Care Guide for Tiger Barbs – Colorful and Rowdy Schooling Fish
Tiger barbs are often sold at pet store chains to beginners because of their bright colors and strong schooling behavior, but they sometimes get a bad reputation for fin nipping other fish. If you like the action-packed, boisterous energy of African cichlids in a slightly smaller package, keep reading to find out what it takes to care for this fun and fast-paced species.
What Are Tiger Barbs?
Puntigrus tetrazona (2.5-to-3 inches, 6-8 cm) is a barb fish originally from Indonesia. This pet shop favorite is well-known for its durability, cost-effectiveness, striking appearance, and many color options.
What are the different types of tiger barbs? The regular or wild-type tiger barb has black vertical bands with an orange-tipped nose and fins (similar to the orange and black-striped tiger). There are also other selectively bred patterns like:
– Albino: light orange body with white stripes – Green: solid emerald green body with orange and black fins – Long fin: flowy fins that are longer than usual – GloFish: fluorescent colors such as electric green, purple, and more
A standard tiger barb comes with four black stripes, an orange-tipped nose, and fins.
Are Tiger Barbs aggressive? They have been classified as semi-aggressive in the past because they are very curious about other animals and love to pick on them to see what happens. Think of them as a gang of rowdy teenagers that like to roughhouse with each other and anything that catches their attention. This environment may be too stressful for certain fish, so keep reading to find out which fish are most suitable as tank mates.
How to Set Up an Aquarium for Tiger Barbs
Tiger barbs can be adapted to a wide variety of water parameters. They can tolerate pH levels of 6.0-8.0 and temperatures between 72-82degF (20-25 degC). This super active fish would do well in a 29-gallon aquarium or larger that has plenty of aquarium plants and fish tank decorations. If necessary, you can provide some obstructions that will block the line of sight so that weaker fish can hide from more aggressive fish.
How many Tiger Barbs should you keep together? At the Aquarium Co-Op retail store, we highly recommend a minimum of seven and prefer more than 12 if possible. Having a big group of tiger barbs spreads out the aggression among themselves and towards other fish. People who only desire five barbs are less likely to have enough space for them once they reach adult size. Prepare to try other species, such as cherry barbs, or a larger school.
Can I mix tiger barbs? Yes, the many color variations are all of the same species, so you can make a school of tiger barbs with multiple colors to create a kaleidoscope effect. To create a more cohesive look, other hobbyists prefer to keep the same type of Tiger Barb when they are schooling together.
Getting a large group of tiger barbs (even if they have different colors) can help keep them preoccupied and decrease fin nipping.
What fish are compatible with tiger Barbs? Keep them away from long-finned fish such as angelfish and betta fish that could be eaten. Barbs love to eat fast and can outcompete timid or slow fish, potentially starving them.
You should instead go with other fast swimmers (e.g. silver tip tetras and zebra danios) or fish that are larger than them (e.g. clown loaches or certain South American Cichlids). Tiger barbs swim all over the place but tend to hang out in the middle of the aquarium, so we often pair them with active bottom dwellers, such as Botia loaches.
What do Tiger Barbs Eat?
They don’t have a preference for food and will eat any omnivore fish foods you offer. To ensure everyone gets a bite, you can feed them small, fast-eating foods like flakes or pellets. They also enjoy freeze-dried foods, Repashy gel food, and frozen fish food. We have noticed that too many bloodworms can sometimes cause the females to swell up, so don’t forget to add some roughage to their diet for smoother digestion, such as daphnia, brine shrimp, and even blanched vegetables.
Provide a good variety of foods to ensure that your tiger barbs get all the essential nutrients they need to live a long and healthy life.
How Do You Breed Tiger Barbs?
Females tend to be more colorful than males. However, they have larger bodies and are usually more colorful than their male counterparts. When given plenty of quality foods and clean water, they frequently lay sticky eggs on plant leaves and various surfaces in the aquarium. However, the adults show no parental care and will eat the eggs on sight. To increase the fry survival rate, put the tiger barbs in a well-established aquarium with lots of dense cover, like water sprite, wisteria, java moss, or spawning mops made out of yarn. Once you spot breeding behavior, you can either remove the parents from the aquarium or remove the plants or spawning mop with the eggs to place in a hatching container. The fish fry usually hatch in 1-2 days and require tiny foods like infusoria, vinegar eels, and powder fry food. They can eventually be fed larger foods like micro worms and crushed flakes.
The Tiger barb is a powerful species, in both appearance and manner. One of our favorite aquarium setups is a school of orange tiger barbs swimming in front of a green forest of aquatic plants, balanced with bottom-dwelling fish on the ground. Check out our preferred vendors to order live fish online for your next aquarium.