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How To Tell If A Tiger Barb Is Pregnant

Lindsey Stanton Profile Picture

By Lindsey Stanton

tiger barb

Tiger barbs are some really cool looking fish no doubt. It is almost like looking at a fish through a kaleidoscope. They are super colorful, they have big personalities, and they are fun to watch for hours on end. Now, if you have multiple tiger barbs, especially males and females, chances are that a female will end up being pregnant eventually. The only real way to tell if a female tiger barb is pregnant is by her belly.

If you are into breeding fish, you probably want to know how you can tell if your tiger barb is pregnant. Even if you were not planning on breeding fish, it is probably still good to be able to recognize when the female is pregnant. How to tell if a tiger barb is pregnant is what we are here to talk about today. wave tropical divider

How To Tell If The Female Is Pregnant and Ready To Lay Eggs

Do Tiger Barbs Lay Eggs?

Ok, so technically speaking, tiger barbs are egg layers, so they do not get pregnant. However, the female does develop a lot of eggs that she will lay. The male will then have to fertilize these eggs once laid in order to get them to develop and hatch into tiger barb fry.

If she is full of eggs and ready to lay them, the female tiger barb’s belly will get big, fat, and bloated, just like if you ate at an all-you-can-eat buffet. Other than this, there is no real way to tell if the female is ready to lay her eggs. Some people have noted that the female will start to become a little slow and lethargic due to the increased weight and size, but this is questionable at best.

On a side note, female tiger barbs can begin to develop and lay eggs when they are sexually mature, which is when they reach around 7 weeks of age and are at their full size, so about 1.2 inches long.

tiger barbs
Image Credit: Praisaeng, Shutterstock

Tiger Barb Breeding Behavior

Tiger barbs are some pretty odd fish when it comes to breeding, even the females. It is actually kind of surprising that these fish survive in the wild seeing as they just love to eat the eggs.

Usually, only the male fish are known for eating the eggs, but when it comes to tiger barbs, both the females and the males are known for eating as many of their own eggs as they can get their mouths on, which is quite unfortunate.

At any rate, let’s quickly talk about tiger barb breeding behavior, or in other words, how you know if your tiger barbs are breeding, ready to lay eggs, and ready to bring the next generation to life.

  • If the female looks pregnant, or in other words, is getting fat, she might become a little lethargic.
  • If you notice that males and females are pairing off or have formed a pair, they are probably getting ready to breed. Males are usually a little more colorful, but a little smaller than females. If you see them pairing off, getting all friendly with each other, and doing a little dance around each other, they are getting ready to mate. They will form pairs and exhibit some odd behavior towards one another, kind of like a little mating dance.
  • Females like to spawn in clumps of plants because the eggs will be protected from other predators within the plants. They also like to do so in clumps or rocks and other materials. The female can lay hundreds of eggs in a single morning, which is probably good because if left alone, many of them will get eaten by the parents.
  • After the female has laid the eggs, the male will then pass over the eggs to fertilize them. So, if you notice the pair dancing around each other, the female laying eggs, and the male then passing over them, you know that they have just mated and spawned.
  • Male and female tiger barbs are usually quite aggressive to each other after having mated. If you see all kinds of eggs lying around and the two fish being aggressive towards each other, you can be sure that they just mated.
  • Like we said before, both male and female tiger barbs are known for eating their own eggs. So, if you want the fry to actually hatch, you will need to remove the fish from the tank, or you can also remove the eggs and put them in another fry tank.
  • However, it is not recommended that you move the eggs if you want them to survive. The best bet, if you are actually looking to breed tiger barbs, is to set up a breeding tank. Put the fish in there to breed, then once the eggs have been laid and fertilized, put the fish back into their original tank.

How Long Does It Take For Tiger Barb Eggs To Hatch?

Generally speaking, it will take between 3 and 5 days for the tiger barb eggs to hatch. The average time for hatching after the eggs have been fertilized is 4 days. So, you can expect it to take about a half week for the tiger barb fry to hatch after spawning.

Let’s quickly talk about how to take care of tiger barb fry.

  • Make sure that they are separated from their parents. Tiger barbs eat their own eggs and sometimes they eat the fry as well. If you want the fry to survive, keep them separate from their parents.
  • Tiger barb fry are pretty fragile, so the fry tank needs to have a good filtration system. It should engage in all 3 major types of filtration, but keep in mind that these baby fish are not good swimmers yet, so you do need to have a low flow rate, and you need to cover the filter intake with something like a sponge so the fry do not get sucked up.
  • After the tiger barb fry have eaten all of the yolks from the egg sacks, you will need to feed them infusoria, which is fish food for fish fry. Once they start to get a little bigger, you can feed them Daphnia and brine shrimp up to 3 times per day.
  • Change the water in the tank once per day, but no more than 10% of it per day. Once they get big enough and reach maturity, after about 1 month to 6 weeks, you can either sell them or put them back into the community tank.

wave tropical dividerFAQ

How Long Is A Tiger Pregnant For?

Tiger barb females carry their eggs around with them, which are then laid, fertilized by the male, and then they hatch in between 3 to 5 days after they are fertilized.

Are Tiger Barbs Livebearers?

This is a question that many people ask, but it is actually quite misleading. Tiger barbs are not livebearers, or in other words, tiger barb babies are not born swimming right out of the mother.

tiger barbs
Image Credit: Andrej Jakubik, Shutterstock

What Do Tiger Barb Eggs Look Like?

Tiger barb eggs are extremely small, no more than a few millimeters in diameter. They are fairly rounded in shape, sometimes slightly oval as well. In terms of color, tiger barb eggs are an orange-tan color, sometimes slightly darker.

How Long Do Tiger Barbs Carry Eggs?

Tiger barb females are egg scatterers, which means that they will lay up to 200 eggs at a time while moving back and forth across the aquarium.

Tiger barb females will usually only develop a full set of eggs when they are held together with a male, known as a breeding pair. However, there are times when females do carry eggs even when not in a breeding pair, which can be problematic if she is not spurred on to lay those eggs.

If she keeps carrying those eggs, the female tiger barb may become egg-bound, which can be a pretty serious issue. Generally speaking, a female tiger barb which is in a breeding pair with a male will carry the eggs for only a few days before spawning begins.

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Whether you want to or not, if you have male and female tiger barbs in the same tank, chances are that they will breed. Being able to recognize a female when the female is pregnant, and being familiar with tiger barb breeding behavior, is essential if you want to be ready for this miracle of life.

Featured Image Credit to: LeonP, Shutterstock

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