Although tiger barbs are a very popular species within the fish keeping hobby, many people overlook just how aggressive they can be due to being a schooling fish and the majority of schooling fish being passive and peaceful.
Unlike many other types of fish that may nip or chase their tank mates, you will commonly find that tiger barbs will harrass their tank mates for sport rather than any practical reason too.
This has resulted in a large number of people reaching out to ask various questions about how they can stop their tiger barbs from nipping or chasing their tank mates.
Due to so many people having problems with their tiger barbs nipping and chasing their tank mates right now, we have decided to publish this article to try and help as many of our readers as possible who may be having this same problem with their tiger barbs.
Are Tiger Barbs Fin Nippers?
Tiger barbs can be fin nippers and chase their tank mates even if their tank setup is perfect as they seem to actually enjoy chasing their tank mates.
If there are problems with their tank setup such as the tank being too small, water parameters being out of whack or too little food being available for the number of tiger barbs you keep, their aggression levels can rapidly increase.
Tiger barbs males will usually become more aggressive around the time they are due to breed too with them chasing other tiger barbs and other species of fish in their tanks and nipping their fins until the breeding window is over.
One thing that often shocks people about tiger barbs is that they are usually happy to chase and fin nip other fish species that are much larger than they are.
Why Are My Tiger Barbs Nipping Each Other?
The main reason that tiger barbs will nip and chase each other is due to the males tryingto establish dominance in their tank to establish themselves.
This behavior will often become increasingly common around the tiger barb breeding window, especially if there are female tiger barbs in the tank and the more tiger barbs you have in your tank, the more likley it is for them to chase and nip each other.
Smaller numbers of tiger barbs in larger tanks can sometimes prevent this behavior though but nipping is in the nature of most tiger barbs and the majority of tank setups that have multiple tiger barbs within them will have some form of problem with tiger barbs nipping each other.
Why Do Tiger Barbs Nip Their Tank Mates?
The most common reason that tiger barbs will nip their tank mates is due to stress but there can be a number of reasons that your tiger barbs may end up being stressed.
Here are some of the more common problems that can cause tiger barbs to chase and nip their none tiger barb tank mates:-
- Poor water parameters.
- The tank size being too small.
- The tank being over stocked.
- Issues with water temperature.
- Problems with water pH levels.
- Incorrect water flow levels.
- Parasitic, bacterial, fungal, and viral infections.
- A lack of available food in the tank.
There are also a number of less common problems that may cause your tiger barbs to nip their tank mates too but the vast majority of tiger barbs of are excessivley nipping their tank mates will be doing so due to the reasons above.
The issue is that it can be difficult for the majority of people who are new to the fish keeping hobby to accuratley workout why their tiger barb is stressed with this often being the most common challange of stopping their tiger barbs from nipping.
Once you workout the cause of the stress in your tiger barb, you simply have to use the tips in the section below to correct the problem.
How Do You Stop Tiger Babrs From Nipping Their Tank Mates?
We will not be taking a quick look at how you are able to deal with each of the main cases of stress in tiger barbs to help prevent them from nipping their tank mates.
Poor Water Parameters!
One of the most common causes of stress in fish is poor water parameters and this can also lead to a number of other problems such as infections and illnesses.
The first step that you need to take when dealing with poor water parameters is to test your tank water for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, and temperature using a good quality test kit.
You can then use the results of these tests to help you identify the problem with your water and make the necessary changes to correct it.
The Tank Size Being Too Small!
Another common issue that often causes tiger barbs to nip their tank mates is the tank size being too small.
This is a particular problem with tiger barbs as they are such an active fish species that need plenty of space to swim around in and if you do not provide them with this space, it will cause them to become stressed which can lead to them nipping their tank mates.
Ideally, you should be looking to provide your tiger barbs with a tank that is at least 20 gallons as an absolute minimum in size but the larger the better.
We would usually recommend that you try to aim for a 40 gallon tank if you are keeping tiger barbs with a goal of intentionally keeping the tank understocked if possible to reduce the chances of your tiger barbs nipping and chasing their tank mates.
The Tank Being Over Stocked!
Another common issue that often leads to tiger barbs nipping their tank mates is the tank being overstocked.
This occurs when you have too many fish in your tank for the size of the tank which can quickly lead to a number of water quality problems such as ammonia and nitrite spikes.
In addition, an overstocked tank often has a lack of available swimming space which can again lead to your tiger barbs becoming stressed.
If you suspect that your tank is overstocked, the first step that you need to take is to remove some of the fish from the tank until it is at a level where you are comfortable with.
Unfortinatley, this is not always an option for beginners as they may only have one tank but some local fish stores may accept fish as donations.
If you do only have one tank and don’t want to get rid of your fish then the second step is to try to either get a second tank or a large tank to keep stocking levels in line to prevent your tiger barbs from nipping.
Issues with Water Temperature!
Another common problem that often leads to tiger barbs nipping their tank mates is issues with the water temperature.
This can be caused by a number of different things such as the heater not working correctly or the filter not being able to circulate the water properly.
If you think that your tiger barbs are nipping due to an issue with the water temperature, the first step is to check the temperature of your tank using a good quality thermometer.
If the temperature is not within the ideal range for tiger barbs, usually 77 – 82 °F then you will need to make the necessary changes to correct it.
Problems with Water pH Levels!
Another common problem that can often lead to tiger barbs nipping their tank mates is problems with the water pH levels.
Tiger barbs are a tropical fish species that prefer water with a neutral pH level of around 7.0 but they can tollerate a pH range of 6.0–8.0 pH with minimal issues.
If the pH level of your tank is outside of this range, it can cause your tiger barbs to become more aggressive and nip their tank mates due to the irritation of the incorrect pH levels.