Black Ruby Barb

  • Puntius nigrofasciatus
  • Black Ruby Barb
  • Barbus nigrofasciatus
  • Endemic to forest streams from the Kelani to the Nilwala Basins in Sri Lanka. Introduced to Colombia.
  • Mature males are larger and much more brightly coloured. Females fuller bodied.
  • 6cm (2.36”)
  • Will acclimatise to a wide range of conditions. pH: 5.5-7.0, dH: up to 15 degrees.
  • 20-26 deg C (68-79 deg F)
  • Community with no long-finned fish
  • No special requirements

Black Ruby Barbs are considered to be of a vulnerable status in their natural habitat. All the specimens offered for sale in the trade these days are captive-bred in order to try and safeguard what remains of the natural population. Black Ruby Barbs are a delightful species which show magnificent colouration when mature and settled into the home aquarium. The drab juveniles are all too often overlooked in the aquatics stores; however, adult males take on a stunning deep ruby red and black colour with flashes of green iridescence shining through, and are a real sight to behold. The above photograph shows a sub-adult specimen. Black Ruby Barbs are generally of a peaceful disposition and can even be a little shy. Due to their natural shoaling behaviour, they must be maintained in groups of 6 or more. The aquarium should be furnished with dark décor and plenty of plants (including floating plant cover) in order to form much appreciated shady hiding areas. They will, however, nibble on fine-leaved plants, so choose species with care. Black Ruby Barbs are sensitive to poor water quality or quick changes in water chemistry. It is therefore prudent to carry out frequent partial water changes rather than large, infrequent changes. Ideal fish for the peaceful, planted community aquarium with no long-finned fish present.


Flake, green flake, spinach, small frozen foods such as daphnia, mosquito larvae, and brineshrimp.


A separate softwater spawning aquarium should be set up with a substrate of marbles and plenty of fine-leaved plants. The temperature should be set at approx 26-27 deg C, and a pair of well-conditioned fish acclimatised across. Spawning is often triggered when the first rays of morning sunshine hit the aquarium glass, and it is a very active affair which can last as long as 2 hours. Up to 500 eggs will be scattered over the plants and marbles, and the hungry parents must be removed immediately after the spawning or else they will predate on the eggs. The tank should be kept in darkness as the eggs are light-sensitive. The eggs usually hatch within 24-36 hours and once the fry become free-swimming, can be offered tiny foods such as infusoria.

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