Do Barb Fish Need A Heater? (Which Barbs Are Better For Cold Water?}

Do want a cold water aquarium? Are you thinking of adding Barb fish in a tank without a heater? How cold is too cold? Is this article, we’ll find out if your Barb fish need a heater.

Do Barb Fish Need A Heater? Rosy and Gold Barbs are included in many lists of fish suitable in cold water tanks. Although many barbs can tolerate a larger range of temperature changes, many of them are tropical fish. A heater keeps the water temperature constant and more comfortable for your barbs.

The prices for heaters are getting cheaper! Have you seen how much they cost lately? We suggest using one for ease and convenience.

How Cold Can My Tank Be For Barb Fish?

If you live in a climate that is not similar to the tropical conditions that many barb fish are used to, a heater makes life easier for everyone involved. We are not saying that you must get a heater, but you have to observe for signs of stress if the water gets too cold.

Rosy and Gold barbs prefer warmer temperatures but the water can drop as low as 64˚F. These barbs are the most hardy and able to adapt to cooler or warmer temperatures. Rosy barbs are low maintenance. Keep them in groups to encourage activity through cooler temperatures.

What Are The Ideal Temperatures For Barb Fish?

Research any marine life you like and you’ll see variations in ideal temperatures from various sources. We tend to think that we must keep our water temperature at an exact reading, but we may forget about how much water temperatures fluctuate in the wild.

A tropical environment will still experience cooler waters in the winter or at night. Your barbs can adapt to a larger range and routinely make it on lists of cold water fish.

The following temperature ranges are offered for 3 of the most popular barbs:

  • Tiger Barbs: 70-79°F 
  • Gold Barbs: 64°F to 75°F
  • Rosy Barbs: 64°F to 72°F

You can easily set a median temperature for all barb fish to remain comfortable in a tank with a heater. If you would like to keep things cooler, go for the rosy barb that can handle colder waters without as much stress.

Is A Barb A Cold Water Fish?

Gold barbs or Chinese barbs are very popular cold water fish. They also come in a green variety. They are popular for their bright, golden scales. They like a moderate current, but do not require an air pump or heater. Rosy barbs are also included in many lists of cold water fish.

We cannot say that all barb fish are cold water fish. They are native to tropical and temperate climates. Tiger barbs need the water to be warmer than Gold or Rosy barbs.

The following fish make our list above barb fish for being the best cold water fish:

  • Rainbow Shiner
  • Hillstream Loach
  • Endler’s Livebearer
  • Clown Killifish
  • Dojo Loach
YouTube video

How Do I Set Up A Cold Water Tank For Barb Fish?

You can prepare your cold water tank for marine life that thrive in cooler temperatures including barb fish, such as gold or rosy barbs.

Start with the same things you need for any tank:

  • substrate
  • decorations
  • plants
  • filter

Once you are set, please consider the following tips:

  1. Stock freshwater fish together.
  2. Research the fish that live under the same parameters (hardness, pH, etc.).
  3. Make sure you have enough space for active swimmers like barb fish.
  4. Place the tank near sunlight. It can be partial or indirect, but some light will warm thing up without a heater. 
  5. Check which fish prefer stronger currents and which would like medium to low flowrates. 

Do Barb Fish Need An Air Pump?

The gentle flow from a decent filter will suffice for your barb fish. Since they are active swimmers, a mild to medium flowrate is welcomed by barb fish.

They mostly swim at the mid level where the water current flows the best. An air pump provides bubbles that barb fish enjoy because they are playful in their schools. An air pump is not a necessity. A nice filter is more important and can handle the job to create some flow.


Your barb fish would prefer the water to stay in a healthy range to prevent stress and illness. They are popular on many lists of cold water fish, but many of them come from tropical climates. Gold and Rosy barb fish are your best bet for cold water tanks.

A heater is cheap and would make life easier for you. Consider the right size heater for your tank. 5 watts per one gallon of water is the general rule of thumb. For a 30 gallon tank with barb fish, we suggest getting a heater with 150 watts of power. You can find one for around $20 USD.

Please decide if you wish to attempt a cold water tank setup stocked with barb fish or sit back and enjoy the assurance and comfort of knowing that a cheap heater will do better at mimicking the ideal temperature ranges for your barb fish to thrive for years to come.


Thank you for stopping by at for all your informational needs concerning the fish you wish to keep in your aquarium. We have plenty of articles on a wide variety of marine life that may also pique your interest. See you again soon!

Brian Arial

Brian Arial has kept fish for leisure and worked with fish stores for most of his life. He enjoys writing and caring for aquariums and ponds.

Recent Posts