Tiger Barb advice please!

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Risqueee

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Sep 13, 2021
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Hi, new poster here. Was looking to get some advice from other people who’ve been in similar situations. Apologies if this gets a bit long.

I have a school of 11 tiger barbs in my 80 gallon. I got as many as I could (bought out the store) in an attempt to minimise aggression with the other fish in there. And it seemed to have worked. As per other advice I read, I also added the tigers last in my initial stocking. Whether it was that, or the amount of them, or both, I had literally zero problems with them. I only ever saw them be nippy with each other, and even then, it was rare. I counted myself fortunate to apparently have the chillest tigers ever.

However, inevitably, peace couldn’t last forever. A few months passed and I decided the tank could use 10 peppered cories. It didn’t even occur to me that there’d be a problem. In terms of bottom dwellers, I already had six panda cories in there, and a bristlenose pleco, and they went ignored.

Alas, after the peppers were added, suddenly, there was that infamous bad behaviour. Nothing severe: they just sort of follow them around and pester them more than actual nastiness, but it’s enough that my new cories don’t want to do their cute foraging behaviour out in the open, which is a real bummer as I like to see it.

Is there anything I can do to improve this situation? Maybe things will settle down when the novelty of the new arrivals has worn off? its been a few days, though. As I said, they completely ignore all the other inhabitants of the tank, including the original cories— which I find bizarre. It’s like they’re specifically racist to peppered cories or something. Perhaps the issue is the peppers were added after, and since the tigers see the tank as ‘theirs’ now, anyone new has to be put in their place?

I also considered the possibility of adding more tigers. The thinking being, more of them = less interest in other fish. Having to reestablish their own hierarchy might keep them busy? Or perhaps I can take the barbs out for a few days, to ‘reset’ the territory?

I also also thought about increasing their food, with the view that perhaps they’ll feel less need to be competitive. I currently feed them once a day, but I could up it to twice. My filter is rather overpowered so I’m not worried about the extra detritus.

Anyway, I’d love to hear about how other people dealt with their tiger barbs‘ quirks, and how they managed to make it work (if they did!) Thanks in advance
 

fishorama

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Welcome to AC!

It seems like you went with the right idea with many TBs. I've never had so many but had the nippiness they're known for.

Do you have plants (live or fake)? They can help break up the lines of sight. Lots of bottom hiding places for the new corys?

Sometimes rearranging the decor a bit can help. New territories can mix things up. Can you post a pic yet? I think you have to have 5? posts to be able to do that.
 

Risqueee

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Sep 13, 2021
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Welcome to AC!

It seems like you went with the right idea with many TBs. I've never had so many but had the nippiness they're known for.

Do you have plants (live or fake)? They can help break up the lines of sight. Lots of bottom hiding places for the new corys?

Sometimes rearranging the decor a bit can help. New territories can mix things up. Can you post a pic yet? I think you have to have 5? posts to be able to do that.
Thanks!

Yeah, I have live plants and plenty of hardscape. Id heard about rearranging the decor, but I’m kind of reluctant to do that/not really able to without messing up the whole tank, lol. The cories don’t seem to be having trouble getting away from the barbs/don’t seem overly stressed, but it is making them hide more than I’d like. Ideal situation would be for the barbs to just ignore them like they do everything else. Is there any reason taking them out for a couple days (housing them in proper temporary accommodation, of course) and putting them back would be a bad idea?

Not sure about the pic — there’s a message saying I can’t post links for five posts, is that the same thing?
 

fishorama

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Yeah, I think it's 5 posts. I don't know, I almost never post pics.

Has this new bad behavior only been going on for a little while? It sounds like maybe the peppers are pretty new, how long have you had them? It takes some time for fish to get used to new stuff. Nobody likes change, but if there's no real damage you may not need to worry (yet?), you might be ok to wait out the adjustment period...

Are your new corys much smaller than your pandas so far? Smaller new fish may be more of a target...

Just a couple more posts & I think you can put up pics. Your tank sounds nice.
 

NoodleCats

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Barbs and cories generally is hit or miss, and seems you've been unfortunate with a miss here :(

Can you get a 20 gallon long at least for just the cories? It'd be safer for them.

What starts as just pestering can escalate without warning. Ive had the same experience with cories and melon barbs, and I know others who have had same issues with cories with Odessas.

Best to keep separate and look into a more robust bottom dweller. Botia loaches like yoyo loaches or zebra loaches would be a lot better tankmates with barbs, theyre faster and a lot more durable with attitude so can put up with them.

Then leave the cories in a smaller tank (no smaller than 20 gallon long) or a second larger tank up to you... and maybe get a small shoal of tetras or such for upper level. But bad mix barbs with cories. Those dorsal fins on cories are like target flags to barbs.
Even cherry barbs can be a gamble as some can be just as rude.
 

Risqueee

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Yeah, I think it's 5 posts. I don't know, I almost never post pics.

Has this new bad behavior only been going on for a little while? It sounds like maybe the peppers are pretty new, how long have you had them? It takes some time for fish to get used to new stuff. Nobody likes change, but if there's no real damage you may not need to worry (yet?), you might be ok to wait out the adjustment period...

Are your new corys much smaller than your pandas so far? Smaller new fish may be more of a target...

Just a couple more posts & I think you can put up pics. Your tank sounds nice.
Yeah, just since a few days ago when I added them. They’re about the same size as the pandas. And yeah, they’re not actually hurting them, just following them until they move from out in the open. Right now I am hoping it’s just the novelty of the new arrivals, and they’ll get bored soon. I’m also going to try increasing the food. I don’t want to just take them out— not until I’ve tried everything else. To be quite honest I’m not sure I could even catch them all without demolishing my tank.

What do you think about either taking the tigers out for a couple days, or adding more?
 

fishorama

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I would just go with wait & see for now. A "time out" often doesn't work too well, in addition to being a PITA. The barbs might "forget" they get along with the pandas.

If the barbs get more aggressive I'd think hard about rehoming them. There are better behaved schoolers...
 

Risqueee

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Update: decided to wait and see as suggested, but upped the feedings. Tried to encourage the cories and barbs to eat in two separate areas of the tank, and it seems to be working for now. The barbs still investigate the cories, but the cories seem content to forage out in the open in ‘their spot’, so I still get to see them. I’ll keep an eye out for any signs of aggression developing, but really it just seems like the barbs are curious more than anything. There’s no signs of nipping or damaged fins. I may have overreacted to be honest 😅
 

FreshyFresh

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Wish I had advice that helps.

I've tried batches of 8-9 TBs in a 55gal. I've also tried green barbs. Over time and every time it resulted in the weakest being picked off one by one until there is one left. This was in a 55 with lots of plants, decor and hidy spots. At the moment I have 1 green barb left.
 

Risqueee

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Wish I had advice that helps.

I've tried batches of 8-9 TBs in a 55gal. I've also tried green barbs. Over time and every time it resulted in the weakest being picked off one by one until there is one left. This was in a 55 with lots of plants, decor and hidy spots. At the moment I have 1 green barb left.
That's rather troubling! I hope the same doesn't happen with mine. I got them when they were quite small, and they're almost fully grown now. I have yet to lose one, but then, they're all very hardy and of similar size. I suppose if one starts falling behind or looking sickly I should keep a close eye on it. I still might try adding a few more; maybe bringing the total up to 15. I like the look of the green barbs-- do they school/get on with the regular ones?
 
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