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Gold Barb Overview, Care, Tank Setup, Diet & Breeding

Are you thinking of adding some more fun and colors to your home aquarium? Well, then Gold Barbs will be one of the best fish to opt for. These little cuties are indeed exotic and beautiful that will be a perfect suit for your community aquariums.

Gold Barbs are best cared for in a 20-gallon tank in a group of 3-5 specimens. These types of fish are very hardy and live up to 5-6 years in captivity. They are too easy to care for beginners and readily available in aquarist stores at moderate pricing.

Species Overview

Level of CareVery easy
AppearanceA golden body is decorated with horizontal rows of dark black spots.
Life Expectancy5-6 years
Tank Size20-gallon
Tank EnvironmentSoft acidic water with proper hiding places
Tank MatesVery peaceful

Gold Barb (scientific name: Barbodes Semifasciolatus) is fairly known as one of the most exotic fish species in the aquarium trade. They originated in the Red River basin of China, Vietnam, and Taiwan. Thus, these fish are popularly known as the Chinese Barb.

Generally, these species are naturally green in appearance. However, the green Puntius semifasciolatus is seldom seen, unlike the gold ones. The golden form of China Barb is a hardy freshwater fish, which makes them a great suit for any tank.

These golden ones are captive-bred variants that are quite popular for their exotic color. They are fleshy bright, cute tiny species that look too attractive.

Also, their golden body comes with small, black, vertical bars and patches in their flank portions, running right beneath their lateral line, which renders them a great contrastive outlook. However, some adults also come with red coloration on their fins.

Do you know an interesting fact about the emergence of these bright golden-colored barbs? Thomas Schubert selectively bred these golden forms of barbs in 1960 and gave rise to a newer variant of this species having the name of Barbus schuberti or Puntius semifasciolatus var. schuberti.

Though previously these were considered rare and endangered, today, these fish are naturally found in the Asian river basin. And this makes this tiny fish more unique and exotic.

There is also another distinct feature. Chinese Barb typically comes with a steeply-sloped back and two short barbels that are correctly positioned in the corners of their mouth.


Gold Barbs are too small as freshwater fish for aquariums. They do not grow much longer, making them easy to house in your small to moderate capacity tank.

They typically grow up to 3-inches from its head tip to tail. Thus, these fish are neither large enough nor too small like their other family members.


How long your Gold Barb is going to live, is entirely dependent upon the tank setup you are keeping it in. However, these usually live for at least 5-6 years if they receive a proper amount of care.

In most stores, you will find this species as juvenile ones within 3-4 months of their age. Thus, you can expect them to live for a longer time in your tank.

Usually, barbs come with a shorter life span compared to other small freshwater fish. However, 5-6 years is still a good number for them to survive.

Behavior & Temperament

Just like any other barbs, these are much popular for their peaceful nature. Puntius semifasciolatus are very docile and do well with any other specimens.

They are also pretty shy and show better color when kept in groups. So, keeping only one specimen in your tank will make it more stressed, which, in turn, won’t be much good for its health. But when you keep them in a school, they will become quite active and hover around in the tank all day long.

Nevertheless, sometimes these peaceful cuties show territorial behavior, which makes them nip fins of other fish and destroy aquarium plants and décors. Thus, these are said to be semi-aggressive.

Tank Requirements

Since Gold Barb is a schooling fish, it will need much space in the tank to roam about freely. They primarily reside in the mid-level of tank water. Besides, these fish species also tend to spend their time hiding; thus, adding many hiding spaces in the aquarium is essential.

Since these species are pretty small, you can house them easily in any larger community tank, which will offer them a healthier aquatic environment.

Besides, it is also essential to keep the tank water completely clean. And for doing so, add a hang-on-back filter in the tank.

Always remember to maintain optimal water parameters in the tank. These freshwater fish do well in soft and acidic water conditions. Also, the water hardness range must be moderate enough for your fish.

Moreover, make sure that the temperature range of water is moderate. Decorations are acceptable for the tank, but you need to arrange for plenty of hiding places and free-swimming space for your golden barbie in the tank.

Tank Setup

To adequately care for your Gold Barb in a tank, it is crucial to keep them in such an environment that will benefit their growth.

Also, a good tank setup will ensure that your pets are growing healthily and not undergoing any stress or other problems while showing their best color.

So, here is how you should prepare the tank:

  • Get a 20-gallon tank for them. As these fish need enough space for roaming around, it is better to keep them in a larger tank, even if they are very small in size. Also, make sure if you add members to their group, the tank needs to be bigger as per their growing needs.
  • You can opt for a hang-on back filter for maintaining clean water in the tank. Also, a HOB filter will ensure that the purity of the tank water is maintained while rendering proper delivery of water current and flow.
  • These need an appropriate amount of vegetation in the tank. Hence, incorporating varieties of plants make the place apt for their living.
  • Also, for them, you can add more rock caves, driftwood, and other décors to the bottom of the tank to facilitate them with enough space for hiding.
  • They usually prefer cold water temperatures. Thus, they thrive well in a temperature between 70-77 ℉.
  • As these fish like to dwell in slightly acidic conditions, maintain the pH level of the water between 6-8.
  • Keep the water hardness range up to 10 dGH.
  • In the case of the substrate, use a dark-colored, fine-grade one that will easily accentuate the bright color of these species.
Two gold barbs in tank

Tank Mates

Schuberti Barbs are much suitable for community tanks. They have better tolerance for cold water; thus, it is better to house them with other peaceful fish species that love to live in cold water conditions.

Like most other barbs, you should keep them in a group as they are schooling fish. Take at least 3-5 specimens to form a group.

Compared to their other family members, they are peace lovers and do great with other barb variants. However, make sure you are not housing them in a community aquarium with any aggressive fish.

Besides, they have the habit of nipping the fins of other fish. So, you need to be careful if you are thinking of housing them with peaceful species like angelfish, sailfins, mollies, bettas, or other large finned species.

Make sure to house them with other same-sized, short-finned fish, which are much more active.

So, here are a few suitable tank mates for your Schuberti Barbs.

  • Tiger Barbs
  • Rosy Barbs
  • Green Chinese Barbs
  • Cherry Barbs
  • Smaller Danios
  • Small or Medium-sized Tetras

Food & Diet

These freshwater fish species are very easy to feed. They will eat any suitable fish food meant for barbs. Like any other freshwater aquarium fish, it is better to offer your Gold Barb a healthy diet with a variety of food.

You can feed your fish protein-rich foods to make them show their best vibrant color. As your barbs love to stay much active, offer them foods that come with wholesome nutrition and serve adequate energy.

Also, do you know that they are much easier to care for in terms of feeding? They will readily accept any flake food type. Besides, you can feed them with non-vegetarian foods like brine shrimp, mosquito larvae, grindal worms, micro worms, etc.

Gold Barbs also easily accept foods like Moina, shrimp pellets, algae wafers, and frozen or dried worms. It is better to keep a varied balance in their food so that they can consume proper vitamins and minerals throughout their diet.

But always remember while serving food, there is no need to frequently offer them large amounts of food. You can easily provide them with food in small servings several times a day.

Gold Barb Care

Gold Barbs are usually hardy by nature. Also, they are pretty undemanding about water conditions or other essentials needed for their aquatic habitat.

Since these fish typically originate in free-flowing rivers, it is better to use a powerhead in the tank to provide a proper amount of current to the water. Also, while caring, there is no need to add any heater to the tank. Instead, make sure the temperature is not extremely cold.

It is essential to provide your fish with adequate free-swimming space in the tank. Though they tend to damage tank décors, you must add plants, driftwood, and other decorations to offer them sufficient room for hiding.

Gold barb looking at you

Breeding Guidelines

Breeding Gold Barbs is much easier in your home. All species of barbs are usually egg scatterers, and these are not an exception to it.

They are going to lay their eggs all over the aquarium. But do you know what is alarming in breeding Gold Barbs? These fish tend to eat away their eggs. So, if you want their eggs to survive and mature to give rise to fry, you need to arrange for a separate breeding tank for them.

You need to set up a medium-height aquarium to breed this fish with dense foliage assortments. You can either have broad-leafed live plants or add artificial plants to the aquarium.

Alternatively, you can opt for placing a plastic canvas sheet in the tank of about 1-inch in the bottom area of the tank. Also, you can use marbles for breeding in your aquarium so that most of the eggs fall below and go out of reach of the parent fish.

As you are done with the settings of your breeding tank, introduce them to it. Since the adult size females and males of this species are easy to recognize, carefully pick a pair of these and put them in the aquarium.

Well, do you know an interesting fact about Gold BarbsThese species usually spawn during the time of dawn.

With one spawn, these fish will yield near about 100 eggs. Hence, be ready to take care of a lot of fries in your tank. If you are not much confident in caring for so many fries in the tank, better not to attempt to breed them.

Nevertheless, as soon as they are done laying their eggs, it is better to remove the parent males and females out of the tank.

Now, as fry come out after hatching, you need to offer them protein-rich food for their proper growth. As these fries become capable of eating all forms of foods, you can offer them crushed flakes or newly hatched brine shrimp, etc.

Interesting Facts

So, now that you already know some intriguing facts about Gold Barbs, are you interested in learning more details about these fish species?

Well, here are some more fun facts. Do check them out!

  • Females are usually a little bit larger and rounder than the male
  • During the time of breeding, the male adults tend to showcase a slight change in their colors. Their body coloring becomes brighter and possesses a pink or reddish belly.
  • As these fish are omnivores by nature, they feed on all food types, both in captivity and in wild habitat sites.
  • After breeding, the eggs and fry are much more sensitive to light. Thus, it’s better to keep the breeding aquarium in slight darkness until the fries are a few weeks old.

Where to Buy?

You can easily buy Gold Barbs from any of your nearby pet fish or animal stores. The golden variants of Chinese barbs are primarily popular in the aquarium trade. Also, they are sold at a very moderate amount of pricing.

Thus, if you do not find these available in your nearby aquarist store, you can even get them from hobbyists. Besides, you can easily find them on sale at any of the online fish stores.

Wrapping Up

Gold Barbs are much suitable for care in a home aquarium. These species are very popular in the aquarium trade and have a nice and attractive bright shimmery look.

Especially for beginner aquarists, these serve to be a great option. These fish even survive for long, giving you company for a prolonged time.

Besides, they can be easily cared for in a moderate capacity tank and look much prettier while roaming around in between the dense vegetation. You can offer this species any suitable fish food and they will readily accept it.

So, if you are thinking of adding more vibrancy to your tank, then Gold Barb is the best choice for you. Be a little bit cautious about choosing perfect tank mates for this species.