The tiger barb is a lively, playful, schooling species that should be kept in groups of seven or more. It may become aggressive if kept in too small a group, and may harass slow-moving fishes and peck at the fins of gouramis and angelfish.
When kept with members of its own species, most tiger barbs are active swimmers that participate in chasing games and mock combat among themselves. If kept as a lone individual, it tends to lose its sense of security and often stays in a corner of the tank or hides behind plants or other tank decor. Because the tiger barb is extremely susceptible to ich, good water quality and frequent partial water changes are a must.
The tiger barb should be housed in a tank with a fine gravel substrate. The tank should contain rocks and driftwood in the center to provide hiding places. Plants should be clustered on the sides and in the back of the tank, leaving plenty of room in the center of the tank for swimming.
Like most barbs, the tiger barb is considered omnivorous and will eat just about anything that fits into its mouth. Feed it a varied diet that consists of vegetable-based flake, freeze-dried and frozen foods, supplemented with small live foods, such as bloodworms, glass worms, brine shrimp, Tubifex worms and Daphnia. If a small amount of vegetable matter is not provided (i.e., parboiled lettuce, zucchini), it will nibble on any live plants in the aquarium.
The tiger barb is easy to spawn. Although there may be differences among the sexes, it is best to purchase a group of seven or more and let them pair up. The tiger barb perform a “spawning run” as part of its courtship ritual, and so it must have a tank that is sufficiently large to allow it to gather enough speed for its runs (i.e., 20 gallons or larger). Also, provide it with spawning sites, such as clumps of plants.