Max. size: 7.0 cm / 2.8 inches
pH range: 6.0 – 8.0
dH range: 5 – 19
Temperature range: 20 – 26°C / 68 – 79°F
The tiger barb has long been one of the most popular and most kept aquarium fish species and there are today a wide variety of different color morphs available in the aquarium trade besides the common tiger barb. Such morphs include albino tiger barbs, green tiger barbs and golden tiger barbs.
The tiger barb originates in South-East Asia and are native to Indonesia and Malaysia. They live on the Malay Peninsula, on the island of Sumatra and on the island of Borneo. The tiger barb can however today be found in many waters around the world where it voluntarily or involuntarily have been introduced by man. Countries where it has been introduced includes Australia, Singapore, Suriname and Colombia.
Tiger barbs are suitable for beginner aquariums where they are best kept in large schools. Tiger barbs can often resort to fin nipping if they are kept in too small schools but this is seldom a problem if they are kept in large schools. It is however still recommended to avoid keeping tiger barbs with slow moving, long finned fish species. The average life span in a well kept aquarium is 6 years. Tiger barbs should preferably be kept in aquariums no smaller than 60 centimetres (24 inches) long. The aquarium should be decorated with hiding places among plants and plenty of room for swimming. Rocks and driftwood will also be appreciated.
Tiger barbs are very easy to care for as long as you keep the water parameters within the ranges given in the beginning of this article. Try to keep the water temperature in the upper part of the recommended range, ideally 23 – 26° C (74-79° F). They are omnivorous and will accept almost all food that is presented to them and they willingly accepts flake food. Try to vary the diet of your tiger barbs as much as possible even if it possible to keep and breed tiger barbs on nothing but flake food.
Tiger barbs are easy to breed and the largest problem is usually to prevent the parents from eating the eggs and fry. They often spawn in regular community aquariums but it is rare for any fry to survive in a community aquarium. Most often the eggs get eaten well before hatching. They are easy to sex as the female tiger barb is larger and have a much rounder belly. Males have distinctive red noses, and above the black part of their dorsal fins you can see a characteristic red line. The dorsal fin of the female is mainly black.
If you want to breed your tiger barbs it recommendable to setup a breeding aquarium with some kind of egg protection device in it that prevents the parents from eating the eggs. A layer of common glass marbles on the bottom of the tank will do well for this task. Fill the breeding aquarium with water from the main tank. Move a round female to the tank and a male to the breeding tank. They will likely spawn the next morning or at the very least the morning after if they are in spawning condition. If you fish hasn’t spawned in tree days a recommend trying another pair instead. The eggs are sticky, do not float in freshwater and are usually slightly above 1 millimetre (0.04 inches) in length. The number of eggs usually ranges from 300 to 500. The fry becomes free swimming after about 5 days and can be fed newly hatched brine shrimp. The fry grows relatively fast and usually reaches sexual maturity in about seven weeks at what point they are 2-3 centimetres (0.8-1.2 inches).