Commercially important, cherries and the more colorful barb species were listed as a Lower risk/conservation dependent species in 1996, as a result of the aquarium trade high demand.
Originating from Borneo, Indonesia and Sumatra, their natural environment is one of heavily shaded, shallow, and calm waters. Coming from tropical climates, the ideal water conditions are a pH of 6.0 – 8.0, a water hardness (dH) of 5.0 – 19.0. and a temperature range of 73 – 81 °F (23 – 27 °C). Cherries grow up to 2 in (5 cm) and live an average of 4 years, with a maximum lifespan of 5-7 years.
The cherry barb is a schooling fish and is best kept in groups of five or more individuals. It is also best to keep a ratio of two females or more per one male, to minimize the restless harassment suffered by the females during courtship, which can lead to stress and exhaustion.
A minimum of 30 gallons (100 lt) tank with a fine subtract of sand or gravel is recommended to house them. Driftwood and stones can be included as long as plenty of room for swimming is arranged. Aquatic plants such as Broad-leaved Dwarf Amazon Sword, Brasilian Water Ivy, Water Stargrass, Christmas Tree Plant, Mayaca fluviatilis and Red Amazon are suggested to give the aquarium a more natural appearance, oxygenate the water, and provide hiding places.
Males attain a very deep red color when breeding. Often the dominant male will have the brightest red color. Females are lighter, with yellowish fins, and can spawn from 200 to 300 eggs scattering them on plants and on the substrate. After spawning the parents should be removed. Very fine live foods like infusoria will be needed to raise the fry, which will be free-swimming in about 5 days. It is important to feed them several times a day, as are daily water changes to keep water quality high. After 5 weeks, the offspring will be about 1 cm long and easily identifiable as cherry barbs.
Compatible: Tetras, Rasboras, Loaches, Danios, Dwarf Gouramis, Large Livebearers, Corydoras, Barbs, Rainbowfish, Sharks, Plecos, and Scavenger Catfish of similar size.
Aquarium setup: 74-79°F; pH 6.0-7.0; dH 4-10
Size: 2 in (5 cm)
Temperament: schooling, peaceful