Tiger Barb

The colors really come alive in this fish gallery picture of a Tiger Barb, Puntius tetrazona, by K.Zadorozhny. I kept a school of 6 Tiger Barbs in my first freshwater fish tank. They are a fun fish to watch. I think Tiger Barbs have gotten a bad name of being aggressive fish. Keeping them in a group, does help them avoid getting into trouble.


Originally, I had two regular Tiger Barbs, as you see above. I schooled those with two Green Tiger Barbs, and two Albino Tiger Barbs. Unlike Tetra fish, who generally only school in their own group, ie. Neon Tetras will only school with Neon Tetras, and Black Neon Tetras wil only school with Black Neons; it doesn't matter with Tiger Barbs. Feel free to mix and match these fish. Some considerations to think about if you're looking to add the Tiger Barb to your aquarium:

  • Tiger Barbs are best kept in groups of 5 or more
  • Belongs to the Cyprinidae family
  • Tank conditions most suitable include 73 - 79°F, pH 6.0 - 7.0, KH 4 - 10
  • Maximum size is 3 inches

I kept my Tiger Barbs in a semi-aggressive tank. Other fish included Loaches, Gourami, a couple Plecos, a Redtail Black Shark, and Swordtails. I never saw the Tiger Barbs attack other fish. One thing they would do, which was quite hilarious, is chase each other around the tank. I'm not sure if it was just a game they played, or something else. They wouldn't do it often, but the Tiger barb in the lead would weave in and out of plants, twisting and turning everywhere. The others followed exactly behind. They would also periodically do face to face duels. Again, I'm not sure if this was to determine a leader, or just a game.

For breeding Tiger Barbs; let them pair off. The male Tiger Barb fertilizes the eggs once the female lays them. You'll want to feed the fry brine shrimp after they beome free-swimming. That takes about a week.
I fed my Tiger Barbs flake food and bloodworms. I also spoiled them with Brine shrimp. This will bring out the lovely red color you see in the photo. I highly recommend the Tiger Barb, if you want a fish that's fun to watch. I miss mine.

118 thoughts on “Tiger Barb”

  1. I had a 29 gal set up with tetras and decided to expand and set up my 58 gal that was in storage. One of the additions to the tank was 6 tiger barbs. No sooner than I added them to the tank they started doing the matting dance. After about 2 weeks I noticed 2 females were very large and so I moved to a 10 gal breeder tank with what I believe was the dominant male. One female jumped out and dried up on the floor, really bummed me out, but the other, today I noticed has lost her belly. I removed both the male and female and was wondering
    A.) Should I keep the small back filter going?
    B.) How long before I can expect to see baby fry?
    C.) What do I feed the fry once hatched?

  2. hey,
    i read all your remarks and enjoyed them to no end.
    my tank is a 48gal that is 48″ long and i have 9 tiger barba 3 blue geramis 1 bala shark 4 silver dollars and 3 feeder goldfish i started the tank with.
    the 3 feeders are almost to 4 ” girth huge.
    i recently added 2 jack dempseys and they get along quite well with each other.
    when you buy fish always drain the bag into the net and add the fish from the net. the less store tank water you add to yours will greatly improve your chances of staying disease free in your tank.
    i do a 25% water change every month and replace filters every 6 weeks watching for when the filter starts to bypass the filter which means time to clean it.
    i feed my fish top fin flakes with freeze dried blood worms in the morning and at night i give them fish flakes with brine shrimp, just because i love my fish.
    i am on my way to buying a 125gal seamless tank and am very excited about it.
    keep up the good advice and i look forward to reading your comments
    take care for now

  3. Hi. I recently got 2 tiger barbs and put them in a 20 gallon tank with my 2 year old pleco. All was fine for the first day, but after that one of the barbs, Frank, started to stay in one corner of the tank and swim with his nose pointed downward, the other barb, Bob, was fine. (i only have 2 cuz i’m waiting for more to arrive at the pet store so i can have a school of 6) I immediately gave a dose of medicine that treats fungus, bladder infections and other things and after a day or 2 Frank seemed to be doing better. Last night i gave the 2nd dose (following the instructions carefully) and now both Bob and Frank are staying in the same corner swimming with their noses down. I’m horribly afraid that they are going to die. Do you have any suggestions on how to keep them alive? (btw my Pleco, in the same tank, is doing wonderfully)


  4. I have a tiger barb who was picked on by another tiger barb and now a good portion of his fins are missing. After that problem was solved the injured tiger barb seemed to be doing well. Today when I came home from work he looks really pale and is acting a little strange. Does anybody know what this might be?

  5. Fish tank, I was looking forward to your advice but with no response searched the web and did a lot reading. The 27th she dropped her eggs and on the 28th I noticed my first fry (wow they are tiny, and boy that was fast) I removed the back filter and put in a bubbler only, water temp. at a consistent 80 degrees. Buy the 4th they were ¼” and they are growing so fast. I started off with baby bits and frozen brine shrimp that I am grinding down as fine as I can. It appears I am addicted because I was in wal-mart the other day and saw this really bright red fish they called it a glowfish, they are a high bread of a zebra danio, finding this out after doing some research after I brought them home. So I picked out a really fat female and what appeared to be a male and threw them in a 1 gal. hex tank and to my surprise in a day her belly was gone, so I removed the parents. Today they hatched J I can count 30 so far but still see egg on the bottom of he tank. I think I have an eye for picking good couples. So to get even more out of control I was in pets-mart and picked out two pregnant females and two male albino tiger barbs. I put each couple in a 10 gallon with a divider and once again we off.

  6. Hi All,

    I’ve been sick and got behind following up here.


    Wow! You’ve really got some activity happening…lol Looks like you are doing all the right things in setting up your quarantine tanks for the fry. Thanks for the update. You’re going to fill that 58 gallon tank in no time at the rate you’re going!


    Tiger Barbs will become pale when stressed. Does it have a hiding spot?


    They’ll swim that way.. it’s normal. I should get some video of mine doing it. It makes a person think they’re sick, but my guess is that they’re allright. Is their coloring ok? Are they active and eating?


    Thanks for the comments and great advice! Keeping the water from the fish store out of your tank is something I haven’t mentioned… and it’s very important. Sounds like you have a healthy, active tank. A 125 gallon aquarium would be awesome.


    I would bet those changing colors have to do with mating. I’ve never seen that.

  7. They do get very excited at feeding time…i recently put the carbon back in after the treatment because there seemed to be no change one way or the other and i didn’t think more medicine was the best idea. And they still have times when they chase eachother around the tank, but mostly they just stay in the corner with their noses down. They’re color seems to be normal, no spots or anything of the kind.


  8. Hi Jaime,

    They sound fine. I’ve currently got 8 Tiger Barbs, and they are much more active as a group… than when I’ve had just 2 in a tank. They really do best in groups of 5 or more.

    If you haven’t already.. Try feeding them freeze dried brine shrimp as a treat. It brings their color out. Mine really get excited when I feed them that.

  9. Hay ther (I saw Mike Earlier), No luck with the Albino Barb. They just didn’t want to drop, I guess I picked the wrong male or they eat what they dropped cuz I didn’t pull them out soon enough.
    My fry Tiger Barb look to be doing good, they are getting some color. But my quandary is the health of the tank and bacteria growing. Do you have any advice on when to clean and how should to go about it? I am only keeping an eye on the PH. What else should I be looking for?
    My Glow fish baby’s didn’t make it, from what my gut tells me I had them to close to the window, and we had a hot day, and the PH went through the roof, and they all died but one. Trial and error (really Suck’s). But she is full again so I have them separated for 5 day and will try again. I will know better this time to keep a closer eye on them,

  10. Hi. I have just got myself 4 tiger barbs. Three of them are looked active and chasing each others. One of them is not joining them i.e. chasing each others but always stay near the surface of the water, not moving much and head pointing downward. Occasionally, the other three chase him and he swam away fast. I noticed no white spots on him and the water is fine. He does not eat much. Is he sick? I don’t feel like giving any medicine if he is not sick. Please help.

  11. Hi Ng,

    Right now your tiger barbs are establishing who is boss. It can be a stressful situation for some fish when they are brought home. You never really know how the stress from being taken to the fish store to being taken home affects them.

    The best you can do is give them plenty of hiding spots. You’re right. Giving medicine won’t help. It takes time and hopefully the fish will adjust to it’s new home.


  12. It does not look good now. The inactive one is flipping over i.e. tummy up and occasionally struggle to swim to maintain normal posture (tummy down) but I noticed his side fins are not flipping and he is trying hard to move by just flipping his tail. What should I do? What medicine should I give?

  13. Sorry to hear that Ng. It sounds almost like swim bladder disease. I’ve read that medications really don’t help that. Do a search for it, and see if it describes your tiger barb’s symptoms. Epsom salt and peas are usually used to treat the fish.

  14. Thanks for your reply. I tried with Epsom salt (in isolation tank) and it seemed like working for a while (a few hours) as the fish got back to its normal posture without flipping over. However, the fish continue to struggle to swim and stay at the bottom. After a few hours later, it lied down flat at the bottom and this morning, he passed away. Thanks for having this great site and your help. Now I am worried about this swim bladder disease spreading to others.

  15. Hello everyone. I just got a fish tank for my 21 birthday which I wished to have. I choosed the tiger barbs just because there are always active and move alot. wooww!!!! back and forth. Crazzy! but beautiful. I thought the male or of its the female chasing the other one all day was driving me crazzy.
    How can I tell if its a girl or boy?

  16. Hi
    I went to the store to buy an albino tiger barb, a few weeks later i dicided i might buy the little guy a friend but i dont know if its best to get another albino or somthing els.
    I also dont want mating so do you know how to tell the girls from the guys.

  17. Hello Yesenia and Jessica.

    Usually male tiger barbs will have redder colors than females. The fins on the bottom are generally a deeper red. Also the males are smaller from top to bottom and form more of a triangle shape. Females have a rounder shape.

    Jessica, Tiger barbs do best in schools, but getting another albino, green or regular tiger barb would give your albino a friend to chase 🙂

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