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A young tiger barb, Puntius tetrazonaGold Barb (Puntius semifasciolatus)Puntius conchonius (Rosy Barb)Rosy BarbsA pair of Giant barb (Catlocarpio siamensis)
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Barb Facts

Five groups that classify all living things
A group of animals within the animal kingdom
A group of animals within a pylum
A group of animals within a class
A group of animals within an order
A group of animals within a family
Common Name:
Most widely used name for this species
Scientific Name:
The name of the animal in science
Barbus Barbus
The area where the animal first came from
What kind of foods the animal eats
Size (L):
How long (L) or tall (H) the animal is
2.5cm - 7cm (1in - 3in)
Water Type:
Either freshwater, brakish or salt
Optimum pH Level:
The perfect acidity conditions for the animal
6.0 - 7.5
How long the animal lives for
3 - 7 years
Conservation Status:
The likelihood of the animal becoming extinct
Least Concern
The colour of the animal's coat or markings
Black, White, Yellow, Orange, Red, Silver
Skin Type:
The protective layer of the animal
Favourite Food:
The preferred food of this animal
The specific area where the animal lives
Slow flowing rivers and lagoons
Average Clutch Size:
The average number of eggs laid at once
Main Prey:
The food that the animal gains energy from
Fish, Shrimp, Algae
Other animals that hunt and eat the animal
Fish, Birds, Reptiles
Distinctive Features:
Characteristics unique to this animal
Easily adaptable and rows of teeth

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Barb Location

Map of Barb Locations


Barb are a small sized group of fish that are naturally found in the freshwater rivers and lakes across the southern hemisphere. There are over 2,000 known species of barb in the world inhabiting the frehswater regions of Asia, Africa and South America.

The barb fish is often referred to as a freshwater shark, due to the fact that barb are one of the few species of freshwater fish to have rows of teeth in their mouths. Despite their small size, barbs are known to be ferocious hunters and are dominant predators in the world of small fish in their natural environment. Barb do only prey upon the fish that are smaller than them, but also on medium sized fish that can sometimes be double the size of the barb.

Due to their small size and bright colours, barb are commonly kept in household aquariums worldwide. The most common barb kept in aquariums are the cherry barb (pink/red in colour) and the tiger barb (silver body with thick, black stripes and red fin on its belly).

Barb are known to be relatively hardy fish and can easily adapt to changes in the water including changes in pH levels and temperate. It is known that barbs can successfully inhabit unheated tanks, and although this has proved to be successful in many cases, it is not recommended as barb are naturally found in warmer tropical waters.

Due to their aggressive and dominant nature, it is not ideal to keep barbs in artificial tanks with smaller species of tropical fish. At the same time, barb will also hunt medium sized fish if there is a lack of food, and so are best kept on their own (just barbs) or with much larger species of fish.

Barbs are known to lay numerous eggs in order for a few to hatch successfully. The baby barb are called fry and generally hatch within a few days of being laid. Like their hardy barb parents, the barb fry are able to adapt well to changes in their surroundings.

Barbs are opportunists and will therefore eat almost anything that they can find. Although barbs prefer a predominantly meat based diet that includes smaller fish, insects and bloodworm, barb are also known to eat aquatic plants particularly those that are softer and therefore easier to ingest. The exact diet of the barb however, depends on the species and the region in which it inhabits.

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Barb Translations

Barb comú

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First Published: 15th November 2008, Last Updated: 8th November 2019

1. David Burnie, Dorling Kindersley (2008) Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 15 Nov 2008]
2. David Burnie, Kingfisher (2011) The Kingfisher Animal Encyclopedia [Accessed at: 01 Jan 2011]
3. Dorling Kindersley (2006) Dorling Kindersley Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 15 Nov 2008]
4. Richard Mackay, University of California Press (2009) The Atlas Of Endangered Species [Accessed at: 01 Jan 2009]
5. Tom Jackson, Lorenz Books (2007) The World Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 15 Nov 2008]