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Barbs & Freshwater Sharks

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General Information

Barbs and Freshwater Sharks are members of a large and varied family that includes Loaches, Danios, Goldfish, Koi, and also many other species rarely seen by aquarium hobbyists. The term “shark” is used for a handful of Barbs that have torpedo-shaped bodies and large fins like the Bala Shark (photo right). They are not true sharks! In fact, all Barbs don’t even have teeth. Instead, they possess tooth-like structures in their gills called pharyngeal teeth that they use to grind and tear food. Barbs are native to warm, tropical lakes and rivers in Africa and Asia; especially Southeast Asia. Most species are small and silvery to tan in coloration, although there are many brightly-colored species available to the aquarium hobby.

Aquarium Care & Feeding

Barbs are attractive to freshwater hobbyists because in captivity they are hardy and easy to care for. To mimic their natural habitat, it is suggested that the aquarium be arranged with plants, roots, or rocks to provide both hiding places as well as some open area(s) for swimming. These fishes accept most all types of dry and frozen foods commonly used in the freshwater hobby. Because they are omnivores, it is a good idea to provide both meaty and vegetable or algae-based foods.