As with many other fish, the cherry barb is now almost exclusively raised commercially in the Far East and Florida. If you ever have a chance to procure wild stock, purchase them and you will see what their true colors are. That said, the cherry barb that is in the hobby now is a beautiful fish. The males, when mature and wanting to breed (which they always want to do), are an incredibly dark purplish red almost verging on black.
Spawning cherry barbs is easy except that the parents tend to eat their eggs, so plants or artificial spawning mops must be very thick in the breeding tank. Condition the males and females separately and put them together in the evening before the day they are to spawn. Check for eggs, and if they are there remove the parents immediately.
This fish makes an excellent addition to a community tank, but it is imperative that it be quarantined before introducing it to the main tank. The cherry barb is very susceptible to velvet (Oodinium) and prophylactic treatment in a quarantine tank is recommended.
The cherry barb will accept all foods with equal greed, and is never a problem to feed. Flakes are fine for its basic diet, but breeders should be conditioned on frozen or live foods. Dense thickets of plants make it feel secure and will bring out the best in terms of its colors and behavior.