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Puntius arulius
Arulius Barb, Longfin Barb

 Age of Aquariums > Freshwater Fish > Arulius Barb - Puntius arulius

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arulius2.jpg (13kb)
Photo Credit: Lucia Quental

Name: Puntius arulius
Origin: India

Size Tank pH Temp
12 cm 150 L 6.8 26C


I added these fish to my 200 liter tank about 6 months ago, and they made themselves at home very quickly. They are very similar to tiger barbs in behavior, but they get larger, and are more streamlined. Plus, they of course have the amazing long-fin, which can be very impressive on the males. By the way, don't be suprised when you find little fry swimming around! I started out with 5, and now I'm not sure how many I have. Don't worry though, they aren't like rabbits or anything! They breed rather regularly, thought I still don't know exactly when or under what conditions. As far as what skill level, they are like most barbs in that they don't really require anything special, so these are great for beginners. They'll eat anything, and are very hardy. All in all, a great fish for anyone that wants an active schooler. Just be sure you have a large enough tank for them!

Contributed by Dan Harrison

These little guys are so lively, always on the look out for food. I had not seen them before at my local aquatics store and they immediately caught my attention. Their blackish green bands running down their body, and their orange tails make them a must for any fishkeeper. They do best once they reach adulthood. I have a shoal of 5. Highly recommended.

Contributed by Jamie Brooks

The Arulius barbs are very lovely fish and I highly recommend them as buffer fish for any tank with semi-aggressive cichlids. These are large, fast and resilient fish that use the entire aquarium depth to hang out, and like digging around in the gravel. They enjoy swimming around in caves and under decorations, which makes them interesting fish to watch. While they enjoy each others company, they do not school stupidly like Silver Dollars do and are much more individual. I must admit I have only had experience with males, but I have been keeping three of them together in a 200 liter with a Pearl Cichlid (Geophagus brasiliensis), Silver Dollars and a pleco for about a year (two years in the case of one of the fish) and they all get along surprisingly well. The barbs are too rapid for the Pearl Cichlid to get to in her angriest moments and while the three do have slight aggression towards each other, it's distributed well and no one gets bullied outright (that is why you should keep at least three barbs).

I have specifically chosen to only keep males and not to introduce the females to prevent breeding aggression. The Arulius boys have chosen the Silver Dollars as their ladies to woo, and dance pretty for them every few month. The Arulius dance involves shimming rapidly next to the chosen lady-love and then flicking himself against a rock or ground and showing his tummy. They also raise and lower their long dorsal fins to show off. The colors on my guys are spectacular and really come out if they are fed mysis - there is a rainbow of color on their backs, framed by charcoal and black vertical stripes. The females of the species are more drab and that is the other reason I decided for males only. Two of mine were purchased young and they grew to the same size as my oldest barb within a few months. The oldest barb I inherited from a friend who had him for about three years in a tank with Clown Loaches, Kissing Gourami and a Jurupari. Overall, these are fantastic fish for a large and active tank that can handle themselves with larger fish. The Arulius do need their space and one shouldn't put them into anything smaller then 120 liters.

Contributed by Anya Lyuksyutova

Two comments about this species. It is prolific, and we might be using the wrong name. I bought a dozen, put them in a bare tank for a couple of months, then found 14 when it was time to move them to a 300 litre tank. When I moved them to my 10,000 litre pond here in Singapore, there were at least 50. The pond has a bare concrete floor, and except for some big plants in pots, no other furnishing. Despite having lots of clown loaches, tiger barbs, T-barbs, tinfoil barbs, five Carettochelys turtles and a HUGE black shark (Labeo) there must now be hundreds of arulius in my pond.

About the name, I have read that the fish we call arulius in the aquarium hobby is Puntius tembraparni, named after a location about 150 km outside of the range of the fish that is actually Puntius arulius in museum records. According to the scientific description, the original arulius does not have elongated filaments on the dorsal fin. The aquarium hobby has had the same problem with clownfish and eartheater cichlids.

Contributed by Chiu-San Lee

I was immeadiately attracted to these fish by the their pattern and subtle blue purple colouring of their body, nothing quite like them in the tropical fish section in my local fish shop. I first brought 3 of these, but thought that I had made a mistake when I introduced them into my quarantine tank, one fish was agressively chasing one of the other 3 around the tank, something I hate to see in my tank. The next day I thought that I should add another 3 of these long finned barbs to make 6, in an effort to stop this chasing around. When I put the 3 other new fish in the tank they were still chasing each other around and moving very quickly around the tank, again not exactly the relaxing backdrop of colour I had hoped for.

It's now been a week and things have settled down somewhat, it seems as though the fish needed time to sort out the hierachy in the group and now they all seem much calmer but still playful and interesting and fun to watch, especially as they all follow each other in single file around the tank. What is particualy amusing and fun to whatch is when they approach my castle tower ornament and keep going around and around it in circles...great to watch!

Once they settled in their colours seemed to become more vibrant. They are certainly not a shy fish and are equally at home with natural daylight or aquarium lights. I'd recommend these fish to anyone that has at least 100 litres, but get at least 6 to fully enjoy their antics and best colouration and give them at least a week to settle down in your tank. I haven't seen these fish too commonly available and they aren't exactly the cheapest fish on offer, so if you do see them snap them up! Playful, colourful eay to keep...what more can you ask for?

Contributed by Kelvin L

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