Monday, August 08, 2005

The barb barrio...

This weekend I tried introducing a red-finned (rainbow) shark and seven zebra danios to the 40 gallon tiger barb tank. That tank has twenty tiger barbs in it and a mostly invisible plecostomus. As soon as the bags of fish entered the water the barbs were curious and started attacking the plastic bags. After the acclimation period I let the shark loose first. It didn't get much time to itself before a curious tiger barb was stalking it. There is one distinctive barb out of the twenty that causes problems and it doesn't take long before others join in. I turned the danios loose soon after, thinking their speed and agility might distract some aggression away from the shark. That didn't work. The shark was much slower moving, not large enough to pose a threat, and seemed far too passive compared to descriptions of their behavior from the Internet. I had to remove the shark and put it in with the sixteen young bronze corydoras (catfish).

It's been three days now and the danios are still alive and have actually ventured from the surface and are allowed to exist without visible threat in the middle depths of the tank, an area usually dominated by the tiger barbs. The barbs don't seem interested in them anymore. They either don't recognize them as a threat or taking up too much of their turf or they are tired of chasing and not nipping the fins of a much faster and more agile fish.

As far as options go for more fish for the tiger barb tank I'm open to suggestions but I have considered a few fish. A large, mature red-tailed shark might be mean enough and sizeable against a large school of tiger barbs. I am also considering tinfoil barbs; maybe a trio twice the size of the largest tiger barb would be a large enough presence to keep the cowardly bullies at bay. A trio of clown loaches might also be worth looking into but these fish are not as hardy as most fish and might still endure the same treatment the smaller rainbow shark endured. Some aggressive cichlids might be feasible if it weren't for the water chemistry being different. Bala sharks Of course another alternative is to simply get more barbs, specifically albino tiger barbs and green tiger barbs.

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