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FAQs on Rosy 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,

Tetras with white mouths (and a bit about rosy barbs)       3/19/15
Hi Crew,
I'd like to thank you once more for your previous advice, last time I wrote about a suspected case of Ich which is now resolved. I've had no more fish deaths since losing the last of the extra rosy barbs that I bought from the LFS, sadly Pinkie succumbed to his saddle ulcer in the end. I had him quarantined for the last week or so of his time, and whatever he had does not seem to have affected the rest of my fish. I still see the occasional white or clear stringy droppings from the rosy barbs but I am starting to suspect this is a result of them accidentally ingesting sand then excreting it in mucus as there are plenty of green and brown droppings too and they all seem healthy otherwise.
<Mmmm; what re water quality, foods/feeding, maintenance practices?>
Currently my 30gal tank has one head and tail light tetra, three adult rosy barbs, and all 16 of the barb offspring (ranging from 1cm to 2.5cm). I'm aware that this will be far too many rosy barbs when they grow up so I'm hoping to find a home for them in the big aquarium at work which currently only has a single small fancy (ugly) goldfish.
<Should be moved elsewhere>
I'm not sure that this will be a compatible mix though since even if 5+ barbs are added to keep them well behaved and not nippy, I think they might dominate at feeding time due to being more able-bodied and they might starve out the goldfish. Thoughts?
<All should get along w/ the GF removed>
The other option I have in mind is to set up better filtering in the backyard pond and to put some back out there. A lone
stray barb fry survived 2 weeks out there during the hottest part of summer, he was too good at hiding and got left behind when I brought the others that had hatched out there inside, so I think the pond does get enough shade to
keep the temperature down. Winters here are mild too.
<Good... barbs might live there; but not the Tetras likely in the winter>
With the threat of ich and columnaris gone I have bought four more head and tail light tetras to keep my singleton Mr. Beacon company.
<Good name>
I've been trialing different plants in the main tank and do intend to keep it heavily planted (despite the best efforts of the barbs to eat/uproot everything, I've been finding this constant battle part of the fun of keeping fish) so I am hoping the HATL tetras will be happy in the environment. The LFS does not stock these tetras so I bought them online and besides, I hoped to
avoid a known source of diseased fish. When they got here, two of them had white coloured patches on their mouths, and one of them was very sickly, limp and skinny looking.
<I see this in your excellent pix>
My initial thoughts were that they may have scuffed their mouths against the plastic bag in transit, or gotten feisty with each other since they were all together in the one small bag, and gotten injured while fighting. The bag wasn't a breather bag and the skinny fish did perk up once out of the bag and in quarantine, he hides a bit but his appetite seems okay and his belly is filling out a bit more; he could have been underfed or oxygen starved maybe but I'm a little suspicious that he could have fish TB or some other disease that could cause skinniness. I've treated them with Praziquantel so far just in case they were skinny due to worms.
<Mmm; possibly>
I'm using the tank that the baby fish used to be in, the tetras have been in quarantine for a week now and I think that in two of them the white mark has gotten smaller but noticed today that a third one has a white mouth too. I'm a little worried it could be columnaris not a wound, or a wound that got infected with columnaris.
<Maybe>
I've attached some pictures, and also a picture of one of the friends I got for the false penguin tetra (they have their own tank now due to being too rough!) who has a similar mark. I don't know if it is just that these tetras fight or swim into things a lot; the quarantine tank that the four HATL tetras are in is too small and I know they aren't happy with the amount of space they have. I'm wary of treating with anything beyond a little bit of salt for now
<Good>
and I'm just hoping after another week or two in quarantine nothing will have worsened and I can get them into the bigger tank. Anyway I just don't have the experience to tell whether these white mouthed fish are injured or diseased or both. Hope you can help.
<Not w/ the data (or lack of it) provided>
I did end up getting a RO/filter system which has a mixer tap and a TDS inline meter allowing adjustment for both drinking water and aquarium water. I still don't quite have my head around converting TDS ppm to general hardness degrees - I did read somewhere that dividing ppm by 10 will loosely approximate French degrees but then I don't know whether French or German degrees are more commonly used.
<German... the D in these measures is for "Deutschen">
I haven't had any further shrimp deaths due to failed moults since I've started using 50-70ppm water for my shrimp tank so it's definitely helping. I'm wondering whether I should still be letting my RO-mix change water stand before I use it;
<Yes I would... at least a day; better, a week>

I haven't been, because I thought that it was only necessary to allow time for water treatment chemicals to do their work but is letting water stand useful for other reasons?
<Mmm; yes.... settling, combination.... of metals, non-metals... outgassing of undesirable gasses>
I have a 20lt plastic jerry can which I store the water in, this doesn't allow much exposure to atmosphere so should this
water be agitated? Or just tipped into buckets?
<Tipped is fine, aeration/circulation better>
Ok sorry this got to be a lot longer than I originally intended! I really appreciate the time you take with educating new hobbyists like me and reading our rambling emails.
<We appreciate the opportunity to interchange w/ intelligent, sensitive folk like you>
I've still got a lot of reading that I want to do regarding Corydoras as I have decided I'd like a biotope tank rather
than putting them in the community and making them compete with greedy barbs, and I think it would be easier to manage water softness and ph if I start again and do things differently in a new tank.
Thanks once again and I hope you have a great day.
Bronwen
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>



 

Re: Tetras with white mouths (and a bit about rosy barbs)      3/20/15    /Neale
With regards to the barbs occasional odd dropping, they are fed once daily or twice if I don't have time to watch them in the morning. If I am in a hurry they get a quick pinch of flake and then I take a bit more time in the evening feed to watch how much they are eating.
<Fine. Barbs are omnivores that will eat algae, some plant matter between "proper" meals.>
I have some frozen community blocks which contain both meaty and plant materials, I usually give this two to three times a week (slicing off a small amount and feeding little by little trying to avoid over feeding). I have some Spirulina sinking pellets (also contains other ingredients) that I bought for the shrimp but proved to be very popular with the barbs, they will carry the pellets around spitting them out and sucking them up again, gradually working on them until they soften up.
<Quite so, and an excellent staple for your fish... good nutrition, plenty of exercise, economical. My Cherry Barbs are fed these alongside the Limia they cohabit with.>
I crush some up for the younger fish but they seem to manage okay on full sized pellets, worrying at them until they break into smaller bits. I have some meatier pellets, with a higher protein content but they are not as popular so I don't feed those very often.
<Indeed. These fish are omnivores, and plant material is a significant part of the diet of most/all barbs in the wild.>
They get smushed up frozen peas, thawed and peeled, every few days which they love. If I find a patch of snail eggs I will knock it off the glass and the female adult barb in particular loves munching on those.
Occasionally I net some mosquito larva from either the pond or the snail tub and these make a popular snack.
<Sure.>
I believe they have eaten some of the Ramshorn snails that were in their tank, there are a growing number of empty shells visible on the bottom, and they definitely rip at the Java moss, Hydrilla, Rotala, and Hydrocotyle plants constantly. I'm pretty sure they ate 90% of the fissidens moss I added too, and almost all of the hair grass is gone too now that I think
about it. I was worried at first that they were doing this because I wasn't feeding them enough but they were still doing it when I tried feeding them twice a day which I decided was too much. I think if they like eating fresh plants then they should be allowed to eat fresh plants so I've been growing more Hydrilla in a tank outside for them since that's the one they stripped to bare stems first of all.
<Indeed. Try floating Indian Fern and Amazon Frogbit, two favourites with many barbs.>
I don't often see the tetra eat, he hangs back while the barbs feed so I always attempt to get a pinch of flake to his part of the tank. He doesn't like me scrutinising him though and moves front on so that he's hard to see. He does get interested in the frozen food and will test and spit out various particles of it until he finds one that he likes, I'm hoping he gets a bit more confidence once his fellow tetras join him, I've been feeding them a small amount of flake daily and they get quite excited at feeding time so I think in a group his instincts will kick in if he sees a lot of feeding action going on around him.
<Tetras are frequently more carnivorous, especially the smaller ones Neons, Penguins, various Hyphessobrycon species and so on. They often enjoy Daphnia and the like. On the other hand, do bear in mind some tetras are much more retiring than Barbs. Put another way, many South American tetras come from blackwater streams with very little productivity. They've evolved to expend as little energy as possible between meals. Barbs typically come from ponds and streams with much more productivity and a lot more for them to eat. They've evolved to be more "busy" and expend their energy in all sorts of foraging and social behaviours. In other words, tetras wait for food to come to them, while barbs seek it out and if necessary push competitors away. Funnily enough, those barbs from blackwater streams (like Pentazona Barbs) are much more like Neons and other tetras in personality.
In any event, if you understand the environment the barb or tetra species come from, cohabiting different species from among them will work better.
Tiger Barbs are bolshy, so mixing with pushy characins like Black Widows makes sense. Rosy Barbs are subtropical to boot, so you'd choose only low-end tropical tetras for life with them, perhaps Buenos Aires Tetras.
Does this make sense?>
I haven't measured my water parameters for a while but for a long time I was getting pH steady at 8 (despite driftwood and almond leafs) ammonia 0, nitrite 0 and nitrate 5-10. I do weekly water changes and fortnightly rinses of the gunk from the filter. I try weekly to vacuum the gravel in the gravelly parts of the tank and skim the surface of the sand in the sandy parts of the tank but I don't know how effective a job I do. I always see gunk being sucked up the tube but everything looks even messier than when I started once I've tipped the new water in.
<Sounds good. Cheers, Neale.>

Tetras with white mouths (and a bit about rosy barbs)    /Neale        3/21/15
Hi Crew,
I'd like to thank you once more for your previous advice, last time I wrote about a suspected case of Ich which is now resolved. I've had no more fish deaths since losing the last of the extra rosy barbs that I bought from the LFS, sadly Pinkie succumbed to his saddle ulcer in the end. I had him quarantined for the last week or so of his time, and whatever he had does not seem to have affected the rest of my fish. I still see the occasional white or clear stringy droppings from the rosy barbs but I am starting to suspect this is a result of them accidentally ingesting sand then excreting it in mucus as there are plenty of green and brown droppings too and they all seem healthy otherwise.
<Smooth silica sand should be fine... but anything abrasive or sharp, like some of the glass-byproduct sands (Tahitian Moon Sand for example) could be risky.>
Currently my 30gal tank has one head and tail light tetra, three adult rosy barbs, and all 16 of the barb offspring (ranging from 1cm to 2.5cm). I'm aware that this will be far too many rosy barbs when they grow up so I'm hoping to find a home for them in the big aquarium at work which currently only has a single small fancy (ugly) goldfish. I'm not sure that this will
be a compatible mix though since even if 5+ barbs are added to keep them well behaved and not nippy, I think they might dominate at feeding time due to being more able-bodied and they might starve out the goldfish. Thoughts?
<It can work, in big tanks with robust Comet-type Goldfish and decent sized schools of Rosy Barbs. But fancy Goldfish are less able to keep out of trouble. It really isn't predictable. Worth trying but keep a Plan B in case it doesn't work out.>
The other option I have in mind is to set up better filtering in the backyard pond and to put some back out there. A lone stray barb fry survived 2 weeks out there during the hottest part of summer, he was too good at hiding and got left behind when I brought the others that had hatched out there inside, so I think the pond does get enough shade to keep the temperature down. Winters here are mild too.
<Rosy Barbs are subtropical and could thrive down to about 15 C, but below that would be risky.>
With the threat of ich and columnaris gone I have bought four more head and tail light tetras to keep my singleton Mr. Beacon company. I've been trialing different plants in the main tank and do intend to keep it heavily planted (despite the best efforts of the barbs to eat/uproot everything, I've been finding this constant battle part of the fun of keeping fish) so I am hoping the HATL tetras will be happy in the environment. The LFS does not stock these tetras so I bought them online
and besides, I hoped to avoid a known source of diseased fish. When they got here, two of them had white coloured patches on their mouths, and one of them was very sickly, limp and skinny looking. My initial thoughts were that they may have scuffed their mouths against the plastic bag in transit, or gotten feisty with each other since they were all together in the one
small bag, and gotten injured while fighting. The bag wasn't a breather bag and the skinny fish did perk up once out of the bag and in quarantine, he hides a bit but his appetite seems okay and his belly is filling out a bit more; he could have been underfed or oxygen starved maybe but I'm a little suspicious that he could have fish TB or some other disease that could
cause skinniness. I've treated them with Praziquantel so far just in case they were skinny due to worms.
<Fish TB is difficult to diagnose and impossible to treat. It's less contagious and more like an epidemic that breaks out when fish get stressed (diet, poor water quality, lack of oxygen, etc.). So I tend not to worry about Fish TB but instead focus on optimising living conditions for the fish. Usually "mystery deaths" either sort themselves out or else all the vulnerable fish die. Adding medications randomly is a bit hit and miss, and while PraziPro isn't particularly risky, do be careful about medicating
without diagnosis.>
I'm using the tank that the baby fish used to be in, the tetras have been in quarantine for a week now and I think that in two of them the white mark has gotten smaller but noticed today that a third one has a white mouth too. I'm a little worried it could be columnaris not a wound, or a wound that got infected with columnaris. I've attached some pictures, and also a picture of one of the friends I got for the false penguin tetra (they have their own tank now due to being too rough!) who has a similar mark. I don't know if it is just that these tetras fight or swim into things a lot; the quarantine tank that the four HATL tetras are in is too small and I know they aren't happy with the amount of space they have. I'm wary of treating
with anything beyond a little bit of salt for now and I'm just hoping after another week or two in quarantine nothing will have worsened and I can get them into the bigger tank. Anyway I just don't have the experience to tell whether these white mouthed fish are injured or diseased or both. Hope you can help.
<Well, the photos look more like fighting damage, perhaps a bit of Finrot or Columnaris thrown in. Another option: swimming into solid objects (like the glass) when alarmed. So for this one turn the lights on more carefully and see what happens. So far as fighting goes, watch your fish, add more of each species to dilute aggression (if an option) and medicate as per Finrot
and Columnaris.>
I did end up getting a RO/filter system which has a mixer tap and a TDS inline meter allowing adjustment for both drinking water and aquarium water. I still don't quite have my head around converting TDS ppm to general hardness degrees - I did read somewhere that dividing ppm by 10 will loosely approximate French degrees but then I don't know whether French or German degrees are more commonly used. I haven't had any further shrimp deaths due to failed moults since I've started using 50-70ppm water for my shrimp tank so it's definitely helping. I'm wondering whether I should still be letting my RO-mix change water stand before I use it; I haven't been, because I thought that it was only necessary to allow time for water treatment chemicals to do their work but is letting water stand useful for other reasons? I have a 20lt plastic jerry can which I store the water in, this doesn't allow much exposure to atmosphere so should this water be agitated? Or just tipped into buckets?
<Bob's a big fan of overnight "resting" of water, ideally with an airstone, but not essential. I'm less fussed, and just avoid changing huge amounts of water. Basically, if you just change 20-25% of the water at a time, and use a water conditioner, you shouldn't need to worry too much about resting the tap water. Freshwater fish are very much more adaptable than marine fish. Think about rain falling into a pond.>
Ok sorry this got to be a lot longer than I originally intended! I really appreciate the time you take with educating new hobbyists like me and reading our rambling emails. I've still got a lot of reading that I want to do regarding Corydoras as I have decided I'd like a biotope tank rather than putting them in the community and making them compete with greedy
barbs, and I think it would be easier to manage water softness and ph if I start again and do things differently in a new tank.
<Possibly. I'm a big fan of sticking with the water chemistry you have, and choosing your fish accordingly. That said, a 50/50 mix of RO water and liquid rock tap water should produce a happy medium that suits most community fish.>
Thanks once again and I hope you have a great day.
Bronwen
<Most welcome. Neale.>
Tetras with white mouths (and a bit about rosy barbs)       3/21/15

Hi again Crew!
Thank you for your replies Bob and Neale. My heart says that I should move the head and tail light tetras into the main tank to give them space and stop them from squabbling or bumping into things, but my head says to give them another week of quarantine to see how their mouth lesions develop.
<Agreed.>
I slept on this idea and this morning while one HATL tetra is still without mouth issues, two of the other three look worse and the white patches seem to be protruding more than they were yesterday. Although, having said that, I did use a brighter light so that I could see them better, maybe the lesions were like that all along and I just didn't see - normally they have half the tank in shade c/o a black plastic garbage bag and the other half lit by a strip of dim LEDs. I don't really think the lesions look fluffy, more so a bit ragged like the edge of some peeled skin in places, and warty in others. However this fluff free finding doesn't relax me at all, as Pinky's back ulcer was never fluffy either and that evolved from a small lesion to a large fatal ulcer over the Christmas/New Year break (I didn't have anything available except topical treatments until it was too late). I
don't really want to give infection a chance to set in again, but I am mindful also that these are different fish, from a different supplier, in a different tank, with different looking lesions that are in a different location on the fish, so I shouldn't expect a similar outcome to last time!
I want to wait a bit longer and observe them tomorrow with the same bright light so that I can get a real idea if there is any progression. I do have tetracycline (Bio-tet) or Metronidazole (generic looking yellow tablets) available now for if the lesions worsen, although I'm not sure if I want to treat all the fish, or only the ones that are showing visible lesions.
<I do think these mouth lesions are either plain vanilla dead tissue from fighting or crashes into solid objects, or else incipient Columnaris.
Either way, treat with a suitable antibiotic, while also review conditions in the tank.>
An observation on a different front, I would be hard pressed right now to pick out which of these fish was the skinny sickly one from a week ago. All of them have good colour and healthy looking bellies now. I am really looking forward to seeing them school together in the big tank once they are done in quarantine! I have discovered that my dad's compost heap has
Whiteworms in it as well as the big pink compost worms so I want to set up a new clean worm culture for some tasty occasional snacks for the fish, which I hope the tetras will like.
<Sounds a great idea.>
Speaking of which, the other fish haven't been eating my Ramshorn snails at all! I found three snails fatally jammed in the filter inlet grille today.
I am guessing as the grille becomes more clogged with plant matter it becomes a tempting place to graze for the snails but the increased suction as they clear a blockage pulls them in to the inlet pipe and traps them there, where they die since their shells can't follow. I have seen snails "hanging around" the inlet pipe before but didn't realise this was happening. The filter pipe has probably been slurping snails out of their shells all along as the barbs seem content to bite their eyestalks off then
go back to ripping at the plants. I've adjusted the sponge that I put over the grille so that only the most suicidal snails will be able to force their way in there, and I will just have to remember to rinse the debris out more often.
<Hmm... some folks would endorse a filter with snail-killing properties...>
I've decided that it will probably be more humane to leave the fancy goldfish in peace in the aquarium at work and to get a nice pond filter going to allow rehoming the excess rosy barbs outside, I probably wouldn't be able to provide adequate supervision to stop any possible mayhem that could occur with the work goldfish. It does get a smidge under 15 deg C here over winter, but the pond should get winter sun.
<Definitely worth trying, I reckon.>
If I can't work something out using either a solar pond cover or something similar to harness solar warmth, I can always bring everyone back inside in a temporary plastic crate for the coldest months.
<Both approaches make sense. Cutting down wind chill in winter with, say, a bamboo cover of some sort might work nicely. On the other hand, bringing in some or all of the Rosy Barbs before the coldest months start can work great, too. Have known many aquarists do this, even in places like Ohio where the summers are nice and hot but the winters rather severe. They had fish that bred prolifically during the summer, but snuggled up indoors for the winter. It's an ideal approach if you're careful, and I found Corydoras for example easily bred this way.>
Thanks again for helping me sort through these problems!
Cheers,
Bronwen
<Cheers, Neale.>

New to fish, Rosy Barbs        1/7/15
An update on my rosy barbs: I've completed a treatment of Praziquantel and the remaining fish have brightened up a lot, became very friendly and happy to explore the tank. They're still flashing every now and then and still doing occasional stringy white droppings and I should be getting some Metronidazole in the mail (assuming customs don't confiscate it) so I hope to be able to try that fairly soon.
<Indeed.>
I switched to rainwater for water changes, not sure whether they are flashing less and doing less white droppings since I did this but it definitely hasn't stopped completely. I have a heater and an extra airpump/airstone now so if I ever need to warm the tank up I can. Everyone's appetite seems good and I think I may have over fed a little, one fish got very bulgy and I was worried it would be another dropsy victim however I cut back feeding, tried giving some mashed up pea and the bulginess has gone down.
<Good.>
Alternative theory is that the bulgy fish was female and laid some eggs, but I didn't see any proof of this.
<Probably very common in community tanks.>
They all fight over the mashed pea when I feed it to them and have also taken to following my algae scraper around and eating any clumps of algae that fall off.
<Quite so; Barbs are very much omnivores and enjoy green foods.>
I noticed last night one of the new fish has a light coloured patch on his back where the front of the dorsal fin joins his body. It looked pinkish/greyish and a bit fuzzy but I couldn't tell if it was mucus or fungus; I thought about trying the Protozin for it but I've read more about the ingredients (formalin, malachite green, copper sulphate), they sound very harsh and I'm hesitant to get any copper in my tank for the safety of future more sensitive inhabitants.
<Prudent. But used carefully can be safe, especially if the more sensitive species are removed (catfish and loaches, for example). Barbs, tetras and livebearers generally tolerate these "old school" medications reasonably well. Prudent to do serial water changes afterwards to remove copper, and if in doubt, use a copper-removing medium in the filter for a while too --
your local retailer will stock these for use in marine tanks.>
Today the patch looked bigger but it also looks more like an ulcer or wound than a fuzzy fungus so I decided to try painting a little bit of iodine on the area to hopefully minimise the stress to just one fish.
<Iodine can work, but obviously gets washed away in the aquarium water. So it's a case of dab onto the fish while the fish in a net, wait 10-30 seconds as appropriate, then return the fish to the water. Nonetheless, there are better medications out there.>
I've got a net with a very fine mesh so I felt like I could do it without damaging his skin further. I had a bit of trouble netting just the fish I wanted, every other fish wanted to see what was going on and was convinced that the net would have some food in it whereas the actual target fish worked out I wanted to catch him and was hiding. Once I'd netted him I painted the iodine on with a little brush then let it sit for maybe 5-10 seconds before I put the fish back in. Pretty sure I didn't get any in his eyes or gills but it's hard to tell. I didn't think to rinse the fish before putting him back so I hope the excess iodine doesn't hurt anything!
I put some carbon back in the filter temporarily in case it removes iodine.
Not sure if I should repeat this treatment or just wait and see if he starts healing himself?
<More the latter, optimising water quality. But in the UK as a "general purpose" first shot at mystery illnesses, I recommend a product called eSHa 2000 as superior to Protozin, which as you observe is quite old fashioned in its formula, with lots of chemicals we don't like to use nowadays if possible.>
I'll include a picture to show the location of the spot, sorry I couldn't get anything in focus. The affected fish was obviously very stressed after he got back in the water and has been hiding (but swimming normally when he can't see me) - I do think the spot looks better already.
Originally I thought I had 3 females and 2 males but closer examination suggests that I have 3 males and 2 females. I saw one male this morning had staked out the java moss mesh and was "defending" it vigorously from the other males, then desperately trying to entice the females to come and have a look so it is possible there has been some territorial fighting. I can't see anything that the fish could have caught himself on to get an injury like that, unless he hit the edge of the java moss mesh or got stuck in some plant roots? Anyway if there is anything else I could be doing for the fish with the sore on his back, let me know.
<I think you're doing pretty much what I'd do.>
The baby fish are mostly doing well; some of them are still tiny but seem correctly formed, a couple either have deformed tails or are clamping their fins very tightly and I think one of the fish has a humped spine.
<Normal. Mutations and deformities are common, but given these fish produce hundreds of eggs at a time, presumably natural selection "weeds out" those faulty fish very quickly. In the aquarium you may "take pity" on these fish, but oftentimes such fish don't have nice lives, being easily bullied or unable to feed normally, so balance kindness against practicality.
Euthanising fry this small can be easily achieved by immersion in ice-cold water, something I don't recommend for adult fish.>
The rest are growing at varying rates, with some looking like miniature adults while others still are forming their organs and scales.
<Normal. Ideally, segregate by size, otherwise the smaller fish often tend to lag behind so much, because they're getting pushed away from the food, and so end up stunted.>
All but one are active with good appetites. Not too bad considering I still have 10 of the 13 I thought I had; I was expecting more losses and from what I've read, I understand a few runts/deformities are to be expected.
Possibly some are due to injury since I was roughly agitating the gravel to clean it before I realised there were fish fry in there! I'm intending to move them to a new clean tank fairly soon so I will probably separate out the runts then. I don't intend to euthanize any of them yet since they don't seem to be suffering and they will probably benefit from less competition from their fitter siblings.
Thanks in advance for your advice!
Bronwen
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Re: New to fish, Rosy Barbs    1/15/15
I've finally received the Metronidazole that I ordered. I am still seeing stringy white droppings from the newer fish so I would like to try dosing some in their food.
<A good idea. Do read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/metranidazole.htm
Full instructions are given.>
The tablets are 200mg so would I be correct in dissolving half of one in 10ml of water to get a
<...??>
After I separated the biggest fry from the smallest fry, the "deformed" ones unclamped their fins and now look normal. There is one fish whose tail lobes aren't evenly proportioned and have a gentle curve but this one is one of the larger of the
<A good result. As stated before, segregating fry on the basis of size will improve your results when breeding fish. Cheers, Neale.>
Fwd: New to fish, Rosy Barbs    1/15/15

The largest of the baby fish has become a vicious hunter, patrolling the tank for worms and trying to bite off the eyestalks of the poor snails in his tank. He uses the same motion that the adult fish use to rip leaves off the plants in their tanks. I've noticed the adult fish eating their plants quite often but I haven't taken this as a cue to feed them more; perhaps it is helping them with their digestive issues though because most of the fish, most of the time, are producing normal droppings and the stringy stuff seems to mostly be affecting one fish.
<Indeed, but fry do have large appetites, and can/should be fed 6-8 times a day where possible. Barbs are equipped with short barbels, and it is in their nature to snuffle about at the bottom for anything edible.>
Thanks for your continued assistance!
Bronwen
<Welcome. Neale.>

Re: New to fish, Rosy Barbs      1/21/15
Hi Crew,
Me again! So far I have had no more barb fatalities although the fish with the sore on his back seems like he may have a columnaris skin infection. It healed slightly after the iodine swab but then got worse so I have been using a peroxide bath to treat him as per http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fa157 as I figure that even if it isn't columnaris it will help keep the wound
clean. He is on his second bath after a day off yesterday and I think it is working, the wound does look better. The bath seems to stress him a lot less than any other treatment I've tried, he's still active and eating and hasn't died yet. It makes me wonder if the other fish I've had that died had columnaris in their gills or internally. It would have had to be one of the slow acting strains as I've had this fish for weeks now and he hasn't died, or maybe it is less fatal if he only has it in his skin?
<Would seem so.>
The injury is in the same position as the classic saddle ulcer. It is still small compared to pictures I've seen, no more than 3mm square but maybe 1mm deep.
I've inherited two more fish from my sister, she heard someone was giving away some tetras and took them but it ended up being three guppies, a head and tail light tetra and a penguin (hockey stick) tetra. The latter two were not happy in her tank so I've taken them in. The penguin tetra is very bossy and is even giving my barbs a run for their money so I will most
likely try to find a new home for it and get some more HATL tetras so that the singleton feels happier.
<I'd reflect on this a moment. The "False" Penguin Tetra (actually the commonest species) also known as Thayeria boehlkei is an excellent aquarium fish for casual hobbyists. It's undemanding, lives a long time, tolerates hard water even though it prefers soft, and generally resists disease well.
Singletons are bound to be pushy, but six or more specimens generally behave themselves very well. Head-and-Tail Light Tetras are somewhat more demanding, and do need soft, slightly acidic water to thrive. Their colours are situation dependent too, whereas Thayeria boehlkei is basically an in-your-face kind of fish. Head-and-Tail Light Tetras really do need a shady, well planted tank to work well.>
He has some greenery to hide in and sometimes tries to school with the barbs, they don't mind him too much but he'd be better with his own kind.
He seems to have a single spot of what could be ich on his tail so I am trying the heat/salt method (2g per litre, 28C) for now as a precaution before it spreads everywhere else. Hopefully the salt part of that will counteract the heat side of things and not make the possible columnaris infection worse.
<Salt/heat won't normally interact with other medications.>
I'm treating my main tank as a sick/hospital tank now as I haven't got any tanks left with two lots of fry in my spares! The tank I'm using to do the baths in has a crack in the acrylic and I would not trust it as a long term tank, or else I would use it for isolating the sick fish. I can see how in this hobby it is easy to end up with more and more aquariums, necessary for
spares/quarantine/separating bullies and so on.
I would still like to get some Corydoras one day too, I'm thinking Corydoras habrosus instead of paleatus as they are smaller and I'd like to avoid overstocking, but as with the extra tetras I am not going to get any more until I have resolved the illnesses and injuries in my current fish.
<C. habrosus is a nice fish, but very small. For casual aquarists, the 5 cm/2 inch Corydoras species tend to be the best bets. Corydoras panda and Corydoras trilineatus are two smallish species for community tanks.>
Thanks again for all the great info!
Cheers,
Bronwen
<Most welcome. Neale.>

New to fish, Rosy Barbs  /RMF    12/18/14
Hi All,
This will be a bit of a long message as I'd like to describe the history of these fish.
<Good>
A couple of months ago I inherited 3 rosy barbs from my sister, who had bought them when tiny but found them too aggressive in her tank as they grew. I was able to house them in a planted tank which I had set up, which was probably way too small, but they seemed happy and healthy and liked exploring in the plants. I've been feeding them flake, frozen
"tropical community" food and sometimes mosquito larvae from my backyard pond.
<So far...>
As they grew I removed plants from half of the tank to give them more room to move. As their tank was so small I did daily partial water changes and the fish followed my efforts to vacuum the gravel with great interest; I really fell in love with their inquisitive nature! I did a lot of reading to learn about how to give these fish a healthy life (frequently ending up at WWM, thanks for the great info).
<Welcome>
This led me to buy a bigger tank (120lt/35gal approx) for them as soon as I could, and I started cycling it using waste water from the small tank. I planned to get at least 3 more rosy barbs to let them school properly, then once everything settled down maybe some Corydoras. I set up plants in the new tank using ones removed from the smaller tank, and bought a few extra for more cover. By the time I obtained a water test kit, I was getting readings of 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite and around 10 nitrate. I decided it was time to move the fish into the larger tank as it was bordering on cruel keeping them in the small tank as they kept growing and growing. They took to the new tank with glee and were soon swimming up and down the lengths,
exploring the new plants, seemingly quite happy.
Well that only lasted a couple of days until something happened to spook them and from that point they spent the whole time hiding in the corner under their cloud of java moss or zigzagging about in a panic. I tried turning out the lights and then covering part of the tank, which helped a little, but as soon as they notice anyone looking at them they go and hide again. I resolved to set the small tank up as a quarantine tank and get some more barbs ASAP to let them be confident in a school; however when I was cleaning that tank out I found my original three had spawned at some point and there were 7 baby fish living there. So, that became a nursery tank and I had to set up yet another tank for the new fish. I had both a sponge filter and hang on back filter so the HOB went to the quarantine tank while the sponge filter stayed in the nursery - the big tank has a trickle filter built into the top.
<Am familiar... likely a Marineland product>
I bought the last 4 rosy barbs in the store, they seemed healthy and active and acclimated to the quarantine tank okay. I had planned to quarantine them for a week or two at least but after a couple of days of continued appearance of health I thought it better to put them in with the stressed/spooked fish to try and reduce the stress levels in the big tank; the idea being that being in a larger tank in a larger school would be less stressful for the new fish too and better all round, additionally I didn't have any other "established" fish that I needed to protect.
However this is when I noticed problem number one: one of my original rosy barbs was doing strange white tear-shaped droppings and seemed irritated while trying to pass them. It made me think of tapeworm segments
<Did you look at these... proglottids... under a 'scope?>
as I saw a few droppings that seemed the same size each time, and they seemed a meaty white, not transparent. I started to wonder whether it wasn't worth quarantining the new fish in case they caught something from the old fish, however I really didn't want to prolong the stress of the spooked fish and ended up transferring the new arrivals across on the evening of Day 2. Problem two: three of the four new fish started schooling with the original three straight away while the fourth one went off by itself. The final fish still seemed active, healthy, no clamped fins or listless behaviour, it just seemed to hang back from the others. However the following morning this fish had died and was floating belly up. I had a look but couldn't see anything too obvious beyond a little bloating and the abdominal discolouration (see pic), which seemed to line up with how the dead fish was floating. This was the largest of the new fish so perhaps it was already a little bloated when I got it, I'm not sure. I was a little worried that this was something bacterial which would affect the other fish but the remaining fish are still alive and still seemingly healthy. I'd rather not throw random possibly wrong medicine at fish who might not need it but if there is value in treating the rest then I'd be interested to know what I should do.
<Nothing so far>
The other fish do still spook very easily and hide in the corners, although the two smallest new fish venture out more than the rest. I'm being more careful with how I move near the tank, and trying to make changes in their lighting levels a bit less abrupt but I'm not sure what else I can do to help them calm down and not stress so much. Maybe they'll settle down with time?
<What is the water temp. here?>

In fact if I stand in the doorway where they can't see me, I can see them swimming around and picking at the bottom like normal, and when I fed them some more wrigglers just now they forgot to be shy altogether.
My water currently is 0 amm, 0 nitrite, 5 nitrate, pH is a little higher than I'd like at 8-8.2 but the fish spawned successfully in it so I haven't worried about pH very much apart from trying to keep it around 8. Water comes out the tap at pH 9.5 here
<Wow; I'd be using an RO device for my potable needs and blending about
 half of this RO with your source water for your aquarium>
and is a bit hard, I use a water ager to treat chlorine/chloramine and API pH down to get the new water ready for use.
<I see>
Back to the weird white droppings, its been about four days since I noticed them and the same fish is still doing them (and wasn't doing it back in the small tank). I have had a sponge over the filter inlet strainer but when I noticed one of the other fish pick at one of the weird droppings that was stuck on the sponge to see if it was food, I decided to take the sponge
off in hope that these droppings would get sucked away properly and not eaten by my other fish.
I've read that white droppings can be from stress, or constipation as well as worms.
<Yes>

I haven't seen any stringy or threadlike droppings; and I tried feeding some smushed up pea which the rosy barbs all loved and fought over but the same fish has still done white droppings since then. I had the idea that they might have caught something from the mosquito larvae that I have fed them from the back yard, although at this stage my pond doesn't have
anything but plants and snails in it so not sure where a parasite would come from. I am not sure but I think one of the newer fish might have done a similar dropping since they've been in the tank together. Unfortunately I haven't been able to get a picture but I would say these droppings are the same length as a grain of rice, about a quarter of the width, and are tapered for almost the whole length. If you have any ideas as to what this could be and whether it needs treatment I'd be interested to know. I'm thinking about putting a UV sterilizer in this tank to try and help sanitize the water a bit, hard to find non-sales information on whether these are worth the effort or not. Any opinions?
<Mmm; yes. Though I'd like to see some images of the fecal material at 400  power, I'd likely try lacing their food (to get a dose inside them) with both Metronidazole AND an anthelminthic (Prazi/quantel likely). You can read re both and this procedure on WWM>
A final word: I wasn't expecting any baby fish so soon, especially since I'd read rosy barbs prefer acidic soft water to breed in not alkaline hard water; and as far as I knew, my fish were too young or too small to breed, being about 4-5cm long. I already had a jar with some hornwort, Ostracods, copepods and snails in and I assume probably infusoria as well and have
been using water from this plus some powdered fry food to feed the baby fish.
<Very good>
I've noticed previously that copepod nauplii and paramecium seem attracted to light so I have a little LED light pointed at the side of the tank to hopefully attract all the food and the fry into the same place to help them feed. I'm keeping water movement low to keep it easy for them to move around.
Is there anything else I should do to successfully raise these fish?
<Can't tell w/ the information provided>
If they all survive and I end up with a big school of 13 rosy barbs I won't mind if there is no room for anything else in the main tank. The local fish shop kept trying to sell me tiger barbs instead of Rosies and didn't seem to know much about them, seemingly only keeping them as feeder fish but I love their personalities and think it's a shame that people don't buy rosy barbs to keep instead of goldfish as a first fish.
Thanks again for your time and your great site,
Bronwen
<Thank you for sharing. Am sending your note on to Neale here for his independent assessment. Bob Fenner>

Re New to fish, Rosy Barbs        12/19/14
Thanks for your quick reply Bob. The tank is unheated and sits between 23C overnight and 25 C during the day.
<Ahh; I would definitely add a thermostatic aquarium heater here.

On hot days I add an extra air bubbler and prop the lid of the tank ajar to allow for better cooling, so far this has kept it under 26 C. I am going to try a fan on the waters surface for hotter summer days (the room will be cooled as well), and the tank should be cooler for the rest of the year.
I haven't yet successfully retrieved a suspect dropping from the tank. I turned the filter off for a bit during/after feeding time today hoping to catch one, and two were produced but before I could get them out they were eaten by other fish (ugh). I don't have a scope but I've had some success using a reversed webcam lens for magnified photography so I will forward a
picture if I ever manage to get a specimen.
<Good>
I'll have to do some reading to work out dosages for food, I was worried I might not be able to get those medications in Australia but I have found somewhere that sells Praziquantel (liquid) and Metronidazole (powder) for aquariums, and also conveniently stocks RO units. I had suspected RO water would be necessary for keeping anything beyond the most hardy beginner fish so your advice helped me make my mind up on that front.
<Well; there are not surprisingly some fishes and non-fish livestock (e.g. Rainbowfishes there, Malawi, Tanganyikan cichlids and more.... that really enjoy hard, alkaline waters of high pH... but better for many others to mix/blend as I state, and for your cooking, drinking uses... RO is MUCH better. What I/we've used for decades here in S. Cal. w/ our "liquid rock"
potable>
Thanks again for your help!
Bronwen
<Welcome. BobF>

New to fish, Rosy Barbs         /Neale          12/20/14
Hi All, This will be a bit of a long message as I'd like to describe the history of these fish. A couple of months ago I inherited 3 rosy barbs from my sister, who had bought them when tiny but found them too aggressive in her tank as they grew. I was able to house them in a planted tank which I had set up, which was probably way too small, but they seemed happy and
healthy and liked exploring in the plants. I've been feeding them flake, frozen "tropical community" food and sometimes mosquito larvae from my backyard pond. As they grew I removed plants from half of the tank to give them more room to move. As their tank was so small I did daily partial water changes and the fish followed my efforts to vacuum the gravel with
great interest; I really fell in love with their inquisitive nature! I did a lot of reading to learn about how to give these fish a healthy life (frequently ending up at WWM, thanks for the great info).
This led me to buy a bigger tank (120lt/35gal approx) for them as soon as I could, and I started cycling it using waste water from the small tank. I planned to get at least 3 more rosy barbs to let them school properly, then once everything settled down maybe some Corydoras. I set up plants in the new tank using ones removed from the smaller tank, and bought a few extra for more cover. By the time I obtained a water test kit, I was getting readings of 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite and around 10 nitrate. I decided it was time to move the fish into the larger tank as it was bordering on cruel keeping them in the small tank as they kept growing and growing. They took to the new tank with glee and were soon swimming up and down the lengths,
exploring the new plants, seemingly quite happy.
Well that only lasted a couple of days until something happened to spook them and from that point they spent the whole time hiding in the corner under their cloud of java moss or zigzagging about in a panic. I tried turning out the lights and then covering part of the tank, which helped a little, but as soon as they notice anyone looking at them they go and hide again. I resolved to set the small tank up as a quarantine tank and get some more barbs ASAP to let them be confident in a school; however when I was cleaning that tank out I found my original three had spawned at some point and there were 7 baby fish living there. So, that became a nursery tank and I had to set up yet another tank for the new fish. I had both a sponge filter and hang on back filter so the HOB went to the quarantine tank while the sponge filter stayed in the nursery - the big tank has a trickle filter built into the top.
I bought the last 4 rosy barbs in the store, they seemed healthy and active and acclimated to the quarantine tank okay. I had planned to quarantine them for a week or two at least but after a couple of days of continued appearance of health I thought it better to put them in with the stressed/spooked fish to try and reduce the stress levels in the big tank; the idea being that being in a larger tank in a larger school would be less stressful for the new fish too and better all round, additionally I didn't
have any other "established" fish that I needed to protect.
However this is when I noticed problem number one: one of my original rosy barbs was doing strange white tear-shaped droppings and seemed irritated while trying to pass them. It made me think of tapeworm segments as I saw a few droppings that seemed the same size each time, and they seemed a meaty white, not transparent. I started to wonder whether it wasn't worth quarantining the new fish in case they caught something from the old fish, however I really didn't want to prolong the stress of the spooked fish and ended up transferring the new arrivals across on the evening of Day 2.
Problem two: three of the four new fish started schooling with the original three straight away while the fourth one went off by itself.
<Hexamita and other intestinal parasites cause the gut lining to secrete extra mucous. That's the clear to off-white stringy stuff that you see from the vent of affected fish. It binds together the faeces, creating the classic 'stringy faeces' associated with Hexamita and certain other parasites. Normally fish faeces are short (few mm) and discrete pieces of brown material (or red, if fed colour-enhancing foods) that falls away quickly from the vent of the fish.>
The final fish still seemed active, healthy, no clamped fins or listless behaviour, it just seemed to hang back from the others. However the following morning this fish had died and was floating belly up. I had a look but couldn't see anything too obvious beyond a little bloating and the abdominal discolouration (see pic), which seemed to line up with how the dead fish was floating. This was the largest of the new fish so perhaps it was already a little bloated when I got it, I'm not sure. I was a little worried that this was something bacterial which would affect the other fish but the remaining fish are still alive and still seemingly healthy. I'd rather not throw random possibly wrong medicine at fish who might not need it but if there is value in treating the rest then I'd be interested to know what I should do.
<Swelling of dead fish tells you nothing. Pretty much all dead fish do this.>
The other fish do still spook very easily and hide in the corners, although the two smallest new fish venture out more than the rest. I'm being more careful with how I move near the tank, and trying to make changes in their lighting levels a bit less abrupt but I'm not sure what else I can do to help them calm down and not stress so much. Maybe they'll settle down with
time? In fact if I stand in the doorway where they can't see me, I can see them swimming around and picking at the bottom like normal, and when I fed them some more wrigglers just now they forgot to be shy altogether.
<When fish becoming nervous or easily spooked, it's often a clue there's environmental stress. Extreme pH and non-zero ammonia and nitrite are two common causes. Review, and act accordingly.>
My water currently is 0 amm, 0 nitrite, 5 nitrate, pH is a little higher than I'd like at 8-8.2 but the fish spawned successfully in it so I haven't worried about pH very much apart from trying to keep it around 8. Water comes out the tap at pH 9.5 here and is a bit hard, I use a water ager to treat chlorine/chloramine and API pH down to get the new water ready for
use.
<Water conditioner is good, essential in fact. But pH down products are pointless if you aren't also softening the water. Fish don't "feel" pH except insofar as they react to changes in it. But what does affect them is the osmotic pressure exerted by the medium around them -- in other words, the general hardness. Adding pH down products uses up carbonate hardness
(similar to an acid + alkali neutralisation) but the product is a non-carbonate salt, in other words, more general hardness! Do use your general hardness (degrees dH) test kit and see what you have in the tank -- it won't be "soft water" by any means.>
Back to the weird white droppings, its been about four days since I noticed them and the same fish is still doing them (and wasn't doing it back in the small tank). I have had a sponge over the filter inlet strainer but when I noticed one of the other fish pick at one of the weird droppings that was stuck on the sponge to see if it was food, I decided to take the sponge off
in hope that these droppings would get sucked away properly and not eaten by my other fish.
I've read that white droppings can be from stress, or constipation as well as worms. I haven't seen any stringy or threadlike droppings; and I tried feeding some smushed up pea which the rosy barbs all loved and fought over but the same fish has still done white droppings since then. I had the idea that they might have caught something from the mosquito larvae that I have
fed them from the back yard, although at this stage my pond doesn't have anything but plants and snails in it so not sure where a parasite would come from. I am not sure but I think one of the newer fish might have done a similar dropping since they've been in the tank together. Unfortunately I haven't been able to get a picture but I would say these droppings are the
same length as a grain of rice, about a quarter of the width, and are tapered for almost the whole length. If you have any ideas as to what this could be and whether it needs treatment I'd be interested to know. I'm thinking about putting a UV sterilizer in this tank to try and help sanitize the water a bit, hard to find non-sales information on whether these are worth the effort or not. Any opinions?
<UV filters do reduce certain problems, and prevent infections, but they rarely/never cure already infected fish, and are expensive to run as well.
In freshwater tanks, outside of retail situations, they're almost never worthwhile.>
A final word: I wasn't expecting any baby fish so soon, especially since I'd read rosy barbs prefer acidic soft water to breed in not alkaline hard water; and as far as I knew, my fish were too young or too small to breed, being about 4-5cm long. I already had a jar with some hornwort, Ostracods, copepods and snails in and I assume probably infusoria as well and have been using water from this plus some powdered fry food to feed the baby fish. I've noticed previously that copepod nauplii and paramecium seem attracted to light so I have a little LED light pointed at the side of the tank to hopefully attract all the food and the fry into the same place to help them feed. I'm keeping water movement low to keep it easy for them to
move around. Is there anything else I should do to successfully raise these fish? If they all survive and I end up with a big school of 13 rosy barbs I won't mind if there is no room for anything else in the main tank. The local fish shop kept trying to sell me tiger barbs instead of Rosies and didn't seem to know much about them, seemingly only keeping them as feeder fish but I love their personalities and think it's a shame that people don't buy rosy barbs to keep instead of goldfish as a first fish.
<Indeed. Rosy Barbs are great fish. However, they do need space (maybe 30 gallons upwards?) and they won't do well at high temperatures, 18-22 C/68-72 F is about right. So they aren't really tropical fish by any means.
They're also fairly boisterous and can be nippy. They don't like hard water.
I wouldn't mix them with Goldfish, though it has been done with the more briskly moving varieties such as Standards and Comets. In any event, rearing the fry isn't especially hard, but as with all baby fish, you have two key issues: Small portions of food multiple times per day (ideally, 6-8) otherwise starvation sets in very quickly, and secondly, frequent water changes, since nitrate is much more toxic to fry than adult fish.
Most early failures with baby fish (first week or so) come from starvation, while delayed failures (over the succeeding 6-8 weeks) come from poor
environmental quality.>
Thanks again for your time and your great site,
Bronwen
<Not sure there's an obvious answer to your woes. Bad luck aggravated by the wrong water chemistry would seem likely. Wait and see what happens would be my advice, treating as per Hexamita-type protozoan parasites rather than bacteria. Good luck, Neale.>
Fwd: New to fish, Rosy Barbs        12/20/14

Thanks for the extra input Neale. I am definitely going to pursue RO water but not with the company I thought I would. I did a bit more research and they have a reputation for being a grey market importer with occasionally very poor customer service. They have been the only supplier I could find for Metronidazole based medication and from what I read, I believe they tamper with the labels to get around the Metronidazole approval issue here in Australia. I used the "choose your weapon" page to try for a substitute.
I didn't have much luck finding similar products to those listed so I took a stab and guessed Protozin might be okay
<Possibly, but never found it much use myself.>
I found an alternative source for Praziquantel and in case Protozin doesn't work on Hexamita I've read that Epsom salt soaked food can help. Protozin's manufacturer Waterlife (I think?) don't publicise their ingredients but they claim it is good vs. Protozoans and fungus so I hope I was on the right track.
<Worth a shot anyway.>
As a temporary measure while I don't have RO water, would rainwater be a better (softer) source for water changes? I was hesitant to use it due to the possibility of dissolved metals from the tank or the plumbing but my sister has a polyresin rainwater tank which should not have this problem. I do think you are right and the hardness is an issue, I have been a bit lax
measuring the TDS of the tap water and was more concerned with pH thinking that 9.5 was too high and could burn the fish's gills or something. Our water comes 500km via pipeline from the treatment plant so it has plenty of time to dissolve solids before it gets here.
<Indeed. Certainly worth using rainwater. I use rainwater myself. There are variables and risks, but it can be economical and safe. Do read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwsoftness.htm
Essentially, provided the water is collected from a non-toxic roof (slates or tiles rather than chemically treated flat roofs for example) and channeled through clean gutters and into a non-toxic barrel, you should be fine.>
I have had success doing a water change in my nursery tank using a spare airstone in the tank for a kind of fry proof strainer on the front end of the airline as the siphon hose. I think I read about this somewhere so I can't take credit for this trick but I don't remember where. Every time I look there seem to be more fry appearing, the latest count is 12. They seem to be developing okay, some faster than others and I have been worried about starvation and have probably ended up in over feeding territory. I will keep in mind that it is important to keep their water clean.
<Quite so. Within a batch of fry it's often the case male fish grow faster than females, and if the smaller females lose out on food, you'll end up with very skewed sex ratios in the final batch of youngsters. Some hobbyists segregate fry as they age, successively moving the biggest fry to alternative quarters.>
Cheers once again for your excellent assistance.
Bronwen.
<Glad to help. Neale.>

Re: Fwd: New to fish, Rosy Barbs        12/21/14
I still have not been able to retrieve a sample of the white material from a fish yet but I have managed to film 3 fish showing white material dangling, which I have uploaded to YouTube.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OI5VI4XuJ28
<Indeed. Definitely white, stringy faeces. Irritation of the gut could be from any number of causes. But treating as per intestinal protozoa makes some sense; cf. Hexamita.>
The olive coloured, orangey/green and yellowy green fish in this video are the oldest three, and the two yellow and one slightly more orange one are the younger ones. The first fish shown is not the original fish I noticed with the problem but seems to have picked it up too. It seems irritated by the dangling material and does a bit of a flip to knock some of it off. In the second half of the video the two fish are the younger ones from the new batch who have started having the same white droppings and when one manages to lose a piece, you can see the other one go for it as if it is food. I think in these 3 other fish the pieces that are coming out are not as uniform as they were when I saw it from the first fish, so it does look
less like uniform tapeworm packages coming out. Thought I should send this update while I'm waiting for the medication I ordered to arrive in case it helps narrow things down at all. I can't tell if the fish have irritated gills, they do look red to me but I have no comparison to known healthy gills.
<Healthy gills are bright red, crimson. Damaged tissue will be off-white.
Post mortem gills turn burgundy. Pretty much as you'd expect for oxygenated blood or otherwise.>
I have seen some worms free floating in the tank today, they seemed to wash out of my filter when I turned it back on after doing a gravel clean. I believe they are a kind of worm I have had before I ever had fish, in the water column they hang in a C shape and occasionally oscillate one end wildly in an ineffective attempt to swim. When stationary they use the hairs on each side of their body to hold onto a surface, and then probe around with a narrow proboscis-like part, or oscillate this end in the water I assume catching small food items. I also spotted some barrel shaped flatworms, a hydra floating about, something very tiny that inched along like a leech, and there are many odd little things stuck on the glass. In fact it will be easier to link another video than trying to describe these things to you, I have filmed this all through a reversed webcam lens so it is magnified but I am not exactly sure by how much. At some point some grains of sand are visible and the scale is about the same for everything I filmed.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsbzniixUqk
I assume most of these things will die off when the tank is treated.
<I wouldn't assume that at all. Aquaria are host to any number of benign, harmless flatworms and roundworms. These likely play a useful role in aerating the substrate and breaking down organic material into soluble nitrogenous compounds the filter can process. The assumption an aquarium should be devoid of other animals beyond fish is akin to thinking a garden should be without worms, ants, birds, etc.>
Cheers,
Bronwen
<And likewise. Neale.>
Re: New to fish, Rosy Barbs        12/21/14

Agreed, I like seeing other life in my tank and if it is all benign I would like to save some and put it back in after medicating the tank. Not sure if this is possible without re-contaminating things though.
<It's almost impossible to prevent re-contaminating an aquarium, hence medicating the whole tank often makes more sense than isolating a fish and medicating it in a hospital tank. On the other hand, many/most medications are toxic themselves. So it's all about balancing risks, as with human health. Cheers, Neale.>

Rosy Barb pacing glass    11/2/14
Hi,
My name is Hayley i am writing you as i have 1 rosy barb left i did have 3 but in my old tank my cat killed one and the second got some sort of swim bladder issue now this last guys who looks very healthy ..constantly paces the glass there is a jit of a mirror yo the glass could this be stress or
due to him being the last rosy barb in my tank it is 35-40 gallon with about 9 other barbs he is about 2 inches i also have another type of striped barb that is his size and sometime they hang out, the other fish are 1inch approx as they are newer any info would be great cant seem to find much when searching
Thanks Hayley
<Hello Hayley. Not quite sure what your question is. A singleton Rosy Barb won't be very happy on its own, so yes, stress may be an issue. Other kinds of barbs aren't going to be good company for it. Rosy Barbs need more Rosy Barbs, certainly at least 5 in the group, preferably more females than males. Do also note Rosy Barbs are subtropical, and don't do well (i.e., get sick) when kept too warm. 18-22 C/64-72 F is ideal, and certainly no higher than 25 C/77 F. If you must keep them in tropical conditions up to 25 C, then do at least ensure they have plenty of oxygen. "Swim Bladder issues" isn't a thing. All it really means, in a very hand-waving sort of way, is "my fish got sick, couldn't swim properly, then died". So go back and review the aquarium. In particular, water temperature and water quality. Rosy Barbs are usually quite hardy, but they are (a) sensitive when kept too warm; and (b) highly social, prone to nipping other fish and generally being bad if kept in too-small a group. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Rosy Barb pacing glass     11/2/14

Hi Neale, thanks for all the info the fish stores here really don't have employees that know much
<Unfortunate.>
i was planning on getting more rosy's but wanted to make sure something wasn't spreading through my tank.
<Usually very hard to say. Waiting a couple weeks after a fish dies is a very good idea, and problems should become obvious within that time. If, after two weeks, everyone is basically fine and eating properly, you can go buy some more fish with more confidence.>
i brought a water sample after doing my own basic test and they said it was great.
<Good.>
So i was not to worried that it was a water quality issue i was told they like temp of 75-80 :(... i have just turned my heater down after your info, i raised the temp last month when told it was better if higher temp it was around 78
<Temperature depends a lot on the fish you have. Not all "tropical fish" come from the tropics, and even in the tropics there's variation. Most aquarium books will provide this information. A good default is 25 C/77 F,
but with the understanding that some species (Danios, Rosy Barbs, Swordtails, Platies and almost all Corydoras for example) prefer cool water around 22-25 C/72-77F, while a few, such as Discus, are healthier a little warmer, say 28 C/82 F. As you can see, there's no happy medium for all these fish in the same tank, but 25 C/77 F is usually a good starting point.>
but that is when shortly after my other rosy was sick and died the store told me "some sort of swim bladder" problem that why i had said that but i really didn't trust most of what they had said then i found your site and
it has way more helpful info so Thanks!! :)
<Glad you could find some useful information that helped.>
1 more question is there a good # off fish for my size of tank 35-40gal?
<Depends on the size of the fish! You could have maybe 30 Neons in there or just one Humpbacked Pufferfish! The old "inch per gallon" rule isn't a bad start though; it's a bit conservative, and only really applies to small fish in the 1-3 inch range, but you're unlikely to go too far wrong using it.>
I was told up to 35 but that seems crazy i have 9 barbs, 1 s.lucipinnis cat fish, 2 smaller loaches and a pretty large Pleco about 4in to tail tip...and that already seems like a lot to me?
<Well, let's see. Nine barbs, assuming these are around 3 inches each, that's 9 x 3 = 27 inches = 27 gallons. The Synodontis lucipinnis is another 3 inches, so 30 gallons. Couple small loaches at, say, 3 inches each, 6
inches together, for running total of 36 gallons. Another 4 inches for the Plec, that's 40 gallons now. So assuming my estimates for the size of yours fishes hold true, yes, your tank is probably more or less full now. If you wanted to add different fish, perhaps to ensure schools of 6 barbs per species, you'd probably want to rehome some of the livestock you have.
Alternatively, you could rehome some of the barbs that aren't in schools of 5-6 specimens, making space to add different species if you wanted, or to allow growing room for the fish you have. Your Plec, if it's a Common Plec rather than a Bristlenose Plec, will easily exceed 12 inches, likely up to 18 inches within 2 years, and in all honesty needs a much bigger tank than you have.>
I turned my oxygen up and he has stopped pacing for the most part! :) the temp has started to come down a touch too.
<Cool. Note also that Synodontis lucipinnis prefers cooler water (22-24 C/72-75 F according to Planet Catfish) as do most barbs and loaches. Common Plecs will do fine in that range, too.>
Thanks
Hayley
<Most welcome, Neale.>
Re: Rosy Barb pacing glass    11/3/14

Thanks again i did re-home my Pleco as after looking online his is a common Pleco ....i have had him 3 years and didn't want him to go but know its better for him... i actually got him when i had only a ten gallon tank :(
sad that the store said that tank size was good,
<Not uncommon situation. Bristlenose Plecs (which get to 10 cm/4 inches) should really be the default. It's a shame Common Plecs are so widely sold. Not a good choice 90% of the time.>
also re-homed some of the bards that were singletons?...
<May be sensible. A few barbs are okay on their own -- Spanner Barbs for example -- but most are group animals.>
and got more rosy's and tigers for the ones i already had they all seem very happy now in their schools :)
<A good result!>
glad i emailed you!!
Take care, Hayley
<Thanks for the kind words. Cheers, Neale.>

Rosy barbs     7/19/12
Hi Neale, how are you?
my aquarist brought 11 Rosy Barbs (instead of Cherry) what is your opinion, I still have them in the bag, should I let them in my 2 Angelfish tank?
<I wouldn't. Two factors. The first is that Rosy Barbs are fin-nippers.
Perhaps not quite as notoriously as Tiger Barbs, but nippy nonetheless, and Angels are classic targets. Secondly, Rosy Barbs are subtropical fish.
They're much happier (and prettier) if kept at around room temperature, maybe down to 18 C/64 F in winter, around 22 C/72 F in summer. As such, they're great companions for subtropical fish like Bearded Corydoras, Weather Loaches, some of the danios, etc.>
Thanks,
Lorena.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Redtail shark chasing rosy barbs      6/3/12
Hi, I have been in the aquarium hobby for four years now.  I upgraded tank size every year.  Now I have a 60 gallon show tank, which is 4 feet long, 13 inches deep and almost 2 feet tall.  I have had this tank for 8 months.  It has 3 long veil angels (that are 2 years old, so big and beautiful), 5 long finned and 4 short finned rosy barbs (3 years old), 12 Rasboras (almost a year old), a Corydoras nanus that is four years old and three peppered Corydoras (6 months old), five blackskirt tetras (three years old), two Bristlenose Plecos (one year old) and one redtailshark (4 months old).  The reason I am giving you their age is because I want you to know that these fish have been living peacefully together with no fin nipping.
<Real good.>
All your conversations about rosy barbs include fin nipping and I have never seen my fish bother each other.
<If the comments were mine, they'd be about Rosy Barbs being nippy at times. Not all Rosy Barbs nip at their tankmates, and those that do, usually do so towards slow-moving fish, such as fancy Goldfish (being subtropical rather than tropical fish, Rosy Barbs, there's the potential there to mix them with Goldfish).>
It may be that my angels are so big that the Rosies and the blackskirts won’t try anything because of that.
<I see. Do be aware that Rosy Barbs can get to a fair size, though aquarium specimens do seem to top out at 8-10 cm, versus 15 cm in the wild.>
But I recently (three weeks ago) added two small angels and no one bothers them either.  My question is about my Redtail shark.  When I introduced him, he entered the tank slowly going down, looking everywhere and making his presence known; a real shark!
<Yes.>
The other fish looked at him but didn’t get close like they knew HE was a shark.
<Well, not sure that's really what happened, but anyway…>
My Rosies are really curious and they usually go see who is new but they didn’t with him.  It was cool to see the hierarchy in the fish!  Anyway, he was peaceful and hiding before but since about a week, he has been chasing my rosy barbs all over the tank.  I am wondering if he will stop that behavior when he gets bigger than them.
<Possibly. Red-Tail Sharks essentially view anything of similar size and shape as a rival, and chase it away. That's why they're often fine with Angels but less good with barbs or danios. Sometimes Red-Tail Sharks do indeed settle down and all is well.>
They are about the same size right now but I know he will get bigger.  I had read about sharks before buying him because I wanted a compatible shark.
<An unreliable choice in this case. The Rainbow Shark is generally less aggressive than the Red-Tail Shark, though I admit, there isn't a huge amount in it!>
He was described as the kind that would go in my peaceful tank and he was in the beginning.
<Definitely not! Red-Tail Sharks are not "easy" community fish by any means.>
Now my Rosies keep to the top half of the aquarium when they used to swim all over.  Will things improve or get worse? 
<Impossible to say. Your tank is only just big enough for the Red-Tail Shark (they hold territories that fully occupy 50-60 US gallons). With luck, the Rosy Barbs will settle down and learn what part of the tank is theirs, and the Red-Tail Shark likewise. But no guarantees! You could try removing the shark, moving the rocks and plants about, and then after 20 minutes or so, putting the shark back. Sometimes that resets the hierarchy and minimises bullying. While you're at it, if your shark has a favourite cave, move that cave into a corner, and break up lines-of-sight as best you can with tall rocks and plants.>
Thank you for your time.  Nicole
<Welcome, Neale.>

Worried about my rosy barbs     /Neale     4/29/12
Hello, Crew!
<Mindy,>
I'm writing today because I am worried about 2 of my 4 rosy barbs.
Currently I have them in a 10 gallon quarantine tank with one small Pleco.
All of these fish were in the same tank at my fish supplier and I bought them at the same time. I got them with the intention that they'll be placed in my 50 gallon community tank after 30 days. [The Rosy barbs are to replace several large tinfoil barbs that I had to give away when they out-grew the tank, The Pleco replaces one that died at 26 inches (I'm guessing old age He was about 18-20 years old)]
<Well done!>
The 10 gal. is heated and kept at 70 degrees.
<About right for this subtropical species.>
The filter cycles the water at 100 gallons per hour (it was the cheapest carbon-cartridge I could find when my old filter crapped out.) I do not have an aeration system. The tank is planted with two large leafy plants, and I have several small/medium river rocks, some natural (cleaned) sea-shells, and 3 tiny clay pots for decoration/hiding places.
<Okay.>
My concern is about my two female rosy barbs, They're both what a lot of "pet stores" are calling "Lemon Rosies" because of their bright yellow color, they have almost no silver sheen at all.
<I can see this. Very odd. To be honest, I'm not convinced this is Puntius conchonius at all. The shape looks "off" to me, and I wonder if these are some sort of hybrid.>
My supplier said this was normal for females in season.
<To be fair, Rosy Barbs do colour up in the summer when the water warms up, and during the cooler winter, their colours do become fainter.>
I got the group about a week ago. I've been feeding them the same diet I feed my other tank. (floating flake food in the morning one day, frozen blood worms, mosquito larva or Beef heart in the morning the next, then back to the flake) But Yesterday I noticed my females are "turning transparent" I suppose. Their sides are getting see-through and I can see, for lack of a better term, their guts. I have two photos, In one you can see very clearly two dark spots inside the fish along with her swim bladder, In the other it's not as clear but still visible (as these girls wont hold still.) If you have any idea what this is from, I would appreciate an answer.
Thank you,
-Mindy
<I don't think there's anything "wrong" here as such, and your barbs look perfectly healthy. I would simply watch and enjoy them for now. I agree, they aren't classic female Puntius conchonius. I do feel these are a variety produced on some fish farm in Southeast Asia, quite possibly a hybrid, and right now you can't know what they'll end up as. Cheers, Neale.>
Worried about my rosy barbs.   /RMF        4/29/12

Hello, Crew!
I'm writing today because I am worried about 2 of my 4 rosy barbs.
Currently I have them in a 10 gallon quarantine tank with one small Pleco.
All of These fish were in the same tank at my fish supplier and I bought them at the same time. I got them with the intention that they'll be placed in my 50 gallon community tank after 30 days. [The Rosy barbs are to replace several large tinfoil barbs that I had to give away when they out-grew the tank, The Pleco replaces one that died at 26 inches (I'm guessing old age He was about 18-20 years old)]
<I'd get/use a much smaller species... perhaps of the genus Ancistrus>
The 10 gal. is heated and kept at 70 degrees. The filter cycles the water at 100 gallons per hour (it was the cheapest carbon-cartridge I could find when my old filter crapped out.) I do not have an aeration system. The tank is planted with two large leafy plants, and I have several small/medium river rocks, some natural (cleaned) sea-shells, and 3 tiny clay pots for decoration/hiding places.
My concern is about my two female rosy barbs, They're both what a lot of "pet stores" are calling "Lemon Rosies" because of their bright yellow color, they have almost no silver sheen at all. My supplier said this was normal for females in season.
<About right>
I got the group about a week ago. I've been feeding them the same diet I feed my other tank. (floating flake food in the morning one day, frozen blood worms, mosquito larva or Beef heart in the morning the next, then back to the flake)
<I'd drop the Blood/Sewer "worms" and beef>
But Yesterday I noticed my females are "turning transparent" I suppose.
Their sides are getting see-through and I can see, for lack of a better term, their guts. I have two photos, In one you can see very clearly two dark spots inside the fish along with her swim bladder, In the other it's not as clear but still visible (as these girls wont hold still.) If you have any idea what this is from, I would appreciate an answer.
Thank you,
-Mindy
<Don't think this is anything to worry re, and naught you can do... genetic/developmental... Not a problem. Bob Fenner>

'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! 
-Cammi
J.
<Not normal... again, you're mis-stocked here... Read re these species needs on WWM and here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/stkgSmFWSysF.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> 

eye condition afflicting one of my Rose Red Barbs   11/8/11
Hi Crew, got a question for you, on my Rose Red Barbs has an eye that doesn't look right, The left eye looks fine but the right eye is sunk in a little and the pupil is almost completely closed. any ideas?
<Likely a physical injury... Really naught to do other than the usual good conditions and nutrition. Bob Fenner>

Bronze Cory Help!!! 10/17/09
First off I want to say that your site has been a great deal of help. As a first time fish owner I have used your site as a resource in having a happy and thriving tank.
<Thanks for the kind words.>
I have had my 35 gallon fresh water tank since end of April. I followed the beginner guidelines in circulating the tank before I put in any fish. Right now I have four rosey barbs, a rainbow shark, Pleco, and three bronze Corys and so far haven't had any problems until today.
<Sounds an interesting mix. While the Rosy Barbs and the Corydoras both appreciate somewhat cool water, Rosy Barbs can be "fin nippers" and work best in large groups (six or more specimens, a mix of males and females) so they busy themselves chasing one another around rather than other fish.
Rainbow Sharks can be feisty, and the Plec will get far too large for this aquarium. So you will have some problems to fix before too long.>
Icky, one of my Corys went missing this week. I searched the tank and he was no where to be found. Today, we did a 60% water change and put in some Columbian drift wood. After picking up a rock that was, until today, thought to be a safe tank decoration - out zooms icky the Cory catfish looking pretty rough. For the first couple of minutes of being free from his confines he was laying on his side. After a little more time passed he's sitting in his natural stationary, but upright, position. It looks as though the barbs made a meal of a few of his fins, and he has several spots that have been worn from trying to wiggle out from beneath the rock.
<Yes: Rosy Barbs will indeed nip at fish. For whatever reason, Corydoras are "sitting ducks" where nippy fish are concerned. I find that whereas Plecs and Synodontis keep out of the way, every time I've kept Corydoras with, say, Puffers or Ameca splendens, they've had their dorsal fins nipped.>
It looks as though he's on the track of pulling through, but you never know with fish. Do you have any advice on how to treat this situation?
<Beyond clean water, I'd not do anything else apart from separate them.
Corydoras fins heal very quickly, and like many catfish, they're likely to react badly to copper or formalin, so I wouldn't use either unless I absolutely had to. So move the school of Corydoras to an aquarium of their own, something 20 gallons upwards, and let them settle down and be happy.
Rosy Barbs sound like a poor choice of tankmate here. You might even get rid of the Rosy Barbs; when all is said and done, they're big fish (up to 15 cm/6 inches) not suited to 35 gallon tanks.>
I'm worried that icky may not make it.
Thanks!!!
Kristin
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Bronze Cory Help!!! 10/17/09
The rosey barbs and the Corys get along, they really mind to themselves or get chased every once in a while by the shark. Luckily the only issue we have had with the barbs is that they chase and nip at each other.
<What they do. If kept in large groups, six or more, and ideally more females (yellow-green) than males (pink) then they tend to settle down. In the right tank, a spacious subtropical system, they're superb fish.>
We are fairly certain that the reason why icky the Cory cat has had a good amount of his fins nipped off is because he was literally stuck under the rock but the barbs could still get to him.
<Whether he got stuck under the rock, or was hiding to avoid being nipped, is difficult to answer. Both explanations are possibilities.>
Right now the rough looking Cory looks as if he is acting normal, but he really looks rather rough.
<Indeed. Usually, Corydoras heal very well. The common species like Bronze and Peppered Corydoras have become so popular precisely because they are so durable.>
We know of the issue with the Pleco out growing our tank. We have a home for him when he gets big enough in a 300 gallon brackish cichlid tank at a restaurant that we frequent.
<A home perhaps, but a bad one. Plecs ARE NOT brackish water fish.>
There is also a home for him at the koi fish pond at the local botanical gardens.
<Unless this Koi pond is somewhere tropical, then that's not an option either. These fish die when exposed to water temperatures below 20 C (68 F) for any length of time. In the US for example, Southern Florida is the only place where these fish are likely to survive outdoors in an unheated pond.>
We've made sure that he will have a place to go when we can no longer care for him.
<Hmm... not impressed so far with the options.>
Looks as if we'll just have to wait and see how icky fairs. Keep your fingers crossed for us! Thanks for the tips!
<Happy to help.>
Also, about the barbs - we'll definitely consider trading them in for more suitable tank mates. Any recommendations??
<Depends, and the thing with many schooling fish is that if you don't keep enough, many species can become nasty, even Danios. One of the single best schooling fish species in the trade is the X-Ray Tetra (Pristella maxillaris). This species is very hardy and very peaceful; it is also rather pretty. I don't care much for the albino form, but it exists if that sort of thing amuses.>
Much appreciation, Kristin
<Cheers, Neale.>

Flipping Rosey Barb - 6/20/08 Hi, My rosey barb will be swimming normal, then just start flipping and spinning, then go back to swimming normal again. Sometimes it's just 1 or 2 flips, other times it goes on for about 15 seconds. She (?) appears to be fine otherwise. Her appetite is good. I thought maybe she was constipated, so I tried giving peas for the dinnertime feedings for a week. (Morning feedings are either flakes or shrimp pellets.) She loved the peas, but it didn't stop the flipping. She shares the 40 gallon tank with a Pleco, 4 adult platies and 12 baby platies. The platies and Pleco are all fine. The water temp is 80, the nitrate is 0, nitrite is 0, water is soft, alkalinity is 80 and the pH is 7.0. I change the filter and 25% of the water weekly. The flipping has been going on for about 2 months. Any suggestions? Lisa <Hello Lisa. There are diseases that can make fish swim in odd ways, such as the 'Whirling Disease' caused by Myxobolus cerebralis, but to be honest these are rather uncommon, and usually introduced via live foods (especially Tubifex) and don't get "caught" by jumping between fish in aquaria. That's why they don't just appear out of nowhere. Also, given this fish has exhibited these symptoms for 2 months and remains otherwise healthy, I'm more inclined to put this down to (perhaps) genetics or nervous system damage. If she remains happy, then just assume she's a bit quirky, and love her all the more because of it. Cheers, Neale.>

Mysterious ailment, Rosy Barbs  1/15/08 Hi Crew, <Leah,> I've been researching the internet for hours trying to diagnose my new fish. You guys (well mostly Neale) have helped me a lot in the past, so I'm hoping you can give me some advice now as well. I recently purchased 10 rosy barbs, 3 of which are a gold colored variety. They were labeled gold rosy barbs in the store, and they are identical in all respects to the regular rosy ones except for the coloration, and these 3 were housed in a different tank in the store. <Hmm... sure these aren't just females? Male Rosy Barbs are orangey-pink, females greenish-gold.> Having learned from my numerous past mistakes, I am quarantining all my new barbs before moving them into my main 55-gallon tank. I bought them last night. As of this afternoon, one of the gold rosy barbs seems ill. It hovers in one place, either near the bottom or middle of the tank, and does not interact with the other fish (all of whom are, so far, active and healthy looking). It moves its gills rapidly and--here's the weird part--its mouth seems stuck open. <Have seen this before. Sometimes caused by the jaws being dislocated, but other times genetic: these fish are bred in ponds, and often with little by way of quality control. Do check to see if the jaw is deformed (e.g., too short) rather than stuck open. On the other hand, given the hyper-ventilation of the gill cavity, it is entirely possible we're looking at a fish that is "suffocating" in some way.> That is, it is not gasping for water; rather, it does not move its mouth at all. I read online that barbs are susceptible to velvet, so this is my first guess. <Few fish aren't sensitive to Velvet; regardless, problems with breathing are a typical early symptom because the velvet parasite often attacks the gill membranes before it attacks any other part of the fish. So you can have a fish suffering from Velvet but not exhibiting any other external symptoms, such as the icing-sugar powder we typically associate with the disease.> However, there is no flashing among any of the fish, and the sick one does not have clamped fins. It moves its tail and fins actively, although it does not move from the spot where it hovers. It does not appear to have any visible velvet patches, but this fish is already a metallic gold color, so the velvet might be hard to see. <Indeed. I'd treat for Velvet anyway, just to be on the safe side. Barbs aren't sensitive to copper or formalin, so this should work fine.> The only symptoms seem to be the gill movement, the open mouth, and the staying in one spot. No other fish is (again, so far) showing these symptoms. Ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate are 0. What should I do? I have Coppersafe as well as salt on hand. Should I leave the sick fish alone or treat the tank? <Treat all the new Barbs. If one has it, the others will have it by now, even if they are not yet showing symptoms.> Should I remove the sick fish? <Not yet. With schooling fish especially, moving sick fish often stresses them, reducing the odds of a good recovery.> The problem with that would be that I don't have another filter for another hospital tank. Your advice is greatly appreciated. --Leah <Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: Mysterious ailment 1/15/08 Hi Neale, thanks for the help. Unfortunately the one little gold one didn't make it, but I've treated the quarantine tank with Coppersafe, so now I'll just have to wait and see how the others fare. <Hi Leah. Sorry about the loss.> Thank goodness I quarantined. <Indeed.> I have one follow up question about the gender of my fish. You suggested that the gold ones are females, and after looking at photos online, I agree. I did actually research this before going to the pet store, because I wanted a group of fish containing about 2 females per every male, after reading numerous sites saying this grouping reduces aggression. When I got to the store and saw the 2 types of barbs in 2 different tanks, I asked the guy working there if they were the same fish, and if they would school together. He answered no to both questions. <Then probably doesn't know very much about fish! Rosy barbs of both sexes have a very distinctive look to them, in particular the big, metallic scales. While there are "true" Golden Barbs in the hobby of various species, to the best of my knowledge, they don't have the big scales. http://www.fishbase.org/summary/speciessummary.php?id=4714 The black spot close to the base of the tail is typical of the species, at least in its wild state.> When I told him I wanted more females than males, he told me that the "duller" rosy barbs were females. Now that I've got them home and thought about this, I believe the duller one are simply younger males. <This much is certainly true: Rosy Barbs don't get their full colours until they're mature, and that's well up to 14 cm/5.5" in length, much bigger than you see them in the shops.> I also believe this pet store guy didn't have a clue about the fish he was selling :) <Quelle surprise.> Anyway, I bought 7 rosy barbs, plus the last 3 of the gold rosy barbs the store had, mainly because I knew they are a schooling fish and I felt sorry for the remaining 3. I hoped they would all school together, contrary to what the employee said. And, of course, they do because they are all the same species. But will I have aggression problems with my group of 7 males and 2 females? Are such problems inevitable, or does it depend on the individuals' temperaments? <Depends on many factors other than sheer numbers, though I dare say trying to swap some males for females, or add some more females as and when, would help.> I don't believe these guys are sexually mature yet, but do you think the dead female was already the victim of male aggression? <Unlikely.> Thanks again. (PS - I was browsing magazines in a bookstore last week, flipping through Tropical Fish Hobbyist, and there you were! Good article!) <Thanks, and happy to help. Neale.>

Re: Mysterious ailment, new long-fin rosy barbs    1/25/08 Hi Neale, <Hello again,> I have a follow-up question regarding my new long-fin rosy barbs, who are still in qt. Back on Jan. 15, after one fish died and I suspected velvet, I added Coppersafe at the recommended dosage (5 ml per 4 gal). Since then I've been doing a 20% water change every day, or every other day, to keep the water quality high, and I've been replacing the Coppersafe accordingly. <Hmm... this isn't usually what you need to do. Copper-medications break down very quickly, typically within 24 hours. If you "top up" the amount when you do a water change the next day, you're effectively adding an extra dose rather than replacing what's already there, because the stuff you put in earlier has broken down. Hence you have to be very careful. It's normally recommended you lay off water changes through courses of medication so that the precise dose is as per the manufacturer's intentions. Copper is toxic to everything, even fish, so you need to balance the dose between toxicity to the pathogen and toxicity to the fish.> I have the API copper test kit, which tests for chelated copper such as what's in Coppersafe, but of all the hard-to-read color scales, this one takes the cake. However I do believe that I am between 1 and 2 ppm, which is within the levels Coppersafe claims to produce. <OK.> As of today, Jan. 24th, there have been no other symptoms of velvet. However, I have been seeing what may be ich, although it is very difficult to tell on these fish since they are iridescent. There are two fish with one white spot each, one on a tail fin and one on a stomach fin (not the scientific name for that one, I know), <It's the anal fin if unpaired, and the pelvic fins if paired.> but neither of these spots are unambiguously ich spots, and I've been noticing them now for at least 6 days. <Ick/Whitespot looks like grains of salt; velvet tends to be golden rather than white, though not always, but the cysts look like icing sugar.> They could just be the fishes' coloration. My question: How long is it safe to keep the Coppersafe in the water? I've read online that it's potentially very toxic, especially when improperly dosed. <Correct. You want to use the minimum amount. I'd recommend doing one course of the medication, then at least two 50% water changes before beginning a second course. Do remember Velvet and Ick/Whitespot are only killed once the parasites become free swimming -- the cysts on the fish are untreatable.> I measure accurately, but that test kit gives me no peace of mind. I've considered switching to Rid-Ich+, which I've used successfully in the past, but I haven't because 1) I'm not sure it's ich; and 2) I don't want to lose time on the ich cycle trying to remove the Coppersafe before using the Rid-Ich+. <I tend to choose (and recommend) medications that work against Velvet and Ick equally well. There are several such medications.> I should add that I also have 1 tsp of salt per gallon in the tank, which I added because I read that it was ok to use with copper, and because some of the long-fin barbs have torn fins. They came from the pet store this way. I'm not sure if it's fin rot, but I read that salt and clean water may do as much good as antibiotics, so I added the salt to be safe. <Hmm... not sure salt is "as good" as antibiotics, but salt will (perhaps) inhibit infections from getting started and it does moderate any osmotic stress caused by the break in the epidermis.> (I should say, too, that, so far, my biological filter has been ok, and ammonia and nitrites are 0, nitrates around 10). So now I'm just wondering how long to keep my barbs exposed to the copper. <I'd run one full course -- no water changes during it -- and then wait a few days. If no result, run a second course with the same brand of medication. There are some resistant Ick strains that need two course to be dealt with. Wait a few more days. If *still* no improvement, try a different medication or therapy, perhaps the salt + warm water option described elsewhere on this site.> I don't want to harm them with the medication. Thanks for your help! Leah <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Mysterious ailment  1/25/08 Hi Neale, thanks for the information. I'm a bit worried now about the amount of water changes I've been doing. The CopperSafe package says that its chelated copper is very "stable" and that one dose of CopperSafe will treat the water for over one month. <Hmm... I'm not familiar with this medication, so I'd tend to be cautious here. Add the required amount. Wait a week. Do 25-50% water change as per normal. Since you have a copper test kit, test the copper level. If it's within the safe zone, add another dose. Repeat as required. In a tropical aquarium, the Ick cysts mature in about 3 days; after that point, the parasites are vulnerable to the copper and should be killed quite quickly.> Other than that, it doesn't recommend a set "course" of treatment. Would one course be, then, just what I observe when looking for signs that the ich cycle is complete? <Pretty much.> It's the "treats water for one month" claim that's confusing me, because I don't want to just leave it in the water indefinitely when the symptoms of any illness are still unclear. I'll wait to hear from you, but I'm thinking that since the water's been treated for 10 days now, I may run some carbon today and start removing the CopperSafe. <Sounds fair to me. Actually, remind me again what fish we're talking about here. Rosy barbs? I'd probably go with heat + salt and be done with CopperSafe. 2-3 teaspoons of salt per US gallon, with temperature at least 82F. Make the water and temp changes gradual (couple days) and leave running thus for at least 7 days. Then slowly return things to normal. This is the standard approach for dealing with Ick on things like Clown Loaches which tolerate copper poorly.> I'll then wait and see if what may or may not be ich materializes any further, and then switch to a different treatment if it does. Thanks again. <Cheers, Neale.>

Type of Catfish Compatible with Rosey Barbs  1/5/08 Hello, <Hello Vera,> First of all, thank you for being such a wonderful information source! I've been reading the web site for some time now although I cannot find any exact advice regarding my issue. <Oh...?> I have a 14 gallon tank with 4 Rosey barbs that has a brown algae outbreak. Two days ago, I returned home to find the heater "cranked up" to 90 degrees F. Luckily, the barbs all survived but the brown algae is becoming worse. <Hmm... 14 gallons a bit small for Rosy Barbs (Puntius conchonius); maximum size is 15 cm/6", though typically only about half that in aquaria.> I purchased an Emerald Corydoras but the barbs attacked him so bad that I moved him to another tank with 3 bronze Corydoras. <Very unusual behaviour. Usually these barbs are quite well behaved. Ordinarily, I'd expect subtropical Corydoras (e.g., Peppered, Bronze, Bearded Corydoras) to do well with Rosy Barbs.> Do you advise getting an algae eater for this issue or attempting to treat the algae. <The easiest way to treat algae is to improve the growth of live plants by adding more light. Floating plants are easiest for this, but any fast-growing plants will do. Algae-eaters generally have moderate to no effect, and in the long term only increase the pollutants in the water, helping algae grow faster. Besides, your tank is a bit overstocked already.> I have performed a 50% water change; and turned the temperature down to 76 degrees F. <Too warm: these are subtropical barbs. Aim for 20C/68F.> The tank has plastic plants, a resin tree stump, a "real" rock from an established tank and light colored medium river stone. Thank you so much for the assistance!! Vera Have a good day! <Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Ich and the scaleless barb   8/14/07 Dear WWM Crew, <<Dear Claire. Tom here this afternoon.>> Congratulations on your fantastic and informative site - it has been an invaluable resource as I set up my first tropical tank. <<Very glad to hear it, Claire.>> Unfortunately that tank has now come down with ich (due to an unquarantined new arrival - long story, and I've learned my lesson...) - I saw one or two spots on fins this evening. <<An Ich infestation is a pain in the backside to have to deal with but its a far cry from other problems that might have occurred. Sorry you learned the hard way but all of us have learned something in this hobby the hard way so welcome to our club.>> I have Nox-ich to treat it with but would like some advice on dosage, due to the presence of a 'mutant' fish. The tank contains 6 female rosy barbs (rescued feeder fish), five tetras and a Bristlenose catfish (gradual stocking still in progress). One of the rosy barbs has no scales. <<Hello? Havent heard of that one, Claire. Interesting>> She is in all other respects a perfectly healthy (before the ich) and active fish. I assume the lack of scales means that I should treat the tank at a lower dosage level, but would like your input before I do. <<Not to send you back to the LFS unnecessarily, Claire, but neither your Tetras nor your Bristlenose Pleco are going to appreciate the Nox-Ich formula which contains sodium chloride (salt) and malachite green as its active ingredients. Even at half-dosages youd really be putting yourself on aquarium watch for signs of stress with your pets. Additionally, as I see below, you have a planted tank. Plants dont much care for salt, either. I dont want you wasting time here nor your money but Kordons Rid-Ich may be the better choice of medications given the circumstances. Its a combination of malachite green and formalin but, in combination, at lesser concentrations than would be found with other medications using one, or the other, exclusively or nearly so. In combination with each other, these are very effective even when dosing down (one-half the prescribed) because of scaleless fish.>> Tank stats: 150 litres, live plants pH 7.4 ammonia and nitrites nil nitrates 5 Thanks! Claire. <<Tank stats look quite good, Claire. Be sure to read the directions of any medication carefully and followed them to the letter. Best of luck. Tom>>

Breeding Kribs, aggressive/sick barb   4/26/06 Greetings Staff- FYI - I have a 54 gallon tank with UGF (I'm old school),  AquaClear 300, and a Penguin BioWheel 200 (I might be old school, but I love redundancy). Temp 78, water conditions good - Tap water here in Portland, Oregon is great for our fish - they LOVE  IT!   <Ah, good.> General community tank with tetras, loaches, a pair of angelfish, and some white clouds, etc. I vacuum once a week and clean out one of the two hang-on filters once a week (oh yeah, and change 10 -15% per week). It's planted with Anubias, amazons, Bacopa (for the fish to eat), and Cabomba (I LOVE saying that: CA-BOMB-A).   <Heh!> 1. I have a pair of Pelvivachromis pulcher who were a 'mating pair' when we bought them.  I don't know if they successfully bred at the LFS; but they were clearly pair bonded. After an ich outbreak last fall their pair bond deteriorated. I am sure 16 days in quarantine was not romantic. We think the ich was due to a dip in tank temps one day we had the window next to the tank open and it got chilled; I am now really careful about opening the window when it is not warm enough. The female still displays for the male, but he seems uninterested in her shameless flirting.  We provided several 'condos' for them to select for their boudoir. Would adding another female excite the male? <Possibly, yes.> If a new girl was added would we have to remove the other?  Could they just work it out with time?  I am not really looking set up a breeding tank; just to see them restored to their original state.  Sure it would be cool if they raised a few fry; but I am not trying to go nutso or anything.   <Once the pair is bonded, the "leftover" female would likely have to be removed.> 2. I had a very naughty male rosy barb ( http://www.fishbase.org/Eschmeyer/EschPiscesSummary.cfm?ID=4714 ) who harassed one of his girlfriends into her grave (we had a set of three females and one male).  After she died he became the bully of the tank - taking off one of the rays of an angelfish and scales off of anyone who got too close to him.  We went to our LFS and asked them for a larger female who might help calm him down.  We came home with Brunhilda, named at the LFS because of her size (a hefty 3.5 inches nose to tail!) <Holy mackinaw!> and because she was a favorite of the staff.  She, to put it lightly (hah!), is huge.  She definitely seemed to school the male - yes another bad pun (although he still always wears his full mating regalia) and things have been peaceful for several weeks. <Ah, good.> Overnight she developed a large (7 mm square) wound on one flank just above the tale - I have some OK pictures of it - it looks larger and scarier in real life.   <Yeeee-ikes!  I am given to think you didn't quarantine her prior to adding her to the tank??> It was initially bloody and swollen.  I also discovered that another of the harem had a similar (though much smaller) wound near her anal-genital area - photos also included.  I have set up a QT, out as yet both seem healthy and happy aside from their wounds. Other than keeping water quality as perfect as possible and keeping a weather eye on them, is there anything else I can do? <I would consider medicating this.... it's pretty significant.  If you cannot remove the injured animals to a quarantine system for treatment, please consider a food medicated with Oxytetracycline rather than medicating your main tank; an online store called "Florida Guppies Plus" (Google that) sells one such product.> Would adding additional females diffuse his aggression or give him more targets? <Possibly.... but no guarantee.  He doesn't read the books, y'know.> Our QT would be a bucket with a small BioWheel, heater, and some shelter.  I do not want to medicate, or traumatize them by netting and QTing them unless necessary.   <Either risk it, or obtain a medicated flake food for them.> Could it be that Mr. Rosy Barb (his common name in our house is unprintable) <HAH!!> got up his gumption and made a run at these two females <Possibly, though it is also possible that Brunhilda brought a bacterial infection with her and shared it with the other damaged female.> that resulted in some rough sex - was it rape??!!? <Likely not, no worries.> Should I report his randy behavior to the authorities?   <CSI Aquarium?> Photo of Brunhilda's and other female wounds attached and I am also including my photobucket link: http://s33.photobucket.com/albums/d98/leahfranceswade/Brunhildas%20trauma/ <Good, clear images.  Thank you for sharing these.> (I included one pic of my krib female (I think she's a kinke, she's so pretty).   <Pretty indeed.> PS the female rosy barbs have been decimating the Black Beard Algae (Audouinella?) that grows in our tank in the winter (lower sun angle = more direct sunlight on the tank.  They keep it totally in check. <Excellent!> Thanks and keep up the good work.   <And thank you for your kind words.> And I forgot to say, "Long time reader, first time emailer." <Glad to hear from you.> Sincerely, Leah Frances Wade <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Rosy Barbs and Tiger Barbs Oh My! I am new to fishkeeping and I have questions about the tiger barbs. I have started with 4 tigers to cycle the tank and I discovered that I like them. <A very nice fish, a little nippy at times, but pretty.> At the instruction of my dealer I have 3 rosy barbs in my quarantine tank waiting to go in the main tank <Be still my beating heart! You have a quarantine tank for your freshwater display. God bless you sir! You will surely be rewarded!> instead of buying 2 or 3 more tigers as most books suggest. <I would be happy as long as you have three or more.> He says its because I have only a 29 gallon tank and there won't be enough room for other fish if the schools are too big. <A fair point.> He also says that since they are in the same family the Rosies and the tigers will not harm each other. <I would prefer to put it as they will be able to put up with each other's abuse.> I am a little skeptical. Is 4 ok for a school of tigers? <Sure> Is 3 ok for Rosie's? <Yes, these are a little less prone to school, at least not as tightly as the Tiger Barbs.> Is it boring to have just 2 or 3 schools swimming around? <You will be able to fit more than these seven fish in your tank.> I don't want the tank to look too "busy". Also, what other fish do you suggest adding for variety? Stephen <Giant Danios are another of my favorites. Various Gouramis would work, too. -Steven Pro>

Rosy Barbs and Tiger Barbs Oh My! II Hey Steven, thanks for replying so fast! <No sweat, you caught me at a good time.> Do you think fish look better in larger schools? <I think schooling fish should be kept in schools. Depending on the size of the tank, a large, tight school of fish is impressive to me.> About the quarantine tank: My dealer is reputable. Their tanks look great and the Rosies looked healthy all 4 times I visited the store in the past month. How long do they need to be in my quarantine tank? <Two weeks in perfect condition minimum for QT to be effective.> I see that you find various Gouramis compatible with tigers. Most books say the same, but the stores all say not to do it. Why? <You would have to ask them.> I would love to have one. Is it the blue and gold Gouramis (Trichogaster trichopterus) that are tough enough to deal with the barbs? <These are the most common ones and the ones I use often.> Thanks! Stephen <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

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

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

Long-Finned Red Rosie Barbs vs.. Peaceful 29 Gallon Community  Dear Bob Fenner, <Anthony Calfo in your service> I was delighted when I found your WetWebMedia website yesterday. I found it very informative and very helpful. I thank you! In trying to locate it again today I found that I had best be more careful to have the absolute correct address for future reference (don't leave off the media -- good grief!). <hehe... how about setting the WWM page as the default homepage in your browser <wink>> In a nutshell, I have had fresh water tropical (and cold/goldfish) community fish aquariums on and off since I was a kid. I am now in my fourth decade with four kids who have each tried their hand at same. Most recently, we moved our 29 gallon aquarium from one end of our home to the other at a point when it was fishless and only had a few plants. I've restarted it. It is in pretty good shape except that the Ammo-Lock that I put in it (that I was told I probably never needed since it sat there for at least a couple months in only a few inches of previous aquarium water with only plants and no fish) causes any readings to show high ammonia content;  <you can get an accurate ammonia test reading if you use dry tab reagents instead> and the ph is bit high; about 7.8. I put some PH Down in there today. We'll see how it reads tomorrow. What I have now are three (3) beautiful Long-Finned Red Rosie Barbs.  <yes...gorgeous> I purchased them at Petsmart eight (8) days ago. They seem in very good health. However, two of the three have come to have some shredded fins. One of them I figure to be the champ. He looks great! After doing some more extensive reading after the purchase, I realize that I purchased some fish that are more aggressive than I wanted for this tank. I phoned Petsmart. They said I may return them within 14 days of the purchase. I figure I have six (6) more days to decide whether or not to return these beautiful Barbs and go for some more peaceful fish. My 15-year-old, 10-year-old (the two of my four kids that are still at home), and my 49-year-old (my husband) have expressed that they would like to see Angelfish in our tank. I know these beautiful Barbs won't get along with Angelfish. I also know my ph is way too high for Angelfish. I'm told my ph should be 7.0 for Angelfish. I would like a peaceful, yet interesting aquarium. I think my best bet is to bring down my ph, and return the beautiful, yet too aggressive, Long-Finned Red Rosie Barbs to Petsmart.  <I hate to see them go too... but, yes... I agree> I believe what I would eventually like to see in my aquarium would be some Angelfish, Red Sunset Gouramis, Corys, White Long-Finned Tetras (?), maybe a Pleco.. (Rock Fish) (?), more plants, and some Mystery Snails. I'm not sure what else might fit well into this type of tank. I am open to any good suggestions and advice. <harlequin Rasboras, gold tetras, dwarf ram cichlids...so many choices> I do have a couple more questions. I wonder if you would know why I actually have a hard time keeping snails alive in my tank. For some reason they never last long. I live in the northern Maryland suburbs of the Washington-Metropolitan area. Could it have anything to do with my water?  <sure lack of minerals...too much of a given metal/mineral, etc> I do use dechlorinator, and I do let the water sit for a day or two before putting it in the tank. <not really necessary. Just dechlorinator is fine> My last question (for now) pertains to Corys. I love Corys -- any kind of Cory. I lean toward the less expensive, less popular kind. I have always had at least (and usually) one in any tank I've ever kept. I never knew this before, but I am told they like to school. I am told I should have at least three.  <absolutely> The problem I have experienced (more than just a couple of times over the years) with Corys is that whenever I added a second Cory to my one, the first one (that had usually been there for months to years) has always died very shortly thereafter (days to weeks). Can you think of any reason why this would happen?  <a bit odd if there are no other new fish deaths> Maybe one is okay, two is bad, three is better? I've never tried having more than two Cory's in my tank at a time. I never heard before last week that they liked to school.  <even three may not be enough if you get too many males. more than three would be nice for a shoal> Thank you very much for any help you can be. Yours truly, Marianne db <best regards, Anthony>

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

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

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

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

Re: Rosy Barbs mistakenly mixed with another species? Thanks. About the behavior, (assuming she is a Puntius species of Barb) is that likely a sign of illness?  Or possibly normal? <Possibly normal, but if illness, not contagious, but genetic, developmental in nature> "She swims listlessly, and then will suddenly perform a series of aerobatic maneuvers in just a small area of the tank. (upside down, sideways, back and forth, loop-de-loops, etc.) After a few minutes, she goes back to being listless.   She doesn't race to the top of the tank to eat like the other Barbs do either." Thanks again, Paul Lord <Welcome. Bob Fenner>



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