How To Introduce New Fish To Tiger Barbs?!

fishgurlz69

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I have an established tank with a pack of 7 barbs (6 tiger, 1 green) which are delightful and entertaining, along with a dominant half-grown red tail black shark (she'll be going to another owner once she gets too big for my tank). I've been trying to find the right fish to finish stocking, and I had success with bigger platies, mollies and large gouramis which are all ignored by the tiger barbs. Then I got a glass catfish, and the pack of savages ate half his tail almost immediately. Obviously I was horrified and the catfish was rehomed immediately.

NOW I've added three harlequin rasboras and about a day later, a turquoise rainbowfish (I was hoping he'd be big enough to be left alone). The raspberries are doing great and my rainbowfish is missing part of a tail!!!

Why do they leave some fish alone and terrorize others??
Is this a species-specific phenomenon or is it dependent on the individual fish? It's very stressful to get a new fish and not know if it's going to be harassed!

I try to rearrange the tank, do water changes, etc when adding new fish to disorient them and make the introduction easier. Can I do more?

Any advice on getting tiger barbs to cohabitate would be appreciated.
 

_IceFyre_

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What size is your tank?
It's very difficult to force tiger barbs to get along with other fish. Having tons of decorations help, but they aren't a great community fish in general. They could be bothered by bright colours, quick movements, small sizes, whatever happens to catch their eye, etc.
 

Al913

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Agree with above!

Also the glass catfish, rainbowfish, and harlequin rasboras are schooling/shoaling fish so you should have a minimum group of 6.

For tiger barbs, one important thing to have a greater chance of keeping them with other fish is having a larger school. I suggest having at least 10 tiger barbs.
 

vikingkirken

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As AI mentioned, those particular fish need schools. By introducing them without the security of a school, you're setting them up to be harassed by the barbs, unfortunately. Fish, particularly aggressive ones, seem to be able to sense when other fish are weak or stressed and immediately close in.
 

_IceFyre_

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I wouldn't add anything else other than a few more barbs, especially if you still have those platies, mollies, and gouramis.
 
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fishgurlz69

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I realize that these fish prefer to be in schools, and I know some people try to give their fish every little thing their little fishy hearts could desire like schooling, ample swimming room, fresh live food... but if we were truly giving these fish what they want we'd be imitating their exact habitats and ain't nobody got time or money for that. I do what I can. The 3 rasboras are active & happy and the rainbowfish will be rehomed.
 

BeanFish

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Here are my experiences with tiger barbs.

8 Tiger Barbs in a 36 gal.
1st attempt, introduced a male Molly to the tank in the middle of the day. Barbs were scared at first but soon after they started chasing him. I got him out of there and put him back in his temporal tank.

2nd attempt, I got 6 Mollys in total, I added them in the middle of the daylight, the tank had some rock houses, 3 Amazon Swords and a pack of Ludwigia Repens, the barbs chased all the Mollys around, but after an hour, they stopped, I eventually found out I had 2 females in that group of Mollys so I moved them out of there.

3rd attempt, I added 8 baby Corydoras Paleatus, PRETTY stupid move, even the Mollys PICKED at them, not only chased them, picked at them, had to move them out to a growout/quarantine tank.

4th attempt, one of the Mollys got suctioned and ripped in half by the filter, he died, so I had to add another Molly back, I was nervous because when I firstly added my Mollys sucess was mainly because there were too many Mollys and so the agression was disipated, but if the barbs decided to pick at that new Molly it would get destroyed as it was just 1. Anyways, I went ahead and waited till it night, I then turned off all of my lights, the aquarium was dark, I waited 10-15 minutes, added some food in the right part of the tank and then threw the Molly in the left part of the tank. No agression whatsoever. Almost as if the Molly had been there all the time. I dont know if it was because there were already 3 Mollys or because the night + food really distracted them. I just know that when my corydoras are ready to go in I am gonna do the same.
 

vikingkirken

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My point was, that the tiger barbs are going to attack a vulnerable fish. And schooling fish that are alone are very vulnerable. You asked what the difference was between the two groups (those that weren't attacked, and those that were) and I was simply answering your question. Not sure why you're being so defensive...
 

BeanFish

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I realize that these fish prefer to be in schools, and I know some people try to give their fish every little thing their little fishy hearts could desire like schooling, ample swimming room, fresh live food... but if we were truly giving these fish what they want we'd be imitating their exact habitats and ain't nobody got time or money for that. I do what I can. The 3 rasboras are active & happy and the rainbowfish will be rehomed.
What is this even supposed to mean? If you dont have money dont get the fish. You already knew their needs, yet you decided to buy them? Schooling is not a little thing, is a basic need, you would be surprised at how behaviors change.
We are not trying to imitate habitats because that is impossible to do with our relatively small bodies of water, however we try to give them the best environment possible inside a glass box.
Please consider rehoming the 3 rasboras too. You are already pushing the limits wit the Mollys and Platys, and now adding 3 rasboras is just crazy.
 
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fishgurlz69

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The platies, mollies and gouramis all got traded in or rehomed for various reasons. I have a balloon molly with them of similar size which they ignore, the rasboras and the rainbowfish (for the moment). I also have some kuhli loaches which I'm considering ousting. I do my research but it's hard to predict how the fish actually work out in the tank!
 

Allilang

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I have 5 tiger barbs and they only harass each other. Male mollies can have big fins, so I am not sure its a good idea to put them with known fin nippers like tiger barbs. I have 3 black skirt tetras and 2 red eye tetras in the barb tank and they usually ignore each other. barbs with barbs and tetras with tetras.
 

BeanFish

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Mmm, I did not mean on wether they would get along with the tiger barbs or not, I was talking about tank size requirements.
I would rehome everything and just leave the barbs and the kuhlia loaches, really in a 20 gal if you want to keep tiger barbs I would do a only species tank which may sound boring, but it isnt, specially when it is a tiger barb tank.
 

Al913

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Just like the barbs, the whole point of a school is to have security and protection. If you only keep it in a group of 3 there is no protection. 6 is the bare minimum since if we were trying to replicate the wild then the minimum would probably be 50 and you would need at least a 100+ gallon tank.

Honestly, if you don't have money to properly keep an aquarium than the hobby isn't for you. You wouldn't get a dog if you can't buy it the proper amount of food or couldn't take it outside. Just like any pet, its a full commitment.

I do my research but it's hard to predict how the fish actually work out in the tank!
Do you know which websites are the proper ones? That is the main problem with beginners which is that they believe in all the websites, there are many websites and sadly those are sometimes the ones that pop up first that have wrong information.

However, it is a step to join a forum where you get more reliable information. Although it can be hard to predict how fish will work out, through decades of combine experience with fish, we know the different factors and possible outcomes
 
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MattS99

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I realize that these fish prefer to be in schools, and I know some people try to give their fish every little thing their little fishy hearts could desire like schooling, ample swimming room, fresh live food... but if we were truly giving these fish what they want we'd be imitating their exact habitats and ain't nobody got time or money for that. I do what I can. The 3 rasboras are active & happy and the rainbowfish will be rehomed.
THANK YOU for that post. Some of the 'expert stockers' on here don't seem to get that. If the fish are happy, why change it?
 

_IceFyre_

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It's quite difficult to tell if your fish would be happier in schools or not if you've never had those particular fish in schooling conditions. Often, the behaviour changes in "happy" fish are significant once they have a school, especially if they have aggressive tankmates that are more likely to attack smaller groups of fish. Fish school in the wild for safety, the same applies in a tank with varying aggression levels between species.
As fish keepers, we should be trying to give our fish the best possible environment we can create, and sometimes if we can't give them the things they need, it's better not to get them in the first place.
Just my opinion
 

Al913

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THANK YOU for that post. Some of the 'expert stockers' on here don't seem to get that. If the fish are happy, why change it?
Because beginners don't know what happy is. Most of the time the fish is just surviving. Many beginners think if their fish is swimming, not sick, and eating then the fish is "happy". Then when the fish die early or do get sick later on they don't mention it again. A fish dies or show signs of sickness when it is at its worst. Like most animals, a fish will hide its stress until the body can't take it anymore and will then display symptoms. We try to prevent that. If you are building a apartment and decide not to put smoke detectors since you probably won't need it, then when there is a fire now the people inside if they are sleeping won't know.

Also we have had hundreds of beginners thinking their fish are fine in a group of 3 until their fish dies after 2-3 years when the fish should be living till 8+ years. The problem with people is that they have to experience it and don't listen. We have all these "rules" in place because that is what worked best from all the experience of hundreds of thousands of fish keepers.

If you know the cure for a disease and you can prevent hundreds of thousands of people from dying, wouldn't you want the people to know about it? Wouldn't you want those people to take the cure? Why should the fish die for something that was easily preventable.
 
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