Pethia bandula

19. February 2020

In the south of India and on the opposite island of Sri Lanka there is a small group of barb species that look very similar. All three are wonderful aquarium fish, one of them, the black ruby barb Pethia nigrofasciata, was already known and loved by our aquaristic grandfathers.

A second species, Pethia narayani, is so to speak the black ruby barb barb in orange and pinbk. Although it was scientifically described as early as 1937, this species, which is only known from the Cauvery River, Western Ghats, southern India, has always remained a rarity in the hobby.

The third species, P. bandula, which like B. nigrofasciata originates from Sri Lanka, is even rarer in the aquarium. This is a great pity, because this species is threatened with extinction in nature. It would therefore be desirable if more of these beautiful fish would be sold to ensure the survival of the species at least in the aquarium. 

In nature the species inhabits an area of only 4 km2. Until recently, the main threat was the accumulation of pesticides from the rice fields in the area where the species occurs, now drought events due to climate change are added to this. It is to be feared that the species will become completely extinct in nature.

For a long time now, we have once again had Bandula barbs on offer, European bred ones. As they only give a hint of the beauty of adult animals, Ingo Seidel kindly (fame and honour for Ingo!) gave us a picture of an adult male.

For our customers: P. bandula has code 368903 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply the wholesale trade.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer