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 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 and How Do They Work?
Puntigrus tetrazona is a 2.5- to 3-inch (6-8 cm) barb fish that originally comes from Indonesia and surrounding areas in Southeast Asia. This pet store favorite is known for its hardiness, inexpensive cost, and striking appearance that comes in many color variations.
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 normal. GloFish: Fluorescent colors like electric green, purple and many more
A regular tiger barb has four black stripes and orange-tipped fins and nose.
Are Tiger Barbs aggressive? They have been classified as semi-aggressive in the past because they are curious and will pick on any animal 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 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. When necessary, make sure to provide obstacles that can block sight lines so that weaker fish are able to hide from aggressive fish.
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 number of tiger barbs can spread aggression between themselves and other fish. People who only desire five barbs are less likely to have enough room or not invest in them. Prepare to try other species, such as cherry barbs, or a larger school.
Is it possible to mix tiger hairs? It is possible to make a school with tiger barbs of different colors and create a kaleidoscope effect. Hobbyists also prefer to stick with the same type tiger barb when schooling together.
Giving a group of tiger Barbs to your cat (even if they’re different colors) can keep them busy 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.
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 do Tiger Barbs eat?
They are very picky eaters, and will eat almost any omnivore food fish food you give to them. To ensure everyone gets a bite, you can feed them small, fast-eating foods like flakes or pellets. They also like frozen fish food, Repashy gel foods, and freeze-dried foods. 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 typically hatch in about 1-2 days. They are dependent on tiny foods such as infusoria or vinegar eels. Eventually, they can graduate to larger foods such as crushed flakes, micro worms, and live baby brine shrimp.
The Tiger barbs exude a powerful presence 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.