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Cherry Barb Care Guide for Beginners

Cherry Barb Care Guide for Beginners

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This post is written to the author's best knowledge and is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. In addition, this post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Cherry barbs are very good fish to own. Many people love cherry barbs because they’re nice to look at, but they can also be good for beginners.

These fish aren’t overly hard to care for. However, there are still many things you need to know to keep these fish in good health.

Below, you’ll learn everything you need to know about cherry barb care. You’ll learn about all aspects of keeping these fish so you can have a good time starting out.

A Cherry Barb’s Natural Habitat

Cherry barbs are tropical freshwater fish that are native to Sri Lanka. They can also be found in a few other places, too, such as Colombia, Mexico, and even the waters of Panama.

Since they come from a tropical climate, you won’t be surprised to hear that these fish prefer warm waters. These fish are sought after, and it’s common for people to capture them to sell to aquarium enthusiasts.

Are Cherry Barbs Hardy?

Yes, cherry barbs are generally considered to be hardy fish. These aren’t fish that will die easily when you make just one or two mistakes.

Since they’re easy to care for, these fish will be good options for beginners. You’ll learn about how to care for them below, but you can feel confident that it won’t be a tough process.

These fish should be great additions to most aquariums. They’re good community fish, and they’re hardy enough that they’ll be good for newcomers to the hobby.

Don’t hesitate to buy cherry barbs if you’re interested in them. You will certainly benefit from learning more about the care requirements of this fish, but you shouldn’t be worried that caring for cherry barbs will be difficult.

Temperature Requirement

It’s important to keep the water warm enough for your cherry barbs. These fish come from tropical waters, and they’re not used to being exposed to very cool water.

So you must do your best to keep the water temperature between 73 degrees Fahrenheit and 81 degrees Fahrenheit. This will ensure that your fish will stay as healthy as possible.

It’s recommended to keep a heater in the fish tank to avoid water temperature fluctuation. When the water temperature fluctuates, it can cause the fish to feel stressed.

Stress has the potential to make your fish sick. So buying a heater for the tank is likely going to be important.

pH Range

It’s always important to get the pH balance in the tank right. You need to make sure that things stay in the right range, or your fish could get sick and die.

Even if cherry barbs are hardy, they’ll potentially die if exposed to elevated ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite levels on the tank. So you do need to test the pH balance regularly using a pH balance testing kit.

To keep these fish safe, you want the pH balance to remain between 6.0 and 8.0. These fish can tolerate quite a range of different pH balance settings, but it’s wise to keep things steady.

If the pH balance is thrown off, you can correct it by using chemicals. You can keep the water clean by cleaning the tank regularly and doing water changes often enough.

Water Parameters

Getting the water parameters right will be one of the main things to focus on when caring for any fish. Cherry barbs need the water to stay warm, and this means keeping the temperature between 73 degrees Fahrenheit and 81 degrees Fahrenheit.

It’s best to use a heater to ensure that the temperature in the tank will remain stable. You should monitor the pH balance of the water as well to keep it between 6.0 and 8.0.

The water hardness is another thing you want to get right. It should remain between 5 and 19 dGH to keep the fish in good health.

Keeping the water parameters where they need to be will require a bit of work. It’s not necessarily hard to do, but you must monitor the water and test it periodically to keep things safe.

Can You Keep Cherry Barbs with No Heater?

It is technically possible to keep cherry barbs in a tank without a heater. They’re hardy enough that they can survive so long as your home is warm enough.

If your home isn’t heated properly, it can cause the water to get too cool during certain times of the year. Even when the conditions in your house are ideal, the water might be a little cooler than you’d like it to be.

It’s honestly a lot safer for the fish if you use a heater in the tank. This is because it allows you to keep the water temperature steady.

Without a heater, you won’t be able to regulate the temperature as easily. You can check the temperature with a thermometer, but you’ll have no way of keeping it stable.

Heaters for fish tanks aren’t expensive at all. Plus, you might need a heater for the other fish if you happen to be keeping cherry barbs in a community tank.

Do Cherry Barbs Need a Filter?

It’s best to use a filter in the aquarium because the tank will get dirty if you don’t. A filter helps to keep the fish tank clean, and it’s very beneficial for the fish.

You don’t need an incredibly complex filter for the tank if you’re only caring for cherry barbs. If you’re keeping these fish in a community tank, it might be better to go with a more powerful filter.

Most fish do best when the fish tank has a filter installed. It simply keeps the water cleaner and helps with oxygenation.

You can buy a filter for the fish tank at any aquarium store. It won’t cost a lot of money to get a simple filter that hangs on the back of the tank, and your fish will be much more likely to thrive because of the purchase.

Do They Need an Air Pump?

Air pumps help to keep the water oxygenated. It’s a good idea to use an air pump to ensure that the water quality will remain high in the tank.

You can buy a simple air pump, and it’ll be good enough for the cherry barbs. It isn’t necessary to spend a lot of money to buy a more powerful or complex air pump.

Do They Need Plants?

It’s highly recommended to keep cherry barbs in aquariums that have live plants. They won’t feel comfortable or at ease if you put them in a fish tank with no plants at all.

These fish live in environments that contain many plants in the wild. Cherry barbs will appreciate being able to use the plants as hiding spots here and there, too.

You can put many different types of plants in the tank for these fish. They’re known to love plants such as water wisteria, anacharis, and hornwort.

Even fake plants will be helpful if you don’t want to take care of live aquatic plants. Just make sure that you have something in the tank for these fish so they will feel at home.

Do Cherry Barbs Like Current?

No, cherry barbs are fish that don’t do well with a strong current in the tank. These fish are native to bodies of water that are slow-moving overall.

So you should try to replicate these conditions in the tank. You know that these fish need a filter so the tank will stay clean and safe for them.

It’s important to choose a filter that isn’t overly powerful because you don’t want to make the current too strong. Set the outflow of the filter to the minimum setting to keep the current from being too harsh for your fish.

As long as you do this, everything will be fine. It’s just something to keep in mind when you’re trying to make the fish tank ideal for cherry barbs.


Choosing the substrate for the tank is another important consideration. You want to choose a substrate that meets the needs of these fish properly.

These fish live in waters with a dark substrate that is rather silty. You can use dark aquarium sand to make the cherry barbs feel like the tank is a very natural environment.

It’s also going to be good for aesthetic purposes. Since cherry barbs are light in color, they will really look nice in contrast to the dark substrate material.

Remember to keep some plants in the tank as well. As long as you do, this your cherry barbs should feel rather comfortable in the aquarium.


You’ll need to have lights in the tank for several reasons. Mimicking a natural day and night cycle is said to be beneficial for fish, and it’s important to have a light source for aquatic plants.

It’s easy enough to put lights in a cherry barb tank. These fish will do fine with simple aquarium LED lights in the hood.

Ideally, you want the lighting to be low to moderate when caring for these fish. These fish don’t seem to be bothered by bright light as long as they have cover, though.

So keeping plants in the tank will help if you want to use brighter lights. Keep this in mind, and it won’t be tough to set up proper lighting in the tank while keeping the cherry barbs happy.

Tank Size

Make sure that you have a tank that is big enough for the cherry barbs. They need to be kept in fish tanks that offer at least 25 gallons of space.

Many enthusiasts say that it’s best to go with a 30-gallon fish tank for these fish. It all depends on how many fish you wish to keep in the tank, though.

Cherry barbs do best when they have more than enough room. They can become stressed when forced to live in cramped fish tanks.

Avoid overcrowding the fish tank, and be sure to buy an appropriately-sized aquarium for these fish. Doing so should help your fish to thrive under your care.

How Many Cherry Barbs Should Be Kept in One Tank?

Cherry barbs are schooling fish that need to be kept in groups. You can’t just put one or two of these fish in a tank.

To keep these fish healthy, you must keep at least six of them in the tank. So you should never buy fewer than six cherry barbs when you’re starting out.

It’s fine to keep these fish in slightly larger groups as well. However, many people say that six is a great number that’s manageable for beginners.

Six cherry barbs will fit just fine in a 25-gallon fish tank. They’ll do even better in a 30-gallon fish tank if you can buy one of them.

What to Feed Cherry Barbs

Feeding cherry barbs is another important part of keeping them healthy. To thrive, these fish will need to be fed the right types of food.

These fish are omnivores that are known to eat many different things in the wild. Wild cherry barbs will eat insects, algae, small crustaceans, and more.

In a fish tank, you’ll simply be feeding the fish high-quality flake food or pellets most of the time. Then you supplement the diet of the fish by giving them live foods as well as veggies several times per week.

These fish will love eating shrimp and bloodworms when you give them to them. Giving the cherry barbs these protein-rich foods will be a good idea on occasion.

They also love eating veggies such as shelled peas and zucchini. So you have plenty of good options to consider when feeding your cherry barbs.

How Much to Feed Cherry Barbs

You don’t want to overfeed these fish, or they might deal with constipation issues. It’s never a good idea to overfeed fish since health problems can occur when fish get too much food.

Experts agree that it’s best to feed cherry barbs two to three times per day. Most people stick to feeding these fish twice per day since it’s more convenient.

You can feed the fish in the morning before you go to work and then once more when you return from work in the evening. This is a common schedule that seems to work out well for feeding cherry barbs, but you can work out your own schedule that fits with your lifestyle as well.

Each time you feed the fish, give them as much as they can eat in three minutes. Don’t give them more food than this.

If you notice uneaten bits of food in the tank, you should remove them. Organic debris in the tank can make the water dirty and throw off the pH balance.

How Long Can They Go Without Food?

A cherry barb won’t die if you forget to feed it a few times. That doesn’t mean that you should forget to feed it too often.

Forgetting to feed the fish might cause it to experience stress. This could make it more likely that the fish will get sick.

Even so, it’s good to know that cherry barbs can survive for a while without food. A healthy fish should easily be able to survive for one week without food.

There are reports that barbs can live for up to two weeks without food. However, it’s not wise to test that theory.

To keep things safe, you shouldn’t let the barbs go longer than three or four days without food. Ideally, you want to stick to feeding the fish twice per day.

Final Thoughts

Now you know everything you need to know about cherry barb care. Take the information above into account so you can have a simple time caring for these fish.

These are good fish to own and will even work out well for beginners. Focus on getting the basics right, and these fish will do nicely in your home aquarium.

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