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FAQs on Tiger Barbs Compatibility

Related Articles: Tiger Barbs, 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:  Tiger Barbs 1, Tiger Barbs 2, & FAQs on: Tiger Barbs Identification, Tiger Barbs Behavior, Tiger Barbs Selection, Tiger Barbs Systems, Tiger Barbs Feeding, Tiger Barbs Health, Tiger Barbs Reproduction, & Barbs, Danios, Rasboras 1, 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 NEED to be:
Kept in a group/school... a handful or more individuals
Need ROOM, esp. if kept w/ other fish species
To be kept w/ other fast, aware species

Tiger barbs and African Cichlid      1/7/19
My African Cichlid is doing awesome but my tigers are bullying each other to death and not allowing the bullied ones to escape please help.
<Friend, I'm afraid this is not nearly enough information. Please describe your system setup and all of its inhabitants in more detail. For example, when you say "tigers," are you referring to tiger barbs (i.e. Puntigrus tetrazona)? I might also suggest that you browse our FAQs pages on cichlid behavior and compatibility. See here to start:
Re: Tiger barbs and African Cichlid - 01/07/19

Twenty gallon well planted and heated to 74 and I am indeed referencing tiger barbs they have killed all the male tiger barbs
<Yeah mate, and they will likely kill anything else you put in there with them. Twenty gallons is just too small a space for even one of these fish, much less several of them. Exactly how many African cichlids do you have in this 20 gallon tank? And what species are these?>
and are now displaying to each other for some reason
<My crystal ball tells me that you will ultimately end up with exactly one fish in this system. If you wish to maintain more than one African cichlid for any longer period of time than it takes for the one strongest fish to kill off the rest, you need a larger tank.

Tiger barb nipping Oto catfish       4/25/14
Hi. I recently found your website and it is great! Here's my problem. I have a 20 long with 8 tiger barbs. Planted, and cycled. Nitrate consistently around 20. I have had two Otocinclus in the tank for a few months with no problems. The tiger barbs basically ignored them, so I decided to get two more. After quarantining them, I placed them in the tank. The problem was it slipped my mind to rearrange the tank before I put them in! After a couple of hours the new guys were still being chased around the tank, and I realized I needed to move things in the tank and also did a water change.
<... and?>
The next day they were being chased around even worse, and it looked like 2 or 3 tiger barbs were actually nipping off and eating their fins. I was able to take all the tiger barbs and place them in the quarantine tank for an hour while I completely move the tank around. Everything that wasn't rooted down was moved.
While watching the tank, I realized that there was one tiger barb that was viciously going after the Otos. Mostly the new ones. When the others started to follow him, although not as severe, I netted him, but left the net in the tank, to observe the behavior of the others. I fear he has gotten a taste for fins.
<I share your "fear" here>
While the others have nipped at the Otos, its not a malicious chase. I am at a loss what to do next. I do not have an alternate place for the Otos, quarantined is too small to be permanent, and I don't think I can return them to the store. Will this behavior lessen over time, especially since they have coexisted peacefully before? Thank you for any advice.
<I would contact the store and ask re either trading in the Otocinclus (for credit); or the Barb/s. Trying just the seven (odd numbers are better) might work here. Bob Fenner>

tiger barbs or not?   10/9/11
I have a 50 gallon corner tank. In it I have two Clown Loaches that I have had for about 4 or 5 years. They have grown to quite a nice size and I think very much of them.
<One of my fave aquarium species Eric>
I wanted to add some color to my tank and saw some Tiger Barbs a the store tonight. I was wondering if I purchased a dozen of them would they pick on my Loaches?
<They can be picky, but Clown Loaches are quite tough... If your loaches have decor (tubes, wood-real or not...) to get out of the way, I just might give them a try together>
Thanks Eric
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Tiger barb incomp.    8/29/11
Hi guys thanks for the great site.
In the past I have written with questions about my marine aquarium but now I have one s'not my freshwater aquarium. Your advice is always helpful and informative.
I have a 75 gallon freshwater tank. Inhabitants are 5 blue rams, 5 black skirt tetras, 4 peacock eels, 3 Kuhli loaches, 2 Cory catfishes, and 2 rubber lipped Plecostomus.
I am considering adding 5 tiger barbs. Will the barbs be compatible? How will they limit me?
<Not really compatible either from behavioral (too nippy) nor water quality matching w/ what you have already. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/tigerbcompf.htm
and the linked files above>
The tank is well planted but also offers tons of open swimming space.
<And these barbs are plant eaters to a good degree>
We use Marineland LED lighting system, matched to a Cascade canister filter.
The tank has 4 pieces of medium sized branchy driftwood.
Any advice is much appreciated. Thanks.
<Do search the site first, ahead of writing please. Bob Fenner>

Tiger barb /platy compatibility  1/26/11
have read and heard tiger barbs can be "nippy" with other fish. We have a strange anomaly in our tank! We run a 10 gallon with two angels, five sunburst platies, two algae eaters.
<Need much more room>
A couple days ago we added four tiger barbs. the anomaly is, the barbs left the other fish alone but the platies harassed and nipped the barbs to death! is this species role reversal?
<Mmm, no... more a matter of established territoriality. These fishes need much more room. Do search, read on WWM re. Bob Fenner>

Red Platy/Tiger Barb... incomp.  -- 3/30/10
I had 3 Buenos Aires Tetras
<Quite aggressive at the best of times, and should be kept in a school of at least 6 specimens. Otherwise a hardy, subtropical (not tropical) fish for the semi-boisterous community aquarium.>
and 3 Red Platys leaving peacefully in a 16 gallon tank.
<Too small for most tetras, and borderline, at best for Platies. Not a good choice of fish to keep with Buenos Aires Tetras. Who recommended this combination? A salesman?>
One Platy died yesterday. Had the water sampled and it came back in proper ranges.
<Don't give me your opinions; tell me what the numbers are. Platies need relatively cool water, between 23-25 degrees C, and the water must be hard and basic, i.e., 10+ degrees dH, pH 7.5-8. The water quality has to be good: 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite. If you don't have the values listed here, that's why your fish likely died. Pet shops will often say any old thing; a cynic might observe because selling fish is what makes them money, but a more charitable person will accept that not all staff in a store will be equally well trained or experienced.>
Have been looking at adding a couple more fish to the tank but, because I have an 8 year old that takes each fish death badly, I want durable fish.
<"Durable" depends upon choosing the right fish for your system. Start here:
For your tank, you're nearer the 10 gallon than 20 gallon end of things in terms of what fish will do well, so choose species suited to a 10 gallon tank, that want the water chemistry you have, and are suited to the temperature you're running the tank at.>
The aquarium clerk suggested Tiger Barbs
<Stupid idea. Tiger Barbs need much more space than 20 gallons, and are far too nippy to keep reliably in a small tank with Platies. Tiger Barbs get to a good 5 cm/2 inches long, maybe more, and really need to be kept in a 30 gallon tank to be even halfway happy. This fish are very, very boisterous.>
as more durable than getting more Platys. I read online that the Barbs typically 'should' do well with Platys but not long-finned fish like Bettas, etc.
<Sort of. All Barbs are hierarchical, and the common mistake is to keep too few. Do that, and even the best of them will be psychologically screwed up, and all bets are off with regard to tankmates. It's like buying a German Shepherd and keeping it in the basement all day. Might be a great dog, but it won't be long before the thing goes postal. Same here. Read about the needs of the fish you're interested in, understand the limits of your aquarium, and then make your purchase.>
I bought two which I now see is too few for an adequate school.
<I'll say.>
The tigers are chasing the 2 remaining Platys and I am concerned they will ultimately stress them.
Should I return the Barbs
or will the Red Platys ultimately cope ok with the constant chasing?
<Read more, spend less. Cheers, Neale.>

Adding Green Tiger Barbs to existing community  10/15/09
Hi, <Hey, Will N. with you tonight.>
I have 55g heavy planted tank with :
1 common Pleco 4" ( he is not fully grown yet and in my plans I will definitely update aquarium size accordingly)<Yes, please do! These fish grow quite fast and to enormous sizes.>
2 CAE ( not grown - 2 years old only, about 2" each)<No personal offense meant, but a terrible choice. Barely eat algae, grow large, get fairly aggressive... Not even from China.>
10 Neons
9 Black skirt tetras<Fin-nippers.>
6 Platies<Like harder water than characins.>
2 sail fin mollies<...NEED brackish water.>
1 smallest upside-down<Synodontid?>
6 Amano shrimps
All fish in community are pretty peaceful. Very well together.<Not for long, Larissa.>
Would like to add 6 Green Tiger Barbs.
Just wonder if that would be TOO many fish for 55g ( I have two HOB Whisper Power EX70 filters running).
Or fin nipping would be an issue?<Tiger barbs are a personal favorite of mine; that said, they aren't the best choice (or even a good choice) for most tanks. Generally in larger groups (8+, most authors list 6 as a
minimum) fin-nipping isn't a problem, but these fish exhibit "pack" behavior and will hassle most intruders of their territory. However, you definitely have larger problems in your current stocking, and I would suggest revising this before adding any more fish.>
I was reading online a lot of different opinions about Green Barbs, but fell in love with that fish and would like to keep them.
<For future correspondence Larissa, please do double-check grammar and spelling. We are absolutely deluged with emails daily, and can't take the time to correct each and every one. Nothing personal.><Will N.>

Tiger Barbs - would they survive with my current mix of fish 9/24/08
I've corresponded with Neale before, so wouldn't mind making a shout-out/saying another friendly hello.
<Seems to be on a hiatus today>
What I was wondering is a compatibility question. I have the two banded Leporinus, now about 8" long. The male is a little bigger and brighter than the female. Also, two full grown cichlids, one enormous and lazy Plecostomus, a smaller Pleco, puffer fish(he's my favorite), and what I believe is a peacock eel (approx. 15" in length).
Everyone gets along good fortunately. What I wondering is if a school of tiger barbs would survive with the current mix. My main concern is the size, as the ones at the pet store are teeny tiny. With plenty of hiding places, do you think the addition of the young tiger barbs would be survive in my 100 gal tank?
<Mmm, maybe... though these Leporinus (likely L. fasciatus here) can be VERY mean/picky, they can't likely catch up with Tiger Barbs in this setting, and Peacock Spiny Eels rarely eat other fishes. I would be tempted to try to "grow them up" a bit elsewhere (they do grow quickly given frequent feedings, water changes) ahead of actual introduction in your larger system... but I give you good odds of them getting along here. Bob Fenner>

Re: Tiger Barbs - would they survive with my current mix of fish 9/24/08 Hi Bob! Thanks for your reply. <Welcome Skye> My banded Leporinus are VERY mean. <VERY typical for this species> I didn't know what they were when I got them, but within a month, they had an expensive meal after devouring all my Bala sharks - and they(the banded bee looking fish) were only 1" at the time. <Now that they're larger they won't be quite so easy to navigate...> On the tiger barbs, I'm going to go with your advice, and grow them a bit in my hospital tank (while crossing fingers that no one in the big tank gets sick), before introducing them. <Ah, good> If I took a picture with my cell phone and emailed it, would you be able to tell me which variety of Leporinus I have? Thank you for your other reply. Skye <Mmm, yes... but don't see it attached here. Take a look under the genus on Fishbase.org or on WWM... BobF>

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>

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>

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 <We're 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 won't 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 it's inexpensive and soft/tasty enough that most fish will chew on it some. Maybe then they'd leave your others alone. Not positive on this but it might be worth a try.> My future plans for the tank are to add a Cory to bring the total to 3.  I am also contemplating adding a school of Rosy Barbs (Puntius conchonius) in several months (assuming there is "room" in the tank) as well as some sort of algae eating critters if the need arose. <Rosies may not be a good choice here. They tend to be very non-aggressive and would get picked on by the Tigers. Your tank isn't going to hold too many more fish, maybe 2-3 more plus a small Pleco at the most so if you're set on adding more you'd probably be best to go with more Tigers, maybe of the Albino or Green varieties. These will school with your current ones but would give you a bit of a color variation.> In closing I would like to thank you guys again for having a fabulous website.  I look forward to your advice. --Ted <Thank you! Ronni>

Tiger 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, incomp. >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

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>  

Problem (maybe) with my Rainbow Shark... with graphic  3/5/07 <Please re-size and re-send your graphic and msg... no more than a few hundred Kbytes...> Sorry the images were each a few hundred kb but there were multiple ones. I limited it to one. Thank you, Jeremy Roach Hello and thank you so much for your site it has been a wonderful resource!! Let me first give a little history. Here is my current set up. 1-Angelfish 1-Blue Gourami 1-Gold Gourami 1-Flame Gourami 1- Pleco 1-Rainbow Shark 2-Black Ruby Barbs 1-Tiger Barb 1-Green Tiger Barb <Mmmm> I recently got this aquarium from my mother-in-law when she passed away about two months ago.  When I got it we had: 3-Angelfish 1-Rainbowshark 1-Albino Rainbow Shark 1-Pleco 1-Tiger Barb 1-Green Tiger Barb 1-Blue Gourami 1-Gold Gourami 2 Angelfish were killed by the Albino Rainbow Shark.  I since took him to the pet store after reading that you should only have 1 shark.  One Tiger Barb got real fat and sunk to the bottom and died. (Replaced him with another).  So after losing three of my mother-in-laws fish I am a bit jumpy when I see weird things going on. Current issue is that the Rainbow Shark is coming out in the open and lying real still on the bottom of the aquarium.  Usually the Gold Gourami comes down and lies next to him for some strange reason.  After lying there for a few seconds the Tiger Barb and the Green Tiger Barb will come over and start striking at him. <Not atypical behavior> This goes on for a minute or so and then he gets up and goes and hides.  The Gold Gourami does not get attacked but rather he at times chases the barb off.  Interestingly enough the Blue Gourami will come down at times and lie on the other side of the Rainbow Shark and then the barbs will leave him alone.  Is this normal fish behavior or do I need to get rid of the Barbs, or could the Rainbow Shark be sick? <The two barbs are picking on the minnow shark... I would do two things... Get a third Tiger Barb (they will tend to pester each other in a small odd-numbered school... which you would have found had you searched on WWM... And a small decor item for the shark to resort to if it feels harassed.> Thank you so much for your time with this!! <Next time... BobF>

Tiger Barbs 4/3/07 I have 4 tiger barbs, they seem to be pretty healthy but sometimes one of them swims nose down & stays like that for sometime by the driftwood. Is that normal for tiger barbs to do that? <This behavior is often in response to poor water conditions, especially high levels of nitrate.  Please check your water parameters.> <Chris>

Re: Tiger Barbs Part II 4/4/07 Thanks for the info. But now I have one more issue. I have two Blue paradise Gouramis & one of them literally nipped one eye out of my tiger barb. They've both been attacking my other fishes & each other too. I have removed them from the tank. One thing I didn't understand is even though they seem to fight wit each other, they're still swimming really close to each other (side by side ) but facing different directions & kinda in a dancing shaking manner. Is it  because they're mating?  <More likely a threat display to each other, sizing each other up to determine dominance.  Gouramis can be very aggressive and often are problems as you are seeing.> <Chris>

Tiger Barbs Part III 4/4/07 I did think of this as a possibility but wasn't sure. My tiger barb died last night, & I guess I cant put the Gouramis back in the tank. Do u think they'll be ok later on or should I just return them? <The Gouramis are what they are, chances of their behavior changing is minimal.  Maybe after a couple of weeks it may be worth trying again, but chances are they will claim the tank as theirs and become aggressive again.> <Chris>

Tiger Barbs and peacock eels, comp., Mastacembelids gen.    1/5/08 Hello WWM! <Hello.> I am new (2 months) to freshwater aquariums. <OK.> I was wondering, will 2 Tiger Barbs and 2 Peacock Eels get along when in the same 10 gallon tank with limited places to hide and some live aquatic plants? I'm concerned since both are aggressive species. Will they fight? <Won't work. Tiger barbs are schooling fish and become nothing but trouble when kept in groups of less than six. They nip at other fish. So, get six Tiger barbs before you start fussing about other species. Six tiger barbs need more than 10 gallons of tank space. At least a long 20 gallon tank to get the room to swim and play they need.> Also, will Peacock Eels eat spikes (fly larvae), sinking shrimp pellets, freeze-dried blood worms, Tubifex worms and worms you use as bait when fishing? This is what I've been feeding them, but can't tell if they are eating or not. <Peacock Eels, by which I assume you mean Macrognathus siamensis, will eat live and frozen worms/insect larvae happily enough, but ignore dried foods, pellets, etc.> I just got my Tiger Barbs yesterday and they just seem to hang out together. <Why did you buy just two? That's mean. These are social animals and as they mature they create a pecking order. Denying them this leads to problems. Besides, they're too big for a 10 gallon tank. If you have access to January's edition of TFH Magazine, I have an article in there all about stocking 10 gallon tanks. Consider this essential reading!> So far, I've had 3 Striped Peacock Eels (one died when it was exploring its new home and it was eaten by my filter) they get along fine. <Please let me make this very clear: Peacock Eels are not easy to keep. For a start, they CANNOT be kept in tanks with gravel. Putting them in a tank with gravel is giving the eel a death sentence. These eels dig, and gravel scratches them, and then they get secondary bacterial infections, and then they die. I have seen this and heard about this too many times over the last twenty five years of my keeping tropical fish. Secondly, they are difficult to feed. Live foods are preferred, and they CANNOT be kept with any night-time bottom feeders. Neither catfish nor loaches. You must feed the eels at night, and they must be the only fish in the tank eating the bloodworms or whatever. Otherwise they starve to death. Finally, they jump out of tanks. Again, this is incredibly common when people keep these eels. The tank must be almost airtight. Block any holes big enough for the fish to squeeze through.> I also had 2 Pictus Cats and a Pleco not survive, any ideas why? <Your tank is insanely overstocked. A Plec will reach 45 cm, probably longer than your aquarium! Pimelodus pictus is a schooling, riverine catfish that needs to be kept in groups in a tank with lots of water current and swimming space.> I took a peek at your FAQ's and noticed there were quite a few articles about eels! Good Job!!! Just out of curiousity, how long have you been studying eels? <Studying them may be overdoing it a bit, but I kept my first Mastacembelus armatus back in 1988, and have been keeping and writing about them ever since.> Also, how are you supposed to determine the sex of Peacock Eels and Tiger Barbs? <Spiny eels are universally sexed by looking at their body shape: females are dramatically more deep-bodied than the males. Tiger barb females are rounded at spawning time. If you have a group of six or more mature fish, it's usually not a problem to identify the males and females.> Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, a curious newcomer. <Good luck, Neale.>

Do puffer fish and tiger barbs get along?  3/30/08 I currently have a 20 gallon community tropical tank set up but I also have a empty 10 gallon tank that I would like to set up with some other types of fish. <Limited options in 10 gallons to be honest. Very few fish make good permanent residents in tanks this small for a variety of reasons.> I was thinking of getting a fresh water puffer fish and 1 or 2 tiger barbs. <Hmm... Tiger Barbs are schooling fish for a start, so you don't keep "one or two", you keep at least six. Period. Aside from the cruelty in keeping schooling species in too-small a group, Tiger Barbs are notorious for become aggressive and/or nippy when kept thus. In any case, they are FAR too big for a 10 gallon tank.> I also was thinking about maybe getting a dwarf Gourami but I know they tend to get sick so I want to know of any other fish species that would go good with the puffer and tiger barbs. <Mixing Gouramis (which are slow moving and have long fins) with either Tiger Barbs or Pufferfish just isn't going to work out. So I'd expunge that idea from your brain cells.> (I don't know if the puffer and the tiger barbs will go good together either.) <Depends on the Pufferfish. Several species in the trade are brackish water fish anyway (Figure-8 and Green Spotted Puffers for example) and so can't be kept with most barbs. There are some brackish water barbs it is true, but the Tiger Barb isn't one of them. The only Pufferfish I can think of that *might* work with Tiger Barbs is the South American Puffer, but it's a gregarious species that needs lots of swimming room, so a single specimen in a 10 gallon tank won't work. I keep a trio in the equivalent of a 44 gallon community tank, and they EASILY use up all that space. But even then, some fish occasionally get nipped, Corydoras especially.> I don't know exactly what fish will go good with the puffer but could you recommend some if there are any. <Puffers are, to be fair, awkward customers when it comes to multi-species aquaria. They also tend to be highly active fish that get bored easily, and when they get bored, they get nippy. Or put a less anthropomorphic way, it's in their nature to "nibble" the environment while hunting for the camouflaged prey (shrimps, snails) they like to eat. If there aren't enough rocks and plants, they'll nibble on any fish that don't get out the way. Broadly speaking, no-one recommends Pufferfish unreservedly for freshwater community systems. So I'd suggest either going for a Dwarf Puffer-only 10 gallon system, or skipping the puffers entirely and creating a 10 gallon "micro community". I have a well-planted 10 gallon system with various snails, cherry shrimps, bumblebee gobies, and (juvenile) pygmy halfbeaks Dermogenys siamensis, and it's a lot of fun. Choose small, relatively inactive fish. Not Danios or anything that needs lots of swimming space. And certainly nothing much over 2.5 cm/1" in length. If you went with the Dwarf Puffers, you could have three or four specimens in the tank, provided it was well maintained and serviced with a very good filter. Puffers are sensitive to poor water quality.> Thanks, Nick <Cheers, Neale.>

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