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How to Care for Gold Barbs

New fish species get discovered quite often. Sometimes this represents a truly new discovery and others it represents a fish we’ve been keeping for years in our tanks but that no one knew was actually a different species than we thought it was until DNA tests or other studies prove it to be so.

The fish in the photo below is a new species of bard discovered in India. Though we have a fish with the common name “gold barb” that fish is more yellow and this new one is more of a true gold like the metal. But this gives me an excuse to talk about the gold barb and its care.

Gold Barb

Skill Level, Environment, and general Information for Gold Barb

First off I will say I love gold barb and have kept them over the years in my freshwater tanks. They are a hardy fish and they eat just about anything. This is both a good thing, and a bad thing, but we’ll get to that. One of the best things about them is that they don’t require much skill on the part of the aquarist to keep alive and are a very good beginner fish.

Temperament of the Gold Barb

On various sites that sell them you will see gold barb listed as “peaceful” fish but I rather think that depends. That’s so often the case and why it’s important to pick your tankmates carefully. The female will get much larger than the male. About 3 inches and pretty fat bodied. It becomes a pretty decent sized fish. A female this large will eat smaller animals in the tank. For example if you have freshwater shrimp, she’ll eat them. I remember when cherry shrimp  were just starting to enter the hobby, I was breeding them and they were pretty costly. I put some in my main display tank because they are lovely and the female promptly ate one. She couldn’t get to the very largest ones but she could eat a small adult and any fry would be gone. That’s true of guppy or platy fry as well. If you have breeders in your tank they will get eaten.

The gold barb (like other barbs) will nip the fins of other fish if those fins are slightly elongated. Guppy don’t do well with them and the gold barb is likely to stress them. Fish like a serpae tetra do well with them, but not the long finned variety. Stay clear of those. I also recommend staying clear of other barb species. Even when I’ve kept them in a larger tank I’ve seen issues. I’ve kept yellow with cherry barb and separately with tiger barb. Though tigers have a reputation for being aggressive the yellows can give them a run for it.

The secret is to keep a sufficient number of the fish. If you have a school of at least 6 of them then they worry about each other and leave the other fish alone with the exception of long finned fish. The gold barb is a fish that has a hierarchical structure and using that to your advantage is what keeps them peaceful with other fish.

Feeding the Gold Barb

Feeding is one of the things that makes keeping gold barb easy, they eat anything. As in the case of my cherry shrimp, that’s not a good thing. But other than that they are omnivores and will eat a good variety of food types. You can feed them meaty foods like brine shrimp or blood worms and they will eat them and you can feed them algae-based foods. For best health they do well with a mixed food. Something composed of meat and vegetable matter. Over the years I’ve settled on Formula II flake food as my primary food for both marine and freshwater fish.

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I’ve found that all my fish will eat it (even pajama cardinals) and if you look at the ingredients you will see that it’s a good balance of nutritional needs of the fish. I still like to supplement with brine or mysis (especially) but I admit that’s for my own enjoyment more than the needs of the fish. I enjoy watching the fish go after something new. I don’t really think that fish get tired of eating the same thing over and over, just like a dog will eat bagged food for life, but it makes me feel better to break up their meals with something special.

The idea is to remember that they are omnivorous and need both veggies/algae and meat.

Tank-mates for the Gold Barb

As mentioned above the best tank-mates for gold barbs are those that won’t fit in their mouth and that don’t have long fins. Stay away from other barb species unless your tank is very large (like 5″ to 6″ long). Keep other gold barbs with them so you have a good school of them. They will pick their own hierarchy and leave other fish alone. Other than that they do well with other types of fish.

Final Notes

I personally love gold barbs and think they are interesting and beautiful fish. You can get them that have been born and raised in captivity so if you are concerned about over-fishing in the wild this is a species that you don’t have to worry about. In fact you can try to breed them yourself if you like.

They do well in a 30 gallon tank, do well in differing water conditions, and can manage lower temperatures as well, even down to around 72 degrees. Overall it’s a fish I recommend to people. The gold barb on the market now might not be as attractive as the newly discovered on in the photo below, but it is a brightly colored fish with nice red accents that stands out nicely.

Dear Carassius auratus, with all due respect, I think I might deserve your common name more than you do. Sincerely, Pethia sahit

Source: A new and very gold fish

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