Tiger Barb Fish – Habitat, Care, Feeding, Tank Size, Breeding

If you’re looking for a colorful, playful, and fast-paced freshwater fish, the Tiger Barb is a fantastic choice.

Taking care of a Tiger Bard is easy. Besides, adult Tiger Barbs are about three inches in size, which makes them perfect for both species-specific tanks and community tanks.

You should, however, note that Tiger Barbs can be aggressive fin-nippers, so keeping them in a community tank with docile, slower-paced fish with flowing fins is not advisable.

Healthy Tiger Barbs typically live up to 10 years. Keeping your Tiger Barbs healthy and thriving is simple; here is all you need to know:


Tiger Barbs get their name from the four tiger-like stripes that run across their orange-yellow bodies. Their red-edged nose and fins make them even more vibrant.

In recent years, though, Tiger Barbs have been selectively bred to create several color variations, which include black, albino, green, and red.

At their three inches size, they are big enough to avoid being obliterated by bigger fish and small enough to thrive in modest-sized tanks.


The Tiger Barb originates in Malaysia and Borneo. But, you can find non-native populations in Colombia, the US, Singapore, and Australia.

In their natural habitation, Tiger Barbs live in restful tree-lined streams, and tributaries lined with thick vegetation, rocks, and sand where they can access detritus from plants, invertebrates, and algae. They prefer highly-oxygenated and clear water.

Tigers are very adaptive, but they thrive in slightly acidic and soft water.


Each of the barb species is naturally omnivorous. Tiger Barbs accept almost any food, but to bolster their immunity, you should feed them a wholesome variety of foods.

In their diet, include frozen foods like beef heart, blood worms, and brine shrimp, as well as quality flake food. They also like small aquatic invertebrates and can gobble up even cooked vegetables.

Water & Tank Requirements

Tiger Barbs are tiny in size, even when they’re in a larger school, they don’t need much tank space. They are, however, incredibly active. They love to swim fast and frantically, and so it helps if you provide them with enough space to maneuver – a 30-gallon tank is the recommended minimum size.

Besides, Tiger Barbs flourish in aquariums dotted with dense vegetation, rocks, and ornaments. While a densely planted aquarium is not necessary, it does make your Tiger Barbs thrilled, and it provides space for breeding.

So here is how to create a nurturing environment for your Tiger Barbs:

  • You should maintain a tropical water temperature of 77 to 82°F, the water hardness level should at most be 10 dGH, and the PH should range between 6.0 and 8.0.
  • Have a few cobbles and rocks in your tank, which can serve as shelter and add fine gravel as a substrate. Tiger Barbs thrive at many light levels and depths; the standard hood light will work just fine.
  • Under-gravel or low-flow filter can recreate the small currents that characterize the Barb’s natural habitat.
  • Algae and submerged water plants provide breeding ground, shelter, and supplementary food. But, Tiger Barbs also love swimming in wide-open spaces, so don’t overcrowd your tank with vegetation. You should leave an open swimming area at the center and place your plants at the corners and sides of the tank.
  • Barbs love bogwood and driftwood; they provide extra covering, but once they decay, the lower the PH, so beware.
  • Barbs are fast, active, and mischievous; they can leap out of the tank if you don’t keep it covered on at all times.
  • Barbs wither when not in a group. If you keep only one or two Tiger barbs in your tank, they’ll become skittish and timid.


Tiger Barbs don’t do well in community tanks. When kept in smaller groups of 2 to 3, they terrorize their tank mates, especially those with flowing and long fins. When you keep them in groups of 3 or more, they keep the jostling to themselves.

Regardless of their group size, though, you should not keep tigers in the same community with long-fined, slow-moving, or docile fish like betas or angelfish.

If you’re going for a vibrant and striking display, you can have a species-specific tank populated with a half a dozen sized groups of each color, complemented by vegetation. Alternatively, you can keep Tigers with other fast-moving fish like catfish, loaches, platys, and danios.


Tiger Barbs mature of about seven weeks of age and spawn numerous times throughout life. For each spawning, they pair with a different mate, and they produce up to 700 eggs.

Tigers typically spawn in the substrate that’s covered by submerged vegetation. If you aim to breed, you should first condition both sexes separately and then allow them to pair off. During conditioning, feed your Barbs 3 times per day and provide then with freeze-dried bloodworms and adult brine shrimp.

Male Barns that are fully conditioned for breeding display more vibrant colors, and the females become rounder and larger. Once ready, you should place them together.

You can place single pairs in a tank with thick underwater grasses and reeds, and medium-sized marbles or cobbles to spawn on.

The eggs will be attached to the substrates and weeds; you should remove them immediately to avert egg cannibalism.

Within 48 hours, the eggs will hatch, and for the next five days, the fly will retain their yolk sacs. Once they’ve lost the yolk sacs, feed them with brine shrimp until they’re big enough to eat thinly crushed flake food.


With their playful personalities, striking colors, and black stripes, tigers will add life to your aquarium. They are fun to watch, playful, social, and make for stunning additions to your tropical tank.

You should, however, reign in on their fin-nipping and feed them nutritious and balanced diets. If you have some experience keeping tropical freshwater fish, you will find the care for Tiger Barbs to be easy and very rewarding. Even if you’re a beginner, you won’t have any issues – they are low-maintenance compared to the species.

Updated: February 24, 2020

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