Barbus fasciolatus: A Comprehensive Guide - African Banded Barb

Barbus fasciolatus, commonly known as the African Banded Barb, is a striking freshwater species cherished by aquarists for its vibrant coloration and lively behavior. This guide covers everything you need to know about Barbus fasciolatus, from their natural distribution and habitat to their dietary requirements and spawning practices.

Distribution and Habitat

Barbus fasciolatus is native to the freshwater rivers and streams of Central and East Africa, particularly in the Congo Basin and surrounding regions. These fish prefer slow-moving waters with abundant vegetation, which provides ample hiding spots and foraging opportunities.

Size and Appearance

African Banded Barbs are small, typically growing to about 2.5 inches (6.5 cm) in length. They are known for their distinctive black bands that run vertically along their golden-yellow to reddish bodies, making them a visually striking addition to any aquarium.

Water Parameters

Maintaining optimal water conditions is essential for the health of Barbus fasciolatus:

  • Temperature: 72-82°F (22-28°C)
  • pH: 6.0-7.5
  • Hardness: 5-15 dGH

These barbs thrive in slightly acidic to neutral water and benefit from a well-planted aquarium that mimics their natural habitat.

Tank Mates

Barbus fasciolatus are peaceful and social fish, making them suitable for community tanks. Compatible tank mates include:

  • Other small, peaceful barbs
  • Tetras
  • Rasboras
  • Corydoras catfish
  • Small gouramis

It's advisable to avoid housing them with larger, aggressive species that might bully or prey on them.


In the wild, Barbus fasciolatus feed on small invertebrates, plant matter, and algae. In captivity, they are omnivorous and thrive on a varied diet:

  • High-quality flake food
  • Micro pellets
  • Live or frozen foods such as daphnia, brine shrimp, and bloodworms
  • Blanched vegetables like spinach and zucchini

A diverse diet ensures vibrant coloration and overall health.


African Banded Barbs are active and schooling fish, best kept in groups of at least six. This grouping helps reduce stress and promotes natural behaviors. They are generally peaceful but may exhibit minor fin nipping if not kept in a sufficiently large group.


Breeding Barbus fasciolatus in captivity can be rewarding for dedicated aquarists. To spawn them successfully:

  1. Conditioning: Feed the breeding pair a high-protein diet, including live foods, for several weeks.
  2. Breeding Tank: Set up a separate breeding tank with fine-leaved plants or a spawning mop. Maintain slightly acidic water with a temperature around 78°F (26°C).
  3. Spawning Process: The female will scatter eggs among the plants or mop. Remove the adults after spawning to prevent them from eating the eggs.
  4. Hatching: Eggs typically hatch within 24-36 hours. Feed the fry infusoria or liquid fry food until they are large enough to consume baby brine shrimp.

Fun Facts

  • Barbus fasciolatus is known for its vibrant, banded appearance, which makes it a popular choice among aquarists.
  • They are often referred to as "African Banded Barbs" due to their distinctive vertical stripes.
  • These barbs are excellent for both novice and experienced aquarists due to their hardy nature and adaptability to various water conditions.


Barbus fasciolatus, with their eye-catching bands and lively demeanor, make a delightful addition to any freshwater aquarium. By understanding their natural habitat, dietary needs, and breeding behavior, aquarists can ensure these charming fish thrive in captivity. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned fish keeper, the African Banded Barb offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of small freshwater fish.