Odessa Barbs – Care, Size, Habitat, Tank Mates & Details!

Odessa Barbs are bright, unpredictable, real zinger fishes. This variety is less popular than its relatives, as it is rarely found in the sale. This fish is unpretentious and quite peaceful, perfect for keeping in a common aquarium. Even a novice hobbyist can take care of them.

Quick Stats

Scientific Name: Pethia Padamya
Common Names: Scarlet Barb, Ticto Barb
Care Level: Easy
Size: 3 inches (8 cm)
pH: 6 – 7
Temperature: 70°F – 78°F (21°C – 26°C)
Water Hardness: 2° to 10° dH
Origin / Habitat: Indonesia, Sumatra
Lifespan: 3 years or more

General Information

Odessa Barbs (Pethia Padamya) – a fish from the carp family, which got its name for the bright and wide scarlet stripe on the side of males. The edging of each flake and the spots on the fins give the fish a special charm. At the same time, the Odessa Barbs are just as unpretentious in content as its other relatives, and it can be recommended to beginner aquarists without any problems.

The species received its official status only in 2008, before that it was considered a variety of the Ticto barb (Pethia Ticto). The Latin name for the species comes from Burmese “a small ruby-colored fish.”

Given the peacefulness and bright color of the fish, as well as the ease of maintenance and breeding, it will be a wonderful decoration for any aquarium.


The Odessa Barbs are rightfully considered one of the most beautiful representatives of the genus. The size of this fish is small, usually 5-6 cm. The body is oval, flattened on the sides, and covered with dense scales with a pronounced mesh ornament.

The main body color is silver with a metallic tint, the back is greenish-gray, the abdomen is lighter. The caudal fin is red, the rest are transparent with clear black strokes. Dark spots are located behind the gill covers and at the base of the tail.

The males of the Odessa Barbs are most clearly colored. On the sides of the body from the eyes to the tail passes a wide red stripe. It becomes especially bright during the spawning period. Females are much more modestly painted and do not have a bright strip, but they are larger than males.


Odessa Barbs are widespread in the countries of Southeast Asia. It was first discovered in Myanmar, in the Irrawaddy River and its tributaries. However, wild populations are found in India, China, Burma, Laos, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh.

Although the fish is found in the channels of large Asian rivers – the Mekong, Chao Phraya, and others, for the most part, the Odessa Barbs prefer dams and backwaters of small reservoirs with a muddy or pebble bottom and a large amount of aquatic vegetation.

Odessa Barb Care and Maintenance

The Odessa Barb is a schooling fish; it is recommended to keep at least 6 individuals in the aquarium. Solitary confinement gives barbs discomfort and can provoke aggression or weakened immunity due to constant stress. In the flock, the whole charm of this fish is revealed, hierarchical connections are established, interesting behavior is observed.

For a small flock, you need an aquarium from 60 liters, it is better if it is extended in length because barbs are very active fish and love to swim quickly. For the same reason, it is better to cover the aquarium to avoid jumping out of the fish.

As a soil, it is best to use medium-sized dark pebbles, on it the barbs will look more contrasting. The color of the fish is best manifested also in the conditions of dim lighting and a large number of living plants planted along the back wall.

Long-stemmed and small-leaved plants, such as Vallisneria, elodea, cryptocoryne, hornwort, ambulia, hygrophil, lemongrass, are well suited. The front of the aquarium is best left free so that the fish can frolic there. Decorations can be used any, but it is advisable to use natural stones and driftwood in the design.

Odessa Barbs love clean and oxygen-rich water, so a suitable filter and compressor must be installed in the aquarium. The temperature controller is optional equipment because the fish feels great at a temperature of 20-25 ° C.

Using a filter, it is recommended to create a moderate flow, the fish loves it very much. Once a week, you need to replace 25-30% of the water in the aquarium.

Odessa Barb Tank Mates

The Odessa Barbs are perfect for keeping in common aquariums with other types of fish, as it has a calm character. First of all, other types of barbs will become ideal neighbors: Sumatran Barb, mutants, Denison Barb, Cherry Barb, Tiger Barb, etc.

You can also keep them with Zebrafish, Congo Tetra, Swordtail fish, Neon tetra, Black Skirt Tetra, etc. You can also keep some bottom feeder fishes like – Catfish and Loach.

It is not recommended to keep Odessa Barbs with slow species of fish, as well as with fish that have veil fins. Despite its peacefulness and focus on intraspecific relationships, barbs can sometimes bite fins.

Of course, you can’t keep barbs with large aggressive species, brisk and bright fish will sooner or later become a victim of predators.

Aquarium Conditions For Odessa Barbs

It is not recommended to keep it as a couple, barbs begin to hurt and lose their color. It is better to keep 6-10 individuals. The optimal conditions for the aquarium of the Odessa Barbs are as follows:

  • The aquarium is chosen quite spacious and long. The required volume of water is at least 50 liters. It is important to change part of the water weekly (20−25% of the volume).
  • Coarse pebbles or rolled gravel of dark colors can be used as soil.
  • Lighting – dim, located on the top, preferably with a dimmer.
  • Plants must be present. It can be either floating on the surface ( pistia, Salvinia), or rooted in the ground (ferns, arrowhead, elodea, and others), planted near the back wall of the reservoir.
  • Scenery and background. A dark background is recommended, so the barbs will look even brighter. You can decorate with grottoes or make a beautiful mound of large stones.

Recommended water parameters:

  • Temperature – + 20−25 degrees.
  • pH 6.5–7.
  • Hardness – from 5 to 15.

Rules for Feeding and Disease

Odessa Barbs are picky and voracious, so the diet should be varied and balanced. As a treat, you can offer them bread crumbs or pieces of fish. From plant foods, spinach or lettuce can be given. From live food, it will be preferable:

  • bloodworm;
  • coretre;
  • daphnia;
  • flour worms;
  • cyclops.

If feeding dry food then make sure the food gets sunk in the aquarium. When collecting food from the surface of the water, a barb can swallow air, which is undesirable, because the fish swims with its belly up.

Barbs have good immunity, however, some bacterial infections do not bypass them:

  • With mycobacteriosis, the fish lose weight greatly, the back dries out.
  • With ichthyophthyroidism, small white dots appear on the body of the fish. The disease is important to detect in time. With a proper diagnosis, a barb can be cured.

Breeding Odessa Barbs

Breeding Odessa Barb is not the most difficult process. Sexual differences in this fish are noticeable: the female is larger, has a less bright color, the scarlet strip is absent.

Odessa Barbs are spawning fish that do not show concern for offspring. For their breeding, you will need a small aquarium of 10-15 liters, on the bottom of which you need to put a grid and small-leaved plants. The water level should not exceed 15-20 cm.

A protective net is necessary to protect the caviar from eating by parents. 8-14 days before spawning, it is better for producers to plant and feed plentifully. When the abdomen of the female is very rounded, one should start spawning, which can be either pair or group (males should be twice as many females).

It is better to use aquarium water in spawning; to stimulate the process, you can raise the water temperature to 25 ° C. It is necessary to arrange weak aeration, which will not interfere with other fish. Caviar of red barbs does not like direct sunlight, so it is better to darken the aquarium.

Spawning usually begins at dawn. After a short courtship ritual, the female lays eggs, and the male fertilizes them. Having fallen outside the separator grid, eggs become inaccessible for newly-made parents to eat.

Upon completion of the process, the producers are returned to the general aquarium. The fertility of one female can be 150-200 eggs. It takes about a day to incubate eggs, and 3-4 days after hatching, the fish are able to feed on their own.

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