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FAQs on Tiger Barbs 1

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

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

Head down orientation? Check water quality, foods/feeding...

Tiger barb; fdg., stkg.      11/3/16
I have searched your site and researched and haven't found quite the answer so I am writing you. I have a freshwater tropical tank 65 gallons which is home to 4 angel fish who are 6 years old, 3 tetras ( forget what kind) who are two months old, two catfish who are two months old, a algae eater (sorry forget his name Bristlenose...)
<Maybe an Ancistrus genus Loricariid... a type of "Plecostomus">
he is 3 months old, a black red tailed shark and a Bala shark and we did have two tiger barbs although one has since passed.
<Mmm; allow me to insert a statement here for posterity (others and you) re stocking small Barbs, Danios, Rasboras... most all Minnows (Cyprinids); they/these are schooling/shoaling fishes; NEED to be kept in numbers to be happy, healthy... a handful or more... to chase each other about... Be MUCH less nippy toward other fishes>
The one tiger barb continued to get bigger and bigger over 3 months and recently died it looked like dropsy from what I read.
<Ahh! What sorts of foods are you offering here? This species is a very eager eater; and will definitely over-eat given the opportunity. Flake foods, some live, frozen... formats will lead to them being "obese". Again, a need to stock a grouping of them, and take care in the kinds, amounts of foods offered>
The other tiger barb was much smaller than him but is displaying environmental distress breathing heavy and staying at bottom of tank with whole body on the ground, sometimes he swims up a bit but is breathing so heavy and almost shaking.
<Yikes; perhaps this one suffered trauma; had genetic issues....>
After the one barb died I did a 40 percent water change, I add a small amount of freshwater salt and condition the water with aqua safe and easy balance.
Nitrate 80
<Mmm; much too high. I'd keep under 20 ppm. There are a few approaches
here. Let's have you read:
and the linked files above>
Nitrite 0
Hardness 150 hard
Alkalinity 40
Ph 7.2
I feed them shrimp on the bottom, a dry flake,
<Less of this... try a good pellet (Hikari, Spectrum...) in its place
and some freeze dried worms sometimes. Looking at getting better live food options.
The fish all get along great, everyone else seems happy and active the Angels have been spending more time at the bottom but right now are up and watching us. The Sharks get along great and just control algae.
The temperature is maybe too warm at 29 degrees Celsius so I have lowered it slightly.
What do you think?
<All reads good; except the flake food, high NO3...>

This tank is new to me my friend used to have it for ten years but is moving and has handed it to me. I love animals and want to do what is best for these fish.
Thank you,
<Thank you for writing, sharing. Please do the reading mentioned, and write back if a course of action isn't clear.
Bob Fenner>

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

Tiger Barb, hlth./env., Algicide use    2-4-08 I have had a 29 gallon tank for four months now (before that I had a 10 gallon tank for one year), and when I first got it I moved my one remaining tiger barb to my tank. <Hello, Merritt here. That must be one lonely tiger barb, these fish are schooling and need to be in groups of six or more for them to be happy.> I had purchased him August 29, he seem very happy in the tank swimming all around and eating plenty. Well my parents did not like having just one little fish in there so I bought six other fish from Wal-mart and kept them in their own tank for three weeks. <What species of fish did you buy? And did you monitor the water chemistry? (pH, ammonia, nitrate, nitrites?)> One of them was really small but my parents did not want me to have two tanks so he went in with the others. <So your fish are in the 10 gallon or 29 gallon?> Everything went fine, until the algae started, so I bought two of the smallest algae eaters that I could find (I do not like algae eaters they look ugly). <I personally don't like them either> They where so small they could not keep up with the growth so I put in "Jungle-No more algae" then within two days they where each dead, can I not put in algae tablets with algae eaters? <You might have suffered a change in water chemistry when adding the other fish which could have caused your fish demise. Many algae destroying products are known to be harmful to specific species of fish and this could have been the reason your fish died. I usually don't recommend algicides of any sort. Also, your problem with algae is due to a high amount of nutrients in the water, are you feeding your fish too much? Or not enough water changes? Here are some links to algae problems and freshwater care, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwalgcontrol.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwh2ochgs.htm. Take a look at these areas of WWM and others, as the answers to your questions are all on our website. Hope this helps! Merritt>

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

Tiger barb [and African butterfly fish] deaths :(   12/31/07 Hey there, I recently stumbled across your website in a desperate bid for reasons for tropical fish demise, and finding it both informative and relatively easy to follow, I thought I could risk a question or two. <Go ahead...> Our family are fairly new to fish ownership; my younger brother has had tropical fish since September. He had three green tiger barbs, one tiger barb, and then about a week later he got two African butterfly fish and two Dalmatian mollies. <A terrible combination of fish on so many levels. Tiger barbs are schooling fish that MUST be kept in groups of six upwards. They are also notorious fin-nippers, and will nip at Butterflyfish. Butterflyfish are demanding animals not for beginners because they are quite tricky to feed. They need mature aquaria with excellent water quality and ideally soft/acid conditions. Mollies, on the other hand, need hard and alkaline water, preferably with salt added. Butterflies and barbs do not like salt, so they can't be kept together. Mollies are really fish for brackish water aquaria unless you are an expert fishkeeper able to create alkaline, basic water with zero nitrate on a constant basis. Please buy and read an aquarium book before shopping.> For the first month or two the fish were absolutely fine. Then one of the African butterfly fish showed strange behaviour, swimming upside down, floating to the surface of the water and appearing to lack control of its movement. It died shortly afterwards [within a day or two.] <Most likely water quality/chemistry issues. Test nitrite and pH. In a new tank, you should be doing this every couple of days anyway.> Approximately a couple of weeks went by. A lot more recently our biggest green barb showed similar behaviour - swimming sideways and upside down - and then also died within a few days of this new behaviour. <Ditto.> Having noticed this similarity in their behaviour patterns before their deaths, and upset to have lost another fish, we began to investigate as to why they were dying. This is when I came across your site. <Hmm...> I am sad to say today [30 Dec] two more barbs have passed away - the tiger barb and another green barb. The last green barb is currently still alive but judging by the rate of passing we're not sure how long this will be the case. <OK, this is almost certainly water quality problems. Have you cycled the tank before adding fish? How big is the tank? What sort of filter are you using? What books did you read before starting the hobby?> We wondered at first whether it was an aeration problem - we had a filter already of course which functions fine, but just to be safe we bought an aerator separately which is now also functioning in the tank. <Aeration is a trivial issue in most tanks, and a properly run aquarium doesn't need any aeration. But filtration is something else: what is the nitrite level in this tank?> There are fresh, live plants and the temperature is about 25'C [which we understand to be a suitable temperature.] The ph is 7 and we wondered whether this would make a difference. <pH 7 is too low for Mollies; Mollies must have not less than pH 7.5, which is of course incompatible with Tiger Barbs and Butterflyfish, which prefer 6.5-7.5.> We have been informed by our local aquarium [where we bought all these tropical fish from] that the situation could be to do with the nitrate level etc. and they are kindly testing a sample of water tomorrow. <No no no... you need your own NITRITE (with an "I") test kit at home. No-one starting the hobby should be without this ESSENTIAL piece of kit. Think it's a waste of money? Too bad... your fish died anyway, likely because of nitrite poisoning. Test kits are NOT optional.> The Dalmatian mollies seem as perky and inquisitive as ever. <Only a matter of time...> I just wondered if there is any additional information or advice you could provide about the reasons for my brother's barbs and butterfly fish deaths and if they are related. <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwset-up.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwh2oquality.htm And other related articles.> If you could make any suggestions they would be greatly appreciated, Rhiannon <Read more and try to understand what is happening in your tanks before adding any more fish. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Tiger barb [and African butterfly fish] deaths :( 12/31/07 Hello Neale, Thank you for the quick reply. <You're welcome.> I have taken into account everything you've said very seriously. <Cool.> Although I would like to say that I really don't appreciate the implication that we don't care about the fish because that is far from the case. <My mistake, and no offence meant.> Our family didn't just go out and buy the fish. Before purchasing the fish we owned A buyer's guide to tropical fish which states that mollies should have ph7-7.4, and that barbs are unfussy within normal parameters, and as for the necessity of the nitrite testing kit at home - our aquarium failed to inform us of this necessity as well as telling us that barbs, mollies and butterfly fish were compatible. <Often the problem. These fish basically AREN'T compatible for the reasons outlined. While Barbs can certainly thrive in hard, alkaline water (lots of people keep them in southern England for example) most barbs do not tolerate salt well, and sooner or later Mollies end up needing to be kept in salty water. Sure, some people keep them without salt, but the simple fact is half the time Mollies are sickly under such conditions, so why not make life easier for them and for you and keep them in brackish water from the get-go. Aquarium shops *can* be good sources of information, but it depends a lot on who you talk to, and what the store specialises in. There are some aquarium store owners I happily defer to when discussing healthcare of certain types of livestock. But then there are other stores where staff are far less experienced/trained.> So as far as we had known everything was fine and we had all the equipment we needed, and now maybe our confusion is a little bit more understandable. <I hope so to.> Well before your reply things got worse and we were left with one green barb and two Dalmatian mollies. <OK.> We had the water sample done and the aquarium said that the levels were fine and that the deaths could have been caused by shock at the disturbance of their tank when we added the aerator and could have churned up too much dirt when cleaning their tank. <Hmm... "levels were fine" covers a lot of ground. So rather than telling me subjectively what the water chemistry/quality is, how about some numbers? Or let me put things this way: Both fish need zero ammonia and nitrite. Mollies also need nitrate levels less than 20 mg/l when kept in freshwater (in brackish/marine conditions they are less sensitive). Barbs want a pH between 6.5 and 7.5, while Mollies want something between 7.5 and 8.0. Hardness is also critical. Mollies absolutely MUST NOT be kept in water with a general hardness less than 20 degrees dH; Barbs prefer softer water, around 5-15 degrees dH. In terms of salinity, I STRONGLY recommend Mollies be kept at a salinity of at least 3-5 grammes per litre; Tiger Barbs at least cannot tolerate this level of salt for long (there are some brackish water barbs to be sure, but they're mostly the larger species). As should be obvious, there's no overlap in what Mollies and Barbs want, hence my advice -- based on experience -- that these fish shouldn't be mixed. By all means try to go against Nature, but you'll lose...> Also, to answer your question our tank is 60 litres. [That is the measurement we are aware of.] And unfortunately three more mollies had been purchased before I read your email. <OK, 60 litres is quite a small tank, and while adequate for small community fish like Neons, it isn't really viable long-term for any of the fish you've got. Depending on the precise strain of Dalmatian Molly, adult females can get to something around 8-10 cm in length, males a little less. Males can be aggressively possessive of access to females, and a tank this size is very definitely one male only! Black Mollies are marginally smaller, around 7 cm or so when mature. While they could be kept in a 60 litre tank, I'd recommend something a bit bigger.> So, evidently it seems an increasing mess. We have one green barb and three black mollies, and two Dalmatian mollies. <Oh.> We were told that the conditions and everything is fine. So it's hard to know where to go from here. <Horses, stables, and bolting come to mind here. In any case, I can only reiterate something that you probably understand now anyway: fish need to be researched before purchase. Here's the thing to do: First start off by figuring out your precise water chemistry in terms of pH, hardness (the dH scale), and if you can, carbonate hardness (the KH scale). Decide whether you want to add salt to the tank or not. Then try and return the fish you currently have, and exchange them for smaller fish suited to the tank you have. Endler Guppies, Neons, cherry barbs, Sparkling Gouramis, Bumblebee gobies, Cherry Shrimp, dwarf species of Corydoras, Kuhli loaches, and so on would all be inexpensive, easy to keep animals ideally suited to 60 litre tanks. Keep suitable numbers where required, i.e., trios (or more) of the loaches and catfish, at least six Neons, etc. Basically you want fish no more than 3-4 cm/1-1.5" in length, except in the case of wormy things like Kuhli that happily make do in small tanks since they wiggle about rather than swim.> Thank you. <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: African Knife Problem and other questions 12/31/07 Hello again, <Hello for the first time...> I hope you don't mind me asking you another question. I have a 65 gallon tank 48" by 13" and 24" tall (kinda odd shape). I am currently just running an AquaClear 70 filter. I am worried about the oxygen levels in the tank. <Oh? Well, the two things to concentrate on are circulation (moving the water from the bottom to the top) and supplementary aeration (basically "splashing", anything that increases the surface area at the top of the tank). Of course, if you aren't overstocked, you won't have problems. The traditional approach is to allow 10 square inches per 1 inch of small fish like guppies and Dwarf Gouramis. Allow two, three, four times more "square inchage" for bigger fish. So your tank, with 624 square inches could support 62 and a bit inches of small fish, and rather fewer bigger fish.> I plan on having a African Knife, three Gouramis, 5 Congo tetras, couple Cory cats, snails, and I'm going to try a full size Singapore Shrimp (the AK seems pretty satisfied with his krill and blackworms at the store, I think it will be fine). <Hmm... famous last words. But do watch out with African Knives; though quite placid when young, at least some specimens become rather mean as they mature.> No live plants, only lots of fakes. I decided against the peace lily idea. <Sounds wise. A dying plant will only consume oxygen...> Do you think I need to supplement the oxygen with a bubbler or something? <Maybe; but do remember its circulation -- not bubbles -- that matter. So what you want is something that pulls water from the bottom to the top of the tank. A decent airstone will do this if weighted down to the bottom of the tank, but so too will a filter or powerhead. Try sprinkling some flake food at the bottom of the tank; if it sits about or moves slowly, then you may need more circulation.> I appreciate your time and advice. Julie <Happy to help.> PS Happy New Year! <Likewise, happy new year! Neale.>

Re: Tiger barb [and African butterfly fish] deaths :( 12/31/07 Hiya [Is yours an American site by the way? Just curious] <The founder and queen bee of Wet Web Media, Bob Fenner, certainly is a citizen of the Good Ole' US of A, but yours truly is a Brit.> Thank you very much for all the advice. <No problems.> It's very helpful and hopefully now we can provide a better future for our fish. <Glad to help.> Tetras were going to be the original choice - shame [understatement really] that we didn't stick with that. <Is always the way. Read first, plan second, buy third.> We'll see what we can do <Cool. Enjoy your fish, Neale.>

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

Tiger Barb Mortality Rate 11/5/07 Dear WetWebMedia, <Hello,> I have a rather perplexing issue. I recently had a spare 55g setup that was cycled and in good shape. Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrates all 0, pH = 7.6, GH = 160 ppm, KH = 100 ppm (hard water). I also have a cycled 10g QT tank of the same water chemistry. Also, I do keep aquarium salt in all my tanks at the recommended dose. <Hmm... no recommended dose of salt in my fishkeeping world. Salt is simply not required in a freshwater aquarium in this modern age of proper filters and regular water changes. The main job of salt these days is to make money for the salt manufacturers and the retailers.> All of the fish mentioned below are juveniles, about 1 inch long. I decided I wanted a barb tank so I started with 4 Black Rubies. Two weeks in the QT, all survived and into the 55g. Next came 5 Rosy barbs, same procedure, 2 week in QT then into the 55g. Here comes the problem. <OK.> I placed 6 Tiger barbs in the QT tank. By the time the 2 weeks were up only 3 were left. The three that died started breathing heavily, then hiding, then floating, then dead. I have not seen this type of death in anything other than Neon Tetras which I don't keep anymore as they are not compatible with my water chemistry. The 3 that survived went into the 55g and are happy and healthy, but being Tiger Barbs 3 are not enough. <Very odd.> I went to a different fish store and got 6 more Tiger Barbs, only 2 survived of this lot. Is there something about Tiger Barbs and my water chemistry? <Sounds unlikely. Tiger Barbs are tolerant across a range of water chemistry values. They should be fine in your tank. How much salt do you add? Taking fish from a retailer's tank without salt and sticking them in a tank with salty water could be problematic. But to be honest unless you're adding masses of salt (more than, say, 9 grammes per litre) than it's hard to imagine this would a cause of death.> Since they are so closely related to the Black Rubies one would think they would have a similar mortality rate. <Agreed. They are basically identical in terms of needs.> I am currently on hold with the mass executions of Tiger Barbs. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. <Do you do any gardening? Sometimes a species of plant just doesn't take no matter what. I think fish can sometimes work like that too. A combination of factors makes them unsuitable for your aquaria: water chemistry, diet, water change regimen, tankmates, etc. For me, that species is Neon Tetras; no matter what, they never last. So I don't bother with them. So my advice is skip the Tiger Barbs and try something like Puntius pentazona instead.> Regards, Larry <Good luck, Neale>

Re: Tiger Barb Mortality Rate 11/8/07 Dear Dr. Neale Thank you for the prompt reply, I will follow your advise and change barb directions. I would like to continue the discussion of salt in freshwater aquariums. I think many of your readers would like to understand this. There is a controversy on the internet about this subject. I want to do what is best for my pets and if salt is unnecessary of harmful I don't want to use it. Please help us understand this Regards, Larry <Hi Larry. The issue with salt is essentially that freshwater fish have evolved in environments where salt isn't present in the water. So from that perspective at least, you don't need it in a freshwater tank. Having said this, salt has its purposes. It's useful when transporting fish because it reduces the toxicity of nitrite and nitrate, and that's why fish shippers and retailers often use it. Salt can be used to kill whitespot. By elevating the mineral content of the water salt may reduces the osmotic pressure on the fish in a useful way when they're sick or stressed. On the other hand, a stable aquarium shouldn't have a nitrite or nitrate problem. If your fish aren't sick, then they don't need salt as a treatment. In some cases, even low salt concentrations seem to be factors behind ill health in the long term: Malawi Bloat, a serious problem with cichlids, seems to be connected (in part) to salt. Salt was very widely used decades ago largely because the fish kept were hardy but the water quality often very poor (filters were less efficient, and water changes of 25% per month were considered adequate). So, the salt detoxified the nitrite and nitrate (which was good) and the stress on the fish's osmoregulation system caused by using salt (which was bad) was in effect the lesser of two evils. Nowadays we keep a wider selection of fish, many of which, like Mbuna and tetras, are intolerant of salt. Better water quality largely renders the benefits of adding salt irrelevant. At best, it's a waste of money; at worst, it's a stress factor on delicate fish. My position is basically this: unless you're using salt for a specific purpose (and you understand that purpose and why salt helps) then don't use salt. It's a lot like activated carbon -- a hangover from the old days of the hobby rendered obsolete but still widely sold. If I could, I'd make salt and carbon prescription-only drugs to keep them away from less experienced hobbyists! Hope this helps, Neale>

A few questions... Tiger Barb beh.  10/10/07 We have just set up our first, what I like t call, 'proper' fish tank with tropical fish in. We have 4 Tiger, 6 Green, 3 Albino Tiger Barbs, 3 Black Widows and several Neons. My main reason for asking a question is that two of the green barbs seem to kiss each other and then swim side by side and nudge each other. Can you suggest why they are doing this? Or is it normal behaviour? Also, what level should the nitrate and pH be? Thanks in advance! <Greetings. Tiger, green (moss), and albino tiger barbs are all the same species of course (Puntius tetrazona). They are intensely social fish, and spend much of their time jostling for position in their hierarchy. They don't normally fight, but they can get a bit rough. That's what you're seeing at the moment. It's normal. For the selection of fish you have, aim for a nitrate level of less than 50 mg/l. In many English cities at least this might not be practical; Thames Water for example comes out the tap at 50 mg/l thanks to urban development and intense agriculture. But provided you don't overfeed your fish and you do 50% water changes per week, the nitrates should stay love enough not to cause long-term harm. Certain fish (such as mollies and many cichlids) are nitrate-sensitive, but for the most part barbs and tetras are quite tolerant. The pH should be somewhere between 6 and 8 for these fish. The ideal would be around 7. Don't focus on pH though; what matters is hardness, since that's what directly affects the fish and the water. Your fish will appreciate soft to moderately hard water, though barbs and black widows at least can prosper in very hard water (Neons tend to be a little more sensitive). One last thing: all three varieties of barb and the black widow tetras are NOTORIOUS fin-nippers, so under no circumstances add anything slow moving or with flouncy tails. No angels, Gouramis, fancy guppies, Bettas, etc. Just fast moving fish. Good luck, Neale>

Albino Tiger Barb breeding   7/29/07 < Hi Wendy! Twothless here.> I bought 2 albino tiger barbs from a pet store today. While the one looks normal and skinny, the other looks very large in the belly area. It may just be a female but I wasn't sure if it was pregnant. <Generally, Albino Tiger Barb females have rounder bellies and are larger so breeding will be the same for other Tiger Barbs.> I have several other female tiger barbs of all 3 kinds but none of their bellies ever seemed quite this big. I want to make sure that if it is pregnant, I get it out and follow through with all that kind of stuff. < It seems you need to get started on it right away. Good luck with the eggs and fry!> Sorry the pictures aren't the greatest! Thanks! <The picture was great. It's a perfect example of a Tiger Barb full of eggs.>

Sick fish, Tiger Barbs    5/25/07 Hi there, <Devin> Well, I've looked around and have conflicted information <Heeee!> so I thought I'd write you before it gets too far along.  I think I have some sick tiger barbs.  I have 6 of them in a cycled 29 gallon tank.  Parameters are 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 10 nitrates.  One of the tiger barbs has stopped eating 3 days ago, looks like he is gulping for air, and swims in the same place all day.  The other fish still eat and swim normally, although I just saw another barb excrete a more clear/stringy feces than I have previously seen.  Other than that, they look healthy and colorful.  Now I have read several things that it's probably an intestinal infection of some sort but I don't know how to treat it. <Mmm, I do... I would offer a mix of an anti-protozoal and anthelminthic... The first I'd look for Metronidazole/Flagyl, the second, likely Prazi(quantel)... though other materia medica might be employed... These can be applied as food additives, or pre-made foods with them incorporated... best, or added to the water... Their use is covered on WWM> I don't have a QT (I know, I know, I just can't afford an extra filter, heater etc.).  So what do you think is wrong and what medication should I use? <Likely Octomita...>   I need a medication that won't wipe on my established bacteria in my tank. Much thanks in advance, Devin <Agreed and welcome. Bob Fenner>

Tiger barbs hlth. 05/05/07 Hello. <Hello!> I found you website very informative and thought I would throw out a question for you. <Okeley dokeley.> I currently have a 29 gal. aquarium that is stocked with 3 tetras, 3 tiger barbs, 4 speckled mollies, a large Pleco, a small Chinese algae eater and a bumblebee catfish. <Too many fish for such a small tank, and many incompatible with each other for water chemistry and behavioral reasons. Please research fish *before* buying them.> My question is pertaining to my tiger barbs. I had three tiger barbs for approximately 2 years,  and about 6 months ago I noticed that they began developing facial deformities, mostly to the mouth. One of them had a jaw that appeared to grow swollen over a period of weeks until he could no longer eat. They have since died. <Mouth fungus more than likely. Very common when fish are kept in overcrowded aquaria or tanks with poor water quality.> About 4 months ago I purchased 3 baby tiger barbs. They were all healthy when purchased and were purchased from a reputable fish dealer. One died in the past few weeks, and I noticed today that the other two also have some sort of jaw problem. The one appears to have lost the tip of his upper lip, and the second one appears like his jaw is swollen. They both continue to eat well, as did the other before they died (until the mouth was to closed up to allow food in). <If you can't explain why a species fails to survive in your aquarium, it is pretty foolish to go buy some more specimens of that species. Identify the cause, fix the problem, *then* go buy some more.> Now that I think of it, I did have a zebra Danio that had a tumor growing in his abdomen until he died, and I also had a molly that was quite healthy for over a year before growing small tumor like lumps to her face and dying. <Far too many sick, dead fish. Tiger barbs should be living around 4 years, Danios about the same.> I do basic water tests and everything seems to come out within normal ranges. <What's the "normal range" in your opinion? There is no normal range for ammonia or nitrite for example -- these should be zero, period, end of story. For your fishes, the pH should be around 7.2-7.5, given you have mollies that despise acidic water conditions. I'd also want "moderately hard" water using whatever scale you are measuring hardness by. Frankly, the mollies shouldn't be in this tank because they do best in brackish water, and the Plec and Chinese algae eater certainly shouldn't, the first because it is far too large (30-45 cm) and the second because it is both large (30 cm) and nasty-tempered.> Do I just seem to be having bad luck with fish and tumors/deformities? <Not bad luck. Bad fishkeeping. Please read some more about the hobby before killing any more fishes.> Or do you think there could be something in the water that is actually causing this? <Yes, two things are in the water: [a] pollution of some type and [b] too many fishes.> Are tiger barbs predisposed to anything? <Nope.> As all mine seem to be affected. I would love to hear your opinion on this!! <You have it. Now, before going forward, measure the nitrite, ammonia, pH and hardness, and then get back to us. What type of filter are you using? What is its turnover? Baseline, you need a filter offering turnover of around 4x the volume of the tank per hour, so the filter should be 120 gallons per hour in your case.> Thanks so much. <No problems.> Julie Rutt <Cheers, Neale>

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

Re: Tiger Barbs Part II 4/4/07 Thanks for the info. But now I have one more issue. I have two Blue paradise Gouramis & one of them literally nipped one eye out of my tiger barb. They've both been attacking my other fishes & each other too. I have removed them from the tank. One thing I didnt understand is even though they seem to fight wit each other, theyre still swimming really close to each other (side by side ) but facing different directions & kinda in a dancing shaking manner. Is it  because theyre mating?  <More likely a threat display to each other, sizing each other up to determine dominance.  Gouramis can be very aggressive and often are problems as you are seeing.> <Chris>

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

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

Headstanding barbs - usually a sign of nitrate poisoning   3/1/07 Hello <Hi Rick, Jorie here> I have tiger barbs and green barbs.  Both are doing what I would call head stands  (i.e. they are nose down).   The green barbs are losing their colour.  They seem to hide for a while and when they come out they are doing these head stands.  Any idea of what I can do?  Is there a cure?  Water has been by the local pet store and they suggested I contact you. <This behavior is usually a sign of too-high nitrates. Did you by chance ask the pet store who tested your water what the actual ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH readings were? "Acceptable" can be a very subjective term when it comes to water parameters. Better yet, I suggest you invest $15 in a quality liquid test kit, something like the one put out by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals. It's not too complicated and truly, it is better to have the kit and home and at your disposal, so you can test when you need to without relying on anyone else. How long has this tank been established? How large is it, and how many barbs are in it? Are there any other fish? My educated guess is this is a water-quality problem.  Without more info., I'd suggest doing a water change ASAP - it can't hurt, and may indeed help. Thank you in advance Rick McInnis <You're welcome. Best of luck, Jorie>

Re: Headstanding barbs - confirmed poor water quality - need to do water changes ASAP!  3/1/07 Thank you for your prompt reply.   <Sure> I have further information re the water. The PH is 8.5 (normal for this area) , the ammonia is 0/1ppm, nitrates is 5mg/litre and nitrites are 0.01 per litre.  This was given to me by the local pet store after testing my water this morning after receiving your reply. <Did this store tell you these parameters were "OK"? If so, don't ever go back there again - they are morons! Sorry to be so blunt, but that's really bad.  In any case, ammonia and nitrites must always be at zero when livestock is in a tank; nitrates can be as high as 20 ppm.  You need to do a large water change ASAP; invest in your own test-kit (my favorite one can be ordered here, if you like: http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B000255NCI/sr=8-1/qid=1172781451/ref=pd_bbs_sr_olp_1/104-6447593-2649521?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden - but, if possible, see if you can buy it locally (but NOT from the original store in question, please!)) I have also changed the water in the 35 gallon tank.   Do these levels appear to be normal to you and if not what should I do. <They are not normal, and your fish will likely die if more water isn't changed ASAP.  Start "preparing" more water (treated tap water, DI or RO/DI filtered water) ASAP and reduce the levels of ammonia and nitrite fast.> Just to let you know there are 5 barbs and 2 catfish in the tank. <There won't be much of anything if you don't dilute these toxins quickly...> Thank you once again. Rick <You're welcome.  I'm appalled that the fish store said your water was fine - once you get everything under control, I'd recommend you talk to the manager.  That's not acceptable AT ALL.  Sounds like your tank may need to cycle - read here for add'l info.: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm The good news is this is a problem that can likely be 100% rectified by improving the water quality. Good luck! Jorie>

White spots and Tiger Barbs  - 03/02/07 Hi, <Hello> I am very confused. <Hopefully we can help with that.> I don't know what is wrong with my tank. I have a 30 gallon freshwater tank. My particular concern is with the tank itself. There are white, salt-like dots on the inside of the tank. When you run your fingers on the tank walls, they feel bumpy and come off fairly easily. I also think they are on the live plants I have. They do not seem to be getting worse, but I don't know what to do. The pH is 7.0, temp is 79-80 (I have airstones), ammonia, nitrates and nitrites are all negative and I have verified this with two different test kits. I cannot attach a picture because any pictures I have tried to take, you cannot see the dots. <Wondering if it might be calcium precipitate?  Do you have very hard water?  Are they hard to the touch or squishy?> Also, I have three tiger barbs, and I think one of them is bullying the other two, to the point of extreme stress. <Not atypical for this species.>  One of the tiger barbs is changing colors and not due to the light. <Stress coloring.> One second he is his usual darker color and the next second he is very very light. This color change happens so quickly and is constant. I have also noticed he sometimes hides in a corner with his head pointed down. <Hiding from the aggressor.>  I do not know if this is a symptom of bulling or not. <Yes unfortunately.> He seems to be eating fairly well, however he does not like to come out from his corner a lot.  <As long as he is still eating there is hope.> He has never been incredibly social, but he is becoming more and more withdrawn. <The weakest of the trio, lowest in the pecking order.> He is also breathing very fast. I have not noticed anything on him, such as cuts, parasites, etc. Should I remove the other fish from the group or is he sick?  <Well stress often allows illness to take hold, but without more symptoms I would guess he is just getting picked on.  Might want to remove the Alpha fish for a couple weeks if possible, give the weaker ones a chance to fatten up and establish themselves.  Depending on other stock might want to add a few more so one does not get all the attention, best if kept in odd numbers, so add 2 or 4 more.  Watch the weak one closely for signs of disease and be prepared to separate if necessary.> Thanks for your help. Sara <Chris>

Tiger Barbs Dying   2/22/07 Hi, <Jasmine> This is the first time I have ever written anyone about anything, but here goes.  I have a 29 gallon community tank which originally consisted of: 1 paradise fish, 1 rosy barb, 1 gold barb, 1 cherry barb, <Mmm, a comment as we go along... these barbs are better kept in small groups... are social animals> 1 Australian rainbowfish, <Ditto> 1 gold Gourami, 1 red-tail Botia, 1 rainbow shark, 1 Pleco, & 1 freshwater snail. <Very surprised to find the Botia hasn't killed this snail>   This tank has been set up for 3 months now with no problems whatsoever.    2 days ago, I decided that I wanted to "spice" up my tank with some tiger barbs.  I went to PetSmart and bought 2 tiger barbs, 1 green tiger barb, & 1 albino tiger barb. <And this species best kept in small, odd-numbers... three, five... to "keep each other busy"> I know that I shouldn't have, but I introduced them to my community.  (I'm sort of new at this and now know that I should have quarantined them for at least 2 weeks)  The fish seemed happy and healthy with no signs of problems.    The next morning, one of the tiger barbs was swimming on its side in circles and breathing rapidly.  I removed him from the tank, but needless to say, the tiger barb died.  I checked my water levels and everything seemed fine, even added some fish-pen <? don't know what this is> just in case.  The other tigers seemed to be fine.  I had my husband take the dead tiger barb back to the store and exchange him for another one.  We brought him home and introduced him to the community.  Again, there seemed to be no problems.   This morning, my albino tiger barb was exhibiting the same sort of actions.  Swimming on it's side in circles, all over the tank, very erratically.  I removed him from the tank, but needless to say, the albino now has died.  The other 3 tiger barbs seem fine, but I am worried that maybe this is a parasite? <Maybe>   I am also worried that it could be spread all over my tank and I may lose other fish as well.  I don't know what to do.  I don't think this originated in my tank, because all my other fish seem healthy.  Please help?!?!  Again, neither of the 2 fish that I've lost have exhibited any sign of illness prior. I do weekly 30% water changes and add 1 tablespoon aquarium salt per 5 gallons and as I said, I checked my water levels, and they are fine. Thanks in advance, Jasmine   <Well... it may be that these new barbs really just died due to "stress"... most are raised, shipped from the Far East... hormone-treated... Though sometimes they are parasitized... most notably with Octomita/Hexamita (which you can search)... At this junction I would do nothing to guess, treat the system... but as you state, I would be careful re quarantining new livestock going forward. Bob Fenner>

Tiger barb sick or just stressed?   1/7/07 Crew: <Karen> I have searched the internet and your website for a solution to my current problem but haven't come across much good information about tiger barbs.   <A neat species... many beautiful "sports" nowadays> I have 46 gallon moderately planted bowfront dedicated to tiger barbs.  It's been up and running for a couple months now with 9 barbs (3 tiger, 3 albino, and 3 green).  The tank parameters as of yesterday were ammonia 0, nitrite 0, and nitrate 10.   All the fish have been active until recently one of the tiger barbs has been hanging out in a top corner of the aquarium.  It is probably the smallest of the 9 barbs in the tank.  It just doesn't seem to be thriving very well.   <Mmm, and should do fine here... enough space, good water quality...> I try to watch at feeding time to see if it is eating.  It will ignore feeding time at first then start to seem interested.  It swims over to the food with the others but as soon as another barb comes along it hurries back to it's corner.  On the occasion it gets to some food, it just spits it back out.  It will try this a few times then just give up and hide in it's corner.  I have been observing the feeding behavior for the past few days.  The hiding in the corner behavior has been going on for 1-2 weeks.   <Likely a social/psychological component at play here... the one may be a smaller male, with other males badgering it a bit> I wondered if it was just a stress/getting picked on situation as there is one albino barb that seems to be the dominant one chasing the others around the tank. <Mmm, yes, possibly>   I have had more barbs in quarantine waiting to go into the tank, so yesterday I added 4 of those to try to divert the dominant one's attention and give the "runt" a chance.   <Good idea> Last night I removed the ailing or stressed barb to a divided portion of the quarantine tank (the fish are disease free, just waiting to be added slowly to the main tank) to give it a chance to rest and get food without competition.   <Also good> Do you suggest I just wait and see if it starts eating or could there be some sickness going on? <I would do the former, not worry re the latter... Next trial, I'd move the alpha fish... to the quarantine for a week or two> The only reason I would think it might have some kind of infection is the taking food in and spitting it back out behavior.  All the other barbs it's been living with seem to be fine. <With this much time having gone by (since setting up, stocking) there is very little chance of this being an expression of infectious or parasitic disease. Could be genetic, developmental...> I do have medicated food I could offer it but since it's not really eating currently I don't see how that will help.  I have other medications but I don't want to go dumping them in when I'm not even sure if it is sick or not.  Any suggestions you may have on what course of action I should take would be appreciated. Thanks! Karen <I would do as you have thus far... Do you have a bit of greenery present for multiple purposes? Food, making cover, improving water quality? I suggest adding a "bunch" (un-tied) of a grass type plant... my pick would be Elodea/Anacharis. Please read here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/PlantedTksSubWebIndex/elodea.htm Bob Fenner> Re: Tiger barb sick or just stressed?   1/8/07 I ended up adding the barb back to the main tank as it didn't seem to be interested in eating anything while in quarantine and I like to think conditions are more favorable environmentally in the main tank.   <Yes, likely so> There are plants available in the tank for them to browse on. <Good>   I specifically added some Anacharis to the quarantine tank, but still no interest. <Mmm, takes time... days to weeks for fishes to "settle in" to being moved> I'm thinking I will just let it be in the main tank and see what happens. It's rather emaciated it seems at this point so I'm not sure this will end up a success story. <Mmm... do want to mention another possibility... that the wasting mentioned might be due to (Myco) bacteria or a protozoan... the last very common with freshwater cultured fishes from the Far East (where these Barbs very likely originated... can be treated with Metronidazole/Flagyl...)... Do keep your attention on the other fish for such sign... and be aware of treatment probabilities> I guess I will just hope he turns around soon unless you have other suggestions? <Mmm, none at this point>   I haven't tried eliminating the dominant one as there hasn't been much behavior like that going on since new barbs were added, so I wouldn't be able to guess right now at which one has been dominating.  If I happen to notice a specific one I will see about taking it out of the tank. Thanks for your help! Karen <And you for this follow-up. Bob Fenner>

Re: Tiger barb sick or just stressed?  1/9/07 Thanks for your response.  I haven't done anything further with the barb, he was still hanging on this morning, but seemed to be resting among some exposed sword roots.  I currently don't see him, will have to do some searching around but I fear I know his fate.  One thing I do want to mention is that I have a couple other smaller barbs that aren't thriving all that well either in the same tank. <A bad sign...> I also have a couple that seem to have recurrent swim bladder problems.  They swim alright but once they stop they tend to "head stand". <Can be genetic, or developmental/damage at play here> I have taken to giving them sinking granules or soaking flake food for a bit before feeding as I read that it's possible they just ingest too much air at feeding time since they are voracious eaters. <Yes... this and/or gasification of solid foods internally> However, even with the treatment to food they seem to continue having this problem.  That being said, I wonder if there is some kind of bacterial infection going on that's affecting the smaller barbs perhaps? <Is a possibility, yes> Would you recommend treating the entire tank with something such as you suggested?  I would hate to lose more barbs just from a failure to take action.  Thanks for your continued help. Karen <Is a "tough one" to gauge from here... all such treatments have their real and potential downsides, but I would investigate the use of a compound (anti-parasitic and anti-microbial) "laced" dried food... O.S.I. and Tetra used to make these... You can search WWM, the Net in general re... Bob Fenner>

Tiger Barb Beh.   1/6/07 Hi folks, <Doug> I am VERY sorry if this information is already here, I did use the search engine, but I was not able to find what I was looking for. <Many topics not discussed, as yet> I am also sorry if this is a silly question, because I feel pretty sill asking it!  I have had 4 tiger barbs darting around like little bumble bees in my 30 long for a couple months now, but I noticed something for the first time the other day.... Are their stripes green????? <Mmm, depends on the angle of viewing, light source/quality... these small minnows have chromatophores (color) and iridophores (reflective) that give their appearance a variable quality> I know I have seen green tiger barbs, but I suppose I never paid attention to the stripes on the "regular" tiger barbs.  The reason I ask, is that I just want to make sure it is not a sign of illness. <Mmm, unlikely> Also, I noticed a few folks talking about their Tiger Barbs doing headstands.  Mine do this as well, and I have seen it in some of the LFS tanks also. <Mmm, typically a response/reaction to too much feeding... particularly of dried foods... better to feed more frequently, smaller amounts> When mine do it, they do it "in formation" noses straight down, tails straight up.  Sometimes for 5 minutes or so at a time, and typically they quit in a day or so.  No change in appetite, no changes in the water quality no ammonia, nitrates or nitrites, no discernable pattern as to when (i.e. before/after water changes, night or day, ) they will do it.  Just thought I would share... <Appreciate this> Thanks so much!  You folks are GREAT!!!!!!  You should be given some type of world recognition award! Doug Alley <You've just done so, and I/we thank you. Bob Fenner>

Hello, hello, my Tiger Barbs are going oh!    11/27/06 Dear fish experts please help,    <Will try>   I tried to take pics of my poor poor tiger barbs...but none turned out well enough to bother. My tank is a 40 gallon, I have to <two?> very old golden Gouramis and 2 old silver dollars and two new ones, a Plecostomus, and I had 6 tiger barbs, Im down to 4...   Im new at the whole aquarium thing I didn't know about water changes, I wished I had done more research.. <How about now?> anyhow my tiger barbs were great happy and brought so much life to my tank. after having them for 3 days I wake up to see 2 of them with their mouths and little faces all red and puffy and swollen. No white fuzz or any fin or body problems. but their mouths in very bad shape over night!   so I ran immediately to the pet store and told them my fishes faces looked terrible like they were falling off, they the women told me to put malefix <... Melafix? The Melaleuca "tea" leaf extract product from AP> in the tank and this would fix them up <No> and to do a water change before and after 25%. <Good idea> I did this 3 days go by. None of them die and they are still trying very hard to eat and seem pretty active, but no change and I notice now 4 have this. so I call a couple pet stores ask when this will start to improve tell them the situation, and they say a week or two, and read the same thing on line. (though I still keep hearing that they should have some white fuzz on them, and they must have been fighting - which neither is the case), anyhow I get worried and they look so horrid, that I risk the worst one to stress and take him and some water into the pet store to test it and look at him.   I have one guy look at my poor fave fish and make a disgusted face and get the other guy. He says to add Maracyn 2 <Better "shot in the dark" here> to the tank and keep doing the MelaFix (that all the melafiz was doing is keeping it from spreading to other fish)... <Not even this> he didn't tell me what my fish had and I had to chase him to ask questions...   so disappointed and 25$ later I get my fish home and they didn't do a water test he said there was no point and it happened because I didn't do a water change soon enough...which he was so condescending I wanted to cry I feel bad enough...   well I get home return the very ill fish and add the 8 tabs of Maracyn like the guy said, and an hour later my fish died. I knew the stress may get him... <Yes>   but then within the next 2 hours another one died, and now I have another Im sure will be dead soon.   Im sorry, but my question is, what do I do to try and save my poor 4 remaining tiger barbs, and what the heck is this and what can I do to save them, Im so at a loss! I don't want this to happen ever again to any fish I get (which will be a long time).   please any info, thx so much, I hope you return my email, I need answers. Tammy <Well... let's start somewhere toward a beginning here Tam... You need to know, supply information re your water quality... pH, ammonia and more are really the likely root cause of your problem here. Please take the time to read on WWM re... starting here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwdis3setsfactors.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

All fish out ... Rambling re... cichlid, livestock/human responsibility, old tiger barbs?    10/3/06 Hello,     I had a cichlid that got to <Too> big for my 20 gal, No one told me when I bought it at the pet store how big it was going to get. <... Don't hold yourself in bad faith... The onus is upon you to investigate such matters...> Now I try to do my own research before I buy. <Yay!> I gave him to a place that I thought would attract serious fish keepers, he was up to around 6 inches, (a peacock) <Beautiful animals> and was in that tank a couple of years by himself. He was  in hard water with a ph at or above 8.4. I put 3  young tiger barbs in immediately after  the cichlid was given away , then a  week and a half  later I put three more young tigers in. This tank is at my mothers' house so I was able to check 4 days later and 3 died one from the first group and two from the second. I have a ten gal. up and running so I put them  in this tank. I see one looks to have fin rot on the caudal and anal fin, so I put in Nitrofurazone and Furazolidone in yesterday, all is o.k. so far. My question is, was the pH. to high for them or was the water to hard? <Mmm, not for this species... or shouldn't have been should I state. To some extent depends on the conditions these fish were kept, reared in... but likely had stress et al. issues...> One of those barbs from the first group was a couple year old tiger from that ten gal. that there in now, where he lived in not so hard with lower p. h. <Ahh!> He seemed a little frantic as time went on but his color was good. Over the 2 weeks or so his color is still good but he looks gaunt( if fish can look gaunt). <Oh yes, can> He is the one that has the fins that look ragged. Its not bad yet but his over all appearance is not healthy, and he is not eating well. Another question is the tank that the tigers were in that is now empty and has been for 2 days, are the bacteria in that tank still active or do I need to start from scratch with this tank if I am going to put fish in it again?        <Yes to the bacteria still being there, useful...>                                                                                                                                            Thank you Sherri <...? Maybe the Barbs are/were just "old"... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/BarbsDaniosRasborasArt.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Tiger Barbs and fin recovery    7/20/06 Great web page, we have really enjoyed it and learned a lot. I think you have saved a lot of fish! <Aye, yes> I have a twenty gallon tank with six Tiger Barbs. We started with three Tiger Barbs and added three more after they spent time in the quarantine tank. The three / three idea was courtesy of the LFS. Both tanks have cycled and water tests look good. We added the second three barbs a week ago and last night I noticed one of the Barbs had a damaged tail fin. <Not uncommon... nippy species> He appears well otherwise, so I suspect he was "nipped" by a tank mate. One of the barbs is VERY dominant. <Very common> I quickly moved the injured fish to the quarantine tank. Because the damage doesn't appear to go too far into the fin, will the fin heal? <Likely so, yes> How is the little guy going to fare on his own during recovery? <Should be fine> I hear Tiger barbs don't care to be alone. Should I have removed the aggressive Barb? <Keep observing... you should be able to discern who the culprit is... I would "switch out" the mean one for the nipped one in a few weeks when the latter is healed... And consider adding or removing one to maintain this batch in an odd-numbered school... Much better for dynamics...> (I'm not sure he's the guilty one) Thanks Tom <You will be. Bob Fenner>

Mass Tiger Barb deaths  - 5/5/2006 Hi Crew! <<Greetings, Steve. Tom here.>> Thanks in advance for your wonderful work.  I've been a fan for a long time, and find your site very helpful when Googling for answers.  This time, though, I'm at wit's end and am moved to write. <<Thanks for the kind and encouraging words, Steve. Now, let's see what's going on...>> My setup is a freshwater 72 gallon bow.  Tank is planted with hornwort and has a gravel substrate.  Two AquaClear 50 (the new designation; not the old) filters, two four-foot daylight fluorescents, one three-foot actinic, and one-three foot daylight fluorescent; all lights on timers. A few natural rocks.  Tank is kept at 77 to 78 degrees.  14 percent water changes are performed every ten days using tap water and chorine/chloramine remover/conditioner.  Water quality has always been consistent since cycling:  Ammonia = Zero, Nitrites = Zero, Nitrates <5, pH = 7.6.  Aquarium salt is added occasionally, but never enough to register more than a flicker on my specific gravity tester, which has as it's lowest reading 1.010 (the needle rests at what would be 1.008).  I also have an adjustable aerator which comes on when the lights go off. I keep it at a very low setting. <<Good filtration (I'm a fan of these filters), conditions exceptional, good-sized tank. All seems very good, so far.>> The current population consists of 9 diamond tetras, 11 cardinal tetras, 4 bloodfin tetras, 3 red velvet swordtails, 3 Siamese algae eaters (definitely not Chinese), one silver molly, one black Sailfin molly, one Otocinclus, and, until yesterday, 7 tiger barbs.  All fish were added over an initial 2 or 3 month period after cycling, with the exception of the diamonds which were used after the first week of cycling (no losses ever with them). <<I confess to being a proponent of fishless cycling but, no harm here. Definitely no over-stocking issues.>> I keep a running log of absolutely everything that happens to the tank; whether changing water, cleaning a filter, or scrubbing algae.  And the tank finished cycling 8 months ago. <<Love this; an excellent practice!>> Losses over that 8 month period have been occasional. Two cardinals at widely separated intervals (one died about a week after coming home from the LFS, and the other died about 6 weeks ago colorless and bloated), three bloodfins also at widely separated intervals (two were obviously weak sisters from the LFS, another died within a month after coming home and had a deep internal whiteness to the flesh just behind the dorsal; thought perhaps it might be tetra disease, but no problems since), and one swordtail which was lost about a week after she gave birth five weeks ago (she had developed an internal lump on one side about where an ovary or womb would be and was extremely lethargic after delivering fry until her death). <<These occurrences go, sadly, with the territory - hopefully minimally, though.>> The swordtails seem to require more brackish water than I'm willing to keep.  Every two months or so, they develop a very thin whitish film (not grainy at all) and will flash a bit, and I transfer them to a quarantine tank where I slowly add salt to a brackish level.  They remain there for a day or two or three, perk right up, film gone, whereupon I do one partial water change before putting them back in the tank. <<Interesting treatment of the Swordtails. I would typically expect the need for higher salinity levels with Mollies rather than Swordtails or Platys. (The three are so closely associated I sometimes start thinking of them as one fish with different names.) :)>> I feed flake three times a day; about as much as can be consumed in a minute.  Every other day I substitute thawed bloodworms for one of the flake feedings.  So, I see these fish quite often (I work at home). <<Again, good feeding practice.>> Getting to the point:  Yesterday afternoon I found that four of the tigers had died.  No obvious signs of distress or disease.  At that time, I noticed that one of the others was breathing very rapidly and pointing up (normally they point down when resting or displaying).  The other two were fine, chasing each other normally.  I bagged the four dead ones (two males, two females) and refrigerated for later transport to the LFS.  By the time I was ready to leave, the distressed one had passed, and I bagged him too. <<I'm sorry and, amazed, to hear this.>> A note on the LFS:  This is a large aquarium store which distributes fish to some of the chain stores in the area.  Fish and aquarium supplies only; no other pets.  The personnel there have always been a knowledgeable group. <<Okay.>> I took the fish and a bottle of water for testing.  Their test kits are no better than mine (I use chemical-type tests), and their results matched mine.  No answers there.  He noted that my tigers were a bit fat, but not too much.  In counter-point I mentioned that the tigers know no limits when competing with the other fish for food, which is why I feed the way I do.  He suggested also that I do more frequent water changes for the time being, with which I concurred.  By the time I got home, another tiger had died.  This was about three hours since the one before; three hours which go from no symptoms to death. <<In your case, the more-frequent water changes would be placebo-like in nature. Not bad advice, at all, and frequently recommended by me/us. However, I still don't see a "connection" here.>> The only change I've made to the normal tank routine of the past several months is one which coincides with the death of the fish.  I added a second aerator the night before all these fish died, mostly for the attached night light.  It's an Ario 4.  Like the first aerator, I keep this one on the lowest power setting.  I mentioned that to the LFS guy, and, while we're both thinking that it's in the realm of possibility that the new device is leaching something into the water, it's highly unlikely. <<Agreed.>> So, I did a partial water change last night, and rinsed the new light/aerator and sponge thoroughly and put it back in the tank.  This morning the final tiger was symptomatic and then died a short time later. Up until this point, all the other fish have been fine.  As I started writing this, I went to check again.  One of the cardinals has died.  No symptoms, and his color was still vivid, which is unusual in a dying cardinal. <<Agreed once more.>> To sum up, I don't want to lead me or you down any paths, but for all the tigers to have died in 24 hours with no other fish affected seems unusual in the extreme, especially since tigers are not an animal given to delicacy when compared to some of the others I have.  That one of the cardinals has died just outside that 24 hour envelope may be construed as related, but inconclusive given their more delicate nature. I put all this to you.   <<Steve, you don't mention whether, or not, any of your fish were quarantined (two weeks minimum) prior to being introduced into the display tank. Frankly, while I would highly recommend this, to the point of being a "given", I don't believe your Tigers necessarily came from the distributor sick. Certainly not sick enough to die in such a short period of time without any symptoms. Something going on in your tank killed these fish and the only thing that "jumps out" at me is stray electrical voltage from the new night light/aerator. Am I doing some "grasping" here. Oh, yes! But, the coincidence of adding the new equipment with the sudden death of these animals is pretty compelling. If your power source isn't on a "ground fault interrupter" (GFI) circuit, please rectify this immediately. At the minimum, there are "plug-in" GFI's available at Home Depot, Lowe's, et. al., that can be plugged into your electrical outlet. (These resemble plug-in surge suppressors.) As to why the Barbs were the only fish affected (except for, potentially, your Cardinal) under my hypothesis, I can't, honestly, give you a good answer. Stress from being handled/moved leading to susceptibility, perhaps? Relative size? Does the aquarium salt without acclimation play a factor? Unknowns, unfortunately.>> Thanks again for your time. Steve in Ohio. <<Wish I had a "silver bullet" answer for you, Steve. Tom>>

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

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

Tiger Barbs And Exophthalmia - 11/15/2005 Hey guys, <And gals - Sabrina with you today.> I have a question about what seems to be an eye infection in one of my tiger barbs. <Alright.> I have a lightly stocked 72 gallon planted community tank. My parameters are all good, pH 6.8-7, nitrites, ammonia all 0. <Great. Nitrate?> Recently one of tiger barbs developed a cloudy, popped out eye. Only one eye developed this. I've had them for a couple of years with no problems, and as no other fish, tigers or others, displayed this, I decided to watch and see if it was a sign of natural age related disease. <It actually may be injury-related.> I do weekly or biweekly water changes and since my parameters are fine I do not think it is a water quality issue. <Check those nitrate readings. This can impact exophthalmia/pop-eye.> If it was, then other fish would display signs of stress as well most likely. I just noticed that the barb died and a second one developed the same popped out, clouded eye (though it isn't as developed yet). Otherwise it also seems fine, as do all of the other fish. Does anyone have experience with this? How would I definitely diagnose and treat it? <I would first suspect injury, here.... Fish have a natural tendency to bite at eyes. Tiger barbs are nippy animals. Try watching them for a bit and see if you see any aggressive behaviour among them, or if perhaps one fish specifically is causing the others extraordinary amounts of stress.> All help is appreciated. At this point I wouldn't bother quarantining because if it has been transmitted than most likely it is in the water already, unless the treatments would kill the plants.  <Mm, better to pull the affected fish.... Even if it is a bacterial infection of some sort, it may not have transmitted to other fish as yet. Furthermore, if the animal HAS been injured, it will give it time to recover.> Thanks, -Eric <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Tiger Barbs And Exophthalmia - II - 11/16/2005 Thanks for the advice. I will watch and see if there is an overly aggressive behavior. <Excellent.> I haven't tested for nitrates because all of the test kits I have only include nitrite tests so I was under the impression that I can only infer my nitrates from my nitrites. <The two are actually quite different. One can be quite low, the other quite high.... do please try to find a test kit for nitrate and check on it.> Eric <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Sudden Unexplained Barb Death - 11/06/2005 Hi Whoever, <Sabrina, today.> I was wondering if anyone here could provide some thoughts on what we experienced today. Tonight after feeding with a standard commercial food, that we have been using for a couple of months, one of our Tiger Barbs immediately started to look pretty bad and stopped swimming. Within 5 minutes it was dead.  We checked the body but there were no obvious signs of any damage or bloating. We guessed it may have injured itself while feeding, although we don't know how.  <Any chances some sort of toxin or contaminant got into the food? Had you been handling anything highly toxic prior to feeding them?> Prior to this all had seemed well and through the day no problems were observed. We have/had 7 barbs in a planted community tank with Cardinal tetras, Harlequin Rasboras and 2 Flying Foxes so the barbs are mainly the dominate inhabitants. Ammonia is nil and Nitrates at 15ppm (No test kit for Nitrites).  <As nitrite is highly toxic, I recommend you think about getting a kit to test it.> So not much to go on I know and not much we can do now but.... <True.... just enough to grasp at straws. It does sound as if it could have been injury-related, or perhaps from some sort of toxin, but again, there's just not enough evidence for anything specific.> Thanks for your thoughts. <Very sorry for your loss, -Sabrina>

Barb, odd growth  9/5/05 One of our tiger barbs has developed an odd, pink growth over one of his eyes.  It's difficult to get a good look at, because he's still behaving normally (i.e., never sitting still) but from symptoms I've read it doesn't sound like it's pop eye, because it's not the eye itself but a growth above the eye that is sticking out.  In addition, the scales midway down his length on the same side as the growth appear to be developing a sore or irritated patch.  Any thoughts?  By the way, you guys are the best, you've helped us out a bunch in the past. Greg and Debbie. <Likely resultant from a physical injury... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/BDRDisFAQs.htm Bob Fenner>

Ill Tiger Barb - 08/26/2005 My name is Mark.   <Hi Mark, Sabrina with you today.> I got your name off of a Tiger Barb website I came across.  One of my barbs is sick and has a white stomach and is swimming in circles.  What can I do to help it?   <Mm, too vague a description.> I read iodized salt??? but how much if that is true?  Any help would be greatly appreciated. <Do a search on "whirling disease" and "Myxobolus"....  Be testing for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, and keep ammonia and nitrite at ZERO, and nitrate less than 20ppm....  Beyond that, there is not enough information here to go off.> Thanks,  Mark <Wishing you and your barb well,  -Sabrina>

Tiger Barb breeding 7/11/05 Hello, I have a ten gallon freshwater tank that I'd like to breed tiger barbs in. Is this tank too small <Nope> and if so what other kind of barb can I breed in this tank and if not what does this tank require? <Many barbs that are too large to breed here... e.g. Tinfoils, T-Bar, Rosies... and some that are easier... Checkerboards, Golds, Cherries... Need to do a bit of studying re making a barrier to keep the parents from eating the eggs, conditioning to reproduce, growing foods for the young. I suggest going to a public library (or buying used on the Net) some of the old T.F.H. books on aquarium fish breeding. Bob Fenner>

Mad-Crazy Barbs! We have two tiger barbs, one small and one much larger. Unusually, from what we have heard, they pretty much totally leave our other fish alone, only acknowledging each other. Mostly the little one chases the fatter one all over the tank non-stop, but every once in a while their colors will darken and they will do this thing where they spin in a circle, nose to nose, sometimes for several minutes at a time. They don't appear to be fighting for real, as neither sustains injuries. Is this some sort of play fighting or sparring for dominance, or something else? >>Yes, your barbs are sparring. Tiger barbs are schooling fish that will chase each other all the time. Because you have only two the less dominant animal is always under stress. The little more slender fish may well be a male, the fatter fish a female. It may be a good idea to add two more tiger barbs. Good Luck, Oliver <<

The Beach Boys Givin' off Good Vibrations?  4 Vibrating Green Tiger Barbs Hello! <Hi there> I have a 37g tank with 4 green tiger barbs and 1 albino Pleco. It's running an Eheim 2026 with all biological filtration: Ceramic noodles and Eheim EhfiSubstrate. I do ~10% weekly RO water changes. I've tested nitrates which are < 20 ppm, nitrites don't register, nor does ammonia. The water has running a bit warm at 80. <Okay> My problem is this: especially later in the day, the tiger barbs stay towards the bottom of the tank and vibrate, mostly in the same spot. Have you ever heard of this type of behavior? I'm at a loss to what to do. Could it be the temperature? I'm going to go through my master test kit and test all the water parameters... anything I should look out for? <Have heard/seen this... and do think it's temperature related...> Thanks! - Chad <I would add a mechanical "bubbler", some sort of added circulation, aeration here... turn your heater down, or if the lighting is boosting temperature, set this on a timer and leave off during the mid-day... see if you can add surface disruption and keep the temperature under 78 F. Bob Fenner>

Nipping Tigers I have just introduced my fish to my first tank (126ltrs) setup. It has been maturing for 2 months (ammonia 0ppm, Nitrite 0ppm, Nitrate 40ppm, very hard water with pH of 8.4). 4 days ago I introduced 12 very small tiger barbs, 6 striped and 6 green. All has been fine until today when I came home and found one of the striped barbs dead and missing a piece of tail and another stripped one alive but missing its whole tail. Is this likely to be due to 'fin nipping' or could it be some sort of fast-acting infection that it rotting the tails or something? Before deciding on Tiger barbs I had read that they had a reputation for fin nipping but didn't think it might amount to this. Does it? If it is fin nipping I have seen on the FAQ pages that I should be keeping them in odd numbers, so I will do that, but would it also be better to increase the size of the group? How many tiger barbs would a tank of 126ltrs cope with? I was thinking of introducing some angel fish at some point in the future (when I gain some confidence as an aquarist), but I wonder if that it wise if it is aggression that has caused the above problems. I would welcome your experienced views. Paddy < Probably the tiger barbs are establishing a pecking order and a few nipped fins are normal until they get things sorted out. The major damage is being caused by a bacterial infection initiated by the nipped fins. I would clean the filter and do a 30% water change to reduce the nitrates to under 25 ppm. Vacuum the gravel and treat with Nitrofuranace. Watch for ammonia spikes because the antibiotics may affect the good bacteria that reduce the ammonia and nitrites to nitrates.-Chuck> 

Nipping Tigers - Follow-up Ah ah, that would make sense! I have a bacterial filter, does that affect the advise given above, i.e. if I clean one half of it will that be ok? < If you have an undergravel filter then go ahead and vacuum half the gravel this time and gravel the other half in a week. If you had a filter with a bio-wheel you could simply remove it and store it in a damp container until you were done medicating.>  Will the Nitrofuranace kill off my 'good bacteria' in the filter?  < It may. That is why I would start by reducing the nitrates and then if you still have problems then medicate.> Also I have a sand substrate so should I just leave that alone?  < Good bacteria live on the sand as long as there is enough oxygen in the water. I would still vacuum as recommended above.-Chuck>

- Preparing Saltwater & Tiger Barbs - Howdy All! I have a 75g saltwater tank, and I pre mix RO water a week in advance.  I store the water in a 5 gallon bucket.  The bucket has heater and a Maxi-Jet powerhead on top with the venture thing hooked up, with the output pointing at the water surface.  Is this optimal? <It's just fine... exactly what I do, except that I use a trash can.> Would an air stone in the bottom be better? <Would help only minimally... the powerhead is doing the lion's share of the work.> Does it make a difference? <Only slightly.> Should I leave my heater on all the time, or just turn it on the day before I'm going to do my water change? <I only plug the heater in when I need it, granted here in South Florida that isn't very often, but... the day before is just fine provided the water comes to temperature by the time you need it.> Also, I set up a 37g freshwater aquarium for my 5 green tiger barbs.  That's all the fish I'm currently planning on having.  Should I do anything similar for their water changes? <Not really... freshwater fish just aren't as discriminating about the particulars of their water.> I understand tiger barbs are somewhat hardy, but I want them to be as happy as possible.  Which brings me to another question... is 5 too few?  Would the fish be happier if I put a few more in, or do you think they'd rather just have the extra space? <I'm a fan of understocking, although you probably could fit one or two more in there without too many problems. More on these fish here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/BarbsDaniosRasborasArt.htm > Thanks much! - Chad <Cheers, J -- > Speckled Tigers I got 4 new tiger barbs a week ago, and 1 hour later 2 Guppies died. Now 2 of the Barbs swim fine if they are darting about, but when they are all together being still, the 2 swim nose down or upside down. Now, I just noticed tiny white specs on their fins (all 4 of them). Ammonia is perfect in tank. Thanks a lot <Your Tiger barbs have Ick. Use salt to cure. Read here on it's proper use to kill Ick. http://www.aquariumadvice.com/showquestion.php?faq=2&fldAuto=32 Take note of the life cycle and continue treatment for at least two weeks after the last spot drops. The ammonia in your tank is only perfect if at zero. You should be testing for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Do water changes to keep the first two at zero, nitrate below 20ppm. Read here on establishing bio filtration.  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm

Sick albino tiger barb Morning everyone. One of my albino tiger barbs is sick and I'm not sure what is. She can't swim straight anymore. She swims upside down and in circles and it looks like she's wobbling when she swims. <Yikes> Her backend looks really weak as well. She also has what looks like two red sores on either side of her back right under her dorsal fin. She also spends a lot of time laying upside down in one of my plants like she's exhausted. As of yesterday she was still eating. Ant ideas of what it is or is there anything I can do for her? <Maybe trouble with an all dry food diet... likely not a biological disease if your other barbs are not affected... maybe a congenital defect...> I have her in a 35 gallon community tank. I always add aquarium salt when I do a water change. Oh and I do two water changes a month, and the water is kept at 77-78 degrees. There's an Emperor bio-wheel for filtration. The tank has been up and running for two years. Thanks for your help. -Heather <Sounds like a nice system and that you know what you're doing... What do you feed your fishes? I would try some fresh/frozen food, like brine shrimp, Daphnia once a day... perhaps a teaspoon of Epsom Salts per five gallons of water... Bob Fenner> 

Some not so green Green Barbs Your site kicks xxx <butt>. I never new there was so much to aquariums. <Just glass, glue, and some plastic trim> I'm new on the block when it comes to fish and aquariums, its helping me to no end. I've only got a small set up, 40L tank, with a 55W heater and AquaClear 200, which was given to me by a mate. I recently introduced some moss green tiger barbs to the tank, and they are/were traveling fine, although they have started to lose the really deep green they had when I first got them. I've kept the pH at 7, am not sure whether it has something to do with this, or the temperature or what. <Keep temp steady and in the mid to high 70's> They haven't really questioned off with respect to their activity, except for chilling out under a rock setup I have. Is there anything I'm doing wrong that you may be able to think of? Thanks heaps for your help.  Cheers for now. Brenton <Hi Brendon, Don here. How long has the tank been running? Do you do partial water changes? Test the water? If so, post the numbers. If the set up is new, then it must cycle. Until then the fish will be stressed by the build up of their own waste, ammonia. Also, you said you have "kept the pH at 7". Was it something different at one time? pH is something better left as is, unless very high or low. It's the swing in pH that does the most damage. If all that is good, then look into a good quality "color food" or a more varied diet to get the brightness back. Darker substrate will also deepen the color of the fish.>

Tiger Barbs and Black Neon Pregnant Questions Hello. I really enjoy reading your site and I can only marvel at the dedication (and politeness) of your crew in answering questions to help out people like us. I wrote because I have a question on breeding. I am trying to get my tiger barbs to breed. I do have a separate tank and tried to follow what I have read on various websites on how to breed them but nothing seems to be happening. Is it absolutely essential to separate the male and female? Is it ok to leave the males in the main tank, put the female in the breeding tank, and when she's ready, that's when I put the male in? How do I even know if she's pregnant or just fat? I am also concerned about the female being kept too long in the breeding tank. When I first placed her there, she looked miserable. When I added two companions, she perked up. I also have black neon tetras. I think they are females and they look like they are going to burst in their bellies. I am not sure if they are fat or pregnant, or if that is even possible since I don't have male black Neons. They eat fine and I feed only once or twice a day. Do I leave them like that? They swim fine but I'm not sure if it is healthy for them to look/be that fat or pregnant. < When tiger barbs get ready to breed the female will fatten up and the male will be paying lots of attention to her. If you see the two side by side making runs at bunches of plants then they are getting ready to breed. The Neons do a similar motion but don't make the runs at the plants. To get egg scatters to breed I feed the fish heavily with live food for about a week and then heat up the tank to 80 to 82 degrees F. I clean the filters and do a large 50%  water change with soft to medium hard water. This usually gets them going but creates another problem. The eggs become scattered all over the tank and they now become a food source for the adults. To separate the eggs from the adults old timers lined the bottom of a bare breeding tank with marbles and allowed the eggs to fall between the pore of the marbles and then remove the parents from the tank. A coarse mesh suspended an inch or two off the bottom of the aquarium will do the same thing. It is nearly impossible to get the tiny fry out of an existing community aquarium. Females may become ripe with eggs without a male being present and will absorbed the eggs after awhile without spawning.-Chuck> Mei

Pregnant Tiger Barb I just bought 7 Tiger Barbs it looks as if one of them is pregnant.  I have a 10 gallon tank and do not want a bunch of baby Tiger Barbs.  If I do nothing will the baby's survive? or should I remove the pregnant one? any advice? Thanks, Maria <<Dear Maria; if you do nothing, and the tiger barbs mate, chances are that the parents will eat the eggs and whatever fry happen to hatch. If you want to keep the fertilized eggs, you can remove them with a siphon hose to their own tank, and when they hatch, feed them newly hatched baby brine shrimp. IF the tiger barb in question is simply fat, and her scales start to stick out like a pinecone, then she is sick with an internal bacterial infection and will require medication or euthanasia. Please test your water for ammonia (zero), nitrites (zero) and nitrates (try to keep around 20-40ppm with weekly water changes). -Gwen>> 

Tiger barb I have a tiger barb that wont live with any other tankmates. I had 4 in a 15 gallon and he ate or killed the others.....I tried to put some more in but he killed them too. Also now he hides all day and all night unless I feed him pls help me find a way to make him not so scared and frightened or having killing urges....thanks Sean <<Dear Sean. How often do you do water changes? How long has this tank been running with fish in it? Is it cycling? You need to keep tiger barbs in groups of 4 to 6 fish. You should take a sample of your tank water to your Local Fish Store, and have them test it for ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. These are toxins that can kill your fish in a new tank. Please have your water tested, and then email me the results. -Gwen PS please try to type more legibly on your next email. I had a hard time understanding you this time. Thanks :) >>

Re: Tiger Barb, incomp. >I have a tiger barb that wont live with any other tankmates. I had 4 in a 15 gallon and he ate or killed the others.....I tried to put some more in >but he killed them too. Also now he hides all day and all night unless I feed him pls help me find a way to make him not so scared and frightened or >having killing urges....thanks Sean ><<Dear Sean. How often do you do water changes? How long has this tank been running with fish in it? Is it cycling? You need to keep tiger barbs in >groups of 4 to 6 fish. You should take a sample of your tank water to your Local Fish Store, and have them test it for ammonia, nitrites, and >nitrates. These are toxins that can kill your fish in a new tank. Please have your water tested, and then email me the results. -Gwen >PS please try to type more legibly on your next email. I had a hard time understanding you this time. Thanks :) >> Re: Tiger Barb I took it to PetCo and they said every thing was stable in it my nitrates and nitrites are at 0. (sorry about the bad typing.) Anyways, the tank is cycling and I did have him with 3 other tiger barbs but as I said in the other email he killed them or ate them.....I talked to the guy who worked at PetCo and he said try to get some more tiger barbs that are bigger than him. I didn't really trust him....well I would like to now how to get rid of this behavior of hiding and attacking tankmates...thank you, Sean <<Hello again, you are welcome :) I am very happy you got your water tested. I do agree with the Petco guy, you should add more tiger barbs, larger than the one you have left. They need to be kept in groups. One thing you can do is ask your pet store guy if they will take back your "killer" tiger barb. Tell them you want to buy  4 or 5, but you don't want the one you have now. Perhaps they will let you exchange him when you buy the new ones. Some stores will do this, some won't, but you won't know unless you ask them. Good luck :) -Gwen

FAMA article Dear Mr. Fenner, <Tim-Uwe> my name is Tim-Uwe Jandeck, I read your article "The Minnows Called Barbs, Danios & Rasboras" on the WetWebMedia site with pleasure. I am especially interested in the genetics of tiger barbs and found a very interesting reference to the following publication in the article: Norton, Joanne. 1994. Tiger barb genetics. FAMA 9/94. I tried to order/find/organize this article in many different ways but it seems to be nearly impossible for me to get it (I am from Germany (Berlin) and even our university libraries don't collect the FAMA Journal anymore). So my question is if you could copy/scan me the respective pages of this 9/94 Journal. I can pay you by MasterCard or PayPal. I think that it would be a great help for my further studies if I could get this article, sincerely yours, Tim-Uwe Jandeck. <I do have the issue, and will ask Sue Steele of FAMA if she minds my sending it along, or better, if they will send/sell you an original copy. Bob Fenner>

Sick tiger barbs? Hi. First thanks so much for this website. I have just started to taking care of some tiger barbs and your site has helped ease much of my worries. <Great to hear, thank you for the kind words!> My two 20 gallon tanks have just finished cycling (one took a full month while the other took two weeks) and thankfully, I did not lose any of the barbs. (7 and 6 barbs on each tank, I only found out about the odd number tip last week.)  This past week however, I noticed that in my new tank, two of the tiger barbs looked like their black markings are slightly green. I noticed this in some of the tiger barbs on my first tank as well but now, these greenish stuff are gone without any treatment. In one of the posts here, one of you said that it may be Costia (Ichthyobodo). <Costia/Ichthyobodo/Chilodonella/other 'skin slime disease' causatives really don't fit what you're describing.  That would appear more gray and be visible all over the sides of the fish, not restricted to only where the black is, and it would appear as though the skin were sloughing off.  It sounds to me like normal coloration for tiger barbs, truly.  There is even a green morph of the tiger barb, in which the black bands run together and are quite green instead of black.  I do not believe this is anything for you to worry about.> Because of what happened to the tiger barbs in the first tank, I am thinking of waiting and see if it will disappear especially since the water conditions are much better now, but I am concerned that they might not be feeling too well. I am not sure if it is normal behaviour for two fishes to rub together (looks more like jostling for a ball, or trying to squeeze into a tight door but without the door). <Hmm, this is probably just dominance struggles, trying to establish their pecking order.> My first thought was that one of the fish was feeling itchy, and second thought was one of them (actually, Prince, the most playful one in the 2nd tank) was just trying to play with Spot (one of the "sick" fish) but Spot didn't want to. <This probably isn't a concern, just keep an eye on them, and watch for any other issues.> What do you think I should do? I am afraid of treating Spot and his/her other friend needlessly and subjecting them to stress again. <Agreed.  I would not do anything until you see strong evidence convincing you of a particular illness.  All sounds well so far, just keep observing and enjoying your fish.> I am thinking of getting a hospital tank but I can't seem to find info on what size is ok to use. Due to space constraints, I am thinking of getting the smallest one without being stingy on the comfort of the fish. <Just about anything can be used in a pinch, so long as it is inert and watertight.  If you can swing space for a 10g, great, go for it.> Another...How do you check if the fish are bloated because of overfeeding or if they are sick? I still haven't figured out how much to feed them that I am afraid I may be starving them (I feed them 3x, they seem to eat more though if I give them bloodworms so I am not sure if I am feeding them enough of the pellets). <Oh my.... feeding them three times *daily*?  Well, if they're fat, consider that the reason.  Cut back to once daily.  While you're getting them back down to 'normal' sizes, it would be fine to skip a day here and there.> Lastly, any recommendation on what materials I should be reading? I want to buy some more books but since they can be expensive (and some are not value for money) I'd like to check first before I buy. The aquarium books in the library are checked-out! <Well, a couple of good beginners' books are "Setting Up a Freshwater Aquarium" by Gregory Skomal and "The Simple Guide to Freshwater Aquariums" by David E. Boruchowitz.  In the Boruchowitz book, the only thing that I wholeheartedly disagree with are his stocking suggestions in the back of the book; I really, REALLY disagree with some of his suggestions (such as keeping an Oscar in a 29g tank).  Beyond that, these are both decent books.  If you're up for a challenge, you might consider "Tropical Fishlopedia" by Mary Bailey and Peter Burgess; an excellent book, but I don't usually recommend this to children or beginners, it's really quite a lot of info to bombard oneself with when just starting out.> Thanks so much and sorry for the long email. <No apologies necessary, this is why we're here.  Wishing you and your barbs well,  -Sabrina.> Jade

Tiger barbs I bought 5 tiger barbs in one shot about 2 months ago.  One now seems larger in the belly than the others.  I read that they are not easy to breed but should I isolate it in a breeder net to see what happens. <You could> If you actually look at the tank for a while you will see the noticeable difference.<oh>  It is still as active as the others so I don't think it is a worm or illness.<yea, it could be just a fat fish. and it also could be pregnant. I doubt that it would do any harm if you setup a breeding net inside the aquarium and placed the fish in it for a while>  What do you guys suggest.  I will be off this Thurs. to Sunday so will be able to monitor the fish and tank more.....Any Suggestions?<good luck, IanB>

Tiger barbs acting oddly (06/21/03) <Hi! Ananda here today....> I have a ten gallon tank with Tiger Barbs (2 male?), Black Mollie (I think a balloon, 1 female), Pineapple Swordtail (2 female), Cory (copper?1), Frog(1), a fry net hanging off the side with two baby mollies, and a few plastic plants. <Ouch! Your tank is quite overcrowded....I would suggest a substantially larger tank. Both the tiger barbs and the Corydoras fish are happier in larger groups.> I have two questions, first, the barbs occasionally sit nose down in the tank, is that normal? <Nope.> The smaller of the two has recently gotten into the habit of doing that more often, I'm worried that it may be sick? <Check your water quality: ammonia, nitrites, nitrates... if you have *any* ammonia or nitrites, do water changes to get the levels down. The fish can take some nitrates, but you should try to keep those levels under 40.> My second question is just recently one of my swordtails turned belly up on my and i was thinking of replacing her with a male, but i don't know if i should do to the barb nasty fin nipping. <Nope! You need another tank, first. One for the barbs, one for the fish with fancy fins.> Let me know what you think, any help would be appreciated! Thank you Dave <You're welcome. --Ananda>

Tiger Barb Question Hi.  Been checking out your site since we started keeping tropical fish.  Very informative!! <Thank you!> My question; I've had a couple tiger barbs for a couple of months.  It almost looks like there is a very, very light film on them at times. The black bands don't seem as "black" as they used to.  When I looked at them with a flashlight, I could see a green color on the scales in the black bands.  I don't know if that is the normal color or not. <This sounds as if it may be Costia (Ichthyobodo), Please see http://www/wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfshparasites.htm for more info on the disease and for treatment.> The tank they are in is just about done cycling. They seem to be doing very well otherwise.  Eating, chasing, etc. <This is very good.> Is this a fungus or disease?  Or have I just been staring at the fish too long?!? <Most likely a parasitic disease> Appreciate your help!! Jan Emerson <You're welcome! Ronni>

Re: Tiger Barb Question Thanks for the quick reply! <Youre welcome> Another question I have is regarding using Aquarium Salt. Some say do & some say don't.  Is this something that might help the barbs?  I do have some salt and am planning a partial water change today or tomorrow.  Should I put some in today and do the change tomorrow?  I have a 20 gal. tank with 4 tiger barbs, 2 black Neons, 2 Gouramis, 1 Chinese algae eater and a Danio (?). <With the other fish you have in there I wouldnt recommend adding salt. Just stick with the way you have it now and do your water change as planned.> There is way too much info on the internet, and it gets very confusing. <Yep, it really can. The internet is a wonderful thing but overwhelming at times too!> Thanks again for your help!! Jan <You're welcome! Ronni>

Tiger Barbs and plants, oh my! Hey guys and gals! <Howdy!> I am happy to say that I accidentally stumbled across this site while searching for some information on freshwater fish.  This is one of the best places I have found information that I need for my new money sink, err, hobby. :D <Were happy you found us too! Terribly sorry for the delay in replying.> Anyways, to the problem at hand.  I need your advice concerning a school of 5 Tiger barbs (Puntius tetrazona) I have in my tank.  It is a 20 gallon (24"x12"x18") utilizing a Whisper 20 (with a Triad retrofit kit), water heater, and a basic hood with lighting.  The living contents of the tank consist of 5 Tiger Barbs (on the small side - ranging in size from just under an inch to just over an inch), 2 Leopard Corys (Corydoras julii), an assortment of live plants, and some of those useful bacteria that help do the nitrogen cycle thing. The tank is 6-7 weeks old.  I had plastic plants in the tank until two days ago when I changed them out for live plants.  (I was having a problem getting the nitrogen cycle closed.  (It's a long story - don't think it has anything to do with the problem I am having with the barbs, but if you think it does I will be more than happy to give the details.)  I have to say that the fish seem happier.  The down side is that the barbs appear to have become more aggressive in the process. <Interesting> The Corys are coping by hiding in the plants and coming out when food is available or when the barbs seem to be lazing about.  However the plants have no where to go.  The barbs appear to be nipping at my red wendtii (Cryptocoryne wendtii), biting off small chunks and generally terrorizing the foliage.  The behavior stops once they are fed.  I started thinking that the problem could be controlled by ensuring they are fed enough.  However, the other part of "fed enough" is overfeeding which would result in a variety of different issues in the tank. My question is this: what should I do with the barbs?  I would rather not get rid of them - I am responsible for them after all.  I do not think getting rid of the plants is a good idea either.  Would feeding enough be counter balanced with the plants in the tank?  Would adding some other type of fish help regulate their behavior?  Are the plants tough enough to handle the abuse?  Are there any other options available to me? <Overfeeding is still going to cause lots of problems, even in a heavily planted tank. I would suggest removing all of the fish from the tank, rearrange the plants & decorations, and then add the fish back in. Put the Corys in first and let them be alone in the tank for an hour or two, then add the Tiger Barbs back. This will mess up their territory and putting the Corys in first will give them a short time to adjust to the new arrangements before the Barbs are added back. If they do still nip at your plants I wouldnt worry about it too much, they most likely wont do enough damage to matter. If the plants start looking pretty poor then youll have to either remove the plants or the Tigers but I doubt this will happen. You might also put in a soft plant that you dont care if they eat. Anacharis works well for this as its inexpensive and soft/tasty enough that most fish will chew on it some. Maybe then theyd leave your others alone. Not positive on this but it might be worth a try.> My future plans for the tank are to add a Cory to bring the total to 3.  I am also contemplating adding a school of Rosy Barbs (Puntius conchonius) in several months (assuming there is "room" in the tank) as well as some sort of algae eating critters if the need arose. <Rosies may not be a good choice here. They tend to be very non-aggressive and would get picked on by the Tigers. Your tank isnt going to hold too many more fish, maybe 2-3 more plus a small Pleco at the most so if youre set on adding more youd probably be best to go with more Tigers, maybe of the Albino or Green varieties. These will school with your current ones but would give you a bit of a color variation.> In closing I would like to thank you guys again for having a fabulous website.  I look forward to your advice. --Ted <Thank you! Ronni>

Tiger barbs <Ananda here, answering the freshwater fish questions...> Hi I have three tiger barbs in my tank at the moment and hope to get three more at the weekend. I have been told they can be semi aggressive (although they look like pussycats in the tank) <Appearance can be deceiving, especially with these fish.> Also I have two mollies which I had hoped to put in this tank. <Their fins and tails will look like tasty treats to the tiger barbs, who will be unable to resist nipping them.> Some people say its ok as long as I have a least six barbs. Others say its a no no. What is your opinion. <While multiple barbs may reduce some inter-species aggression, they will remain fin-nippers. Please read the good information here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/BarbsDaniosRasborasArt.htm.> I was hoping to free the present tank with the mollies to keep for any fry. Confused with all the conflicting advice. I have got attached to the mollies and I would hate for them to die at the same time I rather like the barbs as well. <Hmmm... "attached to" vs. "rather like"... sounds like you prefer the mollies. They are one of my favorite fish species, too, for their beautiful coloration and finnage. I would keep them separate. Mollies rarely eat their fry, so raising them in the same tank as the parents is usually possible.>    Totally confused. Margaret <Hope this helps ease the confusion. --Ananda>

Tiger barbs and Otocinclus I just brought home 3 Otocinclus and 1 twig catfish for my 29 gallon tank containing 4 tiger barbs.  The tigers are ganging up on the Otos and chasing them all over the tank.  I am worried that the stress will kill them!  They have not spotted the twig cat yet but I have just read that the twig cat is easily harassed.  These are the fish that were recommended by the aquarium store (Old Orchard Aquarium in Skokie, Illinois) knowing that I have the barbs.  I was going to buy a clown Pleco having read up on them.  The guy in the store said they were not good algae eaters and to get the twig cat instead.  I am ticked!  I don't want these fish to suffer but what if the store won't take them back tomorrow? <Hello, Tiger Barbs sure can be terrors.  If you provide plenty of cover and dark hiding places they should be ok.  Live plants are great.  If the tiger barbs do not ease up on them after a while you may want to consider removing the Otocinclus.  Please be sure that there is enough food to go around for the Otos and the twig catfish.  Have you checked out the article below, good stuff.  Best Regards,  Gage http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/otocinclusart.htm>

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

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

Heavy Breathers <Maris... Anthony Calfo here with bells on, in Bob's stead> Could you tell me why my tiger barbs all time very fast breathe and very often stand with the heads to ground, fast breathing? <Perhaps because they know that the Pittsburgh Steelers are going to win the Super Bowl (I'm feeling and acting the same way myself)... but all joking aside, the symptoms you have observed are not necessarily normal or healthy. So many things it could be... high water temperature, gill damage from medication or infection, impending outbreak of a pathogen, toxin in the water, etc. Do the fish act normal at feeding time or through most of the day with other fishes? What readings do you get with water chemistry test specifically? How old is the tank and how well is it stocked? Please reply with more info. Thanks kindly, Anthony>

Re: Tiger Barbs <Maris... your English is very good. My apologies for making the joke about football that was not familiar to you (smile). It is a pleasure to hear from you from so far across the world!> And so you said me to give more info about my tiger barbs. I have 45 litres tank, the temperature is about 27-29 0C. I don't now how much it is in the Fahrenheit scale.  <good but perhaps a tiny bit warm. I would maintain 27C as the maximum temperature... especially in a well stocked tank to allow for more dissolved oxygen> But maybe you know. I have only 2 these tiger barbs in my tank, I have 9 other fishes living in this tank. I now that they don't have enough room, but I don't think that this could be the reason of so strange behaviour of barbs.  <yes... a bit overstocked which makes it more difficult to maintain water quality. Check the pH if possible. If it is lower than 6.5, that may also cause such strange behavior from acidosis with this creature> I don't have the this water chemistry test equipment. I live in Latvia (If you know this country. It lays at Baltic sea), where this water chemistry test equipment that costs not so little money, how it could cost in America. My tiger barbs at feeding time act normally, they only catch food very fast. In other time my 2 tiger barbs all time try to catch each other, I own them almost 2 years, <wonderful and mostly normal> and they stand with the heads to ground very often all these 2 years.  <again... not terrible, perhaps normal. My main concern is the rapid breathing> And I know that they are healthy. My tank is clean too. Maybe you didn't understand something of my story, because my English isn't very good. But I hope you understood something. <very clear and understood, Maris. I wish I could do you the honor of speaking in your language p.s.: Maybe you could tell me how often it is necessary to change the water of tank and how much? <25% monthly is a good start for water changes. With heavy fish loads you may want to try 10% weekly which is even better> I hope I didn't bother you much. I see you love bowling or maybe it is football. <no bother at all... my pleasure! And yes, I am a good American football fan and we have a championship event coming up... Go Steelers! Best regards to you, Anthony>

pH in water Mr. Fenner, I have a 20 gal tank that I started about 2 weeks ago. I set up the tank (used tap water and treated) and let it run for a week w/out fish. On Sunday, 8/5/01, I introduced 2 tiger barbs and 2 gold barbs. Just before I introduced the fish, the water began to cloud up. I thought it was the level of the ph (7.6). My questions are: 1. Is 7.6ph safe for a tank and what fish will do well? <This pH should be fine for your barbs> 2. What could be causing the cloudiness? <Very likely this is a "population explosion" of microbes... common when a tank starts off sterile... as in all new. Do take care not to overfeed, and monitor ammonia, nitrite if you can during this "break-in" period> 3. When would be a good time to introduce other fish and add plants to the tank? <After the cloudiness is gone... likely in a week or two. Please do use our site: www.WetWebMedia.com for more input. Be chatting, Bob Fenner> Thank-you for your time. Scott Re: pH in/of water What other types of fish could I introduce to the tank? <A very large selection... but do take care to check on their compatibility and average maximum size... the Rasboras, Danios, larger livebearers, perhaps some of the medium size/temperament Gouramis, loaches, many, many catfishes... Take a look on our site under livestock selection and the various groups surveyed. Bob Fenner>  

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