Monday, April 21, 2008

Tiger Barbs

Data Sheet A green tiger barb
Scientific Name:Puntius tetrazona
Other Name:Sumatra Barb, Green Barb, Albino Bard, Partbelt Barb, Tiger Barb, Five stripe Tiger Barb, Moss-banded barb, Moss barb, Gold Tiger Barb
Origin:Indonesia, Sumatra, Borneo
Adult Size:5 cm
Social:Antisocial except in groups. See below.
Minimum Tank Size:25 gallons
Diet:Omnivorous - readily accept flake food and worms.
LifeSpan:5 years
Ideal pH: 6-8
Temperature:20 – 26°C / 68 – 79°F
Tank setup: Provide plenty of broad leave plants for them to lay eggs on

a pair of tiger barbs.

A 'green' tiger barb
An Albino Tiger Barb


Tiger Barbs has large stocky body. It gets it name from the black bands that run vertically on its bright orange or silver body, much like a tiger's stripes. There are many varients of this fish, including the Abino version, which is more light gold in color with white bands, and the Green version, in which the body is does not have any stripes and is almost totally green. The Green tiger barb looks green because of the so called Tindall effect.


Tiger barbs originate from 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 is frequently found in clear or turbid water. The typical Tiger barb habitat is a shallow and medium fast stream in the tropics where the water temperature is high. Freshwater Tiger barbs have also been found in swampy lakes where the water level fluctuates a lot. This type of fluctuations is commonly associated with fluctuating water quality as well, and the wild Tiger barb might therefore be more tolerant to changing water quality than what was previously assumed.

Mixing with other fishes:

Most literature suggests that Tiger Barbs are not good community fish, especially when purchased in less than 6 fishes - Tiger Barbs have a mean streak and tend to be nip at the fins of other fishes.

Surprisingly, most literature also found that if purchased in groups of 6 or more, tiger barbs somehow create among themselves a pecking order (which may or may not include the other fishes in the community tank), and generally leaves the other inhibitats alone. This suggests that Tiger Barbs are best purchases in shoals of at least 6.

Despite this, it is recommended to avoid keeping them with tropical fish that are long-finned and slow moving, as tiger barbs may nip at the fins of these fishes.

Diet and Care:

Tiger Barbs are hardly, omnivorous fishes that readily accept a diet of flake food. They are unfussy eaters, and cheerfully nip at most freeze dried worms or live worms. This fish is a hardy fish that can survive in most water conditions, but does require warm water.

In very cold water, these fishes are prone to white spots.


To try to breed tiger barbs, the males should be separated from the females. The male tiger barbs will show bright red noses, and their dorsal fins will have a red line about the mainly black fin. In addition, the ventral fins will turn bright red. The female Tiger Barbs tend to be small, and have plumpest bodies. After separating the Tiger barbs based on their gender, feed the Tigers barbs well: Well fed Tiger barbs are more likely to spawn. Some literature suggested that certain protein rich diet such as freeze dried tubifex or live food are excellent choices. The water temperature should be relatively warm, around 25-26 C (75-80 F) and broad leaves plants are required so that the Tiger barbs has somewhere to scatter their eggs. After separating them for a few days, you may reintroduce the females and males tiger barbs together again.

Spawning will usually begin very soon when the Tiger Barbs have been brought together again. During this courting period, the male will chase the females. When a female Tiger Barb starts scattering her eggs at the spawning site, the male will attempt to follow the female to fertilise the eggs.
After spawning, adult tiger barbs should be removed from the aquarium, since Tiger Barbs are known to eat their own offspring. Free swimming fries will be hatch after approximately five days.

Photo Galley

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Tiger barbs with silvery body

Several Albino Tiger Barbs

References Cited:

1. Tiger Barb, [Online] Available,
Accessed on 22 Apr 2008,
2. Tiger Barb - Puntius tetrazona, [Online], Available, Accessed on 22
Apr 2008,

3. Breeding Tiger Barbs - [Online], Available, Accessed on 25 Apr 2008,
4. Moss Barbs [Online], Available, Accessed on 25 Apr 2008,

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