Tiger Barb Fish- Care, Types, Size, Tank Mates & Details You Need!

Tiger Barb Fish (Puntius tetrazona) is one of the most popular tank fishes and is known for its playful nature and bright colors. The fish is easy to care and they prove to be perfect tank fishes because of this reason.

If you’re looking for a fast, colorful, and playful freshwater fish, then the tiger barb should be your first choice.

Quick Stats

Scientific name: Puntius tetrazona
Common name: Tiger barb, Sumatra barb
Diet: Omnivorous
Size: 5 cm (2 inches)
Colour: Black, orange, white, yellow
Care level: easy
Family: Cyprinidae
Minimum tank size: 30 gallons
Temperature: 77 to 82 F
pH: 6.5 to 8
Temperament: sometimes aggressive


Tiger barbs are lively and playful fishes and they like being in schools. These fishes have a silver/gold body with black stripes and orange accented fins.

It is an active schooling fish and is sometimes aggressive towards other fishes in the tank. It is a fun fish to watch and you’ll enjoy how it will chase down the long or slow-paced fishes in the tank.

Tiger barbs are shoaling fish, which means that they enjoy with other fishes of their species to be social and have company.

So, it is always advised to keep these fishes in groups of 6 or more because they can get aggressive if they are in fewer numbers. They start nipping the fins of long-finned species of fishes.

The Tiger barb will mostly hang out in the mid-level open areas of the tank and thus you should have a lot of space for swimming. It can grow up to a maximum of 3 inches but the normal length of this fish is 2 inches.

The lifespan of these fishes is from 5 to 10 years and that too with moderate care. Because of their small size, these fishes don’t require that much tank space.

However, they still love to swim freely and there should be enough space for their maneuverability.

Tiger Barb Gender Differences

Female tiger barbs are heavier and bigger than the male ones. The male tiger barbs have bright colors and they develop a red nose when they are going through spawning.

Tiger barbs tend to eat their eggs if they get a chance and thus it is advised to keep the eggs separately. Female tiger barbs have around and bigger belly as compared to their colorful male counterparts.

Types of Barbs

There are a few varieties of tiger barbs which include the original tiger barb, green tiger barb, and gold/albino tiger barb. These fishes have bred selectivity for their colors and the different breeds are because of their unique colors.


Tiger Barb Care

Tiger barbs can easily tolerate a wide range of water conditions but it is better to keep them in slightly acidic and soft water.

An ideal tank for Tiger barbs should have enough space for swimming and there should be a good quantity of artificial or live plants there. Temperature is not an issue and you can keep these fishes in an unheated tank too.

A fine substrate can be added to the whole setup and good lighting can play a good role too.

The tank substrate should be small and dark such as well as polished stones or pebbles. You can choose any tank plants you want to place.

Aquarium Conditions

You can also place some shadowed corners for the fish so that it can hide and play easily. A minimum of 30 gallons is ok for these fishes to live happily with heavy plants and plenty of rocks, ornaments, and driftwoods.

If you can’t keep plenty of plants or rocks, don’t worry but the most important thing to consider is providing them with adequate space to swim.

You can remove the tank water occasionally and put around 25% of fresh water according to the tank’s capacity. Also, it is important to make sure that tank water filtration takes place regularly.

Tiger Barb Feeding

Tiger barbs are omnivorous and you can feed them with dry food or plants or anything life. However, make sure that you don’t feed them a lot to avoid obesity.

Because of obesity, the male fishes lose the ability to fertilize the eggs and the female fishes aren’t able to lay eggs and they eventually die. If you want to reduce the risk of obesity, add more plants to their food.

This will also reduce the risk of adult fishes nipping the plants of the tank. Feeding the tiger barbs with live food once a week is a good option otherwise, they will attack other tank mates and nip their fins.

When you feed the fishes with artificial food, make sure it is of good quality because the fishes can die because of low-quality food. Also, if the food quality isn’t up to the mark, there is a chance that these fishes may get infections.

Their diet consists of frozen food and freeze-dried, vegetable-based flake, brine shrimp, bloodworms, and glass worms.

If you have a filtration system installed in your tank, it will make the bloodworms circulate and become easily accessible for the Tiger Barbs.

Tiger barbs will eat almost anything you’ll give them but mostly they like dry foods such as tropical fish flakes.

The protein-rich foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia will boost the protein requirements of the fishes and make them more lively and vibrant.

Tiger Barb Tank Mates

Tiger barbs are very social and they need companions to live happily. For this reason, you should keep them in a group of at least 6 fishes.

As mentioned earlier, they become aggressive and nippy if they are fewer fishes in the tank.

Though keeping the Tiger barbs in a school of fishes reduces their aggressiveness, but it doesn’t guarantee complete peacefulness.

Keeping a long and slow tank fish isn’t a good thing because the tiger barbs tend to be aggressive with them.

Fishes such as betta, congo tetra, goldfish, dwarf gourami, and freshwater angelfish aren’t a good choice for keeping with the tiger barbs.

Tiger barb male fishes are very aggressive and they fight with their tank mates but don’t worry. The fight won’t end in the death of a fish.

Some of the suitable tank fishes include Catfish, Zebrafish, Tetras, Platys, loaches, Rainbow Sharks, rainbow fish, Pleco Fish, Molly Fish, gourami fish, and freshwater plants.

Overall, tiger barbs aren’t a good choice for keeping in community tanks they will be more suitable for a school-type setup of 6 or more fishes from the same species.

They will spend time playing with each other and chasing their friends.

Tiger Barb Breeding

Tiger Barbs are ready to breed when they are around 5 to 9 months old. Tiger Barb fishes are very independent and they start swimming and eating themselves when they are 3 to 4 days old.

They start developing the colors as adult fishes when they are one month old and when they are 2 to 3 months old you can easily tell the difference between a male and a female tiger barb.

A female tiger barb can lay around 400 eggs and sometimes they can lay around 800 eggs too. Then the eggs take 1 to 3 days to hatch according to the tank’s temperature.

If you want to breed tiger barbs, you can keep one fish couple in a spawning tank and there is no need to add substrate in it.

A minimum of 4 gallons of water is required to keep a fish couple in a tank for breeding. In the spawning tank, add 25% of freshwater and 25% of distilled or rainwater. The remaining water should be added from the old tank.

The ideal tank temperature for breeding is 77 to 82 F. Choose a bright and active male fish and a female fish with intumescence on the forepart of the abdomen. Also, it is good to have a male fish that is older than the female fish.

Keep a separator net at the bottom of the tank through which the fish eggs can easily go. Before spawning, keep the fish couple apart for around 1 to 2 weeks and in the meantime provide them good nutrition.

Put the fishes in the spawning tank in the evening and the spawning will start itself in the morning and will last for 2 to 3 hours.

Take out the fishes after the spawning over and take care of good water aeration, also it’s good if there is some exposure to sun rays. After 1 to 3 days the eggs will hatch and fry will come out.

Common Diseases

Tiger barbs don’t have any specific diseases but they are prone to common fish diseases such as cottonmouth and ich. To make sure that your Tiger barbs don’t catch an infection or disease, it is important to take proper care.

You must make sure that the water condition is according to their requirement and they are fed properly with nutritious and healthy foods.

Good filtration and regular maintenance of the tank also ensures a healthy place for tiger barbs.

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