Platy Fish and Tiger Barbs – Can You Keep Them in Same Aquarium?
Freshwater community aquariums are a great way to enjoy multiple fish species in the same tank. Not all fish species, however, get along well enough to be housed together.
This is why it comes in handy to know a few things about the compatibility of different species of fish and avoid housing fish that are incompatible.
I always advise my readers to research the type of fish they’re planning on raising to see if they can be kept together.
If you’ve been following my blog, you’ve probably noticed that I have a soft spot for tiger barbs and many of my articles are centered around how to care for tiger barbs, what foods to feed tiger barbs, and tiger barb fish compatibility.
If you’re wondering if you can keep platy fish and tiger barbs in the same aquarium, I have some good news for you:
Yes, you can keep them together since platies are one of the fish species that get along well with tiger barbs.
Just because they’re compatible, however, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take any precautions or monitor tank dynamics.
Below, I’ll detail some of the things you should know when keeping platies and tiger barbs together.
Platies are extremely popular in the freshwater aquarium community because of the many colors they’re available in and their low maintenance requirements.
Beginners love them because they’re easy to care for and experienced aquarists enjoy them because they’re small and active fish that sport beautiful colors, adding liveliness to any aquarium.
Platies grow to around 1.5-2 inches and despite not being schooling fish, they enjoy being in a group. Watch out for female to male ratio, keep male to every three females to prevent males from pestering females too much.
Because they’re active, I don’t recommend keeping more than five fish in a 10-gallon tank, so aim bigger to offer them enough space.
They enjoy a water temperature of 70-77⁰ Fahrenheit, and even though they can withstand fluctuations, sudden changes should be avoided.
They thrive in slightly alkaline water (6.8-8.0) with a hardness between 10–28 dGH. They’re omnivorous fish that require significant amounts of vegetable matter as well.
A varied diet rich in plant matter and protein will keep the happy and strong. They thrive on flake foods and the occasional live food snack that could be blood worms, daphnia, brine shrimp or mosquito larvae.
Platies are live-bearers and a great advantage with these fish is that breeding requires no intervention from the aquarist. In fact, it’s not getting platies to breed that is difficult, but stopping them from breeding is what’s more difficult.
Platies are an excellent choice for a community aquarium. They’re peaceful fish that won’t cause trouble in the tank and do well with other active fish that are as small as they are. Guppies and mollies make excellent tank mates for them.
Tiger barbs are another freshwater fish that enjoy great popularity. They enjoy swimming around in the tank and they’re what you would call highly active fish.
Unlike other fish species that can be kept alone (e.g. Bettas), tiger barbs are shoaling fish that should be kept in sizeable numbers (6-9 fish) to thrive.
The lower the shoal, the more aggressive tiger barbs are, especially towards other fish in the tank.
Tiger barb fish should be kept in 20+ gallon tanks with plenty of plants and an open space for swimming.
The water temperature they enjoy best is in the 75-82 degrees F range. Water pH should be around 6.5, while hardness should be around 10 dGH.
Tiger barbs are fast eaters and they do best on a varied diet suitable for omnivorous species. They take on flake foods, live foods like brine shrimp and bloodworms, freeze-dried and frozen foods.
Tiger barbs are egg-scatter fish and are difficult to breed. They first require a conditioning period that will induce spawning, which consists in separating fish based on gender and putting them on a protein-rich diet.
After spawning, tiger barbs don’t care for their eggs and fry, and artificial hatching is required, followed by raising of the fry in rearing tanks.
Tiger barbs shouldn’t be kept in the same aquarium with slow-moving fish or fish that have long fins, because tiger barbs are known to nip at the fins of these fish causing permanent injuries that will put the live of these fish in danger.
How to Keep Platy Fish and Tiger Barbs in the Same Aquarium
When it comes to the compatibility between tiger barbs and platies, I would it around 9/10 if certain conditions are met.
One of the first things to consider is keeping these two species in a tank that is large enough to meet their needs.
Remember that neither tiger barbs nor platy fish can be kept singly, therefore, they require a larger tank with plenty of space for swimming and hiding.
The second thing you should consider is creating water parameters that are within the range required for both fish.
Another thing to consider is keeping tiger barbs in large enough numbers to temper their aggressive tendencies.
While it’s generally recommended to keep at least 6-7 tiger barbs in a shoal, I’d recommend 9 or 10 just to be on the safe side.
With platies, you should focus on not exceeding male to female ratio recommendations, that is 1 male to 3 females.
When attempting to temper aggressive tendencies, a few other things may also help like raising the fish together from a fry stage or adding platies first to the tank, and then adding tiger barbs.
If you meet the requirements of both fish and you account for the propensity towards aggressiveness of tiger barbs, then you should have no trouble keeping platies in the same aquarium with tiger barbs.
Still, I recommend that you keep an eye on the behavior of your tiger barbs and if you notice signs of fin-nipping, separate them from your platies to prevent potential injuries.
While it’s unlikely that your tiger barbs will pick on platies, especially when tigers are kept in larger groups, it’s still best to pay attention to tank dynamics.
Tiger Barb Image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rick_leche/4276549129/