Finding the right fish – Why I Chose Gold Barbs


Gold barbs (Puntius semifasciolatus) are one of my favorite new additions to my 150 gallon tank. I had been looking for options of yellow freshwater fish. The first mention is always a yellow lab (Labidochromis caeruleus), also known as the yellow or electric yellow cichlid. While considered one of the most docile of the cichlids, they still would not mesh well with the peaceful species already in my 150 in terms of temperament and ideal water parameters.

It was actually a tank posted by a redditor /u/Geekphysique that first inspired me to give gold barbs a chance. Here’s a shot posted on reddit via imgur:

GreekPhysique 70 Gallon Update

I love this 70 gallon tank, but that’s a story for another post. There’s also been a ton of work done  on this tank’s lighting system, and /u/GreekPhysique has posted many discussions of the changes this tank has gone through. Here and here are two different videos posted showing off how the barbs move (and how beautiful the tank is!).

The related tiger barb is a semi-aggressive fish often noted as being a fin-nipper. Since I had only ever really seen tiger barbs in my area fish stores, I had assumed that other barbs were just variations of color for the most part. Luckily, I looked into gold barbs further to find that that they are great community fish! Furthermore, they shoal, so a group of them can often be seen swimming together somewhere in the tank. And gold barbs usually stay in the mid levels of my tank, which have been rather empty looking. (Near the surface I have pearl gourami and angelfish. Near the bottom I have 11 kubotai loaches and some bristle-nose plecos. I have a group of giant danios, but they are so quick and not bright or flashy enough to really be a focal point. Suddenly it seemed like gold barbs would be a perfect fit for my tank.


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