My tiger barbs aren't doing well- help!

  1. laura jane Initiate Member

    Hello all.

    I have a 20 gallon freshwater tank with plastic decorations that finished cycling about 3 weeks ago. We initially started off with 3 tiger barbs, then this week we got 2 more plus a pink kissing gourami. Yesterday I lost one of the original tiger barbs after he started acting strangely (getting sucked onto the filter intake, swimming on his side, sinking to the bottom and swimming in weird circles to the top). This morning, it seems that another tiger barb has isolated himself at the top of the tank, and another is doing the 'circles of death' and behaving oddly like the first one did.

    The other fish appear to look and act normally. There is no spots or discoloring on them or in the tank. My tank parameters as of this morning were as follows:

    NO3- 30
    NO2- 0
    PH- 7.0
    KH- 40
    GH- 120
    Ammonia- 0

    I am running a penguin Marineland filter and have a round bubble stone in the tank. I did a partial water change yesterday and also added 2 tablespoons of aquarium salt to the tank.

    Should I isolate the 'sick' barbs? Could they just be bad stock from the LFS? I don't want to contaminate the whole tank if they are sick but the other fish seem fine for now.
     
  2. Shawnie Fishlore Legend Member

    welcome to fishlore!!!!! im sorry for your losses though :(

    cycling on fish is so very hard..it probably was the effect of going through that ...a 20g tank isnt big enough for a nice school of barbs and the gourami....id do a nice water change as 40 is a bit high for nitrates...salt and barbs dont mix either :( it just stresses them out and makes them overproduce slime coat...but a few days of water changes will get that out....labyrinth fish(the gourami) dont do well with salt either.....I dont think it was a bad stock just the stress from cycling with fish...allot of us have been there...good luck!
     

  3. laura jane Initiate Member

    How often should I do the water changes then?

    I added the salt at the recommendation of the pet store. Obviously a bad idea to take their advice- lesson learned!

    I'm considering finding new homes for the barbs (if they make it) and getting another gourami and maybe a clean up crew of some kind. Would that be too much for a 2 gallon- 2 pink gouramis and some cleaners?
     

  4. laura jane Initiate Member

    Also I should clarify- the tank had cycled for several weeks before we added any fish at all. I used some gravel and a small amount of water from a friend's tank to jump start the process- the tank was up and running for about a month before we put anything in it 3 weeks ago.
     

  5. Jaysee Fishlore Legend Member

    I immediately remove schooling fish that isolate themselves and put them in a QT for closer observation.
     
  6. Shawnie Fishlore Legend Member

    using established gravel is awesome!! the water doesnt hold much bacteria though..only the waste from the tank..most beneficial bacteria is on your filter media, decorations, and subtrate...and when you added it, did you add any fish with it? or fish food? it needs an ammonia source to keep it fed and alive..it wont do anything but die off sitting by itself :(

    unfortunately, MOST pet stores are out to make money not give good advice...again, ALLOT of us have been there and its sad and frustrating....I would do just maybe 3-4 water changes about 20% a day , just to get the salt out and the nitrates below 20...if you want to keep the barbs, thats ok but id return the gourami....they can get HUGE( up to 12 inches) and do not belong in a tank smaller than 55g IMO