The rosy barb was one of the first fish to become popular in the hobby. Though this fish fares well at typical aquarium temperatures, it is not a tropical fish. It prefers cooler temperatures and usually requires no aquarium heater. The rosy barb is peaceful, very hardy and best kept in groups.
Normal coloration for the rosy barb is a metallic silver overall. Its scales are highly reflective. During the mating season, males flush with a deep rosy red color that gives the fish its name. Females are generally larger and heavier-bodied than males.
Hobbyists have developed several strains of this fish. The gold rosy barb has a brassy color, rather than silver. The neon rosy barb displays an even more intense red against a golden background. The blushing rosy barb has transparent gill covers that let the red gills show through. There are also long-fin varieties of the above strains.
Diet is never an issue with the rosy barb. However, it sometimes bothers softer aquatic plants. Offer a diet that contains both plant and animal materials.
In heavily planted aquaria, rosy barbs may spawn readily, with an occasional baby managing to survive. Breeding requires setting up an aquarium dedicated to that purpose. Otherwise, eggs and fry tend to be eaten or sucked up by filters. Rosy barbs can produce up to 300 eggs in a single spawning.