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Old 11-30-2014, 09:15 PM   #1
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Question Cherry Barbs Aggressive?

I had cherry barbs and platies, had issues with the platies, all got SBD, don't know what I did wrong, but I switched to tetras. I now have 4 otos, 6 cherry barbs, 5 ember tetras, and 7 neon tetras. I replaced 3 neons yesterday which had died, I thought some weird disease that caused fin rot before they died 3 weeks after I got them. Today, I found another neon with a partially missing tail fin, but I can see clearly that something took a bite out of it. I never would have thought that was the issue with the fish I have. The only fish big enough to do that would be the barbs, but why now? Why are they being aggressive? Everything I read confirmed this setup would not be an issue. The neons used to hang out at the front in a rock cave and now they hide in the back in the plants, only coming out to feed. The embers hang out wherever they want, no problems.

Can anyone shed some light? And why would they only attack the neons and not the embers? I know they are smaller, but still. This should be a peaceful community, I am so disappointed.
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Old 12-01-2014, 01:07 AM   #2
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Neons are prone to nipping each other, so that's something else to consider.

How big is the tank?
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Old 12-01-2014, 02:39 AM   #3
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Cherry Barbs can nip if they're uncomfortable. It could be that the tank is too small, has too few hiding places, or it could be that you have one or two barbs that are unusually aggressive. This behavior is sometimes minimized by doing a larger shoal of barbs.
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Old 12-02-2014, 07:41 PM   #4
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I have a 20 gal tank. It is thickly planted (fake), with a couple of caves, plenty of hiding spots.

Today nothing happened, hopefully this was an aberration, I don't want to have to re-home them.

Weird, I did not know neons would nip each other. The embers are ok, so maybe it is the neons...
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Old 12-02-2014, 10:58 PM   #5
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Here are a few photos.
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Old 12-05-2014, 10:44 AM   #6
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Well, it's been a few days now and things seem to be settling down. The one fin-nipped neon died, but everyone now seems ok. They are eating together, I don't see any aggressive behavior - could it have been a fight between a couple of neons? I hope so. I can't even tell how to sex them, could I have too many males? I know with the cherry barbs that is an issue, I have one male and five females so he chases different ones at different times.
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Old 12-05-2014, 11:23 AM   #7
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I don't know about cherry barbs but I have a 10 gal tank with neons, embers and glowlight tetras both the normal and the albino. The have been there since august for all of them with no deaths or aggresion that I can find. I really love your tank set up. I am not a purist and I love the colors and kind of fantasy setup. the little sea turtle. good job. Alison
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Old 12-05-2014, 03:52 PM   #8
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Me, too. I like the undersea look w/o the saltwater headaches.
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Old 12-05-2014, 05:07 PM   #9
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Cute tank! I have never known a cherry barb to be aggressive, at least the ones I've owned. As far as I know, they are probably the least aggressive of the barbs. Mine never even chase each other. I find them to be very easy going, friendly fish, and I can't imagine not having at least a couple. I got one on accident, as they were in with the Mountain cloud minnows (I have those too) and I went back and got another one because I like them better than the minnows! I doubt your cherry barbs had anything to do with your neon's death, but as someone said, you can always find an aggressive individual, rare as it is. Also, I've never kept my cherries in anything smaller than a 55g, so space could also be an issue. (Stress).
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Old 12-08-2014, 01:37 PM   #10
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Interesting. I've had cherries since I started the tank 1.5 years ago w/o any problems, but I had platies and corys back then, I did not know if they were targeting such small fish. Everything still seems ok, so hopefully it was one weird neon. I also did not know how to sex them and of course the LFS will just scoop out however many you want, did not know if there should be a male to female ratio for neons. I have not read that this is so, but my LFS almost gave me four male barbs and 1 female because the males are "really cherry" so you certainly can't count on them for advice.

Thanks.
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Old 12-08-2014, 10:03 PM   #11
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Sexing cherries is super easy! The males are more red (and get BRIGHT red when ready to breed) and the females are more of a gold/brown/black. To me the difference is obvious, but I suppose if you had all of one sex, it wouldn't be so obvious. Oh, I see you were talking about neons! No, I also have no idea how to sex them. Yep, the "really cherry" looking ones are the male cherry barbs!
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Old 12-08-2014, 10:24 PM   #12
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If they're albino it is a bit harder to sex them, but there's no mistaking a female for a male in the regular red colour.. to me females appear orange, males are cherry red. I've never seen one act aggressive, but I've seen all sorts of tetra types nip fins on each other and other fish too.
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Old 12-09-2014, 10:16 AM   #13
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I knew how to sex the barbs,they're easy, I did not know how to sex the neons which I have since learned involves a rounder belly that makes their blue stripe look "bent." The cherries are easy, I meant to say that the LFS did not know and almost gave me four males, I told him no because I knew how to sex them and I didn't want four males fighting and terrorizing one female to death.

It is still hard to sex the neons because they are small and move about so but it appears I have five females and one male now. Perhaps the one that was killed was a male?
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Old 12-09-2014, 02:10 PM   #14
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That makes more sense. But even if you do know how to sex them, neons don't usually fight. Males display & show off for females, their breeding colours are much more intense.

Truth be told, most people can't sex them reliably. So most people end up with whichever fish get caught, of whichever sexes. They usually get along well enough, even if the gender ratio is quite skewed one way or the other. Stress for them is linked more to overall numbers of fish and the general living conditions provided for them.

As for a bent line indicating a female, there's quite a bit of disagreement about this being a reliable indicator of gender. Females are a bit larger & have a rounder belly than males when full grown. If they have eaten a lot, are very fat, or full of eggs, the line may appear bent, due to extension of the belly walls, but you wouldn't be likely to see any of this in fish in a store, which are usually too young to be breeding yet. They become sexually mature at around nine months of age. I've never noticed bent lines myself, so I'll have to start looking at them more closely in the stores.

Some sources say that females appear wider when viewed from above, as well as having the rounder underline and being a bit larger. In any case, both genders nip fins, of other neons & other fish.

As it happens, I agree it's better to keep the gender ratios balanced for the species of fish, because I think you see more of their normal behaviours this way, but I'm quite sure there are many tanks of neons out there with mostly males or mostly females, and I can't recall having seen any posts about neons fighting. [ Doesn't mean there are't any such posts, only that I haven't seen any. ]

Often, keeping larger groups of them reduces nipping. They would normally be in huge groups in nature, and the fact they're farm bred hasn't changed any of their instincts about what makes them feel safe.
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