The clown barb is a very active, medium-size, elegant species that should be kept with similar-size species that also prefers warmer water. It should be kept in a large aquarium (50 gallons or more) that is densely planted on the sides and in the back with clumps of plants, such as Myriophyllum or other similar bushy type plants, either live or artificial. (Note: Although the clown barb is not a strict vegetarian, it will decimate any soft plants. If live plants are desired, use hornwort, Java fern or tape grasses, such as Vallisneria.) Provide plenty of hiding places in the form of rocks, driftwood or PVC piping.
Like most barbs, the clown barb is considered omnivorous and will eat just about anything that fits into its mouth. Feed it a varied diet that consists of vegetable-based flake, freeze-dried and frozen foods, supplemented with small live foods, such as bloodworms, glass worms, brine shrimp, Tubifex worms and Daphnia. If a small amount of vegetable matter is not provided (i.e., parboiled lettuce, zucchini), it may nibble on any live plants in the aquarium.
This species is easy to spawn as long as both sexes have been well conditioned and the male is mature enough (males mature after a year and a half or more). Separate the sexes and feed heavily for four weeks prior to spawning. Males tend to be brighter in color than females, and somewhat slimmer. The parents will scatter their tiny eggs among the plants. Remove the parents to a separate aquarium after spawning because they are noted egg stealers, and it is easier to remove them than to pick out the many tiny eggs.