How Big Do Cherry Barbs Grow?

Cherry barbs are small fish that reach a length of 2 inches (5 cm). Cherry barb fry is mere millimeters long, and they grow rapidly. Male cherry barbs are typically slightly larger than females. Several factors, including genetics and tank conditions, can impact a cherry barb’s growth. 

Read on for more about how big cherry barbs grow, the factors that influence their growth, and how much tank space they need – everything you need to ensure that your cherry barbs grow to their full size and flourish in your tank.

How Big Do Cherry Barbs Grow?

If you are thinking of getting cherry barbs for the first time or adding them to your community tank for a splash of color, you will be curious how much space they will need as adults. So, how big do cherry barbs grow?

The size of cherry barbs is essential information as it influences many other decisions you will make about them, such as their tank size, school size, and inclusion in community tanks.

Cherry barbs are tiny, slim fish which reach an adult size of 2 inches (5 cm) long. The males of the species are generally slightly bigger than the females.

Their small size makes cherry barbs perfect for community tanks with other small fish, such as neon tetra and dwarf gourami. Their schooling nature also makes them suitable to be kept alone, and their small size means that their tanks do not have to be too big.

One Cherry Barb in Front of Plants

How Big Are Cherry Barbs When They Hatch

So, if cherry barbs stay so small their entire lives, how big are they when they hatch from their eggs?

Cherry barbs are tiny when they hatch, with fry being mere millimeters long and hard to see with the naked eye. Owners may not be able to spot cherry barb fry until they are a week old!

What Influences A Cherry Barb’s Growth?

There are, however, several factors that influence the size that your individual cherry barbs reach. Being aware of these factors allows you to ensure that all your cherry barbs’ needs are met and that they grow to reach their full size.

These factors may influence the growth of your cherry barbs:

  • Your cherry barbs’ genetics. The size of your cherry barbs will partially be determined by their genetic code and, thus, by the size of their parents.
  • The temperature of the tank water. Cherry barbs are tropical fish and require water between 73- and 82-degrees Fahrenheit (23 and 27 degrees Celsius). Water that is too cold may stunt their growth.
  • The pH of your tank water. Cherry barbs prefer neutral water with a pH between six and eight. The more like their ideal conditions your tank is, the more likely they are to reach their full size.
  • The hardness of your tank water. Likewise, cherry barbs prefer water with a hardness of five to nineteen dH.
  • Your tank set-up. Cherry barbs need a fair amount of waterweed in their tanks to give them somewhere to hide and feel safe. If they do not have this, they will feel stressed, which can affect their growth.
  • The environment in your communal tank. If your communal tank has a stressful environment or is too small, the growth of your cherry barbs may be delayed or stunted.
  • The nutrition that is available to your cherry barbs. Cherry barbs are naturally omnivorous, and their diet should reflect this. Supplementing their diet with live foods throughout their development will help your cherry barbs to grow to their full size.

Cherry barbs are endemic to Sri Lanka, where they are endangered as they struggle to live in water conditions that aren’t suited to them.

Therefore, it is essential to try and replicate the conditions of cherry barb’s home waters as closely as possible to ensure that they develop and grow to their full potential, length, and color.

How Fast Do Cherry Barb Grow?

Provided that the right tank conditions are maintained, cherry barb fry and juveniles grow remarkably fast!

With all their needs met, cherry barb fry will reach one cm in length within five weeks of hatching and will be big enough to identify easily with the naked eye. After this, cherry barbs can grow between a quarter and half an inch every six weeks until they reach their full size.

How Many Cherry Barbs Should Be Kept Together?

Now that you know how big cherry barbs grow, another critical piece of information is how many of these fish should be kept together. This information will help you calculate how many cherry barbs to get, as well as how big a tank you need for these flashy little fish.

Like almost all barb species, cherry barbs are communal fish and are their happiest in small schools.

Living in schools offers these little fish security and protection in numbers. Given their small size, this is particularly important to their survival if they are kept in communal tanks with larger fish.

Breeders recommend keeping a minimum of six cherry barbs in a school. However, they suggest that more are preferable, with a school of about ten cherry barbs being the ideal size.

How Much Tank Space Do Cherry Barbs Need?

Given their small size, and school nature, you may also want to know how much tank space cherry barbs need to thrive. Due to their small size, they need smaller tanks than many fish, but they still need plenty of space.

Breeder and tropical fish experts recommend that cherry barbs require at least five gallons of space per fish. So, if you have a school of six cherry barbs, you will need a thirty-gallon tank. A fifty-gallon tank is required for a ten-fish school of cherry barbs.


Cherry barbs are small fish which reach two inches (five cm) in adulthood. They begin life as tiny fry, millimeters long, and grow rapidly until they reach full size. Male cherry barbs are typically slightly larger than females.

Several factors influence a cherry barb’s growth, including its genetics and tank conditions – so your treatment can help cherry barbs reach full size!