Fish, Tanks and Ponds

Fish, Tanks and Ponds
A comprehensive guide to fish

Barbus fasciolatus

African banded barb

African banded barb, Barbus fasciolatusAfrican banded barb, Barbus fasciolatus
Photos by Andy Rapson


Barbus: Latin, barbus = barbel

General Notes:

African banded barbs are one of the most peaceful of all barbs and make ideal community fish. They are very active and look absolutely stunning in a shoal of at least six individuals. They prefer soft acidic water which is low in nitrates. They may be shy initially but will soon settle down when housed with the right tank mates. Boisterous or semi aggressive tank mates should be avoided or these barbs will remain shy and retiring.
When established they will spar with each other in order to establish a pecking order but this sparing is carried out amongst themselves and doesn't involve other species in the aquarium, they do no harm to each other during these minor disputes.
Barbus fasciolatus
isn't very common in the hobby and is relatively expensive when compared to similar sized barbs, having said that it is one of the best community barbs that you can get and well worth a place in any community tank.


In the wild African banded barbs eat small worms, crustaceans, detritus including plant matter and insects. In captivity they adjust very well and will eat good quality flake food, freeze dried food, live and frozen food. They are generally quite bold feeders.


Female African banded barbs are less colourful but larger and more plum than males.


African banded barbs are egg scatterers and do not exhibit any brood care post spawning. They are reasonably easy to breed and it is common for them to spawn routinely in a community aquarium. When spawning these barbs deliberately it is better to condition both parents separately using lots of high protein food. Then introduce the parents to a separate tank which has been set up with aged water which is soft and acidic and contains some fine leaved plants for the fish to spawn over. The parents should be removed immediately after spawning or they will begin to eat their own eggs.

Wild status

Wild populations of African banded barbs are very healthy and the species is not under ant threat.

Information at a glance

pH: 6 - 7
dGH: 5 - 12
Temperature: 20 - 26°C (68 - 79°F)
Diet: Omnivore
Size: 6cm (2.5in)
Min tank size: 60 litres
Difficulty level: Easy
Aquarium type: Community
Swimming level: Middle

Distribution and habitat

distribution map for African banded barb, Barbus fasciolatus

Origin: Angola, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Congo,  the United Republic of Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo

Habitat: Well-oxygenated waters with lots of vegetation such as floodplain river channels and  lakes.


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Cypriniformes
Family: Cyprinidae
Genus: Barbus
Species: B. fasciolatus, Günther, 1868

Common name:
African banded barb

Synonyms: Barbodes fasciolatus, Barbus barilioides, Barbus faciolatus, Puntius fasciolatus.