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Results 1 to 10 of 14
  1. Question Fake plants and barbs AND community compatibility?

    0 Not allowed!
    FYI, I have been doing a TON of research and lurking trying to figure out how to get started in fish keeping. We don't have ANY equipment as of yet and want to go about this the right way.

    We have been talking about getting a 55-60 gallon freshwater tank and adding the following:
    9-11 Tiger Barbs
    1 Rainbow Shark
    1 Black Convict Cichlid

    My questions are these:
    1. Will these fish get along just fine?
    2. If so, can/should I go up to 13 Tiger Barbs? (I've read it's best to keep odd numbers to prevent pairing)
    3. We don't want a "planted" tank, we just want to use the fake stuff and some rocks/drift wood. Will that be fine for the barbs?

    Boring back story (in case you were wondering) - I have never had anything other than a Betta in a 1-3 gallon bowl and that was about 15 years ago. I/we have tried keeping smaller tanks with a few mollies and tetras, but have always been unsuccessful due to no knowledge of cycling. We just moved into a new house back in June and bought a Betta for us and the kids to enjoy. He was in a small "prison" because, at the time of purchase, didn't know any better and it looked nice for what it was. I then realized that he definitely needed more space so we just upgraded him to a 5 gallon of his own.


  2. #2


    0 Not allowed!
    1. The barbs and the "shark" will. Not too sure ab out the convict.
    2. That odd numbers story is on very shaky ground. You would have the space so I'd go for it.
    3. Each to his own I suppose. The fish won't care much as long as there's cover. I would make sure there's some veg in their diet though.

  3. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Ya, that's where I've run into some conflict is with info on the Black Convict. Good to know about the live plants. My wife is really against the idea and me, personally, haven't read up on keeping live plants much and from what I have "sort-of" read would be putting us even more over our head than we already are.

    So trying to replace the Black Convict, would a community like this work:
    9 Tiger Barbs
    2 Spotted African Leaf Fish
    1 Angelfish
    1 Rainbow Shark

  4. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    You don't want an angel with the tiger barbs as they are very nippy and will most likely go after the angel's long flowing fins.

    You might be okay with the convict and the tiger barbs because the barbs are fast swimmers but I'd be prepared to get them out of there if the convict gets aggressive.
    Instead of a convict, what about a severum? They are not nearly as aggressive as the convict and come in a variety of colors - yellow, green, red.
    Have no idea, though, if the barbs will go after the sevs. Have you considered cherry barbs? Not nippy and very nice community fish.

    The rainbow shark is also a wild card in this mix. they are very territorial and aggressive fish. the barbs, as I said, can outswim him. he may find any larger fish threatening his territory but a sev could hold its own.
    Hopefully others will have some more definite advice for you. In the meantime I'd google and find out everything you can about all of these fish before you make your final decision.
    Good luck. this is always the fun part but it's also very hard to make that final decision.
    30 g FW planted:corys, ABNP, blue angel, harleys, zebra danios, apple & nerite snails
    15 g FW planted:crown tail betta, neons, pygmy cory, clown pleco,apple & nerite snails
    90 g FW planted:congos, rainbows, roseline sharks, swordtails, ottos,krib pair, ABNP, peppered cories, apple snails
    90 Gal Journal:
    fishless cycling:
    fish in cycling:

  5. #5


    0 Not allowed!
    90g Apr 18-13.jpgI think it is safest to never mix slow or sedate fish, or those with long fins, in with Tiger Barb. The temptation is too great. And that leaves out all cichlids. And leaffish as mentioned above.

    If the TB are an absolute, I would first increase the numbers to 15 or so. The more there are, the less likely they will be overly aggressive. The odd/even number generally is a myth (there are exceptions, but not here); the number is the issue with shoaling fish, meaning fish that live naturally in large groups. Male/female can sometimes matter too, within the group, but again less significant here.

    As for tankmates, finding "centrepiece" type fish is not going to be easy. Most of these are sedate. I think a better option is to find larger (or similar-sized) shoaling fish. Water parameters might be important, so knowing the GH and pH of your source water (tap, presumably) will help.

    The shark should be OK with the upper barbs (Tiger plus whatever) but it does restrict substrate fish to this sole rainbow. If you want more interest, a group of one of the medium-sized loaches in the genus Botia would be nice, without the "shark" of course. There are several that remain within the 4-5 inch size, and they need a group of 5-6.

    On the plants, I personally willnever even consider a tank without plants. The benefit to the water, and thus the fish, cannot be overstated. Even in a more realistic biotope setting, floating plants are always workable. And there are some hardy substrate-rooted plants like the common sword Echinodorus bleherae.

    With the barbs and loaches you could do a very nice semi-biotope tank replicating an Indian river, with fine gravel, chunks of bogwood, and some river rock to replicate boulders. I have a tank like this, planted with the afore-mentioned swords, and I have Black Ruby Barbs, Congo Tetra [not these with Tigers, though], Emperor Tetra, and five Botia kubotai (one is at the left in the photo), pictured here.

    Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
    Vancouver, BC, Canada

    Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]

  6. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Ok. Thanks for the info guys. I really like the TB's, but they just don't sound like they are going to work. I guess I'm going to go back to the drawing board and re-plan the whole tank. I'm going to read up on keeping the live plants as well. I really like that tank Byron. Thanks for pointing out the plants used.

  7. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    +1 for the severum suggestion! They have a very good temperament, come in some great colors and also reach a decent size.

  8. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    We don't really care for the Cherry Barbs. I really like the idea of the Severum. I didn't know about them, mainly due to the fact that they aren't for sale at Petsmart (their website is where I have been looking for types of fish) and comparing them with Petco and another site from a post here for compatibility. I used to know of a LFS around here (and my wife actually knew the owners from before we got together), but they have since gotten divorced and closed the shop. I live in the Oklahoma City area, so if anyone here has an idea of some good LFS's, I'm all ears.

    I've been looking at Petsmart and not seeing much in the way of a few Loaches to replace the Rainbow Shark in the "semi-aggressive" category. We like the Clown Loach, but those get way too big. My wife was really intrigued by the Dinosaur Bichir (which we saw last weekend while we were at Petsmart), but they get 10". Considering they like should be in groups of at least 3, then add the 12" of the Severum (if I can find one), that would only leave me with room for 4 Tiger Barbs. That wouldn't work.

    I would have 16" for bottom dwellers If I get:
    1 Severum (12")
    9 Tiger Barbs (3"/each = 27")
    Just have to find them.

    --I probably should have posted this in the Fish Compatibility section and posted a separate thread about the plants. Maybe a mod can move it for me if necessary?

  9. #9


    0 Not allowed!
    I would not recommend Severum with Tiger Barb, or any other barbs, due to the very different environmental needs. Severum will attain 8-10 inches, though they can reach 12 inches, and may eat plants and smaller fish. They are also very sedate, docile fish (esp for a cichlid), so active and possibly nippy fish should be avoided. This would also not be a good fish for a river or stream habitat suitable to loaches. You can read more on Severum here:

    Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
    Vancouver, BC, Canada

    Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]

  10. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Thanks for the heads up and informative article. Sounds like a Sev will be out of the question.

    This is all leading me to this question. Is there an established compatibility/community list anywhere (besides reading all the way through other compatibility posts)? If not, that would be an excellent project for someone who knew fish the way you guys do that would help out beginners (like myself) get started. All of the compatibility charts I have seen are really vague at best and seem misleading a lot of the time. If there was something that just said, for example, for a 55 gallon you could have:
    # of this
    # of that
    # of those


    rinse and repeat

    etc. etc.

    I realize some people overstock and what-not and that every fish has it's own personality, but an easily accessible "community/gallon" list with numbers of each species would be awesome! It could open up possibilities a newbie might not even realize is available. Just a thought... :)

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