Tiger Barb

Species NamePuntigrus tetrazona
Common NameTiger Barb
Care LevelModerate
Lifespan5-7 years
Adult Size2-3 inches (5-7 cm)
Minimum Tank Size20 gallons
Temperature75°F – 80°F (24°C – 27°C)
Water ConditionspH 6.0-7.5, 10-15 dGH

About the Tiger Barb – Species Summary

The Tiger Barb, scientifically recognized as Puntigrus tetrazona, is a lively and striking freshwater fish hailing from the tropical regions of Southeast Asia. This species is renowned for its bright coloration and bold black stripes, reminiscent of a tiger, thus the name. While they are admired for their beauty and energy, they also have a reputation for being slightly aggressive, especially when not kept in appropriate groups. This blend of beauty and behavior makes them a fascinating addition to suitable community tanks.

Tiger Barb Lifespan

A Tiger Barb’s life expectancy generally ranges from 5 to 7 years under optimal care conditions. Their lifespan is influenced by several factors including diet, water quality, and overall environmental conditions. Offering a balanced diet, maintaining pristine water, and minimizing stressors can help maximize their longevity.


Tiger Barbs are renowned for their bright orange or golden-yellow bodies decorated with four distinct black vertical stripes. This bold coloration combined with their streamlined bodies makes them noticeable in any aquarium setup. While the classic Tiger Barb sports the iconic black stripes, selective breeding has resulted in several color morphs, including albino, green, and even a glo variant that glows under black light.

Average Size

A fully-grown Tiger Barb typically measures between 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7 cm) in length. Their size can be influenced by factors like genetics, diet, and overall tank conditions.

Tiger Barb Care

Tank Size

A minimum tank size of 20 gallons is recommended for Tiger Barbs. Given their active swimming habits and preference for schooling, larger tanks are more suitable, especially if one wishes to keep a group.

How To Set Up Their Tank

Tiger Barbs thrive in setups that emulate their natural habitats – tropical freshwater rivers and streams with plenty of vegetation. A mix of sand and fine gravel makes an ideal substrate. Adding dense plantings, driftwood, and rock formations provide the barbs with ample hiding spaces and exploration points. However, ensure some open space is maintained for their active swimming.

Lighting Requirements

Moderate lighting works well for Tiger Barbs. It not only showcases their brilliant coloration but also supports any live plants in the tank. Regular light cycles, mimicking natural day and night patterns, are crucial for their well-being.


The preferred pH level for Tiger Barbs lies between 6.0 to 7.5. While they can adapt to minor fluctuations, maintaining a stable pH level is essential for their health.


Tiger Barbs thrive in water temperatures ranging from 75°F to 80°F (24°C to 27°C). Maintaining this range requires a reliable aquarium heater, especially during colder seasons.

Water Parameters

Water hardness should be maintained between 10 to 15 dGH. It’s crucial to monitor water parameters regularly, ensuring ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates remain at safe levels.

Disease Potential

Tiger Barbs are susceptible to typical freshwater fish diseases, such as Ich, fin rot, and various parasitic infections. Quarantining new fish and plants, conducting regular water changes, and keeping stress levels down are effective preventative measures.

Food & Diet

Being omnivores, Tiger Barbs have a varied diet. High-quality flake or pellet foods serve as a solid base, but it’s beneficial to periodically supplement with live or frozen foods like bloodworms, daphnia, or brine shrimp. The occasional blanched vegetable can also be a treat.

Behavior and Temperament

While Tiger Barbs are lively and entertaining, they are also known for their fin-nipping behavior, especially when bored or not kept in sufficient numbers. They are schooling fish and should be kept in groups of at least six to minimize aggressive tendencies.

Tank Mates

Tiger Barbs do well with similarly sized, active fish that can hold their own. Suitable tank mates include catfish, danios, and larger tetras. It’s advisable to avoid slow-moving or long-finned fish due to the barb’s nipping habits.


Breeding Tiger Barbs is feasible with a little effort. A separate breeding tank with fine-leaved plants or a spawning mop provides a place for the females to deposit their eggs. After spawning, parents should be removed to prevent them from eating the eggs. Once the fry hatch, they can be fed infusoria or finely crushed flake food until they mature.

Tiger Barb FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)