Green Tiger Barb

Green Barb – Puntius semifasciolatus

Green Tiger Barb
Green Tiger Barb

Scientific name:                Puntius semifasciolatus
Common name:                Green barb
Max. size:                         7.0 cm / 2.8 inches
pH range:                          6.0 – 8.0
dH range:                          5 – 19
Temperature range:          18 – 24°C / 64 – 75°F

The Green barb is a lively fish that will add activity and colour to the mid-level and bottom part of the aquarium. Green barbs are non-aggressive and will do fine in community aquariums with other peaceful species of similar size. Always get at least 5 Green barbs, preferably more, since this is a schooling species that will become stressed and shy if kept alone or in really small groups. When well cared for, a Green barb can reach an age of 4-6 years in captivity.

Green barb habitat:

The Green barb is a colour variant of Puntius semifasciolatus, a barb native to subtropical parts of South East Asia. Your Green barbs will therefore appreciate a water temperature in the 18 -24°C (64-75°F) range in the aquarium. The native habitat for Puntius semifasciolatus is the Red River basin and freshwaters rivers and streams in Laos. The Red River originates in the Yunnan province in China, flows through Vietnam and empties into the South China Sea. Today, you can find introduced Puntius semifasciolatus populations in other parts of the world as well, including Singapore and Hawaii, U.S.

Green barb description:

The Green barb is a medium long barb of the minnow family (Cyprinidae) and the biggest scientifically measured Puntius semifasciolatus had attained a length of 7 cm (2.8 inches).
This fish has a complete lateral line, a posteriorly serrated last simple dorsal ray and a highly arched back. Just like its relatives, the Green barb has a set of highly sensitive barbells that is can use to navigate and search for prey in murky waters. The barbells are fairly short and positioned at the corners of the mouth on the upper jaw.

Green barb setup:

As mentioned earlier, Green barbs should always be kept in schools consisting of at least 5 specimens, preferably more. Even though wild Puntius semifasciolatus stay fairly small, captive specimens can grow much bigger than the 7 cm reported from the wild. You must therefore have a big enough aquarium to house them in and a 50 L aquarium is considered an absolute minimum. Green barbs are active and need a lot of swimming space. They will also need spots to hide in and adding plants is recommended since their native habitat is densely grown. Since they hail from fast rivers and streams, Green barbs are fond of some current in the aquarium.

Green barb tank mates:

If your aquarium is big enough, you can combine a school of Green barbs with a wide range of other peaceful fish species of similar size, provided that they like the same water quality and temperature. Examples of species known to work well with Green barbs are Platy (Xiphophorus maculatus), the Bristlenose Catfish (Ancistrus dolichopterus) and the Neon Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia praecox). If you want to stick to Asian species, you can for instance pick Opaline Gourami (Trichogaster trichopterus) and Paradisefish (Macropodus opercularus).

Really timid fish can sometimes be a little scared when a sturdy, active school of Green barbs swims by, but Green barbs can on the other hand function as relaxing dither fish as well since they are so at ease as soon as they are kept in a big enough school.

Green barb care:

Caring for a Green barb is not difficult because it is very sturdy as long as it is kept in a school. If kept alone, the stress can make it prone to disease. Green barbs are known to tolerate a pH-value between 6 and 8, but neutral or slightly acidic water (pH 6.5-7.0) is recommended. Soft or medium hard water is best, ideally around 8 dGH. Most Green barbs will however adapt to conditions from dGH 5 to 19. The water temperature should be in the 18 – 24° C (64 – 75° F) range. This is somewhat lower than most tropical species.

Green barb feeding:

In the wild, Puntius semifasciolatus sticks to a varied diet that consists of detritus, plant matter, worms, insects and small crustaceans. It will therefore need a varied diet in the aquarium and must be given vegetable based food as well as meaty treats. You can for instance use high quality tropical flake food as a base and give your Green barb regular treats in the form of worms, adult brine shrimp, and boiled eggplant.

Green barb breeding:

Puntius semifasciolatus is a prolific creature in the wild; it can spawn several times per year and its minimum population doubling time is less than 15 months. It is an egg-scattering species where the female produce huge quantities of eggs each spawning.

Breeding Green barbs in aquariums is not very difficult, but you need to set up separate breeding aquarium since the adult fish might eat their own offspring if you leave them with their eggs and fry. A Green barb breeding aquarium should be at least 60 cm (24 inches) long and contain a lot of hiding spots since the male can be rather violent towards the female during the courting process. Parts of the aquarium must be densely planted.

You know that your couple is getting ready to breed when the male starts to circle the female with his mouth open. He will push her around a lot, strike her with his tail and try to force her into a planted part of the aquarium. This period can be very tiring for her. Spawning will normally take place at sunrise.

As soon as the eggs have been released and fertilized, it is time for you to catch the parents and remove them from the breeding aquarium to avoid cannibalism. Green barb eggs are normally yellowish and will hatch within 2 days. The fry will be free swimming within a few more days and can be feed tiny food, such as rotifers and newly hatched brine shrimp.

42 thoughts on “Green Tiger Barb”

    1. I think they should be fine. Although watch the tigers as they do like to be the only barbs in a tank.
      Other thoughts is that a 180l tank may be a little small for 5 torpedo’s they like space (although smaller longer tanks are fine too) they’re abit zoomy

  1. I adore these green barbs I had no idea they were the same species as the tiger barb. Can anyone tell me if they make decent top view fish? That shiny green is it along the dorsal area? Do males and females have the cherry red snout? Iridescent dark emerald green is a wonderful colour. I have great success with Rosy barbs outdoors, no filter, no water flow but plenty of plants. I keep them in shoals of 35 or so. This number varies as they part company and break off into smaller shoals then rejoining later then split up again etc. Also there are many shoals of fry in different sizes. Would green barbs do as well as Rosy barbs? Or are they a lot less hardy than Rosy barbs, with different requirements?

    Thank-you for the informative article.

  2. Hi, I’ve just bred some green tigers but 11 of the fry are the generic striped tiger and only 1 is green… Is this the norm?

    1. can’t say for sure but I think the striping is part of a recessive gene trait like different hair or eye colour in humans so some generations can skip and or lose strips and some can have really strong stripes etc.

  3. I have 6 Green Barbs, 5 Denison Barbs and 6 Golden Barbs, a 5inch Rainbow Shark, an Angle, a 5inch Ghost knife, 3 clown loach, 6 neon, 5 harlequins, 5 rummy nose tetras, 4 Guppies, a Gold ring butterfly pleco and a couple of Pearl Gourami (a lot of fish i know). They all get on fine just fine.The shark is the boss. The green Barbs are definitely the most boisterous. They are the best schooling fish out of all of them and keep the Rummys on their toes. Love these fish. Very active and interesting to watch. NOT super aggressive…my guppies are still swimming with their tails intact! They love Blood Worm!!! Personally I’d say more like 100L and larger tank would be more suitable as they do like to swim and they are petty quick!

  4. I have two green tiger barbs, two gold rams, three black tetras, one bala shark, one bumble bee goby, one fancy cat, one algae eater, and the barbs only killed my snail

  5. I have a tank with Green Barbs, Tiger Barbs, a Red tailed Shark, Danios, Neon Tetras & a Suckling Loach & everyone appears to get on

    1. that sounds like my tank…got some balloon mollies and golden barbs. one big happy family

  6. I have 7 green tiger barbs in my tank and tried introducing two silver sharks which the shop assured me will be fine but as soon as they were released into the tank the barbs saw them as live food and started a feeding frenzy on their fins. After 10 mins of watching the barbs attack the sharks I gave in and decided to protect the fish by taking the sharks straight back to the shop. I’m now worried that if I try to introduce any other fish to the tank the same thing could happen, is this common with barbs and sharks? Is there a better fish I could bring to the tank?

    1. I’ve managed to keep silver sharks with my barbs (when I had barbs) but the sharks were in first and were quite large already once the barbs were introduced. Barbs can be quite nippy and evil especially if they feel another fish is invading their space. It could be your tank just simply isn’t big enough to accommodate more fish since the barbs are already in place and established. Try with a bottom feeder perhaps a plec of some kind failing that you may find yourself limited to only more barbs.

  7. We have recently got some fish for our tropical aquarium. We were not entirely sure what to go with so we got three tiger barbs and three green barbs. we did also get on yellow Loach. I’ve checked the water conditions and this seems fine, but the tiger barbs are very placid (nothing like they were in the shop) I’m concerned that there may be something wrong with the environment of the tank, Also we have had one barb die today (4 days after getting them) The green barbs have slightly lost their colour. Im not sure if they like the food we got them and what else to do. Any help. would be great!!

    1. Keep checking the water condition it could be that its spiking its cycle now that you actually have stock in. If it is an ammonia is high you can dilute it by doing daily or twice daily water changes for a week or 2. They’ll have lost their colour and be more sedate because they’re stressed it could be tank shock from the move to a new tank or a water condition problem or a combination of both. Leave the tank lights off for a while let them settle in do regular water changes and then see in a few weeks if they’ve cheered up.
      Simple flake food will be fine for the barbs or tetra prima don’t over feed them though especially in a new tank.

  8. Well our green barbs ate the neons so I wouldn’t describe them as non aggressive!

    1. Really? I know small groups or single barbs can be aggressive but I never had them kill my neons when they were all together

      1. We had two green barbs, who were fine, and 4 neons. All quite happy together (along with various others) for months. We decided to get some more baby neons. Welll ….. the barbs ate them all, and then proceeded to devour the adults! They’d all been rubbing along quite nicely before that. I admit, we don’t know a great deal about fish keeping, but I have always asked the advice from the shop where we get the fish and he said it would be fine. We’re not increasing our stock any more. The green barbs can’t be trusted!

        1. Unfortunately many local shops don’t have a clue but in this case they’re kinda right. There shouldn’t have been any problems though it could be baby neons triggered their aggression specifically babies not just neons

          1. Well they’re all happy now and tank at fish capacity. Next time we need advice I think we’ll ask you. Thankyou. Alison

          2. I’m by no means an expert, just a hobby keeper who likes to read alot and research his fish. Thankfully there’s others around here who help with advice from time to time 🙂

  9. Hi can anyone help me please? How can you tell which barbs are male and which are female? I have 2 green tiger barbs, 2 tiger barbs, 2 albino barbs and 2 rosy barbs but don’t know which ones are male or which ones are female and would really love to know. Thanks in advance.

    1. I’m not 100% sure with barbs I know there’s stuff about chubbier etc (check my page about tiger barbs) but I’ve never been able to tell them myself

    2. With tiger barbs regular ones the males have red on their top fin and females have black, im not sure about the other ones though

  10. We have a school of 10 barbs; 5 green and 5 of the traditional silver and black. We had 13 but our barbs keep eating each other in the middle of the night! In the morning I will find just a fish head on the bottom of the tank with a few of the barbs picking at it. Why is this happening? We feed them twice daily, and we have a 55 gallon tank. We had 7 and they started ganging up on our rainbow fish and nipping/ripping it’s tail, and I read that a larger school of 10 or more would keep them distracted enough to leave tank mates alone. They are still nipping the rainbow’s tail and now eating each other too. It’s horrifying.

    1. Unfortunately this is basically barbs just being barbs although they don’t associate massively with other barbs ie: although you have “standard” barbs (probably odessya) that doesn’t mean you have 10 barbs it means you have 2 schoals of 5 barbs. Now you could try adding another 5 of each barb type since you have plenty of space for them. However personally I’d get rid of the barbs asap and keep the rainbows. There’s many more placid fish that play lovely with rainbows that you could replace the barbs with.

  11. i have three green tiger barbs and they are as happy as a pig in a pie constantly moving and chasing each other around ,do not interfere with other fish and do very well on flake and the odd bit of fruit three ,have a well established aquarium with male beta who sometimes chases them around

  12. Thank you for an informative article. I am new to keeping fish and only just bought some fish for my tank. I was told to get 3 fish only to start and now i am concerned they will get stressed. I have green tiger barbs and will get some mire when i can out them in the tank. Will this be ok? Thanks heather.

    1. If there’s only the 3 they may get a little grumpy but they’ll be fine for a few weeks until you can add another 2 or 3 you may just get a few torn fins etc nothing major to worry about and the fins will grow back. Just keep an eye out for serious bullying and any developing real wounds on their body not just nipped fins.

  13. I’ve found that these fish are anything but peaceful community fish… they love to fin nip and will harass other fish nearly to death if not kept in ideal schooling conditions…. Please do your research before getting these fish, they can throw off the balance of a community tank very quickly…

    1. As stated in the article groups of at least 5 are ideal I’ve never had any problems with them being agressive as long as they’re kept in shoaling quantities only ever when there’s been just one or 2 of them

      1. Hi ihave 3 green tiger fish and 3 orange and black stipped ones in my tank should they be fine together

          1. I have had green and standard tIgers for many years.tank size 29 gal or larger a must.40 gal better.introduice very young barbs to the main group in intervals as to keep a variety of ages like a family.I have 12 greens in a 40 gal with a few smaller fish and there is no off group aggresion.but the tank is theirs .several meas a day of different foods and remember,live food can notch up aggresion in the males

    2. I just got a new small community of fish. Two yellow tail shark, two strawberry barbs and one green barb. The pink barks are being bully’s to my my other fish chasing them around and not letting them chill. Any advice on what to do?

      1. Barbs are very temperamental fish they can be aggressive especially in small numbers. 6+ seems to be the magic number although some have had success with less others have had to get many more than that to get them to calm down. I would first of all (if your tank can support it!) get more barbs if not then get rid of the sharks and have only barbs.

        1. Hellot there. I have a 90 litre tank with 6 green tiger barbs. I am thinking of getting 3-4 corys for bottom feeders and one blue acara. Do you think the 90 litre is enough space? And should i get more barbs? Thanks!

          1. Would be ok with a couple of small Cory’s wouldn’t get any more mid fish with 6 barbs in only a 90l tank it would be abit much. A bigger tank would be the recommendation of you want more fish

          2. I’d advice not getting Corey’s as my green moss tiger barbs just killed them all. This person who initially said they are a peacefull fish us rubbish. I’ve woken up everymorning with 1 fish completely stripped of its fins and my albino catfish face was smashed by these evil little fish

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