Tinfoil Barb

Tinfoil Barb
Tinfoil Barb
Tinfoil Barb
Tinfoil Barb

Suitable for aquarists with very large tanks are the very popular and striking Tinfoil Barbs. A stunning fish that grows to an enormous size for a barb, these guys can end up as much as 35cm (14 inches !!!)

Common Name(s) : Tinfoil Barb
Family : Cyprinidae
Species :Barbonymus schwanenfeldii

Origin : Thailand, and Sumatra, Borneo, Malaysia
PH : 6.5 – 7.5
Hardness : Soft to Hard
Temperature : 18 – 28°C / 64–82°F
Maximum Size : 35cm / 13.8 inches
Lifespan : 8-10 years
Aggression Level : Not aggressive, will eat small fish when bigger (4/10)
Recommended Tank Size : 200 Litres +
Strata : Visits all areas


Tinfoil Barbs feature a deeper body shaped appearance. They are a schooling fish and look fantastic in the aquarium swimming around together.

They have large, distinct silvery (some say shimmery) metallic scales. Their best feature though are their brightly coloured red-tipped fins, and a forked tail, characteristic of any fast-swimming fish.

The Tinfoil Barb Barbonymus schwanenfeldii (previously Puntius schwanenfeldii) is often bought in store between 5-7cm. However do be aware that they become a very large Cyprinid. Tinfoil Barb can reach a size of up to 14 inches (35 cm) in length.

They generally feature a silver colour (sometimes come in with a more golden sheen), with reflective scales that give it a tinfoil effect.


Provide rocks, large pieces of driftwood, live or fake plants etc for lots of cover


  • Angelfish
  • Dwarf Cichlids
  • Bristlenose
  • Corydoras
  • Siamese Flying Fox
  • Loaches
  • Mollies
  • Mild-mannered Cichlids
  • Sharks
  • Silver Dollars
  • Snails
  • Swordtails


Herbivores – Flakes, Pellets, Vegetables


Sexing Tinfoil Barbs just on appearance is near impossible. There is VERY little chance of breeding these in your home aquarium – all reports point to that they might a vast body of water to successfully spawn the more than 1000 eggs they scatter.

There is a very well written and detailed article HERE if you want to read up on how others have successfully spawned these guys in captivity.



Tinfoil Barbs do grow quite quickly – they share a common trait of having exceptional appetites.