Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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mommyandkids 06-11-2012 09:14 PM

May be a silly newbie question, but I have read conflicting articles on it. Can you put more than one type of Barb in a tank, and have them shoal (? correct term here) together? I have a Gold barb currently, and looking to add 4 more to my 10 gal temporarily (30 g will be up an running in a few months). Are we stuck with just the gold ones?

TomGarrod 06-12-2012 05:54 PM

Barbs from knowledge like to school in 5 or more,
I have gold barbs and tigers they dont school together but they get on fine, Im not sure about others.

jaysee 06-12-2012 06:05 PM

Yes you can mix barb species, but no they won't school together. I too have not had any problems keeping gold barbs with tiger, rosy or cherry barbs. I would not get a second species until the bigger tank is running. I think the gold are cherry barbs would be best, for space, size and temperament. And the cherry barbs will make the red fins of the gold barbs pop.

mommyandkids 06-12-2012 07:14 PM

So, if I understand correctly, barbs need 5 or more to be happy. I have one gold barb. So this is why I want to add 4 more. I just needed to know if the 4 new fish would have to be gold barbs as well, to make everybody in the tank happy. I would prefer to get a few cherry's and another gold.

jaysee 06-12-2012 07:49 PM

There is no magic number - some people say only 3-4, others say 7-8. 5-6 is average. In my experience with these fish, they really do best in larger groups. There is a hierarchy that forms (both males and with females) so the fewer fish you have the more specific fish will be the target of aggression. I am in the at least 7-8 camp.

Byron 06-12-2012 08:06 PM

Yes, the more the better. Shoaling fish need groups of their own species. In their habitat they live in groups numbering hundreds in many cases. Fish denied a group will be stressed, and that causes health problems. [You can read how here: ]

A recent scientific study on this issue, and the only one to date, proved that increased aggression was common when any shoaling fish was not maintained in a group. The number used for the study happens to have been five, but that does not mean the fish are "fine" with five and "bad" with four. The object of the study was to determine the effects of keeping shoaling fish in less than five, and as I said the results were increased aggression. Species normally somewhat aggressive--like Tiger Barb, got much worse. Fish normally peaceful, like neon tetra, got aggressive.

On the Tiger Barb, these should be in larger groups to control the aggression or confine it within the group and not to other fish. Eight is usually the minimum for TB, but 12 is better. And these in their own 30g tank. As soon as other species are added, the space requirement increases. Another finding of that same study was that inadequate space also caused aggression.

Aggression is the fish's only way of dealing with frustration. If it is in an environment that is not suited to its temperament, it will be stressed and lashing out is one way of dealing with that--just as in dogs or humans.

When one acquires any fish species, one has the responsibility to provide what it needs. Fish are the way they are because that is how nature made them. We can't change this.:-)


mommyandkids 06-14-2012 02:18 PM

Thank you all so much for the help! Since all I have to work with at the moment is the 10g it is important to me to keep the fish "happy", as best as I can. I was looking at some more gold's yesterday, and they are tiny compared to my gold I have now. I think my best course is to get some more gold's and hope they can play nice together.

Byron 06-15-2012 10:45 AM

Common names are next to useless in identifying fish, so you may have something else, but if the fish is the Golden Barb, a 10g is too small. This fish attains 3 inches, and should be in a group of 8. You can read more in the profile, which also has photos, by clicking the shaded name. There are other barbs in the profiles, if this is not the species. Each profile contains info on fish size, numbers needed, minimum tank size, etc.

jaysee 06-15-2012 04:56 PM

I agree about 10 being too small, though I think it's too small no matter which species you have. There are two kinds of "gold barbs". There are golden barbs and there are golden gold barbs, which are a color variant (the prevailing one now) of the gold barb. I may have them switched around. In any event, one does grow much larger than the other, which grows to the size of a cherry barb. It is nearly impossible to tell the difference between the two when the fish are small. I have both species, though I bought them all from the same fish store - from the same tank. You just won't know which you have until they are grown.

mommyandkids 06-21-2012 05:02 PM

In my first post, and a few after that I stated that this I have a Gold Barb. I also mentioned that the 10 gal tank is what I have for the moment, until the 30 gal is up and running (by Dec). The 10 gal is only temporary. Being a single Mom, you go with what you have, and do the best you can while you can. I do realize that the barbs can not stay in the 10 gal. Thank you for your concern.

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