Tiger barb (Barbus tetrazona)
Native Location: South East Asia
Size: 5 – 6 cm (2 – 2.4 inches)
Temperament: Semi- aggressive
Temperature Range: 22 – 27℃ (72 – 82℉)
Preferred pH Range: 6.0 – 8.0
Minimum Aquarium Size: 75L (20 gallons)
Potential Tankmates: Tetras, Clown Loaches
Care Level: Intermediate
Enjoy Tiger Barbs as a popular addition to your tank, because of their variety of colours, easy to care for nature, and their ‘show off’ attitude. But, do not let their appearance deceive you. These playful fish do not know how to hold back, and, are appropriately nicknamed, “fin nippers”. They are a member of the Cyprinidae family. Better kept in schools of their kind and cared for by intermediate hobbyists.
The key to a Tiger Barb staying healthy and maintaining a vivid colouring, is to variate their diet. Water fleas and brine shrimp are excellent choices. Try changing things up with some freeze-dried bloodworms and pellet foods. Also, things like algae and cooked garden vegetables (boiled lettuce zucchini and cucumbers.) Consider short-finned community fishes. One of the best ways to manage your "fin nippers", is to limit the amount of fin there is to bite. Add fish that are of their size, without long tails or fins. And a way to handle their aggressive tendencies would be, by adding them to an established tank. They should not be the first inhabitants. If added before other species, they can view any other tankmates as being in ‘their’ territory.
In the middle levels of your tank, you can watch these active fish in schools of a preferred 8 – 12 Tiger Barbs. They are show-offs and known to be aggressive. But, keeping them with the right fish, their behaviours will only be a nuisance instead of harmful. Small hierarchies can form, where they will compete for dominance. Be wary of keeping them alone or in a pair. They can become stressed and timid. In the wild, you will find Tiger Barbs in lakes, swamps and small streams. Their natural habitat is much more biodiverse than your tank. They prefer shallow, murky and acidic waters.
Females tend to be larger than males with rounder bodies and duller colours. Male colours and patterns are more striking. They are temporarily-paired spawners and will spawn in the substrate under submerged vegetation. You will need to condition sexes in separate tanks before pairing them off. Remove adults from the tank, on completion of an eggs deposit.