8 Tank Mates for Tiger Barbs I’d Recommend to a Friend

Before we properly get started on my best of Tankmates for Tiger Barbs I think it's only right to mention how best to keep them. Tiger Barbs have a reputation for being fin nippers throughout the hobby and therefore many people decide not to keep this misunderstood fish.

The best way of getting a community including Tiger Barbs would be to add the barbs first, getting them a few fish at a time (slowly stocking your tank) will result in uncharacteristic behaviour, they are a fish that do better in large groups, this will stop their stress-related aggression.

Example, say you have your aquarium stocked with the other fish that you want, and then you decide to add Tiger Barbs, unless you have a large tank where you can add a large community in one go you will have to stock slowly to avoid death and creating an overbearing load for your filtration, so adding them slowly in groups of about 3 or 4 is an average for most people, this is a small group and therefore causes stress to this fish resulting in the general behaviour most people perceive that it has, fin aggression.

With the nitty-gritty out of the way, I know Tigers to be lovely fish to keep, in work I've had them in a variety of communities and I've not had one incident of aggression. Their striking coloration and pattern make them a gorgeous little fish to look at, along with being kept in their large groups you will see their natural shoaling behaviour and that's always a joy to watch.


The larger species of livebearers are always a good fish to keep with most peaceful to semi-aggressive fish, in decently sized groups providing a peaceful nature and being large enough to ‘hold their own’ being too big of a target for most community fish they make ideal Tankmates for Barbs. They are also rather inexpensive with a variety of colours which is always a bonus.

Another point, which this is being increasingly apparent and common amongst the hobby, is that the livebearers will provide a highly nutritional diet for the tank, most fish will eat their fry if allowed to breed. Even I do this, granted mine are egg layers, but I will still get breeding groups in communities, the eggs are a real treat, full of protein and energy for optimum health, colour, and growth in fish.


Poecilia sp.

Upto 6.5 inches

Mollies are a staple in all pet stores containing fish, they are a popular cheap choice that comes in a variety of colours making them perfect for beginners.


Xiphophorus maculatus

Upto 2.5 inches

Platies, like mollies, are another staple fish, and for exactly the same reasons, I personally have found them more reliable than Mollies in terms of behaviour. They are a very peaceful fish and with its smaller size can be put in larger more colourful groups.


As with all Barbs, they are part of the fish group cyprinidea, meaning they lack stomachs, so when keeping them it is important to feed them little and often because they can't hold onto their food in the same way other fish groups can.

Other than that they are very easy to care for and Barbs come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes from the small Cherry Barb to the rather large Tinfoil Barb. Barbs will frequently appear on many lists due to this variety of sizes and behaviour.

Odessa Barb

Pethia padamya

Upto 4 inches

Odessa Barbs are a fish I feature a lot in my articles, they are a perfectly well behaved Barb and are suitable in most aquariums. They don’t look like much as juveniles but as they mature and with good food their colours will be incredible.

Black Ruby Barb

Puntius nigrofasciata

Upto 2.5 inches

This is another beautiful fish, similar in pattern to the Tiger Barb and therefore will create a really unique contrast in an aquarium. Perfect, smaller Barb with a peaceful nature.


The Cichlid section in any pet store is a section that should be approached with care, most of the cichlid family can be rather aggressive and only safely mixed with other cichlids. However, there are many Cichlid species that are still beautiful in colouration like the few listed below, that I have also tried and tested to make sure they are suitable with Tiger Barbs.

Cichlids as a general fish can be rather messy, creating nesting areas and kicking up plants and moving décor, they also tend to be hungry all the time, consider this when adding them to your set up.

Red Spotted Severum

Heros efasciatus

Upto 10 inches

This is a truly beautiful fish that is sure to stand out, it is incredibly peaceful but can be territorial when mating. There are a few different colouration patterns with Severums with some local breeders having greens and golds. They are best kept in pairs and can grow to a decent size, best to get them young.

Agassizi Cichlid

Apistogramma agassizii

Upto 3.5 inches

These dwarf Cichlids come in many different variations and so they are relatively common among store owners, this is again another peaceful Cichlid, however, these can be kept in much larger groups a harem is always best with 1 male with around 4 females.

Clean Up Crew

With Tiger Barbs being a part of the carp and minnow family and as previously said they don’t have stomachs and so regular feeding, little and often, is required and so they will make a mess. A good strong clean up crew is best for these Barbs. Choose anything with a good defence.


Corydoras sp.

Upto 3 inches

These little fishes are known as armoured catfish, that is also the rough translation of the scientific name too. I love them and can count on them for anything, not an easy target for any tank bullies.

Common Plec

Hypostomas plecostomus

Unknown max size

These guys have a great defence against any fish. They have a good size and are rough to the touch. They can get very big and so a large tank is required, but on the other hand, a large tank will be required for a large group of Tiger Barbs.

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