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). Other selectively bred patterns include:
– 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? Traditionally, this species is classified as semi-aggressive because they are very curious and like to pick on other animals to see what happens. They can be described as a group of rowdy teenagers who enjoy roughhousing with each other and whatever else catches their eye. This environment could be too stressful for some fish. Continue reading to learn more about which fish are best suited to be tank mates.
How to Set Up an Aquarium for Tiger Barbs
Tiger barbs can handle a wide range of water parameters, such as pH of 6.0-8.0 and temperatures from 72-82degF (20-28degC). This super active fish would do well in a 29-gallon aquarium or larger that has plenty of aquarium plants and fish tank decorations. By providing some obstacles that block line of sight, weaker fish can hide from the more belligerent fish if needed.
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. A large group of tiger Barbs will spread the aggression and make it harder for them to be aggressive towards other fish. People who only want five barbs often don’t have enough room for them when they grow to adult size or are not truly invested in them. Be prepared to either get a huge school or try another, more peaceful species like cherry barbs.
Can I mix the tiger Barbs? You can create a kaleidoscope effect by combining tiger Barbs from different species. Other hobbyists like to stay with the same type of tiger barb to create a more unified look when they are schooling together.
A large number of tiger barbs can be a distraction for them and help to reduce their fin nipping.
What fish can live with tiger barbs? In general, you want to avoid tiny fish that are small enough to get eaten by the 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.
Go with other swimmers, such as zebra daanios or silver tip Tetras, or bigger fish that won’t eat them, like clown loaches, certain South American cichlids, and other speedy swimmers. 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 are Tiger Barbs Eating?
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 love frozen foods such as 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.
Give your Tiger Barbs a wide variety of foods so they can get all the necessary nutrients to live a long, 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. The adults are not concerned about their welfare and will eat the eggs at any time. 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.
Both in appearance and behavior, tigers barbs are a dominant species. 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.