The Cherry Barb is found in heavily shaded streams and rivers in the Kelani to Nilwala basins of Sri Lanka. Feral populations of Cherry Barbs have also been found in Colombia and Mexico. They prefer areas of slow moving, shallow water with a bottom of silt and plenty of branches and leaf litter. In nature, this barb is an omnivore and feeds on diatoms, algae, invertebrates, and detritus.
Cherry Barbs are very hardy little fish. They are great eaters and get along with most tankmates. Their water requirements are fairly easy to meet with regular partial changes. Provided with proper care, these little beauties make a great choice for the beginning fish keeper.
Since they are omnivorous the Cherry Barb will generally eat all kinds of live, fresh, and flake foods. To keep a good balance, give them a high quality flake food every day. Feed brine shrimp (either live or frozen) or blood worms as a treat. Several small feedings a day are ideal, and at least one feeding a day is absolutely necessary. A general rule of thumb when offering food several times a day is to offer only what they can consume in 3 minutes or less at each feeding. When offering food just once a day, provide what they can eat in about 5 minutes.
Cherry Barbs will swim in all parts of the tank, but especially like to take cover in planted areas. These very active fish will also need stretches of open areas for swimming. A small school will need at least a 40 litre aquarium. Provide good filtration and do regular water changes.
These fish will do best and are most effectively displayed in tanks that simulate their natural habitat. They will appreciate an aquarium with lots of dense vegetation and floating plants where they can seek cover. Provide a dark substrate and an open area in the centre for swimming.