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Old 12-05-2008, 09:31 PM   #1
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Tiger barbs nipping each other

I have a new tank with 6 new, young green tiger barbs.

I have observed the largest of the fish chasing some of the others around. Two of the smaller fish have patches on their sides that look like they're missing scales. They don't seem to be doing very well. They don't seem too interested in food and occasionally list to one side or the other.

Could this be the bigger barb bullying the smaller ones and nipping off scales? Is there anything I can do besides physically separate them? Any chance the LFS may take the larger one back?
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Old 12-05-2008, 10:50 PM   #2
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If you remove the large one, then another one will assume the dominant role. That's how tiger barbs work. Solution: 1. get more tiger barbs to even out aggression 2. pick another species of fish instead
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Old 12-05-2008, 10:57 PM   #3
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Barbs are nippers, especially when they're setting the pecking order.
How big is your tank? They need a fair bit of room to swim. If it's not there they will get aggressive to each other.

You said your tank is new, is it cycled? That will add to the stress as well as their mortality.

As far as the LFS taking the fish back, you'll just have to call. If the fish is in good shape they might.
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Old 12-05-2008, 11:00 PM   #4
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The tank is a 20 long. There's a good bit of swimming room for the guys. No other fish.

The tank is planted and mostly cycled. I've got a steady 0.25 - 0.5 ppm ammonia and no nitrates.

I've never had tiger barbs, but some of my friends have. I didn't expect them to be so.. fiesty.
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Old 12-05-2008, 11:12 PM   #5
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If you get more fish, you should wait till the tank is cycled fully, then watch the number of fish you put in there, it's easy to overload.

You don't mention nitrItes. They show up after ammonia and before nitAtes.
That's not a lot of ammonia. Was it higher and came down or is it on the way up.
It might not hurt to read up on the nitrogen cycle so you know what to expect.
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Old 12-05-2008, 11:24 PM   #6
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Zero nitrites. I actually meant to type nitrites in the above post.

Thanks for the advice, but I'm well versed on the nitrogen cycle and tank cycling

Though it is a planted tank and it's throwing the usual numbers off a bit.
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Old 12-06-2008, 12:43 AM   #7
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Ok, just trying to help.
Hope you didn't take a fence.
I need mine.
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Old 12-11-2008, 02:09 PM   #8
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The two smaller ones died the day after I posted this.

The larger one is still pursuing the smaller ones. They appear to be doing OK.. not great, but OK. They're kinda pale and look a bit stressed.

So I have four in there right now, and the tank is well cycled. Do you think it may help to put another 2 tiger barbs closer to the size of the larger one, or maybe add a few of the corys I've been looking at?
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Old 12-11-2008, 02:13 PM   #9
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I have lost a few barbs due to bullying. very annoying but that's their personalty.

MY understand Tigers barbs (Albino/Green fall into this group) are the most aggressive.

I have heard Ruby Barbs are not as bad and they look better too. Cherry Barb are much less aggressive and have good color as well.

Sometimes if you have a fish thats too dominate removing him will help. Someone else will take over the roll but may not be quite as aggressive.
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Old 12-12-2008, 12:00 AM   #10
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Just to keep this updated, I have sequestered the problem barb in a piece of tupperware with a couple dozen holes floating in the tank after I noticed one of the other fish is also looking quite distressed and is missing some scales just behind the gills, just like the other two before they died. No less than 15 minutes after being separated, the others are already showing that nice deep green coloration again and swimming freely around the tank instead of huddling in the corner.

I'll be calling the LFS tomorrow to see if I can take him back. Might pick up a few more smaller green barbs and a couple of cories as well.
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Old 12-12-2008, 12:09 AM   #11
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here is what the ruby barbs look like males (female dont have the red and look closer to tigers)
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Old 12-12-2008, 12:20 AM   #12
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Those are neat.

The LFS has a few very, very red rosy barbs in their display tank. I might add a few of those at some point, too.
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Old 12-15-2008, 11:14 AM   #13
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The LFS took the problem barb back. I came home with two additional barbs (to bring the total up to 5) and three Corydoras schwartzi. The five green tiger barbs are all happy and hanging out with one another, no longer cowering in the back corner. The one with the large patch of scales missing seems to be doing OK, and I think he'll pull through.
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