14 Compatible Tiger Barb Tank Mates: The Complete List

There’s no doubt about it…

Tiger Barbs are awesome fish. Their bright colors and active behavior make them a crowd favorite in the fish-keeping hobby. Since you ended up here, you are probably looking for some tank mates for your Tiger Barbs.

It is important to know that not every species makes a suitable tank mate for these fish. In this complete list, we will go over all of the possible Tiger Barb tank mates as well as fish you should avoid.

tiger barb tank mates

About Tiger Barbs

Like we said before, Tiger Barbs are awesome fish that add a ton of livelihood to your tank. That being said, it is very important to pick out the right tank mates for your Tiger Barbs. They tend to nip at fins, so stay away from anything with long fins such as Bettas, Angelfish, or Goldfish.

Make sure to keep your Tiger Barbs in groups of five or more. When kept in larger groups, they tend to pick on each other instead of harassing other fish in your tank. If kept by themselves, Tiger Barbs tend to get a little aggressive and can cause a lot of stress for other tank mates.

Tiger Barbs are warm water fish, so try to keep your tank somewhere between 77-82°. They prefer tanks with some sort of live plants, but this is not an absolute necessity. Make sure to leave a bunch of swimming space to compensate for their active nature.

Important Tip: Tiger Barbs do best when they are not the first fish introduced to the tank. Adding them after the other tank mates are introduced will help reduce aggression dramatically. Try to do this if possible.

Tiger Barb Tank Mates

Here is a comprehensive list of the best Tiger Barb tank mates:

Corydora Catfish

corydora catfishCorydoras melanotaenia (source)

These small, armored catfish are the perfect addition to almost any freshwater tank and make great Tiger Barb tank mates!  They are relatively calm and non-aggressive bottom dwelling fish that help keep the tank clean in addition to looking great.  Corydoras, or “corys”, are naturally social fish and will be happiest in groups of two or more; they are also schooling fish in groups of six or more.  They require at least 2 inches deep substrate at the bottom of their tank and prefer tanks with lots of small hiding places like caves and rocks, as well as a lot of healthy aquatic plants.  Corys scavenge for food on the bottom but should be fed regularly with fish flakes, pellets, or bottom-feeder tablets.

  • Compatibility Rank: 9/10
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Size: 1-2.5 in
  • Temperature (Fahrenheit): 65-75
  • pH: 7-7.8

Cherry Barb

cherry barbPuntius titteya (source)

Another peaceful schooling fish, cherry barbs do best in groups of six fish or more and are known for their beautiful, cherry-red color.  They tend to be relatively shy, so they are unlikely to bother any other fish in your tank, and do best in 20 gallon or larger tanks, much like the tiger barbs.  Cherry barbs are relatively easy to take care of, generally doing well with a diet of fish flakes and the occasional live or frozen brine shrimp or bloodworm as a treat.

  • Compatibility Rank: 10/10
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Size: 1-2 in.
  • Temperature (Fahrenheit): 73-79
  • pH: 6-8

Rosy Barb

rosy barbPuntius conchonius (source)

One of the largest of the barb species, the rosy barb is another schooling fish that does best in tanks of 30 gallons or more in groups of at least six.  Active and relatively peaceful provided they’re kept in groups, these fish are known for eating almost anything, including algae found in the tank.  Taking good care of them requires a varied diet including plant matter, pellets, flakes, and even small live foods.  They’ll also happily accept zucchini or peas as a special treat.  It is worth noting that these fish are great jumpers, so a tight lid on your tank is absolutely necessary to keep these playful fish from jumping out.

  • Compatibility Rank: 10/10
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Size: 5-6 in.
  • Temperature (Fahrenheit): 68-78
  • pH: 6-7

Mollies

molliesPoecilia sphenops (source)

One of the most popular fish available, mollies are beautiful, docile, and relatively easy to care for, although males may occasionally act aggressively toward other fish or each other, so it is best to keep only one male at a time or all females.  Mollies do well alone or in groups, and prefer an aquarium of at least 25 gallons.   Depending on the species, they can be anywhere from 1 to 6 inches full grown, although most stay in the 3 to 4 inch range.  Unlike most fish, mollies are livebearers, so keeping females in with males is very likely to result in lots of fry.  Additionally, one male will put too much stress on a single female, so it is best to keep one male with three to four females.  Mollies are omnivores, and do best with a combination of plant based foods and flakes, pellets, or live/frozen foods.  They need a tank environment with a relatively strong filter since they produce a lot of waste.

  • Compatibility Rank: 8/10
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Size: 1-6 in.
  • Temperature (Fahrenheit): 70-80
  • pH: 7.5-8.5

Platies

Xiphophorus maculatus (source)

These small and easy to care for fish are the perfect addition to any home aquarium.  Like the molly fish, platies  are also live bearing and relatively easy to breed.  In terms of temperament the platy is very peaceful, and if kept with a ratio of one male to every two females, should not get overly stressed.  They are known for being relatively brightly colored, making them beautiful to look at.  Platies need a tank that is 10 gallons or larger; in terms of diet, these fish do best with a variety of lakes pellets and live or frozen food. Platies make great Tiger Barb tank mates, but keep an eye on them to make sure there is no fin nipping.

  • Compatibility Rank: 9/10
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Size: 1-2.5 in.
  • Temperature (Fahrenheit): 65-78
  • pH: 7-8

Plecos

bristlenose plecoBristlenose Pleco (source)

Like corydoras, plecos are a type of tropical armored catfish.  These much larger catfish can grow to be almost 20 in in size so they do best in tanks that are over 100 gallons.  There are several species of plecos available, however, so smaller ones are available to keep in more modest-sized aquariums.  (Clown plecos tend to be only around 4 in.) Unlike others on this list, plecos do better living alone as opposed to in groups and can become aggressive if more than one is kept in the same tank; they are generally non aggressive towards other tank mates.  Plecos are bottom dwellers and should help keep your tank clean of algae, although their diet should be supplemented with algae wafers as they may not find enough to eat just by searching the tank.

Hikari USA is the go-to brand for algae wafers. Algae wafers are a great type of supplemental food for plecos if you don’t think they’re getting enough food naturally. 

  • Compatibility Rank: 9/10
  • Care Level: Moderate
  • Size: 4-18 in.
  • Temperature (Fahrenheit): 78-82
  • pH: 6.5-7.5

Tetras

lemon tetraHyphessobrycon pulchripinnis (source)

Tetras have over 700 known species, so tank owners have a lot of variety to choose from; among the most popular are neon and ember tetras.  These fish are schooling fish and will be happiest in groups of 6 or more and are very small and easy to care for.  They are non aggressive, beautiful fish that are perfect tankmates for any fish that aren’t big enough to consider them food.  They will accept flake, freeze dried, or frozen foods.  Unfortunately, some tiger barbs may be aggressive towards them so it is worth keeping a close eye on their temperament before investing in these pretty fish.

  • Compatibility Rank: 8/10
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Size: 1-2 in.
  • Temperature (Fahrenheit): 68-79
  • pH: 5-7.5

Red-tailed Shark

red tailed shark

These cool looking fish need a tank of at least 50 gallons to live happily and are great scavengers, eating a diet of leftover food, pellets, flakes, frozen and live food, and algae.  While they cannot be kept in tanks together or with fish much smaller than them as they become aggressive, the red-tailed shark should do just fine living with tiger barbs.  Tanks that house them should contain lots of plants, caves, and rocks for them to hide and explore, as well as a very tight fitting lid as they are great jumpers.

  • Compatibility Rank: 10/10
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Size: 5-6 in.
  • Temperature (Fahrenheit): 73-79
  • pH: 6.5-7.5

Swordtails

swordtail fish

Colorful, unique, and eye-catching, swordtails are easy to care for and will not bother tank mates that are the same size or smaller, although they run the risk of being eaten by much larger tankmates.  These hardy fish do best in tanks 10 gallons or larger and while females do fine together, there should only be one male per tank.  Like several others on this list, swordtails are livebearers, so keeping males and females together will almost definitely result in lots of fry.  These fish will eat flake, frozen, or live foods but will also benefit from the incorporation of greens in their diet.

  • Compatibility Rank: 9/10
  • Care Level: Very Easy
  • Size: 4-5 in.
  • Temperature (Fahrenheit): 72-82
  • pH: 7-8

Tinfoil Barbs

tinfoil barb

Aptly named, the tinfoil barb is silver and shiny and beautiful to look at.  Needing a large tank of at least 75 gallons, these lovely fish are very active strong swimmers and are non aggressive to tankmates that are close to the same size.  They are schooling fish and should be kept in groups of at least six to be happy.  Tinfoil barbs are omnivorous and should be fed a varied diet including flake or live/frozen foods and plants.

  • Compatibility Rank: 8/10
  • Care Level: Moderate
  • Size: 12-13 in.
  • Temperature (Fahrenheit): 75-85
  • pH: 6-7.5

Zebra Danios

zebra danioBrachydanio rerio (source)

Small, active, and eye-catching, zebra or striped danios are nonaggressive schooling fish that should be kept in groups of 6 or more.  They need a tank of at least 15 gallons and should live in a tank with a tight fitting cover so they do not jump out.  Danios will eat almost anything, but do best with pellets or flakes and the occasional live or frozen treat.

  • Compatibility Rank: 10/10
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Size: 1-2 in.
  • Temperature (Fahrenheit): 64-74
  • pH: 6.5-7.5

Clown Loach

clown loach

Clown loaches are a popular fish for aquarium owners as they are easy to care for, attractive, and a little shy.  Happiest in groups of 3 or more, these fish do best in 55 gallon or larger aquariums with lots of spaces to hide and explore.  Clown loaches are sometimes known as “scaleless” fish, and need to be treated gently in order to keep them healthy.  A favourite food of theirs is snails, but they also enjoy cucumbers and lettuce, flake food, and live or frozen food.

  • Compatibility Rank: 9/10
  • Care Level: Moderate
  • Size: 10-12 in.
  • Temperature (Fahrenheit): 75-86
  • pH: 6.5-7

Gouramis

Strikingly beautiful, gouramis are one of only a few types of fish with a labyrinth organ, which allows them to “breathe” air similar to the way that land animals use lungs.  These fish are peaceful and social, and will swim together if they share a tank.  Dwarf Gouramis require tanks between 10 and 50 gallons depending on their size and species, and will eat most foods, including occasional fresh vegetables.  Tankmates that are much larger than these fish may prey on them, and males may get aggressive towards very colorful fish or each other, as they perceive them as a threat.

  • Compatibility Rank: 8/10
  • Care Level: Moderate
  • Size: 2-12 in.
  • Temperature (Fahrenheit): 72-82
  • pH: 6-7.5

Pictus Catfish

pictus catfish

Popular, peaceful, and unique, the pictus catfish is easy to care for and do best in groups of 5 or more.  These catfish are most active at night, so keeping your aquarium dimly lit will encourage daytime activity and keep them happy.  Sandy substrate that imitates a river bottom is best for these fish, and they are great for keeping tanks clean by scavenging for leftover food and eating algae.  However, they will need to be fed sinking pellets or algae wafers to ensure they get enough to eat.  Pictus catfish do have barbs on their fins, so they should be handled carefully so as not to cause injury to you or them; placing them in small plastic containers for tank cleanings is safest.

  • Compatibility Rank: 9/10
  • Care Level: Moderate
  • Size: 4-5 in.
  • Temperature (Fahrenheit): 70-80
  • pH: 5.5-7

Final Thoughts

Tiger barbs are great fish for beginners or long-time aquarium enthusiasts, and make great tank mates for a variety of fish.  Hopefully this guide will help you to pick out the perfect addition to your aquarium so you can create a beautiful and unique community tank. Just remember; no matter what you pick, watch out for fin nipping. Tiger Barbs can be quite the troublemakers!

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