Desmopuntius pentazona – Fiveband Barb

Desmopuntius pentazona or Fiveband Barb is often confused with the Sumatra Barb but has slightly redder fins. It is a calm schooling fish that should not be kept together with lively species.

Desmopuntius pentazona – Fiveband Barb

Desmopuntius pentazona was described by Boulenger in 1894. The species name can be divided into two parts. ‘Penta’ comes from Greek and means ‘five’; ‘zona’ means ‘band’. The species name is a reference to the five vertical bands that encircle the fish. Hence their common name Fiveband Barb.

Synonyms: Barbus pentazona, Barbus pentazona pentazona, Capoeta pentazona, Puntius pentazona, Systomus pentazona.


Desmopuntius pentazona or Fiveband Barb has an orange body with 5 stripes running across the body. Just like with Puntigrus tetrazona, this drawing can also be found in the name of Desmopuntius pentazona. Penta means 5 and this species can therefore mainly be recognized by the 5 stripes that run across the body. The fins are sometimes slightly redder than the body. The colors come out well with good water care.

The difference between males and females is difficult to see. Males are more brightly colored than females. Dominant males get much more red in the fins and on the body.


The Fiveband Barb is calmer than many other Barbs. It is a calm schooling fish that should not be kept together with lively species. Keep at least 6 to 10 of them in the aquarium. They swim in the lower and middle water layers.


Malaysia, Indonesia (blackwater), SE Asia.


These fish like black, red and white mosquito larvae, Daphnia, cyclops and brine shrimp.
Small pieces of vegetable and dry food can also be given occasionally, i.e. almost all small types of food. Desmopuntius pentazona is a true omnivore, but they prefer live/frozen food.

The Aquarium

The Fiveband Barb requires an aquarium of at least 60 centimeters. Set up the aquarium with a dark bottom, dense edge planting, floating plants and filter over peat. By filtering over peat, the light is dampened and this improves the color they show. Provide sufficient hiding places for these more shy fish. You can also use wood and stones for this. Make sure you leave enough swimming space because Desmopuntius pentazona likes to swim.

Water parameters

Temperature: 22-28 degrees Celsius.
Ph: 5-6,5
GH: 4-10

Breeding Desmopuntius pentazona – Fiveband Barb

Breeding Desmopuntius pentazona is not that easy, this requires a breeding pair in a separate breeding aquarium. Make sure the pair is well-fed.

Furnish the breeding aquarium with fine-leaved plants such as Java moss and Cabomba. The water should be very soft and acidic. You can acidify the water and make it softer by filtering it over peat. The temperature may be slowly increased a few degrees to 27-28 degrees Celsius.

After the spawn, the parents must be removed. This prevents the eggs from being eaten.

You can raise the young Fiveband Barbs with brine shrimp, Daphnia, cyclops and dust food. To promote the growth of the young fish, it is best to feed them small amounts several times a day. Change some of the water regularly and then carefully siphon off any remaining food and waste to keep the water as clean as possible.



Coby – Rickpad – John de Lange

Copyright images

Mark Duffill

Additional information






Barbus pentazona, Barbus pentazona pentazona, Capoeta pentazona, Puntius pentazona, Systomus pentazona

Common name

Fiveband Barb


Social behaviour

Breeding behaviour


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