Care Guide for Tiger Barbs – Colorful and Rowdy Schooling Fish
Due to their bright colors and strong schooling behaviors, Tiger barbs are popular pets in pet stores. But they have a reputation for fin biting other fish. If you enjoy the energetic, boisterous energy that African cichlids bring, but in a smaller size, continue reading to learn about how to care and maintain this lively species.
What are Tiger Barbs?
Puntigrus tetrazona (2.5-to-3 inches, 6-8 cm) is a barb fish originally from Indonesia. This popular pet fish is loved for its toughness, low cost and striking appearance. It also comes in many colors.
What are the various types of Tiger Barbs? The wild or regular tiger barbs have black vertical bands and an orange-tipped nose. They also have fins similar to those found on 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 normal. GloFish: Fluorescent colors like electric green, purple and many 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. For some fish, this environment can be too stressful. Keep reading to learn which fish would be best suited 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. 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 be kept together? The more you can buy, the better. 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. You may need to get a large school or find a peaceful species such as cherry barbs.
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. Hobbyists also prefer to stick with the same type tiger barb when 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? Plus, keep them away from any long-finned fish like betta fish and angelfish that may get nibbled. Finally, barbs believe in gobbling their food as fast as possible and can easily outcompete slow or timid fish during dinner time, potentially starving them over time.
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 are not picky eaters and will devour almost any omnivore fish food you give them. 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.
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. Fish fry hatch within 1-2 days. They require small foods such as vinegar eels and powder fry food. They can eventually be fed larger foods like micro worms and crushed flakes.
Tiger barbs have a commanding presence, both in appearance and demeanor. 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.