Name: Puntius tetrazona
Origin: Sumatra, Borneo
The Tiger Barb is one of the more widely kept members of the Barb family, especially because of its looks and behavior. They're small, very active, playful and usually not shy at all. One of the more well known traits of the Tiger Barbs is a tendency to "fin nip" on other fish. Long finned species such as Angels and Bettas are especially victimized. My experience has been that this behavior can be avoided if you keep them in small groups (5 or more). In this case they spend most of the time chasing each other around and tend to leave the other species alone. Lonely tiger barbs, on the other hand, seem to feel bored or insecure and start fin nipping as some sort of defensive instinct. A beautiful green strain and an albino variety are often available in fish shops.
We bought 2 Tiger Barbs to live in community with a pair of Neons and a pair of White Clouds. The label on the tank at the store categorized them as "semi-aggressive" We obviously needed more Tiger Barbs as the larger one more than just "nipped" the smaller juvenile. With the tail fin almost completely amputated, the injury proved fatal as it could not seek food or maintain its depth. When this particularly nasty "nipper" began chasing the remaining fish, we returned him to the store to preserve the harmony of the community. If the previous comments hold true, then we can infer that you must have: 1. More than two Tiger Barbs, and 2. No major size difference between the population of fish. We miss the beautiful striping of these Barbs, but to preserve the others, we had to do this.
The comments by Marcos are perfectly correct, the Tiger Barb needs to be kept in groups of five or more. I have nine (not all the same size) in a community tank which, along with other fish, contains six fancy Guppies with extremely long tails and not a nipped fin in sight! The experience of Craig and Kay just shows that some dealers are too interested in making a sale and care little the welfare of the fish they sell. Everyone has to learn, but don't take a dealer's word as gospel and if in doubt obout the requirements of a particular fish try and read up on it before buying.
I recently bought a 55 gallon tank, and added two tiger barbs to it along with 6 cardinal tetras and 2 angel fish. Unfortunately you could pretty much guess what happened next, both the cardinals and one of the angels died as a result of fin nipping. Nevertheless I loved the barbs just too much so I added two more albino and two Green tiger barbs to the tank and now they all live hapily with my neon tetras and two Angel fish.
A spawning tank for Tiger Barbs is easy to set up: 10 gallons or even less, water that has stood for 48 hours, a place in a window where early sun will hit the tank, spawning plants like lots of Java Moss, or the corks with green strands of nylon yarn attached (a "spawning mop"), maybe some floating plants for security, and the big marbles lining the bottom so they can't eat the eggs (or plastic screening). She goes in first, to get comfortable a couple of days. Brine Shrimp put her in the mood. Then in the evening, your Alpha Male, the sparkiest troublemaker, goes in with her. They should spawn in the early morning sunlight.
I keep 3 tiger barbs in a 20 gallon with 3 white skirt tetras, 1 betta, 2 blue gouramies among others, and I have never seen the barbs nip at the others. Only when a new fish comes in with long fins, they just nip at it for a day and then they leave it alone and go back to chasing each other. Maybe I just got lucky and bought "nice" fish, but whatever it is, it worked.