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The Exciting Thing About The Tinfoil Barb

Aug 17, 2007
Many different fishes from the Cyprinid family are referred to as barbs, but it is chiefly the species found in the genus Barbus that we consider true barbs. The name Barbus is derived from the fact that barb fishes are equipped with sensatory organs called barbells that they can use to find their way in murky waters where light is scarce. The genus Barbus is also known as Puntius and contains a wide range of popular aquarium fishes, including the silvery Tinfoil barb (Barbus schwanefeldi).

The Tinfoil barb has a silvery body with bright and shiny scales and beautiful black and red-orange fins. The Tinfoil barb is sometimes confused with another species in the aquarium trade, Barbonymus altus, but this fish lacks the black lines that decorates the caudal fin of a true Tinfoil barb.

The Tinfoil barb is an active species that will inhabit the lower part of the aquarium, from the bottom and up to mid-level. Most Tinfoil barbs in the aquarium trade are wild caught, since their size makes them difficult to breed in captivity. Sexing the fish is also hard. Tinfoil barbs are egg-scatters and a female Tinfoil barb can produce several thousands of eggs during one spawning.

Tinfoil barbs should only be kept by aquarists with really large aquariums, since it is one of the largest barbs and can reach a length of 36 centimeters (14 inches). It is also a schooling species, so you must have enough space to house a group of Tinfoil barbs. A school of Tinfoil barbs is non-aggressive and can be combined with fish from other species as long as those fishes are as large as the barbs or bigger.

The Tinfoil barb feeds chiefly on plant material, but will not turn down occasional treats in the form of worms, insects, crustaceans or small fishes. Keeping your Tinfoil barbs with small fishes is therefore not recommended, since they might be perceived as prey. It is not hard to get your Tinfoil barb to eat in captivity. If you have tender plants in the aquarium, or plants that have not yet rooted themselves in the substrate, your Tinfoil barb might eat them.

The Tinfoil barb will also appreciate filamentous algae. Many aquarists choose artificial plants for their Tinfoil barb aquarium, but you can go for real plants if you choose sturdy plant species that will tolerate nibbling. Ideally begin with really inexpensive plant species to test how your particular Tinfoil barbs will treat the live plants.

The Tinfoil barb originates from tropical waters in Borneo, Sumatra, Thailand, and the Malayan peninsula, and the water temperature in the aquarium should therefore be 22-25 C (72-77 F). Since it inhabits rapidly moving rivers and streams in the wild, the Tinfoil barb will appreciate strong currents in the aquarium. The preferred pH is in the 6.5-7.0 range and the water hardness should not be higher than 10 dGH. If you care for your Tinfoil barbs and provide them with a suitable environment and appropriate diet they can live for 8-10 years.
About the Author
Allen Jesson writes for several sites including two sites that specialize in
saltwater and fresh water aquariums and href="http://www.theaquariumsite.com/">the aquarium site and Seapets, a
leading source for href="http://www.seapets.co.uk/view-subcategories/category/7.html">aquariums
and fish tanks
.
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