Rosy barb (Pethia conchonius)

The rosy barb (lat. Pethia conchonius) is one of the most beautiful barb species. Another good thing about the fish is that it’s not demanding, good-tempered and it is interesting to watch it in a tank, since it moves all the time. These qualities have made the fish one of the most renown fishes among beginning aquarists. In this article we’ll tell you about keeping, breeding and feeding of rosy barb.

Habitat in the wild

The fish dwells in Bangladesh, North-East India ans some other regions of South-East Asia. Also there are populations of the fish in Singapore, Austria, Mexico, Columbia.

It prefers lentic waters, but it can live at various conditions: from fast rivers and their tributaries to very small waters: lakes, ponds and bogs.


In a tank the fish grows to be up to 8 cm (3.3 inches) large, in the wild it is up to 10 cm long (according to some data it can be 14 cm long). Lifespan is up to 5 years.

The body is oval shaped, elongated and flattened from sides. It has no barbels. Male back is green or olive colored, the abdomen and sides have yellow or red tint. There is a dark spot at the beginning on the tale fin.

The male has strong pink tint on its body (due to which the fish got its name), when the fish is excited the tint becomes brighter.

The fins are reddish with copper tint. The top of anal, dorsal and abdominal fins is black. Rosy barb has a long finned species as well.

Difficulties in keeping

This is a perfect fish for those who are just getting to know aquarium husbandry. They easily take relocation to various tanks and are undemanding in terms of feeding.

However, it’s better to keep the fish in a tank with cool water, therefore the tankmates should have the same requirements to tank conditions. Another drawback is that the fish can nip its tankmates fins, so they should be fast and without long fins.

Keeping in a tank

Scientific NamePethia conchonius
Common NameRosy barb, rosy fish
Tank size17,6 gallons and more
Temperature18-22 °C (64–72 °F)
Sizeup to 4 in (10 cm)
Lifespanup to 5 years

This is active and quite large fish, that swims in all water layers in a tank. You should keep it in a school, since this is when you can see the temper and at that its aggression towards other fishes decreases.

Rosy barb feels more comfortable in a company of 8-10 relatives in an elongated tank. For a couple of fish 40 liters (8,8 gallons) tank is enough and for the school – 80 liters (17,6 gallons). Don’t forget to close the tank with a lid, since rosy barbs easily jump out of water when they start swimming very fast.

Use dark and small grained bottom substrate, this is when the coloring looks the best. Dim lights, lots of shelters and tank plants (they can be of various kinds, since barbs are quite indifferent towards them) – this is how the tank should look like.

There should be some free space for the fish to swim. Floating tank plants that scatter the light from the surface as well as snags and tree branches make the biotope look more natural.

There are no special requirements as for keeping rosy barb. The main tank parameter for the fish is cool water – the temperature should be 18-22 °C (64–72 °F), but its is quite difficult thing to do in summer. Luckily, the fish has adapted and can stand summer time quite well, though if you have a chance try to keep the water temperature low.

Also the fish likes water flow in a tank and you can create it by means of the water filter. Weekly water renew is a must, since the fish likes clean and fresh water.

Fish prefers tank water temperature 18–22°C (64–72 °F), hardness 4—18°, tank water acidity 6,5—7,5 (about neutral). If you are planning to breed the fish, keep it at lower water temperature values. Rosy barb will easily stand water temperature decrease up to 15 degrees.


The fish eats all kinds of live, frozen and artificial food. It is desirable to provide it with diversified diet to make sure that the it is healthy and active. Give it some vegetable supplementary components as well – such as scalded lettuce and dandelion leaves.

Compatibility and tank mates

This is a very active fish and it is quite interesting to observe it. As for its good temper, the fish is a peaceful one and it gets along well with its tank mates in a community tank.

However, sometimes the fish may nip fins of its long-finned neighbors.

I had a situation in my experience, when a school of tiger barbs living together with angelfishes didn’t hurt them at all, but rosy barbs had almost destroyed them.

At that both of the barb species lived in quite large schools, so this must be about their temper. Because, as a rule, keeping in a school sufficiently decreases the level of their aggression.

Chose active fishes that like cool water as tank mates. For example, white cloud minnow will do in this case. Or it can be panda cory, since it also likes cool water.

However, in general rosy barbs are kept in community tanks with various species, the main thing is that their tank mates don’t have long fins like those of betta fish or oranda.


Before the fish gets reproductive, it is almost impossible to tell between the male and female. When the fish gets older it is easier to do. Males are smaller, brighter colored and females have rounded and wide abdomen.


Breeding of the fish isn’t a difficult thing to do. It becomes reproductive at the age of 6-8 month old.

For several days feed the fish well with live food, rise tank water temperature at 1—2 degrees. It is possible, but not necessary to keep males and females separately during this time.

When the female’s abdomen gets full with eggs, put it and two male into a separate spawning tank of 10—15 liters capacity with water level not higher than 15 cm.

Put a separating net on the tank bottom to save eggs from being eaten by their parents. Some green plants like java moss should be put on a tank bottom.

Water temperature in a spawning tank should be 2-3°C higher than that of the tank where the fish used to live. The spawning process starts in the morning. Once it is over, the fish should be removed from the tank.

The egg stage lasts for 1,5—2 days, the larvae starts to swim in 3—4 days after hatching. Start food for the juveniles is infusorian and other small microorganisms.