Black Ruby Barb, Purple-headed Barb Puntius nigrofasciatus
Synonyms: Barbus nigrofasciatus
Physical description: A high-backed, deep bodied fish that lacks barbels. The head is dark crimson red in color and the flanks are marked with three to four, dark transverse bars. The first is located above the eye, while the last is located near the caudal penuncle. The back is usually dark copper brown. The body coloration depends on the sex. In the spawning season, males have a bright crimson red body and a red caudal fin. Females have yellowish orange-gray coloring with a peach colored caudal fin. The other fins on both sexes are black. Males in normal dress resemble females, although they are brighter in color.
Size/Length: To 2.4" (6 cm)
Similar species: Spanner Barb ( P. laterstriga)
Habitat: Slow-flowing streams and rivers with abundant vegetation in Southern Sri Lanka.
S: bottom, middle
Aquarium: A tank measuring 30" (76 cm) with a volume of 20-30 gallons (75-114 L) is sufficient. The tank should be heavily planted with a cover of floating plants. Use roots, wood, and rocks to create hiding places. The gravel should be fine and dark in color.
Water chemistry: pH 5.5-7 (6.5), dH 2-15 (6), 68-79°F (20-26°C)
Social behavior: An active, but peaceful schooling fish that forms schools. A good candidate for a community tank.
Suggested companions: Danios, Barbs, Acaras, Eartheaters, Gouramis, Loaches, Doradids, Loricarids, Epalzeorhynchus, Corydoras.
FOOD: Flakes, especially vegetable types; live; insects, insect larvae, worms, crustaceans; plant matter.
SEX: The male attains a large size, although is more slender. Males also have brighter colors, especially around spawning times.
Breeding techniques: Use water with a temperature from 77-82°F (25-28°C), a water hardness from 4-10 dH, and a pH around 6.0. Spawning is initiated by the rising of the morning sun, and occurs near fine-leafed plants. Use a marble substrate so that the eggs can fall out of reach of the parents. From 300-500 eggs are laid over a period of 1.5to two hours. The parents should be removed following the spawning. The eggs should be kept in a dark tank until they hatch 24-25 hours. The young can be first fed with Infusoria after they are free-swimming 6-7 days later.
Breeding potential: 6. Breeding is fairly easy, although males may sometimes not be ready for spawning.
Remarks: This barb is sensitive to old water and pollutants, thus the water should be changed on a regular basis. When stressed, this fish is susceptible to "Ich" or white-spot disease.
Difficulty of care: 3. A hardy species that can be kept in a community tank.