The Rosy Bitterling (Rhodeus ocellatus ocellatus) is a very interesting, yet fairly uncommon, subtropical cyprinid species that is native to China and Taiwan. It schools and behaves similarly to many peaceful barb species and is a wonderful species for the subtropical planted aquarium, or even for outdoor ponds in warmer areas of the US, where it is beneficial as a mosquito larvae eater and parasite-eating companion to koi. As they mature, males develop striking blue, orange, and pink coloration. This fish spawns in Taiwan mussels, where its fry develop and hatch and are then expelled by the mussel.
Care is simple for the Rosy Bitterling. It is tolerant of a wide range of water parameters, but it prefers fairly neutral pH and will thrive in an aquarium with ample filtration and moderate to high water flow. This active fish is known to jump occasionally, so a secure aquarium lid is recommended. It will readily eat most high-quality dry foods, but it should also be offered meaty live, frozen, or freeze-dried foods.
As stated above, the Rosy Bitterling is a peaceful fish, but it may prey on dwarf shrimp and other very small invertebrates. It does not seem to bother most snails, and we have found it to be generally peaceful with most larger shrimp (such as Amano, Flower, Green Lace, and Vampire Shrimp) as long as they are too large to be considered easy prey. The Rosy Bitterling is a schooling fish that should be kept in a group of at least 6 to 8 fish.
If these requirements are met, the Rosy Bitterling will add a great deal of activity and attractive appearance to the aquarium!