Barilius infrafasciatus


Matt Clarke looks at the latest new Barilius to hit the UK's specialist fish shops - Barilius infrafasciatus.

Common name: Feather-fin baril

Scientific name: Barilius infrafasciatus Fowler, 1934

Origin: This species has only been recorded from Thailand so far. Museum records show that it has been collected in several parts of Siam in the Salwin River basin and in the Metang in northern Thailand.

Size: There's no data on the eventual size of this fish. It probably reaches a size of 10-15cm/4-6" as is typical for most of the Barilius species.

Diet: Barilius are predatory cyprinids and take insects, larvae and small fish. They'll accept most dried and frozen foods in the aquarium.

Water: A hillstream species, so best kept in cool and fast-flowing water. Not normally fussy about water chemistry, but neutral or slightly alkaline water is the norm for the genus.

Aquarium: These are relatively aggressive shoaling fishes and will fight among themselves, so you need to give them lots of space. A group of six or so, which can include two or three males, ought to have an aquarium of at least 120cm/4' in length. Furnish the tank with lots of smooth, water-worn pebbles and boulders and add additional filtration to create torrential flow in the tank. Should mix well with over rheophilic fishes from the region, such as loaches and larger Devario. Given the predatory inclination, don't keep these with anything small enough to be swallowed.

Identification: Barilius are not easy fish to ID at the best of times, but the lack of data on infrafasciatus makes it even more tricky. The country of origin will help when identifying this species, as it's most likely to be exported from Thailand. The orange ventral surface is also quite distinctive. Females are more drab in appearance and lack the tubercles seen in adult males.

Availability: These fish were shot at Wildwoods in January. The species has also appeared recently on the wholesale lists from BAS in Bolton.

Price: Barilius are rarely cheap fish. Expect to pay over a tenner each.