What Do Cherry Barbs Eat?

Cherry barbs (Puntius titteya) are omnivores that will eat a standard tropical flake diet. Flakes should be supplemented with treats such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, and mosquito larvae. 

In the wild, cherry barbs feed on various foods, such as decomposing detritus, dipterans, diatoms, green algae, and other animal matter. Therefore, a cherry barb’s natural diet in the aquarium needs to be replicated with an omnivorous selection of similar foods in this fish species’ natural habitat.

What Do Cherry Barbs Eat In An Aquarium?

As cherry barbs are omnivorous, they readily consume detritus, insects, larvae, and algae. This omnivorous diet in their natural habitat makes it essential to maintain enough variety inside the hobby.

Cherry barbs are not fussy or picky eaters at all. Feeding them a balanced diet is a relatively easy task.

Cherry barbs love all types of food.

A good vegetable and meat diet and a balance of minerals and vitamins are the secret recipes for success in having healthy and thriving cherry barbs inside your fish tank.

In general, cherry barbs will eat all flake(dry), frozen, live, and fresh foods. Examples of suitable flake foods would be:

  • A high-quality tropical flake food such as TetraMin plus
  • A standard tropical fish pellet ideal for small fish (small fish formula)

Tropical Flakes

Dried fish flakes/pellets form the foundation of the cherry barbs’ diet. These foods should also include a good portion of algae or plant content.

Cherry Barb Eating from Gravel

Frozen and Live Foods

Cherry barbs also feed on small frozen and live foods. These foods are excellent sources of extra fat and proteins for the fish.

Good frozen or live food choices would be:

  • Brine shrimp
  • Bloodworms
  • Daphnia
  • Artemia

Thaw out any frozen foods before feeding them to your fish.


Remember about healthy greens to include in your cherry barbs’ diet. Ensure the vegetables are suitably sized for the cherry barbs’ small mouths.

Examples of blanched vegetables to feed your fish would be:

  • Diced seedless zucchini
  • Shelled peas

Giving your fish a balanced diet and the correct dose of minerals and vitamins will ensure a healthy and long life span.

If you ever feel unsure when planning a cherry barb’s diet, consider consulting an aquatic veterinarian or an aquatics expert for health and safety precautionary measures.

Do Cherry Barbs Eat Algae?

Yes, in the wild and the aquarium, cherry barbs do eat algae. If algae tend to grow on the plants in your tank, cherry barbs will be inclined to nibble on them.

Cherry barbs are not the designated algae eaters of a fish tank. However, they will keep some of the algae growth under control.

How Often Do You Feed Cherry Barb Fish?

Several small daily feedings are ideal, but at least one feeding daily is vital. Regularly feeding your cherry barbs helps maintain their energy levels and beautiful, vibrant color.

The cherry barbs’ nice color and exciting behavior are why they gained popularity among aquarists and why this fish is so prevalent in the hobby.

Feeding the cherry barbs at regular intervals assists in keeping their lovely red color in check and helps induce spawning.

How Much Do Cherry Barbs Need To Eat?

Generally, cherry barbs need to eat the quantity of food it would take for them to finish eating the portion in about 3 minutes.

This 3-minute rule is applicable when offering several feedings a day. When only feeding once a day, a 5-minute rule would then apply.

Always refer to the actual packaging of the name brand of fish food you have purchased. Different name brands of food would have varying instructions.

Also, the size of a pinch of food you would measure with your fingers would vary according to the number of fish you have in your tank.

Observe whether the fish eat all the food you place in the tank.

If only some food gets eaten in one feeding, it indicates cutting back on the quantity of food at the next feeding time.

Overfeeding Or Underfeeding Cherry Barbs

As an aquarist, it is essential to be adequately informed regarding the correct food dosage that needs to be fed to your cherry barbs.

Overfeeding your fish may lead to various health problems for your fish. Overfeeding may also cause water pollution inside your fish tank.

This is because the excess food will begin to decompose, polluting the tank water and disturbing the water parameters.

Underfeeding is equally as harmful and may cause fish to fail to thrive.

Always watch and observe your fish’s daily food consumption and adapt or adjust their feeding schedule accordingly.

Three Cherry Barbs with Plants and Black

What If My Cherry Barb Is Not Eating?

Cherry barbs rarely give any feeding issues and seem eager to eat anything that falls in their path.

If a barb is ill or something is wrong in the aquarium, one should quarantine the fish until the cause and a solution to the problem can be found.

The cherry barb may need to be medicated for a fish disease.

It would also be wise to check the water parameters of the fish tank to observe if there is any other reason for the lack of appetite of the fish.

If uncertain, it is always best to consult a professional such as an aquatic veterinarian, for the best advice.

How Long Can A Cherry Barb Go Without Eating?

Most healthy aquarium fish can go for 3-7 days without feeding. However, going without feeding your fish for a day or two is only recommended if it is deemed completely necessary.

Exactly how long a cherry barb can go without eating depends on a few variables. These variables are related to aspects such as the age of the fish, the size of the fish, etc.

Generally, older or larger fish can go longer without food than younger or smaller fish. Only a few days are recommended to pass without tending to your aquarium.

Other alternative arrangements exist if one cannot conduct daily feedings. A commercial vacation feeder could be an option.

However, these feeders are designed to be a partial substitute.

It would be best to find the services of a fish sitter, especially if you have a tank full of different types of fish species or if you are housing very young or tiny cherry barbs at that particular time.


Cherry barbs are an omnivorous fish species. They need and accept many foods, including meats and plants. It is essential to create enough variation in their diet. Be sure to include high-quality flake/pellet food and frozen proteins such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, and vegetables.