Skip to Content

How To Take Care Of A Pregnant Tiger Barb!

With the tiger barb being a popular fish that is relatively easy to care for and there being so many beginners to fish keeping right now, it’s not surprising that a large number of the people that we see are getting involved in fish keeping are looking towards keeping tiger barbs in their tank.

Although most beginners don’t intentionally try to breed their fish, it can be common to end up with a pregnant tiger barb and we have seen a number of people reaching out to ask questions about caring for a pregnant tiger barb.

Now, just for a quick point of clarification, a “pregnant tiger barb” is usually the term that people use to describe a tiger barb that is ready to lay her eggs rather than actually being pregnant.

The larger size of her belly does make the fish look pregnant but tiger barbs do not give birth to live young and will display spawning behaviour and then release their eggs to be fertilized by a male.

That said, due to the term of “pregnant tiger barb” usually being the term that we see people using, we will be sticking to it for this article even though the tiger barb is not technically pregnant and is just ready to spawn.

Now, we see a range of questions from the community about taking care of a pregnant tiger barb that we will be answering in this article so we have added our table of contents below.

It will allow our readers to quickly and easily skip to specific sections of the article as quickly as possible to get the specific information that you require.

How To Take Care Of A Pregnant Tiger Barb!

A pregnant tiger barb or a tiger barb that is ready to spawn and release her eggs should realistically be moved to a breeding tank if you are actively trying to breed your tiger barbs.

Letting her release her eggs in your main tank will usually result in the majority of her eggs becoming fish food and any fry that do manage to emerge becoming food too.

Once in the breeding tank with a suitable male tiger barb, you usually just have to let nature take its course.

We know that the bulk of our readers who ask about taking care of a pregnant tiger barb are usually beginners to fish keeping and maybe on a budget and unable to purchase a totally separate breeding tank.

This is where the breeding box comes in as you put the female tiger barb who is about to spawn in the box with a male with the box sitting in the main tank.

This has the advantage of using the same water as your main aquarium so your water conditions will be the same and exactly what your barbs are used too.

Toxic shock and pH issues can be common for beginners when transferring fish to a breeding tank so a breeding box is a quick, easy, and cheap workaround to avoid these problems.

“Tiger Barb” by james_mk_green is licensed with CC BY-NC 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

How Do You Know If A Tiger Barb Is Pregnant Or Ready To Spawn Eggs?

A female tiger barb who is full of eggs will have a belly that is much larger than normal with it usually looking bloated or fat compared to what it would otherwise look like.

She may also start to display spawning behavior such as such as trying to get the attention of male barbs and letting them chase her around the aquarium.

If you are a beginner at taking care of tiger barbs then it can be difficult to notice the initial swelling in the females belly who is ready to spawn eggs.

A quick and easy way to try and get a better idea if your tiger barb is pregnant and full of eggs ready to release them is to compare the size of the belly to other tiger barbs in your aquarium.

Due to tiger barbs being a schooling fish, the majority of people will be keeping more than one allowing you to compare the shape of a tiger barb you think maybe full of eggs to that of a regular sizes tiger barb.

Although this may sound basic, it is a quick and easy method that even experienced fish keepers resort to sometimes and it can be easier than some of the other methods we commonly see people using.

How Do You Hatch Tiger Barb Eggs?

Tiger barb eggs usually only take 36 to 48 hours to hatch so there really is no need to offer much in the way of care.

As with most fertilized fish eggs, your main job is to prevent the eggs from becoming food to other fish and to try and keep the water conditions as consistent as possible to encourage the tiger barb eggs to hatch as soon as possible.

Taking advantage of a breeding box really is a great investment if you are actively trying to breed your pet tiger barbs and bring their eggs to maturity to produce fry.

The breeding box drastically increases the survival rate of the fertilized eggs and fish fry allowing you to quickly and easily breed large numbers of tiger barbs in a short period of time.

This is due to tiger barbs reaching sexual maturity in less than two months of age but this can be a disadvantage if you don’t separate your male and female tiger barbs.

Each female can release as many as 200 eggs per spawning session so your numbers can exponentially grow at a rapid pace.

How Long Do Tiger Barbs Carry Eggs?

A tiger barb can end up carrying her eggs anywhere from a few days to around ten days depending on the conditions and the specific situation.

If a male tiger barb is present then she will tend to release her eggs sooner but after around a week, the female tiger barb is more likely to just release her eggs even if a male is not present.

If you do keep tiger barbs in your aquarium then it can be common for a tiger barb to hold her eggs and keep her pregnant look for around a week before she just releases her unfertilized eggs into the aquarium.

These eggs will quickly end up becoming fish food and is just a part of owning tiger barbs due to how quickly the reach their sexual maturity.

As we touched on above, it is often much better for anyone who keeps tiger barbs to allow the female to release her unfertilized eggs into the aquarium than put a male in there with her.

The number of tiger barbs in your aquarium can exponentially grow in a matter of months if you mix male and females without taking steps to prevent them from breeding.

Do Tiger Barbs Eat Their Babies?

Tiger barbs will eat their own eggs, fry, and babies if they are small enough so it is always recommended that you remove the adult tiger barb from the tank with their fertilized eggs in if possible.

This will drastically increase the survival rate of the fertilized eggs if you are actively trying to breed your tiger barbs.

If you do have male and female tiger barbs in the same tank then the fact that tiger barbs will eat their own eggs, fry, and babies can actually end up being an advantage due to it serving as population control.

Although this may sound harsh, you can quickly end up with huge numbers of tiger barbs if you mix male and females in the same aquarium and then protect their fertilized eggs and fry.

The majority of other fish as well as other animals such as shrimp will also eat tiger barb eggs, fry, and small babies too keeping the population in check.

Due to tiger barb fry usually not becoming free swimmers until around the four to six days of age mark, they tend to be very easy pickings for adult fish in the tank.


That brings our article going over how to care for a pregnant tiger barb to an end. We hope that you have found our article helpful and that we have been able to help you take care of your tiger barb that is full of eggs. We also hope that we have been able to point out the downsides of actively breeding tiger barbs as well as mixing male and female tiger barbs in the same tank as you really can end up with a large population of tiger barbs in a very small period of time.