Odessa barb

Odessa barb (Pethia padamya) – fish with an interesting history

Do you like active fish? If so, choose barbs. You can find a large selection of these interesting fish in pet stores, including species that only reach a few centimeters in length, as well as quite large fish that can reach up to 30 cm in length. No matter which species you choose, there will be a lot of activity in your aquarium all the time. Barbs are energetic, busy and curious fish, some of which can impress with their splendid colors, just like Odessa barb (Pethia padamya). They are also perfect residents for a very first aquarium.

Unclear origin of Odessa barb

Did you know that this species was not scientifically described until 2008, even though aquarists had known about it since the 1970s? It first appeared in aquarists’ tanks in Ukraine, near Odessa, hence its common name.

The first mention of the new Odessa barb by W.Dazkewitsh dates back to 1973 and can be found in the magazine “Aquarien-Terrarien”. This and subsequent publications about this beautiful fish unfortunately lacked important information. Namely, it was not known where this fish came from and how it ended up in aquaria in Odessa. Lack of information about its origin and similarity to already known barb species made many aquarists believe that they were dealing with a interspecies hybrid that evolved naturally or, as some believed, the product of planned human breeding.

A natural population of Odessa barbs was only discovered in 2003 by Ralf Britz near the city of Mandalay, in the Ayeyarwaddy River basin within the Republic of the Union of Myanmar (formerly Burma).

Odessa barb in an aquarium

The Odessa barb is a schooling and extremely active fish. It grows up to about 4,5 cm. It is advisable to buy 10 or even 15 individuals, with a predominance of females if possible. These lovely fish look beautiful in single-species tanks. However, you can easily match them with other species to create interesting multi-species aquariums. The aquarium for Odessa barbs should be planted. Floating plants are a perfect tool to disperse the lightning. It is also advisable to use a dark substrate.

The water should be medium hard and hard with recommended pH of 6.5-8.5 and temperature between 22-26°C. We don’t know much about physical and chemical parameters of waters in their natural habitat. However, given the geological structure in the Ayeyarwaddy basin and the diversity of areas through which the tributaries of this largest river of Myanmar flow, the physical and chemical parameters can vary greatly. So don’t be surprised by the often extreme information about the preferences of this species.

Sexual dimorphism of Odessa barb

Gender distinction is quite easy. In mature fish, males have a distinct red bar extending from the top of the head to the base of the tail. During the spawning season, its color is especially intense. Females are slightly larger than males and have a rounded abdominal area. Their body is olive or beige.

What to feed Odessa barb with?

Odessa barbs are omnivorous. They readily accept ready-made foods such as Asia size S from the Soft line, Red Mico Colour Sticks, Krill Flake or Supervit Mini Granulat. Their diet should be varied with vegetable foods such as Super Spirulina Forte Mini Granules. Their preference for plant additions is evidenced by the fact that they eagerly nibble on the algae growing in the aquarium. They may also try palatable plants, although this is not the rule.

dr inż. (Ph.D.Eng) Aleksandra Kwaśniak-Płacheta

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