The Best Tank Mates For Your Boisterous Tiger Barbs

Tiger barbs are truly spectacular fish, and if you are lucky enough to own one, you probably already know this. These brightly colored fish have some of the most unique, fun-to-watch behaviors around, making them a favorite when it comes to fishkeeping.

However, it can be tough when you are just getting started with raising these fun-loving fish. From knowing what to feed your barb to deciding on the setup of your tank, it can be a true challenge when you are trying to figure out how to be a good fishkeeper.

One of the most difficult decisions to make is what kind of fish will get along best with your tiger barb. Although these fish are relatively easy to keep, not all fish will get along well with tiger barbs. Therefore, it’s important that you do your best to make an informed decision when selecting inhabitants for your tiger barb fish tank.

Ready to learn more? Here’s everything you need to know to select the best possible tank mates for your new tiger barb.

Tiger Barbs

Everything You Need To Know About Tiger Barbs

Tiger Barb 5
Photo by Tropical Fish International

Tiger barbs are fun fish to keep, and they are popular choices for aquariums because they add a great deal of liveliness and energy to the tank. However, you need to make sure you select the best possible tank mates, as these fish have a tendency to nip the fins of long-finned fish species.

As a result, you will want to keep your tiger barb far away from creatures like angelfish, Betta fish, and goldfish. In addition, you should try to keep your tiger barb in a group of at least four other tankmates. When you keep these fish in large groups, they will be less likely to nip the fins of other fish. Instead, they will pick on each other – but these fish can hold their own against members of their own species.

These warm-water fish like to be housed in tanks that are between 77 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. As a result, cold water fish will be out. They like to have lots of live plants in a tank, but if your aquarium is not setup to support plant life, that’s ok, too. Otherwise, just make sure you have tons of open swimming space to provide plenty of room for these active fish to swim around.

The Best Tank Mates For Your Energetic Tiger Barb

Tiger Barb 2
Photo by Tim Bates

When you are selecting the best tank mates for your tiger barb, you should think carefully about the advice we gave you above. In addition, you will want to consider adding your tiger barbs to a tank after you have introduced other tank mates. If you wait to add a tiger barb until after the other tank mates have been introduced, you will likely see reduced aggression and fin nipping by your tiger barbs.

If you aren’t sure where to start, you might want to consider these best tank mates for your new fish.

1 Cherry Barbs

Cherry Barb 1
Photo by Simple Nature of Things

The colorful cherry barb is a popular choice in a tiger barb fish tank. A gorgeous fish with a cherry-red hue and a shy personality, this fish won’t like bothering other fish in your tank. It does need a large tank -at least 20 gallons or more – but this is also the size that is preferred by your tiger barb. The cherry barb is easy to care for, requiring minimal special care and living on a diet that is comprised mostly of fish flakes and occasional bloodworms or frozen brine shrimp.

The cherry barb only grows to about two inches in length. It can tolerate temperatures of about 73 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit, which will also be perfect for your unique tiger barb.

2 Corydora Catfishes

Corydora Catfish

The Corydora catfish is a great addition to the freshwater tank. This calm fish is not aggressive and prefers to hang out at the bottom of the fish tank. Therefore, it can help keep your tank clean and will also look fantastic. Also known as the cory, this naturally social fish loves hanging out in groups of at least two other fish. A schooling fish, it is best kept in groups of more than six.

This fish is the perfect tiger barb tank mate because it won’t come into contact with your tiger barb, who will hang out in different areas of the tank. However, it’s important that you give this fish at least two inches of deep substrate at the bottom of the tank. This fish also needs lots of hiding places like rocks, caves, and aquatic plants.

This fish is an algae-eater, so it will feed mostly on the bottom of your tank. However, it can also be fed regularly with pellets, flakes, and bottom-feeder tablets for best results. An easy to care for fish, it prefers cooler waters but can tolerate the lower range of the tiger barb’s preferred temperature range.

3 Mollies

Shortfin Mollies

The molly is one of the easiest and most popular species of fish you can raise. A docile, easy-to-care-for fish, the molly is rarely aggressive (although aggression can sometimes occur in males. Mollies are schooling fish that do best in groups, but you should keep only one male or perhaps lots of females.

These fish are small, only growing to a maximum of six inches in length (although usually they are much smaller) but since they prefer to be with members of their own kind, you will need a semi-large tank. Don’t have a tank that is smaller than 25 gallons or you risk overcrowding your fish.

Most mollies will stay in the range of three to four inches, but they are livebearers, so you will likely have lots of young ones to care for if you keep a mixed group of males and females. It’s recommended that you only put one male with a large group of females to avoid stressing out one single female.

Otherwise, mollies are easy to care for. They are omnivores that will eat a wide variety of flakes, pellets, plants, and live or frozen foods. These fish produce a lot of waste, so it’s recommended that you keep them in a tank with an excellent filtration system to prevent algae growth and other problems.

4 Rosy Barbs

Rosy Barb
Photo by groovysuvi

The rosy barb is a large barb species that is actually the largest in this family. It is a schooling fish that does well when housed in community tanks of 30 gallons or more. You will want to keep this fish in a group of at least six of it own kind. It will be more active and peaceful as long as you keep it with others of its species, and will eat just about anything you have in your tank – it will even eat small amounts of algae!

Nevertheless, taking good care of this fish requires that you feed it a varied and nutritious diet with plenty of pellets, flakes, plant matter, and small live foods. It will even eat peas and zucchini! Just makes sure you cut both into small pieces before feeding. This fish is active and energetic, usually growing to about six inches in length. The rosy barb is known to jump, so you will want to put a tight-fitting lid on your tank, too.

5 Red-Tailed Sharks

Red-Tailed Sharks
Photo by jimfishybob

Red-tailed sharks are interesting fish that require large tanks but are otherwise great for your tiger barb tank. These common fish should be kept in tanks of at least 50 gallons. They are excellent scavengers, preferring to eat a diverse diet of leftover food, flakes, pellets, live food, algae, and frozen items.

They should not be kept with small fish, as they can become aggressive, but as long as your fish are at least five or six inches long you should have no problem. These fish like tanks with plenty of caves, plants, and rocks, but they also need tanks with tight-fitting lids, as they can be known to jump.

6 Platies

Platies fish
Photo by Jessica MacDougall

The platy is another common species of fish. Easy to care for, this fish is a livebearer and is easy to breed as well. It is exceptionally peaceful and does not succumb to stress often – just make sure you keep them at a ratio of one male for every two females. A brightly colored fish, this species is gorgeous to look at and does not need a large tank – ten gallons will suffice.

These fish can eat a variety of pellets, live foods, frozen foods, and even flakes. They are excellent companions for tiger barbs but you will want to keep an eye on both species to make sure no fin nipping occurs. Only growing to a maximum of two or three inches in length, platies can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, from 65 degrees all the way up to 78.

7 Tetras

Blackskirt Tetras

The tetra is similar to the molly in that it is a very popular species of fish for a freshwater tank. There are over 700 different types of tetras, so you will have plenty to choose from in your hunt for the perfect fish. Some of the most popular tetras are ember and neon tetras. As schooling fish, they do best in large group of at least six.

Small and easy to care for, tetras are beautiful fish that are not aggressive and will do well with any tank mates that are not large enough to view them as a snack. They can be fed any type of food, including flakes, frozen foods, or freeze dried foods. Keep in mind that some tiger barbs can be aggressive toward tetras, so you will want to keep a close eye on your individual fish to avoid any problems.

Otherwise, tetras are not difficult to include in your tank. They can tolerate a wide range of temperatures – all the way from 68 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit – as well as occasional beginner mistakes.

8 Plecos

Golden Nugget Plecos

Plecos are similar to corydoras in that they are tropical catfish with hard armor plates. Unlike corydoras, however, these fish can grow to massive lengths – some can be 20 inches or longer! As a result, these larger fish will do best in large tanks, ideally those that are larger than 100 gallons.

There are dozens of plecos varieties available, but keep in mind that if you are keeping a tiger barb aquarium – or one that is simply smaller – you will want to choose a small plecos, such as the clown plecos, which only grows to about four inches.

Plecos are unique in that they prefer to be housed without members of their own kind – they are definitely non schooling fish. That being said, they aren’t aggressive toward other tankmates and therefore make perfect tank mates for tiger barbs. These bottom-dwellers can help remove the excess algae in your tank but you should also feed them algae wafers as supplements to help provide them with plenty to eat.

9 Tinfoil Barbs

Photo by Ken_Lord

Tinfoil barbs are unique fish that look just like you might expect – like tinfoil! They are shiny, silver, and absolutely gorgeous to look at. Most tinfoil barbs need tanks of at least 75 gallons in size. They are active swimmers and prefer to be kept in schools of six or more. Ibn addition, they can grow to over a foot in length, so a large tank is an absolute must.

Otherwise, you can feed these fish a varied diet with plenty of flakes or pellet foods as well as plants, live foods, and frozen foods.

10 Swordtails

Swordtails 1
Photo by Valentin Hintikka

The swordtail is another popular fish for your tiger barb aquarium. An Eye-catching species, this hardy fish can be housed in a tank of about ten gallons in size. You should only keep one male in the tank. These fish are livebearers, so keep in mind that if you keep multiple swordtails together, you will probably end up with quite a few fry. Otherwise, these fish are easy to care for, eating both frozen and flake foods.

You Should Create A Tiger Barb Aquarium

If you’re ready to include tiger barbs in your freshwater aquarium, you’re in luck – there are plenty of species for you to choose from as potential tank mates. You don’t need to keep your tiger barb isolated! Instead, choose one of these fun-loving, easy-to-care for species as your next addition.

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