The Odessa barb is a small fish known only from central Myanmar where the type specimens were collected from a man-made pond fed by a small stream in a village called Toe Gyi which lies in the administrative division of Mandalay. It has also been recorded from lower stretches of the river Chindwin, a tributary of the Ayeyarwady, and a ‘small pond’ 500 meters away from the main river channel.
The Odessa barb grows to an adult size of just under 2 inches inches long. Adult females are thicker bodied and much less colorful than males. Adult males are more intensely colored than females with a thick band of bright red-orange coloration on the flanks and more intensely-defined markings in the fins.
The Odessa barb should be maintained in an aquarium of 30 gallons or larger to accommodate its schooling behavior. While decor is not important, it will thrive and have better coloration in a heavily planted aquarium with a dark substrate. The addition of floating plants and driftwood roots or branches to diffuse the light entering the tank also seems to be appreciated and adds a more natural feel.
In the aquarium, the Odessa barb prefers a temperature of 61°F to 77°F, a pH of 6.5 to 8.5, and a hardness of 5 to 20°H. Filtration does not need to be particularly strong though it does seem to appreciate some degree of water movement and will also do well in a hill stream type of set up.
The Odessa barb is typically a peaceful fish and suitable for a community aquarium. Good tank mates include open water dwelling cyprinids (barbs, danios, and rasboras) and small loaches. It is a schooling species by nature, and should be kept in a group of at least 8-10 specimens. Maintaining it in decent numbers will not only make the fish less skittish but males will also display their best colors as they compete with one another for female attention and hierarchical position.
Wild Odessa barb are most likely foraging omnivores feeding on worms, insects and other small invertebrates, as well as plant material and organic detritus. They should be fed a varied diet that includes small meaty foods such as live black worms, frozen blood worms (SF4792), frozen brine shrimp (SF6777), high quality flakes (AL165), and granules containing at least some algae or plant matter. For maximum color, growth, and health these fish will look their best when given probiotics (AL169) in addition to a balanced diet.