Are Cherry Barbs Bottom Feeders?

Cherry barbs (Puntius titteya) are not bottom feeders. They are considered middle-tank feeders of an aquarium. However, cherry barbs often venture close to the bottom of a tank, especially if the tank is heavily planted and dimly lit, replicating the species’ natural environment. 

Cherry barbs may also be, at times, referred to as mid-bottom dwelling fish. These highly active and robust little fish spend most of their time at the middle and bottom levels of the tank. The peaceful nature of cherry barbs, among other characteristics, makes it easy to see why this middle-tank feeder is perfect for a community fish tank.

Are Cherry Barbs Known As Bottom Feeders Of A Tank?

Cherry barbs are not primarily known as the bottom feeders of an aquarium tank. However, they are often found to be exploring the bottom.

It is more accurate to refer to cherry barbs as a middle-tank species.

It is found that cherry barbs claim the middle level of the tank’s water column as their territory. These adorable, vibrantly red-colored fish love to hover around and explore this level the most frequently.

Even though they are middle dwellers, you may catch your cherry barbs gobbling food or having a little nibble on the food that makes its way to the bottom of your fish tank.

Cherry Barb Eating from Gravel

Why Are Cherry Barbs Seen Feeding At The Bottom At Times?

Cherry barbs are shy yet peaceful species of fish. Their calm temperament allows them to cope well in a community tank.

If they feel safe and secure enough to explore in the tank, one would see them happily feeding at the bottom of a tank too.

They are opportunistic fish in general and not fussy eaters at all. They will swim to the bottom of the tank to feed on any food they may find.

They are most active when kept in heavily planted tanks as this mimics their naturally shaded and densely grown habitat.

Cherry barbs are endemic to countries such as Sri Lanka and Mexico, where the forest streams are slightly stained and dimly lit, and the vegetation in the water is plentiful.

Fish enthusiasts who enjoy keeping cherry barbs should aim to create this type of preferred setup for the species.

Floating plants, leaf litter, debris, driftwood, and a darker substrate would create this natural environment for the cherry barbs.

Low levels of light and the ambiance of a forest stream created inside the fish tank are sure to attract cherry barbs to explore and feed on the bottom level of the tank.

A happy and content fish is most likely to explore all the water levels of the aquarium easily.

Observing Cherry Barbs As Middle Tank Feeders

The carefree nature of the cherry barb enables this fish to easily spend a fair amount of time happily moving in the tank. One would need to ensure that there are no threatening or nippy tank mates.

Cherry barbs are schooling fish. Keeping them in groups of six or more is best as they thrive together. They are timid yet social. They need to stick together.

As mentioned before, these active fish are curious and occasionally investigate near the bottom of the tank. However, they will continuously swim back to the middle of the tank again.

It is best to ensure that the fish tank is big enough. Cherry barbs need sufficient space to roam around the middle of the tank. Be sure to set up a suitably sized swimming area for them.

These timid fish would also appreciate enough floating plants in the middle tank level to explore and hide when needed.

They like shady areas as added security, so a heavily planted setup would work well.

A few aquarists have interestingly found that their cherry barbs love all levels of an aquarium. The cherry barbs have an enjoyable time at the top, middle, or bottom level.

This hardy fish species would help to create a peaceful tank indeed, and these adorable, popular fish would be the perfect fit for a beginner or an experienced aquarist.

How Do You Feed Cherry Barbs?

Cherry barbs are omnivores. They are not picky eaters at all. In nature, they will eat a wide range of food, such as:

  • Algae
  • Crustaceans
  • Insects
  • Small worms
  • Other animal matter

A good idea is to keep sturdy plants in your aquarium, as cherry barbs like to nibble on them.

The diet of the cherry barb is so flexible. These fish will undoubtedly accept and eat whatever crosses their paths in the water.

Cherry barbs should be fed high-quality pellets or flake food. These pellets would serve as the main component of their nutritional needs.

Their diet should also be supplemented with protein-rich foods such as live/frozen brine shrimp, bloodworms, and blanched vegetables.

How Often Do You Feed A Cherry Barb Fish?

Generally, it would be best to feed your cherry barbs the quantity it would take them to eat in around three to five minutes.

Always refer to the packaging label of the name brand you have purchased. Every brand usually is slightly different.

The size of “a pinch” would usually depend on the number of fish that you have in your tank.

Feed your fish less if you notice that only some food gets eaten in a feeding session.

Always ensure that the flake food or pellets are small enough for their little mouths to handle. Cherry barbs would find it hard to swallow large chunks of food.

Do Cherry Barbs Get Along With Bottom Feeders?

Cherry barbs are classified as easy-going and popular choices of fish that work well together in a tank with most other fish species.

They don’t cause any trouble and mind their own business somewhat.

Since cherry barbs are often found venturing at the bottom, it can be confidently stated that these fish get along well with bottom feeders. Examples of these feeders would be:

  • Plecos
  • Loaches
  • Cories

As long as they are together in a group of their kind, one shouldn’t foresee any issues arising. Cherry barbs are not known to be aggressive fish.

Remember that these timid fish need to be housed in a fish tank with other fish of the same or similar temperament.

These fish are excellent community fish and will bring great joy to your fish tank environment.

The behavior of cherry barbs is tremendously fun to watch, and the aesthetic value of the fish is simply beautiful to observe.

The main goal is to have a peaceful fish tank, and keeping cherry barbs adds to the success of achieving this goal.


Cherry barbs are classified as the middle-tank feeders/species in the aquarium. However, they are often found close to the bottom of the tank and may swim up to the surface. They are attracted to all water levels in a tank provided they mimic the cherry barbs’ natural environment by offering a dimly lit and heavily planted tank setup.