|Genus & Species: Pethia Padamya|
|Common Names: Odessa Barb|
|Temperature: 70 – 79ºF (21 – 26ºC)|
|pH: 6.5 – 8.5|
|GH: 4.0 – 10 dGH|
|Max Size: 3.8 – 6.3 cm (1.5 – 2.5 inches)|
|Lifespan: 3 – 5 years|
|Depth Preference: Bottom dweller and mid dweller|
|Tank Size: 20 gallons|
Without displaying the aggressive nature of some other barb species, the odessa barb is a colorful barb that can be observed swimming energetically throughout the aquarium. They are suitable candidates for peaceful community tanks.
Origin & Habitat
Odessa Barbs are a freshwater species of fish that are exclusively endemic to Central Myanmar. They are primarily found in small ponds, creeks, and the Chindwin River, also known as the Ningthi River, which is the major tributary of Myanmar’s main river, the Irrawaddy River, and is located in the Ayeyarwady region.
Odessa Barb Care
Water parameters need to be just right in order for the Odessa Barb to thrive since their natural habitat has a very stable neutral pH range. However, some specimens have been discovered in a small pond with a pH value of 11, due to the abundance of limestones.
There should be enough space in an aquarium for these fish to swim about freely, while also ensuring that there is plenty of floating or broad-leaved plants for cover. An aquarium will also need a tight-fitting lid since these fish are quick, agile, and notorious jumpers.
In large open aquariums, they may display a more timid behavior; providing the right balance of decorations, plants, rocks, driftwood, and open swimming space will be key to their comfort. Additionally, they usually display better coloration in an aquarium that is densely planted, has low illumination, and has a dark substrate.
Odessa Barb Diet & Feeding
The odessa barb is an omnivorous species of fish that is not a picky eater. Worms, insects, and other small invertebrates, as well as plant matter and organic waste, are likely to be discovered in their natural habitat as sources of food.
Due to their voracious nature, they will quickly eat the majority of commercially produced fish food, including a wide variety of different flake and pellet food. Providing them with the right balance of protein and plant-based foods throughout the week will keep them healthy, colorful, and active.
Blood worms, insects, insect larvae, brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, and other microworms are common live and frozen protein-rich meals to integrate into their diet. While algae-based foods with spirulina and blanched vegetables are great alternatives to sate their omnivorous nature.
Live plants such as java moss, java fern, and water thyme are also great sources of plant-based food. Odessa barbs typically nibble on these plants and do not uproot or cause significant harm to plants, unless in large groups with very few plants.
Tank Mates & Temperament
Odessa Barbs are normally not aggressive, they are a rather peaceful species of barb and one of few barbs that do not nip fins. They are a schooling species of fish that are best kept in groups of 6 – 8 or more, in smaller numbers they may show signs of aggression. They may also become timid if kept alone or in small groups which can cause a loss of coloration due to stress.
The ideal odessa barb tank mates include species of angelfish, barbs, corydoras, dwarf cichlids, danios, rasboras, livebearers, loaches, tetras, catfish, and plecos. Virtually any tropical fish that are not slow-moving and prefer similar water parameters, slow-moving fish may have a hard time competing with the much faster and agile odessa barb for food.
When competing for the attention of females and a higher position in the social hierarchy, competitive males engage in fascinating behavior as they pursue one another throughout the tank for dominance while displaying their best colors.
Male & Female Differences
Odessa barbs display rather obvious characteristics of sexual dimorphism; males will have a darker body that is often black or mixed with dark beige, as well as a prominent red stripe that becomes more evident and brighter as they age and during spawning seasons. Additionally, the pelvic fin, anal fin, and caudal fins of males will all have darker black streaks.
The general color of females will be faint in comparison, and they will display little to no red and black pigmentation on their bodies. Instead, they have light beige scales, some silver, and two black patches on the front and rear of their bodies. Females will also grow larger in width, especially when they are in good condition and contain a significant number of eggs, and they have a few duller-looking black streaks on their dorsal fin.
Breeding & Spawning
The Odessa barb is an egg-scattering species of fish that often lays its eggs in areas covered in moss or other aquatic plants with fine leaves. The parents don’t show any parental care and will immediately consume any deposited eggs they come upon.
When the adults are well-conditioned, they will frequently reproduce in an established aquarium, and it’s conceivable that a few fry may appear without any human assistance. However, in crowded aquariums with numerous predators, the females will likely not lay any eggs at all, or if they do, they’ll be eaten right away.
Odessa barbs can be bred more successfully if the adult males and females are separated and moved into two smaller aquariums, each measuring between 5 and 10 gallons in size. This will prevent the males from bothering the females while you condition the adults several times a day on live or frozen protein-based diets for 2 – 3 weeks, such as live or frozen brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, and daphnia. And in turn, the females will produce a healthy amount of eggs. The females will then lay a healthy number of eggs as a result.
Once conditioned, you can relocate two males and three females into a small spawning tank of similar size between 5 and 10 gallons. The spawning tank should feature a number of spawning mops or fine-leaved aquatic plants, dim lighting, plenty of aeration using air stones, and a base that can be filled with marbles or some form of a mesh that has a large enough perforation for the eggs to fall through.
In comparison to other picky species, the water’s properties are not as crucial. However, the optimal water conditions consist of a slightly acidic pH value of 6.5 and a temperature that falls within its top range.
In most situations, the adults will spawn the following morning and occasionally within one or two days. It will be vital to periodically check the tank for any indications of eggs having been produced because the adult must be removed immediately in order to prevent them from consuming the eggs.
When the fry first hatch, which usually takes between 24 and 36 hours post-fertilization, they will need to be fed 3 – 4 times daily with cultured infusoria because they are too small to consume anything else. After several weeks, they will grow large enough to eat daphnia, baby brine shrimp, and crushed flake food.
In October 2008, Sven O. Kullander and Rald Britz officially described the species.
The odessa barb first appeared in the former USSR, and since the early 1970s, it has become a widespread species in aquariums. However, until the first wild individuals were discovered in 2001, the precise origin of this species was unknown.
Previously, the genus Puntius was considered to be a polyphyletic universal term that included over 100 different species. However, this issue has essentially been resolved after these species were transferred to the new genus Pethia by Rohan Pethiyagoda in 2012. Older publications and many sources frequently confuse Pethia Padamya with various other species of fish or may refer to them by their former name Puntius Padamya.
Characters from the following combinations are used to classify Pethia species: There are no rostral barbels, few or no maxillary barbels, a stiff, serrated final unbranched dorsal-fin ray, a black spot on the caudal peduncle, and frequently black patches, bars, or blotches on the side of the body. In addition, infraorbital 3 is deep and partially overlaps the preoperculum.
The most frequent misunderstanding regarding odessa barbs (Pethia Padamya) is that they are still frequently called ticto barbs (Pethia Ticto). The most notable differences between the two is coloration, dorsal fin, and the two black patches that both the ticto and odessa barb display.
Male odessa barbs are unmistakably distinguishable from ticto barbs because, other than the two black patches, they lack any red or black coloring. On the other hand, female ticto barbs and odessa barbs have very similar appearances, but the ticto barb’s frontal black patch is considerably smaller, usually just one scale in length, and is situated either center or below center, while the frontal black patch of female odessa barbs is much larger and is either centered or above center. Additionally, the dorsal fins of the ticto barb are translucent and do not exhibit any black coloration.
Sven Kullander. Puntius padamya, a new species of Cyprinid fish from Myanmar (Teleostei: Cyprinidae). 2008
Sven Kullander. Five new species of Puntius from Myanmar (Teleostei: Cyprinidae). 2008
Rohan Pethiyagoda. Haludaria, a replacement generic name for Dravidia (Teleostei: Cyprinidae). 2013