The black ruby barb (Pethia nigrofasciata) is a small fish native to Sri Lanka where it is restricted to the Kelani and Nilwala river basins in the southwestern ‘wet zone’ of the island, as well as smaller drainages in the area between them. This fish grows to an adult size of up to 2.2 inches long. Mature males are noticeably smaller, slimmer, and more colorful than females, especially when in breeding condition.
The black ruby barb should be maintained in an aquarium of 29 gallons or larger. Smooth rocks, driftwood (ZM2000) and live or artificial plants may be used, as well as a sand substrate (CS7538). These fish look great in a heavily planted tank with a dark substrate.
The black ruby barb prefers a temperature of 68°F to 80°F, a pH of 5.5 to 7.5, and a hardness of 2 to 15°H. Be sure water is clean and well oxygenated.
The black ruby barb is a generally a peaceful fish suitable for a community aquarium. Good tank mates include other peaceful barbs, tetras, pencil fish, cory cats, apistogrammas, rams, and rasboras. Black ruby barbs should be kept in schools of at least 6 to 10 individuals to promote schooling behaviors and encourage males to color up.
The black ruby barb is easy to feed in the aquarium and will readily accept just about any frozen appropriately sized food item such as flakes (AL165) and frozen brine shrimp (SF6777). For maximum color, growth, and health these fish will look their best when given probiotics (AL169) in addition to a balanced diet.