How Do Cherry Barbs Breed?

Cherry Barbs are egg-scattering, free-spawning fish. Under optimal breeding conditions, the male will swim behind the female, chasing away any competition. The female and male come together and swim side by side while simultaneously releasing eggs and milt (sperm).

Cherry barbs are colorful little fish that can entertain your tank with their bright scales and hierarchy dance, but how do they actually breed? They are an easy breed that is perfect for beginners and are easily bred, as long as you keep in mind that they may eat their offspring. Understanding how cherry barbs breed can help you to grow your school of fish.

How Do Cherry Barbs Breed?

When cherry barbs are ready to spawn, you will see changes in your fish. The color of the males will intensify, and the females will show signs of plumping out and a distended abdomen.

The males will start chasing a female around, swimming behind her, and showing aggression toward rival males. The male and female pair will swim in and out of plants, and the male and female will swim side by side to disperse eggs and milt synchronously.

Each female can disperse between 200 and 300 eggs during the spawning time. They will release a small number of eggs at a time, which can take a while until all her stored eggs are released.

The spawning process can often leave the female cherry barbs exhausted while the males seem to have increased energy. Put your females in a separate tank or remove the males to allow them time to recover from the spawning process.

The ratio of males to females is also essential to prevent males from harassing one female too often or fighting with other males rather than spawning.

Although you can put one pair of spawning cherry barbs together in a separate tank to breed, you can also keep larger numbers in your main tank. However, ensure you have a minimum of two females for every male.

Cherry Barb with Deep Green Background and Plants

How Easy Is It To Breed Cherry Barbs?

Cherry barbs are easy to breed. That’s why they are perfect fish for beginners that want to get into breeding.

They are prolific breeders, so without much interference, you may find a few cherry barb fries appearing in your tank.

Cherry barbs do not give parental care to their young and will often eat the eggs in captivity. That is why the right plants, such as java moss, and plenty of them, are essential to allow your cherry barbs to breed naturally in the tank without interference.

You can also breed them in breeding tanks and separate them from the eggs once they have spawned.

How Do You Get Cherry Barbs To Breed?

You may need to interfere if you don’t see your cherry barbs breeding or have no babies, but it’s relatively easy.

To get your cherry barbs to breed, you must condition them for a week or two beforehand. Separate the males from the females by placing the males in a separate tank, still allowing them to see the females, or add a separation grid in your tanks to separate them.

Once they have been separated, start conditioning the cherry barbs by feeding them live adult brine shrimp and frozen bloodworms. This will fatten them up and put them in optimal breeding conditions, triggering their spawning instinct.

Females will start to get distended abdomens and have a rounded shape, while the male’s coloring will intensify.

Move males and females into a small tank with plenty of java moss or spawning mops and give them time to get used to their new environment. The spawning process can take up to a couple of days, depending on how quickly they adapt.

Do You Need Special Equipment To Breed Cherry Barbs?

If you want to successfully hatch a group of cherry barbs, you will need a few extra items to ensure the success of the fries:

  • Extra breeding tank
  • Spawning mop
  • Separation grid
  • Spawning mesh
  • Live plants
  • Sponge filter

A pair can breed with a small breeding tank that you can add to your larger tank. The bottom of the breeding tank will need a spawning mesh that allows the eggs to fall through, preventing the adults from eating the eggs.

You can place a school of cherry barbs into a smaller tank with some live plants like dwarf hair grass, crytocrynes, and java moss. This allows the cherry barbs to swim between the plants and lay their eggs.

You can also opt to add just a spawning mop, a soft thread that allows the females to spawn their eggs. Eggs have an adhesive film to them which sticks to the threads.

Suppose you allow your cherry barbs to spawn in a community tank. In that case, these spawning mops are easy to remove from the tanks after spawning and can be transferred to another tank to allow your cherry barb fries to grow.

Once the cherry barbs have finished spawning, remove the adults from the breeding tank.

The eggs will hatch within one to two days and cling to the surface of the plants and your tank glass. The cherry barb fry will feed on the egg sac for two to three days.

Between four and five days, the fries become free swimming, and you can start to feed infusoria three to five times a day. After about a week, you can provide micro worms and baby brine shrimp to your growing fries.

Some More Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some more questions you may have on breeding cherry barbs.

What Tank Conditions Do you Need To Breed Cherry Barbs?

When cherry barbs spawn, they prefer a more neutral pH level between 6-7. Water temperature is ideal at 78° to 82°F (26.5°-28°C) to spark their natural spawning instinct.

Offer them enough plants and hiding places for them to spawn. Use floating plants to reduce the harshness of the light, as eggs should not be exposed to harsh or bright lights.

How Do You Know Your Cherry Barb Females Are Pregnant?

When your cherry barb female starts showing signs of being pregnant, she will develop a more rounded and plumper shape and have a distended abdomen where she stores all her eggs.

How Do You Know Cherry Barbs Have Finished Spawning?

Cherry barb females that are ready to spawn have rounded distended abdomens. Once they have finished spawning, the females will emerge with a slimmer figure.

Do Cherry Barbs Look After Their Fry?

Cherry barbs do not care for their offspring. They lay the eggs, and the fries live off the egg yolk for a few days before becoming free swimmers. At this point, you can start to feed micro worms and baby brine shrimp.


Cherry barbs are a reasonably easy fish that is ideal for beginners to breed with. Males and females will swim alongside each other in dense plants and simultaneously release eggs and milt.

Breeding these fish takes minimal experience, just some basic knowledge, and you can start your own breeding tanks of cherry barbs.