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What Do Tiger Barbs Eat? (The Best and Worst Food Options)

What Do Tiger Barbs Eat? (The Best and Worst Food Options)

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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.

Buying some tiger barbs for your aquarium might sound like a great idea. Before you do so, it’ll likely be good to learn more about them.

You want to make sure that you can meet their care needs. For example, it’ll be smart to learn about the types of foods that these fish eat.

What do tiger barbs eat? Are they herbivorous fish or are they omnivorous?

Read on to learn about tiger barbs and what you’re supposed to feed them. This will help you to have a much easier time when you buy some of your own.

The diet of the fish will be an important part of keeping them healthy. Getting things right from the beginning will be beneficial.

Can Tiger Barbs Eat Goldfish Food?

Tiger barbs are fish that will eat just about anything. If you offer the fish goldfish food, they’re going to gobble it up.

That being said, it’s best to give tiger barbs food that is right for them. Goldfish flakes might not always contain the right blend of nutrients.

However, tropical fish flakes are going to be perfect for tiger barbs. This is the type of food that you’ll be giving the fish on a daily basis.

If you run out of tropical fish flakes, it’ll be fine to give the tiger barbs goldfish food once or twice. Just go to the store and buy the best flakes for the barbs as soon as you’re able to.

Do Tiger Barbs Eat Algae?

Since tiger barbs are omnivores, they’re going to eat all sorts of things. It isn’t unusual to see tiger barbs eat algae.

Truly, they’re going to eat most things that they can fit into their mouths. You might sometimes see tiger barbs eating algae in the fish tank if they’re hungry.

However, these fish aren’t considered to be good cleaners. You can’t rely on tiger barbs to keep your fish tank free of algae.

If you want to feed these fish algae-based foods, they’ll happily eat them. They’ll eat algae rounds and other types of pellets that contain algae as one of the ingredients.

Do Tiger Barbs Eat Pellets?

Fish Food Pellets

Yes, tiger barbs love to eat various types of nutritional pellets. These are commercial foods that contain many ingredients that are healthy for tiger barbs.

Some pellets even combine meat-based foods and vegetable-based foods together. For example, a nutritional pellet might contain vegetables such as zucchini and spinach, but it could also have squid or herring as a main ingredient.

You can feed tiger barbs nutritional pellets regularly. They’re sold at all major pet stores that sell fish food and other fish-related products.

Be sure to seek out pellets that are specifically meant for tiger barbs. You should be able to easily find options that are good for omnivorous barbs.

Do Tiger Barbs Eat Plants?

Tiger barbs will sometimes nibble on plants if they’re very hungry. As noted earlier, these fish are omnivores, and they’ll eat whatever they can.

You don’t need to avoid putting tiger barbs in planted aquariums, though. They won’t become serious plant eaters that will destroy your aquatic plants.

Sometimes you might see tiger barbs eating a tiny bit of certain plants. If you feed them daily, it’s unlikely that this will occur.

They do like to eat plant matter from time to time. It just isn’t going to be a major part of the diet for these fish.

Do Tiger Barbs Eat Shrimp?

You’ll find that tiger barbs love to eat invertebrates. This means that shrimp will be one of the favorite snacks for these fish.

Of course, some live shrimp might be too big for tiger barbs to eat. Typically, people choose to feed tiger barbs brine shrimp.

Tiger barb fry need to be fed things that are very small and will fit in their mouths. The most common food choice is freshly-hatched brine shrimp.

The tiger barbs continue to enjoy eating shrimp once they’re mature. You can give the tiger barbs shrimp on occasion as a treat.

It’s good to feed tiger barbs things that are high in protein. In fact, this is a necessity if you’re trying to urge the tiger barbs to breed.

Do Tiger Barbs Eat Snails?

Assassin Snail on Leaf

Snails will be a bit too difficult for tiger barbs to eat. You might be able to get tiger barbs to eat dead snails if you can remove them from their shells.

Tiger barbs simply aren’t equipped to hunt down snails. As such, they’re more likely to leave live snails alone in the fish tank.

Some people have said that their tiger barbs have killed snails, though. It might depend on the size of the snail that you’re talking about.

Certain types of smaller snails might be able to be hunted down by tiger barbs. Larger ones are more likely to be fine.

Either way, snails likely won’t make the easiest meal for tiger barbs. They will eat them if they can, but there are better foods to give to the fish.

Do Tiger Barbs Eat Other Fish?

As you might expect, tiger barbs will eat other fish if they’re small enough. These fish will even eat their young.

It’s common for tiger barb fish fry to get devoured by their parents or other nearby tiger barb fish. This is fairly commonplace among many types of fish.

You’ll also find that tiger barbs are aggressive fish. They’re known to nip at the fins of other fish when placed in community fish tanks.

They’re a bit less aggressive when you keep them in a large enough group. You’re supposed to keep six or more tiger barbs in the same tank to mitigate issues with aggression.

Since these fish are omnivores, they will eat tinier fish that they can fit in their mouths. Tiger barbs don’t grow to be very large, though.

These fish only grow to be between two and a half and three inches long. Since they aren’t huge, many of the fish that you might put in a tank with them won’t be able to be eaten by the tiger barbs.

Should You Feed Tiger Barbs Live Foods?


Tiger barbs will surely enjoy eating live foods sometimes. If you want to buy live foods for these fish to eat, that’ll be a good idea.

There are many types of live foods that tiger barbs will enjoy. Brine shrimp and bloodworms will be some of the best options that you can go with.

When buying live foods, you want to only purchase them from a reliable source. Buying from a safe vendor will decrease the likelihood of buying foods that contain parasites.

You don’t have to give your fish live food all the time either. This is something you could do weekly if you want to.

Do Tiger Barbs Like Frozen Foods?

Feeding tiger barbs frozen foods might be more practical for many fish owners. You can buy freeze-dried brine shrimp as well as freeze-dried bloodworms.

These types of frozen fish food products are very affordable. It’s also generally easier to feed these foods to the fish.

You should use foods like this that are high in protein to supplement the diet of the tiger barbs. It’ll ensure that they get enough protein.

It’ll be very important to feed the fish such foods from time to time. Mixing things up instead of just feeding the fish flakes or pellets all the time will be for the best.

What Not to Feed Tiger Barbs

You shouldn’t feed tiger barbs strange things that you wouldn’t normally feed fish. For example, you wouldn’t want to feed them processed foods that are meant for human consumption.

It’s fine to feed these fish fresh vegetables so long as you cut them up. They like to eat things such as zucchini since they’re omnivorous.

Soft-boiled veggies will be good for these fish. So long as you avoid feeding them unusual human foods, it’ll be fine.

There isn’t a lot that these fish won’t eat. Omnivores simply aren’t picky when it comes to where they get their meals.

How to Feed Tiger Barbs

Albino Tiger Barb Searching for Food at the Bottom of the Tank

Feeding tiger barbs is going to be very simple. You just need to put food in the fish tank and the tiger barbs will happily come and eat it.

Typically, people give tiger barbs flake food on a daily basis. You can give tiger barbs other things to supplement their diets and ensure that they’re getting enough nutrients.

When feeding tiger barbs, it’s important not to overfeed them. There are two ways that you can go about feeding tiger barbs safely.

One option is to feed the tiger barbs daily. Another way to go about things is to feed the tiger barbs twice per day.

Either option is going to be fine, but you need to avoid overfeeding the tiger barbs. This means giving them only as much food as they can eat in five minutes when feeding them once per day.

If you choose to feed the fish twice per day, you’ll need to half that number. You’ll be giving the fish as much as they can eat in two and a half minutes when feeding them twice per day.

How Often to Feed Tiger Barbs

As noted above, you can feed tiger barbs daily or you can feed them twice per day. Either option is going to be perfectly acceptable.

For many, it comes down to which option is the most convenient. If you find that remembering to feed the fish once per day is easier, you can go with that.

No matter what, it’s a good idea to stick to feeding the fish on a regular schedule. This helps you to avoid issues where you forget to feed the fish.

Many new fish owners will take the time to set alarms on their smartphones. You can set a daily alarm that will notify you when it’s time to feed the fish.

If you choose to feed the fish twice per day, you could feed them before you go to work and then again after you get home from work. This is pretty easy to remember overall.

How Much to Feed Tiger Barbs

Overfeeding the tiger barbs could lead to health complications. When you feed tiger barbs too much, it might cause them to become constipated.

This has been known to cause swim bladder issues. You don’t want your tiger barbs to have to go through that.

Only feed the tiger barbs as much as you’re supposed to. If you choose to feed them once per day, you should give the tiger barbs as much as they can eat within five minutes.

Feeding the fish twice per day will make it so that you should give them less food at once. You’ll be giving the fish as much as they can eat in two and a half minutes.

Either way is going to be just fine. It just comes down to which schedule you find to be most convenient.

How Long Can Tiger Barbs Go Without Food?

Lone Tiger Barb in Small Tank

You’ve learned that you’re supposed to feed tiger barbs each day. If you don’t feed the tiger barbs daily, are they going to die right away?

No, tiger barbs won’t die so easily. It’s best to feed them daily to keep them healthy, but they can actually survive for a bit of time without food.

Barbs are known to be able to live for up to 14 days without food. If you forget to feed the tiger barbs a few times, it shouldn’t lead to their demise.

That being said, tiger barbs will become stressed if you don’t feed them often enough. A lack of nutrition might cause these fish to become sick.

You don’t want the fish to be susceptible to diseases and illnesses. Therefore, it’s better to stick to the daily feeding schedule.

If you forget to feed the fish one day, don’t worry too much about it. Just endeavor to do a better job moving forward.

How Long Do Tiger Barbs Live?

If you do a good job caring for tiger barbs, they’ll live for a good amount of time. The average life span of tiger barbs in a fish tank setting is between five and seven years.

Doing a good job feeding the fish will help them to survive that long. If you forget to feed them all the time, it’s unlikely that they will live anywhere near five years in your aquarium.

Regular feeding is an important part of keeping these fish healthy. Even though they’re hardy fish, they aren’t going to be invincible.

Fish that don’t get enough nutrients will become stressed. They’ll have a much tougher time fighting off infections and diseases.

Knowing this, it’s important to do your best to feed the tiger barbs properly. Doing so will allow you to enjoy them for a longer amount of time.

How Many Tiger Barbs Should Be Kept in the Tank?

To get the smoothest experience, it’s best to keep at least six tiger barbs in the tank. This shouldn’t make it any tougher to keep the fish fed.

These fish thrive when living in groups of six or more. They actually become strangely aggressive when you put only a few of them in a fish tank.

Two or three tiger barbs might even terrorize other fish in a community tank. When you keep them in groups of at least six, they’re far calmer.

It’s also good to ensure that the tiger barbs have enough space. When you want to keep six tiger barbs in the same tank, it’s best to get a 30-gallon fish tank.

This ensures that all of the fish will be able to live comfortably. So long as you keep this in mind, you’ll have a good experience with tiger barbs in your tank.

Final Thoughts

You’ve learned that tiger barbs are omnivorous fish that aren’t picky eaters. These fish will eat all sorts of things.

To keep them healthy, you’re going to want to vary the diet of the fish. Be sure to give them appropriate fish flakes while also giving them foods that are high in protein from time to time.

You can occasionally feed tiger barbs things such as beef hearts, blood worms, shrimp, and more. It’ll help them to stay in good health.

So long as you remember to feed these fish daily, they’re going to do well under your care. They aren’t difficult to feed and they can even survive for a while without food if you happen to forget to feed them once or twice.

These are hardy fish that are good for beginners. Even if you don’t have much experience with fish, it should be simple enough to keep these fish healthy and happy in your aquarium.

Feeding these fish well will allow them to thrive. You’ll be happy to have such pretty and interesting fish in your fish tank.

They aren’t the best community tank fish due to aggression issues. Even so, many people have fallen in love with these fish.

Remember everything that you learned about feeding them today. It’ll help you to feed the fish right and avoid mistakes such as overfeeding the fish.

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