Cherry barb (Puntius titteya)

Characteristics & Origin

These barbs are native to Sri Lanka, where they are an endemic species. They are brownish-red in colour with a dark-brown line along the length of their body. During the spawning season, the males turn deep red. The females are far paler in comparison. When kept correctly, the fish can grow to a length of up to 5 cm.

During the spawning season, the male cherry barbs perform an impressive show dance to obtain the favour of the females and defend their territory. Inferior males remain pale during this period to avoid territorial fights.

Aquarium and water

The aquarium should have a volume of at least 80 litres. To create an appropriate habitat, we recommend a water temperature of 23 to 26°C. Furthermore, a slightly acidic to slightly alkaline pH value (approx. 6.5 – 7.5) is recommended. The aquarium water should ideally be medium-hard (GH value: approx. 5 – 19°dGH) although cherry barbs can also be kept in slightly softer or harder water.

Keeping conditions

Cherry barbs are shoaling fish and are therefore happiest in a group. They are active swimmers and need plenty of space in an aquarium. Although the males can become very territorial during the spawning season, the cherry barbs’ peaceful nature makes them very well-suited to community tanks. They mix well with other peaceful fish like small labyrinth fish. During the spawning season, the larger shoal breaks up into smaller groups in which a dominant male surrounds himself with several females. The barbs prefer the middle region of the aquarium.

A Pair of Cheery Barb (Puntius Titteya)

Planting and decoration

Cherry barbs prefer aquariums with abundant, densely planted vegetation. Roots should also be used to provide them with plenty of places to hide and withdraw. However, the barbs also need enough space to swim around freely. A dark substrate is furthermore recommended. 


Puntius titteya are omnivores but primarily prefer food that is small. Flakes or granulated food like TetraMin or Tetra Micro Granules are particularly ideal for feeding these fish. If you wish to enhance the red colour vibrancy of the barbs, feed them TetraPro Colour.