Fish, Tanks and Ponds

Fish, Tanks and Ponds
A comprehensive guide to fish

Pethia padamya

Odessa barb

Odessa barb, Pethia padamyaOdessa barb, Pethia padamya
Photos by Andy Rapson


Pethia: Pethia is the generic vernacular name for small cyprinids in Sinhala.

General Notes:

Odessa barbs are very lively fish which may intimidate gentler more timid species just by their activity level. They may chase and nip the fins of slow moving fish or fish with long flowing fins like angelfish or guppies. Similar sized lively fish make good tank mates for odessa barbs. P. padamya  is a shoaling species so keep them in a group of at least five individuals although the more the better. Their colour may appear to be a little washed out is sparsely decorated and brightly lit tanks. Use a dark substrate and provide some shade with plants and their colours will brighten up.


Odessa barbs are bold and greedy eaters which will accept most food offered to them. Use a good quality flake food as a staple and supplement this with live or frozen blood worms, daphnia and similar. Fresh greens should also be offered - lettuce, blanched spinach, sliced cucumber ect. These may be ignored at first because the fish won't recognise them as food but if you persist they will soon learn and they will  benefit greatly from a healthy balanced diet.


Males have the more vivid red markings and adult females are a little plainer and more rounded.


Odessa barbs lay non-adhesive eggs which are scattered and fertilised as the male chases the female. Odessa barbs which are well cared for will spawn freely without intervention but it is unlikely that any would survive in a busy community tank. If you want to raise a full brood use a separate aquarium which has been set up with a mature sponge filter and with a layer of glass marbles covering the floor. The idea is that the eggs will fall between the marbles and prevent the parents from eating them. After spawning remove the parents and wait. The eggs will hatch after 24 - 48 hrs depending on the temp. A further 24 - 48 hrs and the fry will be free swimming and looking for food. Use a liquid fry food initially or feed from an infusoria culture until the fry are large enough to accept micro worms and newly hatched brine shrimps.

Wild status

The wild status of odessa barbs is data deficient. The distribution of this species is largely unknown along with any threats to wild populations. The fish is widely available in the hobby and almost all specimens offered for sale will be captive bred.

Information at a glance

pH: 6.5 - 7.2
dGH: 4 - 12
Temperature: 15 - 24°C (55 - 74°F)
Diet: Omnivore
Size: 4.6cm (1.8in)
Min tank size: 100 litres
Difficulty level: Easy
Aquarium type: Community
Swimming level: All levels

Distribution and habitat

Odessa barb, Pethia padamya

Origin: Asia: Myanmar. Known only from the type locality, an artificial pond in Toe Gyi village, situated just above the Anisakan Falls, near Pyin Oo Lwin, on the road Mandalay-Hsipaw, and from the lower Chindwin River.

Habitat: Artificial pond.


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Cypriniformes
Family: Cyprinidae
Genus: Pethia
Species: P. padamya Kullander & Britz, 2008

Common name:
Odessa barb

Synonyms: None