VERY Active Cherry Barbs

DrewD

Member
About 7 weeks ago I bought 12 juvenile cherry barbs from my LPS, too young to sex. They have now matured a lot and the males stand out because of their intense coloring. I have ended up with 7 males and 5 females. For the past week or ten days, the males have been extremely active when the tank is lit, chasing each other around in short bursts. I don't see any sign of one or the other being bullied - all of the males seem to take turns chasing the others. The females just try to stay out of the way. Is this behavior going to continue indefinitely or are they staking out territory because of breeding season?

Setup: Fluval Bow 26 (24" long x 12-14" wide x 20" tall, unheated, heavily planted. 5 otocinclus, a few shrimp and a bunch of pond snails (another issue for another time). Water parameters completely normal and within range.
 

Ghelfaire

Member
I imagine that they are trying to impress the females. The males colour up when it's breeding season.
 
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DrewD

Member
Ghelfaire said:
I imagine that they are trying to impress the females. The males colour up when it's breeding season.
That's what I thought but how long is breeding season likely to last?
 

Ghelfaire

Member
I'm not sure.
 

Mhamilton0911

Member
Just my experience..... I had 1 male that was so relentless trying to breed I think he hit his head chasing someone. For a week or so, I thought he would die, he couldn't swim, would do barrel rolls, I even posted a help thread on the matter. Eventually, he regained his balance, mostly, but he's still not the same, and hasn't tried to breed again. Everyone leaves him alone though, and it's been 3-4 weeks since he's been back in the tank. Prior to his incident, after every water change, he'd breed a female and I'd see eggs, and occasionally hatch to fry, but it's a community tank, so no fry to adults.
 

Deku-Cory

Member
That's pretty normal. I have 5 females and 10 males in my 75 gallon tank, and the boys are always chasing each other or the girls around. I wouldn't consider it relentless by any means, so I don't worry. Mine have plenty of places to lay low in my tank and there's enough room that they can avoid each other entirely if they want. Your tank is also heavily planted, so they have places to go and rest if they get chased too much. I do occasionally notice a missing scale or two, but I think it's from bumping in to things and not fighting, because I've never seen any nipped fins or other wounds.
 
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DrewD

Member
Deku-Cory said:
That's pretty normal. I have 5 females and 10 males in my 75 gallon tank, and the boys are always chasing each other or the girls around. I wouldn't consider it relentless by any means, so I don't worry. Mine have plenty of places to lay low in my tank and there's enough room that they can avoid each other entirely if they want. Your tank is also heavily planted, so they have places to go and rest if they get chased too much. I do occasionally notice a missing scale or two, but I think it's from bumping in to things and not fighting, because I've never seen any nipped fins or other wounds.
Thanks! That's reassuring. I don't see any relentless pursuits either and I haven't seen any actual fighting or damage to anyone.

Does this active behavior continue on indefinitely? Or is it related to some sort of breeding cycle?
 

Mhamilton0911

Member
My issue I believe was self inflicted, he liked breeding, too much.
The rest of the group is much more mild. I really like my cherry barbs though, they've been good fish.
 

Cherryx

Member
DrewD said:
Thanks! That's reassuring. I don't see any relentless pursuits either and I haven't seen any actual fighting or damage to anyone.

Does this active behavior continue on indefinitely? Or is it related to some sort of breeding cycle?
Having a very similar problem. My LFS or myself couldn't tell if we were picking males or females. As it turned out I had 5 males! There was too much commotion but no fin nipping. I finally got two ladies but I feel their in fighting got worse. Though they seem gentle with ladies. Half heartedly I'm returning two of my boys tomm and replace with more ladies. It's a 20g. I don't think I can add anymore cherries I can only replace.
 
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DrewD

Member
Cherryx said:
Having a very similar problem. My LFS or myself couldn't tell if we were picking males or females. As it turned out I had 5 males! There was too much commotion but no fin nipping. I finally got two ladies but I feel their in fighting got worse. Though they seem gentle with ladies. Half heartedly I'm returning two of my boys tomm and replace with more ladies. It's a 20g. I don't think I can add anymore cherries I can only replace.
Good luck :) Mine are continuing as I described. I don't see any sign of anyone being bullied and I have not seen any damage, so I have just put it down to boisterous cherry barbs.
 

Cherryx

Member
I have removed 1m & added 2f. The ratio is now 1:1 but the chasing behavior continues. There is a big guy who likes to muscle around a lot. Agree with you. It's best to let the natural order to form as it would in the wild. If you notice any signs of aggression it would be good to fix the gender imbalance. I have topped out my 20g. Cant house more than 8. On a different note, i have to say ladies are very very well behaved.
 
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