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FAQs on Tiger Barbs Systems

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 Compatibility, Tiger Barbs Selection, 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,


Question about tiger barbs. Sys., stkg... rdg.      6/1/13
Hi !
So I have actually a quite simple question but I don't seem to see anyone with as small tank as me.
<Indeed; 22 litres (just under 6 US gallons) isn't a good size for tropical fishkeeping. It's really only suited to keeping a Betta, or else things like Cherry Shrimps or African Dwarf Frogs that don't need a huge amount of space to do well. Only very experienced aquarists would use tanks this small for "nano" schooling fish like Dwarf Rasboras (Boraras maculatus) but I'd hardly recommend such delicate fish unless you have good experience of fishkeeping.>
Since I'm from North-East Europe I sadly don't know to convert gallons. so I have 22l aquarium (also has filter and air pump) with 2 mollies and 2 tiger barbs.
<Much too small for these species.>
Both of my barbs are male and they fight a lot and the smaller loses them so i don't want my little fish to have stress.
<Tiger Barbs need to be kept in groups of at least 6 specimens. Otherwise, yes, they fight. They are very social animals and are unhappy in smaller groups than 6. You really need a spacious tank for Tiger Barbs, around 90-100 litres at minimum.>
My tank is only few days old and since I've figured out by now that barbs are group fish then I'd like to get more of them (2-3 maybe).
<Not in this tank!>
So my question is if  the tank is big enough already at the moment for fish,
<It is not big enough.>
and if i wanted to get more of them after the cycle (or what it's called) is done (an article i read from you site earlier had a good link with info about it), would taking 2-3 more be enough?
<See above.>
Probably i would need to get a bigger tank for them if i wanted to get more of them.
Otherwise my fish are doing great and they are friendly to each other (besides barbs to each other).
<Male Mollies can become aggressive as they age, and they also get quite large, 6-15 cm depending on the variety. Again, a big aquarium is needed, 100+ litres.>
They swim around a lot, mollies love to nibble algae from the glass and barbs also love to play when you tap with finger on aquarium glass. Can't wait for the cycle to get over to get some new cute barbs! :D
<Time to read some more!
…and the links at top of those pages. Cheers, Neale.>

'Lazy' the Long-Tailed Rosy Barb, mis-stocked barbs      2/23/12
Hello! First off, let me say how incredibly helpful your site has been for me thus far! My question concerns one of my new long-tailed rosy barbs, whom I've nicknamed 'Lazy'. I purchased him yesterday along with another rosy,
<Mmm, best in groups>
 2 tiger barbs,
<These too>
 and 2 African dwarf frogs.
<Not compatible... will have a hard time feeding>
All have been doing well thus far in the 10 gal. aquarium.

<Yikes... too small a volume for these barb species. I'd trade them in for smaller species: Cherries, Golds, Checkerboard...>
 The current pH is at 7.4, and the temperature is a steady 76 degrees F. However, I found Lazy laying on the bottom of his tank when I came home this afternoon. His respiration seems normal, and he still swims to the top of the tank to eat, but will return to the gravel right after. (I've been feeding them fish flakes and blood worms for snacks). I can't help but be worried about him, Is this a normal habit, or should I seek out some medical attention for him? Thanks! 
<Not normal... again, you're mis-stocked here... Read re these species needs on WWM and here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> 

Barb Tank, Tiger and Pictus cats  -- 12/14/09
Hey Guys, love the site. Anywho, onward with questions of my new tank. I'm on my second tank and it's been years since my first. I moved so I gave away my mollies away in my old tank years ago. So I grabbed a 20 gallon
Long and bought some small tiger barbs. Three to be exact.
<Bad number. Keep in groups of six or more.>
After the third day of my tank running the store said my PH was just a bit high but if I acclimated them for 30-40mins they should be fine.
<Define a "high" pH. For standard community tank fishkeeping, the optimal pH is 7.5. Filter bacteria are happiest between 7.5 and 8.2, and as the pH drops below that level, filtration rate slows down. Now, it's also crucial
to understand that pH doesn't matter to your fish. Tiger Barbs will do perfectly well in anything from 6.0 to 8.0. What matters rather more is hardness. For general, casual fishkeeping you want moderate general hardness (so both soft and hard water fish can be kept) but the carbonate hardness (sometimes called alkalinity) should not be too low. Very low carbonate hardness creates unstable water chemistry conditions. Do read here:
So I bought Four 1" barbs and introduced them. One of the barbs became ill suddenly, skinny, would not eat, and had what appeared to be mouth fungus, barely swimming.
<Do review water quality. In particular, Barbs are sensitive to nitrite and ammonia levels that aren't zero.>
The other guys were fine, seemed happy, hungry, and chased each other around a lot :-). Long story short, I had not yet got a hospital tank. He's gone. Monitored the water for the next eight days everything seemed fine.
No Ammonia spike, no illness, and I planted a Wendtii on my fifth day. On the eighth day I picked up two more tiger barbs and a pectis catfish figuring this should do it for the fish in my tank even though the sales clerk said I could get more later.
<"Pectis" catfish? Never heard of that. Do you mean a Pictus Catfish, Pimelodus pictus? This is a SCHOOLING and PREDATORY South American catfish. Tolerant in terms of water chemistry, but doesn't like very warm
water. Indeed, like virtually all of the Pimelodidae, it's best kept between 22-24 C (72-75 F) and certainly no higher than 25 C (77 F). Since it reaches a length of 15 cm/6 inches, it obviously can't be kept in a 20 gallon tank for long. A group of three or more will need a tank at least twice that size.>
From my research 5 barbs and a pectis should max out a 20L tank.
<In your dreams! Pimelodus pictus is a highly active, riverine, schooling species that needs masses of space. Look at how streamlined it is! Look at that huge tail fin! That's a fish made for swimming. It wants a strong water current (turnover at least six times the volume of the tank, and ideally eight or ten times). Lots of oxygen!>
Anyway, not five hrs after introduction one of my fish had a rather rapid development of cotton on his mouth AGAIN. Quarantined the fish. Water reads as follows on the 10th day. N03, maybe a tad above 0 but practically white on my tests strip. N02, none. Hardness is too high at around 150 ppm.
Alkalinity too low at about 100 ppm. PH perfect at 7.2.
<The way you're talking about "too high" or "too low" suggests you don't
actually understand anything about these parameters. Read the article mentioned above, and also this one:
Don't think about what conditions a fish would experience in the wild, but instead think about what conditions would be most stable in an aquarium.>
I'm using Mardel test strips if that helps. No apparent illness in any more fish as of yet. But my barbs do seem to congregate around the heater staring at the element doing bows to it when the lights out and my pectis is out of hiding quite often when lights are on, I believe I read they like to hide.
<They are SCHOOLING fish, and singletons spend their (brief) lives in terror until for one reason or another just die.>
Water has been kept at a balmy 80 degrees and I also added two tablespoons of salt before introducing first barbs.
<Again, why do you think either of these things help? The tank is MUCH too warm for either species. As temperature goes up, oxygen concentration goes down. This is a bad thing. As for salt, do either of these species come from brackish water? No. So why add salt? Why would it help?>
Fish store said Pectis would do fine at this temp.
My friend who's owned fish for a while suspects the store does not quarantine new barbs and that's where the infections are coming from and that maybe I caught the new fish infections quick enough.
<Possible, though difficult to rule in or out.>
What are my next steps?
<Read, read, and then read some more. Lots of beginner's mistakes here.
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Barb Tank -- 12/15/09
Thanks for the tips!
I've learned to do much more research and perhaps switch stores due to their recommendation of 78-82 for barbs, 78-80 for pictis, I lowered temp to 77.
<A good temperature for most tropical fish.>
I've researched a lot of your site and will do things much differently if I have to start a new tank up.
I got the pictus some sinking carnivore tablets but I do not see him eating.
<They're somewhat nocturnal. They prefer small chunks of wet-frozen or fresh seafood. A little white fish, a little chopped mussel and prawn, the odd earthworm, a cube of frozen bloodworms or krill... all these will work well. As with all predatory fish, the key is variety. Catfish pellets will be taken, and make good vitamin boosters, but I'd tend not to rely on them unless you really had no choice.>
The barbs picked off the two that I dropped. Hopefully I can find a new home for the pictus. Behavior wise he seems better. He was very active against the wall like he was swimming to get out the first 24 hrs.
<Yes, in keeping with species.>
Now he's staying at the bottom but still active and sometimes hiding under the Wendtii, never uses my cave though.
<Not a cave-dwelling species. In groups these fish are super-active, almost like wolves, constantly pacing the aquarium.>
I bought a new 6500k bulb a week ago, and the one things that's great is my Wendtii looks healthier than any in the stores tank and sprouted a lot of new growth.
<An excellent plant species, C. wendtii. There are some very hardy and attractive varieties to choose from.>
My ammonia levels crept up from 0 to .25 mg/L after ten days of fish.
Hmmm.. they said to wait two weeks for water change.
<Nonsense, do water changes! You don't need non-zero ammonia levels for the filter to mature. Any ammonia you detect is ammonia the bacteria aren't using. It's surplus. Since the fish add more ammonia all the time, you're free to dilute the surplus ammonia through water changes as often as you want.>
Should I change 10% or 20% today (10 days) or wait the full 14?
<Would do a 10-20% change every day or two until you keep having zero levels of ammonia and nitrite. Cheers, Neale.>

Help With Tiger Barbs, beh., hlth./env.    11/25/09
I was hoping that perhaps you could help me with my tiger barbs. I have been observing some odd behaviour from them as of late. I have searched the indexes but can't seem to find an answer that would suit my tank. First, my setup is a 20 gallon tank with gravel in the bottom. I have a clay pot that I glued gravel to with aquarium sealer (the stuff made for tanks) and they use it as a cave. I have a bio wheel filter that is in good working condition, and I have an undergravel filter with the two posts up each side with air stones in them. (I don't currently have the charcoal in them as I had to take them out for medication and haven't put them back in. It's just for aerating at the moment). I have a new heater which keeps my tank at 24c or 75f. I also have one plant in there which they have eaten all the leaves off in the middle half! Poor plant. Anyways, I have 5, well, HAD five tiger barbs. One died yesterday. I now have two regular tiger barbs, one of the albinos, and one green. They all get along great, (they aren't full grown yet, but close.)
<You really will need to keep them in groups of six or more; in smaller groups, Puntius tetrazona can become a real menace. As you recognise, it doesn't matter if you use the standard sort, the albinos, or the moss green tiger barbs. But you do need six or more.>
I basically have about 4 problems. The biggest concern for me is that they seem to be doing heavy breathing. Not all the time, and I don't seem them all doing it at once, but they do swim around breathing heavy by opening their mouths almost all the way and I can see their gills going. It at least seems heavy to me because not all of them do it, all the time.
<Barbs are like the old miner's canary: they quickly show when water conditions aren't good. Heavy breathing typically means high levels of ammonia or nitrite, or else dramatic changes in pH. Review water quality and check water chemistry stability. Tiger Barbs can muddle through the "cycling" phase of a new tank, but they will be stressed by it, and some may well die.>
The second problem I notice is sometimes when I come home and turn the lights on for feeding, I notice that some or all have faded colors. This usually returns in a few hours I'd say.
<Normal. Many, perhaps most, wild-type freshwater fish change their colours in the dark. Artificial varieties like Goldfish don't show this so much, which is why it's sometimes unexpected.>
The next is that I occasionally see them doing head stands but never for a long time. I also don't see it very often.
<Again, this is a classic sign of stress, typically ammonia/nitrite issues, but possibly sudden pH changes.>
And lastly, I recently added two of the regular tiger barbs to the three I had before. They were smaller than the other three but I have NEVER seem aggression among my fish. The one tiger barb has caught but to the others, but the other one is still quite small. He hasn't grown much. I seem him often hiding at the bottom of the plant, or in the cave. Is this because he's small? Or is there something wrong with him?
<This species is extremely hierarchical, and unless kept in adequate numbers, it is VERY common for one fish to become a bully, and the weakest fish to end up being picked on.>
I do test my tank and I have never seen ammonia or nitrite register on my tests.
<I just don't believe that this is reliable. What you're describing is classic environmental stress behaviour. If the tank has been running with fish for more than two months, and the nitrite and ammonia are both at zero, then you may be okay in terms of water quality. In that case, think about other possible sources of toxins, for example paint fumes. Also check you're using a dechlorinator that treats chloramine as well as chlorine.
Check the pH of your water is stable: some water supplies experience sudden pH changes over 24 hours. Take a glass of water, check the pH, and then repeat 24 hours later. If the pH is the same, you're fine. If not, you have a problem...>
Nitrate has never been above about 20. I don't do weekly water changes but don't feel that its overly important since I have very few fish in my tank.
The one problem is that my tank water is..... well.... hard. Very hard in fact. I would say it's reading at about an 8.5.
<In and of itself, this isn't the end of the world, assuming the Tiger Barbs were settled into this water chemistry by your local retailer. Yes, choosing hard water fish would be better: swordtails, platies, etc.>
The people at the fish store give me mixed suggestions on what I should do.
The one told me to use a ph reduced and against what I thought, I did.
(thinking they know best).
<Bad idea.>
But I had to put sooooo much of that in just to make like a .1 reduction. I had to double, sometimes triple the dose. And only to have my water return to where is was in just a couple days. I went back and the other fish guy told me that that's okay, and they can live in very hard waters and not to try and mess with the ph. A stable ph is better that a neutral ph.
So, basically, I just want to know what's going on with my fish. I have only had them two months so that one fish wasn't just old.
<See, in a young tank, I'd put money on water quality issues.>
My tank was very well cycled and I put a bacteria supplement into the water to help it.
<Most of these supplements are bogus.>
I did medicate them about 2 1/2 weeks ago with these fizzy tablets that turned the water green. It was a general bacteria medication because I noticed that it seemed like the fish had a gold shimmer to them.
<Gold shimmer is velvet, and a bacterial medication won't make a blind bit of a difference there. Be sure to identify the problem, and then medicate accordingly. Wrong medications can, will kill your fish.>
After the two doses I realized they still had it, but it's only when the sun in setting and shining into my window.... I think it's just the fish.
They weren't sick. The guy at the fish store said it was velvet. Oh well.
Sorry if I seem like I went on forever, I just wanted to give as much information as possible. Hopefully you can help.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re Help With Tiger Barbs (RMF, any reason for pH 9 water?)<<No... odd. See below. RMF>>   11/28/09
Thank you for your response. I just have a couple follow up questions.
<Fire away.>
My water at home does have a ph swing after sitting out for a day or two.
It comes out of the tap at 7.4, and in a day or two it will be 8.5 - 9. Is this water not okay to use?
<I'd say not. Would recommend mixing 50/50 with rainwater (free!) or RO water (safest).>
or should I just make sure the ph stabilizes first?
<Always, always, ALWAYS let the pH stabilise before adding to the aquarium.
Get a 5 gallon bucket from a DIY store, fill with water, and leave overnight before using.>
Also, the pet store I buy them from keeps their water at 7.8. Is this to much of a difference?
<From pH 7.8 to pH 9? Gosh! Yes, far too much of a change. Are you using municipal water or well water?>
I have noticed sudden sickness after I brought them home. In fact, the one that died I had since the end of September.
<I bet.>
I do use a dechlorinator that does to chloramine as well.
Also, as for the number of fish, I do plan on having the whole tank stocked with the tigers, I was taking them home a few at a time to add them but then I stopped buying after the second bunch when they got sick. I feel I should have the tank under control before adding new fish.
<If you really do have water this hard and this basic, Tiger Barbs would not be my preference; I'd be looking at either hard water fish (like Platies and Guppies) or a brackish water community where the marine salt mix would stabilise the pH somewhere useful (e.g., with a mix of Mollies).>
And as for velvet. Could they still have it?
I notice it on my green moss barb. He still has the gold shimmer to him.
It's hard to see on the others. If it's velvet, could that be what's causing the odd behaviour? Or killed the other fish?
<Velvet attacks the gills before the skin, and yes, this will cause respiratory stress.>
Now also, I said that since my tank has been established, I haven't seen ammonia or nitrite on my tests. Were you saying that you don't think my testing is reliable?
<Impossible for me to say.>
I use the liquid testing in the vials. I do it according to the instructions and when I color match, I don't see any color on them.
<That's usually a good start.>
So i guess, my final question is, do you think that it's that they have velvet or poor water conditions? Or both?
<The two things do tend to go together.>
And I guess I should be leaving my water to sit before adding it to the tank. Although the water stabilizes in about 24 hours, and it doesn't seem to affect the overall ph much, could this be causing the symptoms well
after the fact?
<Could well be.>
I appreciated your time to answer my questions. It's helped a lot.
Oh, and I was thinking of getting some driftwood for my tank. I know this lowers the ph (or can) slightly. Is this a good idea?
<If your water is rock hard -- and I strongly recommend you test the General Hardness and Carbonate Hardness before doing ANYTHING else -- then bogwood will have little/no impact on pH. Cheers, Neale.> <<Summat is wrong here... either the test kit/reagents are shot, the user has misunderstood/is not following directions, or the municipality/source water is treating the tap for some reason with chemicals that is greatly elevating pH. I would do as Neale states and check your water for both KH and GH, and maybe contact your water supplier. Bob Fenner>>

Re: More RE: Help With Tiger Barbs (RMF, any reason for pH 9 water?) 11/28/09
About the note at the end, I don't believe I misunderstood the readings. I read the instructions every time I use it and it's clear. For both. The other testers I use in the kit work fine.
As for my water, it's well water.
For using to water, is it safe to gradually switch them over to 100% RO water? Or how should I go about that?
<You MUST NOT use 100% RO water. That will be too soft. As I said, a 50/50 mixture of RO water with hard, basic tap water will produce something of moderate hardness and approximately neutral pH that suits a wide variety of community fish.>
And how would the salt help the ph?
<Salt doesn't change the pH at all. Marine salt mix isn't "just" salt, it's a mix of salt with various carbonates, sulphates, and lots of other things.
Taken together, marine salt mix raises pH and hardness alongside salinity.>
I really don't want mollies, and platies. Or guppies. I grew up with them and just want something different.
<Fair enough. Do review some of the other, less often seen livebearers though, like Limia nigrofasciata, Poecilia salvatoris, Heterandria formosa, for example.>
Is there much selection for brackish water fish.
<Yes, a very big selection, from Figure-8 puffers, Mudskippers, Spaghetti Eels, Archerfish to Violet Gobies, to name just a few. Do see my Brackish Water Aquarium FAQ for more.
But not all species are on sale all the time in every pet store. So you have to keep your eyes peel, shop around, and build your collection slowly.>
And would I have to change the equipment I have for my setup.
<Depends. A low-end brackish water system is much like a regular freshwater tank, except roughly a level teaspoon of marine salt mix (6 grammes) is added per litre of water. Many plants will thrive under such conditions, so apart from the marine salt mix, the tank looks like a community system. At higher salinities things get different, and more like a marine aquarium in terms of decor.>
I looked at my fish again today and it's only the moss tiger that seems to have the shimmer, I don't see it on the other ones. I did noticed the he kept his two bottom fins close to his body the whole time, I suspect this is the ph...
<Could well be a factor.>
So, all said, should I look for an ro supplier and what ratio should I gradually change them to.
<I find 50/50 works well.>
Will it hurt them further to treat with a good velvet specific medication if it's possible they don't have it?
<Yes; all medications are poisons, and used unnecessarily, can cause problems.>
And how long can the ro water sit in a jug before using?
<Keep unused RO water in a bucket with a lid. Kept thus, it's fine for a week or two. Eventually dust, cooking grease, and so on will end up in there, and while not necessarily toxic, such things are best avoided.>
I will take your advice and test the hardness. Didn't suspect it was that because when I took my cycled water to the store to be tested, I assumed they checked it but said everything looked great. My kit only tests ph,
nitrite, nitrate, and ammonia
<Would strongly suggest you check the general hardness (degrees dH) and carbonate hardness (degrees KH) before going further.>
Oh, I guess I should ask, for my little guy, should I get something so he can be separated in the tank?
<Not much point.>
I haven't figured out who the alpha is yet. Any suggestion on food besides flakes and granules that might help him catch up in size?
<Doesn't work this way; fish grow every day of their lives, though the rate slows as they mature. A fish that reaches "adolescence" smaller than its peers will always be smaller.>
Thanks for all your help
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: More RE: Help With Tiger Barbs (Bob, do US grocery stores sell RO water?)  11/30/09
<<Some do, but most of this water is contactor-processed. RMF>>
I will test the two things as you suggested. Is there any way to alter these if they are way off?
<Letting the water stand so its pH stabilises, ideally with an airstone, but otherwise for 24 hours, will be helpful. Mixing 50/50 should result in something around 10-15 degrees dH, 5 degrees KH, and pH 7.5. If this is indeed what you get, this is absolutely fine for almost all community fish.>
Will the ro water help it?
<See above.>
Final question. With the ro water. Should it come from a fish store?
<Some folks do buy their RO water from fish shops. In the long term, it's more economical to own your own RO filter. Domestic water softeners aren't the same thing though, because they add sodium salts to replace the carbonate and bicarbonate salts that "fur" up pipes, kettles and appliances. That said, if you had brackish water fish species, the additional sodium would be well within their tolerances, so you can keep brackish water fish just fine with domestically softened water that has a bit of marine salt mix to replace some of the lost carbonate and up the salinity.>
The local grocery stores sell ro water in the vending machines for reusable bottles. Is that okay to use? I tested the water and it was very acidic.
Around 5.5. I was under the impression it should be around seven.
<I've asked Bob to comment here, but when I lived in the US, the grocery stores were selling filtered, not RO, water (e.g., Culligan's drinking water). This isn't the same thing as RO water at all. It could be used for keeping fish if the carbonate hardness, general hardness, and pH levels are in the tolerances of the species being kept. But given the very low pH of the water your vendor sells, it sounds unlikely that in its "raw" state such water would be acceptable. By all means try a 50/50 mix with tap water, and see what the general hardness, carbonate hardness, and pH levels come out as. If they're in the safe zone, then it'd be fine to use. The bottom line is that it doesn't matter where you get the water from, just so long as these three critical parameters are acceptable to the species being kept. I collect and use rainwater for example, which costs nothing and is about as environmentally friendly as water can get. On the downside, I need to strain out detritus (dead insects and leaves, mostly) that end up in the water butt, and it does have a low pH because of CO2 and organic acids that accumulate in the water butt, so mixing with tap water at a 50/50 ratio is essential. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: More RE: Help With Tiger Barbs (Bob, do US grocery stores sell RO water?) 11/29/09
I want to thank you for all the help you've provided. It's nice to just get straight answers instead of worry about whether or not the person is just trying to sell me something.
I have tested the two hardness levels and I think I have found part of the problem. My general hardness is 120 (which according to the chart is moderately hard (100-200) although I'm not sure how this is for my tigers.
<Moderately hard levels of general hardness are just fine for most community fish, including Puntius spp.>
I will definitely research this. The second one, which I was surprised to find, was the carbonate hardness was way off.
<You mean extremely hard? High levels of carbonate hardness are not acceptable to most community fish. Do read here:
I tend to work in degrees KH because it's easier, but on the tables there you'll see how to convert between degrees KH and mg/l calcium carbonate.
Anything above, say, 8 degrees KH, about 140 mg/l calcium carbonate, is above what community fish like.>
I figured this was tested when I took my cycled tank water into the pet store before I bought my fish. Maybe it changes, or maybe they didn't test it, I don't know. I didn't get an exact reading as I stopped the test because I felt like I was wasting all my liquid and I know I need to mix some ro water in.
<Yes, this seems reasonable. Try a 50/50 mix and see what you get.>
The test I have, you drop in a drop of the yellow stuff and it turns blue, then you count the drops it takes to change the liquid you yellow/lime. I stopped counting my drops at 21 and it just started to turn a green. Still a very dark blue/green. This means that my carbonate hardness (or alkalinity) over 210 mg/L!!
<Very high carbonate hardness. This is fine for some fish, like livebearers, but less so for others.>
I will buy ro water when I get back from my trip. I will experiment with different ratios of my tap and ro water to get the water parameters that best suit my tigers.
Thanks for everything.
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>  
RE: More RE: Help With Tiger Barbs (Bob, do US grocery stores sell RO water?)
oh, I forgot to mention that I live in Canada. I did check and they do say it's ro water... b
<I tend to skeptical, and I'd encourage you to be likewise. Many people do not know the difference between RO water, mineral water, bottled water, and domestically softened water -- so it's good to be clear. RO water isn't
normally drunk; while it may not actually be harmful, it doesn't taste good and lacks the minerals (particularly calcium and fluoride) that promote good health. RO water will have zero general hardness and zero carbonate
hardness, and should have a pH of 7.0 (though this can vary because it has zero buffering capacity, so even slight impurities can alter the pH).
Cheers, Neale.>

Barbs... Tiger, sys., ID....    12/10/08 Hello, <Hi,> I have read many articles on your pages but am still a bit confused as to how to proceed with my son's tank. We have been inundated with "advice" from "professionals" at several different locations on what to do and what not to do etc. in caring for our Barbs. My son is 8 and has recently purchased a 5 gallon tank which he has slowly stocked with one Tiger Barb, one Green Tiger, and one Albino Tiger. <Okay, several things here. Firstly, 5 gallons is of no use whatsoever for keeping these fish. You need a tank at least 4 times this size, i.e., 20 gallons or more. These fish will not be happy or healthy in this small aquarium, and keeping them in there isn't just cruel, but foolish, because they're eventually going to get sick. Apart from a single Betta, there are no commonly traded fish, none, in the hobby that do well in 5 gallons. Unfortunately these tanks are widely sold to inexperienced aquarists. They are a con, short and sweet, and you were conned. Money down the drain. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_5/volume_5_3/stocking.htm Next up, these "three" barbs are, I'm assuming, all the same species, i.e., the standard Puntius tetrazona, the green "moss barb" variety, and an albino Puntius tetrazona. While it's good they're all the same species, you still don't have a school, and they will very likely become aggressive as they mature.> We do 30% water changes every 5 days or so and treat the new water with "start right" according to the directions. The fish seem to be relatively healthy as we have had no real problems. We have been told to add aquarium salt, snails, algae eaters, and an assortment of decorations to keep the fish healthy.....is this really all necessary? <None of it is even sensible in a tank this size. Even your barbs don't belong there. The essential things to any tank are heating, filtration, a substrate for blocking reflections from the bottom pane of glass, and a lid to stop fish jumping out. Everything else is optional.> One article I read said that 3 fish was almost too much for such a small tank so wouldn't adding these other things make for overcrowding? My son only feeds these fish once a day and also a very small amount due to all the research we have read about overfeeding leading to ammonia issues. However everyone keeps telling us we should be feeding them at least 2x a day since they eat everything within a matter of minutes. <The tank is too small, and any feeding is likely overfeeding. These fish have no place is this ridiculously small aquarium. It's like keeping an elephant in a rabbit hutch.> Lastly we have noticed a difference since we have added the green tiger (greenie) in the appearance of the water surface. It looks like air bubbles are now covering almost 1/2 of the surface. My neighbor thought they may have been eggs but I really don't think so as they seem to "pop" if any of the fish touch them. <Not eggs; just bubbles. Use the ammonia or nitrite test kit you sensibly purchased along with the fish tank to actually check water quality. The "look" of the water doesn't really mean much. What? You don't have any test kits? Well, add a nitrite test kit and a pH test kit to your shopping list, along with a 20 gallon tank.> We are VERY inexperienced with all of this but want to make sure we aren't causing any harm to the fish. <You *are* harming these fish by keeping them in a crazy-small tank. Please do buy or borrow an aquarium book. In the meantime, have a read of that article linked before and this one as well: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestk.htm Stocking small tanks is an art, and for beginners, a 20 gallon tank is the MINIMUM at which the hobby will be easy and pleasurable. Trust me on this; I do this for a living and am not trying to sell you anything!> My son wanted to do this on his own and really does seem to take pretty good care of things. Obviously I do the water changes and chemical treatments but do you have any advice as to how we are doing and if we doing anything wrong? Thank you in advance for your time! ~The Bombard Family~ <Much reading required, but at least your Christmas shopping list has been simplified. Keep the 5 gallon tank for some colourful shrimps or a Betta or something. Cheers, Neale.>

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>

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>

- 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 -- > FW, stkg.   12/16/07 I have a question about my fish and my tank size. Well here it goes... I have a fifty gallon tank with a Amazon sword and 2 other types of plants not sure what it is. I also have 1 platy, 2 swordtails, 2 balloon mollies, 5 Danios, 1 bristle nose Pleco, 1 clown Pleco, 4 tiger barbs, and 1 Cory. Is this too crowded? This is all am going to be getting. If it is too crowded, what should I do? Thanks once again. <Greetings. The volume of an aquarium isn't the only thing to consider when stocking a tank. Surface area (for oxygen uptake), length (for swimming space), and filtration (for water quality) are all equally important. But your collection of fish is not excessive for a 50 gallon tank. Provided all the fish are healthy and water quality statistics are consistently good, you may even decide to add a few more Corydoras, since they prefer to be kept in groups of at least 5 specimens. You could also choose to get some Tiger Barbs as well. Tiger Barbs are busy little fish that tend to become fin-nippers unless kept in large groups. At least 6 specimens is recommended. You can mix regular, albino, and moss green Tiger Barbs, since they're all one species. I think they look best when just one variety, but some folks like to mix and match them to get a variety of colours. Cheers, Neale.>

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