Keeping cherry barbs in your fish tank should be an excellent experience. Many people think that these fish are among the best barbs that you can own.
If you’re new to caring for cherry barbs, you might still be learning about them. You might even be looking up information about these fish ahead of purchasing them for your tank.
It’s good to know as much as you can so you can have an easy time caring for the fish. For example, you’ll want to know exactly what you’re supposed to feed the fish to get the best results.
Read on to learn about what to feed cherry barbs. This cherry barb feeding guide will ensure that you have a full understanding of the nutritional needs of these fish.
What Do Cherry Barb Eat in the Wild?
Cherry barbs are omnivorous fish, and they aren’t picky eaters. They eat all sorts of things in the wild.
You’ll see wild cherry barbs snacking on certain types of small crustaceans. They’re also known to eat algae, diatoms, and detritus.
Like most omnivorous fish, these fish eat whatever they can find to survive. They might eat tiny fish if they can fit in their mouths, but they’ll also feed on plant matter.
Insects are another common food that wild cherry barbs love to eat. Whatever they can find to eat that will provide them with the right nutrients will work.
Are They Bottom Feeders?
Cherry barbs do spend a lot of time at the bottom of the tank. They can be considered to be bottom feeders, but they aren’t strictly bottom feeders.
You’ll find cherry barbs spending time in the center of the tank as well. They certainly will eat pelleted food that is meant for bottom feeders if you give it to them, though.
They’re also known to get along well with kuhli loaches. You don’t have to worry about them competing with the bottom feeders in a community tank setting.
Do Cherry Barb Eat Shrimp?
Yes, cherry barbs absolutely love eating shrimp. Shrimp is a very common type of food that people give to these fish.
As omnivores, cherry barbs are going to need sources of protein. These fish will get plenty of protein when they’re given shrimp.
They like to eat live shrimp and will also enjoy snacking on frozen shrimp or freeze-dried shrimp. The most common type of shrimp that people give to these fish is brine shrimp.
You can feed brine shrimp to cherry barbs as a type of supplemental food. This can be given to them pretty often, and they will certainly enjoy it.
You’ll likely be buying shrimp to give to these fish quite often. It’s usually much more convenient to buy frozen or freeze-dried brine shrimp than it is to purchase live shrimp as food.
Note that freeze-dried food is different from frozen food. Frozen food needs to be thawed before giving it to the fish.
Do They Eat Algae?
These fish will eat algae, but they aren’t good cleaner fish. If you want to buy barbs as a way to keep algae from being a problem in the tank, it’s not going to work out.
Cherry barbs are known to eat some algae in the wild. They might eat a bit of algae from time to time in the tank as well.
However, they aren’t going to be able to survive mostly by eating algae like some fish. These fish aren’t comparable to Siamese algae eaters or plecos.
You’ll see the cherry barbs picking at algae and eating a little bit of it here and there. It’s not enough to be a reliable portion of their diet.
These fish do like eating algae and plant-based foods, though. Their diet should include some flakes or pellets that are spirulina-based.
Do Cherry Barbs Eat Plants?
Since cherry barbs are omnivores, they will indeed eat plant matter. Some people have had cherry barbs nibble on plants in the aquarium.
Barbs are known to eat plants, but cherry barbs generally don’t devour live plants in a planted aquarium. They might eat some types of plants, though.
Don’t avoid putting plants in the tank if you want to. It can be good for these fish to have hiding spots in case they ever feel threatened by tank mates.
Adding plants to the surface of the tank can help the environment to feel more natural for cherry barbs, too. Many enthusiasts recommend putting plants such as hornwort, water wisteria, and anacharis in the tank.
What About Vegetables?
It’s a good idea to feed cherry barbs veggies every so often. There are many types of veggies that these fish are known to enjoy.
Zucchini is a favorite vegetable that is easy to cut and serve to these fish. They’ll also really like it when you give them shelled peas and cucumber slices.
Make sure that you remove veggies that go uneaten. You don’t want to leave uneaten food in the tank because it can throw off the water chemistry.
As a general rule, remove veggies that go uneaten for 24 hours. This should help you to keep the tank from getting out of sorts.
Do Cherry Barbs Eat Snails?
No, cherry barbs aren’t very likely to try to eat snails. They don’t seem to go after snails if you put them in the same tank.
It’s not too unusual to see cherry barbs in the same tank as some types of small snails. If you think that snails could be a fun food for your cherry barbs to eat, it’d be better to look into other options.
Cherry barbs simply aren’t known to eat snails. You can’t rely on these types of barbs to eat snails in a tank that is overrun with them either.
Larger barbs might eat snails, but cherry barbs aren’t likely going to even attempt to do so. Focus on other live food options.
What Is a Cherry Barb’s Optimal Diet?
The optimal diet for cherry barbs will consist of fish flake food and supplemental protein-rich foods. You’ll be feeding the cherry barbs tropical fish flakes on a daily basis.
These fish love eating fish flakes and they will get most of the nutrients that they need from these foods. Since cherry barbs are omnivores, it’s also good to give them meaty treats from time to time.
Several times per week, it’s good to give these fish protein-rich live foods. They love to eat brine shrimp and are also known to eat bloodworms.
You don’t have to give them live food if you’d prefer to avoid them. They’ll eat frozen brine shrimp or worms and enjoy them just as well.
Freeze-dried foods will also be an option for these fish. Just make sure that you’re giving them enough supplementary foods to keep them in good health.
You should give them veggies sometimes as well. Instead of giving them protein-based live foods, there should be days where you’ll give them some zucchini or cucumber slices instead.
How Much Do You Feed Cherry Barb?
You want to make sure that you’re giving the cherry barb enough to eat. When you’re feeding the cherry barb its usual flake food, it’s best to give it as much as it can finish in three minutes.
Do this a couple of times per day, and the cherry barb should be more than satisfied. It’s best to avoid overfeeding the fish since that can lead to various health complications.
Even so, the fish needs to eat often enough to stay healthy and strong. So long as you’re sticking to a regular feeding schedule, it’ll be easy to get good results.
Feeding these omnivorous fish will never be difficult. They’ll happily eat the flake food that you give them, and they will enjoy the occasional protein-rich treats that you throw their way as well.
How Often to Feed Them
It’s best to feed cherry barbs two or three times per day. You want to feed them smaller meals multiple times per day instead of feeding them a huge amount at once.
If you feed fish too much at once, they’ll just wind up getting constipated. It’s fairly common for cherry barbs to eat too much and wind up with big swollen bellies.
You can avoid this problem by feeding them two or three times per day. Each time you feed them, remember to give them only as much as they can finish in three minutes.
This is a good general rule to follow since it helps you to avoid overfeeding the fish. As long as you stick to this schedule, it’ll be easy to keep the fish healthy.
Some say that it’s better to feed the fish twice per day than it is to feed them three times per day. It just depends on which schedule you prefer.
If you feed the fish three times per day, you might want to give them a little less food. Perhaps feed them as much as they can eat in two or two and a half minutes.
How Long Can Cherry Barbs Go Without Food?
What if you happen to miss feeding your fish one day? Is it going to die if you don’t feed it?
Thankfully, a cherry barb isn’t going to die if it misses one meal. That doesn’t mean that it’s good to avoid feeding your fish, though.
A healthy adult cherry barb can go for at least three or four days without food. It might be able to survive for at least a week, but it’s best not to test it.
You don’t want to avoid feeding your fish for several days in a row. If you’re going on vacation, it’s important to ask someone to feed your fish.
Otherwise, you should set up automatic fish food dispensers or something like that. Fish that go too long without food will experience stress.
Stress can make your fish sick, and this has the potential to be very problematic. Do your best to feed your fish at least twice per day as normal so long as you can help it.
Getting the diet right for your cherry barbs will be very important. You want to make sure that the fish are getting enough food to stay healthy.
When fish aren’t eating enough, it’ll be easy for them to get stressed. This could lead to issues with the fish getting sick easier than usual.
Do your best to feed the fish at least twice per day. For most people, it’ll be easiest to feed them once in the morning and once when you get home from work in the evening.
Each time you feed the fish, you should give them as much as they can eat in three minutes. Do this to avoid feeding the fish more than you’re supposed to.
You’ll typically be giving the fish flake food, but these fish can also eat nutritional pellets like the ones given to bottom-feeding fish.
Cherry barbs need to be fed supplementary foods as well. They’ll eat live foods such as brine shrimp and bloodworms several times per week.
You can also give them veggies such as zucchini and cucumbers. Slice up the veggies and give them to the fish as a supplementary part of their diet.
As long as you’re giving the fish the right amount of food, they will stay healthy. The fish can go three days or longer without being fed and stay alive, but you shouldn’t forget to feed your fish.
Next time you go on vacation, it’ll be wise to arrange for someone to feed your fish while you’re away. Continue to follow the advice in this guide, and your cherry barbs will remain in good health for years to come.
These fish can survive in your tank for as long as seven years with optimal care. Feeding them the right way is one of the most important aspects of ensuring that the fish have the longest lifespans that they can.
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.