Can Tiger Barbs Live With Gouramis? (No, & Here’s Why!)

Tiger barbs are shoaling fish and like to stay together in a tank. However, they have a semi-aggressive temperament, just like gouramis. So, it’s a common question among aquarists: can you keep tiger barbs with gouramis?

A few months ago, I bought four tiger barbs to keep with my gourami in a community tank. I have seen the peaceful behavior of my gourami.

When I added four tiger barbs in the tank after about thirty minutes of acclimating, at first, they seemed very friendly and peaceful.

A few minutes later, gourami started harassing the tiger barbs, I thought they might be friendly playing with each other, but it got aggressive as time passed. 

Gourami started chasing and attacking each tiger barb. As I have seen gourami to be peaceful with other tank mates, it took me a while to understand that it was actually attacking the barbs.

I had work, so I couldn’t be there for a few hours. After coming back from work, all of my tiger barbs were dead and floating at the top of my tank.

Take a look at the picture below, and see what my gold gourami did to my tiger barbs:

My gold gourami killed 4 of my tiger barbs

So, Here’s what I have learned keeping tiger barbs and gouramis together:

Tiger barbs can not live with gouramis. Both tiger barbs and gouramis can get aggressive. If the tiger barbs are smaller in numbers, gouramis will harass and kill tiger barbs. On the flip side, if there are 10-15 adult tiger barbs and a young or smaller gourami in the tank, the tiger barbs will nip fins off the gourami.

In this article, I will discuss why tiger barbs can’t live with gouramis and discuss ideal tank mates for both types of fish. So, keep reading if you want to know more on this topic!

Keeping Gourami With Tiger Barbs Is A Bad Idea For The Following Reasons:

1. Most Gouramis Are Aggressive:

Most types of gouramis can get a little aggressive once in a while. Honey gourami is known to be the most peaceful gourami and does well with other fish.

But blue gourami, gold gourami, or pearl gourami, you name it! All these gouramis have an aggressive nature.

I have seen gouramis can live peacefully for a long time but show aggression all of a sudden.

This is one of the main reasons why you shouldn’t keep tiger barbs with gouramis.

2. Tiger Barbs are Fin Nippers:

Tiger barbs are known to be fin nippers. They are quite aggressive while less in number. If you have peaceful gourami in your tanks, such as honey gourami or dwarf gourami, tiger barb might 

nip the fin off your gourami. 

Gourami has large fins around its body, and they are not as fast as tiger barbs. So, it’s wise not to keep them together in a community tank.

Irene of “Girl Talks Fish” states, “Tiger barbs are the champion of fin nippers”. They attack both small and large fish. So, it is not ideal for keeping them together.

3. Gouramis Can Get Big:

Most gouramis get big; the blue or gold gourami size is about six inches while kissing gourami get up to 15 inches when they are adults whereas most tiger barbs size is about 2.5 inches. 

Although tiger barbs are semi-aggressive, they are smaller in size; so, if the blue or gold gourami feel that their territory is threatened, they will attack the tiger barbs and then kill all of them.

Moreover, kissing gouramis get quite large; they are semi-aggressive and territorial. You should not even think of keeping them together; kissing gourami can easily attack smaller fish like tiger barbs.

4. Tiger Barbs Can Only Live With Peaceful Fish:

As I discussed earlier, tiger barbs are semi-aggressive and are known to be fin nippers. So, they can’t live with other fish that show aggression to some extent.

Trust me; you don’t want a blood bath among the fishes in your tank. That’s why we keep tiger barbs with other peaceful community fish of similar size.

Some ideal tank mates for Tiger Barbs would be:

  • Other Barbs
  • Plecos
  • Molly
  • Swordtails
  • Tetras

I have seen tiger barbs happily coexisting with these types of fish, and all these are peaceful community fish. That being said, tiger barbs only can live with peaceful fish and most gouramis are not peaceful.

5. Gouramis Need Larger Tank:

Gouramis become quite large, so you need to keep them in a larger tank, whereas each tiger barb needs 3-gallon tanks, and a few of them will do just fine in a ten-gallon tank.

If you already have gourami then you know that they become very territorial and try to harass other fish if they come along their way. 

So, keeping them gouramis in a large community tank is safer where it can define its territory. 

Here is the list of required tank sizes for gouramis:

Types Of GouramiMinimum Tanks Size
Blue Gourami15 to 20 Gallons
Gold Gourami35 Gallons
Giant Gourami200 Gallons
Pearl Gourami 30 Gallons
Opaline Gourami 35 Gallons
Kissing Gourami50 Gallons

6. Gouramis Are Territorial:

You must have already heard gouramis are territorial, especially to their own kind and anything that threatens their territory.

So, if you have a smaller tank, gouramis will definitely get aggressive when tiger barbs will continuously roam around its territory and this will start a fight.

Gourami will try to chase and attack every tiger barb in the tank for its territory. This is another reason why you shouldn’t keep tiger barbs with gouramis.

Ideal gourami tank mates:

The fishes that are similar in size and not fin nippers can be considered to be ideal tank mates for gouramis.

Some Ideal Tank Mates for gouramis are:

  • Black Skirt Tetras
  • Kuhli Loach
  • Rasboras
  • Zebra Danios
  • Most Livebearers

Related Questions:

Can cherry barbs live with gouramis?

Cherry barb can live with smaller and peaceful gouramis such as dwarf gourami and honey gourami. As cherry barbs are nano fish, it’s not a good idea to keep them with larger and more aggressive gouramis.

Can tiger barbs live with Oscars?

Oscars and tiger barbs are not ideal tank mates for each other because oscar fish can get up to 14 inches in length, whereas the average tiger barb can get up to 2.5 inches.

All the requirements of these fish are quite similar except for their size. Also, Oscar fish are known to be very aggressive; you should always avoid keeping them with small or nano fishes.

Oscar fishes are a predator in the wild, and they can easily attack or kill or eat any small or nano fish.

Can cichlids live with tiger barbs?

Cichlid fish are dominant and fierce; tiger barbs and cichlids are not ideal tank mates. Most of the cichlid fishes are larger in size and quite aggressive in behavior, so you can not keep most cichlids with the tiger barbs.

However, ram cichlids are about 2-3 inches when fully grown, and they are non-aggressive; you can easily keep the ram cichlids and tiger barbs together. 

Final Thoughts:

There you go! Tiger barbs can not live with most species of gouramis as both are known as fin nippers. Also, gouramis are aggressive and territorial, while tiger barbs are well-known as fin nippers.

So, keeping tiger barbs with gouramis is a bad idea. In the past, I have tried to keep tiger barbs with gold gourami, and it killed all the barbs.

Therefore, think twice before adding tiger barbs with gouramis in your tank. There are several resources on the internet that said, it’s fine. I believed them, and you saw the result.

So, don’t blindly believe what people say on the internet, especially. Every fish has a different personality, and thus the opinion varies a lot from person to person.

 Do your own research as every fish is different, and it feels really bad when something bad happens with your pets.

Sifatul Shohan

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