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This page will give a completely detailed profile of the selected fish, from A to Z. The profiled fish will be chosen randomly by Badman, and will come from the complete genre of tropical fish. New profiles are added on a regular basis. If you would like to submit a profile for the site please contact me. Don't forget to let us know you experiences with this fish by filling out the



Tiger Barb

Puntius tetrazona


    One of the most popular species we keep today. Through selective breeding many different variations are on the market. They tend to nip fins so it is best to keep them in groups of six or more.

Quick stats:

    Listed tank sizes are the minimum
    Size: Up to 3" (7cm)
    Tank: 24 inches
    Strata: Bottom, middle
    PH: 6.5 to 7.5
    Hardness: Soft to medium. dH range: 3.0 - 10.0
    Temperature: 68°F to 78°F (20-25°C)

    Order: Cypriniformes
    Suborder: Cyprinoidei
    Family: Cyprinidae
    Genera: Puntius

Tiger Barb

Common name

    Tiger Barb, Sumatra Barb

Image gallery:
    Additional species photographs


    Badmans' Forum


    Borneo and Sumatra, also reported in Thailand.

General Body Form
    Tall and stocky with a large Caudal Penducle. This barb has no Barbels. Males are slimmer with brighter colors.

    There are many different variations of the Tiger Barb available today. They range from the Albino to the Green, I will describe the "original" and in my opinion the prettiest, here. Counting the eye stripe there are four wide Black-Blue bands running across the body The third band starts at the Black base of the Dorsal fin and extends down to the start of the Anal fin. The Dorsal and Anal fins are a bright Red-Orange and the rest of the fins are a paler shade of Red. The rest of the body is a Brown-Orange color and the Back is almost like an Olive Green. The scales viewed under the right light have an iridescent Gold or Brass look to them. Beautiful!

    The only drawback to these fish is their tendency to nip the fins of fish in the tank, especially angels. Single specimens tend to be aggressive and should not be kept. Tiger Barbs should be kept in a school of at least six fish. The tank should be sparsely planted with plenty of open space for swimming with a sandy bottom for digging. Feeding is not a problem as they will accept all types of food including flake and frozen, don't overfeed as they are ravenous eaters and will eat all you give them. They prefer a temperature of between 73° and 82°F and a pH of 6 to 7.5 with soft to hard water.

tiger barb

    Bottom areas of slow moving and calm waters on Sumatra and its' other locals.


    Male tiger Barbs are slimmer and more colorful than the females. They breed similar to other Barb species. The breeding tank should have a thin layer or no substrate and a few leafy plants and be as large as possible. Condition the spawners with the best food possible for a few days before transferring them to the breeding tank. They usually will spawn the morning after being introduced to the tank, a partial water change can also induce spawning. The female is the more active partner and will lead in the courtship. After chasing and false matings the pair will spawn in the plants, with the partners coming alongside each other and the male twisting around the female. The eggs are scattered among the plants and they can be quite large in number. Tigers, like most Barbs are spawn eaters and should be removed from the tank right after mating. The transparent eggs will hatch in about 24 hours at a temperature of 75° and the small young must be fed the finest of food like Brine shrimp Nauplii, once a little growth has taken place they are fairly easy to raise.

    tiger barb

Your comments:


Please remember that the following comments are personal experiences and may or may not apply to your setup. Use them as guide to help better understand your fish, like us all individuals will behave differently under different circumstances.


From: Cyneah
I have a 75g tank with 10 tiger barbs, 8 Serpae Tetras, rainbow shark and 5 Silver dollars. Everyone gets along very well. The rainbow shark doesn't mess with anyone, sometimes during feeding, he chases a tiger barb. The tiger barbs sometimes try to harass a silver dollar, but they just turn and look at them and off they go. I love the tiger barbs, they always swim up to the front of the tank when I approach.
From: David
First do your research. Second when getting tigers buy a school. I have 12 in a planted 60 gal with many other fish, they so very well and are amazing to watch. But yes, getting only 2 or 3 would most likely turn out bad for any peaceful dish you have. These fish are wonderful and really take very little work, only consideration I would advise is keeping a school of 8+.
From: Stuart
In my experience of these (they were one of the first tropical fish I bought) most "reviews" are false for the past 3-4 years Iv had tigers share a 7ft long x2ft high x1ft wide tank with a betta splendens (male and female),guppies,sailfin mollys, glowlight tetras, cardinal tetras, otocinclus and 2x kissing gourami with a few bronze corys Iv never had any problems whatsoever with fin nipping and they fit in perfectly to my "reed bed" as for vertically striped angels they see them as one of them (shape and colours are similar) so they class them as one of there shoal so obviously its going to get the same treatment they give each other.
From: Hannah Davis
I've noticed a trend with people's negative comments involving tiger barbs, and it seems the majority of people do not get the recommended number- 7+. Tiger barbs are schooling fish and don't do well in groups less than 7-8. General rule is 7+ and your barbs will keep to themselves. I prefer 10+ with a rule of more females than males. Mine do just great in their well planted 55, the male's flashy spawning colors are fantastic!
From: Lee
I recently got my first tank, I got it all set up with a custom made stand a 55 gallon tank, got my filter and my heater, set up my air pump and had all my ornaments, and after a little while with having it running I was finally ready to add some fish. Well at first I got myself two angel fish, and two rainbow sharks. I brought them home and they seemed to be doing great. I then went back to petsmart some time later and wanted to add to my tank. I asked the employee what other fish would go good with my setup. They had told me that any fish with a green label (on there displays) will go good with one another. So then from a distance I spotted the beautiful and entertaining tiger barbs. So I got two of them. I took them home and put them in the tank and they seemed to hate one another and soon they turned on the angel fish. I have sense had two angel fish killed from my tiger barbs, so I started doing some research online and I have read that tiger barbs tend to keep the shenanigans to them selves as long as they are in a school of at least 6 or more. So my advice is to get fish that are just as fast and even bigger if possible. I love my tiger barbs but my wife does not like the fact that they kill her angel fish.
From: Lori
I have owned tiger barbs on several occasions. My husband and I recently obtained a 55 gallon tank and stocked it with 4 tiger barbs 3 albino tiger barbs, several cichlids , catfish and a variety of other barbs. Since I have had prior experience with these fish I already knew of their aggressiveness and their loving of eating at soft finned fish. In a weeks time I have had a pair mate and all is well. It was an amazing sight. There have been no disruptions with the other species in the tank. You have to carefully choose the fish species that will house with barbs. Definitely go to a professional fish store for information not Wal-Mart or Petsmart. I have what is called an aggressive community tank and love it. Everyone seems to get along just fine not to mention that it is a beautiful tank of colors and depth ranges. Good luck to you and yours.
From: Vix
I've never had any fin nipping problems in my tank. Even though for a while I had a single tiger barb with 3 guppies and a couple cherry barbs. (He was alone because his buddies slowly died off one by one). Singly he was one of the most skittish fish I ever owned. Now with 5 more of his own kind, I still do not have fin nipping problems. Tiger barbs have been just plain fun to watch. They really do have their own personalities. But they really do best in a minimum of 20 gallons.
20 gallon - 1.5 years
10 gallon - 2 years
55 gallon - 3 months
From: Dean
I agree with Clif. I have a community tank with 10 Tiger Barbs and 6 Albino Barbs. If you want to keep barbs go with as many as your tank will accommodate without over-crowding...Afterall it's great to see them schooling. Tank mates should be both fast, hardy and larger if possible. My barb tank mates are 2 pearl gouramis and 2 geophagus cichlids -- both hold their own with the barbs. There is rarely any fin nipping between species.
From: Clifton Irwin
It's really sad to read so many negative comments about Tiger Barbs. I have a school of seven and would not have a tank without them. I have them in my 124 litre Community tank with no problems. They chase and play with each other not giving the others much notice. As a mater of fact the rainbow shark tends to bother them more than the other way around. I think the trick is to get them as young and small as possible. That way they grown with the other inhabitants of the tank. Just my point of view. Cheers Clif
From: Lori
When I started my tank I got 2 Tiger Barbs, 2 Long-Fin Rosy Barbs and a Cory Cat Fish. The Rosys would chase each other playfully and the Tiger Barbs seemed OK until one of them became substantially bigger than the other. The bigger one constantly chased and nipped at the smaller one, until he hid. Eventually I came home one day and found the smaller Tiger Barb so chewed up and nearly dead, and witnessed the larger Tiger Barb gnawing at him some more, unopposed because he was so close to death. Anyway the smaller Tiger Barb didn't survive (obviously) so I went to the store and they said either I could buy 3 more Tiger Barbs and hope they school or get some other fish that are more peaceful. I opted to get other fish, but apparently the Tiger Barb that I had left had no intention of leaving my tank in peace. One of my new fish was a Clown Loach, and the exact SECOND that he was in the water the Tiger Barb aggressively chased him around the tank. The Clown Loach hid.. Eventually came out, and the Tiger Barb chased him again. I eventually was able to catch the Tiger Barb (who was not easy to get with the net!), but the damage had been done. The Clown Loach was under so much stress that he didn't eat and died the next day. Be careful with Tiger Barbs, they are beautiful and fun to watch, but they are extremely territorial and can be lethal if not kept in large enough groups.

I wanted to tell this story because the person who sold me only two Tiger Barbs failed to mention that fact to me! Had I known as much about Tiger Barbs then as I do now, I never would have bought only 2 in the first place.

From: Robert
Be careful with tiger barbs. I bought three adult tiger barbs and put them in a 30 gal tank with four mollies. The barbs didn't swim around much. They just hovered in the same spot most of the time. The same was true with the mollies. When I found out the barbs should really be kept in larger groups I got three more babies. The barbs started swimming around much more but they became much more aggressive too. A couple months later I added seven male guppies and BOY that was a big mistake. The next morning one of the guppies had its tail completely torn to shreds. The next morning five of the guppies were missing. I can only imagine the horror they must have experienced in during the night. The bottom line, if you keep tiger barbs keep them in large groups with other aggressive fish.
From: Liz
The biggest problem that I'm reading with your complaints about barbs is that you are keeping slower moving fish with them. I have 6 (3 albino and 3 regular) and don't have a problem with nipping. I had 3 larger barbs in my last tank and quickly learned that barbs do not like angel fish. If you feed 2-3 times a day and keep other fast moving fish, or even gouramis, tiger barbs pose no threat.
From: Carlo
I have three albino tiger barbs and three regular tiger barbs. I thought they would school with each other, and I would have both six tiger barbs and still have some variety, but they don't. They clearly hang around in groups of three and three. I have not had problems with aggression, except at first, with the albinos. I solved the problem by taking the fish that had been attacked (his tail was completely eaten off, and I thought he was going to die) and placing him in a breeders net for separation and so he could eat in peace. Once his tail grew back and he could swim, I released him into the tank, and then put him back as soon as there was aggression. Every day. After four days, the aggression stopped, and I've have no problem since. They are great fish, very alert and interested in everything that's going on, and they enjoy chasing each other all around the tank.







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