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FAQs on the Minnows called Barbs, Danios and Rasboras Compatibility

Related Articles: Barbs, Danios & RasborasA Barbed Response; Wrongly maligned for being fin-nippers, barbs are in fact some of the best fish for the home aquarium by Neale Monks

Related FAQs:  Barbs, Danios, Rasboras 1, Barbs, Danios, Rasboras 2, B,D,R Identification, B,D,R Behavior, B,D,R Selection, B,D,R Systems, B,D,R Feeding, B,D,R Disease, B,D,R Reproduction,

A huge, but easygoing specimen of the Gold Barb

crayfish and barbs?    12/25/12
Hi there, I recently moved cross country, and gave away most of my fish. 
I've got a plakat Betta, a pair of orange dwarf crayfish and a ton of cherry shrimp (I swear those things breed faster than rabbits!)  I've got a 10 gallon tank that the Betta and shrimp will be living in, and I asked my roommate to choose between fish species for my 30 gallon.  She liked tiger barbs best out of the fish that I was considering, so I'll be keeping those in my bigger tank.  I know that the crayfish are fish safe (they've been with the Betta and shrimp for months, and the worst damage I've seen was a nipped fin where the Betta got a bit too close in the first week they were all together.), but I was wondering if the barbs are crayfish safe. 
Everything I've found online seems to mention that the barbs would destroy my shrimp (which I was never planning to keep with them anyway) or that the crayfish would attack fish, but the articles seemed to be referring to full sized crayfish, and not the fish-safe dwarfs.  If they've got spaces to hide in my tank, would it be okay to keep the crayfish in with my tiger barbs, or should I plan to add a few more rocks to my 10 gallon and keep them with my Betta instead?
Thank you, as always I believe that your expertise is incredibly helpful!
<In theory, Cambarellus species are "community safe" so can be mixed with all sorts of small, active fish. But they are so infrequently kept that we can't be 100% sure about every combination. I think it would be safe, certainly safer than mixing Cambarellus with Betta splendens, but keep your eyes open for trouble nonetheless. One risk would be the fairly large adult Tiger Barbs molesting the Dwarf Crayfish when it moults. Cheers, Neale.> 

Platies and Danios... comp.   3/11/11
I was wondering if you mix platies and Danios would the platies eat the flakes for the Danios instead of the algae based food that would be also go in the tank causing constipation in the platies?? Also would the Danios grab most of the food from platies??
<This can be a problem. So, try this: on alternate days feed either regular flake food or algae-flake food. Danios can eat algae-flake safely, and Platies can eat plain flake food safely, even though algae-flake is better.
You should find this works just fine. Once a week you can also offer a single algae wafer, of the sort used to feed Plecs. The Platies will nibble on this all day, while the Danios will be stuck at the top of the tank unable to eat it at all.>
The platies I have are slow and non-aggressive, but Danios are so fast at feeding. Is it generally bad to mix fish that need different types of food??
<In some cases, yes. The classic example is Tropheus spp. cichlids, which need mostly greens, and if they eat even a little bit too much meaty food, appear to become prone to bloating and other problems.>
Thank You!!!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Odessa Barbs, ID, comp.  2/1/2010
Hello again,
I was looking at adding at some schooling fish to my tank, and saw some Odessa Barbs at my LFS that were black with red markings.
<Yes; Puntius padamya, a species for long assumed to be a variety of Ticto Barb, Puntius ticto, but now recognised as a truly distinct species. Nice fish; the colours on mature fish are outstanding.>
I have read/heard conflicting things on the tendency of barbs to nip at other fish.
<"Barbs" range from big, predatory species through to small species that only eat plankton. Like cichlids and catfish, it all depends on the species.>
I have also read conflicting things regarding the temperature range of Odessa barbs.
<Like most barbs, they prefer cooler rather than warmer temperatures. As such, they're good companions for tanks around 20-25 C, e.g., alongside Danios and Corydoras, which also like fairly cool water.>
I currently have 2 pearl Gouramis and a dwarf Gourami, along with some platys and a some Cory catfish. The tank is well planted and cycled. Should I be concerned about fin nipping/ and or temperature incompatibility?
<Puntius padamya is an occasional rather than serious fin nipper, so Corydoras and Platies should be fine, but Gouramis less so. It will depend on their environment though, in a big tank with lots of plants, and if kept in a big group (at least 6 specimens, ideally 10+) the barbs should spend more time chasing one another than harassing tankmates. Can't guarantee that though.>
Thanks again,
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Odessa Barbs, other stkg. poss.  2/1/2010
In lieu of Odessa barbs, could you recommend a colorful, relatively small schooling fish that won't potentially pose a problem to the pearl Gouramis?
Thanks again,
<Any of the Rainbowfish family would do the trick nicely. Depending on the size of your tank, you might consider things like Iriatherina werneri and Melanotaenia praecox at the small end of the range, through to Glossolepis
incisus to Melanotaenia boesemanni at the larger end of the range.
Melanotaenia herbertaxelrodi and Bedotia geayi are another pair of lovely species. They all mix with each other perfectly well, assuming similar size, so you can keep multiple species in groups of six (equal numbers of males and females recommended for best colours and personality). Cheers, Neale.>

Compatibility and general questions. Rams and Barbs   12/27/09
Hello all WWM crew,
<Hi Andy>
It has been a while since I've last contacted for your support, which I guess is a good thing. Thanks to all your efforts, and a special thanks to Neale, my Arowana and L-25 Scarlet Pleco tank have been very successful approximately three years now and hopefully many more to come. But I do come here with a few questions in mind and hope that you guys could clear things up for me.
<Mmm, Neale's "marked out" presently. I think he's visiting in the States... Omaha, NE...>
Aside from my love for monster oddball fish, I am starting to find a great interest in community tanks and aquaria. I currently have a 55 gallon tank that houses 8 Roseline sharks (Puntius denisonii).
The other day, a friend of mine gave me four German Blue Rams (Papiliochromis ramirezi).
Now I know that they require totally different water parameters, but didn't want to see them flushed down the toilet. Anyhow, was wondering if you have any ideas how these two will coexist.
<Mmm, can... with something middling twixt their "likes" water quality-wise...>
I set my tank's temp. at 75 degrees F. to find a median point.
<Mmm, I'd raise this closer to 80>
Correct me if I am wrong, but the denisonii requires cooler temps, where as the rams require a warmer temp?
My waters Ph is around 7.4 and hopefully that will be tolerable.
<I'd shoot for something more neutral... closer to 7.0>
Secondly, is it normal for both species to school together?
<No, but these two are both products of successive captive breeding... so, can tolerate a wider range of circumstances, likely show more "community" type behavior>
It is an amazing sight, as the rams have settled in and now are schooling with the roselines. Is this normal behavior and is there any chance of aggression against each other?
<Not much chance here>
The rams are rather small and young in age, but maybe once they realize they are cichlids, they will start to attack the sharks? Or am I just worrying too much?
<Barbs, not "minnow" sharks, and no sense worrying>
I would also like to ask if fish stress out if they don't receive enough sleep?
<I do think so>
Reason I ask is because my Arowana tank is in my room and I usually tend to stay up really late, sometimes to the early morning hours. Even with my lights off, if my television is on, they will stay awake. Reason I know they do sleep is when/if I leave for a couple hours, in which the room is completely dark, upon my return they are usually shocked/stunned/light-colored/unresponsive for a couple of minutes until they pull through. Any harm done if I've deprived them of their sleep?
<Might be, as mentioned. I would leave some small light on in the room at all times to prevent the "spooking">
One last question. I'm sure my question varies greatly depending on the species of fish, but does fish have a good memory?
<Some species do, others don't appear to>
I've always been curious of this. For example, my Pleco has a cave he calls home right now. If I move him to another tank, for say a couple months and he finds a new home, upon his return, will he likely find he previous home right away?
Reason I ask is because I might be taking a vacation for a few months, all the while having another family member taking care of the tanks with strict directions and instructions. Was wondering upon my return, if they will remember me, especially my Arowana. As of right now, I'm the only one that he/she responds to when I approach the tank.
I've blabbered excessively with my ridiculous questions. Once again, thanks greatly for all your efforts and responses. It means a lot to me, as well as many others out there. Have a great day, and happy holidays to all the WWM crew.
<And to you and yours Andy. Bob Fenner>

2 questions. Glass shrimp repro., gold barb comp.  7/13/08 Hi guys. I noticed that my ghost/glass shrimp had eggs the other day!! I'm excited about possibly having babies! Unfortunately I have not found a lot of info on raising the fry. I have a 1gal tank with a bubble filter and some gravel to isolate the moms and babies (my nursery!) I noticed tonight when I was trying to catch the moms-to-be that there was a "bug" floating in my tank. I fished him out and discovered to my delight that it was a shrimp fry!! So he is now in my nursery. What can/do I need to feed the fry? I don't want to starve them to death. I put some algae pellets and 1-2 fish flakes, is this enough for the fry? <The American Glass Shrimp is Palaemonetes paludosus, a species with a planktonic larval stage (albeit quite a brief one). As such, it is virtually impossible to breed in aquaria. The mother will carry the eggs for a period of weeks, but once they hatch the fry float about in the water column feeding on microscopic organisms including algae. Unless you are able to both feed them and make sure they don't get sucked into the filter, the fry will die. The Amazonian Glass Shrimp Palaemonetes sp. is similar. Only those shrimps that produce fully-formed juveniles (such as Cherry Shrimps) are breedable in aquaria -- and how! Cherry Shrimps will multiply almost as quickly as snails under the right conditions.> And one question not shrimp related. I have one more too. I have a Gold barb in an 2.5 gallon tank because he didn't play nice and killed 8 of my other fish. <Did it have any tankmates of its own kind? Most Barbs tend to be aggressive and/or nippy when kept in groups smaller than six, and though it sounds odd, they become more peaceful the bigger the school. In any case, this tank is far too small for what I am assuming is Puntius semifasciolatus.><<Likely Puntius sachsii. RMF>> I did a water change and went home for the weekend and came back to find him in horrible shape. His fins were almost gone, and he had some red/bloody patches on the front of his lip, and at the base of his tail. He was very "twitchy." <Surely poor water quality. In a tank this small, maintaining the essential zero nitrite and zero ammonia at all times will be next to impossible given the size/activity of this fish.> I tested my water, and everything was normal, except for the water being hard, the pH about 7.8, making it alkaline. I treated the water I researched it and everything matched up with fin rot. <Would agree.> I got him some Melafix.... <Garbage; use something that actually works, e.g., eSHa 2000 (in Europe) or Maracyn (in the US). Melafix appeals to some aquarists and retailers because it is "homeopathic" and cheap. But it isn't tested either, and doesn't pass anything like the standards required by proper veterinarian drugs.> ...and it seemed to start to work, and the twitchiness decreased. Today he has some new open sores. He has a small in tank filter, 2 plastic plants and a decoration to hide under. Could he be "scratching" against his hiding spot? Or have I misdiagnosed him? He's not my favorite fish, but I don't want him to die a slow painful death. I can send a pic of him. <First of all, treat him appropriately. Then monitor water quality, and act accordingly. He can't possibly live in a 2.5 gallon system, so moving him to another tank is essential. If he is aggressive with your other fish, that's likely because he's bored. Barbs are intensely social, and like humans, become cranky and unpredictable when kept "in solitary". Consider six specimens the minimum number, and ten or more the ideal.> Thanks guys. Michelle <You're welcome, Neale.>

Question about Guppy-tail-nipping Danio 5/16/08 Hello, I only have a 10-gallon tank. <Too small for Danios or Guppies. Danios need at least 60 cm length swimming space -- they live in fast mountain streams! Male Guppies are aggressive, and in small tanks fight with one another and harass females.> I bought 2 Glo-fish, and 2 zebra Danios (one rather feisty one, unfortunately) to start. One Danio died due to high ammonia, I believe. <Did you add all these fish at once? Did you cycle the tank before adding fish?> He was replaced by a long-finned leopard Danio and a guppy. Two days after buying, the long-finned Danio died (unknown cause). <You shouldn't add any new fish until you understand why the last one died.> One day after introducing the guppy, his tail became 'split' and I blamed this on the rock in the tank. However, today, I saw the original, more aggressive Danio take a nip and part of the guppy's tail went floating down! <Not at all uncommon. Fancy Guppies should never be kept with Danios, Barbs, or Tetras.> I'm wondering now if the aggressive zebra had something to do with the other deaths. Usually, I've seen you recommend more Danios in this case. I have two questions. <Can help, but your tank is too small even for the ones you have.> Do you have an information on whether the Glo-fish Danios will school with the zebras? <May do, but they need to be in groups of at least six specimens for schooling behaviour to be triggered at all, and in very small tanks (like yours) my experience of Danios is that they just as often turn aggressive, eventually the one dominant male killing all the other Danios.> Mr. Aggressive seems to not nip them, but he certainly chases. <The chasing is stressful, and prevents the other fish feeding or relaxing. Long term, can and will lead to the weaker fish losing condition, perhaps dying.> I'm concerned about overloading my little tank. Perhaps a larger, calm fish? <Not in this tank. Too small. A 10-gallon tank is too small for most community fish, and really unless you are an EXPERT fishkeeper, best avoided completely. The price and space difference between a 10-gallon and a 20-gallon tank is trivial, and yet a 20-gallon tank is MUCH easier to stock and maintain.> I have no idea what that would be, by the way. <Nothing.> Is it a bad idea to have a guppy in there with Danios? Maybe their tails are too beautiful to resist. <A Fancy Guppy is merely a stupidly slow, stupid in intelligence fish as far as other fish species go. Most fish will nip at them given the chance, even "good" species like Angelfish.> After his behavior today, I have him separated from the others until I figure out how to handle him. <You need to completely re-stock this tank, as your combination of fish will almost certainly not work in the long term. I have stocked 10-gallon tanks, and they can be huge fun, but you have to choose species EXTREMELY carefully. Consider things like cherry shrimps, gobies, dwarf Aspidoras species, Corydoras habrosus/hastatus, dwarf Mosquitofish, Kuhli loaches and so on. Things that don't move around much, stay at or under 2.5 cm/1" in length, and have no aggressive/nippy characteristics.> Thank you so much, Amy <Regards, Neale.> Re: Question about Guppy-tail-nipping Danio 05/20/08 Thank you so much. I appreciate the response. <You are most welcome.> We added 2 fish at a time (a month apart each) to a new tank, which did cycle according to expectations. It's been about 3 months now. pH level seems a bit high, about 7.6. Water hardness is 300. <Nothing to worry about there. At 300 mg/l hardness, I'd expect a pH above 7, and 7.6 is fine. Most community fish will do very well in water of this sort.> Considering upgrading the tank. Will have to do research on the best method for this. <Easiest method is simply buy another tank, and then carry everything across, including the filter. A mature filter will work fine in a new tank, provided it isn't exposed to dry air for more than a few minutes and that the water in the new tank is basically the same temperature and chemistry to the old tank.> How do you get rid of fish you do not want? <Various ways, but often the easiest is to ask your retailer to "trade them in". Most stores are used to this, because it's part of the hobby. Especially when you start breeding fish! Sometimes you get credit, sometimes not. Depends on the store. If that's not an option, you can join a tropical fish forum (there are many) and you'll often see they have trading sections where people give away or sell unwanted fish. Often folks simply end up with multiple tanks as they realize that not all their favourite fish live together, so they create two or more tanks, each perfectly suited to a different type of fish.> I do not want to kill any other fish. <And I certainly don't want you to do this, either!> I really do appreciate your time and knowledge. <Happy to help.> Amy <Cheers, Neale.> Re: Question about Guppy-tail-nipping Danio 05/20/08 Thank you again. I'm surprised by the 'trade them in' policy. I will ask! Amy <Good luck, Neale.>

Type of Catfish Compatible with Rosey Barbs  1/5/08 Hello, <Hello Vera,> First of all, thank you for being such a wonderful information source! I've been reading the web site for some time now although I cannot find any exact advice regarding my issue. <Oh...?> I have a 14 gallon tank with 4 Rosey barbs that has a brown algae outbreak. Two days ago, I returned home to find the heater "cranked up" to 90 degrees F. Luckily, the barbs all survived but the brown algae is becoming worse. <Hmm... 14 gallons a bit small for Rosy Barbs (Puntius conchonius); maximum size is 15 cm/6", though typically only about half that in aquaria.> I purchased an Emerald Corydoras but the barbs attacked him so bad that I moved him to another tank with 3 bronze Corydoras. <Very unusual behaviour. Usually these barbs are quite well behaved. Ordinarily, I'd expect subtropical Corydoras (e.g., Peppered, Bronze, Bearded Corydoras) to do well with Rosy Barbs.> Do you advise getting an algae eater for this issue or attempting to treat the algae. <The easiest way to treat algae is to improve the growth of live plants by adding more light. Floating plants are easiest for this, but any fast-growing plants will do. Algae-eaters generally have moderate to no effect, and in the long term only increase the pollutants in the water, helping algae grow faster. Besides, your tank is a bit overstocked already.> I have performed a 50% water change; and turned the temperature down to 76 degrees F. <Too warm: these are subtropical barbs. Aim for 20C/68F.> The tank has plastic plants, a resin tree stump, a "real" rock from an established tank and light colored medium river stone. Thank you so much for the assistance!! Vera Have a good day! <Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Barbs, comp. Child   11/06/07 dear WWM crew. I have emailed you about the guppies a lot .I figured that out but just want to know how to cure something that seems like fin rot. also I have read online that you need to keep 4 to 6 cherry barbs together. are there any other barbs that you can put with a cherry barb to make up the school of 6. thanks. <Greetings. When creating groups (schools) of a certain species, you have to use the same species. That's the whole point. If I put you in a motor car with a chimp, a gorilla, and a gibbon, there wouldn't be a group of people in there. There'd be one person plus three different kinds of ape. So if you need a group of six Cherry Barbs (Puntius titteya) then you need to buy six Cherry Barbs, not two Cherry Barbs, two Tiger Barbs and two Spanner Barbs. All this said, I've never considered Puntius titteya a schooling species; it seems to be more of a territorial loner. So unless your specimens are obviously unhappy (e.g., not eating, or very shy) then I wouldn't worry about it. As for curing Finrot, the cause and the cure are usually quite simple. Finrot is caused 9 times out of 10 by water quality issues. Check especially nitrite and, in the case of Guppies, hardness. Guppies need nitrite/ammonia-free water and the water must be hard and alkaline. Cheers, Neale>

Angelfish not Compatible w/ Barbs... - 10/18/06 I purchased a medium sized silver angel fish from a reliable fish store a few days ago. <OK - hopefully you quarantined it, even though you find the store reliable...> The first day it looked stressed; difficulty maintaining balance and swimming.  By the second day, its balance and strength seemed to improve.  It's now the third day and I expect any minute to see it floating.  It's been hiding much of the time behind the strip thermometer in the front of the tank.  I haven't seen it eat although I provide a variety of food for it (dried blood worms, color bits, shrimp pellets and flake food.)  I also have five bleeding heart tetras, six red platys, a rope fish and a few feeder sized guppies.  All of the other fish seem happy.   <Have you recently tested the water parameters? I'd start buy finding out what the ammonia, nitrite and nitrates are at, along with pH.  Also, when you put the fish in the tank, did you slowly acclimate it, or just immediately release it in the tank?> Would a partial water change/gravel vacuuming stress it out more?   <Depends on your water parameters - generally, water changes are never a bad thing, however...> What about moving it to another tank (10 gal) by itself for a while? <You should have done this initially.  If the fish was harboring some sort of disease, it's now been introduced into your main tank.  If the fish still isn't acting well, I would quarantine it ASAP, though.  Make sure to provide hiding places (plants, decor, etc.).  Also, in the present tank, have you been able to observe if any of the older inhabitants are picking on the new arrival? Especially the barbs - they can be very fin nippy, and the angel, with its beautiful fins, could find him/herself being bullied, which obviously would cause stress.  In all reality, angels and barbs should not be housed together.> I called the store where I got it (in a tank by itself) and they said it was healthy and eating well there. <What else would they say?!> Out of the four angels they had, this one seemed most active when I bought it.  Now it just hides. <I think you have an incompatible mix of fish here - you will likely have to find a new home for the angel...with peaceful tankmates, not aggressive ones, like barbs.>   I have plenty of plants in the tank, but it seems to prefer the thermometer.  What should I do?  Will it eventually get used to its tankmates or is it more likely to starve to death? <Incompatible.  Either set up a suitable species / peaceful community aquarium for the angel or return it to the fish store.  Do make sure to research species compatibility before purchasing...check out A Simple Guide to Freshwater Aquariums by David E. Boruchowitz if you haven't yet...> <Good luck, Jorie.>

Jorie Misread Last Email - Apologies All Around. Angel Fish with Tetras... - 10/18/06 I don't have any barbs unless they go by a different name.  The 29 gal tank has a rope fish, six platys, five bleeding heart tetras and a few guppies? Which ones are barbs? <I apologize for my mistake, Jennifer - I misread your list.  Your stocking scheme seems fine, but whenever a new fish is introduced, you should look out for bullies.  Your setup seems good, complete with plants and all for cover, but do make sure no one is harassing the angel.> PS.  Chemicals were fine. <"Fine" is subjective - ammonia and nitrites are both at zero, and nitrates no more than 20 ppm (at the very highest?)>   I did the water change and moved it to a 10 gal tank with a mild mannered female beta, a glow light tetra (large) and a neon tetra (large). <Sounds like a good idea.> I would have put it by itself but the beta didn't like the turbulent water in the big tank and the rope fish would probably eat the tetras. <I understand; sounds logical.> Angel seems healthier and has started to eat a little food. <Great sign.> It hides behind the plants during the day but swims around at night.  I have noticed it's tail seems a bit nipped since I moved it.  Territorial tetras? <That would be my first guess.  You could try re-arranging the decor, etc. so that the angel isn't so much the "newcomer" - this can work with territorial saltwater fish issues sometimes, so I would think the same theory would hold true in fresh...> I haven't seen any problems but I can't imagine who else could be doing it. Angel doesn't swim as fast as they do. <I agree.  Perhaps the tetras can go into the 29? If not, I'm not sure what options you have, besides finding another home for the angel...> Thanks for your advise. Jennifer Pickett <Jennifer, I apologize once again for misreading your initial e-mail - no barbs, I see that now! As you point out, though, the tetras may be bullying the angel - if the re-arrangement doesn't help sort things out, you may have to play "musical tanks" again...best of luck. Jorie>

Question / Tropical Fish / Barbs ... comp., and FW dis. - 04/05/2006 Hi there I have recently started a Tropical tank, it has been running for approx. 8 weeks now, and have a problem with my fish, and the local guys are not able to assist me with information.  I have 5 Tiger Barbs, 5 Rosy Barbs, had 2 catfish <What kind?  Some are large and carnivorous, others, like Corydoras cats, are quite small and great with tetras.> and had 7 Cardinals (only 3 remain) in a 2ft tank.  I have narrowed the problem to either the Tiger or Rosy Barbs killing off and eating the cardinals and the catfish, but I do not know who the culprit is.   <Actually, cardinals are very, very delicate.  Nearly all or all are still wild caught (though many Neons, closely related, are bred en masse).  It's entirely possible that the cardinals are dying prior to their consumption....> They would have been in the tank for 2 weeks this coming Sat, 8 April.  The cardinals have reduced one at a time.  Only on one occasion have we been able to net out a carcass, all other times, there has been no sign of a dead Cardinal.  With your knowledge, please advise what I should do.  I will isolate the Cardinals tonight and the fish shop have said they will take the fish back, either the Tiger or the Rosy Barbs depending on what I decide.   <Though tiger barbs can get a little boisterous and aggressive, I really tend to think that there's something else amiss, here - even just the act of removing a cardinal or neon from the water can cause extreme stress in these delicate fish.  If the water parameters are not utterly ideal (0 ammonia and nitrite, extremely low nitrate, soft, acidic water) they may not work out in this system.> Which of these 2 are the more likely to predate on the Cardinals, <Typically, neither.> and the Catfish, <"Catfish" is a little too general.  You're talking half inch dwarf cories on up to 200lb Pangasiids - MAJOR variation among species, here....> and can I put in a Plecostomus in with these fish - he is about 7cm long.   <Not a common Plec, not in a 2' tank.  You might get by with a Bushynose Ancistrus.> If I keep the Tigers and the Rosies, what would be a good companion for them?   <Other similar sized, similar attitude tetras, barbs or danios would do great.> I look forward to your response.  Thank you,  -Penny Ludgrove <Wishing you well,  - Sabrina>

Cherry barbs and Betta comp. Dear Bob [or whoever happens to get this email :)], Thanks for the advice on adding the extra charcoal to my filter. A few weeks after I added it my Betta's tail seemed to be growing back quite nicely! <Ah, good> Now that my tank is cycled and I know that my water is fine I added a few more fish. My tank is 5 gallons with a bio-wheel filter, 79-80 degrees and all of my water parameters are zero. 2 weeks ago I added one rummy nose tetra and two male cherry barbs. At first everything was going well then after about a week the barbs started nipping my Betta's tail. <Very common in such a small volume> Now his tail is beginning to look shredded. He has not been aggressive towards them at all and the tetra ignores them all and happily and actively swims all over the tank and his nose is blood red so I think he must be very happy! I had read many different things on your site saying that cherry barbs would be ok with a Betta so now I'm kind of confused as to what type of fish won't be aggressive towards him. <More than "species A and B" to this equation... particularly environmental size, make-up...> The fish store I bought the barbs from just went out of business so I'm hoping I can find another store that will let me trade them in since they are very healthy. Do you have any other suggestions as to one or two other fish (other than Corys) I can put in with my Betta and rummy nose tetra? Thanks! Catherine <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betcompfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Tiger Barb Tank additions  12/14/05   Hi, Great site!    <Thank you>   I have been trawling through your FAQ pages trying to find an answer to my question without bothering you with an e-mail, but there are just to many!   I have a 50g tank that I am trying to set up around a school of Tiger Barbs (6 regular 1 Green and 3 albino) I also have a Red Tailed Black Shark and a few (4) Zebra Danios in there as well. Everybody is happy and the pecking order is very balanced. The Danios just keep themselves happy on the top and the barbs and the shark live quite happily together everywhere else, but the bottom of the tank is lacking any real activity. I don't want to upset a happy balance between some real tricky fish but would like some bottom dwelling action, could you please suggest something that would be accepted in my little short fused community.   Oh and would I be able to add a weather loach or would he get hounded??? <Due to the real potential "pickiness" of the Barbs and FW shark, I would add some armored catfishes here... a nice grouping of Corydoras species and a "Pleco" of some sort most notably. Bob Fenner>

Long-Finned Red Rosie Barbs vs.. Peaceful 29 Gallon Community  Dear Bob Fenner, <Anthony Calfo in your service> I was delighted when I found your WetWebMedia website yesterday. I found it very informative and very helpful. I thank you! In trying to locate it again today I found that I had best be more careful to have the absolute correct address for future reference (don't leave off the media -- good grief!). <hehe... how about setting the WWM page as the default homepage in your browser <wink>> In a nutshell, I have had fresh water tropical (and cold/goldfish) community fish aquariums on and off since I was a kid. I am now in my fourth decade with four kids who have each tried their hand at same. Most recently, we moved our 29 gallon aquarium from one end of our home to the other at a point when it was fishless and only had a few plants. I've restarted it. It is in pretty good shape except that the Ammo-Lock that I put in it (that I was told I probably never needed since it sat there for at least a couple months in only a few inches of previous aquarium water with only plants and no fish) causes any readings to show high ammonia content;  <you can get an accurate ammonia test reading if you use dry tab reagents instead> and the ph is bit high; about 7.8. I put some PH Down in there today. We'll see how it reads tomorrow. What I have now are three (3) beautiful Long-Finned Red Rosie Barbs.  <yes...gorgeous> I purchased them at PetSmart eight (8) days ago. They seem in very good health. However, two of the three have come to have some shredded fins. One of them I figure to be the champ. He looks great! After doing some more extensive reading after the purchase, I realize that I purchased some fish that are more aggressive than I wanted for this tank. I phoned PetSmart. They said I may return them within 14 days of the purchase. I figure I have six (6) more days to decide whether or not to return these beautiful Barbs and go for some more peaceful fish. My 15-year-old, 10-year-old (the two of my four kids that are still at home), and my 49-year-old (my husband) have expressed that they would like to see Angelfish in our tank. I know these beautiful Barbs won't get along with Angelfish. I also know my ph is way too high for Angelfish. I'm told my ph should be 7.0 for Angelfish. I would like a peaceful, yet interesting aquarium. I think my best bet is to bring down my ph, and return the beautiful, yet too aggressive, Long-Finned Red Rosie Barbs to PetSmart.  <I hate to see them go too... but, yes... I agree> I believe what I would eventually like to see in my aquarium would be some Angelfish, Red Sunset Gouramis, Corys, White Long-Finned Tetras (?), maybe a Pleco.. (Rock Fish) (?), more plants, and some Mystery Snails. I'm not sure what else might fit well into this type of tank. I am open to any good suggestions and advice. <harlequin Rasboras, gold tetras, dwarf ram cichlids...so many choices> I do have a couple more questions. I wonder if you would know why I actually have a hard time keeping snails alive in my tank. For some reason they never last long. I live in the northern Maryland suburbs of the Washington-Metropolitan area. Could it have anything to do with my water?  <sure lack of minerals...too much of a given metal/mineral, etc> I do use dechlorinator, and I do let the water sit for a day or two before putting it in the tank. <not really necessary. Just dechlorinator is fine> My last question (for now) pertains to Corys. I love Corys -- any kind of Cory. I lean toward the less expensive, less popular kind. I have always had at least (and usually) one in any tank I've ever kept. I never knew this before, but I am told they like to school. I am told I should have at least three.  <absolutely> The problem I have experienced (more than just a couple of times over the years) with Corys is that whenever I added a second Cory to my one, the first one (that had usually been there for months to years) has always died very shortly thereafter (days to weeks). Can you think of any reason why this would happen?  <a bit odd if there are no other new fish deaths> Maybe one is okay, two is bad, three is better? I've never tried having more than two Cory's in my tank at a time. I never heard before last week that they liked to school.  <even three may not be enough if you get too many males. more than three would be nice for a shoal> Thank you very much for any help you can be. Yours truly, Marianne db <best regards, Anthony>

Tiger barbs and Otocinclus I just brought home 3 Otocinclus and 1 twig catfish for my 29 gallon tank containing 4 tiger barbs.  The tigers are ganging up on the Otos and chasing them all over the tank.  I am worried that the stress will kill them!  They have not spotted the twig cat yet but I have just read that the twig cat is easily harassed.  These are the fish that were recommended by the aquarium store (Old Orchard Aquarium in Skokie, Illinois) knowing that I have the barbs.  I was going to buy a clown Pleco having read up on them.  The guy in the store said they were not good algae eaters and to get the twig cat instead.  I am ticked!  I don't want these fish to suffer but what if the store won't take them back tomorrow? <Hello, Tiger Barbs sure can be terrors.  If you provide plenty of cover and dark hiding places they should be ok.  Live plants are great.  If the tiger barbs do not ease up on them after a while you may want to consider removing the Otocinclus.  Please be sure that there is enough food to go around for the Otos and the twig catfish.  Have you checked out the article below, good stuff.  Best Regards,  Gage http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/otocinclusart.htm>

Rosy Barbs and Tiger Barbs Oh My! I am new to fishkeeping and I have questions about the tiger barbs. I have started with 4 tigers to cycle the tank and I discovered that I like them. <A very nice fish, a little nippy at times, but pretty.> At the instruction of my dealer I have 3 rosy barbs in my quarantine tank waiting to go in the main tank <Be still my beating heart! You have a quarantine tank for your freshwater display. God bless you sir! You will surely be rewarded!> instead of buying 2 or 3 more tigers as most books suggest. <I would be happy as long as you have three or more.> He says its because I have only a 29 gallon tank and there won't be enough room for other fish if the schools are too big. <A fair point.> He also says that since they are in the same family the Rosies and the tigers will not harm each other. <I would prefer to put it as they will be able to put up with each other's abuse.> I am a little skeptical. Is 4 ok for a school of tigers? <Sure> Is 3 ok for Rosie's? <Yes, these are a little less prone to school, at least not as tightly as the Tiger Barbs.> Is it boring to have just 2 or 3 schools swimming around? <You will be able to fit more than these seven fish in your tank.> I don't want the tank to look too "busy". Also, what other fish do you suggest adding for variety? Stephen <Giant Danios are another of my favorites. Various Gouramis would work, too. -Steven Pro>
Rosy Barbs and Tiger Barbs Oh My! II
Hey Steven, thanks for replying so fast! <No sweat, you caught me at a good time.> Do you think fish look better in larger schools? <I think schooling fish should be kept in schools. Depending on the size of the tank, a large, tight school of fish is impressive to me.> About the quarantine tank: My dealer is reputable. Their tanks look great and the Rosies looked healthy all 4 times I visited the store in the past month. How long do they need to be in my quarantine tank? <Two weeks in perfect condition minimum for QT to be effective.> I see that you find various Gouramis compatible with tigers. Most books say the same, but the stores all say not to do it. Why? <You would have to ask them.> I would love to have one. Is it the blue and gold Gouramis (Trichogaster trichopterus) that are tough enough to deal with the barbs? <These are the most common ones and the ones I use often.> Thanks! Stephen <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Tetras & Tinfoils Hello, my name is Julie. My mom went on this site about my 4 black skirts and how one was fat in the same aquarium their is another problem, I have 4 tinfoil barbs and their eating my Neons we had 15 and now we only have 10, and I wanted to know if it is smart to give them away? (they are not feeding Neons) Julie (9 years old) <Julie, giving them away or putting them into a different tank would be the best thing you could do for them. Ronni>
Tinfoils, Neons, & Guppies
Hello, it's me again. Julie Forino My tinfoil are getting along with the Neons but if my tinfoil get bigger will they eat the guppies (male) <Tinfoils are pretty non-aggressive but there is always the possibility of this happening. These types of fish really shouldn't be mixed due to their size. And unless it is a large aquarium (55 gallon or more), you're really better off to stick with the smaller fish like the Neons and guppies.> P.S. They're not full grown yet!!!!!!!!!!!!!! <Nope, and Tinfoils can get very large, very fast. Ronni>

Tiger Barbs and plants, oh my! Hey guys and gals! <Howdy!> I am happy to say that I accidentally stumbled across this site while searching for some information on freshwater fish.  This is one of the best places I have found information that I need for my new money sink, err, hobby. :D <Were happy you found us too! Terribly sorry for the delay in replying.> Anyways, to the problem at hand.  I need your advice concerning a school of 5 Tiger barbs (Puntius tetrazona) I have in my tank.  It is a 20 gallon (24"x12"x18") utilizing a Whisper 20 (with a Triad retrofit kit), water heater, and a basic hood with lighting.  The living contents of the tank consist of 5 Tiger Barbs (on the small side - ranging in size from just under an inch to just over an inch), 2 Leopard Corys (Corydoras julii), an assortment of live plants, and some of those useful bacteria that help do the nitrogen cycle thing. The tank is 6-7 weeks old.  I had plastic plants in the tank until two days ago when I changed them out for live plants.  (I was having a problem getting the nitrogen cycle closed.  (It's a long story - don't think it has anything to do with the problem I am having with the barbs, but if you think it does I will be more than happy to give the details.)  I have to say that the fish seem happier.  The down side is that the barbs appear to have become more aggressive in the process. <Interesting> The Corys are coping by hiding in the plants and coming out when food is available or when the barbs seem to be lazing about.  However the plants have no where to go.  The barbs appear to be nipping at my red wendtii (Cryptocoryne wendtii), biting off small chunks and generally terrorizing the foliage.  The behavior stops once they are fed.  I started thinking that the problem could be controlled by ensuring they are fed enough.  However, the other part of "fed enough" is overfeeding which would result in a variety of different issues in the tank. My question is this: what should I do with the barbs?  I would rather not get rid of them - I am responsible for them after all.  I do not think getting rid of the plants is a good idea either.  Would feeding enough be counter balanced with the plants in the tank?  Would adding some other type of fish help regulate their behavior?  Are the plants tough enough to handle the abuse?  Are there any other options available to me? <Overfeeding is still going to cause lots of problems, even in a heavily planted tank. I would suggest removing all of the fish from the tank, rearrange the plants & decorations, and then add the fish back in. Put the Corys in first and let them be alone in the tank for an hour or two, then add the Tiger Barbs back. This will mess up their territory and putting the Corys in first will give them a short time to adjust to the new arrangements before the Barbs are added back. If they do still nip at your plants I wouldn't worry about it too much, they most likely wont do enough damage to matter. If the plants start looking pretty poor then you'll have to either remove the plants or the Tigers but I doubt this will happen. You might also put in a soft plant that you don't care if they eat. Anacharis works well for this as its inexpensive and soft/tasty enough that most fish will chew on it some. Maybe then they'd leave your others alone. Not positive on this but it might be worth a try.> My future plans for the tank are to add a Cory to bring the total to 3.  I am also contemplating adding a school of Rosy Barbs (Puntius conchonius) in several months (assuming there is "room" in the tank) as well as some sort of algae eating critters if the need arose. <Rosies may not be a good choice here. They tend to be very non-aggressive and would get picked on by the Tigers. Your tank isn't going to hold too many more fish, maybe 2-3 more plus a small Pleco at the most so if you're set on adding more you'd probably be best to go with more Tigers, maybe of the Albino or Green varieties. These will school with your current ones but would give you a bit of a color variation.> In closing I would like to thank you guys again for having a fabulous website.  I look forward to your advice. --Ted <Thank you! Ronni>

Tiger barbs <Ananda here, answering the freshwater fish questions...> Hi I have three tiger barbs in my tank at the moment and hope to get three more at the weekend. I have been told they can be semi aggressive (although they look like pussycats in the tank) <Appearance can be deceiving, especially with these fish.> Also I have two mollies which I had hoped to put in this tank. <Their fins and tails will look like tasty treats to the tiger barbs, who will be unable to resist nipping them.> Some people say its ok as long as I have a least six barbs. Others say its a no no. What is your opinion. <While multiple barbs may reduce some inter-species aggression, they will remain fin-nippers. Please read the good information here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/BarbsDaniosRasborasArt.htm.> I was hoping to free the present tank with the mollies to keep for any fry. Confused with all the conflicting advice. I have got attached to the mollies and I would hate for them to die at the same time I rather like the barbs as well. <Hmmm... "attached to" vs. "rather like"... sounds like you prefer the mollies. They are one of my favorite fish species, too, for their beautiful coloration and finnage. I would keep them separate. Mollies rarely eat their fry, so raising them in the same tank as the parents is usually possible.>    Totally confused. Margaret <Hope this helps ease the confusion. --Ananda>

Re: tank mates for Barbs WWM crew, I was looking through your barb FAQs, and noticed that you recommend Gouramis for tank mates with barbs.  I have a 400 gal. tank, and would like to have more variety than just barbs and Gouramis.  Could you please recommend a few more?  Thanks! <Certainly. The larger, faster (related minnow-fishes) Rasboras, Danios would be great... and maybe the freshwater angelfishes in such a large system, as well as many choices in dwarf South American cichlids (like the Apistogrammas). More? Bob Fenner> Rochelle

Cherry Barb Dear Mr. Robert Fenner, <You got Ronni today.> I am writing to ask your advice. I have a 3ft community fish tank with Zebra Danios Lemon Tetras Black Neons Neon Tetras Pearl Gouramis Platys Silver Tips I have seen some Cherry Barbs in the shop, do you think they would be O.K. with what I have already got? <Temperament wise they should be fine as long as you have enough room.> Because I have heard that all barbs are fin nippers, also would white clouds be O.K. with them? <Some Barbs are horrible fin nippers but many are very peaceful. Cherries can be either way, the ones I have are peaceful but I've heard of others who nip constantly. White Clouds prefer a bit cooler water than your current fish but they can be and often are successfully kept with many of the species you currently have.> I am looking for a peaceful community tank. <Looks like you have it with maybe the exception of the Gouramis. They can sometimes be quite aggressive but if there not causing any problems yet Id keep them.> Would be grateful for all your help. Thank you Robbie <Your very welcome.>
Re: Cherry Barb
Thank you for reply. I found your advice most helpful. Really appreciated. Cheers <Glad to be of service. Ronni>

Tiger barb I have a tiger barb that wont live with any other tankmates. I had 4 in a 15 gallon and he ate or killed the others.....I tried to put some more in but he killed them too. Also now he hides all day and all night unless I feed him pls help me find a way to make him not so scared and frightened or having killing urges....thanks Sean <<Dear Sean. How often do you do water changes? How long has this tank been running with fish in it? Is it cycling? You need to keep tiger barbs in groups of 4 to 6 fish. You should take a sample of your tank water to your Local Fish Store, and have them test it for ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. These are toxins that can kill your fish in a new tank. Please have your water tested, and then email me the results. -Gwen PS please try to type more legibly on your next email. I had a hard time understanding you this time. Thanks :) >>
Tiger Barb
>I have a tiger barb that wont live with any other tankmates. I had 4 in a >15 gallon and he ate or killed the others.....I tried to put some more in >but he killed them too. Also now he hides all day and all night unless I >feed him pls help me find a way to make him not so scared and frightened or >having killing urges....thanks Sean ><<Dear Sean. How often do you do water changes? How long has this tank been >running with fish in it? Is it cycling? You need to keep tiger barbs in >groups of 4 to 6 fish. You should take a sample of your tank water to your >Local Fish Store, and have them test it for ammonia, nitrites, and >nitrates. These are toxins that can kill your fish in a new tank. Please >have your water tested, and then email me the results. -Gwen >PS please try to type more legibly on your next email. I had a hard time >understanding you this time. Thanks :) >> Re: Tiger Barb I took it to PetCo and they said every thing was stable in it my nitrates and nitrites are at 0. (sorry about the bad typing.) Anyways, the tank is cycling and I did have him with 3 other tiger barbs but as I said in the other email he killed them or ate them.....I talked to the guy who worked at PetCo and he said try to get some more tiger barbs that are bigger than him. I didn't really trust him....well I would like to now how to get rid of this behavior of hiding and attacking tankmates...thank you, Sean <<Hello again, you are welcome :) I am very happy you got your water tested. I do agree with the Petco guy, you should add more tiger barbs, larger than the one you have left. They need to be kept in groups. One thing you can do is ask your pet store guy if they will take back your "killer" tiger barb. Tell them you want to buy  4 or 5, but you don't want the one you have now. Perhaps they will let you exchange him when you buy the new ones. Some stores will do this, some won't, but you won't know unless you ask them. Good luck :) -Gwen>>

Feeding Barbs the Wee fins o' Guppies -II >Thanks for the response. I have gotten another 29 gallon and removed all but the swordtail, and guppies, and I put in 3 more female guppies, 2 more female swordfish, 2 female platy's, and some ghost shrimp, and some real plants. I have 3 guppy fry as of this morning. >>Hi, you're welcome. So, as I understand it, you've separated all the livebearers from the barbs, et al. >I knew they looked pregnant so I already had the breeder net. My other tank has the sharks, tetra's, and barbs. >>Great, but I really MUST reiterate, the red-tail sharks are going to get *very* large, and when I say they're suitable for tanks with cichlids like Jack Dempseys, it means that they are quite aggressive and only fish that have similar propensities will be able to withstand their attention. You'll need to watch them closely, and when fish go missing, look to the red-tails first. The rainbow sharks can go into the tank with the livebearers, as they won't grow as large and are nowhere nearly as aggressive. >I didn't buy the injected tetra, they were given to me by my brother. >>Ah, fish gifting. >But thanks for telling me , I won't be buying anymore of them, as I agree it is cruel. >>A LOT of people have no idea how these fish come to be, and think that they maybe are painted with dye or similar. Can you imagine making your *living* taking tiny hypodermic needles and injecting fish with gaudy colors? Such is the way of things in poor countries. >My husband hates how much attention I'm giving the fish, as I check online every day for information on my fish, plants, or general tank tips. He says I'm like a child playing with a Barbie house, but I just want my tank to be a happy little community, I watch my fish, and when I found that I have a shy platy. I rearranged the tank to give her a place to hide, I also put in plants, and a cave area for my ghost shrimp. There is also a large corner structure that I purchased, and when I couldn't find my fish I decided to turn it on it's side. This really opened up the top of my tank, and with the light from the back opening, I can still see my fish. My swords, platy's, and guppies, all like the cave this way, and even the ghost shrimp have burrowed under part of it too. >>Oh yes, as a matter of fact, most fish will be happier and behave much more naturally, as well as spending *more* time out in the open if the tank is about 2/3 planted area, with some nice, thick plantings. Rocks and caves, driftwood (purchased from an aquarium shop is best) all adds to their sense of security. Tell your hubby that you're being a "conscientious aquarist" and that your responsibility to animals you take under your care is the same as if they were your children. (This is how I was raised.) They didn't ask to be placed in these glass boxes in people's houses, and you really *do* learn quite a bit engaging in this hobby. Marina 
Feeding Barbs the Wee fins o' Guppies -III 
>Thanks for the advice, after talking to my husband and daughter we are going to thin the herd.  >>I think you'll be happier with the results.  >I am giving up 7 guppies, both platies, and the tetras, and sharks, and will just get a few rainbow sharks as they are my husbands favorite to begin with.  >>I would put in no more than two in a 29 gallon tank.  >We gave one to my brother when we had the first guppy snacking session. but he got some bad advice and bought a red tailed after. thanks very much, and hopefully I'll have good news to share in the future. I also would like to know how long it will take the fry to grow big enough to be let loose?  >>That depends on a few things, but when they're about a half inch long is when it *should* be safe. However, I would have some very thickly planted areas, going from the bottom to the top so they can feed in all parts of the water column. Be SURE to remove the females as soon as you have them identified or you'll have more guppies than you'll know what to do with! Same goes for the other livebearers, too. Best of luck and DO enjoy! Marina

Pandas and Barbs Incompatible? Hi! I have a 10 gallon tank with 2 striped barbs and 2 long-finned danios. All 4 fish are about 1" in size.  Tank has been cycled and water tested. They have been living together for a few months now and get along great. I do a 20-30% water change every week.  The other day I added 2 small panda Corys.  Right away, one striped barb started chasing one of the Corys.  This went on for a few days. Every time the panda tried to rest, the barb would seek him out and chase him.  It only happened with one barb and one panda.  Also, the barbs were hogging all the food, so we tried a sinking pellet for the pandas, but the barbs found that too and devoured it!  Needless to say, when I got home from work one night, both pandas were dead. I took them out and did a water change and the 4 original fish are back to normal.  Will this happen with any new fish I add or was there some incompatibility with the panda and the barb?  I feel like the barb harassed the pandas to death!! < Some fish do get territorial and some barbs have been known to become fin nippers. Next time do a water change and rearrange the tank just before adding any new fish. This may help. Or you could try to add numerous fish at the same time to help disperse the aggression of the barbs.-Chuck> Thanks, Frances

Nipping Tigers I have just introduced my fish to my first tank (126ltrs) setup. It has been maturing for 2 months (ammonia 0ppm, Nitrite 0ppm, Nitrate 40ppm, very hard water with pH of 8.4). 4 days ago I introduced 12 very small tiger barbs, 6 striped and 6 green. All has been fine until today when I came home and found one of the striped barbs dead and missing a piece of tail and another stripped one alive but missing its whole tail. Is this likely to be due to 'fin nipping' or could it be some sort of fast-acting infection that it rotting the tails or something? Before deciding on Tiger barbs I had read that they had a reputation for fin nipping but didn't think it might amount to this. Does it? If it is fin nipping I have seen on the FAQ pages that I should be keeping them in odd numbers, so I will do that, but would it also be better to increase the size of the group? How many tiger barbs would a tank of 126ltrs cope with? I was thinking of introducing some angel fish at some point in the future (when I gain some confidence as an aquarist), but I wonder if that it wise if it is aggression that has caused the above problems. I would welcome your experienced views. Paddy < Probably the tiger barbs are establishing a pecking order and a few nipped fins are normal until they get things sorted out. The major damage is being caused by a bacterial infection initiated by the nipped fins. I would clean the filter and do a 30% water change to reduce the nitrates to under 25 ppm. Vacuum the gravel and treat with Nitrofuranace. Watch for ammonia spikes because the antibiotics may affect the good bacteria that reduce the ammonia and nitrites to nitrates.-Chuck> 
Nipping Tigers - Follow-up
Ah ah, that would make sense! I have a bacterial filter, does that affect the advise given above, i.e. if I clean one half of it will that be ok? < If you have an undergravel filter then go ahead and vacuum half the gravel this time and gravel the other half in a week. If you had a filter with a bio-wheel you could simply remove it and store it in a damp container until you were done medicating.>  Will the Nitrofuranace kill off my 'good bacteria' in the filter?  < It may. That is why I would start by reducing the nitrates and then if you still have problems then medicate.> Also I have a sand substrate so should I just leave that alone?  < Good bacteria live on the sand as long as there is enough oxygen in the

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