This rare barb is a spectacular fish for the planted aquarium, and dominant males often boast bright red coloration!
The African Banded Barb (Barbus fasciolatus) is a very beautiful, but uncommon species that is an excellent fish for the planted aquarium. It is known for its small size and attractive black striping. Most specimens display at least a yellow/gold body coloration, but dominant males often display incredible bright red coloration, especially during breeding time. This fish is not as heavy-bodied or boisterous as many other barb species. It is compatible with most other peaceful species that inhabit similar water conditions.
The African Banded Barb typically occupies the top and middle level of the water column, although it can often be seen swimming and feeding in the middle and bottom levels as well. It is safe with other peaceful, small fish. It may prey on smaller dwarf shrimp and their fry. Larger, peaceful invertebrates can make good tankmates. The African Banded Barb must be kept in groups of 6 or more, although larger groups are more ideal so that subdominant specimens are not bullied by dominant individuals during breeding behavior. Its natural habitat typically has slow water flow, high oxygen content, and contains acidic water rich in tannins and leaf litter. It requires very clean water to thrive and it will display optimal coloration and health in a planted aquarium with dark substrate, especially where floating plants are present..
While not a picky eater, the African Banded Barb will thrive and remain very colorful on a varied diet of omnivorous foods. High-quality flake food, pellets, and live, frozen, or freeze-dried Artemia, microworms, Tubifex, and finely chopped bloodworms will all be readily accepted. Some vegetable matter, especially dry food high in vegetable content, is essential for optimal health and coloration.