Fun Hampala Barb Facts For Kids

Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason
Oct 20, 2022 By Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason
Originally Published on Aug 17, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Come dive into the world of hampala barb facts.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.7 Min

The hampala barb (Hampala macrolepidota) is a popular cyprinid found mainly in Southeast Asia.  This large fish has a wide distribution, covering the waters of the Chao Phraya and Mekong river basins, the group of Greater Sunda islands (Java, Borneo, and Sumatra), the Malay Peninsula, and Indonesia. They dwell mainly in freshwater bodies such as streams and rivers, avoiding a highly acidic environment. The rainy season is when breeding activity is at its peak.

Insects, aquatic worms, crustaceans, and small fish are some of their favorite food items. You can easily identify them by the presence of the vertical bar running down their large bodies.  This aquarium fish is also a popular fish to eat. They are also known by other names, such as the jungle perch and the sidebar barb.

For more relatable content, check out these Siamese fighting fish facts and paddlefish facts for kids.

Hampala Barb Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a hampala barb?

The hampala barb (Hampala macrolepidota) is a type of cyprinid found mainly in Asia. It is a type of barb. Some other types of barbs are the Odessa barb and Denison barb.  

What class of animal does a hampala barb belong to?

The Hampala macrolepidota (Hampala barb) belongs to the class of fishes.

How many hampala barbs are there in the world?

Unfortunately, we do not know the total population of this freshwater predatory fish.

Where does a hampala barb live?

This predatory fish's distribution is spread across the Chao Phraya and Mekong river basins. It has also been spotted in the Greater Sunda Islands, including Sumatra, Java, and Borneo and even in the Malay Peninsula and Indonesia.

What is a hampala barb's habitat?

This fish loves dwelling in a freshwater environment. They have an affinity for running streams and rivers. They avoid shallow swamps, creeks, and even torrents. Their preferred water temperatures are about 71.6-77 F (22-25 C). This fish is a benthopelagic species.

Who do hampala barbs live with?

The sidebar barb is known to live in small shoals.

How long does a hampala barb live?

The lifespan of the Hampala macrolepidota (hampala barb) is said to be about nine years.

How do they reproduce?

Unfortunately, there are no records about the reproductive activities of jungle perch, or on other fish in the Hampala genus. The only information known is that mature females have more rounded bodies than male adults. Also, this fish is known to breed throughout the rainy season.

What is their conservation status?

The Hampala macrolepidota (Hampala barb) has been listed as a species of Least Concern.

Hampala Barb Fun Facts

What do hampala barbs look like?

This fish is among the larger members of the barb community.  The fish is identified with its long, streamlined anatomy. Their bodies are entirely covered with golden or silver scales. There is a black bar or stripe which runs down the body of the fish. This extends from the dorsal fish on the top of the fish, along with the pelvic fins down to the underside, close to the anal fin.

There are a total of 11 soft rays on the dorsal side and 8 anal soft rays. There is an orange-red caudal fin, adorned with a black marginal strip across each lobe.

Juvenile barbs have an additional vertical black bar placed on the caudal peduncle. They also have a tear-shaped black mark on their cheeks. The eyes are placed on the sides of the head.

Hampala Barb

* Please note that this is an image of a Denison barb, not a hampala barb. If you have an image of a hampala barb please let us know at

How cute are they?

People do not find the hampala barb (Hampala macrolepidota) cute!

How do they communicate?

Usually, fishes communicate through electric signals.

How big is a hampala barb?

This Mekong fish can grow up to 2.3 ft (70.1 cm). However, they are usually found to be around 1.1 ft (35 cm) in length. The largest of this species is up to 18 times the length of the black phantom tetra.

How fast can a hampala barb swim?

We do not know how fast the hampala barb (Hampala macrolepidota) can swim.

How much does a hampala barb weigh?

Hampala barbs are among the largest of the barb species. The largest fish of this species has been recorded to weigh about 14.5 lb (6.58 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

No specific names have been given for the male and female members of this aquatic species.

What would you call a baby hampala barb?

Generally, baby fishes are called fry.

What do they eat?

The hampala barb is a well-known predatory fish. Small fishes, aquatic insects, crustaceans, zooplankton, and aquatic plants are a part of the diet of these enthusiastic feeders. They attack together in shoals, not allowing prey to escape.

While kept in the aquarium, their diet can include frozen and live foods. This should not be mixed together with dried food. Make sure to keep an eye on what they eat as the diet of this fish needs to be controlled so you do not overfeed it. Bloodworms, shrimp chops, and small earthworms can be given to smaller fish. The bigger adults can consume entire shrimp, mussels, and larger earthworms.

Keep in mind that feeding mammal or bird meat to this bird can be dangerous. The presence of lipids in the diet is not digested properly by the barb. This can lead to excessive fat deposition which ultimately degrades the organ function. Even feeder fish such as goldfish should be avoided as they may carry diseases or parasites.

Are they dangerous?

This large fish is not much dangerous but can be very aggressive.

Would they make a good pet?

It is advised to keep this fish in an large public aquarium and has enough water in the fish tank.

Did you know...

Though these fishes are quite often referred to as jungle perches, they are in no way related to perch fish.

Probably the best tank mates for this fish are catfishes, characids, and other large cyprinids.

How do you catch the hampala barb?

This fish is mainly found in Southeast Asian countries. It has been a popular food in these countries since the ancient days. It is a fish of prime importance for fisheries. Some of the best places to catch this fish would be the Mae Klong, Mekong, and Chao Phraya river watersheds, and even the waters surrounding Indonesia.

Catching this fish can be quite a task because they are known to fight back aggressively and tug the lure in the mouth towards themselves. A hampala barb is quite a trophy to be caught. The best bait for this large bard (Hampala genus) is shrimp and worms.

The barb fish is actually really smart, simply following the bait for long periods of time before snatching it in its mouth. It requires quite a lot of patience to catch them.

Can you eat barb fish?

Yes, this fish is quite a delicacy in Southeast Asia. You can spot the hampala barb for sale in most of fish markets in this region. It has good taste but is quite bony.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish from our skipjack tuna facts and king salmon facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable barb coloring pages.

Hampala Barb Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Crustaceans, small fish, and zooplankton

What Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?


How Much Did They Weigh?

Up to 14.5 lb (6.58 kg)

What habitat Do they Live In?

freshwater sources

Where Do They Live?


How Long Were They?

Up to 2.3 ft (70.1 cm)

How Tall Were They?








Scientific Name

Hampala macrolepidota

What Do They Look Like?

Large silver/gold scales and vertical black bar down the dorsal fin

Skin Type


What Are Their Main Threats?

overfishing and water pollution

What is their Conservation Status?

Least Concern
We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason

Bachelor of Science specializing in Mass Communication.

Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason picture

Adekunle Olanrewaju JasonBachelor of Science specializing in Mass Communication.

With over 3+ years of professional experience, Olanrewaju is a certified SEO Specialist and Content Writer. He holds a BSc in Mass Communication from the University of Lagos. Throughout his dynamic career, Olanrewaju has successfully taken on various roles with startups and established organizations. He has served as a Technical Writer, Blogger, SEO Specialist, Social Media Manager, and Digital Marketing Manager. Known for his hardworking nature and insightful approach, Olanrewaju is dedicated to continuous learning and improvement.
Read full bio >