Tinfoil Barb Care Guide: Tank Setup and much more – 2021

Tinfoil Barb

Do you prefer keeping large fish in your tank more than the smaller ones? Are you passionate about experimenting with larger barbs in your tank? Well, then Tinfoil Barbs will be the best choice of species for your community tank.

Tinfoil Barbs are quite easy to find worldwide as they are much popular in the aquarium trades. This type of freshwater fish is best cared for when kept in a school of 5 specimens in a large-sized tank. They are usually bigger and reach up to a length of almost 13.8 inches.


Category Rating
Level of care Moderately easy
Appearance Silver or metallic golden yellow
Temperament Semi-aggressive
Life expectancy 8-10 years
Size 13.8-inches
Diet Omnivorous
Family Cyprinidae
Tank Size 225-gallon
Tank Environment Soft and acidic water with a suitable substrate
Tankmates Peaceful and energetic

About Tinfoil Barb


Tinfoil Barb is one of the most exotic fish species that comes with its scientific name, Barbonymus schwanenfeldii. These barbs are newer species in the Barbonymus genus.

Being one of the most handsome types from the group of barbs, Tinfoil Barbs are widely available in the river channels of Thailand, and Malayan peninsula, Borneo, and Sumatra of Southeast Asia.

They are pretty popular in the aquarium trade of Singapore and other places across the globe. This species has been listed in the IUCN Red List as the Least Concern one as they are widely available in a vast range.

These fish are a kind of cyprinids that mainly inhabit large waterways like rivers, streams, canals, and even ditches. Also, sometimes they tend to enter the flooded fields for spawning and searching for food. And these Tinfoil Barbs are found to be migrating towards the river when the flooded areas tend to dry.

Barbonymus schwanenfeldii Tinfoil Barbs are quite easy to spot with their typical torpedo-shaped body, along with a high back and forked tail. They come with a very creative coloration.


Usually, the large adult fish comes with a silvery or golden-yellow body. The dorsal fin of these Tinfoil Barbs is red, along with black markings or several blotches at the tip area.

Their pectoral, pelvic, and anal fins areas are also red in color. The caudal fin area of Tinfoil Barbs is orange or deep reddish and, at the same time, includes some black lines submarginally on the upper and lower part of their lobs.

On the other hand, what is more interesting about them? Well, you can see the differentiation of color in the adult and juvenile Barb tinfoil. The juvenile Tinfoil Barb comes with an elementary silver look with scale rows.

As they get older, they tend to develop red pelvic and anal fins. The tail fin and the dorsal fin area of these fish are shaded with blood-red and black color, along with a white tip on their dorsal fin.

However, you can sometimes get confused with their other cousin fish species like the Red-tail Tinfoil Barb. But you can easily spot Tinfoil Barbs having a larger size.


Tinfoil Barb


Tinfoil Barb Temperament


Tinfoil Barbs are not much aggressive. Instead, they are quite peaceful and thrive nicely along with other community fishes. Also, these barbs are very energetic and prefer to roam around freely.

Besides, Tinfoil Barbs are well-known as schooling fish. So, if they are kept singly or in a tiny group with only a few members in the tank, they might become aggressive or stressed. Too much stress usually makes them shy, or they fail to live happily.

Thus, if you are thinking of petting Tinfoil Barb in your fish tank, house a group of 5 or more Barbs to keep them happy and relieved.

Tinfoil Barb Tank Requirement


Usually, Barb Tinfoil comes with a larger size and needs a proper tank set-up for their aquarium. It is essential to meet all the tank requirements of Barbonymus schwanenfeldii to offer them an appropriate level of care.

These fish usually prefer large areas to swim around in different places of the tank as they are great swimmers. Thus, it is recommended to keep them in a larger aquarium size.

Since these Barbs are large in size, there are more chances for the tank to get messy. So, it is crucial to add a powerful filtration unit to the tank. At the same time, it is vital to maintain enough amount of oxygen in the aquarium of Tinfoil Barb Barbonymus schwanenfeldii.

Usually, these fish species prefer a tank set-up that mimics their natural wild habitat of flowing streams and rivers. Thus, a river manifold or powerhead will work the best in the tank of your Tinfoil Barb.

The science is that these barbs are large tropical fish, so they are likely to knock against most tank decors. Hence, it is better to add large driftwoods with firmly anchored plants as decorations in the fish tank. Now, for the substrate requirement, you need to add one, which will offer a smooth surface area.

Tinfoil Barb Tank Set-Up


Before you bring Tinfoil Barb to your home, you need to ensure that you are maintaining the proper tank set-up.

So, check out the tips below to facilitate an appropriate tank set-up for your fish.

  • To care for Tin foil Barb in your aquarium, you need to provide them a large tank set-up. To keep adult Tinfoil Barbs in your tank, a minimum 225-gallon aquarium size is required.
  • While you pick the substrate for your Tinfoil Barb in a community aquarium, make sure to choose a smooth substrate that won’t hurt their barbels. It is better to opt for a sand and gravel mix substrate to offer enhanced care to your fish in the tank.
  • Keep the lighting intensity in the tank of your barb tinfoil
  • To acquire a proper water parameter for the tank of Tin foil Barbs, maintain a temperature range of 72-77℉.
  • This freshwater fish species usually prefers to be surrounded by neutral to slightly acidic water in their tank. So, maintain the pH range of the tank water at 6.5-7.5.
  • They usually thrive best in a soft water tank. Thus, it is better to maintain the hardness range within 2-10 dGH.
  • The water movement in the aquarium of your Tinfoil Barb needs to be very strong.
  • Besides, it is better to add some rocks and pebbles to their tank to offer them ample hiding spots.
  • There is no need for dense vegetation in the tank of Tinfoil Barb. It is better to provide them hardy land plants firmly planted on the substrate.
  • Also, you need to use a strong filter. You can equip a canister filter to the tank of Tinfoil Barbs.
  • Since they require enough current and water flow in the aquarium, you can consider adding a wave maker to ensure a strong water movement.
  • For this tropical fish, it is essential to keep the water slightly warm. So, you can consider adding a heater to the tank.
  • Correct CO2 set-up for the tank is necessary if you are adding live plants. However, make sure the level of CO2 does not surpass the level of O2 in the tank water.

Tinfoil Barb Tank Mates


If you are thinking of properly caring for Tinfoil Barbs in your home aquarium, then you need to pick suitable tank buddies for them.

Tinfoil Barbs are large; thus, they can eat smaller fishes if given an opportunity. So, while picking tank mates for Tinfoil Barb, make sure you are not housing them with slow-moving or shy enough fish.

The best tankmates for these barbs would be those fish that are usually similar in size and meet the same energy level as Tinfoil Barbs. They are best kept with specimens of their own kind.

If you are housing your barbs with other peaceful and timid fishes, you need to monitor them continuously. Also, it is better not to keep them with too large and aggressive fish.

So, here are the most suitable tank mates that you can house with your Tinfoil Barb.

  • Oscars
  • Bala Sharks
  • Non-aggressive cichlids


Tinfoil Barb

What Do Tinfoil Barbs Eat?


Tinfoil Barbs are omnivores in nature. Thus, feeding Tinfoil Barbs in your tank will not at all be an arduous task. You can easily provide them with all suitable fish food products.

Tinfoil Barbs usually accepts any kind of fresh live foods, along with various types of flake foods. Since they are large in size, it is essential to provide them a healthy diet to maintain their health status.

To keep a good balance in their diet, you can feed these barbs fresh flake foods every day. Also, it is necessary to offer them other live treats like worms and shrimps.

Tinfoil Barbs usually love to have an adequate amount of protein in their diet. Thus, you should include protein-rich foods like brine shrimps, blood worms, daphnia, etc., in their regular diet.

At the same time, it is essential to offer these barbs a vegetable diet to serve them a proper level of vitamin for their ultimate growth. Besides, fish foods like algae wafers, cooked lettuce, blanched spinach, cucumber, and oatmeal also serve them a very sumptuous meal.

However, when you offer them food every day, avoid feeding them one large meal. Instead, you can consider giving them smaller feedings several times a day in an amount, which they can easily consume within 3 minutes.

Care for Tinfoil Barb Barbonymus Schwanenfeldii


Tinfoil Barbs are pretty docile fishes. And this attribute makes them much easier to care for in an aquarium.

However, keeping such large fish in your aquarium might be troublesome at times, which is why they are quite rarely kept in a home aquarium.

Well, you can call Tinfoil Barbs pretty undemanding. For facilitating the best care to your Tinfoil Barb in the tank, you need to offer them a very top-notch oxygen supply. Also, it is vital to ensure that there are plenty of large and open spaces in the tank where they can swim around freely.

Also, you need to make sure that you maintain a close resemblance to a natural river bed in the aquarium to provide them the natural tinfoil barb habitat-like environment and keep them stress-free. The bottom surface needs to be smooth and soft while adding a background view to the tank mimicking the river shore.

Tinfoil Barbs have some strict requirements regarding the quality of water. They thrive well in clean and oxygen-rich lotic water. Thus, you need to make sure that there is zero organic waste in the tank.

The aquarium water needs to be crystal clear. Also, to facilitate proper water parameters in the tank, it is essential to maintain a lower level of dissolved calcium and magnesium salts.

For proper tank maintenance, it is essential to renew the water weekly. It is recommended to perform 15-20% of water changes in the aquarium of Tinfoil Barbs every week.

The fresh replaced water needs to have the same pH level, dGH, and temperature range as the existing water to sustain the exact chemistry. Also, it is vital to keep the bottom substrate clean regularly and remove any kind of organic waste from the tank. You can even consider using an algae magnet in the aquarium to keep the viewing panes clear.

Tinfoil Barbs are usually very hardy. Thus, they are quite unlikely to catch diseases if you keep them in a well-maintained aquarium. However, if the water quality is poor in the tank, you will surely deal with some fish diseases.

So, it is always recommended to quarantine new fishes, plants, or decorations before adding them to the aquarium of your Tinfoil Barb.

Due to their strong resilience, they do not cause any outbreak of diseases in the tank. However, make sure you are offering them a well-balanced diet and weekly water changes to let them stay happily and healthily in the aquarium.

Also, if your barb fish gets infected with any disease, quarantine it to prevent large outbreaks of diseases in community tanks.

Tinfoil Barb Breeding Guidelines


Breeding Tinfoil Barbs in your tank is quite tricky. However, you can easily do it by using the correct method of breeding.

Being a cyprinid fish species, Tinfoil Barbs do not require any particular breeding site. Instead, being egg scatterers, they tend to scatter their eggs in random areas of the tank.

Usually, female Tinfoil Barbs scatter more than thousands of eggs. However, the parents might eat away the eggs without caring for the young ones. Soon after fertilization of the eggs, you should remove the parent fishes from the nursery tank.

Nevertheless, spawning Tinfoil Barbs require some expertise in breeding large fish species. Thus, if you are a beginning aquarist with novice fish-keeping skills, it is better not to attempt breeding these barbs in a home aquarium.

These species are usually aquacultured in the aquarium trade as food fish and mainly bred with the help of hormones in Hawaii.

However, if you are thinking of breeding them on your own, you have to opt for a large enough aquarium that can breed adult size Tinfoil Barbs and nurture young ones separately.

Interesting Facts About Tinfoil Barbs


If you are thinking of caring for Tinfoil Barbs in your tank, then you must know some fascinating facts about them.

So, here are a few interesting facts about these barbs that you need to know.

  • It is quite hard to differentiate between their male and female specimen. Tinfoil Barbs hardly have any gender discriminating traits in their appearance.
  • These barbs mostly stay in the mid-level and bottom areas of the tank.
  • Besides being excellent swimmers, Barbs are skilled jumpers too. So, it is crucial to add a tight cover over the aquarium to keep them from jumping off.

Where to Buy Tinfoil Barb?


Barbonymus schwanenfeldii having the common name Tinfoil Barb, are readily available in any fish and pet store. So, you will not face much difficulty in finding the right ones for your tank. These barbs are moderately priced; however, prices differ based on the purchase size.

You can also easily get them from your local aquarists. Besides, Tinfoil are widely available in online stores as well. Just search for these barbs with their scientific name and buy them if available.

However, before purchasing Barbs, remember that some specimens are artificially dyed and sold under various names like Blushing Tinfoil or other names. There are also many albino and transparent types of Tinfoil that become ideal for artificial coloration.

So, while buying them, make sure you are not purchasing the colored specimens as artificial coloration is not at all healthier for them.

How Big Do Tinfoil Barb Get?


Tinfoil Barb size is quite large. During their adulthood, they generally grow up to a length of 13.8-inches.

How Long Does Tinfoil Barb Live?


Tinfoil are hardy fish. So, they are not easily susceptible to different diseases.

Usually, Tinfoil Barbs have an average lifespan of 8 years in captivity. However, with a proper level of care and diet, they can live up to 10 years in your tank.

Is Tinfoil Barb Suitable for Aquariums?


Yes, indeed! Tinfoil Barbs will not at all be hard to tackle in a fish tank for experienced aquarists. These fish live happily if you keep them in a large aquarium and provide them with proper tank requirements. However, they are much prone to get stressed if you don’t house them in a school of 5 or more specimens.

Generally, these fish species are not at all demanding. But it is vital to maintain a top-notch water parameter for facilitating the best care to your Tinfoil Barbs.