Do Tiger barbs really nip fins?

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Tiger barbs are famous for being nippy, but is there anything the fishkeeper can do to minimise problems?

Tiger barbs, Puntius tetrazona, can nip the fins of long-finned fishes, such as guppies, Siamese fighters, gouramis and angels. However, if you keep them in a larger group, say six to 12, the chances of this happening are much less than when you only have a couple.

 When kept in a larger group, the barbs will be more preoccupied with chasing each other and displaying to the opposite sex, so generally won’t nip fins as much.

Of course, it’s safer to keep them apart and they are rarely, if ever, a problem with fast-moving fish or those species without long, trailing pelvic fins or long tails.

This item was first published in the November 2009 issue of Practical Fishkeeping magazine. It may not be reproduced without written permission.