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FAQs on the Minnows called Barbs, Danios and Rasboras 1

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 2, B,D,R Identification, B,D,R Behavior, B,D,R Compatibility, B,D,R Selection, B,D,R Systems, B,D,R Feeding, B,D,R Disease, B,D,R Reproduction, & Tiger Barbs 1, Tinfoil Barbs, Rosy Barbs, Zebra Danios 1, Harlequin Rasboras, Scissortail Rasboras,

A sport mutation of Puntius tetrazona, the Green Tiger Barb at right.

What IS IT? I've had these fish for 2 years in my tank, they are peaceful but have grown from 2 inches to 10 inches. The place where I bought them has gone out of business, and nobody knows what they are. Can you help? Should I be feeding them anything besides flake food? <Your photo makes accurate ID difficult. The dorsal fin is obscured in the flash and the caudal fin is bent back the other way. Even with all this I think we can narrow it down. I am pretty sure you fish is in the family Cyprinidae, it includes the carps. You fish probably came in as a contaminant from Asia. Take a look at the red finned cigar shark. It comes from Indonesia and gets about 2 feet long. It is not fussy about water chemistry or food. The scientific name is Leptobarbus hoevenii.-Chuck>

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 water. I would still vacuum as recommended above.-Chuck>

FATS DANIO Hi! Ok, my Danio has a swollen belly. At first I thought she was preggers, but it's been at least 2 months and no eggs!  She doesn't seem like she's in distress or anything. She seems perfectly healthy. What do you think the problem could be? < Could be egg bound or have an internal bacterial infection. I would guess the latter and treat with Metronidazole after doing a 30% water change and servicing the filter.-Chuck> 

- Preparing Saltwater & Tiger Barbs - Howdy All! I have a 75g saltwater tank, and I pre mix RO water a week in advance.  I store the water in a 5 gallon bucket.  The bucket has heater and a Maxi-Jet powerhead on top with the venture thing hooked up, with the output pointing at the water surface.  Is this optimal? <It's just fine... exactly what I do, except that I use a trash can.> Would an air stone in the bottom be better? <Would help only minimally... the powerhead is doing the lion's share of the work.> Does it make a difference? <Only slightly.> Should I leave my heater on all the time, or just turn it on the day before I'm going to do my water change? <I only plug the heater in when I need it, granted here in South Florida that isn't very often, but... the day before is just fine provided the water comes to temperature by the time you need it.> Also, I set up a 37g freshwater aquarium for my 5 green tiger barbs.  That's all the fish I'm currently planning on having.  Should I do anything similar for their water changes? <Not really... freshwater fish just aren't as discriminating about the particulars of their water.> I understand tiger barbs are somewhat hardy, but I want them to be as happy as possible.  Which brings me to another question... is 5 too few?  Would the fish be happier if I put a few more in, or do you think they'd rather just have the extra space? <I'm a fan of understocking, although you probably could fit one or two more in there without too many problems. More on these fish here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/BarbsDaniosRasborasArt.htm > Thanks much! - Chad <Cheers, J -- >

Speckled Tigers I got 4 new tiger barbs a week ago, and 1 hour later 2 Guppies died. Now 2 of the Barbs swim fine if they are darting about, but when they are all together being still, the 2 swim nose down or upside down. Now, I just noticed tiny white specs on their fins (all 4 of them). Ammonia is perfect in tank. Thanks a lot <Your Tiger barbs have Ick. Use salt to cure. Read here on it's proper use to kill Ick. http://www.aquariumadvice.com/showquestion.php?faq=2&fldAuto=32 Take note of the life cycle and continue treatment for at least two weeks after the last spot drops. The ammonia in your tank is only perfect if at zero. You should be testing for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Do water changes to keep the first two at zero, nitrate below 20ppm. Read here on establishing bio filtration.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm

Pearl on Bottom of Tank My pearl Danio is staying at the bottom of the tank. It eats well and looks normal otherwise. It seems to have claimed a corner of the tank and sometimes stops swimming and lays on the gravel. The pH is 7.4 and the temperature is 75 F. Is this normal? Should I be worried? <Did you check for ammonia and nitrite when you tested the pH? Either could cause him distress. They also do much better in a group. If he is the only Pearl in your collection he may be being harassed by tankmates. If you have the room a group of five or six would make a nice display. Don>

Sick albino tiger barb Morning everyone. One of my albino tiger barbs is sick and I'm not sure what is. She can't swim straight anymore. She swims upside down and in circles and it looks like she's wobbling when she swims. <Yikes> Her backend looks really weak as well. She also has what looks like two red sores on either side of her back right under her dorsal fin. She also spends a lot of time laying upside down in one of my plants like she's exhausted. As of yesterday she was still eating. Ant ideas of what it is or is there anything I can do for her? <Maybe trouble with an all dry food diet... likely not a biological disease if your other barbs are not affected... maybe a congenital defect...> I have her in a 35 gallon community tank. I always add aquarium salt when I do a water change. Oh and I do two water changes a month, and the water is kept at 77-78 degrees. There's an Emperor bio-wheel for filtration. The tank has been up and running for two years. Thanks for your help. -Heather <Sounds like a nice system and that you know what you're doing... What do you feed your fishes? I would try some fresh/frozen food, like brine shrimp, Daphnia once a day... perhaps a teaspoon of Epsom Salts per five gallons of water... Bob Fenner> 

Rosy Barbs mistakenly mixed with another species? I have a 29 gallon tank with (among others species) 5 Rosy Barbs (1 male and 4 females).  One of the females is considerably smaller than the others (she is also younger, so at first this did not bother me) and she is a different shape.  Rosy Barbs are more or less symmetrical from nose to tail; she is shaped like a Rosy in her top half, but nearly flat along her bottom half (she's almost shaped more like my clown loaches, although much smaller!) <Interesting> I became alarmed when, in addition to being smaller, I noticed that she was behaving oddly.  She swims listlessly, and then will suddenly perform a series of aerobatic maneuvers in just a small area of the tank. (upside down, sideways, back and forth, loop-de-loops, etc.) After a few minutes, she goes back to being listless.   She doesn't race to the top of the tank to eat like the other Barbs do either. I looked online, wondering if she was another species accidentally mixed in with Rosies, and her behavior was as a result of being a schooling fish with no "friends", and found this photo: http://www.jjphoto.dk/fish_archive/aquarium/puntius_bimaculatus.htm which is similar, but not quite identical to my fish. <Okay... another Puntius species> When I researched this fish, I found they are native to Sri Lanka, and not much else.  But I thought Rosy Barbs were native to Indonesia, which makes my accidental theory not very likely. <Mmm, likely both or at least the Rosies were cultured... so not wild-collected in the country of their origin> So my question is, is it possible that she is a different species, and if so, any theories on which one?  And, is she sick, lonely, or simply nutty, (or perfectly normal for her species), and how do I deal with it? Thanks, Paul PS: Wonderful website!! <Thank you Paul. Yes to being (likely) a "contaminant"... an accidentally mixed in species... not able to say of course, which species... but likely another minnow/barb... can/will live with the others very likely. You can trade in, look for others of its kind, or keep and enjoy. Bob Fenner>
Re: Rosy Barbs mistakenly mixed with another species?
Thanks. About the behavior, (assuming she is a Puntius species of Barb) is that likely a sign of illness?  Or possibly normal? <Possibly normal, but if illness, not contagious, but genetic, developmental in nature> "She swims listlessly, and then will suddenly perform a series of aerobatic maneuvers in just a small area of the tank. (upside down, sideways, back and forth, loop-de-loops, etc.) After a few minutes, she goes back to being listless.   She doesn't race to the top of the tank to eat like the other Barbs do either." Thanks again, Paul Lord <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

More sick Harlequin Rasboras... Don, Sorry to bother you again... well, I decided to try what you suggested with one Rasbora. The water he came in tested at 7.0, my tank tested at 7.4. I floated the bag and then added about 10% tank water to the bag. I did this again 20 min later and checked the pH in the bag, and-- surprise! The pH was 6.4?? Here's my speculation. I'd been adding acid buffer to the tank pretty much every day up until 2 days ago, in a futile attempt to keep the pH down. There were enough alkalines in my tank to check the acid, so the tank basically found homeostasis at 7.4.  However, when I added the tank water to the bag, the acids were no longer checked by the alkalines (presumably the water from the store wasn't as well buffered), so the pH shot way down. Sound about right? << Yes (BobF here), very easy to make these sorts of changes w/o careful understanding of alkalinity AND an alkalinity test kit>> Well, to make a long story short, I continued to do 10-20% water changes in the bag, this time with fresh, un-pH-adjusted water.  But after a few of these I realized that what was happening was that the acids I'd added were continually bringing the pH down, so basically I was just bouncing the pH all over the place. Once I realized this, I gave up, pH was around 7.0, I added the fish to the tank, and he is well on his way to dying. Same symptoms as the others.  So now I know what pH shock looks like. I could do what you suggested, i.e. do water changes until the tank pH matches the tap pH.  The problem is, my tap water comes out at 8.2.  If I add enough acid to neutralize the water to 7.0 before I add it to the tank, then my tank seems to hold stable at 7.4.  But if I add no acid at all, then eventually my tank will be at 8.2, right?  And that seems awful high for most fw fish. So what's a guy to do? <I think you got it right. I was unaware your tap was at 8.2. The easy suggestion is to stock fish that like your conditions. In your case Mollies or African Cichlids. But I'm going to ask Bob to comment on this. I'm blessed with pretty good water (soft at a steady 7.2) here in the Philadelphia area. You could always move. Don> <<Best to use whatever method to adjust pH outside your system, in preparation for use... if it has sufficient buffering capacity (which at a starting/tap of 8.2 I strongly suspect it does) then lowering (eating up the alkaline reserve) with an organic or inorganic acid will result in an adequately buffered (i.e. stable) pH at some "point"... that will tend to slowly lower over time... due to the reductive (acidic) activities of small aquatic systems... Please read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwph,alk.htm and make it known that you (both) understand the concepts of pH, alkalinity/acidity, and their relation to each other. Bob F>>

Dying Danios Hi, We've had our tank for about 3 months now. Among the second batch of fish we got were three Zebra Danios. All three have since died, one after the other. The first one experienced a bloating and a dullness of his color a few days before dying. Both the others seemed to waste away, becoming very thin over a period of about two weeks. All refused to eat after the symptoms set in. It took all three of them about a month and a half to die total. All the other fish in the tank seem to be doing fine. Is this something that we should be concerned about either for the other fish or for ourselves, or was this just a "bad batch" of fish? -Greg <Hi Greg, Don here. I do think you got a batch of bad fish. The question is bad with what? They had some sort of internal infection. It could have been anything from bacteria, protozoa, even worms. Knowing what type of infection it was would set the risk to the other fish and yourself. If the Danios spines curved as they wasted away then they had fish TB, which humans can catch through breaks in the skin. I would just watch the others at this point. If any more get thin, email us back with details>

Question: my Danio's tail is gone Hello!  I'm hoping you can help me.  I noticed yesterday that one of my Danio's tail was mostly gone (long finned Danio).  I have zebra Danios and plain Danios in my tank.  I thought they were a non-aggressive fish so I didn't think that anyone else would've bitten his tail.   His spine doesn't look bent.  He spends more time hiding in the foliage than he used to and seems a bit sensitive, but swims around with everyone some and eats fine.   Any ideas what is going on?  The tail nubbin' looks healthy as far as I can tell. < If the tail was not actually bitten off by a fellow tankmate then chances are that it was damaged and may have developed a bacterial infection that slowly ate it away. Do a 30 % water change, clean the filter and treat with Furanace to prevent any further damage.-Chuck> Thank you so much! Megan
Re: Question: my Danio's tail is gone
Thank you for the info.  Can the Danio grow a new tail fin?   < If the damage is limited to the fin portion itself then it may grow back. If the damage has reached the caudal peduncle, The meaty portion of the tail then probably not.-Chuck> Megan

Lumpy Danio Hi Bob, <Don here today, Hi back> We have a 10 gallon tank and have managed to keep 4 zebra Danios and one golden algae eater alive for 10 months. We have a carbon filter and change the filter every month. We perform water changes every 2-4 weeks (2 gals per time - treated with AquaSafe). We added a small aerator (bubbler) about six weeks ago. The bubbler is not adjustable so it runs constantly and seems noisy. <Get a 3 way valve for the airline. Open the valve to the bubbler all the way. Close another. Open the third to slow the air flow to the bubbler. Adjust the blank valve until you get a good air flow. If it hisses, add a foot or so of airline as a muffler> Lights are on from 8 am to 8 pm daily. <Good> Recently one Danio started developing a lump on its spine. Over the course of two weeks the Danio became listless and spent much time on the bottom of the tank. We removed him to a temporary place and tested the aquarium water. <Good to remove him. Is the spine bending? Or does it look like a small pea under the skin>   Temp 74 degrees <Ok, but 76 to 78 better> Ammonia 0 <Great> Nitrate 40 <Good, but a little high. Try to keep below 20ppm> Nitrite 0 <Great> Hardness 25 <Hard> Alkalinity 300 (high) <Very> pH 8.4 (high) <Very, very> Do you know what the lump is? <Could be a tumor, in which case there is nothing to do. Sorry> Can the fish be saved?   Right now he's sitting at the bottom of the temporary shelter, barely moving but still breathing. <This could be just about anything. I would try a good broad spectrum antibiotic. However, if the spine is bending the fish must be put down. Bury or put in trash. Do not flush. Wear gloves> Is the pH or alkalinity to blame? <Could be. Danios will adapt to a wide range of water conditions, but yours are extreme. You could try peat moss in the filter. It will stain the water a rich tea color. Charcoal will remove the color> Should we take corrective action? <As above> Did the bubbler cause anything? <No> Thanks, Peg

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

Danio Problems Hi, I started off with 5 Zebra Danios and 4 Peppered Corys in a 70 litre tank and I'm now down to 2 Danios. About 5 months ago one of them got really bloated overnight and I found him the next day looking like his stomach had burst. Last week another one bloated up and then dropped dead within two days. Last night though, I noticed another one carrying what looked like a bruise on his side, he looked red beneath his skin then this morning he was dead on the substrate with what looked like two, small skin bubbles protruding from his underside. <Hi Dave, Don here. Two things come two mind. Let's hope it's a water quality issue. Do you check your water for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate? Any amount of the first two could be the cause. But, if you see any Danios showing a bend in their spine you have TB in your tank. If so, then the fish will have to be put down and the system sterilized. TB can spread to humans with a break in the skin. Be careful and wear gloves. There are also other bacterial infections that can cause this. If the spines are straight, try a good broad spectrum antibiotic. Oxytetracycline may help. Like I said, let's hope it a water quality issue> I replace 5 <less than 10%> litres of the tank water every 7 days and the tank looks clean but there is obviously something going wrong somewhere. Any advice would be more than appreciated as I really don't want the fish to suffer any more. <First thing I would do is test the water. If you see any ammonia or nitrite, or if nitrate is over 20ppm, fix it with large (50%+) water changes daily. I would also up your normal water changes to around 20 to 30%>    Thanks and best regards, David  
Danio Problems
Hi, Thanks for your advice. I have just been out to buy testing kits and will test the water quality when I have finished work this evening, I really hope it is poor water as the TB possibility terrifies me if I'm honest. How worried should I be for my own health, I know you say that it can enter humans via open wounds but what about just being around the tank, do you know if it becomes airborne? <No, it can't. I must enter through a break in the skin> Also, do you know of any websites that you know of where I would find pictures of Zebra Danios with TB (curved spine etc). <Here's a link to my photos in our forum. Scroll down to the next to last pic. The two female White Clouds at the top of the photo show the bend pretty well. http://wetwebfotos.com/Home?actionRequest=userview&userID=4258 Some fish become very thin, mine bloated.> Sorry if I seem to be panicking a little! <Understood. I really try to pass along the warning without causing any undo concern. I rarely succeed. Some say the bacteria is always present in our tanks, and that it takes a drop in the fish's immune system for it to show. If true, it would seem transmission to humans is rather rare. But some very respected people here suggest sterilization of the entire system whenever TB is found. That's a hard call to make, but harder to argue against. Let's hope it's the water. Don> Thanks again, David

Some not so green Green Barbs Your site kicks xxx <butt>. I never new there was so much to aquariums. <Just glass, glue, and some plastic trim> I'm new on the block when it comes to fish and aquariums, its helping me to no end. I've only got a small set up, 40L tank, with a 55W heater and AquaClear 200, which was given to me by a mate. I recently introduced some moss green tiger barbs to the tank, and they are/were traveling fine, although they have started to lose the really deep green they had when I first got them. I've kept the pH at 7, am not sure whether it has something to do with this, or the temperature or what. <Keep temp steady and in the mid to high 70's> They haven't really questioned off with respect to their activity, except for chilling out under a rock setup I have. Is there anything I'm doing wrong that you may be able to think of? Thanks heaps for your help.  Cheers for now. Brenton <Hi Brendon, Don here. How long has the tank been running? Do you do partial water changes? Test the water? If so, post the numbers. If the set up is new, then it must cycle. Until then the fish will be stressed by the build up of their own waste, ammonia. Also, you said you have "kept the pH at 7". Was it something different at one time? pH is something better left as is, unless very high or low. It's the swing in pH that does the most damage. If all that is good, then look into a good quality "color food" or a more varied diet to get the brightness back. Darker substrate will also deepen the color of the fish.>

Scissortail Rasbora - constipation? Hey, Noticed today that one of my Scissortails has a swollen tummy :/  It's the very last part of the fish that's swollen (at least the last part that still has innards, before the tail)  Scissortails almost have two "sections" to their bodies to me and it would be the farther back one. (usually when they have overeaten a bit the first one will be big for a while) <Understood> I'm thinking it may be constipated. Otherwise seems happy and healthy. Tried to chase it into a cup to move it to a quarantine tank but between all the plants in the way and it being still active I couldn't manage it in 5 min.s, figured it would probably be more stressful than it was worth to keep up the chasing. So I thawed 3 peas and squished them into the tank, it ate a few little bits (as did the other fish) but mostly the peas sank to the bottom and became ignored. <Good try, but as you noticed not much of a vegetarian.> How much pea does it take to help with constipation? <More than he will eat. Try a small piece of a garden worm, if possible. Or frozen blood worms. Not meal worms. Nothing with a "shell".> Is there anything else I can do for this scissortail without being able to catch him? <A little Epsom salt may help, about 1 Tbls per 5 gallons> (saving my quarantine setup for now in case I can catch him later - it's not very good, just a 1 1/2 gal plastic tub that ice cream comes in <What flavor? :) >- but I can't afford a real quarantine tank yet. Hopefully soon.) <Is it heated?> Do you think it is really constipation? <Maybe. Any chance it's a female filling with eggs? A big problem would be if you see the fish start to develop a curved spine. That would be a sign of TB.>  I'm also wondering if the fish is pregnant or something but that seems pretty unlikely to me! <Why? Commonly bred fish. A well kept, healthy female should fill up. Usually more in the midsection though.> Thanks for your help, <No problem> ~Anna <Don>
Re: scissortail Rasbora - constipation?
Really, what would eggs look like? It's the smallest of the three Scissortails with a narrower body shape in comparison (usually the less 'fat looking' fish are males, at least in what I have read about other species)  Took a trip tonight to pick up a friend from the airport and now the light is off for the night, but I will definitely look at the fish in the morning and see how it's looking. (also going to look up sexing Rasboras tonight) I had problems with Hexamita in the 10gal once, lost 2 Danios to that :( but the rest of the fish never developed symptoms. I understand that hex symptoms can be similar to TB (but I did observe the definite white mucous stool on one of the Danios) and this doesn't look anything like what I've seen there, more like bloating of some kind although I don't know. thanks again, ~Anna

Making the Hard Call Hello, A few weeks ago I mailed you guys about a scissortail Rasbora (Rasbora trilineata) with an oddly swollen abdomen in the back. I was wondering if it was maybe constipated, your reply suggested maybe the fish was pregnant. Since then the fish has gotten much more swollen and doesn't seem right at all. (even if it is gravid something is definitely not right) <Agreed> The entire abdomen is now swollen and the fish hangs funny in the water (nose up). It's colors are brighter than I have ever seen the Scissortails in my own tanks (which is odd). The spine seems slightly curved throughout due to the swelling. <OK, bent spine is the key here> This fish spends most of its time hiding in the back behind plants, or in my castle ornament which has a large cave in the interior. I don't usually see it with the other two Rasboras but then again, ever since I put them in this tank it's hard to find more than two at a time. I don't know if they have always been the same two. I haven't seen this fish eat in a long time. When I feed, I do see it grab food and spit it back out again pretty often, at least when it bothers to come to the front at all. What could be wrong with my fish? <I'm afraid he has TB> I'm leaving Tuesday for a 4 week trip to visit some friends and family, leaving my immediate family here to take care of the fish. Do I need to do something with this fish beforehand? <Yes, there is. Very sorry to say that you need to remove him from the tank and put him down. Do not flush him, living or dead. The only cure is the month long treatment of a three drug cocktail. Success rate is less than 10%. It's can spread to other fish, especially if he dies in the tank. In fact it can spread to humans through breaks in the skin coming into contact with the water. Many well respected people here suggest putting down all the fish and sterilizing the entire system. A hard call to make, but harder to argue against. Don>    Please help.. ~Anna

Hunchback Danio I am a fairly new aquarium hobbyist (1 year) and keep having a problem with "hunchback" Danios in my one of my tanks. <Not good> The tank in question is a small Eclipse Hexagonal 5 gallon with a small pebble base, plastic rock formations and a couple of small live plants that was cycled about 4 months ago. There are currently 3 Zebra Danios, a Chinese Algae Eater and many small snails (from the live plants) in the tank. My current readings are Ammonia 0, pH 7.0, Nitrite at 0 and Nitrate is 20. <Thanks for testing your water and sharing the results. But not the problem here.> I have had two other Danios run through the same symptoms as the current one, hunched back, decreased size, hover at the top of the tank, don't play with the other fish, don't eat and then finally end up as floaters that get flushed. I would like to avoid flushing anymore of the little guys if at all possible, symptoms just started a few days ago, can you help? Shelly <Hi Shelly, Don here. I saw where you posted this in our forum and strongly agree with Steve and others that this is a situation where the fish should be put down safely. The hunchback Danios have TB that can spread to humans. I know it's hard, but this is one of those times that as responsible pet owners we must act in order to keep ourselves and our other fish safe.>
Humpback Danios
I did not explain correctly on the bio-filter, it is a bio-wheel.  Can it be sterilized? <Yes. Soak it in a bleach solution then rinse well and soak in dechlorinator. Good to go. Boiling would also work, but may warp the wheel. Don> Shelly
Humpback Danios
Okay, I think I have come to the realization that I need to put my good little fish down and sterilize the tank but one more question. This tank has a bio-filter; do I need to get rid of it too? <No need to throw it away, but it must be sterilized like the tank. You will need to recycle it. Just refill it and throw in a small cocktail shrimp or a pinch of food. When both ammonia and nitrite have spiked and crashed you're good to go. Figure 3 to 6 weeks. Don> Shelly
Humpback Danios
Okay, I think I have come to the realization that I need to put my good little fish down and sterilize the tank but one more question. This tank has a bio-filter; do I need to get rid of it too? <No need to throw it away, but it must be sterilized like the tank. You will need to recycle it. Just refill it and throw in a small cocktail shrimp or a pinch of food. When both ammonia and nitrite have spiked and crashed you're good to go. Figure 3 to 6 weeks. Don> Shelly

Tiger Barbs and Black Neon Pregnant Questions Hello. I really enjoy reading your site and I can only marvel at the dedication (and politeness) of your crew in answering questions to help out people like us. I wrote because I have a question on breeding. I am trying to get my tiger barbs to breed. I do have a separate tank and tried to follow what I have read on various websites on how to breed them but nothing seems to be happening. Is it absolutely essential to separate the male and female? Is it ok to leave the males in the main tank, put the female in the breeding tank, and when she's ready, that's when I put the male in? How do I even know if she's pregnant or just fat? I am also concerned about the female being kept too long in the breeding tank. When I first placed her there, she looked miserable. When I added two companions, she perked up. I also have black neon tetras. I think they are females and they look like they are going to burst in their bellies. I am not sure if they are fat or pregnant, or if that is even possible since I don't have male black Neons. They eat fine and I feed only once or twice a day. Do I leave them like that? They swim fine but I'm not sure if it is healthy for them to look/be that fat or pregnant. < When tiger barbs get ready to breed the female will fatten up and the male will be paying lots of attention to her. If you see the two side by side making runs at bunches of plants then they are getting ready to breed. The Neons do a similar motion but don't make the runs at the plants. To get egg scatters to breed I feed the fish heavily with live food for about a week and then heat up the tank to 80 to 82 degrees F. I clean the filters and do a large 50%  water change with soft to medium hard water. This usually gets them going but creates another problem. The eggs become scattered all over the tank and they now become a food source for the adults. To separate the eggs from the adults old timers lined the bottom of a bare breeding tank with marbles and allowed the eggs to fall between the pore of the marbles and then remove the parents from the tank. A coarse mesh suspended an inch or two off the bottom of the aquarium will do the same thing. It is nearly impossible to get the tiny fry out of an existing community aquarium. Females may become ripe with eggs without a male being present and will absorbed the eggs after awhile without spawning.-Chuck> Mei

Danio We recently set up a 48 gal tank and we purchased 4 Long Fin Zebra Danios. One of the Danios is chasing the other three and actually taking pieces out of the other tails.  The pH is 7.6 and all other readings are in spec. The aggressive Danio is not bothering the other fish in the tank.  It seems the other 3 non-aggressive Danios are not bothering each other, it is just the one that is aggressive. Should we isolate the aggressive fish?  Any help would be greatly appreciated.  Love you website. < You could either add more Danios or take out the aggressive one. I am afraid that if you remove the aggressive one then another one may become dominant and chase the others as well. A 48 gallon tank should be big enough so that they should have room to get away. I usually recommend that schooling fishes like these be kept in groups of at least 6.-Chuck> Bob

A question about harlequin Rasbora hi, one of my harlequin Rasboras died overnight (why do they always die overnight..?)  without a mark on him that I could see, except maybe the area around his gills was a little red.  what might cause that? this fish has been well established and healthy since late January or February.   I did recently add six cardinal tetras to the tank a week, week and a half ago of which two died in the first couple days (poor little guys) and were removed promptly, and the rest seem to be on their way to being well adjusted.    None of the other fish in the tank (5 additional harlequins and three Scissortails, and two Otos and a Cory) seem to be unhealthy in any way. pH reading is very slightly low (maybe 3-4 tenths off at the most, the color is 'between' two readings) - maybe from fish waste?  I haven't done a water change recently. But the pH is usually too high anyway (8.4).  The fish that have been there for a while seem to be completely well adjusted to it though so I don't think high pH would've killed the Rasbora. Well, any suggestions of what I could look into would be much appreciated, I really don't like my old fish dying suddenly :( < Most of the fish you are keeping come from soft acidic water from rainforests. At the high pH you are running it is hard for these little fish to adapt. I don't think your cardinals will last too long at that high a pH. The high pH will not kill your fish off directly but they are definitely being stressed to the point that they are breaking down. Start looking at some websites and articles to bring down the pH of the water to at least the 7 range with 6 being better. I would start by looking at Marineland.com and look at Dr. Tim's library. These articles are very informative and will give you some direction.-Chuck> thanks, ~Anna ps: mailing a separate email with a question for your freshwater snail folks.

Harlequin Rasboras & schooling at diff. ages Hi, in January I purchased 6 relatively young harlequin Rasboras. (since then one died of unknown causes but the remaining five are large happy fish - maybe 1 inch long although its hard to say due to the refraction of the water, I would probably guess more like 3/4)   There are also 3 scissortail Rasboras and 2 cardinal tetras (I got six but sadly 4 of them died, I am going to fix my pH and try to get a quarantine tank and try again in a month or two), and two Otos and a Cory in the tank.   I'm wondering if I were to get more young harlequins (I usually see them in the pet store half the size of the ones I have now or smaller even) if they would be 'safe' from the older fish, and if they would grow up to school with the older harlequins? < Schooling fish seem to developed somewhat of a pecking order. The larger ones will surely push around the smaller ones for awhile. As long as you introduce a group of smaller ones to the tank at once then I think you will be OK.-Chuck> Thanks for your help and no urgency on the reply, I'll be out of town for a few days and its not like it's an urgent question anyway. :) ~Anna Sick harlequin Rasboras Help! I have a 10g tank, fake plants, with 2 guppies, 2 Corys, and 4 harlequins. Came home tonight and the harlequins were hiding, one at the bottom, kind of twitching. I did a 40% water change, and at first they were all flipping out, but now they seem better. Just not totally okay. They don't seem to have Ick, no white spots, but aren't swimming about like they usually do. Someone said they are depressed because they need more to school properly. What could be wrong with them? What could I do? < It is true to some extent that schooling fish are less stressed in a large group but I don't think that this would cause the sudden reaction that you are seeing. When an entire group of fish come down with something at the same time it makes me think of the water quality. I suspect if you checked the ammonia, nitrites and nitrates you may find that the nitrates have exceeded 25 ppm and the fish were stressed from the poor water quality. This can weaken the fish and cause disease. I suggest that you check the water quality and try to keep the nitrates below 25 ppm by servicing your filter, occasionally cleaning the gravel, not overfeeding, and change the water to reduce nitrates as needed. -Chuck> Thanks, New Fish Owner 

Rosy Barb Gasping for Air I have a 44 gallon tank with 4 rosy barbs (2 male, 2 female) 6 Danios, 2 keyhole cichlids, and 3 Otocinclus.   <Sounds like a fairly balanced tank, not to overstocked.> In the last couple of days I've noticed one of the barbs constantly gasping and moving its gills which are bright pink inside . . . normal? <No, that really isn't normal.> She keeps hiding out at the bottom and isn't eating anything.  All of the other fish seem active and fine.  ph was 7.6. Ammonia and nitrite were 0, but I don't know about the nitrate. <You can always have your Local Fish store test the water for you, most nicer places do it for free if you really want to know about your Nitrate.  I think that you might have a bit low oxygen level in your water.  Which happens quite frequently during the warmer summer months.  Higher temp means less amount of diffused oxygen in the water.   I would add an air stone and air pump and see if that makes a difference with the fish.  If not, you should start setting up a hospital tank and allow it to cycle so if the fish should get worse you have a separate tank to treat it in.> Thanks, Julie <Good luck. -Magnus>

Rosy Barb Aggression Hello, I learn a lot from your site.  I couldn't find the answer to the following problem I'm having, so I thought I'd send along a question. I have a 150 gallon pond in my backyard. I live in Southern California, so the water temp tends to stay in the 60s (probably mid to high 50s in the wintertime).  The pond is densely planted--the bottom is covered with Anacharis; water hyacinths cover about 60% of the surface; and watercress grows in the waterfall that feeds the pond.  The pond was built about 10 years ago (by previous homeowners, who left it as a "water feature," without fish or plants).  I have set it up for plants and fish over the last 3 months:  plants have been in for about 2 1/2 months, and fish have been introduced over the last 2 months.  I now have 9 Gambusia (introduced 8 weeks ago), 24 white clouds (introduced 5 weeks ago), and 6 rosy barbs (2 males and 4 females, introduced 2 weeks ago).  The guys at the LFS claim all these species will survive the So. Cal winter outdoors, but we'll see. Here is my problem.  All was very peaceful in my pond until I added the rosy barbs.  They never pick on the other fish, but the 2 males can't seem to get along.  The pond is large enough that they often stay apart, but whenever they see each other, they end up going at it, and this lasts sometimes for 30 minutes at a stretch.  I have not noticed any injuries on either of them (although it is difficult to get an up-close view), and it also seems that neither of them clearly has the upper hand.  When they fight, they spin around in circles, with one going after the side of the other one, and they often end up flapping around sideways at the height of the conflict.  The female rosy barbs often come out to watch the proceedings and sometimes even swim right next to or between them.  This doesn't seem to have any effect on the males.   Is this normal competition between male rosy barbs?  I didn't realize they would be so aggressive towards each other in a school of 6.  If this isn't normal, is there something I can do to make them settle down?  I'm worried that one (or both) of them is going to end up dead or maimed.  For their part, the females are very peaceful, as are the white clouds and Gambusia. My pond test strips register no ammonia, no nitrites, and no nitrates.  The water is crystal clear.  At present, all the fish seem alert and healthy, including the male Rosies. Thanks very much for your advice, Darius <<Dear Darius; It sounds perfectly normal to me, good ole fashioned males fighting for females. I would not worry much about it. Even though it is a "school of six"  there are not six males, and the two males will surely fight for the four females. And with females present, the males have something to fight over. For a second, I entertained the thought of telling you to add more males, but then I had a thought... in a normal aquarium, the addition of other males would spread the aggression, but in a large pond it may not help at all, since the fish have so much room, they may only run into each other once in a while, with the ensuing half-hour skirmishes as each male runs into each male. If the aggression truly bothers you, you could leave the males, and remove all the females. (Good luck catching them!) However, if it was MY pond, I would simply leave things the way they are, chances are you may end up with rosy barb fry :) Let nature take its course. -Gwen>>

Barbs, something bunk with their environment Hello, wanted to now could you tell me what this is my barbs keep dying they have there mouths stuck open no function?  then they get some sort of fungus its been going on for about two months started treating with MelaFix  no results then done everything to clean that up waited then did ick meds.  still sick   repeated clean up then waited then hit them hard with paragon by AquaTropics  for wide spectrum anti-parasitic and anti-bacterial control.. still have new case of  the mouth open stuck??????   i really don't now what else to do but dispose of these two so others wont get sick??? what  could i do.   thanks < Barbs need clean well aerated water. Check your water for ammonia and nitrites, both should be zero. Nitrates should be below 25 ppm. If you are convinced that it is not bacterial or Protozoans then you could try and treat for gill flukes with fluke tabs or clout.-chuck> Kat..

High pH, Fighting Danios Hi guys. You have the greatest website! I got my first tank two weeks ago. It is a ten gallon freshwater community tank, several plastic plants, 50 watts heater, two thermometers one internal and one external, one fake rock with 3 holes on it, one undergravel filter, two inch deep gravel strata (rounded and more or less pea sized), one aqua-tech outside power filter, one small sponge filter. The pH of our tap water is about 7.4 to 7.6. I added water conditioner (Tetra Aqua Safe), Stress Zyme, five teaspoons of salt for freshwater aquarium. At the beginning the water got a little cloudy. I waited one week and added 3 Zebra Danios Next day I added one ounce of Bio-Spira freshwater bacteria from Marineland. The water became clear again within 24 hours. The Danios (one small male, one small female and a larger older individual whose gender is a mystery to me) were fine. They were exploring and racing around. Then the two smaller Danios began to dance in circles at the bottom of the aquarium. The older individual took possession of the upper and middle part of the aquarium and began to chase and bump-fight the small male while the small female was hidden in the plants. Within 48 hours the small male stopped racing and eating and died. I examined the body. There were no signs of disease or injury. The older individual still chases the small female every time they meet. The small female is fine but she is confined to a corner of the aquarium that is covered in plants most of the time. She ventures out often, but she goes back when the larger Danio chases her. When I feed the fish, I feed them very little food, twice or once a day. I try to feed them the minimum amount of food possible. I underfeed them because they are too busy fighting each other to eat all of it. Although the Danios come immediately to the food, they promptly begging to fight and some flakes end up sinking and the fish remain hungry. I worry about the food sinking. My last pH reading is in the range of 7.6 to 8. My ammonia reading is 0. My nitrite reading is 0.2. I have several questions: What could have happened to the small male Zebra Danio? <<Aggression, high ammonia, nitrites. What did your ammonia test at last week? Must have been some, there has to be ammonia for it to be converted into nitrite. Do you have nitrates yet? You should be testing this tank everyday.>> What is it with the large Zebra Danio (I was told they are peaceful fish)? <<They are not. And a toxic tank will not make them any nicer, either...>> Could the small female Zebra Danio be hurt by constant harassment? <<Certainly>> Is it a good idea to add other fish to the tank? <<No.>> If so is this list a good list: one male Beta, two more Zebra Danios, two female Guppies and two small Cory Cats? Are this fish too many (taking into account all my filters and that I am willing to do a 25% water change weekly and a mayor water change monthly)? Would they take my pH as it is? How can I modify this list to avoid disaster? <<Do NOT add any fish now. Your tank is still cycling. Hence the high pH, etc. And certainly don't add all of these at one time! And definitely avoid putting guppies and a Betta into a tank with Danios. Disaster awaits if you do.>> Until now I have resisted the impulse of applying pH-lowering product to my tank but What can I do with my pH (7.6 to 8.0)? Should I make a 25% water change now (taking into account that the food keeps sinking because of the fighting of my Danios)? <<As I said, your pH is high because the tank is CYCLING. It will stabilize in a month or so. Have PATIENCE, please. Do not mess with your pH, you will not be helping your fish if you do. The pH will end up all over the place, and your fish will end up dead from a combination of pH shock, nitrite poisoning, and stress..>> Finally, If Bio-Spira is so amazing, why are some dealers against it? Thank you for your help. <<I personally like Bio-Spira, it's an excellent product when it's being used properly. However, results will differ from tank to tank. Dealers simply don't like it when people with no experience try to cycle with it and end up with dead fish, as in your case. Please do some reading, buy yourself some ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate test kits, and be PATIENT. Test your water regularly, do water changes when readings become high, and do NOT add fish until the tank has NO ammonia and NO nitrites left. Keep two small fish in the tank during cycling. TWO! not more! Keeping a written record of your test results will help. :) -Gwen>>

Pregnant Tiger Barb I just bought 7 Tiger Barbs it looks as if one of them is pregnant.  I have a 10 gallon tank and do not want a bunch of baby Tiger Barbs.  If I do nothing will the baby's survive? or should I remove the pregnant one? any advice? Thanks, Maria <<Dear Maria; if you do nothing, and the tiger barbs mate, chances are that the parents will eat the eggs and whatever fry happen to hatch. If you want to keep the fertilized eggs, you can remove them with a siphon hose to their own tank, and when they hatch, feed them newly hatched baby brine shrimp. IF the tiger barb in question is simply fat, and her scales start to stick out like a pinecone, then she is sick with an internal bacterial infection and will require medication or euthanasia. Please test your water for ammonia (zero), nitrites (zero) and nitrates (try to keep around 20-40ppm with weekly water changes). -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

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

Lamb chop Rasbora - a Harlequin Look-Alike Hello WWM Team, <Hi Craig, Sabrina here, today> Hope you can help me. I recently bought fish labeled Harlequin Rasbora. The problem is, I know what a Harlequin looks like and the reason I bought these fish was they are a Rasbora I have not seen before. I am hoping you can identify them for me. <Will gladly try!> They have the same colouring as the Harlequin with some changes. The blue triangle is evident as in the Harlequin, however, the same blue is also displayed in a very thin line along the anal area. The iridescent orange is a definite mark confined to the edge of the triangle and then extending past the triangle towards the gill in a definite half-circular mark. The remainder of the body colour is golden  .The body is far more slender than the Harlequin and the fins are all translucent, unlike the Harlequin which are reddish/orange. The eyes are also golden and not orange...any ideas?  Craig <This sounds unmistakably like the "Lamb chop" Rasbora, Trigonostigma espei.  The "Harlequin" Rasbora, Trigonostigma heteromorpha, as you've mentioned, is quite a bit more common in the US, but the lamb chops do show up a lot.  T. espei will only grow to about half the size of T. heteromorpha, and is a touch more sensitive as well.  More info from FishBase on the harlequin:  http://filaman.uni-kiel.de/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?genusname=Trigonostigma&speciesname=heteromorpha  and on the lamb chop:  http://filaman.uni-kiel.de/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?genusname=Trigonostigma&speciesname=espei .  Be sure to make use of all the links throughout those pages if you wish to learn more detail on the fish, there is a lot of info there!  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Temporary Fish Housing (12/23/2003) Hi-ya thanks for any help you can give me. I am wanting to move my community tank upstairs as a larger tank has been bought for the living room to host Discus. The tank currently running is a 35 gallon community tank. With around 15 fish, biggest of which are silver sharks ( a pair ) around 3-4 inch in length. <Are these Bala "Sharks" (Balantiocheilos melanopterus) or Hemiodus? Either of these will get bigger and need a bigger home. Depending on the projected adult size of your 15 fish, your tank may be overstocked.> The other tank is a 75 gallon which is not set-up as yet. It will have an Eheim 2026 pro II for filtration. I am wanting to move the fish into this larger tank temporarily. So I have a couple of weeks to clean out and replace various parts of the old tank. Just  wondering how quickly I can move the fish into this new tank without risking their health. I will start with just a couple of the more hardy fish like the mollies and the green tiger barbs. The tank is quite large for the fish going into it. <not really> How long should I leave the tank before any fish go in? assuming its free from chlorine. <Seed it with water & filter material from the 35, it will cycle very quickly and you should be able to start after just a few days transferring a few fish every few days. And how quickly should I add the rest? <No clear-cut formula here. Maybe 1/4 of the fish every 3-4 days. If you can get some Bio-Spira (check Marineland's website for info), you can cycle the tank instantly.> I will then of course have to slowly move them back to the original. <Consider Bio-Spira> Would greatly appreciate any tips or hints you could give me, in this stressful time for my little friends!! <Your "sharks" would be better off in a 55G tank than a 35--they need the swimming room of a 48" long tank. Good luck, Steve Allen>

FAMA article Dear Mr. Fenner, <Tim-Uwe> my name is Tim-Uwe Jandeck, I read your article "The Minnows Called Barbs, Danios & Rasboras" on the WetWebMedia site with pleasure. I am especially interested in the genetics of tiger barbs and found a very interesting reference to the following publication in the article: Norton, Joanne. 1994. Tiger barb genetics. FAMA 9/94. I tried to order/find/organize this article in many different ways but it seems to be nearly impossible for me to get it (I am from Germany (Berlin) and even our university libraries don't collect the FAMA Journal anymore). So my question is if you could copy/scan me the respective pages of this 9/94 Journal. I can pay you by MasterCard or PayPal. I think that it would be a great help for my further studies if I could get this article, sincerely yours, Tim-Uwe Jandeck. <I do have the issue, and will ask Sue Steele of FAMA if she minds my sending it along, or better, if they will send/sell you an original copy. Bob Fenner>

GloFish Question Bob, <Yep> Wondering if we can get your opinion on the GloFish fluorescent zebra Danios?  They look amazing, esp. for freshwater (n fact, even better than some marine species).  Could you comment?  If you haven't heard of them yet, they are at www.glofish.com and http://www.reuters.co.uk/newsArticle.jhtml?type=scienceNews&storyID=3873977§ion=news has a good article. Thanks! Sandi <Have seen these transgenics... a whole bunch at last times Aquarama in Singapore... a neat scientific application... but para mi, "no sale"... too pricey. Bob Fenner>
Re: GloFish Question
Bob, Thanks so much for your time.  I think I'll go with the GloFish even at the price.  They look to cool to pass up. Sandi <They are very beautiful, and a very interesting "story" to relate re their "genetic clip-on" technology. Bob Fenner>

Sick tiger barbs? Hi. First thanks so much for this website. I have just started to taking care of some tiger barbs and your site has helped ease much of my worries. <Great to hear, thank you for the kind words!> My two 20 gallon tanks have just finished cycling (one took a full month while the other took two weeks) and thankfully, I did not lose any of the barbs. (7 and 6 barbs on each tank, I only found out about the odd number tip last week.)  This past week however, I noticed that in my new tank, two of the tiger barbs looked like their black markings are slightly green. I noticed this in some of the tiger barbs on my first tank as well but now, these greenish stuff are gone without any treatment. In one of the posts here, one of you said that it may be Costia (Ichthyobodo). <Costia/Ichthyobodo/Chilodonella/other 'skin slime disease' causatives really don't fit what you're describing.  That would appear more gray and be visible all over the sides of the fish, not restricted to only where the black is, and it would appear as though the skin were sloughing off.  It sounds to me like normal coloration for tiger barbs, truly.  There is even a green morph of the tiger barb, in which the black bands run together and are quite green instead of black.  I do not believe this is anything for you to worry about.> Because of what happened to the tiger barbs in the first tank, I am thinking of waiting and see if it will disappear especially since the water conditions are much better now, but I am concerned that they might not be feeling too well. I am not sure if it is normal behaviour for two fishes to rub together (looks more like jostling for a ball, or trying to squeeze into a tight door but without the door). <Hmm, this is probably just dominance struggles, trying to establish their pecking order.> My first thought was that one of the fish was feeling itchy, and second thought was one of them (actually, Prince, the most playful one in the 2nd tank) was just trying to play with Spot (one of the "sick" fish) but Spot didn't want to. <This probably isn't a concern, just keep an eye on them, and watch for any other issues.> What do you think I should do? I am afraid of treating Spot and his/her other friend needlessly and subjecting them to stress again. <Agreed.  I would not do anything until you see strong evidence convincing you of a particular illness.  All sounds well so far, just keep observing and enjoying your fish.> I am thinking of getting a hospital tank but I can't seem to find info on what size is ok to use. Due to space constraints, I am thinking of getting the smallest one without being stingy on the comfort of the fish. <Just about anything can be used in a pinch, so long as it is inert and watertight.  If you can swing space for a 10g, great, go for it.> Another...How do you check if the fish are bloated because of overfeeding or if they are sick? I still haven't figured out how much to feed them that I am afraid I may be starving them (I feed them 3x, they seem to eat more though if I give them bloodworms so I am not sure if I am feeding them enough of the pellets). <Oh my.... feeding them three times *daily*?  Well, if they're fat, consider that the reason.  Cut back to once daily.  While you're getting them back down to 'normal' sizes, it would be fine to skip a day here and there.> Lastly, any recommendation on what materials I should be reading? I want to buy some more books but since they can be expensive (and some are not value for money) I'd like to check first before I buy. The aquarium books in the library are checked-out! <Well, a couple of good beginners' books are "Setting Up a Freshwater Aquarium" by Gregory Skomal and "The Simple Guide to Freshwater Aquariums" by David E. Boruchowitz.  In the Boruchowitz book, the only thing that I wholeheartedly disagree with are his stocking suggestions in the back of the book; I really, REALLY disagree with some of his suggestions (such as keeping an Oscar in a 29g tank).  Beyond that, these are both decent books.  If you're up for a challenge, you might consider "Tropical Fishlopedia" by Mary Bailey and Peter Burgess; an excellent book, but I don't usually recommend this to children or beginners, it's really quite a lot of info to bombard oneself with when just starting out.> Thanks so much and sorry for the long email. <No apologies necessary, this is why we're here.  Wishing you and your barbs well,  -Sabrina.> Jade

Danio deaths Hi Sabrina! <Hi again, Tom, hope the algae battle is going well!> It's me again.  Today I discovered that I had three deceased Danios!  I've also noticed that the rest of the fish seem to be breathing awfully heavily.  I am worried!   <Understandably so.> My NO2 = 0.3 (maybe a tad higher), <Eek, that's not a good thing; nitrite is toxic to fish, can burn gills/skin, generally not fun.  Some water changes will help get this down to zero.> my NO3 = 2.5 ppm, my NH4 = 0, my KH = 5, my pH = 7.0 my O2 = 12.   Upon closer examination, I noticed the gills on the Danios were red.  I'm clueless as to what's going on.   <I'm assuming that the nitrite is (at least partly) to blame.  Though, Danios (if I recall rightly, yours are zebra Danios?) are very sturdy fish.  Are any of your other fish having trouble?  Have you added anything to/stopped adding anything that you usually use to the water?  Any possibilities of any toxins getting into the system (cleaning stuff, anything un-fish-ish)?  Or possibly, are any other fish harassing the Danios?>   Help!  Thanks!  Tom Lenzmeier <Hmm, hope some of this helps find a direction for you to look.  -Sabrina>

Danio Deaths Deux Hi Sabrina, <Hello, Tom> It turned out to be a case of CO2 poisoning.  I had my Carbo-Plus system turned up too high.  When I turned it down to the medium setting, things improved considerably.   <Good to hear.> I did do water changes.  Isn't that generally the first response to any crisis?  When in doubt, get the old water out!   <Yes, absolutely!  I wish more people would understand that.  Water changes are our friends ;) > Thanks again.  Tom Lenzmeier <No prob.  -Sabrina>

What it IS! Goldfin tinfoil barb, that is. >Hi it's Paul again, >>Hello Paul. >Thanks for your advice.  I looked into Fishbase.org & established that my fish is in fact a Goldfin tinfoil barb (Poropuntius malcolmi) & grows to 50cm from same family order & has similar habits.  This problem has bugged me for quite a while so many thanks again for sending me in the right direction. Best regards P Mitchell. >>Very glad I could be of help, Paul.  May you never again be so bugged.  ;)  Marina

I need help fast for my zebra Danio I'm not really sure what the problem is. <Sabrina here, to try and help> He or she, I can't tell, has just over the past few days shown any of the listed symptoms. swollen belly, hunchback tail, head pointed upward, won't eat, but he swims normal hangs out at the top with the rest of the zebras. <Hmm, this isn't a lot to go off.... Can you give us some more specs about your tank?  How big is the tank?  What other fish are in with the Danio?  Do you test your water for pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate?  If so, can you let us know the values?  What you describe could be a number of things, but what sticks out most to me is the swollen belly - are his scales sticking out, pinecone fashion?  I'm afraid you *might* be dealing with dropsy, which is extremely difficult to cure at best, but perhaps there are other possibilities, too.  Let us know more about your tank, and we'll be more able to help you figure out what's wrong.> Thank you for your time. <No problem - I wish you the best.>

Is it a tinfoil or what? >Hi, >>Hello, Marina available for a short time today. >I possess what I believed to be a tinfoil, however I did at one point looked after two Tinfoils in same tank.  The problem is the two Tinfoils are Tinfoils but my one has larger scales more streamlined body but has same colouring.  Is there a variant or is it an uncommon type of barb.   >>Difficult to say, as there are many similar barbs available in the trade.  I would venture a guess that this is actually a different species, and it's quite difficult to determine further without a picture what species it is (the problem with common names, eh?). >It was bought as a tinfoil but I'm unsure of its id.  Also I have read that Tinfoils are best kept in groups as my one is on its own & seems to be quite happy.  Is that ok? >>Generally true, but keeping fish is as much art as science, and if yours are happy then don't rock the boat, is my philosophy.  You can try looking at http://www.fishbase.org (though I've only used this site for saltwater specification), or use the Google bar at the bottom of the homepage for our site--MANY pictures are available, and you might find the animal you actually possess.  Best of luck, Marina

Tinfoil barb Hi,     I possess what I believed to be a tinfoil however I did at one point looked after two Tinfoils in same tank. The problem is the two Tinfoils are Tinfoils but my one has larger scales more streamlined body but has same colouring. Is there a variant or is it an uncommon type of barb. It was bought as a tinfoil but I'm unsure of its id. Also I have read that Tinfoils are best kept in groups as my one is on its own & seems to be quite happy. Is that ok? Many thanks P Mitchell <I am sure there are some variations from fish to fish, but the should look pretty similar, search for tinfoil barb on Fishbase.org for a positive ID.  Depending on your tank size, and assuming it is a tinfoil barb, I would go with at least 3.  Best Regards, Gage>

Tiger barbs I bought 5 tiger barbs in one shot about 2 months ago.  One now seems larger in the belly than the others.  I read that they are not easy to breed but should I isolate it in a breeder net to see what happens. <You could> If you actually look at the tank for a while you will see the noticeable difference.<oh>  It is still as active as the others so I don't think it is a worm or illness.<yea, it could be just a fat fish. and it also could be pregnant. I doubt that it would do any harm if you setup a breeding net inside the aquarium and placed the fish in it for a while>  What do you guys suggest.  I will be off this Thurs. to Sunday so will be able to monitor the fish and tank more.....Any Suggestions?<good luck, IanB>

Tiger barbs acting oddly (06/21/03) <Hi! Ananda here today....> I have a ten gallon tank with Tiger Barbs (2 male?), Black Mollie (I think a balloon, 1 female), Pineapple Swordtail (2 female), Cory (copper?1), Frog(1), a fry net hanging off the side with two baby mollies, and a few plastic plants. <Ouch! Your tank is quite overcrowded....I would suggest a substantially larger tank. Both the tiger barbs and the Corydoras fish are happier in larger groups.> I have two questions, first, the barbs occasionally sit nose down in the tank, is that normal? <Nope.> The smaller of the two has recently gotten into the habit of doing that more often, I'm worried that it may be sick? <Check your water quality: ammonia, nitrites, nitrates... if you have *any* ammonia or nitrites, do water changes to get the levels down. The fish can take some nitrates, but you should try to keep those levels under 40.> My second question is just recently one of my swordtails turned belly up on my and i was thinking of replacing her with a male, but i don't know if i should do to the barb nasty fin nipping. <Nope! You need another tank, first. One for the barbs, one for the fish with fancy fins.> Let me know what you think, any help would be appreciated! Thank you Dave <You're welcome. --Ananda>

Aggressive little barbs This is driving me crazy trying to find why my male black ruby's mainly 2 of them chase each other from head to tail in a complete circle for hours at a time nipping at each others fins but only after they have gotten darker in color. please can you tell me the reason for this i only have 3 females in tank to 6 males plus 2 tiger barbs <Stock and maintain them in small, odd-numbered schools; 3, 5, 7... this non-even arrangement tends to reduce aggression between the barbs and their tank mates. These fish are fin nippers and tend to chase each other around. Do read this page on Barbs and the FAQ's to go along with it http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/BarbsDaniosRasborasArt.htm, good luck with the barbs, IanB> Arnold

Nervous Tinfoils Hi there, I've searched your site but can't find any answers to my problem. I hope you can help. <Ill definitely try> I have four tinfoil barbs (currently about 7 cm long) in a 350 litre tank. The only other fish are three platys and two small Plecos. My problem is that the Tinfoils are very nervous. When I walk by the tank they scatter to the back corners and appear very disturbed. Even when watched from a distance the hug the gravel and are ready to run away. They are damaging themselves, (loosing scales etc) banging into rocks and the tank sides. However, when I feed them they will happily eat from my fingers. When I get this opportunity to look at them they appear generally healthy. I have tested the water and ammonia, nitrite and nitrates are all OK. There is free swimming space in the middle of the tank, but either end has plenty of rocks and plants for cover. Water temperature is 24c. Filtration is a large Eheim external power filter I have had them about 8 weeks and thought that it would wear off as they got used to their new environment. This hasn't happened. Have you any idea what might cause this, or what possible solutions there may be? If you need any more information to aid diagnosis then please let me know. Thanks in advance. Steve <Have there been any changes in the environment that may have caused this? Sometimes something as simple as the addition of a new plant or changing the placement of the return flow from the filter can cause this behavior. Since these are relatively new fish I'm assuming this isn't the case but its something to consider. If it were me, I would give them a while longer to settle in and see if they calm down, they may not though, some fish are just this way. You may have to remove some of the rocks and such that they are damaging themselves on. Also, make sure your Plecos aren't picking on them. This does happen once in a great while and would cause the nervousness. Sorry I cant provide more help. Ronni>

Pregnant barb I am adding my address for a response.  t.k.lewis****.   I have what I believe to be a pair of gold finned barbs, and it appears that one is pregnant.  Now I want to try to let them lay the eggs and hatch out, but do I leave them in with the eggs?  I am going to put a divider in the 20 gallon tank so no one else will eat the eggs or hopefully babies, but will the parents? And this may seem like a silly question will a female barb produce eggs without a male in the tank with her? Thank you and hope to hear from you soon. Theresa <There's a good article on breeding gold barbs at http://www.aquariacentral.com/articles/goldbarb.shtml and it should answer all of your questions. Ronni>

Re: Sick Zebra Danios HUGE THANK YOU RONNI! for your time, knowledge and caring.  Marty <You're very welcome Marty! Glad I was able to help! Ronni>

Tiger Barb Question Hi.  Been checking out your site since we started keeping tropical fish.  Very informative!! <Thank you!> My question; I've had a couple tiger barbs for a couple of months.  It almost looks like there is a very, very light film on them at times. The black bands don't seem as "black" as they used to.  When I looked at them with a flashlight, I could see a green color on the scales in the black bands.  I don't know if that is the normal color or not. <This sounds as if it may be Costia (Ichthyobodo), Please see http://www/wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfshparasites.htm for more info on the disease and for treatment.> The tank they are in is just about done cycling. They seem to be doing very well otherwise.  Eating, chasing, etc. <This is very good.> Is this a fungus or disease?  Or have I just been staring at the fish too long?!? <Most likely a parasitic disease> Appreciate your help!! Jan Emerson <You're welcome! Ronni>
Re: Tiger Barb Question
Thanks for the quick reply! <You're welcome> Another question I have is regarding using Aquarium Salt. Some say do & some say don't.  Is this something that might help the barbs?  I do have some salt and am planning a partial water change today or tomorrow.  Should I put some in today and do the change tomorrow?  I have a 20 gal. tank with 4 tiger barbs, 2 black Neons, 2 Gouramis, 1 Chinese algae eater and a Danio (?). <With the other fish you have in there I wouldn't recommend adding salt. Just stick with the way you have it now and do your water change as planned.> There is way too much info on the internet, and it gets very confusing. <Yep, it really can. The internet is a wonderful thing but overwhelming at times too!> Thanks again for your help!! Jan <You're welcome! Ronni>

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 <You're very welcome.>
Re: Cherry Barb
Thank you for reply. I found your advice most helpful. Really appreciated. Cheers <Glad to be of service. Ronni>

Danios Hogging all the Food!!!!!!! Hello Gents, I have a quick question. I have a 20 gallon freshwater setup with Danios (I'm cycling) and Tiger Barbs. The problem is that when I feed my fish, the darn Danios eat up all the food before the Tiger Barbs can get any. Do you think I should pull the tiger barb and put him in a separate bowl for feeding and then put him back? Any help would be greatly appreciated. K-Fletch <I would try just feeding them a bit more and then hopefully the Barb will get to eat too. Catching him to separate him just for feeding is probably going to cause him too much stress and then he wont eat anyway. Ronni>

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), your really better off to stick with the smaller fish like the Neons and guppies.> P.S. There 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 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 your set on adding more you 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

Gender of my rosy barbs I bought 3 rosy barbs and am trying to figure out their gender.  I have looked at different sites and find conflicting information.  So I thought I would ask. Two of my fish have many of the same characteristics, and one is a bit different.  So I think I might have one female and two males. The possible female has fins that have barely any black on them, just a small strip on the top fin.  The other two have quite a bit of black on their fins. The possible female gets chased the most even though it is the biggest. The top fish is the one that might be a female.  The bottom one is a male and my other one looks like him but with almost completely black fins.  Even thought the possible female looks as rosy as the other one in this picture, it usually looks more pale and not as of a bright rosy color as the others in person. They all may just be males, but it would be nice to know either way! thanks a bunch Liz <Hey Liz, from the picture they appear to be the same color,  the male Rosy Barbs have red/rose bodies and the females are more orange colored.  Hope this helps, Gage>

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>

Rosy barb 3 years old,, turned gray,, acts normal should isolate? <if acquired as an adult, the change may be "old age". Else diet related. Unlikely that QT is necessary, but do so if convenient if and until further symptoms are observed. Also try some color enhancing food pellets. If your diet for the fishes has been dry food only, this is a problem. Do add a variety of frozen fare as well (bloodworms for example... but never brine shrimp... nutritively poor!) Best regards, Anthony>

Barb Sickness I have a ten gallon tank. I have two rosy barbs, three guppies, three platys, one snail, one Otocinclus, and two African dwarf frogs, two plants. After a bad start, everything is going well. Three days ago one of my barbs turns up with what looks like a big red zit near the base of his back bone near his tale. No other fish are sick and he seems to be fine eating and all that. Do you have any idea what it is? I think it's probably a parasite. What's your take and what do I treat with? I am pretty much limited to anything from Mardel. Annie M. <Could be several things. Probably not parasitic although it could be an anchor worm. Do you see something coming out of the eruption? Anchor worms are more common is pond fish, though. More likely bacterial in nature and a broad spectrum antibiotic is your best course of action. -Steven Pro>

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>

Heavy Breathers <Maris... Anthony Calfo here with bells on, in Bob's stead> Could you tell me why my tiger barbs all time very fast breathe and very often stand with the heads to ground, fast breathing? <Perhaps because they know that the Pittsburgh Steelers are going to win the Super Bowl (I'm feeling and acting the same way myself)... but all joking aside, the symptoms you have observed are not necessarily normal or healthy. So many things it could be... high water temperature, gill damage from medication or infection, impending outbreak of a pathogen, toxin in the water, etc. Do the fish act normal at feeding time or through most of the day with other fishes? What readings do you get with water chemistry test specifically? How old is the tank and how well is it stocked? Please reply with more info. Thanks kindly, Anthony>

Re: Tiger Barbs <Maris... your English is very good. My apologies for making the joke about football that was not familiar to you (smile). It is a pleasure to hear from you from so far across the world!> And so you said me to give more info about my tiger barbs. I have 45 litres tank, the temperature is about 27-29 0C. I don't now how much it is in the Fahrenheit scale.  <good but perhaps a tiny bit warm. I would maintain 27C as the maximum temperature... especially in a well stocked tank to allow for more dissolved oxygen> But maybe you know. I have only 2 these tiger barbs in my tank, I have 9 other fishes living in this tank. I now that they don't have enough room, but I don't think that this could be the reason of so strange behaviour of barbs.  <yes... a bit overstocked which makes it more difficult to maintain water quality. Check the pH if possible. If it is lower than 6.5, that may also cause such strange behavior from acidosis with this creature> I don't have the this water chemistry test equipment. I live in Latvia (If you know this country. It lays at Baltic sea), where this water chemistry test equipment that costs not so little money, how it could cost in America. My tiger barbs at feeding time act normally, they only catch food very fast. In other time my 2 tiger barbs all time try to catch each other, I own them almost 2 years, <wonderful and mostly normal> and they stand with the heads to ground very often all these 2 years.  <again... not terrible, perhaps normal. My main concern is the rapid breathing> And I know that they are healthy. My tank is clean too. Maybe you didn't understand something of my story, because my English isn't very good. But I hope you understood something. <very clear and understood, Maris. I wish I could do you the honor of speaking in your language p.s.: Maybe you could tell me how often it is necessary to change the water of tank and how much? <25% monthly is a good start for water changes. With heavy fish loads you may want to try 10% weekly which is even better> I hope I didn't bother you much. I see you love bowling or maybe it is football. <no bother at all... my pleasure! And yes, I am a good American football fan and we have a championship event coming up... Go Steelers! Best regards to you, Anthony>

Red glass barbs Bob, I love working with the barbs, have raised cherry, gold, red glass, rosy, Odessa, and love finding others to work with. My next project is the checkerboard barb and the red ruby. <Both great fishes> Setting up tanks for these tomorrow. I keep a journal of all my spawns and write articles on them. <Ah, commendable> I was fortunate to breed and now am raising the Amano shrimp. I sent a copy of this article to the TFH magazine. I am building a web site which will have articles on my spawnings. If interested will send you the URL. Wilma <Please do. Will gladly post it on WetWebMedia for others use, link to you. Bob Fenner>
Re: red glass barbs
<<Hello, JasonC here... you know, this just proves I know nothing about barbs and I apologize again I couldn't be more helpful. Bob should be returning from his dive trip some time tomorrow, and I'll save this message for him. I'm sure he'll reply as soon as he gets a chance. Cheers, J -- >> Bob, I love working with the barbs, have raised cherry, gold, red glass, rosy, Odessa, and love finding others to work with. My next project is the checkerboard barb and the red ruby. Setting up tanks for these tomorrow. I keep a journal of all my spawns and write articles on them. I was fortunate to breed and now am raising the Amano shrimp. I sent a copy of this article to the TFH magazine. I am building a web site which will have articles on my spawnings. If interested will send you the URL. Wilma
Re: red glass barbs
Thanks, they could be, if you ever find any info on them let me know. Wilma <Will do so... do come across new varieties entering the trade on a constant basis. Many new barbs are gorgeous, hardy, more peaceful than root stocks. Bob Fenner>

Identifying the Red Glass Barb <<Hello, JasonC here filling in for Bob while he is away.>> Hello, I have a barb that is known as the red glass barb and recently spawned these and have thriving fry. However, I cannot find any info or the true name of these barbs. Can you help? <<Could this be the rosy barb, just misnamed? Check Bob's article: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/barbsdaniosrasboras.htm >> Wilma <<Cheers, J -- >>

Re: red glass barbs No, they have the body appearance of the Puntius sachsii, with the one black spot near the caudal fin. The males are a bright reddish orange the females are a pale yellow. They lay eggs over a period of days, the first time I spawned them I remove the parents that evening and had only six fry, second time same steps - 4 fry, third attempt, left them in a tanks for 5 days and now have around 50 fry. Not typical spawning for rosy barbs. I have seen them listed on fish lists but not their true name. Wilma <Hmm, this well may be a sport of the Gold-finned barb... Please see: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/barbsdanias.htm for some pix and further input. Bob Fenner>

pH in water Mr. Fenner, I have a 20 gal tank that I started about 2 weeks ago. I set up the tank (used tap water and treated) and let it run for a week w/out fish. On Sunday, 8/5/01, I introduced 2 tiger barbs and 2 gold barbs. Just before I introduced the fish, the water began to cloud up. I thought it was the level of the ph (7.6). My questions are: 1. Is 7.6ph safe for a tank and what fish will do well? <This pH should be fine for your barbs> 2. What could be causing the cloudiness? <Very likely this is a "population explosion" of microbes... common when a tank starts off sterile... as in all new. Do take care not to overfeed, and monitor ammonia, nitrite if you can during this "break-in" period> 3. When would be a good time to introduce other fish and add plants to the tank? <After the cloudiness is gone... likely in a week or two. Please do use our site: www.WetWebMedia.com for more input. Be chatting, Bob Fenner> Thank-you for your time. Scott Re: pH in/of water What other types of fish could I introduce to the tank? <A very large selection... but do take care to check on their compatibility and average maximum size... the Rasboras, Danios, larger livebearers, perhaps some of the medium size/temperament Gouramis, loaches, many, many catfishes... Take a look on our site under livestock selection and the various groups surveyed. Bob Fenner>

Fish type (freshwater livestocking) Sir I am trying to figure out what type of fish to put in with my Cory cat's that will like current to swim in not just still water. I am using a fluval404 one end and a Hagen 802 powerhead with a QuickFilter on the other end of my 55gal.tank. The two filters are set on wide open. At this time I have tetras they are being used to seed the tank along with the Cory Cats. the 404 has ball valves to cut down the if need be. I want something that has some color. I was thinking about some barbs-Danios-rasp. If they would get along with the Cory's. If not I can adjust the current down and add something different. Thank You <Your plan to include barbs, Danios and Rasboras sounds great... http://wetwebmedia.com/barbsdaniosrasboras.htm Hopefully easier going ones if this is the temperament of your current Tetras. Bob Fenner>

Re: cichlids  Bob,  Hi, my name is Brenee King and I am a students of Mr.. Nordell's.  I was considering doing a project with Cichlids (Zebra Danio ?) <Hmm, Zebra Danios? These are actually not cichlids, but cyprinids (egg laying toothed carps, Brachydanio rerio I think is still their valid scientific name> having to do with their familiarity effecting their mating habits and wanted to know how often I could expect them to mate? Also how long it takes for the females to complete their cycle, mating and having their children? Please contact me when you have a chance. Thank You for your time and considerations. <Do put this fish's name in your search engines, go to a college library with the same... and start developing your working bibliography on this species biology. See the pieces on the site www.WetWebMedia.com on how to search the literature.. You will have more questions, need more answers than you have asked for here. Bob Fenner>

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