Rosy barb: Care, Size, Lifespan, Diet & More

Rosy Barb (Pethia conchonius) is a peaceful and hardy fish that lives natively in different parts of Asia. Rosy Barbs are active swimmers and can be seen darting around the tank in search of food or exploring their environment. 

These fish are beginner-friendly species but new aquarists tend to make a few mistakes that can cause these fish a hard life. This is why it’s important to understand this fish before purchasing them. 

So we made this guide to provide you with the proper care instructions and other useful information about these beautiful species. If you need specific information, you can jump to that section using the table of content below.

Species Profile & Overview

The Rosy Barb fish is a popular aquarium species that originates from the rivers of southern Asia from Afghanistan to Bangladesh. 

In the wild, they inhabit slow-moving to fast-moving rivers, streams, and pools with plenty of vegetation. Because of the vast geological area, these fish are living in, they have evolved to be very strong and adaptable. 

Rosy Barbs are schooling fish that can be quite shy in small groups, so it’s best to keep them in schools of at least six individuals or more if possible. They are peaceful by nature but can become a bit nippy like other barb species. 

Their bright reddish-pink colors make them a desired pet for many aquarists. These fish have been a staple part of the pet trade for a while now. As a result, some of them have found their way to the rivers of Mexico and Australia; which are considered invasive. 

Identifying Rosy Barb

Rosy barb (Pethia conchonius)
Rosy barb

The Rosy Barb is a stunning fish that can add an eye-catching splash of color to any aquarium. These vibrant little fish have an oval body shape with a slightly round head and beautiful large fins.

Their bodies are typically pinkish-gold, but they can come in many different variations. They also have a large black dot right before the tail fin which gives them a unique look. 

This black dot is in line with their eye and almost about the same size. In the wild, this feature is believed to trick the predators into thinking that the barb is looking at them. This eventually makes the predator think twice before trying to attack.

The most striking feature of the Rosy Barb is its large fins. Compared to their body, the fins are large and also have the same color as the rest of the body. 

These fish also come in long-fin varieties that make them look even more beautiful. The longfin Rosy Barbs are not as common as regular Rosy Barbs and you should try to keep them with peaceful fish that don’t nip.

Some species can have darker fins or black patches on the fins or bodies. These individuals are often considered to be of low quality by aquarists. A high-quality Rosy Barb should have a full pink or reddish body and fins with a single black dot.

Overall, Rosy Barbs are stunningly beautiful fish that make great additions to any community tank. Their simple singular color makes them a great alternative to goldfish for those who want to keep a red fish in their smaller tank. 

Adult Size

The Rosy Barb fish is a small species that typically reaches about 6 inches in length. However, in captivity, they often stay at around 3 – 4 inches. At the same time, they are not bulky fish so this length will not make them look huge.

Their size makes them ideal for aquariums as they are not too large. Despite their size, these fish are calm and gentle towards other species. Making them an ideal fish to have in a community tank. More on this in the Behavior section of this guide.


These fish are resilient species and will live a long life with proper care and diet. Rosy Barbs have an average lifespan of 5 years. However, they might live shorter lives due to several factors.

These include water quality, diet, tank size, and environment, as well as genetics and stress levels. The main factors that affect these fish’s lifespan are poor water quality and diseases. 

Behavior & Temperament

Rosy Barbs are peaceful and active schooling fish that prefer to be kept in groups of at least six. However, they may occasionally chase other fish or nip their fins, but this is generally harmless behavior if other fish are fast swimmers.

Rosy Barbs are a great community fish and can get along with most other peaceful fish species, as long as they are not too small or slow-moving. This means you will need to be more considerate when picking their tank mates. More on this later in this guide.

When kept in small aquariums or in low numbers, Rosy Barbs may become stressed out and start to nip on other fish. This can lead to aggression or unwanted situations that can be unhealthy for the fish. 

Overall, as long as they get the right tank setup and tank mates, these fish are amazing pets to keep.

Rosy Barb Care

Rosy Barbs are a great choice for home aquariums due to their hardiness and easy care requirements. They can tolerate a wide range of water parameters, making them an ideal species for beginners. 

They are incredibly adaptable species and can thrive in a wide variety of tank conditions. This means your tank might already be a perfect environment to house these fish. 

So keep reading the next few sections to fully understand the Rosy Barb care. 

Tank Size

The minimum tank size for a Rosy Barb fish is 20 gallons. This species of fish prefers to live in schools, so it is recommended that you keep at least three to five individuals in the same tank.

Larger tank size will be beneficial as they are active swimmers and need plenty of space to move around. Additionally, Rosy Barbs prefer planted tanks with plenty of hiding places which can only be created in a bigger aquarium.

A large aquarium can also provide many benefits to their health and lifespan. The increased water volume helps keep water parameters stable, providing a healthier environment for the fish.

Rosy barb (Pethia conchonius)
Rosy barb

What To Put In A Rosy Barb Tank

The best way to decorate an aquarium for Rosy Barb is to create a natural-looking aquascape. This can be done by adding rocks, driftwood, and plants that provide plenty of hiding places for the fish. 

Use darker colors substrate and decorations to create contrast with the bright red color of the Rosy Barbs. This will make the fish look more vibrant and make it more visible in the tank.

These fish are shy and need lots of decorations in their tank that provide hiding places and areas of interest. This is important because it helps to reduce stress levels, which can lead to improved health and well-being for the fish. 

Try to use natural decorations as they can add beauty and a natural look to your aquarium. Natural decorations such as live plants, rocks, and driftwood provide a more natural look than artificial decorations. 

The substrate can provide several benefits, including a natural-looking environment and help with maintaining water quality. The best type of substrate for a Rosy Barb aquarium is one that has small grains or particles. Sand or fine gravel make great choices but you can use any other aquarium substrate that you have available.

Make sure to add lots of live plants in their tank for optimal health and living conditions. Plants provide a variety of benefits for your Rosy Barbs and other aquarium inhabitants. Live plants will constantly filter out the toxins that can be harmful to the fish.

By adding live plants to your aquarium you are creating a balanced ecosystem that is beneficial to all of its inhabitants including Rosy Barbs. They can also help with preventing algae blooms from occurring within your tank.

Some compatible plants for Rosy Barb include Amazon Sword Plant, Java Fern, Anubias, Water Sprite, Bucephalandra, and Jungle Val. You can also add other hardy types of plants to your tank for more aesthetics and beauty.

Light Requirements

Rosy Barb fish need moderate light to look their best. The ideal lighting for Rosy Barbs is a full-spectrum LED that is set at its low to medium capacity. This will make the fish look redder and also let the plants grow. 

Most high-quality lights already come with a few different settings that you can choose from. They also have a built-in timer that turns them on and off the light at specific hours of the day. This will make your job much easier as well as give your fish and plants a natural feeling of day and night. 

Water Conditions & Parameters

Rosy Barbs are also very hardy and adaptable fish. They can survive in a wide range of water parameters both in the wild and in captivity. But they do best when the water parameters are at a specific range. 

Rosy Barbs are native to South Asia, where they inhabit moderate-moving streams and rivers. Matching your aquarium water to similar conditions will benefit these fish and will expand their lifespan. 

Here is the ideal range of parameters for Rosy Barb:

  • Temperature: 64 – 75 Degrees Fahrenheit
  • pH: 6.0 – 8.0
  • TDS: 100 – 200 PPM

These fish are accustomed to subtropical climates and prefer to live in such an environment. For short periods of time, they can also live in warmer or cooler temperatures but that can shorten their lifespan if kept for a long time. 

Filtration System

A well-established filtration system is essential for the health of Rosy Barb. Without it, their tank water can quickly become polluted with waste and toxins that can harm the fish. By maintaining a healthy balance of beneficial bacteria in the tank, your fish will thrive!

When selecting a filter for your Rosy Barb’s aquarium, you should look for one that has enough flow rate to turn over all of the water in your tank at least six times per hour. This ensures that all areas of your tank receive adequate filtration and oxygenation. 

Common Diseases and Prevention

Like all aquarium fish, Rosy Barbs are susceptible to a variety of diseases, including bacterial infections, fungal infections, and parasites. However, Rosy Barbs are slightly hardier than the other similar-sized fish.

Diseases can lead to decreased appetite, lethargy, loss of coloration, and increased susceptibility to secondary infection from other pathogens. If left untreated these conditions can become life-threatening for Rosy Barbs. 

It is important to maintain good water quality by regularly testing for ammonia levels. Performing regular water changes in order to reduce the risk of disease in your tank.

Poor water quality can cause many health problems for the fish. Poor water quality can also cause stress in fish which makes them more susceptible to diseases.

To prevent diseases in an aquarium it is important to maintain good water quality by regularly testing the pH levels, ammonia levels, nitrate levels, and temperature of the tank. 

It is also important to perform regular partial water changes using dechlorinated or aged tap water. Gravel vacuuming the substrate to remove any debris can be beneficial if you don’t have root-feeding plants.

Additionally, quarantine new fish for at least two weeks before adding them to your main tank. This way, you can monitor their health and ensure they are not carrying any diseases with them. 

Diet and Feeding Requirements

Rosy Barb fish are omnivores, meaning they eat both plant and animal matter. In the wild, Rosy Barbs feed on a variety of foods such as small insects, crustaceans, worms, algae, and other aquatic plants. 

They find their food by foraging in shallow waters near the surface or along the bottom of streams and rivers. They are also fast swimmers and can ambush smaller prey.

In captivity, the best feeding practice for Rosy Barbs is to provide them with a varied diet of high-quality fish foods. A good staple diet for these fish should consist of quality flake food, frozen or freeze-dried bloodworms, tubifex worms, and brine shrimp. 

Ideally, Rosy Barbs should be fed two to three times daily in small amounts that they can consume within one minute. Overfeeding is not recommended as it can lead to water pollution and health issues.

We feed them a mix of dry and frozen foods as it is beneficial for their overall health. Dry food provides the essential nutrients that are necessary for healthy growth. Frozen foods provide additional nutrition along with fresh vitamins and fats like omega-3.

Frozen foods also contain higher levels of moisture than dry food which makes digestion easier for the fish. But feeding too much-frozen food can cause constipation for these fish. So try to feed frozen foods once or 2 times per week. 

This combination will ensure that your Rosy Barb receives all the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and happy!

Breeding Rosy Barb

Rosy Barbs are one of the easier fish to breed. In fact, all you need to do is to make sure you have a male and a female! They will do the rest themselves. 

However, there are a few things you can do to increase the chances of breeding and increase the survival rate of the fry. 

To breed Rosy Barb, start by setting up a separate breeding tank with plenty of hiding places and plants. These fish are egg scatters and lay their eggs on plants. It’s best to add Hornwort or Java Moss for them to lay their eggs on. 

Make sure to use a filter with a fine sponge over its intake or even better pick a spine filter. This will keep the tiny fry from being pulled into the filter. 

Next, add two or three pairs of adult Rosy Barbs to the tank and let them acclimate. If the females are already carrying eggs, you will see some eggs on the plants the next day.

Rosy Barbs lay their eggs at dawn so you might not see the actual breeding ritual. They often lay their eggs at around 4 am to 7 am, depending on the time of the year and the country you are living in. 

As soon as you see the eggs are laid, it’s best to remove the parents and let the fry hatch in the tank. We found this the most useful way of raising more fry. The water parameters also affect the survival and hatch rate of the fish. 

At lower TDS levels more of the eggs will hatch and survive. To keep the TDS low, you can either use rainwater or RO water to keep the tank at an optimal range for the fry to hatch and grow.

It is also important to feed small amounts of food several times a day so that all fry can grow as quickly as possible. 

Rosy Barbs can lay up to 500 eggs at a time. The number of eggs laid depends on the size and age of the females. The larger and older females tend to lay more eggs than the smaller ones. 

The eggs will hatch within 24 – 36 hours so you must be ready to feed them and do many water changes. Each water change should not cause any fluctuations in the water parameters as that can kill the fry.

Tank Mates

Rosy Barb fish are generally peaceful and can be kept with other peaceful tank mates. They prefer to school in groups of at least five, but larger schools will create a more dynamic environment for them. 

These fish, like most barbs, have the tendency to nip on other fish’s fins. Especially if the fish have long fins they might go after them. This usually happens when Rosy Barbs have been kept in lower numbers or the tank is too small. 

Here are our top picks of compatible tank mates for Rosy Barbs:

Rosy barb (Pethia conchonius)
Rosy barb


The Rosy Barb Fish is a unique and interesting addition to any aquarium. They are active, colorful species that will add life and vibrancy to the tank. They are relatively easy to care for, making them ideal for beginner aquarists. 

With proper maintenance, they can live up to five years in captivity. Keeping these beautiful fish in an aquarium is sure to bring hours of enjoyment as you watch them explore their new home!