The Green Barb or Chinese Barb (Puntius semifasciolatus) is a subtropical freshwater fish belonging to the minnow family (Cyprinidae). Its native habitat is the Red River basin in southeast China. This species was originally named Barbus semifasciolatus, and is also referred to as Capoeta semifasciolata, Barbus fasciolatus, and Puntius semifasciolate. The popular gold strain P. semifasciolatus var. schuberti (Gold Barb or Schuberti barb) was developed by hobbyist Thomas Shubert of Camden, New Jersey in the 1960s through selective breeding. For many years it was thought to be a distinct species but is in fact a selected sport of the indigenous (green) species which is rarely found in aquaria.
The gold barb is a medium-long barb. Adults have highly arched backs and a short pair of barbels on the upper jaw at the corners of the mouth. The back is light to reddish brown, the sides are metallic green or yellow-green, with a brassy or golden sheen below. The belly is whitish, turning orange-red in males at mating time. Females can be distinguished by their dull colors and their overall bulk. The average size of adults is 2.75 to 3 inches (7 - 8 centimeters).
In the wild, they inhabit running water with a pH range of 6.0 - 8.0, a water hardness of 5.0 - 19.0 dGH, a depth range of 0 - 5 metres and a temperature range of 64 - 75 °F (18 - 24 °C). Their diet consists of worms, insects, and plant matter.
This fish is commercially important in the aquarium hobby industry.
An egg-scatter, adult barbs will spawn around a hundred eggs. This breeding occurs at the first light in the early morning.
The Gold Barb, a gold colour variant of the China Barb, is an active, peaceful schooling species that spends most of its time in the mid-level and bottom of the water. Its typical lifespan in captivity is around four to six years. This peaceful green-gold fish is often used in community tanks by fish keeping hobbyists. It flocks breed readily in outdoor pools and free-standing ponds during summer months, and withstands cooler temperatures better than other tropical fish. However, it does not stand the cold as well as its original plainer China barb counterparts.
Albino variants of the Gold barbs have been produced by Dennis Wilcox in the 1970s in the US. Gold barbs with no black markings have been observed by Stanislav Frank in Europe also around that time. Flesh colour (pink) specimens appeared by 1990s. Tri-colour, ie, black, orange and pink specimens appeared recently. See: http://www.mobettafishes.com/gallery/view_photo.php?set_albumName=album01&id=diamond_tiger_barb_001