What's new

Gold barb numbers

🐠 March TOTM Starts Now! 🐠
FishForums.net Tank of the Month!
Click here to enter!

WhistlingBadger

Professional Cat Herder
Retired Moderator ⚒️
Tank of the Month 🏆
Fish of the Month 🌟
Joined
Dec 18, 2011
Messages
6,602
Reaction score
11,611
Location
Where the deer and the antelope play
Thinking hard about getting some wild-strain gold barbs. I was just talking to a person at the WetSpot about them. He said that they are pretty friendly when kept in smaller numbers. Seriously fish says to get at least 8-10. Anybody kept them in smaller numbers? What's your experience?
@Boundava
 
If you mean Green Barbs (Barbodes semifasciolatus) they’d be best in a group of 8-10 or more. A lot of people still say shoaling fish are fine in numbers that are too small. These people don’t think about the welfare of the fish involved.
 
One of my LFS has 2 of the gold strain adults in at the moment and they are super chonky! Really big fish, much bigger than I'd have imagined. Really nice though.

Wills
 
If you mean Green Barbs (Barbodes semifasciolatus) they’d be best in a group of 8-10 or more. A lot of people still say shoaling fish are fine in numbers that are too small. These people don’t think about the welfare of the fish involved.
Have you kept them? What group size did you keep, and how much space did they have?
 
One of my LFS has 2 of the gold strain adults in at the moment and they are super chonky! Really big fish, much bigger than I'd have imagined. Really nice though.

Wills
Yeah, they do get quite big. According to AqAdvisor, I have plenty of room to keep 8 or 10 of them. So I'm mostly just curious. I know well the peril of taking pet store employees at their word about fish numbers (or anything else), but TWS is much more reliable than your ordinary big box pet store, so I'm curious if anybody on here has experienced them in smaller numbers.

I know what seriouslyfish and the other sites say about fish numbers, but as others have pointed out, sometimes those numbers can be rather arbitrary.
 
I’ve had Golds once, in a 3ft, and Greens twice, in a 4ft and a 6ft. They’re the same fish to keep, just different colours. The Golds, I had about 6ish, in my very early days of fishkeeping, in a 3ft tank with too many tankmates. They won’t suffer visibly in a group of 6 (which is why people say it’s fine). Greens came later, about a dozen-ish, with much more space.
I know them as very peaceful and easy going. They don’t run about much as a tight group (unless there’s a reason to) but pretty much do their own thing with the others nearby. They’re kinda like miniature goldfish.

A store that sells fish won’t tell you “no, 6 isn’t enough, you need at least 10”... because most people either won’t have the space or won’t want that many of one fish. It can be business suicide if a store tells everyone that, because it applies to all fish that live in groups. The more the happier, which is bad for business in this hobby with so many species available.

“Can I have 6 of these, 6 of those and 6 of those?”
“Yes because we have rent and wages and a huge electricity bill to pay and we can’t afford not to sell you them”. That’s how it is for most shops.
 
Last edited:
I had a slew of gold barbs (6ish) in a 29 gallon tank way back when I was newer to the hobby and didn't know better.
I now have 16 in my 125 gallon. They are very happy in that group size. They can get big, the biggest one I remember in my 29 gallon was a little over 3 in. The ones that I have now haven't gotten that big yet. They are very active and beautiful, but I've never come across the wild green just the gold.
 
I’ve had Golds once, in a 3ft, and Greens twice, in a 4ft and a 6ft. They’re the same fish to keep, just different colours. The Golds, I had about 6ish, in my very early days of fishkeeping, in a 3ft tank with too many tankmates. They won’t suffer visibly in a group of 6 (which is why people say it’s fine). Greens came later, about a dozen-ish, with much more space.
I know them as very peaceful and easy going. They don’t run about much as a tight group (unless there’s a reason to) but pretty much do their own thing with the others nearby. They’re kinda like miniature goldfish.

A store that sells fish won’t tell you “no, 6 isn’t enough, you need at least 10”... because most people either won’t have the space or won’t want that many of one fish. It can be business suicide if a store tells everyone that, because it applies to all fish that live in groups. The more the happier, which is bad for business in this hobby with so many species available.

“Can I have 6 of these, 6 of those and 6 of those?”
“Yes because we have rent and wages and a huge electricity bill to pay and we can’t afford not to sell you them”. That’s how it is for most shops.
"They won't suffer visibly in a group of 6 (which is why people say it's fine)." I find statements like this rather frustrating, because it seems to imply that, even though the fish appear healthy, active, and unstressed, we know they really are suffering. But really, isn't a fish's appearance and behavior all we have to do on? How do you know they're suffering if they aren't suffering visibly? In my experience, the fish ain't talking, so appearance and behavior are all I have to go on. I don't mean any of that as an attack on you, Ichthys, and I appreciate your insight. But could you clarify what you mean? If they aren't suffering visibly, is there a reason to assume they are suffering invisibly?

Your insight about fish stores is right on the money for most situations, and it made me laugh. In my case though, the guy had already made the sale; we were talking about odessas vs. green barbs, and he was going to actually make less money if I bought the greens. We were just two fish keepers sharing our experiences, and he mentioned that the green barbs seems friendlier and more comfortable in small numbers than most other barbs. So, there's no need to judge his motives. He was just sharing an observation, and I was wondering if others had observed the same thing.

I had a slew of gold barbs (6ish) in a 29 gallon tank way back when I was newer to the hobby and didn't know better.
I now have 16 in my 125 gallon. They are very happy in that group size. They can get big, the biggest one I remember in my 29 gallon was a little over 3 in. The ones that I have now haven't gotten that big yet. They are very active and beautiful, but I've never come across the wild green just the gold.
I bet a school of sixteen looks absolutely amazing. Are they a lot more active in a bigger group? Seems like a 29 gallon would be pretty cramped.
 
"They won't suffer visibly in a group of 6 (which is why people say it's fine)." I find statements like this rather frustrating, because it seems to imply that, even though the fish appear healthy, active, and unstressed, we know they really are suffering. But really, isn't a fish's appearance and behavior all we have to do on? How do you know they're suffering if they aren't suffering visibly? In my experience, the fish ain't talking, so appearance and behavior are all I have to go on. I don't mean any of that as an attack on you, Ichthys, and I appreciate your insight. But could you clarify what you mean? If they aren't suffering visibly, is there a reason to assume they are suffering invisibly?

Your insight about fish stores is right on the money for most situations, and it made me laugh. In my case though, the guy had already made the sale; we were talking about odessas vs. green barbs, and he was going to actually make less money if I bought the greens. We were just two fish keepers sharing our experiences, and he mentioned that the green barbs seems friendlier and more comfortable in small numbers than most other barbs. So, there's no need to judge his motives. He was just sharing an observation, and I was wondering if others had observed the same thing.


I bet a school of sixteen looks absolutely amazing. Are they a lot more active in a bigger group? Seems like a 29 gallon would be pretty cramped.
Well I had about 6 in the 29, and this was 35+ years ago. They didn't have anything in the water column as I had some Cory in the tanks with them. They seemed OK as I remember the males developed some beautiful red coloration as they matured.

The ones in the 125 are overshadowed by the mascara barbs so will occasionally split into two groups, but they are very active and engaging, always looking for food.
 
I didn’t read it as an attack, I read it as you going down the same thought path I went down when I was writing it. “They won’t suffer visibly” doesn’t make much sense. If we can tell when they’re stressed, then if they look unstressed why assume they’re still stressed? If they were they would look stressed...

I guess it’s my ongoing need to try to persuade everyone to have bigger numbers and fewer species. ;)

I wrote it because my experience tells me that when you increase numbers (as long as there’s enough space) you get different behaviour. Bold, active shoalers become more active, defensive shoalers become more ‘secure’, and more outgoing as a result. With experience you can tell. So I’ll change my answer to 6 Barbs in a ‘nice’ tank with nobody bothering them is presumably fine, and more is even better.
 
There is now scientific studies showing that numbers of a shoaling species matter very much. The fact that a fish swims, eats and spawns is not to be taken as proof that all is well. It may very well not be well. In one study, groups of three, five and ten fish were housed in individual tanks, and the fish in the groups of three and five developed increased aggression and a latency to feed. The fish in the groups of ten did not. Yet outwardly there was no sign, except as mentioned.

Stress can exist for months before it becomes acute and then the fish usually shows the signs. But in the meantime, the fish is being weakened and stressed unknown to the observer aquarist.

I have delved into fish physiology/behavior enough to know that I cannot, as said above, see this until it becomes acute. The only way to assume the fish is in suitable circumstances is to provide what it expects from its environment. This bothers some aquarists who put the tank before the fish's needs. But it is not the right approach, because it is inhumane. As cichlid expert Paul Loiselle says in my signature block.
 
I didn’t read it as an attack, I read it as you going down the same thought path I went down when I was writing it. “They won’t suffer visibly” doesn’t make much sense. If we can tell when they’re stressed, then if they look unstressed why assume they’re still stressed? If they were they would look stressed...

I guess it’s my ongoing need to try to persuade everyone to have bigger numbers and fewer species. ;)

I wrote it because my experience tells me that when you increase numbers (as long as there’s enough space) you get different behaviour. Bold, active shoalers become more active, defensive shoalers become more ‘secure’, and more outgoing as a result. With experience you can tell. So I’ll change my answer to 6 Barbs in a ‘nice’ tank with nobody bothering them is presumably fine, and more is even better.
Yeah, I can buy that. :) Thanks for the clarification.
 

Most reactions

trending

Back
Top