The Tiger Barb
The Tiger Barb

Tiger Barb becomes very popular among the aquarists of Bangladesh in recent times because of its body coloration and comparatively low retail price (Galib, 2010). They are the most striking and colorful of all barbs (Thomas et al., 2003). This species is native to Indonesia (mainly Sumatra and Borneo) (Fishlore, 2009) and imported in Bangladesh from India and Thailand (Galib, 2010). Tiger Barbs are named for their gold and black stripes on the body (James, 1981).

Systematic position

Class: Actinopterigii
Order: Cypriniformes
Family: Cyprinidae
Genus: Barbus
Species: B. tetrazona


Barbus tetrazona tetrazona (Bleeker, 1855)
Capoeta tetrazona
Bleeker, 1855
Puntius tetrazona
(Bleeker, 1855)


The body is laterally compressed and has black bands that run vertically on an orange/gold body. The bands are generally four in number. A round black spot is generally found between 2nd and 3rd bands. The pectoral and ventral fins are bright red; dorsal is also red above the black bar. Upper and lower lobes of the tail fin also have intense red streaks (Galib, 2010).

Measurements of the different body lengths were obtained as follows: SL 77.19-79.69% of TL, FL 84.21-85.94% of TL, BD 49.12-51.56% of TL, HL 25.00-26.32% of TL, CP 7.02-9.38% of TL and Eye 30.00-31.25% of HL (Galib, 2010). Maximum size recorded 7 cm (Galib, 2010).

Taxonomic formula: D. 10; P1. 7; P2. 6; A. 6; C. 16 (Galib, 2010).

Food and feeding

Tiger barbs are omnivorous in nature (Fishlore, 2009) and feeds on worms, small crustaceans and plant matter (Mills and Vevers, 1989).

Breeding and gender differentiation

Breeding of tiger barb can be somewhat difficult in controlled environment (especially in aquarium). Barbs are egglayers and they will eat the eggs. Provide plenty of broad leaf plants for them to scatter their eggs on. The adults should be separated from the eggs. The female is usually bigger and the male may develop a red coloration on its nose. The breeding couple shows courtship prior to mating (Bailey and Stanford, 1999). All red markings are more pronounced in males than female and during breeding season, males have a red snout where as in female it is not seen (Thomas et al., 2003).


During the winter season, bases of the fins were affected and the affected spots were turned red (Galib, 2010).

Economic importance

As Ornamental fish. Retail price recorded between BDT 40 and 80 per pair (in Bangladesh).


Bailey, M. and Stanford, G. 1999. Practical Fishkeeping, published by Sebastian Kelly, 2 Rectory Road, Oxford OX4 IBW, 128 pp.

Fishlore. 2009c. Tropical Fish Information, retrieved on December 12, 2009;

Galib, S.M. 2010. Cultured and Ornamental Exotic Fish Diversity of Bangladesh, MS dissertation, Department of Fisheries, University of Rajshahi, Rajshahi, Bangladesh, 169 pp.

James, D.E. 1981. Carolina’s Freshwater Aquarium Handbook, Carolina Biological Supply Company, Burlington, NC/Gladstone, OR, USA, pp. 10-20.

Mills, D. and Vevers, G. 1989. The Tetra encyclopedia of freshwater tropical aquarium fishes. Tetra Press, New Jersey, 208 pp.

Thomas, P.C., Rath, S.C. and Mohapatra, K.D. 2003. Breeding and Seed Production of Fin Fish & Shell Fish (Foreword by Dr. T.V.R. Pillay), Daya Publishing House, Delhi 110035, India, 377 pp.

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Tiger Barb, Barbus tetrazona (Bleeker, 1855)

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Shams Galib

Shams works in freshwater ecosystems, primarily on fish diversity in terms of their availability, and richness; he is also interested in aquatic invasive species and their impacts on ecosystem. Email: [email protected] More...

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