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Black Ruby Barb (or Purpleheaded Barb)


Up to eight centimeters


Around five to six years





Care Level


Black Ruby Barbs are from Sri Lanka, where they live in slow-flowing mountain streams with dense vegetation. When they mature, these fish have stunning colors. They have grey or copper bodies with bright red noses. Since these barbs are relatively placid, they make excellent tank mates for most other barbs.

These friendly fishes are a little shy, so they enjoy hiding away. Give them enough shelter in the tank by ensuring you plant it relatively heavily. An aquarium almost half full of aquatic vegetation is perfect for them. Just because they’re shy doesn’t mean the Black Ruby Barb doesn’t like having friends. They’re peaceful schooling fish, so groups of three or more are ideal.

To keep Black Ruby Barb fish happy with their water conditions, ensure that the aquarium’s water is slightly acidic with a pH of between 6.0 and 7.0. Keep the tank warm between 22°C and 26°C and the general hardness at 50—200 ppm.

All barbs are omnivorous and will eat most types of commercial fish food, whether it’s pellets or flakes. They will also usually be happy with frozen foods like brine shrimp, bloodworms or even live foods such as black worms.

Fun Facts

  • During spawning season, the bright red color of the male Black Ruby Barb’s nose spreads to the rest of his body.

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