Barbet Fish: Characteristics & Best 10 Benefits

Barbet Fish is not a fish you would typically find in the local pond. Barbet Fish was a popular pet among the rich and famous in the late 1800s through the early 1900s.

As its name implies, this is also an exotic-looking fish, with a slender body, prominent belly scales, and large barbels hanging from its mouth.

The fascinating thing about this fish is that it breathes air via a set of modified gills found on top of its head.

This enables the fish to breathe from above water when necessary. Barbet Fish have a life span of

Barbet Fish

10 – 20 years. They are somewhat social and swim in schools, delighting aquarists with their graceful swimming patterns.

Barbet Fish Characteristics

Barbet fish is so popular that there are numerous variants of this fish, ranging from the Japanese Ruby Barbet to the Cameroon White Barbet and the Chinese White Barbet. The barbets in this genus have a feminine appearance.

They have elongated bodies, fairly soft curved scales, and a long pointed snout with a minuscule barb. Their barbels hang down from their mouths, and they use them to scare away any potential predators that approach.

The appearance of the Barbet

Barbets tend to be an elongated fish with large protruding eyes and a flat forehead. They have a sharp barbel at the end of the chin, meaning that the barb of their name is not to be taken lightly.

The dorsal fin is also especially long, being at least 2/3rds the length of their bodies. They have largemouths, but they cannot protrude their jaws when eating.

Best Information Barbet Fish

NameBarbet Fish
Scientific nameBarbus semiocheilus
Max size 25 cm
Minimum Tank Size90 L / 20 Gal
CompatibilityPeaceful for smaller, more colorful fish but may intimidate those that are less aggressive.
Common/Best size12 inches
Lifespan10 – 20 years
Minimum Tank Size75 gallons
pH8.1 – 8.4
Hardness10 – 25 degrees
Temperature59 – 72 degrees F
Care LevelEasy-Moderate

Your tank must be well established before introducing any fish to maintain a healthy environment for an exotic pet like this fish.

A good rule of thumb is to have your tank cycling for at least 2 months before adding new fish to the tank.

Origin of Naming the Barbet

The Barbet fish was named after Jean-Baptiste Barrès, an 18th-century French poet. He is often remembered for his sentimental and romantic works, including À la Recherche du temps perdu.

Barbet Fish Description

Barbet fish are among the more popular pets in the aquarium hobby, mainly for their beautiful appearance. They look very similar to the Silkies or Loaches, but they tend to have a somewhat longer body and tail.

The barbels hanging from their mouths are another distinguishing feature of the fish, as they are not always present in the other fish in this genus.

Barbet Fish Size

Barbets are one of the largest aquarium fish and are not easily confused with others in their genus. The Common Barbet is among the smaller, at around 12 inches.

The Chinese White Barbet and the Cameroon White Barbet can reach up to 16 inches in length, while the Spotted Hound barbets have a standard length of between 10 and 12 inches

The Black Dragon Barbet can reach up to 20 inches in length or more.

Foods of the Barbet

These fish are considered omnivores and will eat various foods with equal relish. They enjoy live foods such as brine or artemia shrimp and flake.

However, it would help if you did not overfeed your fish, as their barbels can get caught in the breeding tube of filter intakes and pump impellers, leading to injury or death.

Benefits of Barbet Fish

Here are the Best 10 Benefits of Barbet Fish

1. Calm fish that will not nip or bite, except for their barrels.

2. They are excellent jumpers, so make sure your aquarium lid is secure.

3. If a Barbet fish is kept in a tank with other Barbets, it will often pick on them and kill them over time. Therefore Barbet Fish is not suited to being in an aquarium with other members of the same species.

4. Barbet Fish need a lot of space to swim, so make sure that the tank is big enough.

5. Barbet Fish Prefer to be with their kind. Therefore it is often recommended that you keep no more than one male and two or more female Barbet fish in the same aquarium.

6. These are considered invasive species in many parts of the world, so they are illegal to keep without a special permit in a few parts of Europe and Australia.

7. They are considered pests in many parts of the world, leading to a great deal of damage to crops and native species.

8. In general, Barbets are very easy to care for, but you must be careful not to overfeed them, or they may eat their gills

9. They need plenty of hiding places and places to sit.

10. There is very little information about the reproduction and breeding habits of the Barbet fish.

Disadvantages of Barbet Fish

Barbets can grow quite large throughout their life span and may become teensy compared to those introduced earlier.

They are also very hardy and can withstand some temperature fluctuations. Most of the problems of keeping barbet fish, like any other fish, revolve around feeding them and maintaining proper tank maintenance. They will go on unscathed if fed a varied diet which includes frozen foods from time to time.

Barbet Fish Habitat

Barbets are cold-water fish and prefer to be kept in the cooler areas of your tank. Many people keep them in the 10-gallon and smaller aquariums, while most others keep them in the smallest of tanks, such as the 30 to 50-gallon varieties.

Barbet Fish Disease

  • Funny barbets:
  • Tail symptoms:
  • Body symptoms:
  • Swim bladder disease:
  • Symptoms of swim bladder disease in fish can vary from gasping at the surface, curling the body into a C shape, or holding the belly close to the tank floor. When the mouth is open and agape, it often resembles a tube. The fish might also float near the top of the water with its head down towards the bottom of the tank.

Barbet Fish Behavior

Most Barbets are fairly peaceful but will become aggressive if their environment becomes compromised in other ways.

They will not usually bother other fish unless they become fully grown, and a group of Barbets in an aquarium may get on well.

Uses of Barbet Fish

This fish is one of the most prized fish in the aquarium world. It has a lovely, fancy look and has been known to live over 20 years if kept properly.

Barbet fish can grow up to 15 inches in length (though 12 inches is more typical), so they are unsuitable for beginners or smaller tanks.

They are also messy eaters and will cause excess algae growth if their tank is not maintained properly.

Special notes

The most interesting thing about the Barbet is not necessarily the fish itself, but instead, it is what you can do with the fish once it has died.

If you clean out a Barbet’s anal cavity, you will find a long organ called it’s intestine. This can be used to make jewelry, so if your barbets don’t get along in your tank, consider keeping one to harvest this special material.

It’s a lot easier to harvest the special intestine when the fish is still living, so keep that in mind. Just pull out its intestine through its anus before putting it back in the water.

The intestine will turn into a hard and rubbery material used for bracelets and necklaces. On top of being this special material, the intestine can also turn a lovely shade of blue when it comes into contact with air.

Though not all Barbets’ intestines will turn blue, it certainly is a more interesting color than pink.

The intestine would be longer if the fish were fed well and had a lifespan of 12 to 15 months. The intestine will be shorter if it had a short life span and was not properly fed.

To make the necklace, you should use two different colored threads to make threading patterns for the necklace, and you can use special knotting methods or beads to decorate them.


I hope you get good information about Barbet fish. If you want to add any information to the article, please feel free to do it. Hope you like my article, thank you and have a good time.

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