New rosy barbs...
I have a 36 gallon cold freshwater aquarium with this stock:
3 Golden Dojo Loaches
3 Long tail Rosy Barbs
1 "Fire Barb" (I'm guessing albino or some other color variation of rosy barb)
The long tails are actually the new ones as my fire barb is the only survivor of a school of five I'd bought months ago (most random thing... had never had a school of fish just drop dead on me). Anyway... I bought the new long tailed rosy barbs two days ago to give the fire barb a new school to group with so it wouldn't get stressed out. Unfortunately though... the new rosy barbs are suddenly harassing the hell out of my lone fire barb. At first they were schooling together fine but now I see one of the long tails in particular chasing the fire barb all over the tank. I don't know if rosy barbs have kind of an "alpha fish" or not, but the fire barb really just minds its own business at this point, but the long tails follow him basically just to harass him it seems. Is this normal behavior for a new school of rosy barbs?
I'm really not very experienced with barbs in general. I decided to try them because I heard they were very easy to care for.
Well I have a little experience with Neon Rosy Barbs. I have to say that when I increased my numbers from 1 to 6, what a change in disposition. However, the entire group spent all day long racing back and forth the length of my 75 gal, and their fav spot was the output from the filter. Several have died off and I'm down to 3 now, one is the most aggressive, chases one of the other two... maybe two males left over, not sure. I'm not adding anymore, and will slowly "downsize" this group as they go on their own. Easy to keep but I myself find them somewhat aggressive. like the name, always taking a poke at you. a barb.
If you check our profile--click the shaded name Rosy Barb--you will see it mentions reports of fish being nippy when kept singly but less so in groups. Jackiebabie's experience is not surprising.
Shoaling fish are that way by nature, and always with reason. One reason can be interaction between fish in the shoal, and this can take many forms. Barb by their nature are more active and feisty than say danio, or rasbora certainly which are extremely peaceful. So with such fish like barb, more is always better than less. Tiger Barb for instance have proven track records of being less trouble in groups of 8 or more.
When a single fish or two is added to an existing group which is already too small for the species, trouble is often severe, as you've noticed. This goes for many shoaling fish, be it angels, discus, some tetra, etc. The "pecking order" in the existing group is threatened by the "intruder." If possible, always buy all the fish in the group together. If you need to later add more to replace or just expand, add 3 or more together. Less trouble will ensue.
The Fire Barb is not yet in our profiles, so here's a link to an article by Matt Clarke in PFK:
Fire barb, Barbus fasciolatus | Features | Practical Fishkeeping
Matt doesn't give numbers for the group, but I would suggest 7 or more, acquired together.
I have kept Rosy Barbs with Tigers at one point and in my experience the Rosy Barbs were more aggressive. When I increase the number to 11 each they settled down a kept to themselves, but there was certainly a heiarchy within the group.
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