Odessa Barb

Odessa Barb: Everything You Need To Know About Keeping This Fish in Your Home Aquarium

If you’re of the aquarist kind that loves vibrant colors and active fish, then the Odessa Barb (Pethia padamya) would be a perfect addition to your aquarium. They are native to Southeast Asia but have found a place in aquarists’ tanks around the world.

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Odessa Barb care, size, breeding, and lifespan. With the right knowledge and preparation, you can enjoy these energetic fish in your own home.

Odessa Barb

Species Summary

The Odessa Barbs originate mainly from the freshwater regions of Myanmar, but reports have stated that it has been seen in other nearby countries as well. This species prefers shallow water with moderate currents and abundant vegetation.

They are a shoaling species and require at least five fish in the group in order to feel safe and secure in their environment. The males tend to be more vibrant in color, displaying their red and silver lines along the entire length of their bodies.


The typical Odessa Barb lifespan is between three and five years. Of course, providing them with ideal care will help them reach the upper end of this life expectancy.


These fish have an attractive design and color combination. As we mentioned before, male Odessa Barbs have a slightly faded reddish-orange line that runs along their side, starting near the eyes and finishing past the caudal peduncle. They also have a vertical black streak about one-third of the way back on their body and another on their dorsal fin.

The rest of their body is metallic silver with small black dashes on their fins. The combination of these two colors creates a mesmerizing effect when they swim together, where they almost appear as if they were glowing from the inside.

Their fins are angled and built for speed. Their dorsal fin is shaped like a shallow pyramid, with a compact and solid anal fin. They also have a long, forked caudal fin that helps them move quickly.

The females, on the other hand, retain a lighter goldish-brown color throughout their bodies.


When fully grown, the Odessa Barb can reach sizes of up to three inches in length. It’s important to note that the quality of their care and genetics play a huge role in their adult size.

Odessa Barb Care

Odessa Barbs are quite low-maintenance when it comes to their care requirements, making them suitable for both beginners and experienced aquarists alike.

Proper tank maintenance is essential for the well-being of the Odessa Barb. Regular water changes and partial replicas are advised to keep their environment clean and healthy.

It’s essential to stick to the basics and keep their tank as consistent as possible in terms of maintenance and parameters if you want them to thrive. Neglecting their care can lead to illnesses and even death.

Tank Size

We recommend a minimum tank size of 30 gallons for the Odessa Barb, though a larger tank will provide a more spacious and comfortable home for this active fish.

Ideally, you should aim for a tank size that’s able to accommodate at least five fish.

Water Parameters

The Odessa Barb is quite flexible when it comes to water parameters. Optimal conditions include a Ph level between 6.0 and 7.5, temperature between 68°F and 79°F, and hardness levels between 4 and 15 dGH.

Suitable Tankmates

Odessa Barbs are peaceful and should not be kept with aggressive species that could harm them. They are best kept with fish of similar size, temperament, and activity levels. Good tank mates include other barbs, tetras, small cichlids, gouramis, and danios.

When setting up a tank for Odessa Barbs, make sure to include plenty of places for them to hide amongst natural decorations. These fish are active swimmers and like to explore their living space.


The Odessa Barb is an omnivore, so they will accept a wide variety of food. Include meaty items such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, and insects, and plant matter such as spirulina flakes and pellets. Feeding twice a day is enough, but make sure to never overfeed them.


The Odessa Barb is a very active species that love to explore its environment. If you get a good-sized shoal, you will be able to observe them in different parts of the tank, such as the surface and substrate.

They spend most of their time swimming and interacting with each other, making them a great addition to any community tank.


Breeding the Odessa Barb is not a common practice in home aquariums, but it is possible. You need to provide very specific conditions to increase the chances of success.

Low pH levels (below 6), soft water, and a temperature slightly below 72°F should be kept constant.

It’s worth noting that these fish don’t lay eggs, instead, their fry is born live and fully formed. So, you must have a separate rearing tank ready if you want to raise the young fish.


The Odessa Barb is an interesting and active freshwater fish that adds a lot of entertainment and beauty to any aquarium. Although their care is not demanding, making sure you maintain ideal parameters and tank size will give them the best chance at a long and healthy life.

With the correct environment, diet and companions, you can ensure that the Odessa Barb is thriving and enjoying the company of its shoal. They bring a great degree of activity, color, and fun to tanks, making them a joy to watch and an overall perfect addition to any aquarist’s community.