Breeding tiger barbs

Breeding tiger barbs

What you will need

  • three inch male tiger barb
    three inch male tiger barb

    2 foot breeding tank with hood and light

  • internal filter with peat layer
  • sponge filter with air pump
  • 100w heater stat
  • floating plants
  • Bushy plants round back and sides
  • layer of glass marbles on the tank floor

Information and general care

Temperature of 73F and a ph of 6.8 with a hardness of 10dh. They need clean water so frequent water changes 10% per week minimum. Feed on dry food with the occasional live food and vegetable matter. They are an attractive shoaling fish so should be kept in groups of at least 6. They are tend to nip fins of slower, long finned fish, when in smaller groups so they might not make the ideal community fish. Having larger groups of 10 or more will lessen this risk. They can grow over 3″ and live for 7 years in the aquarium if well cared for.

They are a hardy species and can make for a good beginner fish.

male golden tiger barb
male golden tiger barb

There are some attractive colour varieties of tiger barbs. The green, red, platinum and the golden tiger barbs are mutated varieties. They can be excellent varieties to breed for the advancing aquarist who wants to do something more sophisticated. There is also a long finned variety. The better quality varieties fetch higher prices and might be a profitable source of income for the advanced breeder.
They become sexually mature when they are about 1.5 inch long. The females are noticeably plumper. When well cared for a female can breed every two weeks. Males can be a little aggressive with a female that is not quite ready and tear her fins. It might be better to attempt breeding with 2 females and 1 male. But if one of the females is not ready to breed she will just snack on the newly laid eggs of the breeding female.

Preparation for breeding

Raise the temperature slowly over a couple of days until it reaches 77F. Slowly reduce the ph to 6.5 or less(ph over 7.2 and they won’t breed) . The water should be quite soft (5dh). This can be achieved with rainwater or reverse osmosis water. Feed well with live food. Best is mosquito larvae. Add a little malachite green in the water to kill off any bacteria and fungus. When you see the fish being interested in mating, the female looking plump, the male develops a red nose. When the male nods his head down and starts flirting, then move the female to the breeding tank. The breeding tank should be prepared with the same water conditions as the main tank. Also move an established sponge filter into the breeding aquarium too.


breeding pair tiger barbs
male tiger barb nudging into female tiger barb

Place the female first in the breeding aquarium so she can get acquainted with spawning sites and hideouts. Add some malachite green for cleanliness. Later the same night add the male. Early next morning they should start breeding. The male will chase the female around the tank. The male nudging into the side of the female. The female will head towards the plants and over the tank floor. The male will get side to side with the female. She will release eggs which the male will fertilise. The eggs are slightly adhesive and should stick to the plants or fall between the marbles. Keep an eye on them they will carry on for hours. The female may lay up to 500 eggs depending on her size and her health.
Remove both male and female from the tank as soon as they have stopped spawning. They are avid egg eaters and will devour a good percentage of their own eggs give a chance.

Raising the fry

Darken the aquarium with paper, the eggs are sensitive to light. The eggs will hatch after 2 days depending on temperature. After a further 3 days the fry will become free swimming. At this point feed with infusoria. Feed insusoria for a week. At the end of the week start feeding with brineshrimp and microworms. Make sure the fry are big enough to start eating the brineshrimp and microworms. Keep with the water changes 10% every other day and keep up with the malachite green. After one month they should be about 0.5 inches long.


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