Green Tiger Barb

Moss Green Tiger Barb, Moss-banded Barb, Moss Barb

Family: Cyprinidae Green Tiger Barb, Puntius tetrazona variety, Moss-banded Barb, Moss BarbPuntius tetrazonaPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy David Brough
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I have a green tiger barb had him for 3 weeks and he is very dark looking and and sometimes he wants to swim and then he doesn't at all but I think he is on his... (more)  Caroline Brown

The Green Tiger Barb is a very lively fish and one of the most striking Tiger Barb varieties!

The commonly available and popular Green Tiger Barb is one of the most notable color morphs of the Tiger Barb Puntius tetrazona. This variety is truly striking with its deep fluorescent green or blue-green body coloring. When mature their colors do tend to fade a bit, but still a school of these playful and attractive fish in a nice sized aquarium makes an awesome display. Some other common names they are known by are Moss Green Tiger Barb, Green Moss Tiger Barb, Moss-Banded Barb, Moss Barb, Platinum Green Tiger Barb, Moss Green Platinum Tiger Barb, and Blue Tiger Barb.

Like its predecessors, this green variety makes a very good fish for the beginner and is enjoyed by advanced aquarists as well. Their aquarium needs, care and feeding are the same as their parentage. They are quite hardy as long as their water is kept clean with regular water changes. They are lively and active so need plenty of room to swim. The aquarium can be planted around the sides and back of the tank to give them lots of open swimming area in the middle.

They are very active, fast swimming fish that need to be kept in a school. Though they are playful fish, they can be nippy with their tank mates. These barbs do best in a group of at least six or seven fishes where they establish a "pecking order". Their nipping tendency seems to be demonstrated most when they are kept individually or in a smaller group. With a larger school they are too busy chasing each other to bother with their other tank mates. Still they should not be kept with slow swimming or long-finned fishes such as gouramis and angelfish, but will do very well in a community tank with other active species. Kept singly they can become aggressive.

For a very attractive effect in your aquarium try a mixed school by combining the pretty Green Tiger Barbs with some regular Tiger Barbs. A mix like this will provide a nice contrast of swift moving, darting color. You can add other varieties as well including the Longfin Tiger Barb, which was developed for longer finnage, and the Albino Tiger Barb, which has some wonderful red, gold, and platinum strains as well. Mixing more varieties works equally well and creates a really exciting effect.

For more Information on keeping freshwater fish see:
Guide to a Happy, Healthy Freshwater Aquarium

Geographic Distribution
Puntius tetrazona
Data provided by
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Actinopterygii
  • Order: Cypriniformes
  • Family: Cyprinidae
  • Genus: Puntius
  • Species: tetrazona
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Green Tiger Barb - Quick Aquarium Care
  • Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner
  • Size of fish - inches: 2.8 inches (6.99 cm)
  • Minimum Tank Size: 15 gal (57 L)
  • Temperament: Semi-aggressive
  • Aquarium Hardiness: Very Hardy
  • Temperature: 68.0 to 79.0° F (20.0 to 26.1° C)
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Habitat: Distribution / Background

The Tiger Barb Puntius tetrazona (previously Barbus tetrazona) was described by Bleeker in 1855. They are found throughout the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Borneo, and possibly Thailand and Cambodia. They are native to the island of Borneo and found in both the Malaysian state of Sarawak and Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of the island. Feral populations have been introduced to Singapore, Australia, the United States and Colombia.

This fish shows a preference to quiet forest streams and tributaries with clear, highly oxygenated waters. The substrate is normally composed of sand and rocks and grows very dense vegetation. In nature this fish feeds on insects, diatoms, algae, small invertebrates and detritus.

The Green Tiger Barb is a captive bred color morph developed from the Tiger Barb. Many of these barbs are captive bred for the aquarium industry. Other common names they are known by include Moss Barb, Moss Green Tiger Barb, Green Moss Tiger Barb, Moss-Banded Barb, Platinum Green Tiger Barb, Moss Green Platinum Tiger Barb, and Blue Tiger Barb. There are no wild populations of these color morphs.

  • Scientific Name: Puntius tetrazona
  • Social Grouping: Groups
  • IUCN Red List: NE - Not Evaluated or not listed - There are no wild populations of this color morph.


The Green Tiger Barb has a round shaped body with a high back, deep body and a pointed head. They are small fish reaching lengths of only up to about 2 3/4 inches (7 cm), but are generally a bit smaller in the aquarium. They have a lifespan of 6 to 7 years with proper care.

The body is truly striking, being a deep fluorescent green or metallic blue-green. The four very distinctive black stripes in the parent Tiger Barbs are missing. There is red on the outside of the dorsal fins as well as on the tail and ventral fins. When in spawning mode they have a bright red snout.

  • Size of fish - inches: 2.8 inches (6.99 cm)
  • Lifespan: 7 years

Fish Keeping Difficulty

The Green Tiger Bar is a very hardy fish and a great fish for beginners. They are usually not very picky eaters and will take and thrive on quality flake foods. As with any inbred fish, they can be a bit weaker then the actual fish they originate from. Their tank does need to be kept clean as they are susceptible to ich. With clean, clear well filtered water; these fish will do very well. Do take caution picking their tank mates as they will nip the fins of slow swimming and long finned fish.

  • Aquarium Hardiness: Very Hardy
  • Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner

Foods and Feeding

Since they are omnivorous the Green Tiger Barb will generally eat all kinds of live, fresh, and flake foods. To keep a good balance give them a high quality flake food everyday. Feed brine shrimp (either live or frozen) or blood worms as a treat. This fish will eat as much as you feed them so the aquarist should determine a reasonable amount. The rule of thumb when offering food several times a day is to offer only what they can consume in 3 minutes or less at each feeding. When offering food just once a day, provide what they can eat in about 5 minutes.

  • Diet Type: Omnivore
  • Flake Food: Yes
  • Tablet / Pellet: Yes
  • Live foods (fishes, shrimps, worms): Some of Diet
  • Vegetable Food: Some of Diet
  • Meaty Food: Some of Diet
  • Feeding Frequency: Several feedings per day - Offer only what they can consume in 3 minutes or less with multiple feedings per day.

Aquarium Care

These Barbs are not exceptionally difficult to care for provided their water is kept clean. Aquariums are closed systems and regardless on size all need some maintenance. Over time decomposing organic matter, nitrates, and phosphate build up and the water hardness increases due to evaporation. Replace 25 - 50% of the tank water at least once a month. If the tank is densely stocked 20 - 25% should be replaced weekly or every other week.

  • Water Changes: Monthly - If the tank is densely stocked the water changes should be done every other week.

Aquarium Setup

The Green Tiger Barb will swim in all parts of the tank, but prefers to swim in open areas in the middle. Since their maximum size is less than 3 inches, a school will need at least a 15 gallon aquarium. However because they are very active swimmers it is better to have a tank that is 30 inches long and 30 gallons or more. Provide good filtration and do regular water changes. Additionally, the tank should be covered as these fish may jump.

These fish will do best and are most effectively displayed in tanks which simulate their natural habitat. As with most of the barb species they are most at home in well planted aquariums. They also need stretches of open swimming areas. Along with the plants, a sandy substrate and bog wood will echo their native habitat. An efficient filter and good water movement are needed for the male fishes to develop their coloration.

  • Minimum Tank Size: 15 gal (57 L)
  • Suitable for Nano Tank: Yes
  • Substrate Type: Any
  • Lighting Needs: Moderate - normal lighting
  • Temperature: 68.0 to 79.0° F (20.0 to 26.1° C)
  • Breeding Temperature: - Breeding temperatures between 74 - 79° F (24 - 26° C).
  • Range ph: 6.5-7.5 - Hobbyists intending to breed their stock should keep the water more acidic.
  • Hardness Range: 2 - 30 dGH
  • Brackish: No
  • Water Movement: Moderate
  • Water Region: All - These fish will swim in all areas, but prefer the middle of the aquarium.

Social Behaviors

The lively Green Tiger Barb makes a good community fish, especially with other fast moving fish. However they have been known to get a bit nippy, especially when kept singly or in very small groups. They have a tendency to nip the fins of slow moving and long-finned fishes, such as gouramis and angelfish. A singly kept fish will be highly aggressive.

Tiger Barb VarietiesGroups of this fish will be hierarchal. It is a good idea to keep them in a school of at least six or seven to diffuse some of their aggressive tendencies. This can help to prevent bullying of other fish. In schools they bother each other instead of the other tank inhabitants.

  • Venomous: No
  • Temperament: Semi-aggressive - They are good community fish when kept in groups and when other tankmates are also fast moving fish. A singly kept fish will be highly aggressive.
  • Compatible with:
    • Same species - conspecifics: Yes - It is a good idea to get at least six or seven.
    • Peaceful fish (): Monitor - Tiger Barbs will nip the fins of slower moving fish such as angelfish or gouramis.
    • Semi-Aggressive (): Monitor
    • Aggressive (): Threat
    • Large Semi-Aggressive (): Threat
    • Large Aggressive, Predatory (): Threat
    • Slow Swimmers & Eaters (): Monitor - This is a rather quick fish at feeding time. Make sure any slower fish get enough to eat if you are keeping them with barbs.
    • Shrimps, Crabs, Snails: Safe - not aggressive
    • Plants: Safe

Sex: Sexual differences

The female is heavier especially during the spawning season. The males are more brightly colored and smaller. Durring spawning they will develop a very red nose.

Breeding / Reproduction

The Green Tiger Barb is developed from the Tiger Barb, which is moderately easy to breed and raising the fry is relatively simple. They become sexually mature at about 6 to 7 weeks of age when they have attained a size between about 3/4 of an inch to just over an inch in length (2 - 3 cm). Select breeding pairs from the school that have excellent markings and strong color.

They are egg layers that scatters their eggs rather than having a specific breeding site. The eggs are adhesive and will fall to the substrate. These fish can spawn in a 20 gallon breeding tank. It can be set up with a sponge filter a heater, and some plants. Marbles used as substrate will help protect the eggs. The water should be a medium hardness to 10° dGH, dGH, slightly acidic with a pH of about 6.5, and a temperature between 74 - 79° F (24 - 26° C).

Condition the pair with a variety of live foods like brine shrimp. Introduce the female to the breeding tank first and add the male after a couple of days, when the female is full of eggs. The courting ritual will start in the late afternoon with them swimming around each other, and the male performing headstands and spreading his fins to excite the female. The spawn will take place in the morning, with the male chasing and nipping the female. The female will begin releasing 1 to 3 eggs at a time. Up to 300 eggs will be release, though more mature females can hold 700 or more.

After the spawn, remove the parents as they will eat the eggs. The eggs will hatch in about 48 hours and the fry will be free swimming in about 5 days. The free swimming fry can be fed infusoria, a liquid fry food, or newly hatched baby brine at least three times a day. Pay close attention when feeding, as foods if uneaten can quickly foul the water. The fry will require clean water to survive. See the description of breeding techniques in: Breeding Freshwater Fish: Barbs. Also see Fish Food for Fry for information about types of foods for raising the young.

  • Ease of Breeding: Moderate

Fish Diseases

Green Tiger Barbs are hardy and disease is not usually a problem in a well maintained aquarium. They are primarily susceptible to Ich if good water quality is not provided. Anything you add to your tank can also bring disease. Not only other fish but plants, substrate, and decorations can harbor bacteria. Take great care and make sure to properly clean or quarantine anything that you add to an established tank so not to upset the balance.

A good thing about these barbs is that due to their resilience, an outbreak of disease can often be limited to just one or a few fishes if you deal with it at an early stage. The best way to proactively prevent disease is to give your Barb the proper environment and give them a well balanced diet. The closer to their natural habitat the less stress the fish will have, making them healthier and happy. A stressed fish will is more likely to acquire disease.

These fish are very resilient, but it is recommended to read up on the common tank diseases. Knowing the signs and catching and treating them early makes a huge difference. For information about freshwater fish diseases and illnesses, see Aquarium Fish Diseases and Treatments.


The Green Tiger Barb is readily available both in stores and online, and they are moderately inexpensive.


Author: David Brough CFS, Clarice Brough CFS
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Lastest Animal Stories on Green Tiger Barb

Caroline Brown - 2010-11-04
I have a green tiger barb had him for 3 weeks and he is very dark looking and and sometimes he wants to swim and then he doesn't at all but I think he is on his last leg so please help. Thanks

  • spencer - 2010-11-16
    You should buy 2-3 more tiger barbs for your barb. Tiger barbs are shoaling fish and when left alone, chances of dying is very high. So when you buy tiger barbs, you should buy them in a shoal of 3-5 barbs of the same species-spencer.
  • amy - 2011-09-24
    Last :) sorry. Anyway, I'm new too. I bought 4 tiger barbs around noon today. They were doing great, but now, at midnight, one has started to keep to one spot near a corner, though not directly in it. He stays a few inches above the bottom but doesn't move a lot. The other three swim around still (it's a 55 gallon tank) and when they join him he will interact a little, but when they swim away he acts like he might follow for half a second but then settles right back where he was. I enjoy these striking fish, and I'm worried about him. I don't want him to die:( how can I encourage him?
  • Derek - 2012-12-30
    Hi. I have a question I have two glow green barbs. With LED Glo tank. How do you tell the gender, secondly I have a Glo Tetra How do you tell them also? thank u for your time.
Kristie - 2012-07-21
I just started my tank over, I'm new at this! I bought 4 tiger barbs a few days ago and two of them always seem as if they are fighting. They will almost look like they lock together at the mouth and spin. I don't know what they are doing, does anybody elses fish do this?

  • Jeremy Roche - 2012-07-22
    More then likely domance fight.  Try to add a few more.
Joy Robinson - 2012-02-11
My son has just brought me 2 green barbs. I have found 2 tetra who have been nipped. On reading up about them it say they should be kept in tank at least 57 liters, mine is 50. I don't have plants but do have hiding places, apart from being angry that they told my son it was fine to put the barbs with others they told him the where very peacefull. Is it wise to get 4 more barbs and some plants to help solve the problem.

  • Alex Burleson - 2012-02-11
    Tiger Barbs, are best kept in schools of 6. A 57 liter aquarium, while larger would be best, will suffice for now. In the meantime, I would purchase 4 more Green Barbs, to minimize aggression.
Noelle - 2008-11-24
Hi.. how will I know if my barb is female or male??? Can I breed them in my 25 gal. tank? thank you

  • Kate - 2010-08-12

    If you have a tiger barb, you can tell if it is a male when the mouth is tinted an orange/brown color. Females typically have no specific markings in this area, so it's easy to separate them. Right now, I have 4 tiger barbs, but have bought them with the intention that I would be buying a goldfish as well. Too bad I found out I couldn't mix the two after I bought them. Oh well..
  • Deborah DeRosa - 2010-08-22
    Noelle, your male green barb has more reddish coloration around the cordal and pectal fins, the females are black. The females are also slightly larger and rounded in the belly. Yes you can breed your green "moss" barbs, but they must be in a 20 gallon planted tank. Put in about 2" of marbles at the bottom so the eggs can fall through and do not get eaten by the parents. As soon as the eggs are laid, take the pair of barbs out and place them in their normal tank. The fry should hatch in about 25 hours.