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FAQs on Tinfoil Barbs

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

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

Tinfoil Barb      5/10/18
Hello Crew!
<Hello Renee,>
A few months ago, I took in a 7 - 8 inch Tinfoil Barb that my aquarium store took in as a rescue (they've helped me a lot and I wanted to return the favor). They told me that this fish had been in a 90 gallon tank that had been abandoned and the water got so bad that his dorsal and one pectoral fin rotted off (pretty lousy picture attached, but you should be able to see the damaged dorsal fin - the left pectoral fin is in the same condition); the rest of his tankmates died.
He had been at their store for almost 6 months when I saw him and was overwhelming their store tanks. They couldn't keep him in their big orphan tank because the majority of the orphans they get are aggressive, large cichlids who may take advantage of the Barb's disabilities. They were afraid he'd never find a suitable home so I agreed to take him and give him a bigger tank while we keep working to find him a home with a large tank (mine is only 75 gallon). But so far, no takers. Everyone, including the
Boise Aquarium, has expressed concern about his injuries, which seem permanent, and his ability to thrive with other big Barbs or other large, potentially aggressive fish.
<Understood, and the Boise Aquarium may well have a point.>
But I've had him a few months and he is a beautiful, happy, healthy fish - except - I think he's lonely. Not pining away, missing someone kind of lonely, but just needing other fish around.
<Quite possibly.>
So, for the past few weeks, I've been trying to find him a tankmate or two to swim with that won't overwhelm my tank as (the tank has two canister filters on it, one rated for a 75 gallon and one for a 65 gallon and a small powerhead). I've tried an Oscar, a Blood Parrot, and most recently, two Acara - but the Barb has been bullied relentlessly by every fish I've tried and I just noticed this morning that his one remaining pectoral fin has a tear (I'll be taking the Acara back to the aquarium store this morning). I don't want to get another big Barb as I'm already concerned about the tank size even with the filtration (but water parameters have stayed steady with no ammonia or nitrite and weekly water changes have kept the nitrate below 30 since he's been here). Can you suggest a fish that would give him someone to swim with that won't beat him up and is the least likely to overwhelm the tank?
<I would tend to look at species that stay closer to the bottom. Enough activity to keep him entertained, but lacking the swimming ability to either compete or the jaws to cause damage. I'd be thinking about, for example, things like Dianema spp. and Brochis spp. for starters, both of which are completely peaceful. Any of the Whiptails would be a great choice, being so gentle they even ignore livebearer fry. Some of the larger Whips, such as Sturisoma, are spectacular fish in their own right, and enjoy the same brisk, cool water your Tinfoil Barb relishes. I might even think about true surface dwellers such as the larger Hatchetfish which aren't a threat to anything because their jaws point upwards. Finally, you
might consider placid dwarf cichlids, such as Apistogramma, which may be territorial but will be so overwhelmed by the size of the Tinfoil their threat level will be low.>
He doesn't have much left in the way of fins and I don't think he can afford any more damage.
<Hope the above helps, Neale.>

Re: Tinfoil Barb      5/11/18
It does help! Thank you!
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Tinfoil barb jumped out of the tank    2/10/12
Hello WWM Friends,
I have a 60G tank with 3 tinfoil barbs (red eye) for over a year now.
<Which species? Barbonymus schwanenfeldii gets to around 25-30 cm in aquaria; Barbonymus altus around 20 cm. Both are big fish, and not particularly well suited to home aquaria.>
They are about 4 inches long.
<And will outgrow this aquarium before long…>
There are no other fishes in the tank. This morning, after giving the food pellets, one of the my bigger barbs jumped out of the tank. Somehow we put her back, but skin near her pectoral fin (left) is slight bruised. The eyes and the rest of the body look okay, but she has been swimming around with her mouth continuously moving (as if she is chewing on something). Is it because of pain?
<Possibly, but more likely breathing heavily for some reason.>
The first thing I did was adding DoAqua - BeRelax (shopkeeper told me it helps in healing bruises faster).
<Conceivably, but most such "preventive" products do little.>
Should I add Terramycin to stop any secondary infections?
<If you want to. Won't do any harm, but realistically, fish recover from injuries pretty well *assuming* aquarium conditions are good.>
The temperature is at 27 degrees Celsius.
<A trifle warm - would aim for 25 C, and make sure there's lots of oxygen. Obviously nitrite and ammonia need to be zero.>
I hope and I pray that there is no internal damage. What other precautions can I take?
<Hmm… none, really, beyond ensuring good environmental conditions, keeping away from aggressive tankmates (such as cichlids), and generally ensuring the fish aren't harassed or stressed.>
Thank you,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Tinfoil barb jumped out of the tank    3/21/12

Hey Neale,
Thanks a lot for the reply. My barb is doing fine (touch wood) :) Yes, I would try to lower the temperature this weekend to 26. There are no aggressive tank mates (only three barbs). Did not need to add Terramycin.
<Real good.>
Was busy with the office; couldn't reply back earlier.
<No problem. But glad to know all's well that ends well.>
Thanks, again.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Tinfoil barb- sudden death (RMF, ideas?) -- 07/17/09
I have a mature, 90 gallon freshwater tank. current inhabitants were 1 golden tinfoil barb (about 5"), a couple of dojo loaches, and 5 black skirted tetras. I decided to add 5 rainbow fish. I floated the bags, carefully scooped the new fish out, turned off the light, etc etc. My tinfoil was quite agitated at having the bags floating in his tank. An hour or so later, I check on the new arrivals, and the tinfoil is belly up- dead as a door nail.
I'm guessing he died of stress, or had a fatal crash against something in the tank. Is there anything I could have done differently when introducing the new fish?
<This is very difficult to determine. I doubt stress as such was the thing unless you were splashing about the tank like a madman! But it is possible that your tank is overstocked, and adding the additional fish tipped the balance, and the 'weakest' fish died. Now, a 90 gallon tank should be ample for what you have, but it won't be if your filter is too poky and doesn't have the required turnover (I'd say at least 4, and ideally 6, times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour, i.e., 4 x 90 = 360 gallons per hour to 6 x 90 = 540 gallons per hour). If the water is too soft, additional livestock will increase the rate of acidification, and if the pH drops rapidly, that could also kill fish quickly. So check the carbonate hardness (not general hardness). What you want is something around 4-6 degrees KH. Of course new fish can introduce diseases, but usually these take several days to develop obvious symptoms, and I've not seen anything that kills fish within an hour.>
<Cheers, Neale.> <<I am "guessing", going along with Mary's suggestions. RMF>>

Difference between FW fish species...    2/24/08 Hi! I just wanted to know what is the difference between an albino Buenos Aires tetra and an albino tinfoil barb. They look so alike and I want to make sure my LFS didn't give me the wrong fish. Thanks <This is easy. Buenos Aires tetras (Hemigrammus anisitsi) have an adipose fin, whereas Tinfoil barbs (Barbonymus schwanenfeldii) do not. Cheers, Neale.>

Tinfoil Barb In Charge  - 08/26/06 Heyla. as before, I have a question that I can't seem to find the answer to on your website. Maybe I didn't look hard enough or overlooked it, but I don't know. I own a 55 gallon tank now, and have 1 Oscar, 1 Pleco,  and 3 gold tinfoil barbs. Now, they seem to be getting along decently without any major mishaps, but the largest of the 3 Tinfoils has been eating quite a bit. That doesn't sound like a problem, but let's say I put in 7 pieces of food, then the tinfoil will gulp down as many as he can get, and even the Oscar is having trouble getting food now. The smaller Tinfoils barely get anything, and I'm worried they might starve. I put in a lot of food, and then drop some near them thinking the larger tinfoil would be too busy eating the first amount of food to bother theirs, but I've been wrong on that account. Should I remove him from the tank? Or is this normal behavior for an alpha fish in a school, if there is such a thing? I thought about netting him at meal times, but that would disturb the other fish from eating. Any suggestions? Thanks, and sorry for the trouble. < In every tank their is a pecking order. More aggressive fish get most of the food and increase their chances for survival. This is why in many public aquariums a diver is needed in the bigger tanks to feed the fish. This is the only way that smaller fish can be fed. I would begin feeding a high fiber vegetable type food at first. When the tinfoil is full then add the more nutritious food with higher protein.  try to feed the smaller fish out of your hand. I know the Oscar will learn to do this. After he starts then the others will learn how to do it too.-Chuck>

To Be A Tinfoil, or Not To Be A Tinfoil.... - 12/13/2005 Hey guys, I saw these fish that look almost identical to a tinfoil barb.  In the pet store they were actually considering them "tinfoil barbs", but I was able to tell a significant difference.  The mystery fish looks and swims similar, and they're shiny silver just like the Tinfoils.  The only difference is that there are no red on their fins but they're fins sort of have a pearl finish on the ends of them.  Any idea of what this fish could be?  I want to find some info on it so I can see how big it gets, aggressive, etc. <Jason, does this look about right?   http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=27525 You might also do a search on http://www.fishbase.org for genus Barbonymus and genus Poropuntius to see if you find a match with any of the species listed.> Thanks  -Jason McCorry <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Tetras & Tinfoils Hello, my name is Julie. My mom went on this site about my 4 black skirts and how one was fat in the same aquarium their is another problem, I have 4 tinfoil barbs and their eating my Neons we had 15 and now we only have 10, and I wanted to know if it is smart to give them away? (they are not feeding Neons) Julie (9 years old) <Julie, giving them away or putting them into a different tank would be the best thing you could do for them. Ronni>

Tinfoils, Neons, & Guppies Hello, it's me again. Julie Forino My tinfoil are getting along with the Neons but if my tinfoil get bigger will they eat the guppies (male) <Tinfoils are pretty non-aggressive but there is always the possibility of this happening. These types of fish really shouldn't be mixed due to their size. And unless it is a large aquarium (55 gallon or more), you're really better off to stick with the smaller fish like the Neons and guppies.> P.S. They're not full grown yet!!!!!!!!!!!!!! <Nope, and Tinfoils can get very large, very fast. Ronni>

Nervous Tinfoils Hi there, I've searched your site but can't find any answers to my problem. I hope you can help. <I'll 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 it's 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 can't provide more help. Ronni>

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>

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

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