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FAQs on the Minnows called Barbs, Danios and Rasboras Selection

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 Systems, B,D,R Feeding, B,D,R Disease, B,D,R Reproduction,

Danio albolineatus, the Pearl Danio... very easygoing.

'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> 

Danios or Golden Tetras nipping at Angelfish fins?    11/21/11
Dear WetWebMedia,
I am a relatively new aquarist and am having trouble with nippy fish.
<One of the commonest problems beginners have to deal with. Trust me, we've all been there.>
I have a 21Gallon (tall) aquarium that has been established for 7 months.
It has 2 Zebra Danios, 2 Longfin Rosie Danios, 1 Longfin White Danio, 3 Golden Tetras, a Glass Cat and a Plecostomus.
<Could really be any of the Danios or Tetras, to be honest. You've made the classic mistake of not keeping enough of either species. The Rosy Danios are, I assume, Danio roseus. The Zebras and Albino Danios are both Danio rerio. Both of these have the potential to be aggressive fish in groups smaller than 6, and honestly, I've seen groups of six Danios withered down to just one male through ceaseless aggression between the original members.
So the bigger the group, the better. Golden Tetras also need to be kept in groups of 6. That's a standard rule of any schooling fish. But this species, Hemigrammus rodwayi, isn't aggressive or known to be nippy under most circumstances. My money would be on the Danios.>
Two days ago I added a small Angelfish and every morning its caudal fin becomes a little more frayed.
Naturally, I wish to relocate the aggressors to a 10 Gallon tank (established for 1 year). I have searched many different websites and have received much contradictory advice. I have also read many threads on your site and, wonderfully informative as they are, all seem to indicate that the Angelfish should be the one nipping at fins.
<Not really, no. Can't think why that's something you've read here. Angels can be territorial, and adults are surprisingly predatory. But they're not serious fin-nippers, except perhaps with truly hopeless cases like Bettas that get nipped by anything!>
I am aware of the schooling factor and was told that Zebra and Longfin Danios would happily school together.
<Yes. But three Danio rerio does not a school make!>
Perhaps this is not so? As for the Golden Tetras, I live in a remote town with a limited LFS and I have never seen any more Golden Tetras for sale.
Perhaps they would school with a different type of Tetra?
I would very much like to keep my Angelfish healthy and stress free. I look forward to any advice you may have.
Thank you very much,
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Danios or Golden Tetras nipping at Angelfish fins?    11/22/11

Thank you Neale!
<My pleasure.>
I will now pay closer attention to species... seems so logical now that you've pointed it out!
<As with many things in life.>
I will relocate the Danio Rerio and, due to lack of tank space, will look into trading the Danio Roseus for more Rerio and form a proper school.
Will also ask LFS if they can order more Golden Tetras.
<Wise. They're nice fish.>
Lesson learned! :)
Re: my misinterpretation of Angelfish being nippy... it's likely I simply misunderstood what I read as my head does "swim" with too much info at times!
<Fair enough.>
Thank you for indulging a novice!
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: More re: Unexplained angelfish death
Hi, Bob
I took your advice and about 8 weeks ago bought 7 snakeskin barbs. These very beautiful and active fish have brought the tank to life. A 'bully' cherry barb from my grandson's tank is even behaving herself and shoaling with the snakeskins. Thank you for being so generous with your time and expertise to help me with my "problem" tank. Patricia
<Thank you for this follow-up Patricia. BobF>

Loach Barb Danio Compatability / Environment   3/6/10
Awesome Crew @ WWM;
I have a 36 gallon aquarium 30Lx22Hx16D awaiting new residents, just completed cycling.
<Great. Now, a tank 30 inches long is somewhat short for the larger Danio species, so be careful when shopping. Danio rerio-sized species would be fine, but Devario aequipinnatus-sized things would feel very cramped.>
I've done some research on-line on compatability and conditions to stock it properly, however, I'm hoping you can give me your expert opinion. There seems to be a lot of variation from one site to the next.
<Fire away.>
Water planned to be maintained at 78F (26C).
<Very slightly on the warm side for Danios; in general, these fish prefer somewhat cool conditions, in part because they're upland rather than lowland fish, but also because they're sensitive to stuffy, oxygen-poor water.>
pH comes out of the faucet @ 7.6, however, I've been maintaining it @ 7.0 based upon the fish I want.
<What I'm concerned about is you mention only pH, which is largely irrelevant, but not hardness, which is crucial. If you said you were mixing 50% hard tap water with 50% RO water, I'd say that was a brilliant idea.
That's how I keep most of my fish. But you said you're controlling pH, and this sets my mind to thinking you're adding pH buffer potions to the water.
This is a terrible idea because it [a] does nothing useful for your fish; and [b] creates an environment with a potentially unstable pH level. Do not, repeat DO NOT, use pH potions alone to change the pH of water. This is a total misunderstanding of water chemistry. Some magazines, like TFH, actually avoid articles that discuss mentioning water chemistry changes precisely because of this, because too many people add pH buffers without understanding what they're for. In summary, you add a pH buffer AFTER you've softened water, to make sure the pH stays stable between water changes. If you haven't softened the water, then you don't need, and shouldn't use, a pH buffer.>
Based on compatability charts I've come across loaches, barbs & Danios should be good together. Temperament & Environment.
Loaches pH 6.0-7.5, temp: 72-86
Barbs pH 6.0-7.0, temp: 74-79
Danios pH 6.5-7.5, temp: 73-79
I'm hoping a pH of 7.0 and temp of 78 is able to maintain these three species?
<What "species" are we talking about? Not all loaches are happy across this temperature range. There are plenty of loaches that cannot be kept as warm as 30C/86 F. Many are like Danios, and prefer things a little cooler than average. Likewise, Barbs range from coldwater species (like Rosy barbs) that do better in unheated tanks through to species that appreciate warmth, like Tiger Barbs. So again, what species?>
Would it be possible to acclimate the barbs to the pH of 7.6 out of the tap or should I keep maintaining via pH buffers to 7.0?
I would like Loaches on the bottom. Is 6 too many? Quantity suggested for this size tank? Either Angelicus, Yo-Yo or Queen. They recommend groups of 5+. Do they all have to be the same type of Loach or can I mix the types I listed here, say 2 of each kind?
<Has to be five of any one species. Best not to mix species, since differences in aggression levels can lead to bullying.>
I would like Barbs as well. Is 6 too many?
<No; it's the minimum number per species.>
Quantity suggested for this size tank?
<Depends on the species being kept. 10-12 Tiger Barb-sized barbs would be fine in this tank.>
I would like either Eight-Banded, Green Tiger, Gold or Tiger. Maybe 3 each of 3 kinds? Do they all have to be the same type of Barb or can I mix the types I listed here?
<At least six per species, ideally more if you want to avoid nipping.>
I would like Danios for the top. I was think about 12? Too much?
<Again, depends on their size, and how many other tankmates. Your aquarium is relatively small, 36 gallons/136 litres. So you have to be careful. Even if you had, let's say, six Tiger Barbs, six Zebra Danios, and five Yo-yo loaches, that'd be an overcrowded tank. I don't much like the "inch per gallon" rule because, basically, it sucks, but let's use it for a moment.
Six tiger barbs at a bit over 2 inches a piece, that's at least 12 inches there. Zebra Danios, just under 2 inches each, so another 12 inches. Yo-yo loaches are around 5 inches long each, so five of them would be 25 inches.
Add that together and you have 12 + 12 + 25 = 49 inches, in a 36 gallon tank. You're overstocked even with this fairly crummy rule.>
I would like some Inlecypris auropurpurea "Lake Inle" and Green-Barred, maybe a few Glo. Compatible?
<I think you need to choose which species you want, and choose one. In all likelihood, best results will come from a single school of one type of Danio. Unless they're in adequate numbers they won't school and they often become either shy or bullies, which is pointless. So get at least six, and ideally more. It sounds like you're more interested in "stamp collecting", i.e., keeping one of every fish you've seen, and while that sounds fun, it's actually pointless. You'll never keep all the fish you want, and if the fish you do have look frightened or annoy the other fish they're kept with, you won't get any fun from them. So choose a species, perhaps something like Inlecypris auropurpurea that isn't widely kept, and then create the aquarium around its needs. This is a fairly cool water species, 24 C/75 F being ideal. Rather than loaches, which tend to be too big to keep easily, why not keep one of the Corydoras species alongside it? Most Corydoras appreciate cool water, and they're so much smaller than loaches.
You could easily keep eight Inlecypris auropurpurea and six Corydoras julii, for example, and still have a bit of space left over for some Cherry Shrimps and Nerite Snails! With a sandy substrate, some plants and a few bits of rockwork, that'd be a great little system.>
What would be the best order to stock? Once species at a time or a few of each species every couple of weeks?
<If the tank is cycled, I'd add the Danios first, as a group. After a couple of weeks, I'd then add the Corydoras.>
Is there any other species that might be a better compatability in this tank that I am not familiar with?
Thanks so much - John
<Cheers, Neale.>

Adding fish 8/27/09
I have 2 angel fish and 2 Bolivian rams in on tank, would it be ok to add 2 Danios?
<In theory, yes, this species mix should be fine. But Danios should be kept in groups of 6 or more specimens. In smaller groups, Danios are aggressive and can be nippy, e.g., nipping the fins of the Angelfish. This also depends on the size of the tank. Two Angels, two Bolivian Rams, and 6 Danios would need a tank at least 20 gallons in size, and ideally 30 gallons or larger. Cheers, Neale.>

Are Galaxy Rasboras really being captive bred? 3/31/09
Last week, I came across a few Galaxy Rescores at one of our local box stores for $10 each - pretty steep. I have never seen these in any of our LFS. I was interested in getting a few to go with our new Betta in an established 10 gallon planted tank and started doing some homework. He is all red and the Galaxy Rescores would be spectacular with him. From everything I read online, I can provide parameters suitable for this fish.
In my research, I came across all the controversy on the web about how endangered they are or might be and wanted to get the straight talk from a reliable source that might have more current info.
<The problem is little news on stuff that matters, let alone tropical fish, comes out of Burma. It's a closed country. News on new populations come from the Burmese fishery agency, and who knows how honest they are when it comes to hard currency-earning exports such as these fish. Our own governments essential delude themselves all the time on things like Cod fisheries, so I'd have to assume the Burmese government is just as bad, if not worse.>
I found only a few threads on WWM regarding these fish, but none mentioned them being in an endangered status.
So here goes:
To the best of your knowledge, is there a real problem for these little fish as far as being over-fished in their native habitat?
<No one knows for certain, but is certainly probable, and there are reliable reports the original location was overfished very quickly.>
Or was it just a story that got started to drive the prices up?
A lot of what I read says that the breeding habits of these fish is not well known, so would it be safe to assume that they might not actually be many breeders having a lot of success even 2 years since their discovery?
<That the fish can be bred, and that it is actually being bred on a commercial scale are different things. Cardinal tetras can be bred, yet virtually all the cardinals in the hobby are wild-caught. For so long as the demand is there, and the price of wild fish is less than captive bred fish, the market will take wild fish in preference.>
I also read that the Myanmar Govt. has banned all exportation of these fish, but we all know it happens.
I called the corporate offices of the store to ask if they were captive bred, or wild caught. I didn't say which I was looking for. The woman said she would check and get back to me. She called back a few hours later and said they were indeed captive bred in Florida, which is where I am.
<May well be, but to be honest, I'd not trust that without knowing the breeder's name; unless they're speaking to an informed branch of the Press, "marketing" people tend to have, let's say, a flexible relationship with
the truth.>
I neglected to ask for the name of the breeder, but that might have been considered proprietary information and she might not have told me anyway. So I had no way to verify that they are indeed captive bred.
So in your opinion, would this be a reasonable choice of fish to add to our Betta tank?
<Possibly; Bettas prefer warmer, stiller water to these Danios, which prefer cooler, somewhat flowing water, much like other Danios. So while I dare say you could mix them, it wouldn't be my first choice.>
If so, do I just go for it and in giving them a new home, we could try to breed them and help out this little fish breed in our small way?
<If they're captive bred, then keeping/breeding them would certainly be worthwhile.>
Or do I assume they are wild-caught and boycott as so many articles suggest?
<Rather than assume either way, see if you can confirm they're captive bred. In the meantime, do see here:
http://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.uk/pfk/pages/item.php?news=1267 >
As always - Thanks again.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Green Tiger Barbs - at a loss...   3/16/06 Bob, <Ralph> I've a 90 gallon that I recently switched back to freshwater.  Original intent was to have mostly cichlids, again.  Only real aggressive fish was to be a Green Terror ( my last was essentially a peacekeeper who bothered no one except feeders though he got to be 10"). <Yikes!> Looking at some other sites I found a couple decent compatibility lists and have also ended up with some barbs as well. <Easygoing ones/species I trust> The only problem I keep having is the loss of green tiger barbs.  I've lost seven from three different batches from the same LFS. <Mmm, know that these are sometimes "wanky" from dealers... are raised in the Far East, often "hormone treated" to boost color... That this degrades their health otherwise... often lost on/near arrival anomalously...> I've currently 3 more from another store - one has nipped fins and is acting a little odd.  As for the goners- two for sure had nipped fins especially dorsal tail.  The last two had upper fins that looked like they were flaying/separating - like a feather and for a week or so I would catch the one upside down as if dead until another fish would come near!  No signs of any Ick, Fungus, rot or anything else apparently wrong. I am at a loss as to what is going on- the goners were the largest of the Barbs..  I've two Albino Tiger Barbs, four Tiger barbs, <And these are the same species... mixable> two rosy, one gold and four longer (tigerish) barbs.  They have been doing great and most have been in the tank since the beginning (@3 months).  Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates are great.  Ph and Temp acceptable for all. I've also two Giant Danios, one Plecostomus, one Green Terror, one Jewel Cichlid, a pair of Rainbow Cichlids, one small Firemouth, a Cat, and a couple 1/2-3/4" Africans. ( .99 cent sale). <Mmm, well, the cichlids might be working the new Green Barbs woe...> They are feed a variety of dried, pellet, flake, frozen and live food.  Today I bought more live Brine shrimp and some feeder guppies.  The largest fish are one of the Danios and the Rainbows 3" - 3 1/2". Other than feeder guppies I've lost no fish other than the aforementioned Green Tiger Barbs. Plenty of caves, plants and wood for hiding. Thanks for your time. Ralph L Thieleman <I encourage you to "harden" a new batch of these barbs... buy, place them in another tank, moving water from your ninety for water changes... for a few to several weeks. When transferring to your main tank, do move about the decor items there (to disrupt territories, impose a new dynamic)... If there is "psychological" as well as metabolic room for them all, this should do it. Bob Fenner>

Re: Green Tiger Barbs - at a loss...      3/17/06 Bob, <Ralph> Thanks for the reply. <Welcome> I still don't understand why only the green ones.  I had them First, in-between and now last.  I see no one harassing them.  With the first ones I did see them bothering each other.  I see the longer Barbs "playing" and chasing each other as well as cichlids chasing other cichlids. <I do believe these "green" sports are less hardy than their brethren period...> I again have a green that since his lower tail looks chewed has become more solitary the past week but I've another green now that his top fin looks likes  it is fraying like some others had. One of them looked like he was sideways at the top last weekend as well.  Why only the greens? <Genetics? Poorer care in Singapore where they very likely originated?> Some cichlids have had their tails chewed on by other cichlids.  One even lost an eye.  No deaths.  Just Green Tiger Barbs.  And again I see no signs of them getting picked on even by each other, especially with these last three. <Perhaps the green ones are more "attractive" to whoever may be harassing them (likely the Terror, at night)... This is a common phenomenon (differential mortality/predation based on color, markings... a fave thesis project some years back)> If I lose these I'll most likely give up on that variation. Thanks again, Ralph L Thieleman <I don't blame you... There are other species of barbs... though your system is over-stocked psychologically now... Bob Fenner>

The Ethics of Glo-Fish (TM) (6/5/05) Hiya Bob, <<Howdy. RMF>> I just finished reading the article on the Glo-fish, and I was wondering if it would be possible to ask the author if he considers every breed of dog, most breeds of milk and beef producing cattle, and probably 80% or better of all of the grains and fruits he eats as also being 'garbage' due to the fact that they are also man induced 'mutations' (yes, the method may be different, but the intent and process is the same and similar-one is just more 'trial and error, after all, no?) For the record, I also don't like the idea of Glo-fish, or painted chandas, but plenty of folks hate telescopes, black moors, fancy guppies and swords for just as legitimate reasons. <Agreed> I can understand a POV of distaste and dislike, I was just wondering what selective bias the author uses to determine which of our obvious genetic alterations are 'garbage' and why? ;) (heh, maybe I should write a counter point article for submission, playing devil's advocate) <All submissions are welcome for consideration. You will have to use a lot better grammar than you did in this e-mail. Please capitalize the proper noun "I" and the first letter of sentences. We post all e-mails and replies. It's a lot easier for folks to read them if they are punctuated properly. If you do it then we can spend less time proofreading and more time answering.> Keep up the good work-been observing your website for years, all the best! Alan <Thanks. The author of the article is not a member of the question-answering crew, so I do not know how to contact him. I do agree with you on this issue. I have nothing against Glo-Fish (TM) myself. They were created to serve a utilitarian purpose (pollution detection). If there is a side benefit of providing pretty fishes that have not been chemically burned and dyed, that's great from my perspective. I have no problem with GM foods either. I say you're right that there is no difference in principle between this and selective breeding. It's only method and speed. In fact, GM is better because the planning will lead to fewer bad mutations. It just needs to be properly regulated. As for the other fish you mention, I have qualms about some of them. If fish are selectively bred for appearance, I only have a problem if that creates a deformity that impairs the fish or causes pain. Some of the fish sold these days definitely suffer as a result of their selectively-bred appearance. That's my opinion, for what it's worth. Steve Allen>

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

GloFish Question Bob, <Yep> Wondering if we can get your opinion on the GloFish fluorescent zebra Danios?  They look amazing, esp. for freshwater (n fact, even better than some marine species).  Could you comment?  If you haven't heard of them yet, they are at www.glofish.com and http://www.reuters.co.uk/newsArticle.jhtml?type=scienceNews&storyID=3873977§ion=news has a good article. Thanx! Sandi <Have seen these transgenics... a whole bunch at last times Aquarama in Singapore... a neat scientific application... but para mi, "no sale"... too pricey. Bob Fenner>

Re: GloFish Question Bob, Thanks so much for your time.  I think I'll go with the GloFish even at the price.  They look to cool to pass up. Sandi <They are very beautiful, and a very interesting "story" to relate re their "genetic clip-on" technology. Bob Fenner>

- 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  

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