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Tiger Barb Care and Tank Mate Selection

Updated on February 25, 2012
Tiger Barbs are very popular freshwater aquarium fish. These fish are very active and are best kept in groups of six or more.
Tiger Barbs are very popular freshwater aquarium fish. These fish are very active and are best kept in groups of six or more.

The Tiger Barb is a small and lively freshwater aquarium fish that many people enjoy having in their home aquariums. They have acquired a somewhat problematic reputation, though, because they can tend to become aggressive and nip at the fins of other fish. With the right care and proper water conditions, these tendencies can be minimized so that you can enjoy having these beautiful fish in your aquarium.

Create the Proper Living Environment

The water in the fish tank should be completely cycled before adding any of these fish. They cannot live in water with high toxin levels that can exist in newly setup aquariums. These fish generally prefer the pH of their water to be in the 6.0 to 7.0 range, and a temperature of 74-79F. It is best to include a gravel bottom, plenty of open space for swimming, and some plants in your setup. They will also be happiest if provided with a few hiding places.

The Tiger Barb is a naturally schooling fish that prefers to live in a community with its own kind. You should keep at least six of them in a tank together. Keeping the group larger makes them less prone to aggression with the other fish that may be sharing the aquarium with them.

Choosing Tiger Barb Tank Mates

Though these fish are fairly peaceful, there are certain types of fish that are not compatible with Tiger Barbs because they have been known to nip at the fins of other fish that live in the same aquarium. Tiger Barbs should not have any tank mates with long fins. This includes popular options like Betta fish and Angelfish. Keeping them in larger groups will reduce the nipping behavior but it is still advisable to avoid such tank mates.

Tiger Barb Breeding

With the right water conditions, Tiger Barbs will breed without much effort on the part of the aquarium owner. Increasing the water temperature to 80 degrees will encourage spawning. If you keep a good sized school of 6 or more (better chances of getting a pair with more of them) in your tank, they will pair off on their own. The pair will spawn and scatter eggs over the aquarium substrate. The breeding should then be moved to another tank after they have laid the eggs, because they will most likely eat them if they get the opportunity. The best option is to move the breeding pair into a separate spawning tank and then move them back once they have finished. It takes about three days for the eggs to hatch.

Providing the Proper Diet

They will accept a wide range of foods. You can feed them a high quality brand of fish flakes intended for tropical fish. Their diet should be supplemented with frozen foods like brine shrimp and blood worms. The Tiger Barb will also eat other foods like boiled zucchini and lettuce.

Tiger barbs are widely available in most pet stores. They can be found in three other popular color variations which include the Red Tiger Barb, Green Tiger Barb and Albino Tiger Barb. With the proper living conditions, the right tank mates and a good diet, you will be able to keep a happy group of Tiger Barbs in your aquarium and can enjoy these lively fish without having to worry about how they will fair with the other fish in your tank.

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