fin nipping - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 4 Old 08-25-2011, 02:15 PM Thread Starter
fin nipping

(i have a post on this over on the emergency forum but thought i'd try over here too)

i have four tiger barbs (bought five, one died). three of them have ragged tails and the one who doesn't was the only one swimming around yesterday. the other three and my two swordtails (not ragged) were all hiding or staying in the corner. based on this, i concluded that the ragged tails came from nipping, not something like fin rot. the bully was letting the other fish eat, though.

i talked to a person at the local Petco, where i bought the barbs, about the nipping and she recommended rearranging the tank, to change the territory. i did this last night, and now none of my fish are coming out in the open much, though i have seen one of the ragged barbs out. all of the fish came out to eat again.

basically, i have a two fold question. first, would getting a few more barbs help prevent more nipping problems? second, should i be worried that none of my fish are coming out of hiding?

btw, my tank is a 29 gal, moderately planted. levels are good, no ammonia or nitrite, very little nitrate. pH around 7.8, though i just added a piece of driftwood last night when rearranging, so that may be coming down a bit.

Last edited by KendraMc; 08-25-2011 at 02:26 PM.
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post #2 of 4 Old 08-25-2011, 02:36 PM
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your ph is a little high but it has nothing to do with the fin nipping problem.

one rule of thumb for barbs and other schooling fish is to always have an odd number. the same things happend to me with my black skirt tetras. i had bought 5 but i gave one of them away and all of my other ones started getting skiddish, stressed and sick.. getting more is the answer to your problems. you have to have an odd number. you cant get just one more because he will be singled out as the only newcomer and be bullied. your best bet it to get three more and hope that over time they will school together

hopes this helps

I <3


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post #3 of 4 Old 08-25-2011, 11:09 PM
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Replied to this in your other thread...fin rot or fin nipping
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post #4 of 4 Old 08-26-2011, 12:16 PM
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Please read the profile of this fish, Tiger Barb [click the shaded name]. As mentioned therein, this species is notorious as a fin nipper, and can be much worse than that. Groups of no less than 8, and in their own 30g tank, work best. If you have a larger tank, other fish can be included, but they must not be slow or sedate (too much a target).

Rearranging the tank can sometimes help with aggression (in cichlids for instance), but one must remember that the aggression is inherent in this species, put there by nature, and moving the tank around is not going to remove the aggression. It may subside, or it may not, or it may temporarily. You can't change nature.

And by the way, odd numbers do nothing. It is the group size that matters; scientific studies have now proven that shoaling fish kept in too small a group will be overly-aggressive, and this species is naturally aggressive to begin with as I said. The even/odd number issue has no basis in fact, although it can be significant with respect to male/female in fish species with smaller groups.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]

Last edited by Byron; 08-26-2011 at 12:19 PM.
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