How Many Cherry Barbs In A 29 Gallon Tank?

In a 29-gallon tank, there should be about 10 to 12 cherry barbs, though the ideal number depends on the size of the cherries, and whether there are other fish in the tank. Cherry barbs (puntius titteya) are schooling fish and must be kept in groups of at least 6 individuals (or more). 

Knowing how many cherry barbs to keep depends on several variables, including the size of their tank. The following information can assist anyone who is wondering about the number of cherry barbs for a 29-gallon tank.

Optimal Number Of Cherry Barbs For A 29 Gallon Tank

The number of cherry barbs one keeps in a tank must be appropriate for the size of the aquarium. To determine the optimal number of cherry barbs for a tank, one must first consider their behavior.

Cherry barbs are schooling fish that feel happiest and most secure when living in a group.

In aquariums, it is vital to keep a minimum of 6 cherry barbs, so they can express and benefit from their natural schooling behavior. If there is sufficient room in the tank, it is preferable to keep at least 10 to 12 cherry barbs.

To determine how many cherry barbs to put in a 29-gallon aquarium, one must also consider the length of the fish relative to the tank volume.

The average length of mature cherry barbs is 1.5 to 2 inches. Following the ‘1 gallon of tank volume per inch of fish’ guideline for tropical freshwater fish, it is optimal to have 10 to 12 cherry barbs in a 29-gallon tank.

Keeping between 10 and 12 cherry barbs in a 29-gallon aquarium will facilitate and enhance their schooling behavior. A cherry barb school of this size will also have enough room in the tank to swim freely and hide as necessary.

Cherry Barb with Deep Green Background and Plants

Why Do Cherry Barbs Need To School?

Keeping a group of 6 or more cherry barbs in a tank is crucial because of the benefits the fish derive from schooling.

Schooling provides cherry barbs with protection from predators. Swimming in a coordinated group makes it more difficult for predators to single out and attack individual cherry barbs.

The safety of living and moving in a school improves cherry barbs’ ability to forage for food. Being in a school also satisfies cherry barbs’ need for social interaction and mating.

Another advantage of schooling is that they conserve energy due to increased hydrodynamic efficiency. When swimming in a school, cherry barbs use less energy by harnessing the slipstream effect.

The benefits of schooling result in healthier, happier, and more beautiful cherry barbs. Cherry barbs experience less stress and have more energy and more robust immune systems.

Schooling cherry barbs also reward fish keepers because the males develop a brighter red coloration in the presence of competing males. Cherries swim and play more energetically in schools, making them more fun and satisfying to watch.

Ratio Of Female To Male Cherry Barbs

After determining the number of cherry barbs for a 29-gallon tank, one must also consider the ratio of males to females. It is essential to ensure that females outnumber males in the aquarium.

During breeding periods, male cherry barbs compete to court and mate with the females. The males trail behind their desired mates until breeding occurs.

If too many male cherry barbs are in the tank, they jostle with one another and swim incessantly after the females. This boisterous harassment can make the females stressed and weary.

For this reason, it is to have more females than males in the tank. A common rule of thumb is that there should be a ratio of 2 females for every male in the aquarium.

Some aquarium hobbyists advocate for a minimum of 3 females to 1 male in the aquarium. These fish enthusiasts observe that a 2-1 ratio is probably insufficient to prevent the males from hassling the females.

For example, in a 29-gallon tank with 12 cherry barbs, the school should consist of 9 females and 3 males.

Can Cherry Barbs Live In A 10 Gallon Tank?

If a 29-gallon aquarium is suitable for cherry barbs, can these fish live in a 10-gallon tank? Unfortunately, the answer to this question is no.

As discussed above, cherry barbs must be kept in groups of at least 6 individuals. If there are 6 or more cherries, the fish can successfully fulfill their natural drive to live in a school with others if their kind.

According to the ‘gallon per inch of fish’ guideline, a 10-gallon tank can only hold 4 to 5 average sized cherry barbs. (assuming an average fish length of 1.5 to 2 inches).

This number is insufficient for cherry barbs. Having 4 to 5 individuals will significantly limit their ability to live and swim in a properly functioning school.

Cherry Barb Tank Mates

It is worth highlighting some suitable tank mates for cherry barbs. Fortunately, cherry barbs are peaceful and hardy, so they live happily with most tropical freshwater aquarium fish.

Some of fishes that one can keep with cherry barbs include:

  • sparkling gourami (1 or more)
  • kribs (1 to 2)
  • silvertip tetra (6 or more)
  • cory catfish (6 or more)
  • dwarf cichlid (1 to 2)
  • betta miniopinna (1 to 2)

These fish are relatively peaceful, and their tank requirements are sufficiently similar to the habitation needs of cherry barbs.

When adding these tank mates, ensure enough room to accommodate the school of 6 (or more) cherry barbs.

In a 29-gallon aquarium, having 10 to 12 cherries would not allow sufficient space for tank mates. It would be necessary to reduce the number of cherry barbs according to the quantity and size of their new tank mates.


By living in a school, cherry barbs obtain safety, social interaction, energy efficiency, and mating partners. In aquariums, owners should keep these small, tranquil in groups of 6 or more so they can engage in this vital schooling behavior.

If one has a 29-gallon tank, it is ideal to have 10 to 12 cherry barbs (depending on the number of other fish in the tank). It is also advisable to ensure at least 2 or 3 females for every male in the tank.