Has your cherry barb started to look a bit rotund as of late? Perhaps you’ve noticed that your cherry barb has a bigger belly than usual.
Does this mean that the fish is sick or constipated? Or could it mean that the fish is pregnant or carrying eggs?
Many people get confused when they see a fish with a swollen abdominal area. If you’re new to the hobby, you might not be sure what you’re looking at.
Continue reading to learn about cherry barbs and why they might have big bellies. This will help you to know what is going on in your tank.
Why Does My Cherry Barb Have a Bloated Stomach?
There are a few things that could be happening if you notice that your cherry barb has a larger stomach than usual. If you suspect that the cherry barb is bloated, it could be sick.
It’s important to try to figure out what’s going on as soon as you can. This will allow you to take action to help the fish get back to normal.
1 – Constipation
It could be that the cherry barb is constipated due to eating too much food at once. Often, this will occur when fish owners aren’t careful while feeding the fish.
You feed cherry barbs two to three times per day. Each time you feed them, you’re supposed to give them as much as they can eat in three minutes.
If you’re giving the fish too much food, they won’t necessarily know when to stop eating. Fish will just keep eating, and this will wind up having consequences.
When you see the fish has a bloated stomach, it’s very likely that you’re dealing with some type of constipation issue. The problem might go away if you simply don’t feed the fish for a bit.
You can also try to give the fish a boiled pea. This is something that can make the fish poop a lot.
Feed the fish the pea and see if it alleviates the issue. The fish might get better, and the bloating will go away pretty fast.
Another trick is to give the fish a salt bath. This is something that is known to help constipation in cherry barbs.
2 – Dropsy
Dropsy is a disease that can be caused by constipation or by parasites. Sometimes there are microorganisms that will enter the organs of the fish and cause bloating.
When fish have this disease, they will become lethargic. The fish might stop eating, and it’ll have a hard time acting normal.
You can treat this condition by giving the fish certain medications. Antibiotics can help if the disease is caused by an infection of some kind.
It’s also common to treat this condition with salt. Isolating the fish in a hospital tank and adding Epsom salt to the tank can help to treat it and get it better.
The Epsom salt works to draw out excess fluids in the body. This will make the fish feel much more comfortable overall.
3 – Is My Cherry Barb Pregnant?
You might be wondering if the cherry barb is pregnant when you see it has a swollen belly. Even if the fish is female, it’s not possible since cherry barbs aren’t live-bearing fish.
These fish lay eggs and are not capable of getting pregnant. Females do have much rounder bellies than males, though.
This is one of the things that distinguishes female cherry barbs from males. They have round bellies, and they also have different colorations.
These fish will get fatter in the belly area when they’re carrying eggs. The females will carry eggs when they’re ready to mate and this is simply a normal process.
There might be some concern over whether the female is egg-bound, though. This is a term that refers to a female being plump with eggs and not being able to release them.
Try to create the right conditions for spawning in the tank to see if the fish will release the eggs. It’s also best to ensure that a male is present in the tank so the fish might go through the mating process.
4 – Breeding the Fish
When the female looks like it has a big belly, it’s likely that it’s ready to mate. You might see the fish breed in the tank sometime soon.
Generally, you need to condition the fish for a few weeks to get them to breed. This involves separating the males and females.
You feed them high-protein foods such as brine shrimp and bloodworms for a week or so. Then you bring them together so they can mate.
The mating process is pretty straightforward, and breeding these fish isn’t seen as difficult. Female cherry barbs will lay many eggs at once.
If you’re interested in caring for the cherry barb fry, you’ll likely need to separate them from the parents. Cherry barbs aren’t amazing parent fish.
They’re known to eat the eggs, and they will also eat their own fry. So it’s generally easier to keep the parents away from the eggs once they have been laid and fertilized.
When a cherry barb has a big belly it could mean a few different things. The fish could simply be constipated, or it could be dealing with a condition known as dropsy.
This problem can be solved by treating the fish with Epsom salt. Constipation can sometimes be overcome by feeding the fish a boiled pea.
The boiled pea simply makes the fish poop a lot. It relieves itself, and the swollen belly goes down pretty fast once this occurs.
It could also be that a female cherry barb is carrying eggs. These fish get swollen with eggs when they’re ready to mate.
You might see the cherry barbs mate in the tank sometime soon. These fish aren’t hard to mate, but you do usually have to prepare them to mate first.
Remember that females have rounder bellies than males normally. So if you see that one fish is rounder than the other, that’s not necessarily unusual.
Now you know what to look out for. You can solve any problems with constipation or dropsy if they occur.
Otherwise, you might simply see that the fish will spawn in the tank. You might have cherry barb fry in your tank before too long depending on how things go.
Jeff has always enjoyed having pets, but as a child, he was drawn to his family’s fish tank. Being able to maintain a small ecosystem and observe the behaviors and interactions in the underwater world peaked his interest early on and has kept him hooked until this day. On Avid Aquarist, Jeff shares everything he’s learned about helping aquatic life survive and thrive in a home aquarium.