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. You might like the lively, energetic energy of African cichlids, but in a smaller package. Keep reading to learn how to care for this fast-paced, fun species.
What are Tiger Barbs?
Puntigrus Tetrazona, a barb fish measuring 2.5 to 3 inches (6-8 cm), is originally from Indonesia and other parts of Southeast Asia. This popular pet fish is loved for its toughness, low cost and striking appearance. It also comes in many colors.
What types of tiger Barbs are there? A regular or wild-type barb has black vertical stripes with an orange-tipped tip nose and fins, similar to the orange-and-black-striped tiger. You can also selectively breed these other patterns:
– 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 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 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. If necessary, you can provide some obstructions that will block the line of sight so that weaker fish can hide from more 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 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.
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? You should also keep them away any long-finned fish, such as angelfish or betta fish, that might be eaten. Barbs are quick eaters and will often eat slower or less timid fish at dinner, possibly starving them.
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 will eat almost any omnivore fish you feed them. Because they eat so quickly, try feeding them smaller foods that scatter quickly, such as flakes and small pellets, to ensure that everyone gets a bite. They love frozen foods such as Repashy gel food and frozen fish food. Too many bloodworms can cause females to swell, which we have observed. For smoother digestion, you should add some roughage, such as brine shrimps, daphnia and blanched vegetables, to their diet.
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. However, adults will eat the eggs without parental supervision. 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 need tiny foods such as infusoria and vinegar eels. They will eventually be able to eat larger foods, such as micro worms, crushed flakes and live baby brine shrimp.
The Tiger barb is a powerful species, 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.