Tinfoil Barb

Updated August 5, 2019
Author: Mike - FishLore Admin
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The Tinfoil Barb is a fish that is often available in pet shops and sold to the beginning aquarist but it is not the best choice for those just starting in the freshwater hobby. The tinfoil barb requires a very large tank, at least 75 gallons (284 liters) for one and a much larger aquarium when keeping these barbs in multiples because of their potential adult size of 13 inches (32 cm).

They like to have lots of space for swimming and they are indeed fast swimmers. They also like to jump out of tanks that don't have tight fitting hoods.

The sides of the Tin foil Barb resemble tin foil (hence the name) and the fins on the this barb will become more red as they mature. Juveniles (pictured below) lack the red on the fins. The second picture is of a mature tinfoil barb that is around 10 inches in size.

Tin foil Barbs will accept most fish food, including flakes, pellets, frozen and freeze-dried foods. They will also go after your live plants and any smaller fish if given the opportunity.

Barbonymus schwanenfeldii Barbonymus schwanenfeldii Barbonymus schwanenfeldii Barbonymus schwanenfeldii

Tinfoil Barb Care

Scientific Name : Barbonymus schwanenfeldii

Common Names : Tinfoil Barb, River Barb

Care Level : Easy to Moderate, this fish needs a larger tank

Size : 13 inches (32 cm)

pH : 6.0 - 7.5

Temperature : 75°F - 80°F (24°C - 27°C)

Life span : 8 - 10 years

Origin / Habitat : Rivers in Thailand and Sumatra, also found in the Iberian Peninsula.

Temperament / Behavior : This fish can be peaceful enough for a very large community tank, but it may eat smaller fish.

Breeding : May be possible to breed in the home aquarium. You would need a very large tank to house the adults. Egg layers that likes higher temperatures (77 - 80°F) for breeding. Remove adults to keep them from eating the eggs.

Aquarium Size : 75 gallon (284 liters) minimum

Tank Mates : May go well with Bala Shark, Pleco, Silver Dollar and other large fish

Fish Disease : Freshwater Fish Disease

Diet / Foods : An herbivore - provide a varied diet with algae wafers, pellet food and frozen food.

Tank Region : Mostly middle to top

Gender : Difficult to determine

Site References :

Fish Lore Forum : Tinfoil Barb Forum

Tinfoil Barb Comments

From: Ryan Sorce Palmdale CA
I have 3 tinfoils. 2 of them are about 4 years old and about 9 inches long. I also have a smaller albino tinfoil. These fish are great but are very skittish and run into the walls as soon as I turn on the tank light.

From: Adam
First of all, these have become my favorite fish! They get big and they are very active fish. I have 6 Tinfoils in a 125 gallon tank. They are very non-aggressive giants. They work great with the other fish (although they will eat fish that will fit in their mouths.) They will get to 14", but only in a large tank. Don't buy them if you don't have a large tank. A 55 gallon is the BARE minimum (A 6' tank is much better for them). They love to school with other tinfoils, so get 3 or more.

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