Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Tiger Barb Tank Mates: 10 Best Companions (With Pictures)

Lindsey Stanton Profile Picture

By Lindsey Stanton


Tiger barbs can be a little temperamental no doubt, so the kinds of fish that you can house with them are somewhat limited. First, let’s get to know the Tiger Barb a little better, then let’s talk about what some of the best Tiger Barb tank mates are.

About The Tiger Barb

Since your primary goal is to have Tiger Barbs, you need to have a tank that can adequately accommodate them. The temperament of the Tiger Barb will also determine what kind of fish you can house with them.

The Tiger Barb is a tropical fish that comes from Thailand and Malaysia. So, right off the bat you know that you will need to house it with other warm water fish. The temperature for a Tiger Barb tank should be between 77 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

How Big Do Tiger Barbs Grow

The tiger barb grows to around 2 inches in length at most in captive tanks. We have covered tank size separately here.

Image Credit: Grigoriev Mikhail, Shutterstock

Other Information

The Tiger Barb is an omnivorous fish so housing them in terms of feeding is not a big issue. They will eat mostly anything that you feed your other fish. An interesting thing to note about Tiger Barbs, and other Barbs in general, is that they don’t have stomachs, so they create a fair amount of waste and mess when it comes to eating. For this reason it is a good idea to house them with some scavenger and bottom feeding fish.

Tiger Barb Compatibility

Keep in mind, the Tiger Barb can be fairly aggressive, which is usually due to stress, and they have been known to be fin nippers. This means that you don’t want to house them with fish that have long and flowing fins like a Betta fish.

Tiger Barb stress and aggressiveness can actually be reduced by adding more Tiger Barbs and other species to the mix. They like to be with their own kind and they are a schooling fish, so they will obey the Tiger Barb hierarchy. It is also a good idea to add fish into the mix that are bigger than the Tiger Barb, as they will be less likely to attack and kill bigger fish.

fish divider

The 10 Best Companions for Tiger Barb Tank Mates

Now that you know a little more about the Tiger Barb, let’s talk about what some of the best community fish tank Tiger Barb tank mates are.

1. Mollies

black molly
Image Credit: Kocsis Sandor, Shutterstock

Can Tiger Barbs Live With Mollies?

The Molly is a perfect tank mate for the Tiger Barb. A Molly is a warm water fish, so they work well in the warm water environment needed by the Tiger Barb. Moreover, the Mollie does not have long fins, so there is no worry about the Tiger Barbs nipping at their fins. Also, Mollies can grow to be up to 7 inches in length, so Tiger Barbs will definitely not see them as prey and try to attack them.

The Mollie is actually a live bearer, which means that its young are born live. Many people like this for Tiger Barbs and other fish because they young fry make for some delicious and nutritious food. People also like the Mollie because it is a relatively inexpensive fish option to go with.

2. Platies

Bumble Bee Platy - Tropical Fish - Yellow - School of fish
Image credit: Richelle Cloutier, Shutterstock

Platies are another good Tiger Barb tank mate option to go with. People really like Platies because they are known to be very peaceful and they definitely will not get into fights. Moreover, the Platy can grow to be up to 2.5 inches in length. The size of the Platy is larger than that of the Tiger Barb, and therefore the Tiger Barbs will not try to attack it.

Also, Platies have very short and stumpy fins, so there is no risk of having their fins nipped by Tiger Barb. Platies are also very resilient to different water parameters and they are pretty easy going in terms of feeding too. Platies are also very inexpensive, which is definitely a bonus as well. Once again, just like Mollies, Platies are also live bearers, so their fry can help to nourish your Tiger Barbs.

3. The Odessa Barb

Odessa Barb fish and plants
Image credit: Anandarajkumar, Wikimedia Commons, CC 3.0

Like we mentioned before, Tiger Barbs do like to be with other kinds of Barbs, and that goes for the Odessa Barb too. You can rest assured that the Tiger Barb will fall in line behind the Odessa Barb in a true hierarchical fashion. The Odessa Barb can grow to be up to 4 inches long, so the Tiger Barb will definitely not try to attack it or nip at its fins.

The Odessa Barb is also a very peaceful fish, so they won’t attack your Tiger Barbs either. Moreover, their diet is more or less the same as that of a Tiger Barb, and so are the living conditions which they require to survive and be healthy. There is also the fact that Odessa Barbs have amazing colors, which anyone with an eye for beauty will definitely appreciate.

4. The Black Ruby Barb

Black Ruby Barb
Image Credit: Karel Zahradka, Shutterstock

This is more or less the same as the Odessa Barb. Just like we said before, Barbs tend to like other Barbs. Since the Black Ruby Barb grows to be around 2.5 inches in length, you know that your Tiger Barbs will not attack them. They also have short fins so fin nipping is not really an issue here.

Black Ruby Barbs are fairly peaceful so you don’t have to worry about them attacking your Tiger Barbs, yet their larger size means that Tiger Barbs won’t mess with them either. When it comes to feeding and tank conditions, they are virtually the same for the Black Ruby Barb as for the Tiger Barb, so there is no issue there. It will make for a great addition to any Tiger Barb tank.

5. The Red-Spotted Severum

Red-Spotted Severum
Image Credit: chonlasub woravichan, Shutterstock

The Red Spotted Severum is actually a type of Cichlids. Cichlids can be somewhat aggressive, especially when it comes to mating, but the Red Spotted Severum is actually one of the more peaceful types of Cichlids. You should not have a problem when it comes to these two fish getting along. Red Spotted Severums are fairly peaceful so they won’t attack Tiger Barbs. On the other side of the equation, Red Spotted Severums can grow to be up to 10 inches in length, so you can rest assured that Tiger Barbs will not mess with them.

Moreover, the Red Spotted Severum does not have long fins, so fin nipping is not a problem there. Keep in mind, the Red Spotted Severum is a fairly messy eater and it does create a fair amount of waste, so adding some bottom feeders into the equation might not be a bad idea. When it comes to things like water temperature, parameters, and feeding, the Red Spotted Severum is very compatible with the Tiger Barb.

6. Agassizi Cichlid

Agassizi's dwarf cichlid
Image Credit: Andrzej Zabawski, Shutterstock

The Agassizi Cichlid is another good Cichlid option to go with. They can grow to be up to 3.5 inches in length, so Tiger Barbs definitely won’t mess with them or see them as prey. On that same note, the Agassizi Cichlid is fairly peaceful, so they won’t attack your Tiger Barbs.

They tend to be the most peaceful when you have them in larger groups, so you might want to get a few of them at once. These guys also do not have long fins, so the eternal problem of fin nipping is not an issue here. They are omnivores so they will eat the same things, more or less, as your Tiger Barbs, plus the necessary water conditions are virtually the same.

7. Corydora

Corydoras Catfish
Image Credit: Pixabay

The Corydora is actually a type of catfish, usually referred to as an armored catfish. They have a very rough surface with thick and tough skin. Their durable build combined with the fact that they grow to be up to 3 inches long means that Tiger Barbs will not see them as prey and will usually leave them alone. Corydoras are bottom feeders so they make for a good option in terms of cleaning up.

Like we said, Tiger Barbs do not have stomachs so they create a big mess when eating, a mess that Corydoras are more than happy to clean up. These guys also do not have long fins, plus they live in virtually the same conditions. The Corydora is a highly compatible fish for the Tiger Barb to live with.

8. Common Plec

Image Credit: Deborah Aronds, Shutterstock

Yet another good community fish tank option to keep with a Tiger Barb is the Common Plec. These things can grow to be up to a foot in length, so there is definitely no chance of a Tiger Barb trying to mess with it. On that same note, since these guys are bottom feeders, they are extremely peaceful and won’t try to go after Tiger Barbs either.

Common Plecs are a type of bottom-feeding catfish with very rough-to-the-touch skin. Being a bottom feeder is convenient because it means that the Common Plec will clean up the mess made by Tiger Barbs. The living conditions are virtually the same, so there is no problem there, plus they are definitely not a target in terms of fin nipping.

9. Cherry Barb

cherry barb
Image Credit: Besjunior, Shutterstock

The cherry barb is another type of barb, fairly closely related to the tiger barb, and yes, it makes for a pretty good tankmate indeed. For one, cherry barbs are fairly peaceful and they tend to keep to themselves, so that should be OK.

Yes, tiger barbs can be slightly aggressive, but if you have them together with some of their own kind, and provide them with plenty of room, they should have no problems living with cherry barbs.

Moreover, cherry barbs don’t really have long fins, so the tiger barb’s fin nipping habit should not be much an issue either.

When it comes to water parameters and tank conditions, both of these fish require more or less the same water temperature, pH level, and all of those other factors too. The tiger barb and the cherry barb should be able to live together just fine.

10. Tetras

Cardinal tetra
Image Credit: chonlasub woravichan, Shutterstock

Technically speaking, yes, tetras do make for pretty decent tiger barbs tank mates. However, as mentioned several times by now, tiger barbs can be a bit pushy and aggressive, so to make sure that they don’t bother your neon tetras, ensure that there is more than enough room for both fish, and ensure that there are plenty of plants, rocks, and hiding spots too.

With that being said, tetras themselves are very peaceful and docile. They definitely will not cause any trouble for your tiger barbs.

Furthermore, when it comes to water conditions, temperature, acidity, and all of that other fun stuff, bot tetras and tiger barbs can live in more or less the same conditions. When it comes to tank mates for tiger barbs, the tetra is a decent one.

divider seashells

Can Tiger Barbs Live With Guppies?

fancy guppies
Image Credit: panpilai paipa, Shutterstock

Something which many people have been asking us is whether or not guppies can live with tiger barbs. Well, the simple answer to this question is no, you should never house these two fish together.

Make no mistake about it, because guppies are very nice and peaceful. In other words, they are not going to cause trouble for your tiger barbs.

However, on the flipside of the coin, tiger barbs are aggressive and they love to nip fins. Well, guppies are docile and they have long flowing fins, which make them a prime target for an angry tiger barb that wants to chow down on some fish fins. In terms of fish compatible with tiger barbs, the guppy is not one of them.

A Few Fish To Avoid Adding With Your Tiger Barb

Ok, so, one fish that you should not house with a Tiger Barb is a Betta Fish. Betta fish can be fairly aggressive, which when combined with the aggression of Tiger Barbs, will often lead to fights. Moreover, Betta fish have long fins so fin nipping will be an issue. Another bad choice to go with is the Tetra fish.

Tetras are small and may very well get eaten by Tiger Barbs. Finally, goldfish should also not be housed with Tiger Barbs. Some goldfish can be territorial and may kill Tiger Barbs, plus they also have long fins, which means that fin nipping will be an issue.

We have also covered a detailed guide on pregnancy and breeding, you can read the article here.

wave tropical divider


The bottom line is that you will need to be fairly careful when trying to house any fish with a Tiger Barb. However, everything should be fine as long as you follow our advice and choose from some of the above fish. Community fish tanks are really cool to have so let’s do our best to make it work!

You might also be interested in:

Featured Image Credit: Andrej Jakubik, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database