The Cherry Barb is a favorite tropical fish of many aquarium enthusiasts. Their lively nature and attractive coloring help to make them popular.
The male is especially adorned because of his red coloring which turns even a deeper red during the spawning period. The female Cherry Barb is a duller version of the male, ranging somewhere between light orange and yellow. Both sexes have a dark horizontal stripe along their body. Females are more plump than males, but the male is longer, growing up to 2 inches in length.
A lone Cherry Barb will most certainly become stressed. They are most content in a group of six or more. Other non-aggressive fish, such as Danios, female Bettas, Corydoras and Rainbow fish can be housed with the Cherry Barbs.
It is important to keep the Barbs in a 20-gallon aquarium, minimum. The water should be slightly acidic with the pH value being 6.5 - 7.5. The temperature should be 73 - 80 degrees Farhenheit. Plenty of plant life is also a requirement for the Cherry Barb aquarium. They love to swim in and through plants.
Flakes are a suitable food for Cherry Barbs, but give them brine shrimp, vegetable or blood worms as occasional treats. You will see them often nibbling on the plants as well, which makes them good light algae eaters.
During the spawning period the male will become a deeper shade of red and you will see him erect his fins and begin to circle other males as if in a competition. Soon he will be "dancing" with a female. She then starts the process of scattering over 200 eggs onto plants and stones. The male will follow behind her, fertilizing the eggs.
Don't worry about suddenly having 200 fry in your tank, as certainly not all will survive, due partly to the fact that the adults will eat the eggs. You can increase the chance of some fry survival by keeping the aquarium well planted. Fry instinctively hide among plants. Java moss works well for hiding.
During the fry's first few days they live off their yolk-sac. When they are 5 days old, offer them microworms. About 3 weeks later you can begin to wean them from the "baby" food as they are now ready for flaked food.
With good care, these newly hatched fry should live for 4 or 5 years.
The Cherry Barb is relatively easy to care for, making this energetic fish a good choice for the beginner aquarium enthusiast.