Why won't cherry barbs eat?

Stan_(always on a budget)
  • #1
I am a total noob and got my very first fish 2 days ago. T have three cherry barbs and when I drop flakes they will not swim up to eat them, the only time they eat is if a piece of flake floats by the filter and get pushed down into the water. not many flakes go down to the bottom and mostly the fish don't see them when they are floating around so how do I get them to eat???

Also I would really like to put a betta in with them (5 gallon tank) but i'm told the cherry will eat his fins, what about 2 zebra danios? (or a betta? I would really really like a betta they are chalked full of awsomeness)

please help me. thanks alot;D
  • #2
I would say no to danios of any kind. They prefer groups of 6 or more, and get to 3 inches atleast, which means they would need a 20 gallon just for themselves.

The cherry barbs get about 2 inches and should be kept in groups of 6 of more, really. If I were you I would get 3 more to go with the 3 you have, but only if you would also get a 15 gallon tank for them. You could toss a betta in the 5 gallon and have what you want without having any fish be stressed or unhappy.

The cherry barbs and betta will get along, but even 3 cherry barbs in a 5 gallon is pushing it on your bioload limit. I suggested what I did so that the cherry barbs would be at prime happyness, which cuts down on stress which cuts down on disease risks. And why waste the 5 gallon by tossing the betta in with the barbs when he could be supremely happy in the 5g.
Stan_(always on a budget)
  • Thread Starter
  • #3

ya see the problem is (always on a budget) i'm thirteen and I just don't have the money to go buy a bigger tank, heater, filter ect. the only reason I really have a 5 gallon is because my older brother gave it to my with gravel and ornaments and some food and other stuff. the cherrys are small about an inch so I could probably have a betta on the bio load side of things, I just don't want the cherrys fin nipping. I think I might by a betta and have a divider ready incase they don't get along. is it ok to have 3 cherry barbs and a betta with a divider separating them??

thanks for the help.
  • #4
Personally, I would not do it simply because as the fish grow so does the bioload. And the cherry barbs alone would be pushing the bioload once adult size. However, if you are going to do it reguardless then a divider may be your best bet.

I honestly think you would be better off not doing that, but again I know what I say probably will not ultimately change what you choose to do. I hope it turns out well for you, sometimes you get fish that get along even when their species have never gotten along in the past, but also the opposite happens... where the most docile fish devours your tankful of fish...

If your family gives presents to celebrate times of the year or certain holidays I would just ask them to pool their present money together and get a tank or something, but then again I know at 13 there are more important things probably on your mind to get, if your family even gives presents to celebrate stuff, or is in a financial position to do so.

Either way, best of luck.
Stan_(always on a budget)
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
thanks for your help cheif.

I think I am going to get a betta and divider and then work on getting rid of the barbs. if I can give the cherry barbs away then I will look for a good tank mate for my betta. the problem pretty much all fish are supposed to be kept in schools of 6 or more.

and ya my birthday and christmas are coming up and there will be gift spreading but I am just asking for money cuz i'm saving up for a 10-12' aluminum boat;D boats are awsome;D I love boats;D

once again thanks for your help
  • #6
Are you still having problems getting them to eat?

I am also. I fed them flakes for a couple and days and they did not eat anything (that I could see).

I just fed them blood worms today and again nothing. Maybe they are eating when I'm not around
  • #7
Try putting the flakes directly in the filter current to have them sink quickly or look into buying sinking pellets.
  • #8
They are eating; you’re just not seeing it. They are bottom feeders for the most part so you might want to get pellet food for them. It is my experience that flake food is dirty anyway. I find myself changing filters more with flake food that pellet.
  • #9
I"ve had cherry barbs for many years, and haven't ever seen any that won't eat. In fact, they're always quite piggish and will eat anything. They're not bottom feeders, but will eat from any level of the tank, although usually not the surface.

I fed them flakes for a couple and days and they did not eat anything

If they aren't eating, something is wrong. If you have only two, this could be part of it since these fish really need their own kind around to behave normally. They also need cover in the form of plants.

I would return the gold barb to the store and get more cherries instead - always at least 2 females for each male.
  • #10
Mine tend to eat off the bottom of the tank and for the most part stays gown there all the time. But that could have something to do with the mean tiger barbs I have, or with the cory...they are good friends.
  • #11
Yes, I have the same eating problems with my cherry barbs. I just got 7 of them a few days ago and they will not eat anything from the surface or from the bottom. When I feed my fish flakes, all the guppies rush to the surface to chow down but none of the cherries will. They do chase after the tiny flakes that float down, but only while they're floating. Once they hit the gravel, the cherries will not touch it. Same thing with shrimp pellets. If they see a shrimp pellet floating down, they will nibble at it it a little, but once it hits the bottom they leave and won't touch it. Is this normal behavior?

I started putting flakes into the tank on the side where the filter current is, so that more of them get pushed down before the greedy guppies get to it. But my worry about doing that, wouldn't much more of the flakes get sucked into the filter this way?

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