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Systomus asoka - Asoka barb


  • Systomus asoka - Asoka barb

    Photo thanks to

    Scientific name: Systomus asoka
    Common name: Asoka barb
    Mistakenly or previously labelled: Barbichthys asokae/ Barbus asoka/ Puntius asoka

    Country of origin: South-East Asia Sri Lanka

    pH: 6.5 7.5
    Temperature: 25 - 30c
    Hardness: 1 - 18 dGH
    Water flow: high - standard
    Oxygenation: high

    Maximum size: 17 cm

    Diet: Live, frozen, flake & pellet foods.


    There is no information available to suggest these fish have been bred in the hobby to date.

    Lifespan: years

    Tank companions:
    They are NOT good tank companions with shrimps.

    They are a schooling species. They should be kept in groups of 8+.

    As with any fish they will eat any fish small enough to fit in their mouths, and equally can be eaten by any fish large enough to eat them. This should be taken into account when choosing tankmates.

    Given their endangered status, they should be considered for a species only tank.

    Stocking plans can be checked with

    Minimum tank size is 3 ft for a small group. More room is needed for a larger group and/or tankmates.

    They could be kept in a heavily planted tank with floating plants to subdue the lighting and open areas for swimming, or a biotype, with sand & driftwood.

    Confused with:
    There are other recognised species in the genus, all of which are allowable imports to Australia:
    Systomus hexazona (previously Puntius hexazona) - Tiger Barb/ Sixband barb
    Systomus lateristriga (previously Puntius lateristriga) - Spanner Barb/ T-barb
    Systomus partipentazona (previously Puntius partipentazona) - Tiger barb/ Partipentazona Barb
    Systomus pentazona (previously Puntius pentazona) - Five-banded Barb/ Pentazona barb
    Systomus tetrazona (previously Puntius tetrazona) - Tiger Barb, Sumatra Barb

    Until recently these and many other genus were known as Puntius this is still the genus name given on the allowable import list.

    Although these fish are on the allowable import list, there is very little information about them, or evidence that they are being kept or bred in the trade. They are endangered in their natural habitat, and given the lack of information about them being kept by hobbyists or commercially bred, this should be taken into account if making the decision to keep them. Experienced hobbyists with experience in breeding fish may consider keeping them, but they are not a fish for beginners.

    Systomus asoka are legal imports to Australia as of 27/01/2014 (list last updated 16/10/13).

    The IUCN Red List reports Puntius asoka (previous synonym) as a species which is endangered, at 25/01/2014 (due to overfishing):

    It is very important not to release any aquarium specimens into our waterways. Any that are not sold or re-homed/ given away, can often be re-sold to aquarium stores. If they are homed in ponds, care should be taken that they cannot escape in run-off into our waterways. Even if fish are native & local they should not be moved from one waterway to another, as this can transfer disease. If they are not local fish, they can both spread disease and either out-compete or eat local fish, shrimp & plants, causing their demise.

    They are good fish for experienced hobbyists.

    Relevant threads:


    Catalogue of Life/ Fishbase:

    Encyclopedia of life:

    Seriously Fish:


    Pics & threads with pics:

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