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The Ticto Barb or Twospot Barb (Puntius ticto) is a freshwater and brackish subtropical fish belonging to the minnow family (Cyprinidae). It is a native of the upper Mekong, Salwen, Irrawaddy, Meklong and upper Charo Phraya basins in the countries of Nepal, India, Pakistan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Thailand, and Sri Lanka.
It is natively found in still, shallow, marginal waters of lakes and rivers, usually with muddy bottoms. It browses close to the substrate in shallow water. Ticto barbs natively live in a subtropical environment and prefer water with a 6.0 – 7.0 pH, a water hardness of 4 – 10 dGH, and a temperature range of 57 – 71 °F (14 – 22 °C). They can live in both fresh and brackish water. Their diet consists of small crustaceans, insects and plankton.
The ticto barb is of commercial importance in the fish keeping industry and is used to create hybrid variants of tiger barbs and other barbs.
The ticto barb is one of many barbs undergoing revisions in their taxonomic classification. This species has also been referred to as Barbus ticto, Cyprinus ticto, and Systomus ticto, among others. It is frequently confused with its sympatric relative Puntius stoliczkanus, Stoliczkae’s Barb. The whimsical name “Tic-Tac-Toe Barb” is applied to either species.
The ticto barb is an active schooling fish, which is usually kept in groups. When in large enough groups, they will not bother any other species of fish. They prefer a well planted environment that is similar to the still and shallow waters with mud bottoms of their native habitat.
Ticto barbs are egg-layers that spawn among a course gravel bed. During spawning, they will lay approximately 150 eggs, laying around 20 at a time. Once spawning is finished, they will usually eat any of the eggs that they find. It is usually necessary to separate the fish from the eggs after spawning in order to prevent the eggs from being eaten. The eggs will hatch in approximately 1 day and will be free-swimming a day later.