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Main Index > Detailed Fish Profiles > Cyprinids > Filament barb
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This months profile was written by Ashraf an active contributor to the site.



Puntius Filamentosus

Dawkinsia filamentosa


    With barbs like p. tetrazona and p. denisonii taking constant spotlight in the barb world, this beauty has taken a backstage and is not very well known nor appreciated, a shame, for its beauty can be captivating.

Quick stats:

    Listed tank sizes are the minimum
    Size: Up to 6 inches (15 cm) is whats to be expected of healthy adult specimens.
    Tank: 40 gallon long minimum (150 L minimum)Preferably a 55 gallon.
    Strata: Mainly midwater. Will feed at the top and bottom though.
    PH: 6 - 7, tolerates wide range
    Hardness: dh range 2 – 15°, Not critical, tolerates wide range
    Temperature: 68°F to 76°F (20°-25° C)


    Order: Cypriniformes (carps)
    Family: Cyprinidae
    Genus: Dawkinsia
    Species: Filamentosa


Common name:

    Filament barb (reference to dorsal fin extensions), blackspot barb, mahecola barb.


    Badmans' Forum

Image gallery:

    Additional species photographs


    Asia: Native to India, specifically its Southwest states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnatake(possibly restricted to the South here).

General Body Form:
    Typical puntius shape, with strong lateral compression. Dorsal rays of sexually mature males have long extensions that fan out delicately as they swim.

    Base colour of both sexes is a metallic hue of greenish silver - gold. Gill plates of particularly colourful males are light blue with pinkish bellies. Right before the caudal fin there is a very pronounced black mark that usually takes the form of a spot, which varies considerably in size. The upper and lower part of the tail has a single orange and black stripe.

    Undemanding, provided water is kept clean and nitrate levels are low. Likes flow, so slap on a powerhead on one end to give them a chance to “stretch their fins”. Lots of smooth (not glossy) rocks and a substrate of fine sand should they feel the need to hunt for non-existant snacks. Diet: Omnivorous; like the usual, a good quality flake/pellet as the staple, but supplement as often as possible with a multitude of live and frozen foods to get the most vibrant colours from them. Veggies, they will probably not accept, but like most riverine fish they will take nips at algae growing in your tank for whatever goodies may reside in there.

    According to Pethiyagoda and Kottelat (2005) this species is most common in coastal floodplains. It is found in both fresh and brackish waters of rivers, estuaries, coastal marshes and reservoirs. Mostly found in flowing rivers and streams with highly oxygenated water, alongside fish like danios, loaches, and channa. These tend to have rocks and boulders strewn across the bottom which is made up of sand. Aquatic plants are rarely a feature in their habitats, but terrestrial plants growing by the banks are often lush and draping into the water, where the fish frequently seeks refuge from the current.

    Not the easiest, but not exactly a cardinal tetra feat. You'll need to set up a separate tank in. Something around 36" x 12" x 12" in size would be acceptable, but for you conservatives, go ahead and go wild. This should be dimly lit and contain clumps of fine leaved plants such as Java (spawning mops could also be used) to give the fish somewhere to deposit their eggs. Alternatively you could cover the base of the tank with some kind of mesh. You want the holes to be big enough for the eggs to fall through, but too small for the adults to get through. The water should be of around neutral pH, gH < 8, with a temperature of around 75 - 80°F. A small air-powered sponge filter bubbling away very gently is all that is needed in terms of filtration. Plonk in 6 of each sexes, condition them heavily by feeding foods rich in protein. Check for eggs every morning.

Your comments:


Please remember that the following comments are personal experiences and may or may not apply to your setup. Use them as guide to help better understand your fish, like us all individuals will behave differently under different circumstances.


From: Coleen M.
This is a very entertaining fish. They play chase and are very friendly to their people. I would be careful to put them in an open tank as they jump out of the water at feeding time. They will eat anything with HUGE delight and are great with any tankmates. I suggest start feeding them then feed other fish or they will go and eat that food first. They shimmer and have very distinct markings, really a pretty fish and deep body to them. Under rated!!





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