Barbs are peaceful, lively and undemanding. They are a good addition to coldwater community aquariums, and can be mixed with tankmates of nearly any size. These active fish appreciate having plenty of swimming room.
Barbs are generally peaceful, schooling fish, although some (e.g. Rosy barb, Tiger barb) are prone to be nippy. Any aggression is minimized by keeping them in a school of four to six fish, and they can then be mixed with most community fish. It is not recommended to mix most of the larger-sized barbs with timid, very tiny, or fancy-finned fish. Do not mix them with Angel fish or Bettas.
Larger barbs are lively, active and can be boisterous, so timid fish may become shy even if they are not being bullied.
Many of the bigger species can be kept with quite large community fish or with cichlids. On the other hand, many barbs, and particularly small species such as the cherry barb, are extremely peaceful fish, sometimes inclined to be timid themselves.
Many barbs are quite undemanding of water quality, although there are exceptions. In general the waters to which these fish are native are slightly acid to neutral, of moderate hardness, clear and swift flowing. Apart from the few delicate species, barbs are quite adaptable to higher pH and hardness.
To promote breeding behaviors, more specific conditions are usually needed, see the breeding section. Most barbs need a heated tank, but a few species, namely Rosy, China and Odessa barbs, can be kept indoor in unheated (coldwater) aquaria.
Compatible: Tetras, Rasboras, Loaches, Danios, Gouramis, Livebearers, Corydoras, Discus, Barbs, Rainbowfish, Plecos, and Scavenger Catfish of similar size.
Aquarium setup: 74-79°F; pH 6.0-7.0; dH 4-10