Do Barb Fish Sleep? {How Do I Make Them Sleep?}

Are you wondering if your barb fish are sleeping? Is it strange or alarming to see them pointed downwards, looking sick or lifeless? In this article, we’ll discuss if your barb fish are asleep or if something else is wrong.

Do Barb Fish Sleep? Barb fish school together and sleep at night. They point their noses down and sleep in a vertical position most of the time. Some sleep near plants while others enjoy a gentle current near the filter. 

How Do Barb Fish Sleep?

Not all fish sleep the same way. There are many different types of barb fish, but most of them exhibit the same sleeping position.

The nose or head of your barb fish will point downwards and they may bob around slightly with the current flow in your tank. The angle could be at about 30 degrees if they are not directly facing the substrate.

Barb fish are light sleepers. They could easily wake up by sudden movements. Some sleep next to plants or nestle in the weeds of your substrate.

How Do I  Know If A Barb Fish Is Sleeping?

With most animals, we notice eyelids closing to indicate they are sleeping. Barb fish do not have eyelids so we check for the following signs:

  • lying motionless
  • slow moving gills
  • not responding to the environment around them
  • lying on or in an object like a rock or cave
  • pointing their noses downwards 
  • repeating the actions above at the same time each day or night

Your barb fish would like to follow a sleep cycle the way we do. Turn the lights off at the same time each night and allow your barb fish to get at least 7 hours of rest.

Is It Normal For Barb Fish To Sleep?

It’s quite normal for barb fish to sleep like most other animals. Sometimes we don’t refer to it as sleep, rather we call it dozing off or simply resting.

Through research, we’re able to understand that fish (including barbs) reduce their metabolic function, but continue to remain alert to possible threats or danger. The sleep or rest you are witnessing when your barb fish are motionless is a part of a suspended animation.

The gentle movement equates to the rhythm of our bodies when we are asleep. The same restorative functions are happening to barb fish at this time in a similar way it happens for us.

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Do Barb Fish Need Lights Off At Night?

Your barb fish are usually included in a community tank, but they are also fun to keep in schools on their own. Nevertheless, most marine life require darkness at night. Turn off aquarium lights and the room light.

Leaving the lights on may induce stress or a lack of restoration from a long day of exerting energy. You will also notice more algae growth that will make your tank cloudy. Turn off the lights at the same time every night to signal the response in your barb fish to rest and restore themselves.

How Do I Make Sure My Barb Fish Get Enough Sleep?

The best way to promote a long night of rest is to follow the common procedures exhibited by the most experienced fish keepers. Try these steps:

  • Use an aquarium light timer. 
  • Set it for 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness.
  • Provide shaded areas like plants, caves or decorations. 
  • Draw the curtains in the room. 

You can make a room darker to indicate that it’s time for your barb fish to rest. If you need to change the sleep schedule due to your hours of work and rest being unconventional, simply turn off all lights and cover all areas where light can enter the room. Your barb fish will think it’s nighttime. Follow the 12 hour on and 12 hour off routine as you see fit.

Where Do Barb Fish Sleep?

Sleep locations vary for many types of marine life. Certain barb fish may enjoy sleeping near the filter to enjoy the flow of current it provides. Others find a comfortable spot in planted areas. Look for your barb fish resting in the following locations:

  • hiding behind driftwood
  • under or behind rocks
  • stuck next to a decoration
  • nose down in the center of the tank
  • near the filter
  • between plants or leaves

There is no set location, but we can do our best to give our barb fish plenty of options for a restful night of sleep. Since barb fish are diurnal, they’ll be active during the day and will find a spot to doze off at night.

Will My Barb Fish Sleep During The Day?

Diurnal fish like barb fish may still take naps through the day. Unihemispheric slow-wave sleep is where half the brain is asleep while the other half is alert. This is a common way that barb fish can rest, but remain aware of any threats that may lurk from any direction.

If you notice your barb fish resting too often, tilting to its side or not swimming with the rest of its school, then you should check for illnesses. A lack of appetite, discoloration or wounds and spots on the body could indicate that your barb fish is not resting and it’s actually getting sicker.


Barb fish sleep. They can rest or doze off for 7-12 hours and maintain the same schedule you set for them. Use an aquarium timer to make life easier for everyone involved. Keep it quiet at night because these barb fish are light sleepers.

Don’t worry if they are sleeping with their noses pointed down and their bodies in a vertical position. It’s quite normal for barb fish to sleep this way.


Thanks for visiting for another article on Barb Fish that we greatly enjoy taking care of in our tanks. Check out more of our articles on the variety of marine life we research and keep. Bye for now!

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.

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