I am starting a new 75 gallon freshwater tank. I am thinking of putting a school of barbs in there to start, and I was wondering if Tiger Barbs will school with Green Tiger Barbs? Thought 6 of each would be a good start if they all schooled together along with the 5 dwarf rainbows I have in my well established 12 gallon. The guy at my local hobby shop said about 15-20 fish would be good to cycle the water in a 75 gal tank. Any recommendations?
Tiger barbs can't tell the difference (or at least don't care about it) between the different color morphs. In other words, albino, regular and green tiger barbs will all school together.
I'm not sure I'd mix tiger barbs with dwarf rainbows though. The rainbows are active but are notoriously "nervous" fish so might get intimidated by the barbs. Someone else will have to chime in on that, though.
As for cycling, I think you're much better off doing a fishless cycle and then adding the fish once the cycle is complete. It doesn't put your fish at risk and is generally much less of a hassle for you since you don't need to do water changes during the cycle.
Barbs will be fine. I like both greens and tigers so I'd say go for it. The most important thing to remember though is to keep the numbers of barbs up. The more barbs the better. It will spread out aggression amongst the school and you're less likely to see one fish get bullied to the exclusion of all others. Barbs in large numbers also tend to keep to themselves but that's relative. They're still far nippier and more aggressive than most fish.
As for cycling, fishless is a good idea, a very good one. If you're intent on cycling with fish though 15 to 20 is far too many fish to cycle with. If you do that expect to be changing 30+ gallons of water every single night for several weeks in order to keep the ammonia and nitrite levels below 0.25ppm. If you absolutely must cycle with fish keep the numbers much smaller and use hardy fish that you intend to keep.
Nice to set up an amazon tank with lots of bogwood or any tanin releasing wood and some hardy short and tall plants. Tigers will love it!
When I was a youngster I worked at a fishstore. We got in like 70 tiger barbs and I put them into a empty tank that had like a hollow mountain ornament in the middle of the tank (20-30 gallon or something). I went to do other things and when I came back, all the barbs and I mean all of them. Were swirling around this ornament like a tornado. It was the craziest thing i've ever seen. I watched them swirl around for about 15-20 minutes and I was showing everyone that came in. It was absolutely the coolest thing i've ever seen fish do in a fishstore. It was something you don't even see in the wild. It was amazing I wish I had a video camera back in those days, it would be a youtube hit!
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