Fish, Tanks and Ponds

Fish, Tanks and Ponds
A comprehensive guide to fish

Puntigrus tetrazona

Tiger barb

Tiger barb, Puntigrus tetrazonaTiger barb, Puntigrus tetrazona
Photos by Andy Rapson


Puntigrus is derived from the first syllable of the genus name Puntius and tigrus to allude to the Latin tigris meaning tiger.

General Notes:

Tiger barbs can be good community fish with the right tank mates. Slow moving fish or fish with long or flowing fins are completely unsuitable for aquariums housing tiger barbs because they are fin nippers with out rival. Some dealers will tell novice fish keepers that keeping them in a group will stop them from showing any interest in other fish and causes them to concentrate on other members of their own species. In practice this rarely if ever works and shouldn't be relied on. With the right tank mates which are equally lively and boisterous tiger barbs look wonderful especially in a small shoal and they would enhance any aquarium with their presence. Ideally they should be kept in a group of at least six because they have a strong shoaling instinct and it is part of their natural behaviour. There are several aquarium bred colour morphs of tiger barbs which all require the same basic care.


Wild tiger barbs feed on on worms, small crustaceans and plant matter, in captivity they will readily accept flake, frozen and live food.


Female tiger barbs are larger and have rounder bellies than the males while the males have more red on their faces.


Tiger barbs are easy to breed, a well conditioned pair will scatter their adhesive eggs over bunches of plants and if they aren't removed immediately after spawning they will proceed to eat them. The eggs hatch after one or two days and the fry will be free swimming a day later. The fry should be fed on a commercial liquid fry food and when big enough newly hatched brine shrimps

Wild status

The wild status of tiger barbs has not been evaluated. All tiger barbs offered for sale will have been commercially bred.

Information at a glance

pH: 6 - 8
dGH: 5 - 19
Temperature: 20 - 26°C (68 - 78°F)
Diet: Omnivore
Size: 7cm (2.75in)
Min tank size:60 litres
Difficulty level: Intermediate
Aquarium type: Community
Swimming level: Middle

Distribution and habitat

distribution map for Tiger barb, Puntius tetrazona

Origin: Asia: Sumatra and Borneo

Habitat: Found in clear or turbid shallow waters of moderately flowing streams


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Cypriniformes
Family: Cyprinidae
Genus: Puntigrus
Species: P. tetrazona (Bleeker, 1855)

Common name:
Tiger barb

Synonyms: Barbus tetrazona tetrazona, Barbus tetrazona, Capoeta tetrazona