The tiger barb or Barbus tetrazona are members of the family Cyprinidae commonly referred to as Cyprinids. Their habitat extends through the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra and Borneo. There are also scattered populations in Cambodia.
Their name is purely descriptive. Tiger barbs have an orange body with vertical black striping. Tigers are just one of over 70 species of barbs made commercially available by the aquarium industry. Selective breeding has produced a wide variety of color variations. Color morphs are green, gold and albino tiger barbs. The green tiger barb is highly melanistic. Their body reflects green over the black due to a tyndall effect.
Thetiger barb has an even temperament and makes for a good community fish. They are mid-level swimmers. Barbs do have a tendency to be fin nippers though. This behavior increases in bigger groups. Avoid mixing them with large finned species such as angelfish, bettas and fancy guppies. They are a smaller fish. They only grow to about 2.5 inches long as adults. You’ll want to raise them with similar sized species to avoid waking up to one less fish in your tank.
Barbs are a shoaling fish. Shoaling fish are community dwellers. They instinctively travel in groups. Shoaling fish are ill adapted to a life of solitude. It is recommended that you have at least four of any shoaling fish in an aquarium. Six to eight is even better.
Barbs thrive in soft, slightly acid water with a temperature range between 68-77 °F.
They are omnivorous. They can live out their entire life fed nothing but common tropical fish flakes. But a diet supplemented with pure protein will help keep them fit, vigorous and colorful.
It is not difficult to distinguish between male and female tiger barbs. The males are typically more colorful. Males tend to have more red on their fins than females. The male’s nose will turn red when it enters into its breeding cycle.
Breeding Tiger Barbs
Tiger barbs can be induced to spawn when provided with the right conditions. Tigers typically breed in early summer in the wild. Turn the aquarium thermostat up to 77 or 78 degrees. You want them in softer water such as bottled water or reverse osmosis filtered water. You will also want to increase the waters acidity level to approximately pH 6.5. If these conditions are not conducive to your other community dwellers simply use a breeding tank to create a controlled environment conducive to spawning. You will also want to increase their protein intake by feeding them brine shrimp, bloodworms or meat based frozen or freeze dried food.
Tiger barbs are egg layers. A trait common to egg layers is that they will eat their eggs if given the chance. This can be best avoided by placing a layer of marbles over the breeding tank substrate. The eggs will sink down in between the marbles and keep the eggs safely out of harms way. After the adults have spawned they should be removed from the breeding tank.
The fry will hatch in about 36 hours. They will be free swimming in 2-3 days. Once they are free swimming they can be fed infusoria or liquid fry food formulated for egg laying fish. Larger fry can be fed newly hatched brine shrimp. In about two weeks you will be able to change their diet to finely crushed fish flakes.