Is My Rosies Be Crazy?

  • #1
I have a 10 gal. aquarium and purchased 3 longfin rosy barbs about a month ago (two males and one female on the advice of the petshop worker). From what I've read, I probably chose the wrong fish for my aquarium size, but now I'm stuck with them. Anyway, at first I saw a lot of aggressive behavior, but that stopped after about a week or so. Now it seems the fish congregate in one corner of the aquarium. I have the heater and filter on the same side and they spend most of their time up against the heater or right at the filter. I have a submersible heater and they often position themselves vertically between the heater and the side of the tank. At first I thought the the temp must be too cold for them, so I cranked it up a notch (somewhere between 78 and 82 on my strip thermometer). But they still snuggle up against the heater. I used test strips and don't see any problems with water quality. I think I am probably guilty of putting in more food than they can handle (thanks mostly to my 3 year old), but other than that, I don't know what could be wrong. It seems they eat okay and once in a great while they'll venture out beyond the corner, but they are almost always sitting nearly motionless up against the heater, behind a rock I have there, or up near the filter. Are they just hiding out from each other, are they too full from generous helpings, or should I contact a pet psychiatrist? Am I doing something wrong?

Also (as if this post wasn't long enough), I am worried that I don't have anything to clean up the uneaten food. Considering it's only a 10 gallon tank with three longfin rosy barbs, can I safely add another to clean up the uneaten food, or is that pushing the limits? The petshop worker told me they should not grow much larger than their current 2 inch size.

Thanks for reading this far and for any advice you may have.
  • #2
Welcome to FishLore!  It's great to have you with us! 

Test strips are expensive and notoriously innacurate.  Please post the amoonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels eventhough they are probably not correct.  This will give us some idea on where to start.  If you can afford it right now, please purchase an Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Master Test Kit locally or online.  PetSmart has it for about $13.50 online, and if you print the page the master test kit is on showing the price, your local PetSmart should match it.  You will probably get it for half price this way, because they usually sell for around $30.00 if you buy them locally.  This master test kit will have everything you will need to get started in the hobby, and it's much more economical tand accurate o use than the test strips. 

Are you familiar with cycling?  If not, please read up on it here.  I have a few links for you to look at.  You need to understand the cycling process.  This will determine how well you do in this hobby.  Until you learn this, you will probably lose fish.

You will need some sort of device to clean your tank.  My suggestion is to get one of those syphons from WalMart or your local fish store (lfs).  They are under $10.00 and are essential to the health of your tank.  They will not only keep the gravel clean, but they remove water which will be replaced with fresh water, and your fish need that. 

Until you can post back, please get something like a cheap water pitcher from WalMart and change out some of that water.  Also, cut back on the feeding to once a day, and only a pinch.  My guess is that your strips are wrong, and your ammonia and/or nitrites are high.  The water change will relieve a little of the stress on your fish.   

P.S. If you are not already doing this, you need to condition your water before adding it to the tank if you are on city water. Most municipal water supplies contain chlorine and/or chloramines. Any water conditioner meant for aquarium use will be fine. And you also need to get the temperature of the water going into the tank as close to the same temp as the tank water so you don't shock your fish.
  • #3
For cleanings between water changes, I use a turkey baster in my smaller tanks. Works great, just make sure that it is ONLY used for the fish tanks.
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
Thanks for the info. It is difficult to judge the colors on those test strips.

From what I can tell with the test strips:
nitrate is 0-20 ppm
nitrite is 0-0.5 ppm
hardness is about 150 (GH) ppm
alkalinity is about 120 (KH) ppm
pH is about 7.0
There is not a reading for ammonia.

I'll look into getting the Master Test Kit.

I used the aquarium for goldfish previously and read about cycling prior to getting them. After I lost the last goldfish (RIP Patches), I did about a 50% water change and kept the tank running for about a month. The only thing I did was add AlgaeFix occasionally. Then I bought the heater and later added the rosies. I do have a siphon and change about 20% of the water weekly. I have 3 one-gallon water jugs that I fill and let sit for a week before changing. I also add Stress Coat. To avoid thermal shocking, I add the new water slowly, about 1/4 gallon every hour or so. Is there a better (faster) way to do this?

Regarding cleaning up the uneaten food, I was wondering if a bottom feeder would help. Or should I hold off on adding another fish while the rosies are acting this way?

Thanks again.
  • #5
In addition to everything that's been already outlined,you may want to check your aquarium light-bulb to see if it's too Rosies are a lot more comfie in subdued lighting.As for cleaning up uneaten food,I should think the addition of a Cory would work just fine..bear in mind however,for a ten gallon tank,a Cory in addition to your three Rosies should be it as far as how many fish you have in that tank.
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
Well I have good news, more good news, and a bit of bad news.

The first bit of good news is that the rosies seem to be a lot more active and swimming around the rest of the tank instead of hanging out in the corner. I cut down on the feeding as Gunnie suggested and I think that did the trick. They do seem to go after each other quite a bit and I was concerned that they would fin-nip each other to death, but after reading up a bit on barbs, I understand that that is normal behavior.

Second bit of good news is the new addition. I added a panda bear cory cat. Thank you Richard for the suggestion. It is the coolest little fish I've seen. At first the rosies each took a run at him. They each gave him a "love tap", but since have let him alone (as far as I can tell).

Now the bad news. I noticed a small white spot on the tip of the nose on one of the male rosies. My first guess is fungus, but I'll keep an eye on it. Any other ideas on what it could be? I confess I still haven't purchased the master test kit yet and plan to do so ASAP.

One other question. How big can I expect the longfin rosy barbs to grow? The lfs worker told me they would not get much bigger than their current 2, maybe 2.5, inch size. But I read on a couple of sites that rosy barbs can grow to 5 or 6 inches. If that's the case, my 10 gallon tank is too small, right? Then what should I do? And how much time do I have?


  • #7
Yes, rosy barbs get to be 4-5 inches long. Yes, your 10 gallon is too small, particularly since they like a lot of swimming room. I would take them back to the store if possible and don't listen to LFS/LPS staff as they more often than not don't know what they are talking about, and don't really care if they are misguiding people. Its always best to do research yourself BEFORE purchasing. There's a ton of information on the internet. Read as much as possible, filter out what's obviously , and make an informed decision.

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