Tiger Barb (Puntius tetrazona)

Tiger Barb

Species Details

Adult size: 3″
Origin: Sumatra and Borneo
Sexing: Females are larger and plumper while males show brighter colors
Care level: Easy
Diet: Omnivore
Breeding method: Egg-scatterer
Breeding potential: Moderately easy

Tank conditions and care

Minimum tank size: 20 gallons
Temperature: 22-26′C


Tiger barbs are very attractive fish and are often recommended to beginners as they are easy to care for. They have a distinctive appearance with four dark stripes running vertically along their body and bright red fins and snout. Breeders have produced hybridized specimens making new color forms available including albino tiger barbs green tiger barbs, which have both become popular in the hobby. They will grow to an adult size of approximately three inches and will live to be around five years old.

Tiger barbs have developed a reputation of being fin-nippers and may be considered semi-aggressive. The way to avoid agressive behaviour is to keep them in groups of at least five and they will squabble amongst themselves without bothering the other fish. They are not suitable in all community aquariums and you should also avoid placing them with any vulnerable tank mates that are slow moving and peaceful or have long fins such as Siamese fighting fish or guppies. Tiger barbs enjoy the company of their own species and if kept in a large group they will shoal together, which can give a great effect in a large tank.

Clown loaches make ideal tank mates for tiger barbs as they are found near to each other in the wild. In the aquarium you will find that tiger barbs will often shoal with clown loaches and adopt a similar behaviour. Other suitable tank mates include other barbs, danios and catfish.

They will swim at all levels throughout the water column but will mainly prefer the middle and bottom thirds of the tank. Provide plenty of natural cover and hiding places such as plants, rocks and caves to make your tiger barbs feel less timid swimming in open water.

Tiger barbs will accept most foods in the aquarium environment. You should feed them a varied diet offering a combination of dry foods such as flake and pellets and live or frozen food like bloodworm and daphnia. A good diet will bring out the strong markings and colors of your tiger barbs.

In the community tank, sexually mature tiger barbs will spawn frequently if provided with suitable aquarium conditions. Tiger barbs will lay several hundred eggs each time they spawn but these will be eaten by the parents and other tank members if not removed from the tank. To breed tiger barbs successfully, they should be seperated and kept in a specified breeding tank with plenty of spawning sites such as plant or spawning mops. Tiger barbs do not raise their own young so the parents should be seperated from the eggs shortly after spawning and the fry can be reared on baby brine shrimp and powdered fry formula until they are large enough to be fed normal aquarium foods.

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