Odessa barb

Aquarium fish: Odessa barb (Pethia padamya)
Size: 4 – 4.5 cm
Origin: Asia
Water temperature: 16-25 ° C
Aquarium volume: 72 l

Odessa barb (Pethia padamya ) – a small freshwater aquarium fish from the carp family. Although known in aquaristics for many years, it was not scientifically described until 2008. It is often confused with the less colorful Pethia ticto barb .


Asia. Occurrence was recorded in the central part of the country of Myanmar, in an artificial reservoir and in the Chindwin River and Ayeyarwady tributary, as well as smaller backwaters adjacent to the main river channels, at an altitude of about 3000m above sea level.

The water in the places of occurrence is usually clear, poor in vegetation, flowing through the limestone rocks. Gravel, silt or sandy-silty ground.

Characteristics and disposition

A small fish, in nature, grows up to 4.6 cm in length, in an aquarium it can reach slightly larger sizes. The body is laterally flattened, in various shades of light beige. There are two characteristic black spots on the body, one on the dorsal part and the other closer to the tail.

Along the male’s torso, there is a wide, shiny, red stripe, which looks most beautiful during the breeding season. Its irises are also red with a narrow black streak in the center. The dorsal, anal and ventral fins are yellowish green with contrasting black spots. The female is less attractive, of a uniform light beige color, with shimmering silvery scales. Its fins are slightly greenish yellow and only on the dorsal fin there are black spots, slightly less pronounced than in the male.

A mild species, swimming in a shoal in the middle and lower parts of the water. If kept in smaller quantities in an aquarium, it may show aggression towards other inhabitants . It is recommended to keep min. 5 or more fish. In larger quantities, they look nicer and display more natural behavior.

Nutrition and feeding

Possibly omnivorous fish, in nature they eat worms, insects and other small crustaceans as well as plant matter and detritus. In the aquarium, they can be given good-quality artificial food in flakes or granules, supplemented with live and frozen, e.g. artemia, daphnia, bloodworm and vegetable food with the addition of spirulina.


For a small group of Odessa barbs you will need an aquarium of min. 80 cm long.

The decor is not very important, but in plant tanks with a dark substrate they present nicer colors. Floating plants, decorations made of roots or wood will diffuse the incoming light and add a more natural look. The filtration does not have to be particularly strong, although it seems that they feel better in aquariums arranged like a rushing river with a lot of water movement . They can be kept sociable in aquariums, but mates should be selected carefully. They should not be kept with slow-swimming or veiled fish.

Similar species of cyprinids as well as adipidae ( Balitoridae), Cobitidae and some associates will be suitable.


Like most small carp , they scatter their spawn among plants and show no parental care . In good condition, they willingly and often approach spawning. In mature aquariums, a small amount of fry may appear without the intervention of the aquarist. However, if we want to get more of it, a more controlled approach is needed.

We can keep a group of adult fish together, but you will also need a separate spawning tank filled with mature water, very dimly lit, with a bottom covered with a net, glass balls or artificial grass. Alternatively, we can fill the tank with a lot of small-leaved plants, e.g. mosses. Artificial mops made of yarn can also work. The water should be slightly acidic or neutral, with a temperature of about 25-26 C.

For filtration, a small sponge filter or air stone is enough to properly oxygenate and ensure water circulation. We feed the fish more often with live or frozen food, and when the females are noticeably thicker, we transfer a couple or two to a previously prepared aquarium in the evening. Spawning usually takes place the next morning. Spawning can also take place in a larger group, in the amount of 1: 1 males to females and in a correspondingly larger tank. Parents eat both roe and fry , so after spawning they should be caught from the spawning tank.

Hatching occurs within 24-48 hours, after another 24 hours, the larvae begin to roam freely around the aquarium. Initially, you should give powdered or liquid micro foods, with time passing to micro nematodes and brine shrimp (Artemia) larvae.


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