Maximum size : 8 cm

Tiger Barb - Puntigrus tetrazona : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

Table of contents


Tiger Barbs (Puntigrus tetrazona) is a highly sought-after fish species in the aquarium trade. Appreciated for their low-maintenance and hardy nature, they provide an active and engaging spectacle for aquarium enthusiasts. However, their compatibility with other fish species should be considered carefully.

Fish with delicate fins may not make ideal companions, as Tiger Barbs can be nippy. On the other hand, fast-moving fish like Danios, Platys, and most Catfish make great tankmates due to their similar energetic temperament. One exciting tankmate for Tiger Barbs is the Clown Loach, which not only coexists peacefully but also tends to school with them and mimics their behaviour.

These Barbs are known for their playful and energetic nature, often seen chasing each other around the tank. Providing the right living conditions for Tiger Barbs is essential for their health and happiness. Soft, slightly acidic water is recommended, although they show a reasonable degree of adaptability to different water conditions. Providing a large open swimming area and plenty of live or artificial plants can contribute to their overall well-being. The addition of appropriate lighting and fine substrate will complete the perfect setup for these vibrant creatures.

Tiger Barbs are easily recognisable with their distinctive yellow-orange body adorned with four black vertical stripes. Their faces glow with a reddish hue, as do the edges of their fins. Over the years, various colour variations have emerged, including green, red, black, and albino Tiger Barbs. In addition to the array of colours, there is a long-finned variant of this popular fish species, adding yet more diversity to their appeal.

5 other variants of the Tiger Barb

Below is a list of Variant/Colour Morphs of the Tiger Barb

Tiger Barb Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Once Tiger Barbs reach sexual maturity, sex differentiation becomes relatively straightforward. Females typically exhibit broader and more rounded bellies. In addition to their slightly larger size, females can also be identified by their predominantly black dorsal fins. In contrast, male Tiger Barbs stand out due to their vibrant colouration. Their distinct red noses, particularly noticeable during mating seasons, further aid in their identification.

Another distinguishing feature of the males is the unique red line present on the back edge of their dorsal fins. These differences in physical characteristics between males and females make it easier to discern the sexes of this popular aquarium fish species. The awareness of these traits can be particularly useful for those looking to breed Tiger Barbs or simply to maintain a balanced and harmonious community within the aquarium.

Featured Male
Featured Female
Female Male

Quick Facts

Scientific NamePuntigrus tetrazona
Year Described1855
Other NamesSumatra Barb, Moss Barb, Partbelt Barb
OriginsIndonesia , Thailand , Cambodia
Max Size8 cm
Aquarium LevelMiddle
Best kept asGroups 6+
Diet & FeedingOmnivore
LifespanUp to 10 Years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
pH 6.5 - 7.5
GH 3 - 10
Ideal Temperature
68 - 79
20 - 26

The Tiger Barb has been featured on the following stamps.

Natural Habitat

Originating from the verdant jungles of Malaysia, Borneo, Thailand, Cambodia, and Sumatra, Tiger Barbs are truly a marvel of their natural environment. Intriguingly, these exotic barbs have made their way to various corners of the globe, marking their presence in places like Australia, Singapore, Colombia, and the United States, a testament to their worldwide popularity in aquatic circles.

In the wild, Tiger Barbs are found in tranquil tributaries adorned with rocky and sandy landscapes, dense underwater vegetation, and rivers shaded by overarching trees. In such settings, they indulge in a rich diet comprising algae, insects, invertebrates, and plant debris. Their inclination towards clear, well-oxygenated waters turns their natural habitat into a visual delight.

While emulating this ideal environment for Tiger Barbs in your home aquarium may require some dedication, the rewards of a vibrant, interactive aquatic space make the endeavour undoubtedly gratifying.


Breeding Tiger Barbs necessitates a separate tank setup, serving as a dedicated space for both the breeding process and the subsequent growth phase for the fry. The tank setup should comprise fine-leaved plants and soft acidic water, maintained at a slightly higher temperature than usual. This environment encourages spawning, laying the groundwork for successful breeding.

Another important element is the tank's bottom, which should be bare or equipped with spawning mesh, marbles, or pebbles. This arrangement discourages the parent fish from consuming the eggs, increasing the survival chances of the offspring.

Once the breeding environment is set up, select half a dozen of the healthiest and brightest Tiger Barbs. Introduce them to the breeding tank and observe their behaviour as they pair off. Once the pairs are established, remove the unpaired fish and condition the breeding pairs with a diet rich in live foods.

Spawning generally occurs early in the morning. The female Tiger Barb lays approximately 200 clear to yellowish eggs, which the male quickly fertilizes. Following fertilization, it is important to remove the parent fish to prevent them from preying on the eggs.

Approximately 36 hours after fertilization, the eggs will hatch into fry. In another 4-5 days, these fry will become free-swimming. The dietary requirement of the fry involves providing newly hatched brine shrimp as their initial food source. Continue this until they grow large enough to consume finely crushed flake food. This dietary transition ensures optimal growth and health of the young Tiger Barbs.

Diet & feeding

Maintaining the health and vibrancy of your Tiger Barbs necessitates a varied and nutritious diet. Although these fish are generally not choosy eaters, a diet with high-quality flake food serving as the primary source of nutrition significantly boosts their immune system.

For a balanced diet, consider supplementing the flake food with frozen, live, and freeze-dried food options. These may include Bloodworms, Daphnia, and brine shrimp, which Tiger Barbs readily consume. It's also important to note that these fish have a penchant for small aquatic invertebrates and blanched vegetables.

By providing a diverse range of food types, you ensure that your Tiger Barbs receive a well-rounded diet. This strategic approach to nutrition leads to healthier, more vibrant fish in your aquarium.

1 tank mate idea for the Tiger Barb

Looking for some awesome tank mate ideas for your Tiger Barb? Look no further! Here are 1 of the most captivating and fascinating options that will liven up your aquarium!

Other Barbs of interest