Barbs keep scraping sides on rocks

ocelot1120
  • #1
I have a 55 gallon tank with a large bala shark, 1 red tail, 1 convict cichlid, 5 tiger barbs, 2 plecos, 1 red clawed crab. I'm new to fish care so I just recently got the water where it should be about a month ago. I corrected an outrageous nitrite problem about two weeks ago, and since then my barbs have been scraping against the rocks very frequently. I keep hearing that this is bad but no one actually says what rubbing against the rocks means. my other fish do it occasionally but the barbs are relentless. there are no spots, strange behavior (other than that), or any other syptoms that i've read about so far. the only problems I can find with my water is the hardness is very high. does anyone have any ideas? thanks
 
susitna-flower
  • #2
Strange...:;z:;z:;z

OH, WELCOME TO FISHLORE ! Want to say that first, cause we really do like new people to join, and the rest of what I have to tell you gets hard....

Your fish are flashing....this is done usually when they are infested with parasites....You don't have to be able to see them. Often they can be in the gills...

#1 problem is that your tank is GROSSLY over crowded.

What kind of plecos do you have?...You've enough fish (not counting the crab) to overcrowd a 75 gallon tank.

The rule of thumb is to count fish as if they are adults. 1" of adult size per gallon of tank (not the same for fat fish - broad/thick fish like bala sharks). They need even more room...

So your tank counts are over 75, if the plecos are common plecos.

The fish you have in here now, in my opinion, would be better split between the tank you currently have and a much larger tank.
Bala sharks get 10-13 inches, should be kept in groups of 3 and are great community tank fish, it just has to be like a 120-200 gallon tank! The plecos have to go in a bigger tank also. One is too much for a 55 gallon tank. Red-tailed sharks get aggressive with any other fish that has the same body shape, so it may get along now, but soon it will bully the bala. Convicts are typical cichlids, and territorial, the tiger barbs would probably be able to hold their own in either tank.

All that said, your water conditions have to be soaring! Do you test your water? You said you had a nitrite problem, what are the test results for:
Ammonia?
Nitrite?
Nitrate?

Most here at fishlore recommend the API Master test kit. It gives the most reliable results.

If your tank is just through, or right in the cycle, this has stressed your fish, which leaves them susceptible to infections like ick (the most likely), even if you can't see any spots now you should turn up your temperature to between 82 -84F, do 25 % water changes every other day, and keep it here for over two weeks. This should deal with the ick.....but to keep your tank healthy you have to test OFTEN, and do water changes at what ever rate it takes to keep your nitrates under 20....AND start looking for a bigger tank....MTS - Multiple Tank Syndrome here you come!
 
Blub
  • #3
Hi!

It sounds like Ick - AKA whitespot.

As Susitna says -that is horribly overstokced! I'd take back all the fish apart from the barbs. A begginer would have trouble accommodating them all - and doing all the maintainence!


 
COBettaCouple
  • #4
Welcome to Fishlore.

I'd guess that you're looking at a possible case of parasites brought on by the heavy crowding in the tank. What are your water parameters now?
 
ocelot1120
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
here are my readings right now and i've maintaned these readings for weeks, ever since the intitial nitrate problem. nitrate:0, nitrite:0, ammonia:0, hardness:75, ph:6.8. most of the fish I have were given to me with the tank, so is there a possibility that I could put the crab in a temporary tank (because invertibrates can't stand copper) and use a medication to clear the problem. also if the tank is really that overcrowded could I get away with buying a smaller tank (maybe 20 or 30 gallon) and move some of the smaller fish to that one? and by the way thanks for the advice so far. the main problem with the first post is that I can't turn my temp that high because the red tail shark can't handle anything over like 79 or 80.
 
COBettaCouple
  • #6
Parasite Clear and Clout are 2 meds that are good for parasites, but a second tank would be good. Not just to move sensitive tank inhabitants out, but to reduce the strain on the bioload.

Are you using test strips? 0 for Nitrates isn't common.
 
ocelot1120
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
yeah, I'm using test strips. so nitrates are between 0 and 20
 
Blub
  • #8
Hi!

Get an API master test kit. Strips are horribly inacurate!

No. A pleco can't live in a 55gal - simply to small! You simply have to much large fish in a normal tank!

 
ocelot1120
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
I have a friend who has kept fish (including numerous common plecos) for well over 25 years. he told me that he has kept one in as small as a 30 gallon tank with nothing but success because a fish will never outgrow the tank. life may be slightly stressful, but it shouldn't kill them or keep them unhealthy, as long as the tank is properly maintained. I bought another 30 gallon tank to spread them out at least a little. the crab just molted and is in a very stressful state so I don't think i'm supposed to touch move or disturb him at all. for now I'm going to use the 30 gallon as a quarintine tank and med all the fish in that one because the crab will die from the meds (copper). so unless anyone sees any other fatal mistakes i'm about to make, I'm going to put the fish in to medicate today and see what happens.
 
Blub
  • #10
Hi!

Oh! The old "Fish grow to the size of their tank" myth. Honestly, the fish will get stunted - a serious health risk. It is not good, I repeat, not good for your fish at all. Never put your convenience before your fish's. That's what Animal cruelty is.

I honestly don't have a clue about crabs - I can't really help!

 
ocelot1120
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
I hate to be like that but I can't exactly afford like a 3 to 5 hundred dollar massive tank like what I apparently need, but the only place I know of within a reasonable distance of me that sells fish stuff is petsmart and they won't trade or adopt fish unless you bought it from them; and you must return them with a receipt within 14 days of purchace. so I'm kinda screwed on getting rid of fish unless I kill them anyways so I'm trying to do everything I can to keep that from happening. So right now, like someone said before I just have to keep multiple tanks for now. another good thing is that everything exept the bala shark is very young and small still so even in my 55 I still have a lot of open water hope. at the moment the plecos are only like 4 or 5 inches each, and the bala is more like 6 inches. I know for sure that the bala (which came with the 55 gal) is at least 3 years old. so maybe I can work something out and buy like a 110 gal in the future but for now I'm just now really trying to keep them alive since I already made the mistake of buying 2 plecos.
 
Blub
  • #12
Hi!

Well - I guess you'll have to get saving! You could find a person who wants them in the locality. Really - you shouldn't have bought fish like that in the first place. Next time ask us!


 
susitna-flower
  • #13
Hi!



Well - I guess you'll have to get saving! You could find a person who wants them in the locality. Really - you shouldn't have bought fish like that in the first place. Next time ask us!

HH, No need to shout!



Ocelot, sounds like you have done about all you can about the space, and I am sure your fish are saying thanks. It will feel even better when you do get that 110. Often you can find deals on craigslist or in the paper, used.

My worry at this point is that you have set up a 30 gallon tank that isn't cycled, and put fish in it already to help the crowding.

What did you do to cycle? OR can you add bio-spira to the new tank to keep them safe?

Are your fish still flashing?
 
Narcicius
  • #14
This is way to complicated for me, I'll just hang back and spectate, just ignore this post.
 
Blub
  • #15
HH, No need to shout!

Hi!

I was just proving my point. That wasn't intended to be shouting...


 
ocelot1120
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
I medicated them the other day. they all seem to be doing better. I haven't noticed the barbs flashing anymore. I gave them a general parasite med, but according to symptoms on the box, I think they had a light case of fish lice. I have to give them all another dose of it today and then in two more days I put my carbon filter back in. so far, colors are looking brighter and designs are more distinct, so I think they are all getting some relief.
 
COBettaCouple
  • #17
I'm glad to hear of their improvement.
 
ocelot1120
  • Thread Starter
  • #18
ok, I take that back I did see one of my barbs flashing still this evening but I can definitely say that they aren't doing it nearly as frequent. my crab, however, seems to be almost back to normal although he still isn't quite as active. I would prefer to get him his very own 10 gal tank, but for now, while the others a temporaraly being medicated in the 30 gal, he is enjoying the whole tank to himself. also, what do I need to do, as far as cleaning goes, to the 30 gal after the med is ready to be filtered out? should I rinse off the rocks and airstones in tap water or what. I was mainly wondering in case I decide to move the crab in the near future. (for the few who don't know, crabs and other invertibrates are highly intolerant to copper, which is a main ingredient in most parisite & ick meds)
 
Narcicius
  • #19
glad to hear your fish are being cured of their ill. and I would definitely rinse off any decorations exposed to the meds, maybe with some treated water, tap water is a little iffy, as long as you feel safe with it, its ok, but I would definietly treat the water first, but I might just be paranoid.
 
ocelot1120
  • Thread Starter
  • #20
I think the water conditioner/dechlorinator I'm using would pretty much take care of that during the water changes after I filter out the meds. But just to be sure... is there anything else the barbs could possibly have besides parasites? I know that even if they did have parasites, they couldn't have healed already, but in the event they continue flashing what ailment should I suspect? The med that I'm using treats for gill & skin flukes, HITH, anchor worms, velvet, & fish lice. also do you think ive covered most possibilities? the bala shark might possibly have ick on the scales on his sides, but it just doesn't look quite like the way it has been discribed to me. in fact, to me it looks more like either some kind of "burn" (maybe from nitrite) or maybe damage from flashing (i've caught him doing it a few times). either way they still have 2 more days of medicating to go, so whatever it is still might clear up later on. the patches on him look more silver like his scales than white like ick. its more like a rough spot on him.
 
susitna-flower
  • #21
I think if it were me, even with a redtail shark in the tank, I'd raise the tank temperature up to 82.5. It will not KILL the shark, but it will kill any ick that is not being hit by the medication you are using. Just keep the temp up for 3 weeks, and I think you will be happy with the results.
 
Narcicius
  • #22
Also if the spots aren't ick they probably are just a little damage from flashing, the spots should heal up to normal pretty soon, but just in case you should raise the temp up just like sustina said, and if you can't read temps to the half degree just get an electric thermo. I have one that measures to the tenth degree and its very accurate for under ten dollars. just make sure the temp stays at at least 82.5 or the ick will survive. Just make sure the shark doesn't suffocate from the any temps higher than that. Keep us posted and feel free to ask anymore questions, even though I probably can't help you much more.
 
ocelot1120
  • Thread Starter
  • #23
susitna, I was just wondering... why do you keep your ph levels so high???

I have just added aquarium info written according to the way I plan on splitting them up after I get the meds filtered out tommorrow. would this be two acceptable tanks for a few months. trust me I understand completly that the pleco cannot stay in the 29 gallon for very long but I have no idea what else to do with it. but would the 55 gal be inhabitabe the way I have it???
 
Narcicius
  • #24
Ocelot, from what I've seen you should not be worrying at all, a 29 gallon for a 5in. pleco he'll be fine as long as the tank has already cycled. But you'll only have a month or two before he outgrows that tank, and from my experiences he might get a little aggressive with your other fish if he gets to big for his tank.
 
ocelot1120
  • Thread Starter
  • #25
the spots are looking more of a darker silverish color, so I'm thinking its from flashing and I'm gonna give it some time after medication to see if it gets better or worse. also, I noticed that the crab, which will be in the same tank with the bala, isn't supposed to be in water over 80. does anyone know if he can survive 82 to 83 degrees?
 
susitna-flower
  • #26
susitna, I was just wondering... why do you keep your ph levels so high???


I don't KEEP them that high. 7.4 is my tap water ph. The tank I keep Cherry Red Shrimp has 7.8, but it is due to the sea shells and chunk of coral I put in the tank to give extra calcium to the shrimp for their skeletons which they shed and continually have to replace. MOST fish can adjust to ph a little out of their range, if you acclimate them slowly.
 
ocelot1120
  • Thread Starter
  • #27
another question... I set up my 29 gallon with water from the other aquarium as if it were a quarantine tank. at the time I was more worried about getting the fish medicated. do you guys think that the tank will have to go through a nitrogen cycle? and if so, will the barbs and pleco survive it. comments from people on the species page of this site say their's did.
 
Narcicius
  • #28
the quarintine tank doesn't need to go through a cycle as long as you do water changes whenever the levels of ammonia or nitrate get toxic. Which depends on how many fish you have in the tank, but usually a water change is required every day, but with one fish in a 29 gallon then the most you will have to change the water is every other day, or when ammonia levels get toxic.
 
ocelot1120
  • Thread Starter
  • #29
I'm taking the 29 gallon (now that medication is complete) and making it into an established tank for the tiger barbs and one pleco (for the time being). that's why I was asking. I just moved the two sharks and the cichlid and the leopard pleco back to the 55 gal, with the crab, since they have shown improvement. I got an apI master test kit and tested the 55 earlier. the only problem I see is that the ph level is 7.6. is there any way to lower that without chemicals. is that even important enough to worry about?
 
ocelot1120
  • Thread Starter
  • #30
ok, again the tiger barbs have continued flashing alot. and both plecos look like they might have a light case of finrot. its mainly on the tail fins and I'm not exactly sure if they might have just gotten like that from being moved from tank to tank. so any other ideas? i've turned the temp up to 82 in the 29 gallon, but that's just making the barbs fight and flash even more. I also saw the cichlid flash about twice now since he has returned to the 55 but I don't know if I shoould even worry since its not very frequent at all.
 
ocelot1120
  • Thread Starter
  • #31
ok, I might have answered my own question (PLEASE ADVISE ME AGAINST THIS IF THIS IS A BAD IDEA). what if I put a very small amount of marine salt in with the barbs and common pleco. I just read that a change in the salinity of the tank will kill most kinds of harmful bacteria. also it says that many freshwater fish can tolerate some salt even if they will die in brackish conditions. could tiger barbs survive it? are the articles I read correct?
 
COBettaCouple
  • #32
Freshwater salt is fairly tough on freshwater fish so Marine salt could be even harder on them.
 
Blub
  • #33
Hi!

No salt please. As Dava said - it's though on the fish. No, pH is nothing to worry about. Keep it at your tap water's pH - my tanks have pH of 8 with no problem. Make sure the 29 has gone through the cycle before you move the fish.

 
ocelot1120
  • Thread Starter
  • #34
ever since I moved them back to my 55 gal, my convict has been relentlessly pestering my bala shark. so I moved the convict in with the barbs in the 29 gal. without the pleco I have in there now, is this a reasonable bioload for the 29 gallon tank (5 tiger barbs + the cichlid)? the rule of thumb adds up to like a 20 gallon tank.
 
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