The Tiger Barb is a tropical freshwater fish species found commonly throughout southeast Asia. This species is found living in a variety of natural tropical settings including clear shallow waters, turbid flowing streams and shallow murky waters. Due to this variety of settings, the Tiger Barb has developed a wide tolerance to many varied water conditions. They will do well in an aquarium setup with warm tropical waters ranging from 75 to 82�F, with a pH of 6.0-8.0, a water hardness of 5-19 dGH, and either calm water or moderately turbid water currents. Tiger Barbs do not grow too large, attaining a maximum size of about 3 inches in length. They have unique coloration of silver to brownish/yellow on their body with four vertical black stripes and red coloration on their fins and snout. With their attractive coloration and pattern, wide tolerance for various aquarium conditions and relatively long life span of 5 to 7 years, the Tiger Barb has become an aquarium hobbyist favorite and can be found in practically all aquarium pet stores.
In the aquarium environment the Tiger Barb is an active brightly colored species that will generally be found swimming at lower and mid levels of the aquarium. They have a reputation as being fin nippers; however, this reputation is somewhat unfair as barbs in general exhibit this as part of their natural behavior. It is important to keep Tiger Barbs in groups of 4 or more, so that they can swim as a group and nip at each other instead of other aquarium species. Tiger Barbs will not injure each other with this behavior as it is something barb do amongst themselves and are well equipped for this type of behavior. The nipping only becomes a problem when Tiger Barbs are kept singularly or in too small of numbers (less than four) that they may nip at others in the aquarium who can have their fins injured by this behavior. Tiger Barbs will do best in aquariums that are brightly lit with a good amount of vegetation and some moderate water currents. While they can be kept with all but the most shy of species, they are well suited to coexist well with other boisterous species like loaches, catfish, danios and other species of barbs. Ultimately, the key to successfully owning this barb species is to keep them in good sized groups (6 plus members) and provide them with plenty of mid-level plants and driftwood that they can playfully swim about.
Tiger Barbs are true omnivores and will readily accept a variety of flake, crisp, freeze-dried, frozen or live foods. A typical tropical species staple flake will satisfy their complete nutritional needs; however, they can be offered bloodworms, brine or other similar foodstuffs to give them some variety in their diet.
Tiger Barbs usually attain sexual maturity at around 1.5 inches in total length, or approximately 2 months of age. The females are larger with a more rounded stomach and a mainly black dorsal fin while the males have a bright, red nose with a distinct red line above the black on their dorsal fin. As egg-layers, they tend to spawn several hundred eggs in a suitable area of plants, with around 300 eggs being the norm for a mature breeding population. The eggs are adhesive and will stay stuck to the plants where they were laid. Tiger Barbs will eat their own eggs, so it is important to remove the parents after spawning to prevent them from eating the eggs.