If you’re researching the compatibility between platy fish and tiger barbs, you’re in the right place to find out if they can be kept together and what are the caveats of housing these fish together.
Platy fish and tiger barbs can be housed in the same aquarium, however, there are preparations to make and behavioral issues to account for before you can keep them in the same tank.
In this article, I will highlight the ups and downs of keeping these fish together, along with useful and practical advice on how to keep platies and tiger barbs in the same aquarium.
Keeping Platy Fish and Tiger Barbs in the Same Aquarium
Platy fish and tiger barbs can be kept in the same aquarium, but only if certain keeping requirements are met. In the absence of these, problems can arise that will make it difficult for you to keep these two fish together.
While platy fish are gentle fish that are compatible with many freshwater fish, tiger barbs are a bit more difficult in nature.
They are aggressive fish, which explains some of the difficulty in finding them suitable tank mates.
So, here are my recommendations on how to make sure platies and tiger barbs will get along well in your aquarium:
1. Stocking Your Aquarium
Before I discuss the tank size requirements of platies and tiger barbs, there is an important aspect to cover first, which is stocking issues.
It’s a common trait for platies and tiger barbs that neither like to be kept individually. Both types of fish enjoy being kept in a group.
And while platies will simply not do well if kept alone, tiger barbs become aggressive unless they’re kept in a large enough group.
Platies should be kept in a group of 3-5, while tiger barbs should be kept in sizeable numbers such as 6-9 fish or even more to curb their aggressive tendencies.
With platies, there’s another issue to worry about and that’s breeding. You shouldn’t keep more than one male with 2-3 females because they’re produce a lot of fry and cause stocking issues in the aquarium.
2. Pick a Tank Size Suitable for Both
Because platies are active fish that grow up to 2 inches, you shouldn’t keep more than 5 in a 10-gallon tank and you should pick a bigger aquarium especially if you’re setting up a planted aquarium.
With tiger barbs, you should also aim for a spacious tank, especially if you’re aiming of housing other fish as well with their sizeable tiger barb shoal.
Tiger barbs should be housed in at least a 20-gallon tank, although if you can, do pick a larger one to set it up with enough plants and enough space for swimming.
Therefore, a large aquarium is needed to accommodate platies and tiger barbs, and to prevent aggression from tiger barbs, which can easily surface in an overstocked aquarium.
3. Make Sure Water Parameters are Optimal
Other than tank size and stocking issues, water parameters are also crucial in determining if certain fish can or cannot be kept together.
Tiger barbs require water with a temperature between 75-82 degrees F, water pH at around 6.5-7.0, while the preferred water hardness is 10 dGH.
Platies have similar requirements. Water temperature for platies should be between 72°F- 78°F, water hardness between 4 – 12 dGH, and water pH should be 7.0-8.3.
Neither platies, nor tiger barbs can withstand fluctuations in water temperature, so it’s best if you invest in an aquarium heater to provide stable water temperatures.
4. Breeding Platies and Tiger Barbs
Platies are easy to breed and they’ll even breeding a community aquarium, although it’s highly unlikely that the fry will survive the appetite of adult fish.
Indeed, both platies and many other fish will engage in filial cannibalism, meaning they’ll eat their own babies or the babies of other fish.
The only way to prevent adult fish from eating their juveniles is to separate them, which can be done through various methods like setting up a breeding tank or installing a breeding trap into the aquarium.
Tiger barbs, on the other hand, are difficult to breed. For starters, they generally don’t spontaneously breed in community aquariums and require conditioning with a high-protein diet to induce breeding.
Unlike platies, which are livebearers, tiger barbs lay eggs, which should be followed by artificial hatching as they don’t take care of the eggs themselves.
5. Keep a Watchful Eye on Your Fish
Even if you take all the necessary measures to curb the aggressive tendencies of tiger barbs, you shouldn’t neglect to monitor the aquarium for behavioral issues.
Fights between fish can lead to injuries, which can become difficult to treat and can cause secondary infections and diseases that are difficult to treat.
By keeping a watchful eye on the tank dynamics, you’ll be able to spot issues before it’s too late.
Fish Compatible with Platies
As I mentioned, platy fish are compatible with many other freshwater fish including plecos, corydoras, otocinclus catfish, mollies, guppies, neon tetras, endlers, swordtails, minnows and more.
Fish Compatible with Tiger Barbs
While tiger barbs have difficult personalities, there are some fish that can be a good companion for them including cherry barbs, black ruby barbs, zebra danios, rosy barbs, corydora catfish, plecos, and some other fish as well.
If it’s your first time ever keeping fish, you may want to wait a little longer until you can create a community aquarium and hold off on keeping tiger barbs with platies, even though they are compatible fish.
Choose friendlier fish from the list of fish compatible with platies to avoid any problems that are a result of stocking problems or aggressive tendencies.
With time and experience, you will be able to create a healthy environment for you fish and account for behavioral problems much better than when you’re just starting out in the hobby.
Fish compatibility should be taken seriously and researched thoroughly to avoid more serious issues down the line.
Tiger Barb Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiger_barb