Bandula Barb (Pethia bandula)

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Bandula Barb
Pethia bandula
Bandula Barb (Pethia bandula)
Name Bandula Barb
Name Lat. Pethia bandula
Synonym Puntius bandula
Family Carps
Family lat. Cyprinidae
Order Carps
Order lat. Cypriniformes
Origin Sri Lanka
Habitat Streams
Diet Omnivore
pH 6.5-7.5
Behavior Peaceful
Keeping Group
Care Level Easy
Reproduction Egg scatterer
Breeding Moderately difficult
Life Span 3-5 years
Protection No
Metric Units
Size 4 cm
Temperature 20-26 °C
Hardness 2-15 °dH
Aquarium 100 l
US Units
Size 1.6"
Temperature 68-79 °F
Hardness 36-267 ppm
Aquarium 30 gal

Distribution and habitat

Bandula barbs are found exclusively (endemically) in southwestern Sri Lanka. They mostly live in small, slow-flowing streams with roots, sandy soils and dense riparian vegetation, as well as in flooded rice fields and rubber plantations.


The aquarium should have a dense border planting, with hiding and retreat possibilities (roots, stones) and offer sufficient swimming space. With slightly shaded light (floating plants) and a dark substrate covered with some foliage (e.g. sea almond leaves) they show the most beautiful coloration.

No ammonia, ammonium and nitrite should be detectable, the nitrate value should not exceed 100 mg/l. To ensure the water quality and oxygen content, a filter and heater adapted to the aquarium size is required, as well as lighting for the species-appropriate day-night rhythm of the animals.


In the wild they feed on worms, insects, small crustaceans algae and detritus. The food supply consists of live, frozen and dry food. For a balanced diet, feed once a day with a high-quality dry food (flakes, granules, pellets) as well as daphnia, artemia and especially red mosquito larvae (live or frozen). In addition, they need regular vegetable food, such as algae leaves or dry food with vegetable ingredients (e.g. spirulina)

Only feed as much as will be eaten within a few minutes. A regular and varied diet promotes health and prevents deficiency symptoms.

Behaviour and compatibility

They are lively but peaceful schooling fish that can be socialized very well with other peaceful fish. At least 5, but preferably more Bandula barbs should be kept together.

Basically, only compatible fish species with similar demands on water conditions and water temperature should be socialized.

Sex dimorphism

The males are more intensely colored, especially at spawning time. The females are much smaller and appear more plump.

Reproduction and breeding

They are free spawners that do not engage in brood care. The male usually swims around (drifts) the female in the early morning, which spawns among fine-feathered plants. The larvae hatch after about 24 hours and swim freely after a week.

Fry must be fed several times a day with special rearing food (Artemia nauplii). In community tanks breeding is hardly possible, because the spawn is easy prey.


The foliage (sea almond tree, oak, etc.) enriches the water with humic substances, naturally lowers the pH and, when rotting, promotes the development of microorganisms, which are a valuable secondary food source

The well-being of the fish should be monitored regularly. Temperature should be checked daily, pH, hardness and nitrate levels at least every 14 days. Regular partial water changes are recommended, even when contaminant levels have not yet reached the upper limit. Sudden changes in water quality should be avoided. Newly introduced fish must be accustomed slowly to the water in the aquarium.

Further literature can be found in your pet store


Text: petdata; Image: Franz Lowak

Source: BMELV (1998): Tierschutzgutachten - Haltung von Zierfischen (Süßwasser); RIEHL & BAENSCH (2004): Aquarien Atlas Bd. 3, Mergus Verlag; ENGELMANN (2005): Zootierhaltung - Tiere in menschlicher Obhut: Fische, Verlag Harri Deutsch

  • Gemäß § 21 Abs. 5 Tierschutzgesetz idgF