Tiger barbs are small fishes but aggressive. But they can be maintained peacefully under proper conditions. To know about the ideal condition, a beginner’s guide is helpful. They are active fishes and show off their features. They also require low maintenance hence they can be grown by beginners with ease.

Tiger Barb Fish – Overview

Common NameThey are commonly called Sumatra Barb.
Scientific NameThe scientific name of tiger barb is Puntigrus tetrazona. It is also referred as Punitus tetrazona and Capoeta tetrazona.
Habitat or OriginThey are native to Borneo and Sumatra. They are also spread in Puerto Rico and the United States. Naturally, they are spread in Malay Peninsula- lakes, small streams, and swamps.
Average SizeTiger barbs are small fishes that can grow only up to 2.5 inches long.
ColorationThey are seen in a variety of colors. The body of the fish is golden yellow in color. The bands are 4 in number and are black or bright orange. The coloration of this fish resembles an animal tiger. 
Nowadays many varieties of colors of this fish are available. The scales are gold, red, green, and silver. The bands can be broken or solid.
Life SpanThey live for 5 years in the wild. Their life span can be extended to 7 years in captivity under proper care.
DietTiger barbs can feed on Algae. They can be given larvae, water fleas, adult brine shrimp, freeze-dried bloodworms can be given. Commercial food like pellets and crushed flakes can also be given. They can be supplemented with cooked garden vegetables. They should be fed twice a day.
Gender IdentificationThe female fishes are larger and rounder than the males. The males are more streamlined. With regard to color, the males are brighter while the females are duller in shade.
BehaviorTiger barbs are aggressive fishes that are known to nip the fins of other fishes. They compete for dominance. They are active when they are kept in groups of 5 or 8. If they are kept single or as a couple they become stressed and timid.
CompatibilityTiger barbs are compatible with other barbs like Cherry Barb, Tinfoil Barb, and Rosy Barb. Clown Loaches, Tetras, and small catfishes like Corydoras and Pictus can also be kept along with Tiger Barb. Tiger barbs can be kept in a group of 5 or 8.
Ideal Tank ConditionsThey prefer shallow waters which are acidic and murky. The substrate should be fine gravel. They can have large rocks and cobbles. These are used as shelters when the fishes are feeling timid and want to hide. Algae and freshwater plants that are submerged can provide them shelter and breeding ground. For instance, Java Fern and water wisteria can be planted. An Aquarium hood is necessary as the fish can jump out of the tank. For 5 fishes, the 20-gallon aquarium is sufficient. For additional fish, 3 gallons per fish is required.
Water ParametersThe temperature can be between 77 and 82 degrees F. the pH can be 6.0 – 8.0.
BreedingBreeding happens when they reach their maturity at 7 weeks of age. They spawn multiple times with different mates each time. They can produce 500 -700 eggs at a time. Males show brighter color and female becomes rounder in shape once they are ready to mate. These mating dishes can be kept in a breeding tank under the reeds. Once the eggs are laid, the parents should be removed from the tank. The eggs will hatch in 48 hours. They can be fed with larval brine shrimp as the yolk sac falls off in three days. They can be fed with fry foods and micro worms later on.
Common DiseasesFish ich is a common disease. They are seen as white spots on the body of the fish. Water quality should be checked once in a while to avoid diseases in this fish. Stress is another common thing to be noted in this fish. They can be identified by the signs like decreased appetite and activity, paleness, and neurotic or erratic behavior. Paleness and discoloration are also observed.
Approximate CostThe cost of tiger barb can be from $3 to $5. The cost depends on size, color, and quality.
What to look when buyingJust check if the color of the fish is bright. Though females are dull in color, stressed fish shows even pale coloration. Avoid such fishes. Check for white spots on the body. Make sure their fins are proper and not nipped off.
Species in the MarketTiger barbs are available in the market with different coloration. You can choose the color of the scales of your choice.

Gallery of Tiger Barb Fish