Are Tiger Barbs Cichlids? (Explained)

If you are an aquarist, then you most likely know about Tiger Barbs and their distinctive characteristics. Are you wondering if Tiger Barbs are cichlids? And if not, can you at least keep them with other Cichlids? 

Tiger Barbs are not cichlids. Tiger barbs are a species of tropical cyprinid fishes, while Cichlids come from the family Cichlidae, and they fall in the order Ciconiiformes. These are different species.  Tiger barbs may get along with other barbs but they should not be kept with cichlids.

In this article, we will look at the different characteristics of Tiger Barbs and Cichlids and see how they differ. We’ll also see if you can potentially keep these two species of fish together. 

Tiger Barbs

Tiger Barbs are a type of barb, and they are usually bright, orange, or red in color. They have black stripes that run the length of their body, hence the name “Tiger Barb.” 

Tiger barbs are schooling fishes, and they typically grow to be around 3 inches in length. They are very active fish, known for their playful nature. 

It is a great choice for a community fish tank, as they will get along well with other fish. However, they should not be kept with cichlids, as they are incompatible.


Cichlids are a type of fish that come from the family Cichlidae. They are freshwater fish and they typically inhabit areas in Central and South America. 

Cichlids are a popular fish for aquarists because they are very lively fish, and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. 

Cichlids are known for their aggressive nature, and they should not be kept with other fish that are not of the cichlid family. While Tiger Barbs may get along with other barbs, they should not be kept with cichlids.

Differences Between Tiger Barbs & Cichlids:

#Tiger BarbsCichlids
FamilyCyprinidaeCichlidae Bonaparte
Size2-3 inches2-14 inches
OriginBorneo and MalaysiaAmerica, Africa and Madagascar,
TempartmentSemi AggressiveAggressive
Food HabitOmnivoreOmnivore
ColorsYellowish-orange (with reddish orange fins and faces)Mostly blue or yellow
Lifespan6-7 years10 – 20 years
Compatibility with PlantsSuitable for planted tankNot suitable for a planted tank.

Can Tiger Barbs be Kept With Cichlids?

No, Tiger Barbs should not be kept with cichlids. Cichlids are a different species and they are known for their aggressive tendencies. Tiger Barbs are already notorious for their frustratingly aggressive and territorial behavior.

And so, they should definitely not be housed with another species of fish that’s also dominant, aggressive, and fierce (i.e. Cichlids). 

In simple terms, Tiger Barbs and Cichlids cannot be compatible tank mates, period.

Can African Cichlids And Tiger Barbs Live Together?

African cichlids and tiger barbs can technically live together, but they will not get along perfectly. 

African cichlids are territorial and may become aggressive towards the tiger barbs. The tiger barbs may also become aggressive towards the African cichlids. 

Furthermore, the two fish species have different requirements in terms of water pH and water hardness

African cichlids prefer a pH of 7.5-8.5 and a water hardness of 10-20 dGH. Tiger barbs prefer a pH of 6.5-7.5 and a water hardness of 2-8 dGH. 

If you decide to keep African cichlids and tiger barbs together, be sure to monitor their behavior and make any necessary adjustments to their tank’s water parameters to ensure their collective well-being.

What Fish Can Live With Tiger Barbs?

Some compatible tank mates for tiger barbs include other small fish like guppies, platies, and tetras. Avoid keeping larger fish with tiger barbs, as they may see them as a threat or food. 

Also, Clownfishes can be housed with tiger barbs in a large enough aquarium setup. Other than that, any other schooling fish that stay relatively small in size should be okay to mix with tiger barbs. 

You should choose fast-moving tank mates for your Tiger Barbs such as Platies, Danios, loaches, and catfish.

What Fish Can You Put With Cichlids?

Cichlids are a large group of fish from Africa and South America. Many cichlids are aggressive fish and can be territorial, so it is important to choose tank mates wisely. 

Some compatible cichlid tank mates include smaller fish like guppies and tetras and other cichlids. Avoid keeping large fish or other aggressive fish with cichlids, as they may be seen as a threat or food. 

Some of the fishes that can be safely kept with Cichlids include Plecos, Raphael Catfish, Larger Rainbowfish, and Synodontis catfish. 

Can Tiger Barbs Eat Cichlid Flakes?

Yes, as Tiger barbs are omnivorous fish and can eat both plant and animal material. Cichlid flakes are a good food choice for tiger barbs and will provide them with the nutrients they need. So, you can definitely feed them cichlid flakes.

Related Questions: 

Can I put Mollies with tiger barbs?

Yes, you can put Mollies with tiger barbs. However, you should be aware that tiger barbs can be aggressive fish and may attack the Mollies. 

So, if you decide to put them together, be sure to watch them closely to make sure that the barbs don’t harass the Mollies. 

Also, there are a few caveats to this setup as well. 

Can tiger barbs live with Tetras?

Yes, tiger barbs can live with Tetras. However, you should be aware that they may get along fine, but they may also get along aggressively. 

So, if you decide to put them together, make sure to monitor them closely. Additionally, you have to make sure there’s enough space in the tank, the PH is correct and there isn’t any food shortage. 

Are tiger barbs livebearers?

No, Tiger Barbs are not livebearers. They lay eggs, just like most fishes in the wild who lay eggs to reproduce. 

Other fishes such as Mollies, Guppies, and Platies are livebearers. That means the female of the species gives birth to their live young.

Final Thoughts:

Tiger barbs can be a fun fish to add to your tank, but you should be aware of their aggressiveness and make sure to keep an eye on them. They are not Cichlids and they should not be kept with Cichlids as they may get along poorly. 

If you’re looking for a slightly more aggressive fish that has a striking appearance, then a tiger barb might be a good option for you. The same is true in the case of Cichlids. But, don’t keep them in the same tank! 

Finally, be sure to research any fish you’re considering getting before adding them to your tank. There are a lot of different types of fish out there and not all of them are compatible with each other.

Sifatul Shohan

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