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Black Barbus (Puntius nigrofasciatus) – content, breeding

Black Barbus (Pethia nigrofasciata / Puntius / Barbus nigrofasciatus) Gunther / Gunter, 1868, introduced to Europe in 1935.

Pethia: the local generic name for small cyprinids in Sinhala.

nigrofasciata: from the Latin niger, which means “black” and fasciatus, which means “striped” in relation to the color pattern of this species.

The endemic of Sri Lanka, lives in forest reservoirs of the southern part, where it is bounded by the basins of the Kelani and Nilval rivers in the southwestern “wet zone” of the island.

The “wet zone” of the southwestern part of Sri Lanka is an area where 2,000–3,000 mm of precipitation falls annually, most of which falls on the time of the southwestern monsoon from March to August.

It is a tropical environment with no significant dry periods or climatic changes and the air temperature is fairly constant throughout the year, ranging from 25 to 27 ° C.

Such conditions contribute to the development of lowland tropical forests at altitudes below 1000 m above sea level.

In Sri Lanka, these forests are found only in the wet zone, and they inhabit a significant part of the endemic flora and fauna of the country with a humid, warm climate and a long period of geographic isolation, which leads to exceptional localized biodiversity.

Small, untouched streams containing clear or slightly colored water cross the reserve and represent typical habitats of P. nigrofasciata throughout its area.

Only weak sunlight can penetrate the dense vegetation, so the aquatic habitat is always shaded, and the water temperature can be relatively cool, while the electrical conductivity and hardness are usually low, and the pH is slightly acidic.

The typical bottom of such streams is usually sandy, possibly the presence of stones, covered with a layer of fallen leaves and branches.

Exporting wild specimens from Sri Lanka is currently prohibited, which means that all those in the aquarium trade should theoretically be bred on a commercial basis, although wild fish appear to be still collected. Reports suggest that brighter fish are becoming increasingly rare and there is a possibility that selective fishing for the aquarium trade has changed the structure of wild populations.

The body is higher than that of the other barbus species. These barbs have a high body, strongly compressed from the sides. The general color is pinkish gray, with four transverse black stripes on the sides.

The first passes through the eye, the second behind the pectoral fin, as in the case of the Sumatran barbus. The third band extends approximately from the middle of the dorsal fin, and the fourth behind the anal fin.

The dorsal, anal and pelvic fins are black, the rest are transparent.

There is a selection form in which only the head is red, and the fins and body are black, as well as the voile form.

In nature, the length of the male is up to 60 mm and the female is up to 67 mm, in the aquarium it is slightly less than 50-55 mm, respectively.

They are less cocky than Sumatran. Nevertheless, they are capable of pinching fins with veil and sluggish species.

It is better to keep them with a flock of 6-10, which will make the fish less fearful, in an aquarium with other peaceful and proportionate neighbors. These barbs live mainly in the lower and middle water levels.

Since they do not impose special requirements with respect to the chemical composition of water, they can be combined with many of the most popular aquarium fish, including other small carps, as well as tetras, viviparous, iris, labyrinth, catfish and loach species.

Basic dimensions of at least 80 * 30 cm or equivalent, the volume of 60 liters.

In the aquarium, you can put snags, plant live plants near the walls, creating dense thickets, in the middle leave free space for swimming. To emphasize the color of the fish, the ground should be dark, and the lighting is bright.

To create shadow areas you can use floating plants, for example, a pistol. Love the sunshine.

Temperature: 20-27 ° C
pH: 5.5-7.5
Stiffness: 5-18 ° dH

Water parameters are not demanding, but a weekly water change to 1/4 of the volume is necessary.

Omnivores, eagerly eat both live and artificial feed. Although plants hardly touch, they should regularly include food with herbal supplements in their diet.

Males are colored more brightly than females, before spawning their heads and breasts become crimson, and the black stripes, merging with each other, give the rest of the body a coal-black color. Females are larger / fuller and smaller.

Sex differences occur in 2-3 months, maturation occurs at the age of 8-11 months.

The greatest difficulty in breeding – a good selection of manufacturers. When selecting, it is necessary to take into account that males should be somewhat older than females and be active even in the general aquarium.

Before spawning, they are best planted, fed abundantly and varied.

Spawning from 10 liters, with a water level of 20-25 cm. The water is used soft (4-8 °) with a neutral active reaction (pH 6.5-7). For stimulation, it is necessary to raise the temperature by two degrees, compared with the temperature at the content and soften the water with a distillate (usually 2/3).

The bottom must be covered with a separator net so that the caviar is not eaten. As a spawning substrate, small-leaved plants or a bundle of synthetic fibers can be used.

In the corners of spawning should be placed several bushes of plants, so that females can hide from the pursuing males. The spawning site is located in such a way that the first rays of the rising sun hit it.

A pair of producers or one female and two males are usually planted in the evening. A group spawning is also possible when several males and females are planted to spawn.

Spawning, as a rule, the next morning with the first rays of the sun, often at the same time at first the female is the more active partner, and only then the initiative passes to the male. The male violently pursues the female, then spawning follows in the midst of plants. Eggs stick to plants or fall to the bottom.

Spawning one after the other, in total several hundred eggs are usually thrown out.

After spawning, the producers remove and replace 1/3 of the water with fresh water with the same parameters. Water tint methylene blue.

The larvae hatch after 24-36 hours and attach themselves to the walls of the aquarium, they soon acquire an amazing ability to hide so that they are almost impossible to detect, and the aquarist who first breeds Black Barbs can conclude that all the offspring have died. In fact, the larvae at this time sink to the bottom and lie there for 1-2 days, and then hang on plants and walls for several days.

Usually, by the end of the fourth day, the young take a horizontal position, begin to actively swim and feed. From now on, they must be fed abundantly: first with ciliates or “dust” and then with small crustaceans (Artemia, Cyclops). Fry grow rapidly, requiring gradually larger feed.

Proceed from the following general rule: feed particles should not be larger than the size of the eye of the larva.

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