Do Golden Barbs Need a Heater

Written By Lewis German  |  Tropical Fish  |  0 Comments

Gold Barb

Golden Barbs are very hardy and highly adaptable fish, they are able to survive in a range of different tank setups and water conditions, making them excellent beginner fish.

But are they able to survive in cold water? What happens to Golden Barbs when they go outside of their preferred temperature range? And is it possible to keep Golden Barbs without an aquarium heater? 

This and more we answer in the article below;

Can Golden Barbs live in cold water?

Golden Barbs are temperate fish, which means that they are able to withstand a wide range of temperatures.

They are not quite “coldwater fish” but they are able to live in water as cold as 15C / 59F.

This means that they may be kept in an indoor coldwater aquarium, but they may not be able to survive outdoors in a pond without the assistance of a heater.

In short, they can live in somewhat cold water, but not very cold water.

Can Golden Barbs live in a tank without a heater?

Yes, Golden Barbs can be kept in an unheated tank as they are temperate fish, and prefer to be kept around room temperature.

This allows you to keep them in coldwater setups, so long as the tank doesn’t drop below 15C / 59F, they will be perfectly fine without a heater.

They can also be kept in a tropical setup with a heater, but should be kept on the cooler side, as they tend to become irritable and uncomfortable when kept above 25C / 77F.

How long can Golden Barbs survive without a heater?

As long as the outside temperature is stable, and doesn’t fluctuate heavily, or drop to extremely low levels, then your Barbs will be able to live for as long as you can keep them.

Golden Barbs do not need a heater if they are being kept in a typical home aquarium, as they are temperate fish, and are adapted to live in cooler water.

Cases where a heater would be necessary for their survival would be; 

  • If they are being kept outdoors in a tank or pond.
  • if they are in a garage which gets very cold during winter.
  • if they are in any poorly insulated room, such as a basement or attic, which drops below 15C / 59F at some point in the year.

Why don’t Golden Barbs need a heater?

Golden Barbs don’t always need to be kept with a heater as they originate from a temperate climate, where it can get fairly cold at certain points in the year.

The flowing rivers they are originally from vary in temperature throughout the year, and are subject to cold spells, which is why Golden Barbs are adapted to live in much cooler water than most tropical fish.

If you keep the tank in your house, where it is well insulated and stays around average room temperature, then a heater is not really necessary, as your fish will be able to live just fine without one.

What temperature should a Golden Barb tank be?

Being a temperate species means that Golden Barbs are able to put up with a fairly wide range of temperatures, but “putting up with” and “thriving” are two different things, and we should all aim to give our fish the best possible care we can offer.

While Golden Barbs are able to withstand a lot of temperatures, they can become quite uncomfortable when pushed to their limits.

For this reason, we typically suggest keeping Golden Barbs anywhere between 16C / 61F to 25C / 77F.

However, if you really want your Barbs to do well, then we suggest keeping them at around 23C / 72F, as this is where they seem to be the most comfortable and healthy.

If you wish to breed your Golden Barbs, then higher temperatures may be used to help induce spawning, but understand that you may see more aggressive behaviours like fin nipping and sparring much more often.

Types of aquarium heaters for Golden Barb tanks

When it comes to using heaters in your Golden Barb tank, you don’t always need to look for any fancy powerful equipment, unless your setup warrants it.

For most people, a simple glass aquarium heater will do just fine.

When choosing a heater, correlate the wattage with the amount of litres your tank holds, for example; a 100 litre tank should need a 100 watt heater, with some leeway of course, as you don’t need to keep the tank very hot.

In some cases, a 75 watt heater will also work just fine in keeping a 100 litre Golden Barb tank warm enough.

In other scenarios, where you may be keeping your Barbs in a poorly insulated room such as a garage or in a pond / outdoor tank, you may need a stronger piece of heating equipment to prevent the fish from getting too cold.

Here it is better to use a more powerful piece of equipment, especially during the winter.

Either use a much higher wattage glass heater, or a titanium heater, which works much the same but has a greater heating output.

If you do use a glass or titanium heater outdoors, be sure to properly insulate your pond using a cover, as the pond will lose heat quickly and an excess of electricity will be used keeping the pond warm.

You also need to position your heaters carefully so that the wire and outlet do not become contaminated with rainwater, so an electric box or cover may be necessary to protect the equipment.

FAQs about heating X tanks

How do you test the water temperature in a Golden Barb tank?

You may use a number of methods to test the temperature of your Golden Barb tank, either through the use of thermometer tape, a glass thermometer, metal probe, or some other piece of equipment.

We like to use digital thermometers to test our tanks, as they are some of the most accurate and easy to use of them all.

One of our favourite types of digital thermometers are TDS meters.

These are normally used to test swimming pools for temperature and the number of dissolved solids in the water, but they are highly useful when applied to the aquarium setting.

They work by simply dipping the pen in the water for a few seconds and reading the temperature on the digital heads up display.

They are especially great if you have multiple tanks and need to get quick readings from each of them, without having to set up multiple individual thermometers.

Do Golden Barb fry need a heater?

Golden Barb fry do not always need a heater, however, if you want the maximum survival rate for the young, then it is advisable to install a heater to the tank.

Keeping the fry warm improves their digestion and makes their immune systems stronger, as well as prevents shock from sudden dips in temperature.

A heater is especially recommended if you keep the fry in a small tank, as the small volume of water will fluctuate greatly during the night, which can put stress on the fry.

So while you don’t need one, it is better to have a heater in your fry tank.

Keeping the fry heated will also speed up their growth, getting them out of their most vulnerable state quicker and making them easier to raise, although they will need feeding more frequently.

What happens to Golden Barbs if the water is too cold?

Once the water becomes too cold for the Golden Barbs to cope with, they will slow down their bodily processes, lowering their activity levels and beginning to shut off some non essential body functions.

Their digestion will be impeded and they will be unable to digest foods with a high protein content, becoming vulnerable to blockages and intestinal issues.

As it continues to get colder for longer, the Barbs will become less and less active, until they begin to suffer from organ damage and eventually perish.

What happens to Golden Barbs if the water is too warm?

As the water temperature rises, your Barbs will become more and more active as their metabolic rate increases with the heat.

They will become more irritable and may display more aggressive behaviours more often, their digestion will also speed up and they will burn fat quicker, needing to eat more frequently to keep up with their activity levels.

Eventually they will begin to struggle in absorbing enough oxygen, and may be regularly seen at the surface swallowing air and rapidly flapping their gills.

Once the temperature goes above 32C / 90F, the Barbs will begin to suffer from heat stress, and if exposed for longer than 24 hours, they may die from the intense warmth unless an effort is made to reduce the temp back to safe levels.