10 Tips for Caring for Barbs, Danios & Rasboras

Barbs, Danios and Rasboras all belong to the minnow family, Cyprinidae. Here are 10 tips to keep them healthy in an aquarium setting.

1. Remember that most of these fishes are schooling species; they only feel at ease and act naturally when housed in a large enough system in groups. Three individuals is an absolute minimum, with larger, odd numbers being better.

2. Some shipments of these fishes succumb to apparently nothing more than shipping stress. Make sure they’ve been at your sources a good three days before taking them on.

3. Healthy specimens are out and about, looking for food all day long. Tanks with specimens hiding in the corners are coming down with something or going out due to poor water quality.

4. These fishes prefer a system of subdued lighting and live plants. They will nibble on the plants and probably need them in their diet. If you have too many plant eating fish and not enough plants, they will destroy the plants.

5. A dark-colored gravel base is recommended. This will show off these iridescent beauties at their best.

6. These fishes are some of the best jumpers in the hobby, so keep your tank(s) completely covered.

7. Barbs, Danios and Rasboras do poorly when exposed to “new-tank” conditions; e.g. one’s going through nitrogen cycling. Therefore they should only be placed in established systems. If possible all should be about the same size to start with and be put in at the same time. The larger species of these groups ought to be introduced later into the system, after their tankmates. Water changes should be done weekly, replacing only 25% of the water.

8. For all but the smallest Barbs and Danios, putting them in with slow moving, long-finned companions is asking for trouble. Why do they pick on such sluggard tankmates? To get them out of the way? Out of boredom? Because they can? Who knows, but they will. Angels and Bettas beware.

9. All of these minnows readily accept every type of fish food, live or prepared. A good staple of dried-prepared food will keep them in good stead, with daily to weekly offerings of fresh, either live or frozen-defrosted foods. Additionally, some sort of green food should be part of their diet every day. Want to grow your minnow-fishes up big, fast?

Feed small amounts several times a day with an automatic feeder. Also provide adequate circulation, aeration, filtration and frequent partial water changes to flush out growth-limiting metabolites.If familiar food is refused by these fishes, check your system and water, something is definitely amiss.

10. Other predatory fishes large and fast enough to catch and eat minnows will do just that.