Tiger Barb Fish Become Big Tank Bullies If Left in Pairs

Posted by Christy Caplan
Tiger barb

This active schooling fish is fun to watch! Yet these fish have a reputation for being slightly aggressive and dominant. They're actually known for biting and bumping their tankmates.

The Spruce Pets tells us that they're easy fish to care for and can be fun to watch as it swims at high speed in schools of six or more despite the fact that they nibble on their tank mates.

"When kept singly or in groups of 2-3, Tiger Barbs will terrorize almost any fish that is unfortunate enough to reside in the same tank--especially any with long, flowing fins. Yet if they are kept in groups of a half dozen or more, they will usually keep their quarreling to themselves."

What do you about tank mates? Keep Tigers with fast-moving tank mates instead and never with docile slow-moving fish.

Tiger Barbs are popular fish so what do you need to know about them?

Tank conditions

Tiger Barbs are small and only grow to around 2.5 inches long. They are shaped like barbs with pointed triangular snouts and wide flared bodies.

Fish Keeping World confirms that the tank conditions must include live or artificial plants.

Also, keep in mind the following:

  • For your Barb tank, you should maintain tropical water temperatures between 75 and 82°F, with a pH between 6.0-8.0.
  • The substrate should be fine gravel, with large rocks and cobbles which can be used for shelter. 
  • Submerged freshwater plants and algae provide shelter, breeding ground, and a supplemental food source. These fish like wide open space for swimming. 
  • Tiger Barbs need at least a 20 gallon tank - this would be suitable for up to 5 of them.

What do they eat?

They are fairly low-maintenance.

They need a variety of foods to maintain a healthy immune system which includes flake food as well as live and frozen foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, and beef heart.  

Typical behavior of Tiger Barbs?

These beautiful fish are known to be fin nippers! They are a little pushy. A community tank isn't a great idea for this active fish species due to the nipping behavior. Fast-moving fish like Clown Loach or catfish are great tank mates.

Fish Keeping World says they must be kept in a school of at least 5 individuals, though they prefer no less than 8 and no more than 12. When kept in a group too small, they are more likely to harass other tank mates. Don't keep them alone.

Fish keepers love their eye-catching colors, black stripes, and playful personalities! These tropical freshwater fish are great even for beginner keepers. There is also an albino variant.

They love to swim at high speeds together!

Other fun facts? Fish Keeping World reports some interesting and fun facts about Tigers.

  • They are big eaters and should be fed twice a day.
  • Poor diet is a major cause of illness. Also, keep an eye on water conditions, water quality, water changes, and water conditions.
  • They will enjoy driftwood in their tank as somewhere to hide.
  • The breeding tank should have "soft acidic water, fine-leaved plants, and a bare bottom".
  • Live foods like water fleas, larval and adult brine shrimp work well. This is in addition to fish food.
  • A 20-gallon tank is the minimum tank size for Tigers.
  • Also known by their scientific name Barbus tetrazona
  • The albino tiger barb may be unusual but has white bands.
  • The care level of this fish is easy to intermediate.

There are many species of fish to consider as tank mates but don't add bettas and angelfish. You can add Gold Barbs, Rosy Barbs, or Denison Barbs to your freshwater tank.

Do you have any Tiger Barb fish in your tank? Please let us know in the below comments!

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Tiger Barb Fish Become Big Tank Bullies If Left in Pairs