• African Dwarf AKA Amber/Ember Barb (Barboides gracilis)
  • African Dwarf AKA Amber/Ember Barb (Barboides gracilis)
  • African Dwarf AKA Amber/Ember Barb (Barboides gracilis)
  • African Dwarf AKA Amber/Ember Barb (Barboides gracilis)
  • African Dwarf AKA Amber/Ember Barb (Barboides gracilis)

African Dwarf AKA Amber/Ember Barb (Barboides gracilis)

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This very rare species is very similar to Boraras microrasboras and is a superb fish for the nano or planted aquarium!


The African Dwarf Barb (Barboides gracilis), also known as the Amber or Ember Barb, is an extremely rare barb species that is much more similar to microrasboras than barbs. This schooling fish can be a highlight in any peaceful community aquarium and it is a particular standout in the planted aquarium. With optimal diet and care, many this species displays orange coloration, especially in males within large schools of 20-30 specimens or more. 

The African Dwarf Barb typically occupies the top and middle level of the water column, although it can often be seen swimming and feeding in the middle and bottom levels as well. It is safe with other peaceful, small fish, but it is easily intimidated so tankmates must be chosen with care. Due to its extra small size and peaceful demeanor, it can be safely kept with adult dwarf shrimp. Larger, peaceful invertebrates can also make good tankmates. The African Dwarf Barb must be kept in schools of 6 or more, although much larger schools of 20+ are more ideal and will encourage more natural behavior, less stress to the fish, and more intense coloration in males as they compete for the attention of females. The schooling behavior of a large group of this fish is fascinating. Its natural habitat typically has slow water flow and contains acidic water rich in tannins and leaf litter. It requires very clean water to thrive and it will display optimal coloration and health in a planted aquarium with dark substrate, especially where floating plants are present. It should not be kept with overly boisterous tankmates that will outcompete it during feeding.  

The African Dwarf Barb can initially be a somewhat picky eater and should be fed tiny live and frozen meaty foods such as Daphnia, Cyclops, baby Artemia, Calanus, and chopped bloodworms or Tubifex worms. Once acclimated, it will thrive and remain very colorful on a varied diet of mostly carnivorous foods with the possibility of accepting dry foods as well.  

Please note: This fish is a particularly sensitive species. Like microrasboras, it does not like being removed from the water, even briefly. We highly recommend transporting it in a water-carrying shrimp net.


What We Like About This Fish:

  • Incredible bright amber coloration, especially in mature males
  • Interesting schooling behavior, expecially in very large schools
  • Peaceful disposition with fish and peaceful invertebrates including dwarf shrimp
  • Very active and noticeable fish in any aquarium
  • Ideal for nano and planted aquariums



  • Temperature: 71 - 79° F (21° - 26° C)
  • pH: 6.0 - 7.0, acidic water is preferred
  • KH: 3-12 dKH
  • Minimum Tank Size: 5 gallons for a school of 20-30 specimens



  • Diet: Micropredator. Will typically eventually accept high quality dry foods of appropriate size, but may need live or frozen food initially. Requires a varied diet for optimal health and coloration.
  • Social Behavior: Peaceful, schooling/shoaling.
  • Origin: West and Central Africa
  • Average Adult Size: .7 inches (1.8 cm) or less
  • Average Purchase Size: .5 inches (1.3 cm)


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