By: Dr. Thomas R. Reich PhD
The Rosy Barbs is well known to aquarists. It is one of the hardiest and best of the egg-layers for beginners. The adult fish can survive in a temperature as low as 60 degrees Fahrenheit although 75F is probably the best for both adults and the youngsters.
Both sexes of the Rosy Barb are ornamented with a large black spot faintly outlined in brown near the base of the tail. The male, as in the case of many fish, wears the brightest colors. His back is a greenish-gray blending into silver at the sides. The female is olive-brown all over. The popular name was derived from the fact that at spawning time, a rosy color covers the lower part of the sides of the male.
Many derivations of the wild Rosy Barb have been developed over the years through selective breeding. In many strains of farm raised Rosy Barbs, the males are rosy almost all the time, another variety has beautiful long flowing fins and tail, and the male of that strain is almost completely rosy red!
First indications of sex in young fish are that the males develop a black area in the dorsal fin. Strange as it may seem, males show their best colors when kept together. Now and then they perform a circular dance. Head to tail, they gyrate round and round until the viewer is treated to something that compares to a fireworks show in colors. During this spin the fins are fully extended, and their coloring is superb. When placed in a breeding tank spawning will take place; but the male rarely adorns himself in the colors produced when two males perform their strange dance.
Rosy Barbs mature in about six to nine months and grow sometimes to a length of five inches in the wild, although two to two and one half inches is a good size for aquarium-bred species. The scales are somewhat larger than those of most aquarium fish of the same size. The Rosy Barbs will live in peace with most other fish and are proper candidates for a community tank.
Breeding is relatively easy, at an age of about 12 months. The water should be soft to medium-hard at about 77F and a pH 6.5-7.2. The tank need not be larger than a 10 gallon, provided it has filtration, a substrate of sand, an area of open water and a clump or two if live plants as prescribed for barbs or a hanging clump of nylon wool. For more information go to our section on breeding egg-layers here at aquariumfishadvisor.com
The ripe female should be introduced first, and then a few days later the male can be put in the prepared tank. Very often spawning takes place the following morning, the fish coming together flank to flank, and the male then wrapping his body and fins round the female. Spawning lasts for about two hours and both fish should then be removed to prevent them from eating their eggs. The eggs hatch in about 2 days feeding should start when tiny fry are free swimming, start with infosoria for 2 weeks then baby brine shrimp and fine dry fry food.
For more information on breeding all kinds of egg-layers go the our section on egg-laying fish: http://aquariumfishadvisor.com/egg-laying-fish/