17 Compatible Tankmates for Tiger Barbs

17 Compatible Tankmates for Tiger Barbs

Tiger Barb

Tiger Barbs (Puntigrus tetrazona) are popular in the aquarium hobby for their bright colors and active behavior. These fish are mildly aggressive and may nip fins. So, tank mates need to be chosen carefully.

Suitable tankmates include Corydoras Catfish, Redtail Sharks, Molly Fish, Swordtails, Pictus Catfish, Clown Loaches, Tinfoil Barbs, Plecos, and Black Ruby Barbs. These species are typically energetic enough to coexist with Tiger Barbs without becoming stressed.

To maintain harmony in the tank, ensure there is ample space and environmental features to reduce aggressive behavior. Regular monitoring and maintenance are essential for a healthy aquarium.

1. Corydoras Catfish


Corydoras Catfish are armored, bottom-dwelling fish suitable for living with Tiger Barbs. They’re known for their peaceful nature and ability to avoid conflicts with semi-aggressive fish.

Corydoras Catfish play an important role in cleaning the tank by scavenging for uneaten food, which helps to maintain water quality.

It’s advisable to keep Corydoras Catfish in groups of at least six, as they’re social creatures and benefit from being in a school. This behavior reduces their stress and promotes healthy foraging.

While they do consume algae, their diet should be supplemented with algae wafers and sinking pellets to ensure proper nutrition, especially in the presence of Tiger Barbs, which may compete for food.

Corydoras Catfish, compared to other peaceful bottom dwellers like Kuhli Loaches, are particularly well-suited for life with Tiger Barbs because of their durable nature and protective armored plates.

Good water quality is crucial for Corydoras Catfish since they’re sensitive to poor conditions. A clean and well-filtered aquarium is important for the well-being of these fish when housed with Tiger Barbs.

2. Redtail Shark

Red Tail Shark

The Redtail Shark, or Epalzeorhynchos bicolor, is compatible with Tiger Barbs in a large, well-designed aquarium. It’s a visually appealing fish that can grow up to 6 inches and prefers the middle to top levels of the tank.

Although not inherently aggressive, the Redtail Shark has semi-aggressive tendencies and needs space for territory establishment to minimize conflicts.

A minimum of a 50-gallon tank is necessary for the well-being of Redtail Sharks. They need an environment with ample hiding spots and vegetation to diffuse aggression.

For cohabitation with Tiger Barbs, maintain water temperatures between 72°F to 79°F (22.2°C to 26.1°C) and stable water conditions to reduce stress and aggression.

Suitable tank mates for Redtail Sharks include large, active fish like Rainbowfish, Gourami, and Danios, as they’re less likely to trigger territorial behavior.

When creating an aquarium community with Redtail Sharks and Tiger Barbs, it’s essential to provide the necessary space, stable water quality, and environmental enrichment to promote a peaceful and healthy habitat.

3. Molly Fish


Mollies, or Poecilia sphenops, are peaceful fish that can grow to 4.5 to 5 inches, making them suitable companions for semi-aggressive Tiger Barbs in an aquarium setting. They’re hardy and need minimal care, which makes them a good choice for community tanks.

A minimum of a 30-gallon tank is recommended to provide enough space for Molly fish, which are active and need room to swim. They can live in water temperatures ranging from 75°F to 80°F (23.9°C to 26.7°C), which also accommodates Tiger Barbs.

You should choose Mollies without long fins to prevent nipping by Tiger Barbs. Both species are social and should be kept in groups to minimize aggression.

4. Swordtail


Swordtails are a suitable choice for community aquariums with Tiger Barbs due to their peaceful nature and similar care needs. They’re part of the Xiphophorus genus and are known for their hardiness, adaptability, and colorful appearance.

Swordtails are active and need space to swim, so a tank of at least 20 gallons is recommended to accommodate them with Tiger Barbs, which can be semi-aggressive.

These fish do well in groups and prefer the company of their species. Swordtails and Tiger Barbs have similar water temperature preferences, which makes them compatible tank mates.

Swordtails aren’t generally targeted by Tiger Barbs for fin-nipping due to their non-aggressive behavior.

For a balanced community tank, monitor fish interactions to ensure no stress or discomfort is present. It’s vital to have a fair ratio of each species and enough hiding places to deter aggression from Tiger Barbs.

5. Pictus Catfish

Pictus catfish

Pictus Catfish, or Pimelodus pictus, are suitable companions for Tiger Barbs in an aquarium setting. These Catfish feature a silver body with black spots and have long whiskers.

They grow to about 5 inches, fitting well with the size of Tiger Barbs. Pictus Catfish are active and peaceful, which complements the energetic behavior of Tiger Barbs without aggression, promoting a well-balanced community tank.

When pairing with Tiger Barbs, you need to consider that Pictus Catfish don’t consume algae and won’t interfere with any herbivorous species in the tank.

A minimum tank size of 50 gallons is recommended to provide ample space for both species to swim freely. The ideal water temperature range for Pictus Catfish is 75°F to 80°F (23.9°C to 26.7°C), which is also suitable for Tiger Barbs.

Decorations and live plants can be added to enhance the tank environment. But they should be secured to prevent displacement by the active Pictus Catfish.

6. Gourami


Dwarf and Pearl Gouramis are typically compatible with Tiger Barbs due to their peaceful nature.

When selecting tank mates for Tiger Barbs, choose fish that can tolerate the Tiger Barbs’ active and occasionally aggressive behavior. Dwarf Gouramis are a suitable choice as long as the aquarium provides enough space and hiding places to reduce stress.

For Tiger Barbs, tank mates should share a similar activity level and temperament. Most Gouramis meet these requirements, but you need to avoid territorial species like the Three-spot Gourami to prevent aggression.

Gouramis suitable for Tiger Barbs shouldn’t be so large as to intimidate them or so small as to be considered prey.

Creating a community tank that supports both species’ needs can result in a peaceful and attractive setup. Close monitoring during the initial introduction period is necessary to ensure compatibility and mitigate any aggressive behavior.

7. Kuhli Loach

Kuhli Loach

Kuhli Loaches are suitable tankmates for Tiger Barbs due to their peaceful nature and tendency to inhabit the lower areas of an aquarium.

These nocturnal fish often hide during the day and are active at night, searching for food on the tank bottom. This behavior is compatible with the mid-water swimming of Tiger Barbs, which are active schooling fish.

Both Kuhli Loaches and Tiger Barbs benefit from being kept in groups, which promotes a balanced environment and allows for natural social behaviors. Schools of Kuhli Loaches can provide an interesting visual contrast to the Tiger Barbs in the upper water levels.

Tiger Barbs can display stress and aggression if not housed in an appropriate group size or tank. Adding peaceful species like Kuhli Loaches can mitigate this, as they’re less likely to compete with Tiger Barbs for space or resources.

8. Red Spotted Severum

Red Spotted Severum can be a good match for a tank with Tiger Barbs. Tiger Barbs are semi-aggressive and active, while Red Spotted Severum are more peaceful.

The larger size of the Severum means they’re less likely to be harassed by the Tiger Barbs.

Red Spotted Severums’ bright red spots and patterns add visual interest to the tank, creating a contrast to the Tiger Barbs’ energy. They may also have a calming effect on the tank’s dynamics, potentially reducing aggression among the Tiger Barbs.

Ensure the aquarium is spacious enough for both species to coexist without stress. Introducing Red Spotted Severum to a Tiger Barb tank offers aquarists a combination of lively behavior and striking appearance, contributing to a diverse and attractive aquarium.

9. Cherry Barb

Cherry barb

Cherry Barbs are suitable tankmates for Tiger Barbs. Their vibrant red color provides a visual contrast to the striped pattern of Tiger Barbs. Cherry Barbs are peaceful fish, which can balance the semi-aggressive behavior of Tiger Barbs.

Compatibility is crucial when pairing fish. Cherry and Tiger Barbs need similar tropical water conditions, which makes them a compatible match. Despite common beliefs, not all Barbs are aggressive; Cherry Barbs are notably calm.

Cherry Barbs should be kept in groups, as this encourages natural behavior and reduces stress, especially when sharing a tank with the more energetic Tiger Barbs.

To prevent Cherry Barbs from being outnumbered or bullied, a balanced number of each species should be maintained.

10. Platy Fish

Fully-grown platies

Platies, or Xiphophorus maculatus, are suitable tank mates for Tiger Barbs because of their peaceful nature and similar size. They grow up to 2.8 inches and can coexist with Tiger Barbs without causing aggression.

Both species are active and can thrive together in a community tank setting. Platies adapt well to a range of water conditions. They prefer temperatures between 70°F to 82°F (21.1°C to 27.8°C) and a pH level of 7.0 to 8.3.

When housing Platies with Tiger Barbs, a minimum of a 10-gallon tank is recommended to provide enough space for swimming and territory.

11. Zebra Danio

Zebra Danio

Zebra Danios are compatible with Tiger Barbs in community aquariums due to their similar water parameter requirements and temperament. These small, hardy fish thrive in the same conditions as the semi-aggressive Tiger Barbs.

Zebra Danios prefer to be in schools of five or more, which helps them show natural behaviors and remain less stressed, an advantage in a shared tank.

With a maximum size of approximately 2 inches, Zebra Danios are active swimmers and don’t typically provoke Tiger Barbs, contributing to a peaceful tank environment. They aren’t demanding in terms of water conditions and can tolerate a range of temperatures compatible with tropical fish like Tiger Barbs.

Tiger Barbs may nip at slower or long-finned fish due to their semi-aggressive nature. However, Zebra Danios, being fast and having short fins, aren’t common targets for this behavior.

In a group, they match the activity level of Tiger Barbs, promoting a balanced aquarium.

12. Ember Tetra

Ember Tetra

Ember Tetras are suitable tank mates for Tiger Barbs in community aquariums due to their similar water preferences and active swimming. Their bright red color provides a visual contrast to the striped Tiger Barbs.

Despite their peaceful nature, Ember Tetras can avoid the fin-nipping Tiger Barbs because they’re quick swimmers and tend to stay in groups.

To counteract the semi-aggressive Tiger Barbs, choose tank mates like Ember Tetras that can escape their nipping. Keeping Ember Tetras in groups of six or more helps them display natural behaviors and reduces stress, while also potentially discouraging Tiger Barbs from singling them out.

Ember Tetras are popular for their low maintenance and compatibility with other fish, including Tiger Barbs. For their health, the aquarium should have a temperature between 75°F to 82°F (23.9°C to 27.8°C) and a pH level between 6.5 to 7.5.

Though less famous than Neon Tetras, Ember Tetras are a peaceful addition to tanks with Tiger Barbs, creating a lively and attractive environment.

13. Odessa Barb

The Odessa Barb, or Pethia padamya, is a suitable tank mate for Tiger Barbs in community aquariums due to their similar size and behavior.

Both species are active and belong to the Cyprinidae family. They’re schooling fish that do well in groups, which can lead to more natural and engaging behaviors when housed with Tiger Barbs.

Odessa Barbs typically grow to a size that is compatible with Tiger Barbs, which helps maintain balance in the aquarium by preventing size-related dominance. In addition, Odessa Barbs has a distinctive coloration that can add visual interest to a tank, complementing the bright colors of Tiger Barbs.

While they may be more expensive than some barb species, Odessa Barbs can be a beneficial addition to a Tiger Barb tank. Their hardy nature and attractive appearance can contribute to the diversity and dynamism of a community aquarium.

14. Clown Loach

Clown Loach

Clown Loaches, scientifically known as Chromobotia macracanthus, are a suitable companion for Tiger Barbs in a large, well-maintained aquarium.

These fish are social and match the energy of Tiger Barbs, both being schooling fish that do best in groups.

Clown Loaches grow to 6 to 8 inches and need at least a 75-gallon tank for sufficient swimming space and growth.

Tiger Barbs may nip at the fins of slower, long-finned fish, but Clown Loaches aren’t commonly affected due to their quickness and short fins. They also share similar water temperature preferences with Tiger Barbs, ranging from 70°F to 82°F (21.1°C to 27.8°C).

Adding Clown Loaches to a Tiger Barb tank can enhance the aquarium’s activity and visual appeal, as both species display vibrant behaviors and appearances.

15. Tinfoil Barb

Tinfoil barb

Tinfoil Barbs (Barbonymus schwanenfeldii) are large, active fish that grow up to 14 inches and need ample space. They’re schooling fish and do best in groups of five or more to reduce aggression.

Tinfoil Barbs are larger than Tiger Barbs and may bully them or compete for food and space as they grow.

They need a tank of at least 100 gallons, which is larger than Tiger Barbs’ usual habitat. These fish are compatible with other large, active fish such as Silver Dollars, Bala Sharks, and Gouramis.

When keeping Tinfoil Barbs with Tiger Barbs, you need to provide enough space and resources to prevent stress between species.

16. Pleco


Plecos make good companions for Tiger Barbs in aquariums. They help control algae and can coexist peacefully with Tiger Barbs due to their larger size.

Plecos are bottom-dwellers and need a tank of at least 75 gallons to thrive and provide enough space for all fish.

These fish are compatible with several other species, such as Cory Catfish, Guppies, and Tetras, making them suitable for community tanks with tiger barbs.

Plecos’ larger size helps prevent Tiger Barbs from showing aggressive behavior. Both Plecos and Tiger Barbs do well in water temperatures ranging from 74°F to 80°F (23.3°C to 26.7°C).

In community tanks, Plecos help maintain balance by eating algae, which keeps the tank cleaner and reduces maintenance. They should be fed a varied diet to ensure they receive all necessary nutrients. This contributes to the health of the tank, including the Tiger Barbs.

17. Black Ruby Barb

Black Ruby Barbs (Puntius nigrofasciatus) are compatible with Tiger Barbs in a shared aquarium environment, as they share similar water conditions and have a peaceful temperament.

These fish typically grow to about 2.5 inches in size and are suitable for a community tank with Tiger Barbs.

Both species prefer water temperatures between 73°F to 81°F (22.8°C to 27.2°C). A tank of at least 20 gallons is recommended to accommodate the active nature of these schooling fish and provide sufficient swimming space.

Black Ruby Barbs are peaceful and can help maintain a balanced community when housed with the more aggressive Tiger Barbs.

You need to ensure that their social and environmental requirements are met for a harmonious coexistence. Adding Black Ruby Barbs to a Tiger Barb tank can enhance the diversity and health of the aquarium.

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