Barbs can rightfully be called the favorites of the vast majority of aquarists. They are smart and agile, constantly on the move: either catching up with each other, or simply looking for something at the very bottom. They are funny and unpretentious. Keeping and caring for barb fish is within the power of even beginners. Therefore, they have become favorites of aquarists all over the world. In addition, they can be purchased at almost any pet store.
Ten varieties of barbs can be considered the most common. They are the most common in home aquariums around the world.
Barbs belong to the genus of the same name from the carp family. They are primarily distributed in Asia and the African continent, and aquarium representatives are mainly brought from Southeast Asia. Barbs are easy to care for and keep in an aquarium and are often recommended for beginners.
The total number of species and subspecies of barbs is quite high, andeach of them enjoys a certain popularity. But despite the diversity, representatives have similar external data:
- elongated, slightly elongated body;
- two-bladed ponytail;
- moustache that is above the upper jaw.
Female barbs, as a rule, are larger and overall, with a large roundish abdomen. Males are smaller in size, but have a brighter, more saturated color, which becomes even more intense during the spawning period. Barbs are considered to be useful fish for the aquarium. They are omnivores, willingly picking up leftovers from the bottom.
Barb fish: maintenance and care
Even beginners can take care of these aquarium pets. Some types of barbs can live in aquariums, the volume of which is 30 liters, although most will need a larger "house" - from 50 liters.
The optimal conditions for keeping can be considered water at a temperature of 23 to 26 ° C, water hardness - in the range from 8 to 18 units, pH level - about 6.5-7.5. Of the special requirements, only two can be distinguished:
- The need to change 20% of the total water at least once a week.
- Very good filtration system.
In nature, the glass barb feeds on phyto- and zooplankton and small invertebrates. In the aquarium, he accepts dry food with pleasure. To improve the color and well-being of the fish, you need to diversify the diet, feed them daily with live and frozen food: brine shrimp,Daphnia, Cyclops, Tubifex. When properly nourished, males may show orange hues in color.
Features of behavior and life
Almost all types of barbs should be kept in flocks of 5, 6 or 7 individuals. In this case, the vegetation in the aquarium should not be too dense. These extremely active fish need plenty of open space.
Small-sized species live about 5 years, larger ones (shark baloo) live up to 10. Barbs rarely get sick, and the main problem is their compatibility with other fish species.
The activity of these aquatic animals may cause them to involuntarily jump out of the aquarium, which, in turn, may not end well for them. To avoid such situations, it is preferable to keep them in aquariums with lids.
Varieties and description of barbs in the aquarium hobby
If you decide to give preference to these particular aquatic inhabitants, then first of all you need to choose the species that you like the most.
The Sumatran barb, for example, is one of the most common aquarium fish in the world. It grows up to 7 cm, has a roundish body, slightly flattened on the sides. The color of the Sumatran fish barbs (pictured below) is silver-white with 4 vertical stripes of a dark, almost black color. The ends of the dorsal and ventral fins are colored orange. The color of males, as a rule, is brighter and more saturated, and during the spawning period it becomes even more intense. It was the external attractiveness of this species that made itthe most popular among other aquarium inhabitants. Keeping and caring for barb fish is simple, regardless of their species.
Breeding these barbels in captivity is easy, so today there are many selective forms. In terms of care, they are almost no different from natural species.
In aquarium stores you can meet the following inhabitants:
- albinos (distinguished by the presence of orange stripes on the sides);
- emerald green mutants;
- genetically modified red, green and yellow.
The Sumatran mutant barb (a subspecies of the previous one) has a very attractive appearance, but a more severe character. It does not get along very well with other fish with long fins. In addition, these active, curious fish are able to kill other, leisurely and phlegmatic inhabitants of the aquarium, cut off the whiskers of snails, snails, eat coils and shrimps.
Fire barb attracts attention with shiny scales with a golden tint. Females of this species stand out more yellow, and males more red. They are calmer and slightly less active.
The cherry barb can be considered one of the most peaceful. It is smaller, with rich reddish scales.
Denisoni is perhaps the largest, up to 12 cm long, fish with silvery-white scales. The shape of the body resembles a torpedo, along each side there is a horizontal black stripe, and above it there is a shorter red line that ends in the middle of the body. The naturereminiscent of the Sumatran barb. In terms of compatibility, she is a little more loyal to guppies.
Schubert's barbus - a fish with golden scales and a scattering of small black spots on the sides. It is peaceful and prefers to live in a flock of its own kind. It is a selective form of the green barb. Very similar to him in character and style of behavior.
Odessa barbus stands out from the group of fellows with olive color and red coating on the sides. The scales are large, with bright outlines resembling a grid. The character is closest to the Sumatran barb.
These are just a few varieties of this genus from the carp family.
Who is the best neighbor?
The behavior of the barbs can not be called aggressors. Naturally, even within the same family, there may be difficulties with mutual understanding, which lead to a sharp reaction or problems with coexistence, but most often they are harmless. So who do barbs get along with?
If the male is in a bad mood and decides to pat the tails of his neighbors in the aquarium, then nimble guppies can easily get away from angry barbels, which cannot be said about slow angelfish or vauletails.
Lalius and astronotus can also be called not the most compatible neighbors. The former are too shy, and the latter will start to compete.
The easiest solution is to have a flock of barbs of one or more species. You can also choose neighbors for them from platies or mollies. They have similar personality traits and are similar in lifestyle, which will allow them to comfortably coexist on the sameterritory. They have excellent compatibility with barbs.
For example, the Sumatran species is most compatible with swordtails, irises, glass tetras, thorns, phylomenes, labeos, non-predatory catfish and cichlids, but it will not get along with goldfish, gourami and fish with long veil fins.
These mischievous barbels are easy to breed in an aquarium. Although it is necessary to provide for some nuances, but also to create suitable conditions.
For some varieties of barbs, a separate spawning ground is required. It is made as follows:
- a tank of 10 or 20 liters is taken;
- water is poured into it, 2/3 of which is taken from the aquarium, and 1/3 is fresh, but pre-settled water;
- vegetation is placed at the bottom: pinnate, Javanese moss and cabomba;
- A separator mesh is placed at a height of 2-3 cm from the bottom.
Some types of barbs are able to breed in the general aquarium, subject to three rules:
- the presence of dense, abundant vegetation in it;
- maintaining the temperature at 26-28 degrees;
- lack of other fish species or more aggressive representatives of the same species in the aquarium.
Reproduction in an aquarium
Barbs can spawn in a community tank. It is even useful for ridding females of eggs, because if they do not spawn for a long time, they die. When spawning in a common aquarium, caviar andthe fry are more likely to be eaten. If you want to keep the fry, then you will need a separate aquarium for breeding fish.
For breeding, you will need 6 individuals, which first need to be placed in a 100-liter aquarium for the quarantine period. It is better to have 2 females for 1 male.
When buying a barb fish in an aquarium store, you need to inspect each individual. Pay attention to its color, size, fins, make sure that there are no damages on the body. Favor prettier males and plumper females.
Preparation and spawning
The main difficulty in breeding barbs is that they are rightfully considered very bad parents. They may eat their eggs during spawning, so isolating the eggs or adults is essential to the survival of the fry. There are two main breeding methods, which will be described below.
First breeding method
The first method will require a tank of 75 liters of water. It needs to maintain a temperature of 25 degrees, install a powerful filter and ensure constant aeration.
If it is intended to remove eggs from the aquarium after spawning, the bottom must remain bare. Firstly, it is easier and more convenient to collect caviar, and secondly, you will not miss the eggs that accidentally fell into the thickets.
Intended parents should be fed immediately after moving to a separate tank. The best food for thisanimal origin (shrimp fillet). Enough food should be added so that the fish do not start competing for food.
After 24 hours, which are necessary for adaptation, you need to install a separator in the aquarium. So the space will be divided into two parts. This separation will ensure the necessary circulation of water and limit the access of fish to each other.
In the next five days, you need to change 10% of the water daily, and then remove the separator. Reproduction of barbs lasts about 2 hours. After all the eggs have been fertilized, either the parents or the eggs should be removed from the tank.
Second breeding method
First you need to carefully prepare the spawning ground. This will require a container up to 20 liters filled with 50% aquarium water and 50% fresh water. The water temperature must be at least 25 degrees. The bottom is covered with plants, such as cabomba, which must be pressed down with a load and tufts of moss. Before spawning, males and females should be kept separately from each other and receive quality food.
The male and female are placed in a common aquarium in the evening, and in the morning they turn on diffused light. After a couple of hours, the eggs that the female has laid will become visible. Their total number can reach up to 500-600. The male barb fish swims after and fertilizes the eggs. After that, the fish lose interest in each other and, as a rule, swim away to different ends of the aquarium. As soon as the fish begin to eat their eggs, they should be removed.
Then it is better to add a small amount of methylene blue to the water so that the caviar does notspoiled. If whitened eggs are observed after some time, they should be removed, as this is a sign that they are dead.
The larvae hatch in 48-72 hours. Barbus fry appear within three days. This will be visible visually as they begin to swim freely around the tank. From this moment on, you can start feeding them. At first, they can be fed yolk sacs, and then move on to a small amount of ciliates or daphnia. The diet can be diversified with chopped shrimp and give them three times a day.
It is always better to start feeding with small products: infusoria or "live dust". When the juveniles grow up a little, shrimp fillets can be introduced into the diet. The amount of food given should be such that the fry can easily eat it in a couple of minutes.
To create a shelter for the young, just add a couple of branches of a fern called Microsorium pteropus. He is very loved by both youngsters and adults. Keeping barb fish and caring for them when they are small, in general, is not much different from caring for adults.
It is also necessary to partially replace the water: every day, renew 10-15% of the total volume of water in the aquarium. Water quality is checked in the same way as in a conventional aquarium. Water should be tested for nitrates, nitrites and ammonia.