Are Cherry Barbs Hardy?

Cherry barbs are hardy fish due to their durability in resisting diseases and cope with less than ideal tank conditions. Although they are hardy, it does not mean they are invincible. Certain conditions may lower their immunity level.

Cherry barbs must have the proper care routine to ensure optimum health. Any comprise in their habitat and diet can have adverse effects making them susceptible to diseases and reducing their hardiness.

Why Are Cherry Barbs Considered Hardy?

Cherry barbs are native to Shri Lanka, predominately in the Kelani and Nilwala basins, an area prone to annual flooding. The homeland of the cherry barb may be why these fish can endure difficult situations.

While the female cherry barbs can grow up to 2 inches, approximately 5 cm in length, the males are known to be slightly smaller in stature. Hence, they must be tough and vigorous to survive, considering that these fish are pretty petite compared to other species.

Their ability to tolerate water fluctuations combined with their calm, peaceful nature are factors that also contribute to their hardiness.

Three Cherry Barbs with Plants and Black

How Long Can Cherry Barbs Live?

The average lifespan of a cherry barb is about four years. Due to their hardiness, their lifespan can extend up to seven years. Despite their strength and resilience, cherry barbs can still be prone to diseases and illness, ultimately reducing the longevity of the fish.

Factors That Reduce The Hardiness Of Cherry Barbs

True to their name, cherry barbs are cherry red in appearance. Their long thin body shape attributes to their speed. These peaceful, calm fish are also very active.

Cherry barbs are low-maintenance fish making them a great addition to any aquarium. The below factors can reduce their hardiness, no matter how simple the care routine and how hardy the cherry barb is.

Unsuitable Habitat

A cherry barbs habitat is one of the most pertinent factors contributing to reducing this fish’s hardiness. Once cherry barbs are captured and taken out of their natural environment, the aquarium should be able to mimic their once-natural surroundings.

Cherry barbs are used to calm shallow waters with plenty of vegetation; creating this environment will help them quickly acclimatize to their aquarium.

No matter how resilient the cherry barb is, offering them anything less than what they are used to may result in unnecessary stress.

Cherry barbs love hiding, and driftwood, rocks, hornwort, water wisteria, and anacharis are great additions to their home aquarium.

Cherry barbs are also known as egg scatterers, an abundance of plants will enable them to lay their eggs freely. About two-thirds to three-quarters of the tank should be filled with plants.

A dark, silty substrate is what the cherry barb is used to; creating this replica in the aquarium will ensure they transition with ease.

Incorrect Tank Size

A tank size of 25 gallons is appropriate to ensure that the school of cherry barb has ample room. If the tank size is any less, a cherry barb will start to feel restricted, unhappy, and uncomfortable, considering they are active fish.

The 25-gallon tank size is appropriate for a school of six cherry barbs and a few tank mates. A 30 –55-gallon tank is advisable if you increase the number of cherry barbs and tank mates.

Inappropriate Tank Mates

Cherry barbs are schooling fish that need to be in the companionship of five to six cherry barbs, with a ratio of two females per male. The camaraderie of other cherry barbs will give them a sense of security as they navigate the waters confidently.

The size of the cherry barb makes them vulnerable to predators; hence choosing larger tank mates is not advisable. They won’t be as hardy amongst these larger fish, especially the aggressive ones.

The cherry barb’s shy, calm, peaceful nature makes them suitable tank mates for other fish of the same character.

Below are some suitable tank mates

  • rosy barb
  • black ruby barb
  • chocolate gourami
  • black neon tetra
  • diamond tetra
  • guppies
  • blue ram cichlid
  • bristlenose pleco
  • chili rasbora
  • celestial pearl danio
  • nerite snails
  • bamboo shrimp

Inconsistent Water Temperature

The water parameters of most aquariums are acceptable to cherry barbs as they can tolerate water fluctuations. However, these water levels need to be kept as consistent as possible.

Deviating from the below water temperature by shifting the parameters could cause a decline in health.

DescriptionAcceptable Levels
Water Temperature74°F to 79°F
PH Levels6.0 and 7.0
Water Hardness2 to 18 DH
Water MovementGentle to slow

Regular testing is imperative to ensure that these temperatures align with the requirements. To prevent ammonia and nitrate, building good filtration is essential.

Incorrect Diet And Nutrition

The proper diet will provide the necessary immunities to withstand diseases and illness. An incorrect diet will have an adverse effect.

Since cherry barbs are omnivorous, they prefer to feed on plant and animal matter. They will eat anything they find for the love of food.

A balanced diet of pellets, flakes, and vegetables like zucchini and shell peas will help stimulate their diet. Blood worms, daphnia, and brine shrimp will help supplement their protein intake.

A cherry barb should be fed 2 to 3 times a day, and the portion size should depend on the food consumed within 3 minutes.

Due to their excessive appetite, cherry barbs are known to over-eat, causing them to become bloated and reduce their ability to move freely. Left-over food also tends to pollute the water creating an unhealthy environment for the cherry barb.

Disease And Illness

Cherry barbs may be susceptible to disease and illnesses, but this doesn’t make them exempt from them. Although they are not high-maintenance fish species, they are still prone to the below common diseases.


An infection is caused by the parasite ichthyphthirius multifiliis resulting in white spots on the body of the cherry barb. Exposure to this infection will also result in a drastic change in their behavior which involves rubbing themselves against rough surfaces to relieve themselves of the itch.

Treatment includes adding aquarium salt to the water, removing carbon in the filter, and raising the water temperature slightly.

Fin Rot

Fin rot is an infection caused by bacteria or fungus that can affect the fins and the tails of the cherry barb by causing discoloration.

Treatment includes isolating the infected fish and administering antibiotics.


Cherry barbs are considered hardy due to their resilience and susceptibility to diseases. It is important to note that despite their hardiness, they are still not invincible.

If they are not provided with the appropriate habitat, tank size, tank mates, water temperature, and diet, they will be prone to diseases, and their hardiness will be drastically reduced.