Barbus of Sumatran (Puntigrus tetrazona) BLEEKER, 1855.
Despite the fact that the peak of hobby for this fish has long passed, it still remains the most popular species among aquarists. This is largely due to a very beautiful color, interesting behavior and quite simple content of this fish in aquarium conditions.
Puntigrus: derived from the common name Puntius and tigrus, a word created for a sound similar to the Latin word tigris, which means “tiger” in relation to the striped pattern.
tetrazona: from ancient Greek τέτταρες (téttares), which means “four”, and ζώνη (znē) in relation to the design of this species, which includes four dark vertical stripes.
Indonesia is probably endemic to Sumatra. There are records of the presence in the river systems of Indragiri, Batang Hari and Musi in the provinces of Riau, Jambi and South Sumatra, respectively.
Preference is given to forest streams and tributaries containing relatively clear water and a substrate of sand and stones of various sizes.
Wild populations exist in other territories, including Singapore, Australia, the United States, Colombia and Suriname.
The body of these barbs is rather high, strongly compressed from the sides. No mustache. The general color is golden-pink, the back is darker with a red tint, the abdomen is yellowish-white.
On the sides are four vertical black stripes. The first passes through the eye, the second behind the pectoral fin, the third behind the dorsal fin and the last at the beginning of the caudal fin.
The dorsal fin is black with a bright red border, the other fins are pink or red.
Different color variations of this bar have been derived. The most popular form is Mossy / Mutant / Green Barbus.
The cross strips of these fish are emerald-green and so wide that they merge with each other and cover almost the whole body. When breeding mossy barbs in the offspring, the fry, similar to the parents, make up about 75%, the remaining 25% with normal color.
In addition, there is an Albin or Golden form with a pink body and pink-red stripes. It is rather difficult to get offspring from two albinos, and crossing with the usual form gives only 25% of the fry of the desired color.
Among albino forms there are individuals without gill covers.
Size between 50 – 60 mm.
Sumatran barbs – peaceful, gregarious and very mobile fish. Keep mostly in the middle and lower layers of water. In the general aquarium, a flock of Sumatran barbs of 5-10 or more individuals can be kept with other peaceful, but able to stand up for themselves fish.
It is worth noting that with a small content (2-3 fish), these barbs can show strong aggression to each other, as well as to other inhabitants of the aquarium.
They look especially beautiful in an aquarium with other natives of Sumatra and Borneo islands with clown fights (Botia macracanthus), which have a similar color. Few fish that have a veil-shaped fins and flippers can pull the fins.
In addition, a flock of Sumatrans moving quickly through an aquarium can cause constant stress and discomfort among other less active inhabitants.
A distinctive feature of these barbs is their standing upside down at an angle of 45 degrees. This is normal for these fish.
But if the fish is almost “standing on the head” – this is a sign of the early stage of nitrate poisoning.
For the maintenance of these fish, it is desirable to have a densely planted aquarium of 50 liters with open areas for swimming. The soil is better dark, otherwise the fish get a paler color.
Temperature: 20-26 ° С
Stiffness: dH to 18 °
The Sumatran barbs are not demanding on the water parameters, however, in the aquarium, good filtration and regular water changes of 1/4 of the volume once a week are necessary. The water temperature should not be below 22 ° C, otherwise the barbs can get ichthyophthiriasis.
In nature, it feeds mainly on aquatic invertebrates.
Omnivores, greedily eat any live and artificial food. Prone to overeating, which is the cause of obesity and death of fish.
To avoid this, you need to carefully monitor the amount of feed given and use the rule that it is better to underfeed the fish than vice versa. In addition, in their diet, it is desirable to include feed with vegetable components.
Females are larger than males with a fuller belly. The color of the males is brighter, the red color of the fins is more saturated.
Breeding becomes possible after the fish reaches the age of 5-9 months. Before spawning, males and females are kept separately at a temperature not higher than 22-24 ° C and are fed in various ways with live, low-fat food, for example, daphnia, moth or curry.
Also, in order to avoid obesity during feeding it is necessary to use herbal supplements.
Spawning pack or double. Spawning from 10 liters without soil.
At the bottom of the stack is laid separator to prevent caviar from eating by manufacturers. Javanese moss or synthetic fibers are used as a substrate.
In addition, you can not allow the presence in the spawn any snails. Water is used from the general aquarium.
To stimulate spawning, the temperature is raised to 25-28 ° C and distilled water is added.
In spawning manufacturers do not feed. The female throws up to 1000 eggs. After the spawning of the producers, 1/ of the water is replaced with fresh water.
Also, in order to avoid the development of a fungus on the calf, water is tinted with methylene blue. Caviar develops within 1-2 days.
After 3-4 days, the young begin to swim and feed on “living dust” or infusoria. At the age of about one month, the fry of Sumatran barbus acquire the color of adult fish.
To prevent the development of cyst in females, it is necessary to periodically (2 times a year) stimulate spawning in the general aquarium.
Life expectancy in an aquarium is about 4 to 5 years.
It should be noted that in nature it has a more faded color than its aquarium congener. The fish, which can now be found on sale, was obtained, as a rule, as a result of aquarium breeding, and the brightness of its color is enhanced by a long selection.
The mutation of the color of the Sumatra barbus can be caused, for example, by exposure to the eggs by ultraviolet rays, as well as by abrupt changes in various parameters of water in the spawning (temperature, pH or hardness). Mutants and albinos are weaker and more fastidious to the conditions of the fish in comparison with the natural form.
The genus “Sumatran” barbus (Puntigrus), today is represented by five species. The genus Puntigrus was created by Maurice Kottela (2013) to house a group of species, previously called the “Puntius tetrazona group”.
Other representatives are P. anchisporus, P. navjotsodhii, P. pulcher and P. partipentazona, the first three of which are endemics for western, central and east Borneo, respectively, and the last for Indochina.
The Barbus of Sumatran (Puntigrus tetrazona) is previously referred to as Puntius tetrazona, Systomus tetrazona or Capoeta tetrazona.