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Tiger Barbs Dying! Help!

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Hiya everyone Im new to fish keeping so please be kind lol. I had 6 tiger barbs in a 6 gallon tank for around a month. Now before you say, yes I know this is no where near enough room for them. The store I got them from never told me about size restrictions. If i would of known I would never of got them. The store also unables you to take them back so unfortunately I was stuck with them. Until Tuesday they were fine. I had the tank up and running for about 2 weeks before getting them and I also have had them for about 4 weeks now.

On Tuesday I woke up to find one floating around at the top still alive but unable to swim properly. He was just floating around his fins moving unable to swim. I tried giving him frozen peas and doing a water change. He died on the night. The tank also smelt quite pungent. I must add that he was extremely fat which I think is because of overfeeding. I used to do 2 large pinches a day until I realised I was overfeeding. Now I do 1 pinch a day. I think the overfeeding caused Ammonia? I didn't realise until now. I have been doing 25% water changes for the past few days.

Since Tuesday (The day my first fish died) all my fish except the dominant "bully" have been hanging near the surface not swimming and barely eating. From day to day it changes from the front or back but still right at the surface of the water. I have tried adding hiding spots, lowering the temperature and doing more water changes but still no change. Yesterday I did a test on my water. 0.25 Ammonia, PH of 7 and 10 Nitrate. Is this okay? I did another water change yesterday so maybe the ammonia is 0 now? This morning I found one of my barbs lodged at the bottom of the tank in a plant dead. 5 minutes later one of them started swimming uncontrollably upside down and died a couple of minutes later. There are now 3 left. I think they will all die soon which maybe be the best for them? But what is strange is the bully is in very healthy condition. Hes swimming around fine, his colour is strong and eats most the food.

Can somebody please tell me what the hell is going on with my tank??? Whats causing the deaths? Is it a mixture of bad water conditions and stress? Please help me. Im new to fish keeping and its all part of the learning curve. Next time I will know better. Also if they do all die what would be a suitable fish to get next? I was thinking maybe a Siamese Fighting Fish just the one. It says on the RSPCA website they need a minimum of 15 litres. Also how long do you have to wait before adding more fish to a tank that previously had fish in it? Thanks everyone I look forward to seeing your replies.

If it's not ammonia/nitrite poisoning that's killing them then it's most certainly the fact you have them in such a small tank!  Tiger Barbs are classed as semi aggressive so you don't have enough space for them to form territories or, indeed enough space for them to get away!  Personally, I would suggest re homing them as it's cruel to keep them as they are!

Welcome by the way ;)

Hi, welcome to the forum.

Firstly, you need to cycle your tank before you add fish. The ammonia, and probably nitrite, is killing them. Barbs won't handle these at all.

Secondly, 6 gallons is too small for fish.


You need to be doing at least 50% daily water changes until you can get the 3' tank for them.

What do you mean by the '3 tank?


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