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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is my first post and any advice is appreciated.
Background:
I recently started my first planted tank a couple months ago in a 40 gallon breeder, Finnex planted+, 3-5 inches of eco complete substrait, Eheim canister filter rated higher than my volume, and plants.
I originally bought 7 male cherry barbs. Then, upon realizing I have all males (google image research), I went back to the store and purchased 6 females. Due to the ratio, the males were very nippy and harassed the girls a good bit. However, after two days they seem to have adjusted and the males only chase the females during a certain part of the day and the females don’t seem to be stressed. However, to be on the safe side, I am considering acquiring two more females. I estimate I have roughly ~35 gallons of free space when plants and substrate are taken into account. Using the inch/gallon rule, based on what I understand, the addition of two females would give 30 / 35 total inches.

My questions are:
1) Are these reasonable estimates about the total number of fish I can add without being overstocked?
2) I have considered adding 1 or 2 centerpiece fish (or just some other non-cherry barb fish) in addition to the barbs. Are there any suggestions on this based on cherry barb compatibility? I am also completely okay with doing a single species tank if it isn’t a good idea.
 

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You can use AqAdvisor - Intelligent Freshwater Tropical Fish Aquarium Stocking Calculator and Aquarium Tank/Filter Advisor to get a pretty good idea on your stocking levels.

The inch per gallon rule isn't a very good rule to go by at all and typically only has some merit for judging stocking with slender, torpedo shaped fish that stay under 2 inches, which cherry barbs would probably fit under. However that doesn't take into account the fish's swimming activity in which dimensions of the tank also matter. Lot of things the inch per gallon "rule" doesn't take into account. Just use the above link as it takes more things into account and also gives some advice/cautionary notes.

With that said though, a 40 gallon breeder is plenty big enough for cherry barbs and you would be fine adding more cherries. You should be fine adding one or two center piece fish depending on their size, compatibility and if your filtration can support the bioload (depending how much additional bioload, water changes may need a slight increase in frequency to keep nitrate and TDS levels down).

I will let others recommend center piece fish. My German Blue Rams get along fine with my cherry barbs.
 

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I'm curious how long you had the 7 males together, and how they behaved toward each other. I prefer their look over the females, but knew it wasn't advisable. I haven't yet found any of my chain stores who understand the difference between the male and the female (they think females are a different fish because the photo displays the male.) Hmmm.

Cherry barbs are compatible with many other peaceful fish. They hang out in the middle and lower regions of the tank. Factor that into your selection and select other fish you like that utilize the remaining open space, and that also match the temp and pH profile of your tank.

I have 7 cherry barbs (3 male, 4 female) in a 40G along with 9 harlequin rasboras, 6 otos and a female betta. Other than 1-2 centerpiece fish TBD, the tank seems full but not too full.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
You can use AqAdvisor - Intelligent Freshwater Tropical Fish Aquarium Stocking Calculator and Aquarium Tank/Filter Advisor to get a pretty good idea on your stocking levels.

The inch per gallon rule isn't a very good rule to go by at all and typically only has some merit for judging stocking with slender, torpedo shaped fish that stay under 2 inches, which cherry barbs would probably fit under. However that doesn't take into account the fish's swimming activity in which dimensions of the tank also matter. Lot of things the inch per gallon "rule" doesn't take into account. Just use the above link as it takes more things into account and also gives some advice/cautionary notes.

With that said though, a 40 gallon breeder is plenty big enough for cherry barbs and you would be fine adding more cherries. You should be fine adding one or two center piece fish depending on their size, compatibility and if your filtration can support the bioload (depending how much additional bioload, water changes may need a slight increase in frequency to keep nitrate and TDS levels down).

I will let others recommend center piece fish. My German Blue Rams get along fine with my cherry barbs.
Waterlife, according to AqAdvisor, I'm only 43% stocked and for cherry barbs my filter is ~200% capacity, which suggests I have a good bit of room. Can German Blue Rams be kept singly or as pairs (MM? MF?)?

I'm curious how long you had the 7 males together, and how they behaved toward each other. I prefer their look over the females, but knew it wasn't advisable. I haven't yet found any of my chain stores who understand the difference between the male and the female (they think females are a different fish because the photo displays the male.) Hmmm.

Cherry barbs are compatible with many other peaceful fish. They hang out in the middle and lower regions of the tank. Factor that into your selection and select other fish you like that utilize the remaining open space, and that also match the temp and pH profile of your tank.

I have 7 cherry barbs (3 male, 4 female) in a 40G along with 9 harlequin rasboras, 6 otos and a female betta. Other than 1-2 centerpiece fish TBD, the tank seems full but not too full.
Cheetah, The 7 males actually did really well together. At first they were very aggressive, especially towards the smallest members, but they soon calmed down and from my observation it seems like they have different "modes" of group behavior depending on the time of day. Sometimes they play fight and chase each other in a school, and other times they are calm and spend individual/small group time. After adding the females, once adjusted, they exhibited similar behavior. Male/female harassment (play time), male/male play time, and individual/group peaceful time where none of the fish bother each other. To be honest, I was very worried about the males at first, but their rough behavior is limited to certain "excited" periods of the day.

Today I went to the store and purchased 3 more female barbs. Interestingly, one seems to have disappeared from the tank (No idea where she went...I've counted at least 20 times now.)

Also, I know what you mean about people thinking they're all red. 3 employees who were experienced with fish didn't realize it and the cherry barbs were with another barb who looked just like the female, so they thought the females were another species entirely. It wasn't until I pointed them out and showed them the rosy red cheeks that they became aware of the females in their own tank.
 

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Cherry barbs seem fairly peaceful- not nippers like other kinds of barbs. I have fifteen in a 38 gal. Five males and ten females. (Funny, I've been at chain stores too where the staff had no idea they were the same species). Sorry I can't recommend a centerpiece fish- for me, the cherry barbs are currently the main thing, with kuhli loaches below and snails on the edges. They're nice fish, fairly active, eat anything.
 

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I have kept long finned rosy barbs with my cherry barbs and they all got along great. The male rosy barbs develop beautiful long fins and a deep colour. They rosy barbs even bred in the tank, however, I was away on vacation and when I got home, I was surprised to see the one little fry in the tank. I wish I had been home and could have saved a few more!
 

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Your 40b is a lot like my setup except different brand filters and i have a second light.As you found out cherry barbs should be kept at a 1 male to 2 female ratio,I have two Pearl Gourami in mine and their size and color make a great addition also dwarf gourami would be nice...
 
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