i just joined this site because im trying to find information on my barb fish. I am in total panick mode after reading some of the posts. i have a ten gallon fish tank that i set up about a week ago. the water got cloudy after about two days. I have an ammonia test kit and a ph test kit. filter heater plants.. all of that stuff. Anyways i went to the pet store two days ago and told the guy that i had a new fishtank that i wanted to set up fish in..i really like the barb fish (tiger, cherry and albino) i was told by him that i had to atleast get five as they can be aggressive in smaller numbers. Anyways he said i could have 5 tiger 3 cherry and 2 albino and it would be fine. so far the fish are fine. the cherry/albino are more active and swim around and the tiger tend to stay in a group near some plants. they ate well today.. but now i am very worried they are over crowded reading others' posts?? what should i do and should i change there water every two days while my tank is cycling??
Some of the advice given you by the person in the store was partly correct, but the majority was not, unfortunately.
First issue is the cycling one. In a new tank, ammonia and nitrite can reach toxic levels quickly, and a daily 50% water change (half the tank water) using a good water conditioner will probably save your fish. Prime is a good conditioner especially at the start, since it detoxifies ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. You can read more on the cycling issue here:
This link takes you to a "sticky" in the Freshwater section that explains cycling.
Now to the fish. The store person was correct that barbs need to be in groups; this is because they are what we call shoaling fish, though some people use the word schooling to mean the same thing. Such fish interact within the group, and in small numbers can be lonely, become aggressive, be very stressed--all this leads to poor health. Six is a good number for a group of most shoaling fish. But barbs are a bit different here.
Tiger Barbs should be in groups of 8 or preferably even more, and in at least a 30 gallon tank on their own. They have a tendency to nip fins of other fish if in small tanks or insufficient numbers. At this point, I will point you to our fish profiles section; second tab from the left in the blue bar across the top of the screen. We have many of the commonly-seen freshwater fish included, with information on tank sizes, numbers, compatibility, special needs, etc. You can also see the fish's profile by clicking on the shade name in posts (if it is exactly the same as the name in our profile it will automatically be shaded), for example, Tiger Barb (common name) or the scientific name too, Puntius anchisporus in this case. Please have a read of the profile information.
A 10g tank is not large enough for so many barbs, as you correctly guessed. And Tigers are not good fish for small tanks as I mentioned above. I would strongly suggest you return the Tiger Barbs. I would also return the Albino Barb. The Cherry barb will manage, but as you have 3 get 3 more. This will fill your 10 gallon tank. A small catfish for the bottom is possible, we can discuss that later.
Welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum; glad you found and joined us.
how big is your tank?
I have a ten gallon tank. That is very upsetting that I will have to take the tiger barb back. I like them a lot! But they haven't really been swimming just suspended in one spot in there group near a plant. I read they are very active so I feel bad now if that means they are stressed. My 3 cherry and two albino are very active. Is there a reason why I would have to take back the albino ones as well? Thanks for the help, I wish the guy in the pet store could have been more correct in his information before I got my hopes up with the tiger barbs!
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Store people are there to sell fish, unless one has a habbyist-owned local store--but I've heard some strange advice in these stores too.
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