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Are Tiger Barbs Aggressive? (And Do They Kill Each Other?)

Are Tiger Barbs Aggressive? (And Do They Kill Each Other?)

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This post is written to the author's best knowledge and is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. In addition, this post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Owning tiger barbs can be a very good experience. Many are drawn to these fish because of how cool they look.

Aside from looking neat, tiger barbs are very easy to care for. This makes them good options for beginners who don’t know how to take care of fish yet.

Whether you’re a beginner or a veteran, you might have heard some stories about tiger barbs. Perhaps you’ve heard that these fish are a bit aggressive.

Is this true or is tiger barb aggression not something that you need to worry about? Continue reading to learn more about this topic.

How Aggressive Are Tiger Barbs?

Tiger barbs are pretty aggressive fish overall. They’re sort of unusual since they’re schooling fish.

Most of the schooling fish that you’ll find are not aggressive at all. Some might be mildly aggressive in the right situations, but most aren’t nearly as aggressive as tiger barbs

Sadly, tiger barbs are well-known fin nippers. If you put them in a community fish tank with other fish, they’re likely going to try to nip at the fins of various fish.

This can stress many types of fish so much that they will struggle to survive in the tank. It isn’t out of the question for tiger barbs to nip at other fish so much that they will kill them.

Of course, some fish are going to get it worse than others. Tiger barbs are especially aggressive toward fish that have long and flowing fins.

This means that you absolutely cannot put them in the same fish tank as bettas. They also won’t get along well with goldfish or angelfish.

Tiger barbs will even sometimes be aggressive toward each other. Depending on what you want your fish tank to be like, you might find tiger barbs so frustrating that you’d rather not own them.

Are Males or Females More Aggressive?

Pair of Tiger Barbs

Males are certainly more aggressive than females. The male tiger barbs are more likely to fight.

They’re also more likely to become aggressive and attack other fish. Usually, it’s the male tiger barbs that will be chasing and nipping at the fins of other fish.

However, female tiger barbs will also do this from time to time. Females have the potential to be just as aggressive as males.

Therefore, you can’t use tiger barb aggression as a way to differentiate between male and female tiger barbs. Both sexes are aggressive, but the males are more commonly going to cause problems in community fish tanks.

How to Make Tiger Barbs Less Aggressive

You can’t really change the nature of tiger barbs. These are aggressive fish that are sometimes going to nip at the fins of other fish.

Even so, you can mitigate tiger barb aggression by keeping the right number of fish in the tank. Tiger barbs do best when they’re kept in groups of six or more.

For whatever reason, tiger barbs are a bit less aggressive when they’re kept in larger groups. Smaller groups of tiger barbs are more likely to terrorize community fish tanks.

When you put six or more tiger barbs in a community fish tank, they won’t be quite as aggressive. This doesn’t mean that they won’t be aggressive at all, though.

Large Group of Tiger Barbs

You still need to be very careful about which fish you put in a community tank with tiger barbs. It’s important to pick compatible fish so that everything will turn out okay.

It’s also worth noting that tiger barbs are still likely to squabble with each other from time to time. This is simply how the fish are.

You can’t keep tiger barbs from being aggressive at all, but you can make things a bit better. Always ensure that you have enough room to keep at least six tiger barbs in the fish tank.

Otherwise, it’d be better not to buy tiger barbs for the aquarium. They simply don’t do well in groups of five or less.

Keep Tiger Barbs in Aquariums That Are Large Enough

Tiger Barbs in Large Fish Tank

Placing tiger barbs in aquariums that are too small will be a bad idea. When you put tiger barbs in cramped environments, it’ll make them more likely to become territorial.

Tiger barb aggression is already problematic as it is. If you exacerbate the issue by putting them in a small tank, things are going to go horribly wrong.

You can turn things around by putting the fish in a tank that has more than enough space. Generally, a 30-gallon fish tank will be sufficient for six tiger barbs.

If you want to include tiger barbs in a community fish tank, it’ll be better to get a larger tank. Ensure that you have more than enough space for the tiger barbs and any other fish that you wish to include.

This should limit the likelihood that the fish will come into conflict. It helps to keep tiger barb aggression to a minimum.

Even when you take these precautions, it won’t prevent tiger barb aggression from flaring up from time to time. This is why it’s imperative to put them in tanks only with compatible fish.

There are other fish out there that can put up with tiger barbs. Other hardy fish that can handle them will be able to survive in a community aquarium despite the aggression of the tiger barbs.

Do Tiger Barbs Bite?

It’s very common for tiger barbs to bite other fish. As noted earlier, tiger barbs are known for nipping at the fins of other fish.

You’ll often see tiger barbs biting fish in community tank settings. It makes them fish that are ill-suited for community fish tanks.

It’s still possible to put them in community aquariums, but you need to choose the tank mates carefully. These are aggressive fish that will sometimes nip at other fish so much that they will perish.

If you don’t want to deal with such things, tiger barbs might not be the right fish for you. Many find the aggressive nature of tiger barbs to be rather off-putting.

Do Tiger Barbs Have Teeth?

Tiger barbs do indeed have teeth. They’re barb fish and they actually have different rows of teeth.

These are ferocious fish that are capable of hunting down prey. They love to eat many different types of meaty foods such as shrimp and other invertebrates.

You’ll find tiger barbs using their sharp teeth to nip at other fish, too. It’s something that might be annoying when you’re trying to get the fish to get along with others in a community aquarium.

Pick hardy tank mates that can tolerate tiger barbs if you want to include them in a community fish tank. Zebra danios fish and clown loaches will be particularly great choices.

Why Are My Tiger Barbs Fighting?

Two Tiger Barbs

Have you noticed that your tiger barbs are fighting? This actually isn’t anything too out of the ordinary.

Tiger barbs are schooling fish, but they’re also quite aggressive. These fish fight with each other in an effort to determine the pecking order of the group.

It’s pretty standard for these fish to fight with one another. However, sometimes that fighting can go too far.

The fighting won’t be as bad if the fish are kept in large enough groups. You shouldn’t keep tiger barbs in your tank unless you have room for at least six of them.

It’s fine to keep more tiger barbs than six if you have enough space. They do very well in groups of 8 or 10 as well.

Do Tiger Barbs Kill Each Other?

It is possible that tiger barbs might kill each other. In fact, this has been known to happen sometimes.

Tiger barbs will often pick on weak and undersized members of the group. You might notice one tiger barb fish that is getting bullied by the other fish.

While this seems like a terrible thing, it’s just sort of how these fish are. There isn’t a lot that you can do to prevent this from happening.

Under normal circumstances, tiger barbs won’t usually kill each other. It usually just happens to weak fish that have problems.

It could be that the tiger barb is sick or dealing with another issue. Or it might be the case that a tiger barb is just too small to keep up with the rest of the group so it gets bullied and ostracized before being killed.

You should also know that it’s more likely for tiger barbs to kill each other when they’re in a small group. Small groups of tiger barbs are far more aggressive than usual.

This heightened aggression will cause the fish to keep fighting. In a larger group, the fish might move on and start messing with a different member of the group.

It’s just another reminder that you shouldn’t keep too few tiger barbs in the tank. Keeping only two or three tiger barbs in an aquarium can be disastrous.

Why Are My Tiger Barbs Chasing Each Other?

Tiger Barb Chasing Another Tiger Barb

Chasing is normal behavior for tiger barbs. They might chase each other when they’re fighting to establish the hierarchy of the group.

This is also something that is closely related to mating rituals. When males are trying to court females, they will start to chase them.

Eventually, a male and a female tiger barb will pair off to mate. Female tiger barbs lay eggs and males follow closely behind to fertilize the eggs.

If you’re seeing two tiger barbs chasing each other, it’s possible that the two fish could be preparing to mate. Sometimes it can be hard to differentiate mating behavior from fighting, though.

You should know that males will chase each other a lot when they’re fighting. They chase and nip each other because they’re jockeying for position in the group.

Tiger Barbs Are Easy to Care for

One beneficial aspect of buying tiger barbs is that they’re easy to care for. Even if they’re a bit aggressive, it’s still nice that they’re beginner-friendly.

You won’t have a tough time keeping these fish alive even if you’re inexperienced. They’re hardy enough that they will survive even if you make a few mistakes.

Dealing with the aggression of these fish will be more problematic if you keep them in community fish tanks. However, you could simply choose to keep them in tanks with only other tiger barbs.

So long as you keep six or more tiger barbs in the tank, it won’t be too likely that the fish will hurt or kill each other. You should have a simple time keeping the fish in good condition.

They’re easy to feed due to being omnivorous. They’ll pretty much eat whatever, but you do want to feed them the right nutrients so they can thrive.

Keep the tank clean and monitor the water parameters. If you can do that, these fish will live in your tank for five to seven years.

Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve learned about tiger barb aggression, it’ll be time to make a decision. Are these fish right for you and your home aquarium or not?

If your goal is to create a peaceful community aquarium, these fish won’t be the best choice. They’re aggressive fish that often go around nipping at the fins of other fish in the tank.

You can lessen the aggression by keeping tiger barbs in groups of six or more. This won’t eliminate their aggressive tendencies completely, but it will make things a good bit better.

It’s also important to ensure that the fish have enough room. Forcing them to live in a cramped fish tank will make them territorial and more likely to attack other fish.

Of course, keeping these fish in community tanks is possible if you choose compatible tank mates for them. Fish such as clown loaches, swordtails, zebra danios fish, and mollies will work out just fine.

You must avoid putting them in tanks with goldfish, angelfish, and bettas. Putting tiger barbs in fish tanks with incompatible fish will put them in danger.

Use this information to decide whether it’s worthwhile to buy tiger barbs or not. They’re hardy fish that are easy for beginners to care for.

If you’re looking for easy fish to take care of, you might really love tiger barbs. When you specifically want good community fish, it’s best to turn elsewhere.

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