Guppy Fish and Tiger Barbs – Can You Keep Them in Same Aquarium?

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Stocking a community aquarium can be challenging, especially when you want to have a variety of fish housed together.

You may be worried about creating suitable water conditions and meeting dietary needs for all fish involved. While this is something you should research, another thing you should worry about is compatibility between different fish.

I always advise beginner aquarists to do a thorough research about the fish they’re planning on housing together to prevent fights, injuries, and even the death of their fish.

If you’ve landed on this article, you’re probably wondering if it’s okay to keep guppy fish and tiger barbs in the same aquarium.

The short answer is no, you shouldn’t keep guppies together with tiger barbs. For the long answer, I encourage you to read my article that highlights the physical and behavioral aspects that make it impossible for these fish to coexist in the same aquarium.

Guppy Fish


One of the hardiest fish, guppies are a popular, beginner-friendly, and easy-going fish species that’s also very beautiful.

In the wild, they’re also very useful, feeding on mosquito larvae, thus keeping mosquito populations under control.

Guppy fish grow to 1.5-2 inches. Even though they’re fairly small fish, they’re active and require space for swimming.

I recommend at least a 10-gallon tank for starters. Temperature in the tank should be around 72–79°F, with water hardness at 8-12 dGH, and pH in the 6.8 – 7.8 range.

When stocking your tank with guppies, be careful about the male to female ratio. If you’re going to keep both males and females, make sure to keep them in trios (1 male to every 2 females).

Male guppies are more colorful than females and features long, flowy fins. Males can incessantly pursue females, thus stressing them out, therefore, females must always outnumber males in a tank.

Another reason why you should focus on male to female ratio is because these fish are fast breeders and you may end up with a lot of fry in the tank.

As for their diet, insect larvae and algae are their staple food in the wild. In home aquariums, guppies can be fed a variety of foods since they’ll accept most fish foods, just make sure foods are small enough to fit their mouths.

Tiger Barb Fish

Tiger Barb

Tiger barbs are active fish that populate many freshwater home aquariums. They’re kept in schools of 6 or 7, and they enjoy planted tanks with sandy substrates.

At 2.5-3 inches, these fish reach sexual maturity and develop bright red colors on the snout and ventral fins, which beautifully complements their vertical black stripes and orange colors.

Tanks suitable for these fish should be at least 20 gallons and water temperature should be around 75 and 82 F. Hardness should not exceed 10 dGH and pH must be kept around 6.5.

Foods they enjoy most include brine shrimp, blood worms, beef heart paste, frozen and freeze-dried foods, quality flakes and some veggies too.

Tiger barbs don’t breed as easily as guppies do, since they require conditioning and separate breeding and hatching tanks since artificial hatching of the eggs is required.

Unlike guppies that are peaceful fish, tiger barb fish are semi-aggressive both towards other fish and their own mates in their shoal.

Therefore, you must be careful when placing tiger barbs together with fish that may pique their curiosity or fish they might injure by nipping at their fins.

Why You Shouldn’t Keep Guppy Fish and Tiger Barbs in the Same Aquarium

From my description of the two types of fish you may already have an idea why guppies and tiger barbs don’t mix well in a community tank.

Once placed in the same tank tiger barbs will literally shred the long tails and fins of guppies, seriously injuring them or even causing their death.

In my experience, I’ve heard it time and time again that people attempted to place guppies in the same tank as tiger barbs only to later find their guppies dead or injured.

Plus, guppies as not fast enough to escape tiger barbs, therefore injuries are inevitable.

Therefore, no matter what you may have heard or what a pet store employee may have told you, guppies should not be kept together with tiger barbs, because tigers simply can’t resist not nipping at the fins of guppies.

To prevent injuries and death, keep each type of fish with compatible tank mates.

Which Fish are Compatible with Guppies?

Guppies are undemanding, peaceful fish that enjoy being kept in a community tank, provided they’re kept with the following compatible fish:

Fish that shouldn’t be kept with guppies include angelfish, tiger barbs, cichlids, and other large, aggressive and predatory fish.

Which Fish are Compatible with Tiger Barbs?

Tiger barbs do best if kept in schools, which can temper their aggressive tendencies, however, they should be kept mostly with the following types of fish:

Fish you should never keep together with tiger barbs are guppies, angelfish, bettas, goldfish, cichlids. Other docile fish with flowy fins and fish that are too aggressive aren’t a good match either.

Final Notes

Aggressive fish should always be monitored even when kept alongside compatible mates.

There’s no 100% guarantee that aggressive fish will play nicely with other fish, so keep an eye on them to prevent injuries.

Tiger barbs and guppy fish simply don’t go well together, therefore, avoid keeping them in the same tank at all costs.

Fin nippers can cause serious injuries to their tank mates, which can cause death or secondary infections that can be extremely difficult to treat.

To minimize the risk of injuries, pick tank mates that are compatible with your tiger barbs or guppies, and even so be on the lookout for behavioral issues.

Do your best to temper aggressive tendencies and separate fish that are bothering your other fish in the tank.

Tiger Barb Image:

Author Image Fabian
I’m Fabian, aquarium fish breeder and founder of this website. I’ve been keeping fish, since I was a kid. On this blog, I share a lot of information about the aquarium hobby and various fish species that I like. Please leave a comment if you have any question.
Questions and Answers

We have managed to successfully keep tiger barbs in our community tank that also consists of a female betta, 4 male guppies, rasboras, corys, balloon mollys, amano shrimp and elephant snails

    Interesting fish choice for a community tank. Tiger barbs did not eat the Amano shrimps? Or do you have hiding space for the shrimp, where the barbs can’t get them? I know Amano shrimp can get to a decent size, though I wouldn’t risk them putting together with tiger barbs. Really interesting to see such setup working.

This was very helpful. Thanks. I started out with 4 guppies and 4 tiger barbs. As you stated that didn’t work out too well. Wish I saw this article sooner. Thanks

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