A relative of the piranha the dramatic looking tiger fish, with its long, sharply pointed teeth, is an appealing option for those who want to do something exciting with their aquariums.
Tigerfish Care and Tankmates
These fish need a lot of space and can be expensive to look after, so you shouldn't take them on unless you're sure you know what you're doing. However, they are hardy and relatively easy to care for, and their longevity means that you'll have plenty of time to get to know them.
Tiger fish need a brackish environment at approximately 1.5% salt. Naturally, this limits your options when choosing other fish to keep with them, though they are generally peaceful towards any companions who are too big to eat and they can get along well with large catfish.
Although they are happy enough when solitary, they can also be kept successfully in a single species tank. However, they can grow to as much as thirty inches in length and they're quite active, so you'll need to have plenty of space for them. They need a fairly complex environment with several hiding places and they prefer subdued lighting.
Floating plants which break up the glare of the aquarium lights are a good idea and will help them to feel more secure.
Tiger fish are voracious carnivores and will eat all types of meaty food, such as shrimp, crustaceans, earthworms and pieces of beef heart. They prefer live food and particularly enjoy fast-swimming smaller fish.
Enthusiastic hunters by nature, they can sometimes become frustrated with the ease of finding food in captivity, and can stop eating, in which case you should present them with challenges such as fast-swimming prey in an environment full of hiding places.
Sometimes they will accept tubifex and pellets. A varied diet is important to make sure they get all the vitamins and minerals they need.
Naturally stripy, tiger fish will darken when stressed or ill. If there are other tiger fish in the tank, this is often due to bullying, and can be relieved by the provision of better hiding places.
Types of Tiger FishThere are several types of tiger fish available for the home aquarium, as listed below :
- African Tiger Fish - The largest of all tiger fish species, these naturally healthy and resilient fish have large appetites and need lots of room to swim around.
- American Tiger Fish -Distinguished by their silvery stripes, these fast-growing fish are usually the easiest kind to obtain and are particularly hardy.
- Siamese Tiger Fish -These fish adapt well to aquarium conditions and are the easiest kind of tiger fish to keep. They prefer to stalk rather than chasing their prey, and can do this happily with non-live foods.
- New Guinea Tiger Fish -With a distinctive ragged pattern, these are the most aggressive of the tiger fish species and are also the most expensive.
- Indonesian Tiger Fish -Distinguished from the similar-looking Siamese tiger fish by the width of the stripes on their tails, these naturally solitary fish like to lurk underneath leaves.
- Northern Thailand Tiger Fish -These fish have slender bodies and a less pronounced diamond shape than most species of tiger fish.
Tiger fish have never been successfully bred in captivity, but do engage in complex social behaviour when kept in groups. As a shoal, they will sometimes challenge other groups of fish to secure and defend territory.
Large, aggressive and long-lived, tiger fish require a big commitment, but they have a good deal to offer in return. They will soon get to know the humans who come to see them, and they'll certainly make an impression on your guests! You won't find any other fish quite like them.