Cherry Barbs are great nano fish for small planted tanks. They thrive in the planted tank environment, and with their bright red colouration, they stand out against the green foliage.
What plants are best for Cherry Barbs? What species should you add to your Cherry Barb tank, and why?
Do Cherry Barbs like real plants in their tank?
Yes! Cherry Barbs really appreciate live plants, and we often recommend them to be kept in planted aquariums as their natural habitat contains many reeds and shrubs, which they take shelter within.
Cherry Barbs are usually one of the first recommendations for a fish to add to your planted tank due to their peaceful nature and plant-safe reputation.
Cherries are especially good for those who have smaller planted tanks, around the 10 – 20 gallon mark, as their small size and peaceful behaviour means they can be kept in smaller aquariums.
How do you know which plants are suitable for Cherry Barbs?
Cherry Barbs are a tropical fish, so you need to look in the tropical aquarium plants section at your local fish store.
Cherry Barbs are compatible with nearly all the tropical aquarium plants that you can purchase at your local store.
Cherries prefer neutral – slightly acidic soft water, which is ideal for most plant species. They also do not pick at or shred up plants, meaning even the more delicate species can live and grow in your Cherry Barb tank.
Choosing which plants to add is really up to you, as the fish in this scenario have little influence of limitations on the species you can house.
What will limit your choice however, is your tank setup, as the aquarium size, light level, mineral level and care requirements for each plant are different.
So, if you are new to plant keeping, you may want to go for some of the more hardy, easy to grow species first before graduating to the more complex, more sensitive plant life.
What plants do Cherry Barbs eat?
Cherry Barbs do not prey on live plants. They are too small and do not possess the appropriate tools to effectively break apart and digest healthy plant matter.
They may occasionally pick at decomposing leaves and rotten plant debris for nutrients, but they are highly unlikely to ever attack and eat a healthy live plant.
The main diet of Cherry Barbs is infusoria, tiny larvae and microorganisms, plankton and soft algae species.
You don’t have to worry about your live plants being eaten in your Cherry Barb tank.
How to choose plants for a Cherry Barb tank
Cherry Barbs are small tropical fish that like soft, slightly acidic water parameters, so choosing plants with similar preferences is ideal.
You may want to look for smaller plants, with more dense foliage that the Cherry Barbs can effectively utilise to hide in.
Mosses, floating plants and small shrub like plants are ideal as they provide lots of little hiding spaces, as opposed to larger leafed plants.
The best plants for Cherry barbs
Cherry Barbs are small fish, so plants which produce lots of dense leafage or moss are highly appreciated by them.
Picking the right plants is key, as not all mosses are easy to grow or to obtain and not all small plants will stay small, and can quickly get out of hand if left unchecked.
Java moss is one of the easiest mosses to grow in the aquarium hobby. It can survive in low light conditions so doesn’t need an extremely powerful light, and will slowly grow over surfaces in clusters.
Its dense growth provides lots of space for Cherry Barbs to use and its ability to drain nutrients from the water column directly means that it is also great for preventing algae growth.
This is a very fine, soft leaved stem plant that is easy to grow and provides ideal cover for Cherry Barbs.
It grows up towards the surface and then drops down roots which leach nutrients from the water column. It can be floated or planted into the substrate, and is very easy to propagate and quickly make a forest out of.
If fed with iron supplements, this plant becomes a pinkish red, and is a very beautiful addition to a planted Cherry Barb tank.
Trident Java Fern
Trident Java Fern is a thin leaf variant of the typical Microsorum plant. It has slimmer leaves in higher quantities which can split off into a fork shape, giving it the name of Trident Fern.
This plant is in many ways the same as a normal Java Fern, and should be tied to a rock or piece of wood, where it will drain nutrients from the surrounding water.
This plant is great for Cherry Barbs as it gives them ideal cover within its dense foliage which can be grown along surfaces.
What plants should you avoid putting in a Cherry Barb tank?
As Cherry Barbs are a tropical fish, avoid adding cold water pond plants to your tank as they usually will struggle to adapt to the higher temperatures and will melt back, eventually dying.
We would also suggest against using plants you find in the wild, as they can carry parasites, nasty toxins and chemicals that may be present in the river or pond you find them in.
Sewage and plastic waste is often thrown into public bodies of water, and you don’t want to add that to your aquarium.
Do Cherry Barbs need live plants?
Cherry Barbs do not need live plants to stay alive, but if you want them to show their full colours, behaviours and live long healthy lives, then live plants are a necessity.
Cherry Barbs really appreciate live plants, a lot more than some of the other fish species in the aquarium hobby and do very well in an ecosystem rich with plant life.
You don’t need to keep plants with your Cherry Barbs, but if you want the best success in keeping them, we highly recommend adding some to your tank.