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Cherry barb

Puntius titteya

Photo: Cherry barb
Animal description
The Cherry Barb (Puntius titteya) is a captivating freshwater fish species that belongs to the family Cyprinidae, commonly found in the vibrant waters of Sri Lanka. This species is highly admired among aquarium enthusiasts for its striking coloration and peaceful demeanor, making it a popular choice for community tanks.

Adult Cherry Barbs typically reach a size of about 2 inches (5 cm) in length, showcasing a slender, elongated body that is both graceful and agile in the water. The name "Cherry Barb" is derived from the male's vivid red coloration, which intensifies to a brilliant cherry red during mating or when in good health. Females, on the other hand, are more subdued in color, presenting a golden or brownish hue with a slightly less intense red. Both sexes exhibit a distinctive black lateral line that stretches from the tip of the snout to the base of the tail fin, adding to their visual appeal.

The natural habitat of the Cherry Barb is in shallow, slow-moving streams and rivers, as well as in ponds and lakes where dense vegetation provides ample cover and breeding grounds. They thrive in environments that mimic these conditions, with a preference for soft, slightly acidic to neutral pH water, and a temperature range between 73°F to 81°F (23°C to 27°C). To replicate their natural habitat in an aquarium setting, it's advisable to include plenty of live plants, driftwood, and hiding places to provide shelter and a sense of security.

Cherry Barbs are omnivorous by nature, exhibiting a diet that includes a variety of food sources in the wild, such as small invertebrates, algae, and plant matter. In captivity, they are not particularly fussy eaters and can be fed a balanced diet of high-quality flake food, supplemented with live or frozen foods like brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms to ensure optimal health and coloration.

One of the most intriguing aspects of the Cherry Barb is its breeding behavior. They are egg scatterers, with females laying up to 200 eggs during a single spawning event. The eggs are typically deposited among dense vegetation or on a specially prepared spawning substrate. Post-spawning, it is recommended to remove the adults to prevent them from consuming the eggs, as they do not exhibit parental care. The eggs hatch within 24 to 48 hours, with fry becoming free-swimming a few days later.

In terms of temperament, Cherry Barbs are known for their peaceful and sociable nature, making them excellent inhabitants of community aquariums. They do best in groups of six or more, as this helps to distribute any potential aggression and encourages natural schooling behavior, adding to the dynamic visual display in the aquarium.

In summary, the Cherry Barb (Puntius titteya) is a stunning, easy-to-care-for fish that brings a splash of color and activity to any freshwater aquarium. Its adaptability, combined with its peaceful nature, makes it an ideal choice for both novice and experienced aquarists looking to add a touch of natural beauty to their aquatic environments.
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