Rosy Barb Care Guide

you are looking for a peaceful and hardy freshwater fish that is easy to care for and vibrant in color, then the Rosy Barb will surely not disappoint. The Rosy Barb is a Freshwater fish species that is well-known for its peaceful and active temperament, and vibrant colors, which will give life to your aquarium. It is a popular pet for beginner aquarists that is easy to care for, and even to breed. Taken that the right tank set-up and conditions are provided, along with a healthy diet, they will easily flourish and live for up to five years.

Breed Overview

  • Origin: Southern Asia.
  • Lifespan: 3- 4 years generally, but can live up to 5 years.
  • Size: between 14-15 cm (6 inches).
  • Colors: Gold Neon Rosy, and Red Glass Rosy.
  • Food:
  • Tank Size: 20 to 30 Gallons (76 to 114 Liters) per group of four or more Rosy Barbs.
  • Temperament: Peaceful, Active,, and Shoals.
  • Water Type: Fresh Soft Water.
  • Water Temperature: Temperatures between 65°F and78°F (18°C to 26°C). Breeding Temperatures between 73 and 77° F (22 – 25° C).
  • Water pH: Neutral to lightly acidic pH 6.5 to 7.0.
  • Difficulty Level: Easy for Beginners.

Rosy Barb Species Information Summary

The Rosy Barb or Pethia Conchonus is a subtropical fish species that can happily live in an unheated tank, assuming that the water temperatures remain stable, and are not too cold.

They are Omnivores feeding off worms, insects, and crustaceans, as well as plant matter. Rosy Barbs natively live in faster-flowing waters and lakes, and they are found mostly in Southern Asia, from Afghanistan, up to Bangladesh.

The Rosy Barb fish is critical to the aquarium trade and one of many species used to create more diverse hybrid varieties of the Tiger Barb.

The fish has commercial importance in the aquarium trade and is one of several species of barbs used to create “hybrid” versions of tiger barbs.

The Rosy Barb can grow up to 6 inches in size, and the males have more vibrant colors than females. In the right conditions, they can live up to five years in captivity.

Color Variations of the Rosy Barb

The Rosy Barb fish has a vivid red color, and the female tends to be duller in color, and a yellow to gold color rather than red. A fun fact is that you can improve the colors of your Rosy barbs by feeding foods high in carotenoids.

 The Rosy Barb has more color and tail variations;

The Long Fin Rosy BarbAs the name suggests this variation has longer flowing caudal fins and dorsal fins, increasing its size up to 8 inches.

The Red Glass Rosy Barb – It is a more muted color variant of the Rosy Barb that is paler and more translucent.

The Gold Neon Rosy Barb – A species where the male is red and gold with black spots, and the female is mostly gold.

Rosy Barb Size and Lifespan

The Rosy Barb can reach sizes of between 14 to 15 cm (5 – 6 Inches), though they are mature when they have reached a size of 6cm (2.5 Inches). Under the right conditions, Rosy Barb fish will live between 3-4 years, with some that have reached 5 years.

Temperament and Behavior

For the most part, Rosy Barbs are peaceful fish that are social and enjoy shoaling. They get along very well with other compatible species of fish that are more suited to colder water temperatures.

Rosy Barbs can become stressed and lonely easily, thus it is important to get more than one of the same species, as well as a few other species of companions. They are community fish that thrive in a larger tank.

One important factor about Rosy barbs is that they will occasionally nip at the fins of other fish that have long flowing fins, so it’s best to keep to more suitable tank mates.

General Care

In general, the Rosy barb is an easy fish to care for and a good choice for beginners that have some knowledge of sub-tropical fish.

They should be kept in larger groups as they are communal fish that will shoal.

Ideally, you can also keep them with other fish species, though they do have the habit of nipping at fish with long fins and tails.

They are Omnivores and thus will need a diet with meat-based and plant-based foods.

Providing that you keep the water conditions up to par, and feed them well, Rosy Barbs are very hardy and easy to care for fish, which will ensure you many hours of viewing pleasure.

So, let’s dive in with setting up the perfect living space for your Rosy Barbs;

Tank Set-Up of the Rosy Barb Fish

Before we start with the tank, keep in mind the Rosy barb needs a spacious tank, and must be kept in a community with similar species, and other small fish species if you prefer. They are hardy, and have exquisite colors, especially during their mating periods.

Place your tank in an area with some light, away from direct sunlight, and where the temperatures are less likely to fluctuate excessively.

Tank Size

Rosy Barbs are active fish that need to be kept in groups, or communities, and they enjoy plenty of swimming and activity. Therefore, you will need a large tank of at least 20 to 30 gallons for a group of four to six Rosy Barbs, similarly opt for a tank that is a long rectangular shape. Be Cautious as Rosy Barbs are superior jumpers and will easily leap out of their tank, so try to invest in a good lid.

Water Conditions

Rosy Barbs are Sub-Tropical fish that thrive in slightly cooler, soft water that is neutral, to slightly acidic. You can follow the below guidelines to get the perfect water conditions;

  • Temperature – The Ideal temperature for Rosy Barbs is between 65°F to 78°F (18°C to 26°C).
  • Lighting – Rosy Barbs need a clear indication of day and night time cycles in their tank, therefore you will need either natural or artificial light. They should not be kept in direct sunlight for more than two hours a day essentially.
  • Filtration – Because Rosy Barbs naturally live in moving water and rivers, they can easily handle a filter that has a slight current, creating moderate movement.
  • Ammonia and Nitrites – Ammonia and Nitrite levels should be kept as low as possible at 00 ppm. Nitrates need to be less than 5 ppm.
  • pH Levels – A pH of between 6.5 and 7.0 that is slightly acidic to more neutral is ideal.
  • Water Hardness – Rosy Barbs enjoy soft water conditions that are around 2 -10 dGH

Tank Decoration

Appropriate tank decorations and substrates are vital for Rosy Barbs to thrive and entertain themselves. They are very active fish that will explore all areas of the tank, and thus need plenty of room, with a soft substrate and plants around the edges of the tank.


Very Fine Gravel or Sand is the safest substrate to use for your Rosy Barbs. Try to opt for white or dark gray-colored substrates that will help to boost their attractive red and pink coloring.

Synthetic Plants

You can choose plastic or silk-type synthetic plants. Ensure that they do not have hard or sharp edges that may harm your fish.

Live Plants

When choosing live plants for Rosy Barbs keep in mind, they are omnivores and thus will nibble at soft leaves on plants. Live plants are likewise an excellent source of oxygen and will aid in keeping your tank clean. A few good live plant choices include;

  • Java Moss – A bright green leafed plant that forms clumps, like a carpet at the bottom of your tank, creating a softer bottom.
  • Wisteria – The Hygrophila difformis, or water wisteria is a stationary bottom plant that has lush green leaves.
  • Abulia – A thick and bushy bright green plant.
  • Java Ferns – A hardy plant with various leaf shapes that can tolerate almost all water conditions.
  • Anubias – grows mostly in rivers and streams, and has broad, thick, and wide dark green leaves.


Tank ornaments and decorations such as Rocks, Driftwood, caves, or castles can be used as hideouts. You can also decorate with treasure Chests, and shipwrecks, depending on your preference. Just keep in mind that Rosy Barbs needs ample space in the middle of the tank for swimming, so keep most ornaments and plants at the edges of the tank.

Introducing Your New Fish

It is highly advisable that you get talents for or more Rosy Barbs as they are Schooling fish. You can add them all to your tank together. If you would like to breed your fish you should select a ratio of one male for two females.

Choosing Healthy Rosy Barb Fish

Choose Rosy barbs according to sex as mentioned above for breeding, or select a single sex to be housed together in a group. Males usually have the most vibrant colors. Look for fish that are active, and completely upright, that have no evident scars or dents on their fins or body. Also, ensure that they do not have any white spots or residue on their skins. Their eyes should be bright and dark, and not gray or milky in color.

Placing Your Fish in their New Home

After you have set up your tank, and established perfect water conditions, which may take a few days, you can add your fish.

  1. Float the bag with the fish on the water surface of the tank for at least 20 to 30 minutes to adjust them to the temperatures.
  2. Remove a cup of water from the bag and replace it with water from the tank. Repeat the step every 100 to 15 minutes for 30 minutes.
  3. Slowly allow your fish into the tank, taking care not to add too much of the water contents of the bag, as it may have high ammonia concentrations from waste.

Selecting Suitable Tank Mates / Companions

You may consider a few other fish species to cohabitate with your Rosy Barbs, which is perfectly fine, providing that you choose fish similar in nature and size.

Avoid fish with long flowing fins and tails that are slow-moving, such as Ryukin Goldfish, as your Rosy Barbs may nip at them.

Avoid predatory and aggressive fish that may attack your Rosy Barbs. A good choice is fast-swimming small fish that are also adapted to similar water temperatures.

Here are a few excellent choices in companions for Rosy Barbs;

  • Danios – The Danio is a small fish from the same family, Cyprinidae, as Rosa Barbs. It comes in various colors and patterns.
  • Opaline Gourami – The Opaline Gourami is a very Peaceful and slightly larger fish that can easily be kept with your Rosa Barbs, and that is a beginner-friendly fish.
  • Tiger Barbs – Tiger Barbs are the same species and only have different coloring, with stripes resembling a tiger.
  • Tetras – Tetras are small fish that are shoaling fish. The neon Tetra with bright blue and red stripes is quite common.
  • Swordtails – A colorful and peaceful fish species with an elongated ventral fin that resembles a sword.
  • Paradise Fish – A type of Gourami that has vibrant and multiple colors, it is peaceful and will make an excellent tank mate.
  • Corydoras Catfish – The Corydoras is a bottom-feeding peaceful fish species that is a member of the catfish group. It will help maintain your tank and make an ideal companion fish that mostly keeps to itself.
  • Mollies – The Molly is an energetic, short-finned fish that will make a fun addition to your tank.

Likewise, you can invest in snails that will be suitable for colder water conditions. They are good tank mates and help to clean your tank.

Maintaining Your Fish Tank

Rosy Barbs are very easy to care for and hardy fish, if their tank is kept clean, and water conditions are at the proper levels.

Decomposed organic matter and waste can cause a build-up of nitrites, and phosphates and increase the water’s hardness because of evaporation over time. Thus, you will need to replace around 25% – 30 % of the tank water once a month, or every two weeks, depending on the density and amount of fish in the tank.

Replacing Tank water;

  1. Remove 25 to 30% of the water from the bottom of your tank with a suction hose.
  2. Prepare new water in a separate dish to replace the old water.
  3. Add water conditioners and ensure that the water is at the same temperature as that of the tank.
  4. Add the water to your tank.
  5. Remove and clean all Rocks, Driftwood, and Decorations. Remove dead plant matter to prevent waste build-up.

Feeding Your Rosy Barbs

Rosy Barbs are Omnivores and enjoy a variety of meat-based, and plant-based foods for a healthy, balanced diet. They are generally said to be “opportunistic” feeders that will not shy away from anything that you may drop inside the tank.

What to Feed

Pellets and Flakes – You can invest in a good quality dry fish food such as flakes or very small pellets from a local breeder, pet store, or online.

Live and Frozen Foods – Rosy Barbs will feed on live or frozen insects, worms, and crustaceans, such as brine shrimp, and blood worms, provided that they are small enough.

Plant Material – Additionally you can feed small pieces of lettuce, spinach, or thinly sliced zucchini for greens. Keep in mind they need to be blanched and cooled before feeding. Most Rosy Barbs will nibble on the soft leaves of plants inside the tank.

How to Feed

It is important not to overfeed your Rosy Barbs and to ensure that there is no excess food that can cause waste in the tank. Feed Your fish twice a day at the same time, to create a routine. Feed them enough to finish within two to three minutes, ensuring that all the fish from the group are fed.

Common Pests and Diseases

As long as you keep your tank clean, and warrant your Rosy Barbs a properly balanced diet, you should not have any issues.

However, there are a few common health issues that may affect your fish;

  1. Swim Bladder – Fish that have a swim bladder will most likely turn upside down, sink, or float. Swim Bladder is a bacterial infection of the gas bladder, caused by poor water quality or poor diet. You can treat your swim bladder by placing the fish in a quarantine tank with optimal water conditions, and by using a prescribed antibiotic from your vet.
  2. Fin Rot – You may notice some discoloration on the fins, which can spread to the body. The condition is caused by an infection from poor tank conditions or bites from other fish. Fin rot can be treated similarly by isolating the sick fish, and using a course of antibiotics.
  3. Ich – Also called White Spot Disease Ich is essentially a parasite that causes white spots on the fins and near the gills, and your fish to become lethargic and lose their appetite. You will need to isolate the fish and use proper aquarium salts and medications prescribed for the condition. Antibiotics in this case will not work.

How to Breed Your Rosy Barb Fish

The Rosy Barb is a very easy fish to breed, provided that the conditions are right. You will need a separate tank for breeding with water that is a few inches deep. Fill the tank with plenty of broad-leaf plants for the female to scatter her eggs.

You will need one male for every two females, and you can easily breed Rosy Barbs in a group. The female will lay eggs scattering them all over the tank, and the male will fertilize them. You will need to remove all adult fish from the tank, as they will eat their eggs and offspring.

The eggs will hatch in around 30 Hours. You can add more water to the breeding tank as the fry start free swimming, and introduce liquid fry food, or newly hatched brine shrimp.

Did you know that you can breed hybrid species using your Rosa Barbs with Tiger Barbs and color colors from this species?

Final Thoughts

The Rosy Barb is a very brightly colored and hardy fish species that is peaceful in nature, and easy for beginners to keep. As long as you keep tank water conditions, and temperatures at peak levels, and ensure a varied and balanced diet, they should thrive for up to five years. Rosy Barbs are communal fish so it is important to keep them in groups of at least four or more fish. By following the tips and advice provided you should easily be able to set up your tank, take care of your Rosa Barb fish, and even try your hand at breeding them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Rosy Barbs Live Bearers?

Rosy Barbs are Oviparous, Egg scatterers according to Courseware, where you can read further about Live Bearing and Egg laying Fish. Thus, they lay their eggs scattered all over the tank.

How Long Do Rosy Barbs Live?

Generally, most Rosy Barbs in Captivity will live around 3-4 years, however, they have been noted to live up to 5 years in favorable conditions.

What is the Difference Between a Rosy Barb Male and Female?

Rosy Barbs males and females are quite similar. Both genders feature black markings on the sides and fins, and both have a torpedo-shaped body, with a forked tail. However, the male will have much brighter red coloration, in contrast to the female, which will appear more gold or silver in color than the male.

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