Beautiful and easy to care for, Odessa Barbs make great additions to freshwater aquariums!
Of the numerous species of Barbs available in the hobby, none are quite as captivating as the Odessa Barb. If one is looking to add a splash of color to a freshwater aquarium, or make an eye-catching contribution to a community, Odessa Barbs just might be the ticket.
Origins and Information Regarding the Odessa Barb
Before Sven Kullander and Ralf Britz categorized the Odessa Barbs as Puntius padamya in 2008, it was difficult to find any specific or accurate facts or taxonomic information on these fish. Odessas are also sometimes listed as Puntius ticto and other names.
Scientists have recently traced the origins of the Odessa Barb, Puntius padamya, to Myanmar, specifically the region of the Chindwin River. They are also reported to be found in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Thailand.
Odessa Barbs are a schooling fish that prefer to be in groups of six or more. In the wild they tend to live in still, shallow waters. Keep the water’s pH between 6.0-8.0, and at a temperature of 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit (22-26 degrees Centigrade). Males have definitive red and blue colorations, while females maintain a duller, silver and greenish-brown color. Adults can reach a length of four inches.
Female Odessa Barbs tend to be a duller, more drab color than their brightly colored male counterparts.
Feeding Odessa Barbs
Odessa Barbs are true omnivores. They enjoy nutritious vegetable matter such as spirulina, algae wafers, seaweed (nori) and zucchini. High quality pellets and flakes are also accepted. Above all, though, Odessa Barbs enjoy eating live meaty foods and live foods including bloodworms, ghost shrimp, frozen shrimp, fish flesh, and brine shrimp.
Remember that a varied diet is key to maintaining the health of freshwater fish. A well-rounded diet that includes plenty of live foods will also enhance the Odessa Barb’s beautiful colors.
Housing and Tankmates for Odessa Barbs
Odessa Barbs are a schooling fish and should be kept in groups of six or more. Smaller groups or individual specimens tend to become stressed and reclusive, weakening their immune system. For a small school of six to eight fish, a 20 gallon aquarium should suffice. However larger aquariums with more swimming space will always be appreciated. For larger schools, a 40 gallon aquarium or larger is required.
Odessa Barbs should be kept in schools of six or more. They will appreciate planted aquariums.
Like most Barbs, Odessas have a semi-aggressive personality: they enjoy chasing and nipping other fish. Any fish kept with them should be resilient to this minor pestering and should be fairly nimble. Most tetra fish and small catfish make good tankmates. Slow moving or sedentary fish should be avoided, as well as fish with long or delicate fins. If the proper balanced can be achieved, Odessa Barbs are superb additions to a community aquarium.
The beauty and depth of color that Odessa Barbs present lend great character to freshwater aquariums. When kept in schools they can be entrancing. Like their other Barb relatives, Odessa Barbs are simple to keep and make great tankmates for community aquariums, so long as the aquarist chooses those tankmates wisely.
Axelrod, Glen; Axelrod, Hubert; Burgess, Warren. Dr. Axelrod’s Atlas of Freshwater Aquarium Fishes. 11th Edition. 2007.
Axelrod, Glen. Encyclopedia of Exotic Tropical Fishes for Freshwater Aquariums. 2005.
Baensch, Hans; Fischer, Gero. Aquarium Atlas Photo Index. 2nd Edition. 1997.
Hellweg, Mike. The Odessa Barb. Aquarium Fish International. Vol 22, No 1. 2010.
Photo sources (top to bottom): Anandarajkumar, Waitingonthetide, Anandarajkumar