Odessa Barb: Care, Size, Tank Mates, Aggression & Lifespan


Common Name(s)Odessa Barb
Scientific NamePethia padamya
OriginSouth East Asia
Temperature74-79°F (23-26°C)
Size3-4 inches
Minimum Tank Size30 gallons
Food & DietOmnivorous diet
Lifespan3-5 years
Water pH6.0-7.0
Tank MatesCherry Barbs, Tiger Barbs, Zebrafish, and Swordtail fish
BreedingBatches of eggs are laid on aquatic plants.
DiseaseMay be susceptible to Ich and Mycobacteriosis.
Odessa Barb
Odessa Barb (Pethia padamya)

The Odessa Barb, scientifically known as the Pethia padamya, is an omnivorous freshwater tropical fish native to South East Asia and the Himalayas. This fish can be found in countries such as China, India, Nepal, and Thailand in shallow freshwater streams. This vibrant Barb has been given the name Scarlett Barb due to its iridescent colorful scales that scatter its body. The Odessa Barb is so well known and loved for its silly playful nature and zipping all around its tank.

Odessa Barb Facts

The Odessa Barb is a hardy fish with a lifespan of three to five years in its natural habitat as well as in captivity. In order to allow your Odessa Barb to live the longest healthiest life, pristine consistent water conditions must be kept as this fish is quite sensitive to frequent changes in their water conditions. This tiny fish can grow up to three to four inches long, and with amazing water conditions may even reach five inches long. The Odessa barb grows quite quickly considering its size. This fish will be full-grown in about three to four months with a proper diet and proper water conditions. The Odessa Barb is a small quick-growing fish that with a proper diet and pristine water conditions will be an entertaining companion for years to come.

Odessa Barb Care

As the Odessa Barb is a hardy healthy fish, they are able to survive in a wide range of water conditions including pH levels and water temperatures. The Odessa Barb can inhabit water temperatures of 70 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit. Staying within the lower temperatures is not recommended for this fish as they thrive best in water temperatures of 74 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit. While this does not seem like it may make a huge difference, it will greatly impact the happiness and playfulness of your Odessa. This fish thrives in a slightly acidic to slightly neutral water chemistry with a pH level of 6.0 to 7.0. While this fish is hardy and can survive in a variety of water conditions once these conditions are set they should not be changed as the Odessa Barb is extremely sensitive to frequent change. The Odessa Barb is a hardy fish able to survive in a variety of water conditions; however, they thrive best in slightly warm water temperatures and slightly acidic water chemistry.

Odessa Barbs are omnivorous fish meaning that they eat a variety of plants as well as animals. This fish requires a diet of variety to be provided with all the necessary nutrients to keep them healthy. The Odessa Barb can be fed pellet and flake food, vegetables such as cucumber and lettuce, and protein-rich foods such as brine shrimp and blood worms. Odessa Barbs will eat any type of small crustaceans even snails if able to fit into their tiny mouths. Though this fish is a plant-eater they do not typically eat rooted plants in their tank, when hungry it may become an option to munch on. These fish do not dwell in any specific part of the tank, so providing top floating food and sinking food will give them a great amount of variety in the feeding process. Due to the active nature of the Odessa Barb, they can work up quite the appetite. These fish should be fed two to three times a day. This may take some trial and error when learning the appetite of your fish. The Odessa Barb should be fed a variety of plants and animals two to three times daily to provide them with sufficient nutrients.

Odessa Barb Tank Setup

When choosing a tank to create an Odessa Barb’s forever home taking into account their playful swimming nature is very important. Since the Odessa Barb is a schooling species they need plenty of room to frolic around. This means thinking in terms of length is much more important than width or height. The Odessa Barb requires a tank of a least 30 gallons or more allowing for adequate swimming room for all fish inhabiting the tank. While the Odessa Barb is on the smaller side of aquarium fish they need a large tank to allow them plenty of swimming room.

When setting up the contents of an Odessa Barb’s tank thinking about their natural habitat is very important. Since this fish is found in streams, it should be noted that lots of vegetation should be incorporated into their home. Lots of long-stemmed plants can be planted in the substrate to provide the Odessa Barb with the many hiding spots that they love. They are also known to swim in and around the plants while zipping through the tank. A medium-sized pebble substrate should be used at the bottom of the tank. This allows breathing room for the roots of the plants also inhabiting the tank and is a large enough substrate that the Odessa Barb will not try to eat it. Dark pebbles are commonly used in Odessa tanks because it brings out the vibrant colors in their scales. Pieces of driftwood and caves can also be added to the tank to offer more hiding spots. Be careful not to make their environment too cramps as not having an adequate amount of swimming room will cause stress. Maintaining pristine water conditions is crucial for the Odessa Barbs’ health. Weekly water changes of 25% to 30% should be carried out along with a good filtration system and water pump. As this fish is commonly found in streams the water pump will provide a light amount of water flow simulating their natural habitat. The Odessa Barb does not require large elaborate tank decorations, they only need lots of vegetation to hide in along with a few small pieces of driftwood to keep them happy.

Odessa Barbs A Great Planted Tank Fish. Species Profile – Pethia padamya

Odessa Barb Tank Mates

Choosing tank mates for an Odessa Barb should come fairly easy. These fish are typically peaceful other than their tendency to nip fins and have dominance issues with other males in the tank. Due to the Odessa Barb being a fin nipper pairing them with fish who are slow-moving or have long-flowing fins is not ideal. Some compatible tank mates include Cherry Barbs, Tiger Barbs, Zebrafish, and Swordtail fish. These fish all share relatively similar water parameter requirements as well as tank size. While the Odessa Barb has many compatible tank mates, they also have many incompatible tank mates. Incompatible tank mates include Guppies, Angelfish, Betta fish, Goldfish, Gourami, and Snails. Choosing tank mates for the Odessa Barb should be pretty easy as long as the chosen tank mates are not aggressive towards other fish and do not contain long-flowing fins.

Odessa Barb and Guppies

This is not a compatible tank mate for the Odessa Barb as both of these fish are fin nippers. Guppies are also known to attack new fish that are incorporated into the tank. Pairing these fish together can potentially be hazardous for both of them.

Odessa Barb and Angelfish

This is not a compatible tank mate for the Odessa Barb as the Angelfish has long-flowing fins that may get nipped by the Odessa. The Angelfish is also known to have aggressive tendencies towards other fish they share a tank with.

Odessa Barb and Betta Fish

This is not a compatible tank mate for the Odessa Barb as the Betta Fish has long-flowing fins that are bound to get nipped by the Odessa which will be hazardous.

Odessa Barb and Goldfish

This is not a compatible tank mate for the Odessa Barb due to the Goldfish having long fins. Goldfish also produce lots of waste that could potentially be hazardous to the Odessa Barb.

Odessa Barb and Gourami

This is not a compatible tank mate for the Odessa Barb as the Gourami has long feelers that may potentially get chewed off by the Odessa.

Odessa Barb and Snails

Large enough snails can potentially be compatible tank mates to the Odessa Barb, but small snails will not make a good tank mate as they will soon become a snack.

Breeding Odessa Barbs

Distinguishing between females and males in Odessa Barbs is a bit more telling than other fish species. The female Odessa Barb is typically larger in size, contains more dull coloration, does not have a colorful strip of scales going down their side, and has larger bellies. The male Odessa Barb is smaller in size, has a vibrant strip of scales going down its side, and has a slimmer body shape than the female. Unlike many fish, the Odessa Barb has many qualities that will make it easy to distinguish their gender.

The breeding process in Odessa Barbs begins with the males of the tank showing off their bright colors for the female. Once the process has begun the two fish should be moved into a separate tank to allow a smoother process. Breeding Odessa Barbs in a community tank can become quite difficult as the process could be interrupted by tank mates. Odessa Barbs will typically begin the breeding process in the morning, and it will last around four hours. Once the male has fertilized the female 150 to 200 eggs will be laid in batches on the leaves of aquatic plants. After the female has laid her eggs both the male and female should be removed from the breeding tank as these fish do not exhibit parental behavior and may eat the eggs. Once the fry has been hatched for three to four days they will then be able to feed and live on their own. The breeding process of the Odessa Barb can be difficult to do in a community tank, but when the male and female are moved into a breeding tank it will become much simpler.

Odessa Barb Disease

As the Odessa Barb is a hardy fish they typically hold good immunity. This being said, this fish does not have any specific diseases associated with them. The Odessa Barb is, however, prone to bacterial infections caused by environmental conditions such as poor water conditions. Mycobacteriosis is a bacterial infection found in Odessa Barbs that is caused by improper water and substrate cleaning. This disease affects the skin and internal organs of the fish. It may cause the fish to develop a dry back or to lose a significant amount of weight. There is no treatment for this illness, so as soon as signs are noticed the fish must be quarantined and treated with disinfectant procedures. Consulting a veterinarian for advice may need to be done if you do not see any improvement in the condition after being quarantined.

Another common bacterial infection found in Odessa Barbs is Ichthyophthyroidism, also known as Ich. Ich is a bacterial parasitic disease found in fish that causes white spots to appear all over the body. Other signs of Ich include scale loss, loss of appetite, and frequent rubbing against objects. This disease is highly contagious, so the affected fish must be quarantined as soon as signs appear. Ich is caused by unsterilized equipment and adding affected fish or plants into the tank. Ich can easily be prevented by proper cleanliness and quarantining new tank additions for four to six weeks to ensure they will not be hazardous to other inhabitants of the tank. This disease can be treated by changing the temperature of the tank water to eliminate the parasite, but veterinary advice should always be taken with potentially hazardous illnesses. While the Odessa Barb is a hardy fish with good immunity they are prone to bacterial infections, so keeping pristine water conditions is crucial.

Where to Find Odessa Barb for Sale

Finding an Odessa Barb should come easy. This species of Barb can be found in good tropical aquatic stores with a wide variety. Of course, they can always be easily purchased from online fishery stores and shipped straight to you. Other species of Barbs such as the Cherry and Tiger Barb can even be found in PetSmart. The Odessa barb is an affordable fish with a price range of $2 to $8 depending on the supplier, size, and coloration of the Odessa chosen. Odessa Barbs can easily be found in tropical aquatic shops or can be shipped by online aquatic shops for an affordable price.

Odessa Barb is an Awesome Aquarium Fish

The Odessa Barb makes a wonderful addition to community tanks of peaceful small finned fish. These bright-colored Scarlett Barbs are hardy fish that exhibit a hysterical personality and will keep you on your toes as they zip about the tank. These iridescent fish make for a beautiful tank to observe with a fun playful nature. The Odessa Barb is a beginner-level aquarist fish that will make for the perfect start to anyone’s fish-keeping journey.

Fish Laboratory

With decades of collective fishkeeping experience, we are happy to share the fish care tips that we've picked up along the way. Our goal at Fish Laboratory is to keep publishing accurate content to help fishkeepers keep their fish and aquarium healthy.

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