Why Is My Tiger Barb Not Eating? {Top 10 Reasons For The Hunger Strike}

Aren’t Tiger Barbs supposed to love eating with insatiable and ferocious appetites? Why would a Tiger Barb give up eating? In this article, we’ll explore many reasons why a Tiger Barb would stop eating.

Why Is My Tiger Barb Not Eating? Tiger Barbs are usually active, rambunctious and competitive eaters. Something is wrong related to water quality, tank size, bullying, stress, illness, bloating or it’s simply an adjustment phase. Address each issue starting with water parameters and give it a few days to notice any change. 

How Long Can Tiger Barbs Go Without Food?

Even though stress causes many aquarium fish to stop eating, you shouldn’t be stressed about your Tiger Barb just yet. Did you know that a Tiger Barb will be fine for 3 days without food? How about an entire week? 7 days may not be the death of your Tiger Barb, but an underlying illness might do it instead.

It’s likely that your Tiger Barb will resume eating soon. The proportion of a Tiger Barb includes enough stored fat to maintain a lengthy period of not eating.

The detritus and bits of algae could be grazed or nibbled on during this time. Your Tiger Barbs should be fine for the next few days while you figure why it stopped eating.

How Often Do Tiger Barbs Eat?

Tiger Barbs will eat as often as you feed them. They usually compete and swarm food sources like rampant tigers in the wild. One or two feedings a day are normal for most aquarists who keep Tiger Barbs.

Wait for 1-3 minutes to watch them eat. The meal should be consumed within this time frame. If you are offering larger pieces of cooked vegetables, it could take slightly longer.

Try to remove all leftovers once 3-5 minutes have elapsed. The ammonia that builds up from food waste can contribute to a Tiger Barb suddenly deciding to stop eating as well.

What Do Tiger Barbs Like To Eat?

Everything! Tiger Barbs enjoy a wide range of omnivorous meals that you may provide. High quality flakes and pellets are usually their staple diet that has blended amounts of nutrients in every portion.

Consider adding more variety to a Tiger Barb that may get bored of eating the same thing. Try the following:

  • brine shrimp
  • bloodworms
  • beef heart
  • cooked vegetables (spinach, zucchini, etc.)
  • fruits (apricot, melon, papaya, etc.)
  • daphnia
  • algae wafers
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Can Tiger Barbs Eat Goldfish Food?

Yes. Goldfish food is commonly found in many stores that are not solely intended for animals or aquarium fish. If you’re in a bind and have no other choice, grab goldfish flakes for now. Vegetables rounds and shrimp pellets are great to include as well.

Tiger Barbs and goldfish would benefit from foods high in carotenoids. Look at the ingredients list to see if certain vegetables high in carotenoids are included or supplement their diets with the following:

  • Bell peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Cantaloupe
  • Carrots
  • Kale
  • Spinach

What Made My Tiger Barb Stop Eating?

Tiger Barbs shouldn’t give up eating for no reason. The possible explanations are incredibly long. We will try to list some of these conditions that could cause fasting behavior. Try to use the information below as a checklist. Simply refer to it and see if any of these issues could be possible:

  1. Ammonia, Nitrite or Nitrate Poisoning (Keep nitrates below 20 ppm and ammonia/nitrites at 0 ppm)
  2. Temperature too warm or too cold (Adjust to 70-79°F)
  3. Remove dominant bullies (Your local fish shop may offer a return or exchange)
  4. Tank too small (Go with 30 gallons or larger)
  5. Not enough Tiger Barbs (They like groups of 5-8 or more)
  6. Vary their diet (More live, frozen, freeze dried or cooked proteins and veggies)
  7. Bloating/Constipation (Stop feedings. Offer shelled peas on day 2 or 3.)
  8. Acclimation and Adjusting (Acclimate slowly. Wait 1-2 weeks for full adjustment to your tank)
  9. Tankmates causing stress (Keep them with Corydoras, Otocinclus, Plecostomus, Molly fish, Platy fish, Loaches)
  10. Bacterial of parasitic infection (Treat the tank or quarantine your Tiger Barb who looks pale, swollen or is hiding.)

Is My Tiger Barb Getting Bullied?

Tiger Barbs are rambunctious and highly active. They also wish to establish their hierarchy in your tank. The dominant Tiger Barb may decide to bully one or more of its counterparts. The bullied Tiger Barb may retreat and give up eating.

This is a very common reason why Tiger Barbs and many other aquarium fish begin fasting out of fear or stress. When they attempt to eat, the bully could chase them away.

The problem lies with the dominant Tiger Barb disallowing the peace and shared meals to take place through daily routines. Your local fish shop may allow you to exchange this bully Tiger Barb. Remove it before too many Tiger Barbs follow suit and stop eating.


When your Tiger Barbs stop eating, something is definitely wrong. It could be a small issue that can be addressed and alleviated quite easily such as varying the diet with a little brine shrimp. Other times, there could be an issue of bloating leading to swim bladder issues or bacterial infections.

Bullying also causes these social Tiger Barbs to pick on each other and not allowing one or more of them to eat. A larger tank with healthy water parameters will help calm things down. Add more swimming spaces with decorations and space out the feedings in separate areas.

Your Tiger Barbs can go 3-7 days without eating, but they shouldn’t have to if there are no external problems with water quality, overcrowding, aggression or internal issues with disease, bloating or stress.


Thanks for visiting HelpUsFish.com with your concerns or curiosity surrounding Tiger Barbs. We have plenty more informative articles on these and other aquatic life that may also be of interest to you. See you soon!

Brian Arial

Brian Arial has kept fish for leisure and worked with fish stores for most of his life. He enjoys writing and caring for aquariums and ponds.