Blue Spotted Hill Trout (Barilius Bakeri) Keeping, Breeding & Feeding

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The Blue Spotted Hill Trout is not seen in the hobby as often as it should be. This colorful character inhabits fast-flowing streams in its native Kerala, India. This species of fish is ideally suited to a species-only tank which is designed to simulate a fast-flowing stream.

In this guide, we look at every aspect of caring for these beautiful fish.


Common Name:Blue Spotted Hill Trout
Scientific Name:Barilius bakeri
Origin:Southwestern India
Tank DistributionAll areas
Adult Size:4” – 5” (10cm – 13cm)
Life Expectancy:Unknown
Care Level:Intermediate
Minimum Tank Size:180 Gallons
Breeding Method:Egg Scatterer
Temperature:64°F – 78°F (18°C – 26°C)
pH:6.0 – 7.5

Blue Spotted Hill Trout Origins

The Blue Spotted Hill Trout is endemic to the Western Ghats mountains which are located in Southwestern India. It is known to live in the fast-flowing streams in a number of different areas including the Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and the Pampa river basin.

Map of Southwestern India

Blue Spotted Hill Trout Habitat

Barilius bakeri inhabits moderate to fast-flowing streams and rivers. These rivers are naturally fast-flowing and as such are well oxygenated and anyone hoping to keep these stunning fish will need to recreate these conditions in the home aquarium.

The streams where the Blue Spotted Hill Trout live tend to have large boulders which create turbulent currents and provide areas where the Hill Trout can rest out of the flow. The rest of the substrate tends to be made up of gravel, cobbles, and exposed bedrock. Again, the aquarist should try to recreate these conditions in the home aquarium.

In the wild, the Blue Spotted Hill Trout finds its natural habitat under pressure from domestic and industrial pollution as well as large-scale mining and the introduction of non-native species.

Keeping Barilius Bakeri In Captivity

When it comes to setting up an aquarium to house Barilius bakeri, the surface area is more important than water volume. A 6’ x 2’ aquarium is probably the smallest size suitable. High flow is essential for the Blue Spotted Hill Trout. As such, you should aim to turn the aquarium over 5 or 6 times an hour.

The aquarium should be set up to resemble a fast-flowing stream, with rocks of multiple different sizes being used to create areas of fast flow and areas of slow flow where the fish can rest. The substrate should mainly be made up of gravel and cobbles with the addition of roots, branches, and driftwood. Plants including Bolbitis and Anubias can be used to give a more ‘natural’ feel.

Barilius bakeri Water Parameters

  • Temperature: 64°F – 78°F (18°C – 26°C)
  • pH: 6.0-7.5
  • Hardness: 18-179ppm

The Blue Spotted Hill Trout is especially intolerant of poor water quality. Frequent, large water changes will be required to keep ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels as close to 0 as possible.

A combination of filers, powerheads, and air stones will be required to provide sufficient water flow and create the levels of dissolved oxygen the fish need.

Anyone keeping Barilius bakeri in captivity will need to be aware that they are jumpers. A tight-fitting lid will be required otherwise your fish will jump out of the aquarium.

Barilius Bakeri Tank Mates

Due to the very specific requirements and tank setup for the Blue Spotted Hill Trout, the list of compatible tank mates is short. The Blue Spotted Hill Trout will eat small tank mates and likely out-compete larger ones for food.

loricariid catfishes and some members of the Botia family may work well as tank mates as well some of the larger Rasbora species.

Barilius bakeri should be kept in a group of at least 6-8 individuals. They are shoaling fish (meaning they will swim with other fish, not just members of their own species) so find safety in numbers.

What To Feed Barilius Bakeri

Barilius bakeri is mainly a surface-feeding fish that, in its natural habitat, will eat bugs, insects, and aquatic organisms. Research has also shown that Barilius bakeri will eat small fish and invertebrates.

When being kept in captivity, Barilius bakeri will eat live or frozen bloodworms as well as mealworms, earthworms, and crickets.

Breeding Barilius Bakeri In Captivity

At the time of writing, there are no records of fry being successfully raised in captivity.

Research into breeding Barilius bakeri in captivity suggests that carrying out large water changes with water that is colder than the existing tank water will stimulate spawning.

When it comes to sexing Barilius bakeri, the females tend to be less brightly colored than the males. They also grow larger than the males.

In Conclusion

If you are looking for something different, maybe a fresh challenge, then these active little fish might be the ones for you. If you only own a single aquarium, there are probably better species to choose from. If however you fancy setting up a tank dedicated to one fish, or maybe a bio-type setup, then give the Blue Spotted Hill Trout a go.

About the Author

I’ve been keeping, breeding, and showing tropical fish for nearly 30 years. Over that time I’ve done it all! I’ve had great success and I’ve made some really foolish mistakes (like the time I bought an Asain Walking Catfish). Read more…
Richard James