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TINFOIL BARB (Barbonymus schwanenfeldii) 4-5" A2405T

TINFOIL BARB (Barbonymus schwanenfeldii) 4-5" A2405T

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The Tinfoil Barb Barbonymus schwanenfeldii (previously Puntius schwanenfeldii) is a very large Cyprinid. This barb can reach a size of up to 14 inches (35 cm) in length. Its natural coloration is usually silvery or sometimes golden, with reflective scales that give it a tinfoil effect. Other common names it is known by include Goldfoil Barb, Schwanefeld's Barb, and River Barb.

Several selectively-bred color varieties of this fish are being imported. The most familiar of these is the Albino Tinfoil Barb (above), the Golden Tinfoil Barb, and a glass variety. Some other varieties are further distinguished by naturally varying colors in their fins or eyes.

This barb is the type species for its genus. There are currently 5 described species in the Barbonymus genus, but only 2 are regularly imported. These fish are sometimes collectively called Tinfoil Barbs, which can create a bit of confusion. This species is often mixed in with its smaller cousin, the Red-tail Tinfoil Barb Barbonymus altus, which has an adult size of about 8 inches (20 cm). These 2 are usually available as juveniles, and other than size, they are almost identical. The easiest way to tell them apart is to look at the forked tail fin. The natural form of this Tinfoil Barb has a distinct black line near the edge of each lobe of the tail fin, which is absent on the Red-tail Tinfoil Barb. Both tinfoil barbs have a black marking on their dorsal fin, but only the Tinfoil Barb has red on this fin as well. The B. schwanenfeldii will also tend to be more silvery overall, with the Red-tail being a more golden bronze color.

The Tinfoil Barb is easy to keep but will grow rapidly. It is often sold as a juvenile with little information as to its ultimate size. They are considered too large for most aquariums and are really best kept by more experienced aquarists who are prepared to provide a very large tank for their long-term care.

To keep them happy, it is best to keep them in a school of 5 or more of their own kind. An aquarium best suited to this fish is large and roomy with a fine gravel bottom and dense plantings along the edges. They like to burrow, so be sure to use hardy plants. Though they are generally peaceful, they will eat smaller fish and thus are not always suitable for a community aquarium. They can be kept with some cichlids and semi-aggressive fish.

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