Spanner Barb Fish Care InfographicIf you want your aquarium to become lively without getting chaotic, Spanner Barb, also known as barbodes lateristriga or t-barb, is the perfect fish for you. Everything from the fish’s care guide to ideal tank mate options is discussed in this article.

Keep reading to find out all the information you will need to become an expert Spanner Barb aquarist!

Quick stats:

Listed tank sizes are the minimum
Size: up to 7″ (18cm)
Tank: 48 inches
Strata: Bottom-middle
PH: 6.0 to 6.5
Hardness: Soft to medium. dH range: 2.0 – 10.0
Temperature: 73°F to 84°F (23-29°C)


Order: Cypriniformes
Suborder: Cyprinoidei
Family: Cyprinidae
Genera: Puntius (Barbodes)
Species: laterstriga

Spanner Barb Care: Diet, Living Conditions, and Maintenance


Spanner barb known as barbodes lateristrigaThe reason why Spanner Barb is said to be a beginner-friendly fish breed is that it is a simple, peaceful fish. You give it food, it eats. You give it a decent living environment; it enjoys a happy life. Minimal chaos, almost no hassle, and very little care requirements are what make Spanner Barb a universally popular pet fish breed.

The one thing that some people dislike about keeping this fish in their aquarium is its lack of color. Two black vertical bars on the body and one horizontal one on the forward end of the dorsal is the only color pattern you’ll see. That too begins to fade as the fish grows bigger.

As for its lifespan, this fish can live for up to 8 years if given proper care. To ensure that the Tee Barb, in your aquarium, live to their fullest, you only have to keep a track of two main things: their diet and their living conditions. The following is a quick run-through of what you’ll need to know about both of these.

– Diet

It won’t be wrong to say that Spanner Barb is one of the least picky eaters among all fish breeds. You can feed them pretty much any food that is safe for fish and tee barb will accept it happily.

It is, however, best if you try to keep the diet balanced with enough live food, vegetable matter, frozen food, and flake food. The fish loves dried foods but for the best health, it is mandatory that you feed them lots of live food, too. Spanner Barb fish love daphnia and insect larvae in particular.

– Ideal Aquarium Conditions

Right off the bat, you should know that Spanner Barb require a relatively bigger aquarium to live in. These fish can grow between 4.5 inches and 6 inches long. Sometimes they even grow as long as 7 inches. This is the only reason why this breed is not included in the community fish category.

Now, the big size isn’t the only reason for a big aquarium. These fish are also rather active swimmers so they need lots of open space to roam around. Moreover, since these fish like to live in groups, you will need at least a 55-gallon aquarium if you plan on bringing Spanner Barb home.

Moving on, ideally, the temperature of the aquarium should not go below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Tee Barb do not like low temperatures. Other than that, keep in mind that this fish is usually found below waterfalls, in flooded swamps, and clear streams. Try to replicate a similar environment in your aquarium to keep the fish as satisfied as possible.

– Aquarium Maintenance

The Tee Barb, once again, makes the aquarist’s life easy by requiring minimal water changes over time. They love aged water which is why you will only have to change a partial part of the water once every while to maintain the aquarium’s cleanliness. A pH level of 6.0-6.5 is ideal.

As for the gravel and forage in the tank, make sure it is fine and smooth as the fish like to dig into it. For the fish’s entertainment and decoration of your aquarium, add in some floating materials. These decorative items can also compensate for the fish’s lack of color.

Spanner Barb Stats

Spanner Barb belongs to the Cyprinidae family. Their species is Lateristriga. This breed has its origins in Southeast Asia, specifically in Thailand, Sumatra, Malaysia, Java, Malay Peninsula, Singapore, and Borneo. Streams, near mountainous areas, with lots of rocks and boulders are generally where you’ll find Spanner Barbs, in abundance.

These fish prefer oxygen-rich waters. And the optimal water hardness for them is from 2.0dH to 10.0dH. You’ll find Spanner Barb either in the lower parts of water bodies or somewhere in the middle. They hardly ever like to swim on the top surfaces.

If the water is too hot or too cold, Tee Barb may not survive. Something between 70 degrees Fahrenheit to 85 degrees Fahrenheit is optimum. Moreover, these fish like to stay in groups of 5 or more.

Appearance and Coloration

Spanner Barb is an elongated fish. The more it grows, the longer it becomes. However, this fish hardly ever grows to its maximum potential inside aquariums. You will only find the longest Tee Barbs in the wild.

There are a total of three black lines on the fish’s pale yellow body along with a black spot above the anal fin. Other than that, there is a slight red tint on the fins. These colors can be maintained to remain as bright as possible if you feed the fish a good diet.

Although this color isn’t much, it is one of the distinguishing features between the male and female Spanner Barbs. The males tend to have a brighter color during the breeding phase in comparison to the females. Another visible feature is that the female gets fatter during this time whereas the male becomes slimmer.

Breeding Conditions

Once again, Spanner Barb proves to be an easy to keep fish in regards to breeding. This breed does oviparous reproduction and follows the egg-scatterer method. There’s not much you have to do. Just make sure that the fish you plan to mate are above 18 months old. The ideal mating age is above 24 months, though.

There are some tank conditions to keep in mind so that the breeding goes as successfully as possible:

  • First, the tank needs to be big and spacious. This breed requires enough space to carry out spawning as they like.
  • Second, the tank should be on the shallower side. It should be placed where sunlight can easily reach the parent fish because the morning sun is an indicator for them to begin spawning.
  • And third, fill the tank with soft neutral water that is between 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Only add 4 to 6 inches of water in the tank.

Additional Tips

You can decorate the tank in ways that will not only look good but will also serve a purpose in the breeding process. Add a thin layer of gravel but you can also skip this completely.

Use lots of thin, large leaves and java moss. If you don’t have live plants, spawning mops work fine, too.

Make sure to add some sort of thin, protective layer at the bottom. This is necessary to protect the eggs from the parents or else the parents may end up eating the eggs. Something like a mesh is perfect for this purpose.

The water inside a breeding tank has to be changed more often than a regular tank. But when you do so, keep in mind that it will initiate spawning. After the spawning is over, you have to immediately separate the parents, or else they’ll consume the eggs.

Post-Breeding Care

Once thousands of eggs have been laid, the parents should be separated. Once done, cover the tank to darken the environment inside. Sunlight should no longer reach inside.

For this next step to go through perfectly, you need to add huge amounts of mosquito larvae, vegetable food, and bloodworms to the tank a few weeks before the breeding initiates. Once the eggs have swum around for a day to two, they stick to the leaves or spawning mops you added in previously. After that, the egg yolk is absorbed and the rest of the egg begins feeding on this food.

The eggs will hatch after 3 days. After that, the fish can start eating micro-foods such as crushed flake food, baby brine shrimp, and Infusoria.

Spanner Barb Tank Mates: How to Keep Your Aquarium Peaceful

Like all other aspects, Spanner Barb isn’t tough with their tank mates, either.

However, there a few key things to take care of:

  1. First, this fish breed grows big enough to need a large tank for itself even without mates. So, if you plan on adding other fish to the aquarium, you must have plenty of space to avoid crowds.
  2. On top of that, this fish breed is rather peaceful. Tank mates that are likely to bully or dominate them should be out of the option. Other robust fish that are equally active and pretty much a similar size are the best ones.
  3. Another thing that you can do is to go for colorful tank mates. Since the Spanner Barb fish are not as bright themselves, tank mates can fill that gap. Also, Tee Barbs like to stay at the bottom of the tank. So, tank mates that prefer the top will strike the perfect balance.

Here are some Spanner Barb tank mate options you can consider:


Today, we discussed all that a beginner aquarist must know about the Spanner Barb fish breed.

Here is a quick rundown of everything we discussed today:

  • Spanner barb tank matesSpanner Barbs are a peaceful fish that are very hassle-free, hence, ideal for beginners
  • They can live for up to 8 years
  • Daphnia and larvae are their ultimate favorites but a balanced diet should include vegetable diet, frozen food, flake foods, and live food
  • This fish can grow between 4.5-6 inches inside an aquarium
  • A big tank is required to keep these fish due to their size and also because they like to live in groups of 5 or more
  • Ideal tank conditions:
    – 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit
    – 6.0-6.5 pH
    – 2.0-10.0 dH
  • They originate from Southeast Asia
  • The fish has an elongated body
  • Tee Barb has a lack of color with only 3 black lines on its body
  • This fish, above 18 months, can breed in a separate, large breeding tank
  • These peaceful fish pair well with other active, medium-sized fish which include Loaches, Catfish, Platys, Danios, and Rasbora

Now that you’ve become a Spanner Barb expert, we recommend you put your knowledge to use. Bring home a group of Tee Barbs today and embark on your journey of becoming a successful aquarist!

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