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Black ruby barbs are an eye-catching species of freshwater fish for aquarium hobbyists. Also known as the purple headed barb, ruby barb or black headed barb. They are an active and peaceful fish with a bright, bold coloration. Black ruby barbs are smaller in size and native to waterways in Shri Lanka where they inhabit fast flowing lakes and streams. This species enjoys the company of other fish and does well in schools.

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Features of Black Ruby Barb:

  • Active swimmers
  • Peaceful & hardy
  • Juveniles have a purple silvery body
  • Males have a brighter and more intense ruby red coloration compared to females
  • Best kept in groups of 6 or more
  • Lifespan of 5 years
  • Grows up to 5cm

Black Ruby Barb : Care, Diet and Tank Mates

The Best Aquarium Size for Black Ruby Barb:

Black ruby barbs require a minimum of 75 liters to accommodate a small group of them. However, the bigger the tank, the better. It's important to keep a secure lid on the aquarium, as black ruby barbs are known to be good jumpers.

After an Aquarium for your fish? Browse our Aquarium Tank Selection here.

Tank Mate Compatibility:

To keep black ruby barbs happy, it's recommended to house at least six or more of them in a school. However, avoid keeping them with slow-moving, long-finned fish, as black ruby barbs are known to nip fins, however are less nippy than tiger barbs. 

Here’s a list of some of the best tank mates for your Black Ruby Barb:

Black Ruby Barb Diet:

Black ruby barbs are omnivores and opportunistic eaters. They enjoy a variety of foods, including vegetables and meaty foods. Feed them flakes, pellets, and frozen foods like brine shrimp and bloodworms. 

Check out our extensive range of aquarium fish foods.

Black Ruby Barb Tank Set-up:


Aquarium Filtration for Black Ruby Barbs

The black ruby barb enjoys fast flowing water, this can be recreated with a power head or adjustable flow rate on your filter system. When selecting an aquarium filter consider the size of your aquarium and ensure adequate volume to maintain clean water. They are a hardy species and tolerate broad water parameters but do best in clean water. Sponge filters and hang on filters are suitable, cannister filters are a great option for medium to large aquariums.

Browse aquarium filters here.

Aquarium Lighting for Black Ruby Barbs

Black Ruby barbs tolerate moderate lighting and enjoy areas of shade. LED aquarium lighting offers the ability to dim and adjust lights as required. Replicate daylight hours 8-10 hours per day. Aquarium lighting is necessary for the photosynthesis required for healthy aquarium plants if keeping live plants.

Looking for the ideal aquarium lighting? Shop fish tank lighting here.

Aquarium Plants for Black Ruby Barb:

Live plants are ideal, but avoid getting soft-leaved plants as black ruby barbs will nibble on them. Java moss has been used successfully with black ruby barbs, offering them shade and shelter, as well as firmer leaf plants such as anubias, swords, and crypts.

Interested in live plants for your aquariums? Browse live plants here.

Decorations for Black Ruby Barb:

Artificial plants can work well, especially if you have problems with nibbling plants. Additionally, you can also choose to use Aquarium Ornaments caves, rocks, and driftwood to replicate their natural environment.

Aquarium Substrate for Black Ruby Barbs

Black Ruby barbs occupy to middle water column and do not have substrate preferences. Aquarium gravel, sand and pebbles are all options. Darker substrates mimic their natural environment. If planting live aquarium plants, aquarium soils can be used under a layer of gravel or sand for optimum plant fertilization and growth.

A variety of Substrates are available at Coburg Aquarium. 

Additional Information

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Aquarium Set-up Service:

Our design team enables us to create the tank you desire, install your tank where you wish to and provide a maintenance service to ensure everything runs smoothly. We can create almost any aquarium from the small home aquarium to large commercial aquariums. Please contact us if you need any custom tank services.