Aquarium Fish

Tiger Barb

The Tiger Barb has black bands that run vertically on an orange/gold body. There are also a few different varieties such as the Albino and the Green.

Stocking this species in a community tank can be risky. This barb is a very active tropical fish that has a reputation for nipping the fins of its tank mates. This fin nipping behavior is most often attributed to not having enough tigers in the tank. With that being stated, they do best when kept in schools of 6 or more. Given their somewhat aggressive nature, it might be a good idea to think twice before adding this barb (or school of them) to a community tank.

They will take regular tropical fish flakes but you should try to supplement their diet every once in a while with brine shrimp or Krill.

Tiger Barb
Green Tiger Variety
Photo Credit: Julie Hallahan


Fish Care Details

Scientific Name : Puntius tetrazona

Common Names : Sumatra Barb, Green and Albino, Part belt Barb

Care Level : Easy

Size : 3 inches (8 cm)

pH : 6 - 7.5

Temperature : 70°F - 78°F (21°C - 26°C)

Water Hardness : 5° to 15° dH

Origin / Habitat : Indonesia, Sumatra, Borneo

Lifespan : 5 years

Temperament / Behavior : They can be semi-aggressive. They do best when kept in a school of 6 or more. Getting only of couple of them will surely bring out their fin nipping behavior.

Breeding : Breeding them can be somewhat difficult. Barbs are egg layers and they will eat the eggs. Provide plenty of broad leaf plants for them to scatter their eggs on. Separate the adults from the eggs.

Tank Size : 20 gallon or larger.

Tank Mates : Avoid keeping them with tropical fish that are long-finned and slow moving. They will most likely not do well with this fish.

Fish Disease : Freshwater Fish Disease - Diagnose, Symptoms and Treatment

Food : Omnivore, will accept flake, freeze-dried and especially live foods such as brine shrimp.

Tank Region : Middle

Gender : The female is usually bigger and the male may develop a red coloration on its nose.

References :

Fish Lore Forum : Tiger Barb Forum


From: Rich - settling down
I originally only bought two and they were constantly pestering the other fish in the tank. Went back to the store and got 4 more after reading about the schooling behavior. They do seem to be settling down. So far so good.

From: Cynthia - calm after getting a small school
I let my son pick our first fish for our very first aquarium. He selected three, one for each child. The barbs started nipping and pestering right off the bat. After a lot of searching and reading I rushed out and got three more. They are basically calm now. Later I introduced a pleco and all is still well. Next I'm going to get a couple of corys and a red tail shark. Cross your fingers. Thanks FishLore

From: Eron
I have two tigers in my aquarium along with my paradise and kissing gouramis, mollies, and even a betta and they have never fin nipped. They are very active and fun to watch, I highly recommend!

From: Stacie
I have 3 tigers and they are fine. I also have in the tank 4 Ballon Belly Mollies, 4 Platys, 5 Red Eye Tetras, 1 Red Tail Shark, and 1 Cory. No fin nipping so far! Thanks FishLore for all of your help!

From: Wilson
Last week I bought eight tiger barbs, four standard and four green. They are now my favorite fish. They get along fine with my glow-light tetras and pleco. The trick is, however, to get a sizable shoal. They did fight within the group on the first few days, but the largest green barb took the leadership position and now the school darts happily around my tank. There is not a single nipped fin in the tank!

From: Kathy
I am just getting back into the freshwater aquarium scene, I have found the entire site to be quite helpful- but I found this bio particularly enlightening. I had stopped using them in my tanks because they always seemed to behave in such an aggressive manner. 6 or more huh? Wow... I didn't think that these little guys had insecurity issues lol. But I will try it - I love the way they look, but 2 barbs in a tank are a real pain in the butt.

From: Peter - chasing each other
When I first got mine, I thought I had made a mistake. For the first couple of days all they did was chase each other around and fin-nip each other. But now they have settled down I am so glad I got them. They are very friendly, and when it's feeding time and they see me coming they are quick to the top of the tank waiting for food. They are also great fun to watch as they are very energetic, and after seeing them, I'm going to get a bigger tank for them. Also they are very hardy, and the first fish I've had so far that has been able to survive the aquarium cycling process.

From: Nipun - Mixing Barbs
Can I put 2 tiger barbs with a molly and and a fighter fish?
I wouldn't mix these barbs with a betta or mollies. The betta's fins would be an easy target for fin nipping and the molly likes slightly brackish conditions but will do ok in regular freshwater. Look into keeping them with similar sized barbs or tetras.

From: Lyn - Albino Variety
There's also an Albino variety that are more peaceful. Their bodies are colored yellow, replacing their black stripes with white and has orange tints on their fins. My albino did well in my community tank.

More Tiger Barb Tips | Tiger Barb Tips 2

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