The golden barb (Pethia gelius) is an aquarium old-timer that found friends even before the First World War. It is one of the smallest barb species in India. Males rarely grow longer than 2.5 cm, females slightly larger. The record of 5 cm total length, which has been haunting the literature for decades, is probably due to a mix-up.
In fact, it has recently been found that “the” golden barb does not exist at all, but that it is a complex of species very similar to each other. The names of these species are Pethia gelius, Pethia canius and P. aurea. These three species are hard to distinguish, in the trade they are all called “P. gelius”. The more inconspicuous P. guganio also belongs to the complex. Common to these species is that they spawn – like the harlequin barbs – with the belly upwards under plant leaves.
No matter which species of the complex you acquire, they are delightful, extremely peaceful schooling fish. You’ll be doing them a big favor with humic substances in the water (dead leaves, peat, alder cones) and you should allow some mulm in the aquarium. Otherwise they are completely undemanding little animals, which should be maintained in the temperature range between 18 and 24°C.
Stoliczka´s barb, Pethia stoliczkanus, originates from Burma and was a popular aquarium fish until the 1960s, as the up to 6 cm long animals are very temperature tolerant and do not require heating in the aquarium. Later it was displaced by more colourful species and today it is a rarity.
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.
This unique dwarf barb (max. 4 cm total length) from Burma has a red “moustache”. In males it is more pronounced than in females, but in P. erythromycter the ladies also have a moustache. Until its scientific description in 2008, the species was called Barbus cf. puntio.
This species is best cared for at room temperature. During the courtship display the males appear to be covered with soot, because the scales then get fine dark edges. They are absolutely peaceful fish, which can be cared for in community tanks without any problems.
For our customers: the animals have code 372752 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesalers.
The dwarf barb has delighted aquarium enthusiasts since it was first imported from India in 1906. This is not so much due to its magnificent colouring; dwarf barbs are pretty, but no colour miracles. Rather, the tiny animal, which only grows to 2-3 cm in size in nature, fitted wonderfully into the formerly common, relatively small aquariums. Since it lives at temperatures between 14 and 30°C, not even an aquarium heating was necessary in heated dwellings yet. And filtering and aeration was rarely practiced at that time anyway.
All this has changed fundamentally nowadays. In fact, Pethia phutunio is considered somewhat sensitive. The causes are easy to name: Control heaters prevent temperature fluctuations and there is no debris left in the clean aquariums. Debris, i.e. dead plant remains, faeces and food remains, are an important food component of these and many other barbs. But if you are looking for an ideal fish for a small, natural aquarium without technology, you will still find it in Pethia phutunio today.
For our customers: the animals have code 370902 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.
The origin of the Odessa or Rubin barb was unknown for almost 30 years. The first specimens appeared in the former USSR in Odessa. It was unknown for a very long time whether they represented a wild species or an artifical breeding product. Only 2001 the first wild collected specimens could be traced. Now it was clear that this fish is a wild species originating from Burma. Sven O. Kullander and Rald Britz described the species formally in October, 2008. Its correct name is now Pethia padamya.
We currently have gorgeous wild collected specimens in stock. The displaying males belong without any doubt to the most beautiful barbs at all.
For our customers: the animals have code 371114 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.
Text & Photos: Frank Schäfer
Kullander, S. O. & R. Britz (2008): PUNTIUS PADAMYA, A NEW SPECIES OF CYPRINID FISH FROM MYANMAR (TELEOSTEI: CYPRINIDAE). Electronic Journal of Ichthyology. October 2008 2: 56 – 66
The neon red ruby barb is an artifical sport of the ruby barb available for many years already. The fish are extremely beautiful; we usually obtain them from breeders from southeast Asia. Now we received this sport from an European breeder and his strain is particually beautiful. Like in the Asian cousins the flanks are deep neon red, but the European strain shows also deep black seams of the fins which contrast to the body in a most spectacular way. The females are not red at all, but in some specimens the fins have a reddish tinge.
For our customers: the fish have code 369352 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer