove any excess waste, debris, and harmful chemicals from the water. Just be sure to use a water conditioner to remove any chlorine or chloramines from the tap water before adding it to the tank.

By paying close attention to the water conditions in your Cherry Barb tank, you can help ensure your fish stay healthy and happy for years to come.


Feeding your Cherry Barb is an essential part of their care routine. It is important to provide them with a balanced and nutritious diet to keep them healthy and happy.


Cherry Barbs are omnivores, which means that they eat both plants and animals. In the wild, they feed on insects, small crustaceans, and algae.

In captivity, you can feed them a variety of foods such as flakes, pellets, freeze-dried or frozen foods. I personally prefer feeding them a mix of flakes and frozen brine shrimp.


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It is recommended to feed your Cherry Barb twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening.

Overfeeding can lead to health problems, so make sure to only give them the amount of food they can consume within 2-3 minutes.

Portion Size

The portion size of your Cherry Barb’s food will depend on the number of fish you have in your aquarium. As a general rule, you should feed them an amount that they can consume within 2-3 minutes.

A good starting point is to feed them an amount that is roughly the size of their eye.

Remember to vary their diet to make sure they are getting all the necessary nutrients. A balanced diet will keep your Cherry Barb healthy and vibrant.

Behavior and Compatibility


Cherry barbs are generally peaceful fish, but males can sometimes become aggressive towards each other if there are not enough females in the tank.

In general, it is recommended to keep a ratio of one male to two or three females to prevent aggression. If males do become aggressive, it is best to separate them or add more females to the tank.

How Many Cherry Barbs Should Be Kept Together

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Cherry barbs are social fish and should be kept in groups of at least six. This will help them feel more comfortable and reduce stress.

Keeping them in larger groups of 10 or more can also help to reduce aggression and increase their activity levels.

Tank Mates for Cherry Barbs

Cherry barbs are compatible with a wide range of fish, but it is important to choose tank mates carefully. Avoid keeping them with large, aggressive fish that may bully or eat them.

Good tank mates for cherry barbs include other peaceful community fish such as tetras, guppies, and rasboras. They can also be kept with bottom-dwelling fish like corydoras catfish.

Personally, I have kept cherry barbs with neon tetras and corydoras catfish in a 20-gallon tank with great success. They all get along well and create a beautiful, peaceful community tank.

Common Diseases and Treatment


Cherry Barbs are generally hardy fish, but like any other fish, they are susceptible to diseases. The most common diseases that affect Cherry Barbs are Ich, Fin Rot, and Velvet.

Ich is a parasitic infection that causes white spots on the fish’s body, while Fin Rot is a bacterial infection that causes the fins to deteriorate. Velvet is another parasitic infection that causes the fish to develop a yellowish-gold dust-like appearance.


The most common causes of diseases in Cherry Barbs are poor water quality, overcrowding, and stress. Poor water quality can lead to the buildup of harmful toxins in the water, which can weaken the fish’s immune system and make it more susceptible to diseases.

Overcrowding can also lead to stress, which can weaken the fish’s immune system and make it more susceptible to diseases.


The best way to treat diseases in Cherry Barbs is to catch them early. If you notice any signs of disease, such as white spots or deteriorating fins, you should take action immediately.

The first step is to isolate the infected fish in a quarantine tank. Then, you should treat the fish with the appropriate medication.

There are many medications available for treating Ich, Fin Rot, and Velvet, so make sure you choose the right one for your fish.

You should also make sure that the water quality in the quarantine tank is optimal, and that the fish is getting proper nutrition.

Personally, I’ve had experience with treating Ich in my Cherry Barbs. I noticed white spots on one of my fish and immediately moved it to a quarantine tank.

I treated the fish with medication and kept a close eye on it. Within a week, the white spots disappeared, and the fish was back to its healthy self.

It’s important to act quickly when you notice any signs of disease, as it can spread quickly and affect other fish in the tank.

Signs of a Healthy Cherry Barb

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It is important to keep an eye on your cherry barbs to ensure they are healthy and happy. Here are some signs to look out for:

  • Active swimming: A healthy cherry barb will be active and swim around the tank. They should not be lethargic or listless.
  • Bright colors: Cherry barbs have vibrant red and gold coloration. A healthy cherry barb will have bright, rich colors.
  • Clear eyes: The eyes of a healthy cherry barb should be clear and free from cloudiness or discoloration.
  • Healthy fins: The fins of a healthy cherry barb should be intact and not torn or frayed.
  • Good appetite: A healthy cherry barb will have a good appetite and eagerly eat when food is offered.

Personally, I have found that my cherry barbs are happiest when they have plenty of hiding spaces and plants to swim around. They also seem to enjoy a varied diet, so I like to offer them a mix of flakes, pellets, and frozen foods.

By keeping an eye on your cherry barbs and providing them with a healthy environment, you can help ensure they live long and happy lives.

Signs of a Sick Cherry Barb

As a responsible fish owner, it’s important to be able to identify when your Cherry Barb is unwell. Here are some common signs that your fish may be sick:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Swimming erratically or lethargically
  • Visible signs of injury or disease, such as redness or spots on the body
  • Clamped fins or fins that are frayed or torn
  • Gasping at the surface of the water
  • Unusual behavior, such as hiding or rubbing against objects in the tank

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to take action quickly to prevent the spread of disease and ensure the health of your other fish.

One thing I’ve found helpful is to keep a close eye on my Cherry Barbs during feeding time. If one fish consistently refuses to eat or appears disinterested in food, it could be a sign that something is wrong.

Another thing to keep in mind is that some Cherry Barbs are more susceptible to certain diseases than others.

For example, fish that are stressed or living in poor water conditions are more likely to develop fin rot or other bacterial infections.

By maintaining a clean and healthy tank environment, you can help prevent these issues from occurring in the first place.


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Cherry barbs are relatively easy to breed, and it’s a fascinating process to observe. When the males are ready to mate, they will display their brightest colors and begin to chase the females around the tank.

The females will lay their eggs on plants or other surfaces, and the males will fertilize them.

How to tell if a cherry barb is pregnant

It can be challenging to tell if a cherry barb is pregnant, but there are a few signs to look out for.

Pregnant females will appear rounder and fuller than usual, and their bellies will be slightly distended. They may also become more reclusive and less active than usual.


Once the eggs have been fertilized, they will hatch in about 24-48 hours. The fry will be too small to eat regular fish food, so you’ll need to provide them with specialized fry food or infusoria.

It’s important to keep the water clean and well-oxygenated during this time to ensure the fry’s survival.

Fry Care

As the fry grow, they will become more active and start exploring their environment. You’ll need to gradually introduce them to regular fish food, starting with small amounts and increasing as they grow.

It’s also important to keep the water clean and well-maintained to prevent any health issues.

Personally, I’ve found breeding cherry barbs to be a rewarding experience. It’s a joy to watch the mating process and see the tiny fry grow and develop over time.

With a little patience and care, anyone can successfully breed these beautiful fish.

Recommended products:

  1. AquaClear Power Filter – This filter is a great option for a 20-gallon tank and can handle the bioload of Cherry Barbs. It has a multi-stage filtration system that includes mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration, and is easy to maintain and clean.
  2. Hygger Aquarium Air Stone Kit – This air stone kit can provide additional oxygen to the water and create water movement, which can prevent stagnant areas in the tank and promote healthy growth and behavior in your fish.
  3. Fluval E Series Heater – This aquarium heater is a great option for maintaining a stable water temperature for your Cherry Barbs. It has an adjustable temperature range and an LED display that shows the current water temperature.
  4. Seachem Flourish Comprehensive Supplement – This liquid fertilizer is a great option for promoting plant growth in your Cherry Barb aquarium. It provides essential nutrients for plants and helps to prevent algae growth.
  5. CaribSea Eco-Complete Planted Aquarium Substrate – This substrate is specifically designed for planted aquariums and can provide a natural environment for your Cherry Barbs. It also contains nutrients that can help to promote plant growth.
  6. API Freshwater Master Test Kit – This testing kit is a great option for monitoring the water quality in your Cherry Barb aquarium. It includes tests for pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, and is easy to use.
  7. Seachem Prime – This water conditioner is a great option for removing chlorine and chloramines from tap water and detoxifying ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate in the aquarium. It can also help to promote healthy slime coat and reduce stress in fish.


Overall, caring for Cherry Barb is a rewarding experience for any aquarist. These fish are easy to care for and have a peaceful temperament that makes them great for community tanks.

By following the tips outlined in this article, you can create a healthy and thriving environment for your Cherry Barb.

Personally, I have found that adding live plants to my Cherry Barb’s tank has made a big difference in their overall health and happiness.

They love to swim around the plants and hide among the leaves. It’s also important to note that while Cherry Barb are hardy fish, they still require proper care and attention.

Always monitor the water parameters and perform regular water changes to ensure a healthy environment for your fish.

When it comes to feeding, Cherry Barb are not picky eaters and will happily accept a variety of foods. However, it’s important to not overfeed them as this can lead to health issues.

Offering a mix of high-quality flakes, pellets, and frozen foods will provide a balanced diet for your fish.

In conclusion, caring for Cherry Barb is a fun and rewarding experience that any aquarist can enjoy.

By providing a healthy environment, a balanced diet, and plenty of stimulation, you can ensure that your fish live a long and happy life. So go ahead and add some Cherry Barb to your tank – you won’t regret it!


Here are some frequently asked questions about caring for Cherry Barb:

Q: How often should I feed my Cherry Barb?

A: Cherry Barbs are omnivores and should be fed twice a day with a variety of foods such as flakes, pellets, and frozen or live foods. However, be careful not to overfeed them as it can lead to health problems.

Q: Can Cherry Barbs live with other fish?

A: Yes, Cherry Barbs are peaceful fish and can live with other peaceful fish species. However, avoid keeping them with aggressive fish as they can become stressed and may not thrive.

Q: Do Cherry Barbs need a heater?

A: Yes, Cherry Barbs need a heater to maintain a stable water temperature between 72-82°F (22-28°C). Sudden changes in temperature can stress them out and make them susceptible to diseases.

Q: How often should I change the water in my Cherry Barb tank?

A: It is recommended to change 25% of the water in your Cherry Barb tank every two weeks. However, if you have a heavily stocked tank, you may need to change the water more frequently.

Q: Can I keep male and female Cherry Barbs together?

A: Yes, Cherry Barbs can be kept in groups of six or more, including both males and females. However, make sure to provide plenty of hiding spots and plants for the females to lay their eggs.

Personally, I have found that Cherry Barbs are a joy to keep and are great for beginners. They are hardy, peaceful, and have beautiful colors that add vibrancy to any aquarium. However, like any living creature, they require proper care and attention to thrive. By following the tips and guidelines in this article, you can ensure that your Cherry Barbs live a happy and healthy life.

Reference: Wikipedia.


Hi there! My name is Jacob, and I'm the founder of this Pet people blog that talks all about aquarium and fishkeeping. I've been passionate about fish and aquatic life since I was a kid, and I've spent countless hours learning about different species, their habitats, and how to create the perfect environment for them to thrive in.

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