Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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AWSskater 02-12-2008 02:48 PM

Tiger barb behavior
I have a school of 5 tiger barbs in my 29 gallon tank, and 2 of them have broken away and are constantly chasing each other. What is the cause of this?

bettababy 02-12-2008 04:28 PM

It could be a number of things...
Can you post pics of them so we can try to determine sex? If you have 2 males of your group, it could be one dominant male chasing the other away from his territory and the females.
Tiger barbs are usually nippy and spend a great deal of their time chasing each other.
How much decoration is in the tank? How big are the fish? Is it possible it is a male and female going through spawning behavior?

The more info you can provide and some pics will help most in our being able to determine the cause of the problem.

Try adding some more decorations at every level of the tank, especially the upper 1/2.

AWSskater 02-12-2008 08:54 PM

I looked at them, and I'm nearly positive that it's a male and female going through spawning. They are 3/4-1 inch long and the chaser is the larger, the chaser has very bright colors as well as very prominent red on the dorsal fin, and the chasee is more drab and almost completely lacks the red. They chaser chases the chasee (wow...confusing), and then they go into a hollow part of the driftwood and rub on each other. Decoration wise, I have a cabomba plant, an amazon sword plant, and two very large pieces of driftwood that go over the 1/2 way mark of the tank and go all the way across the tank. I have 8 tiger barbs, a dwarf gourami, and a betta, and there are two pairs of barbs that chase each other and have their own "den" sort of places. And no, I cant post pictures. Well, I could, but they are horrible quality.

bettababy 02-13-2008 01:17 AM

The first thing you need to do is remove that betta before the other fish chew it to shreds. At .75 - 1 inch long those tiger barbs are very young... they average about 3 - 3.5 inches full grown. Between the barbs and their aggression levels and the gourami and the issue with it sharing territory with the betta... that is a disaster waiting to happen.... and you can be sure it will. Best to move the betta now before something happens.

It sounds as if it could be spawning behavior, but don't expect to see eggs or fry... at least not anytime soon. They're pretty young yet to be spawning successfully, and even if they do eventually, the other fish will eat the eggs almost as fast as they are laid. If you do manage to find eggs, the only way to save them would be to move all of the fish to another tank and allow the eggs to hatch in the main tank on their own (if they're fertilized). Spawning tiger barbs in a community tank is rare. Try adding more plant type decorations, the more decor in a tank the healthier and safer the fish are going to be. In a barb tank heavy decoration is a must.

AWSskater 02-13-2008 07:58 PM

I read in a book that bettas and barbs were ideal tank mates, and that's the only reason I bought it. Also, I've been watching them, and they all seem to get along great. I will trust you on this though, and I'll watch for aggression. If I notice any, I'll get him out. Thanks.

Also, I really don't mind if I never see any babies from them. If they survive, fine. If not, oh well. Thanks.

bettababy 02-14-2008 03:01 AM

Around here we don't take kindly to the "if they don't, oh well" type of viewpoint. These are animals that feel pain and suffer when not cared for properly, and its a tradgedy everytime one dies from lack of proper care.

Like I said, the barbs are small yet, so maybe for a little while it will work, but eventually your betta is going to be lunch for them. They will shred his fins quick if they want to or get the urge...once that happens, its usually downhill from there. Don't just watch the agression levels when you're there, watch the fins on the betta for any signs of damage. First time you see a hint, get him out, please. Bettas and tiger barbs are not in anyway good tankmates. I'm not sure where you found that info, but it simply isn't true.

herefishy 02-14-2008 06:55 PM

Barbs at 3/4"-1" are too small to begin breeding. My guess is that they are establishing a pecking order.

AWSskater 02-14-2008 08:43 PM

I meant if not, oh well, about if they breed successfully or not, I didn't mean I don't care if they kill each other, I meant that if they breed, I won't be disappointed, but I'm not trying to breed them. I'm watching the betta and barbs, and so far they are happy together, trust me, if I see any aggresion, I will remove him. I am an animal rights activist (vegetarian, too) and I want the best for them, all I'm saying is that the betta and barbs are very docile to each other.

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