Why Is My Tiger Barb Swimming Upside-down? 3 Reasons Explained

why is my Tiger Barb swimming upside down? 3 reasons explained

Have you seen a Tiger Barb swim upside down or vertical before? If you have, then you might be wondering why it is happening. Tiger Barbs are very active and colorful fish, they don’t swim upside-down unless there is a reason for that, which we will discuss in this article. If your fish is behaving this way, don’t worry, just read this article slowly and carefully to the end as it might be of great help to you and your fish.

Why is my Tiger Barb swimming upside down? Tiger Barbs may swim upside as a result of a swim bladder issue.

It is not common to see these fish do this because they are classified as hardy fish, although they could be affected by many things and many conditions anyway, but they don’t fall sick nor die like many other aquarium fish.

So, if you see them doing this, there is a cause.

Why Is My Tiger Swimming Upside-Down?

If you find yours swimming upside-down vertical, then here are the possible causes:

1. They might be doing the mating dance: One of the reasons why these fish are entertaining and funny is because the males do display a kind of dancing skill when they are about to mate.

It is so funny watching them do this and it is very cool.

They do this by turning upside-down and putting their head down.

When this happens, you have nothing to worry about because it is just normal and natural.

Apart from Tiger Barbs, many fish also turn upside down with their heads down to attract the females, so it is very normal and natural.

2. Swim bladder problem: Swim bladder is an organ that fish use to regulate buoyancy.

The swim bladder is a gas-filled sac that inflates and deflates. It is used by fish and some other aquatic creatures to swim and keep to balance, that’s why it is called a swim bladder.

Sometimes this bladder could develop some problems due to many reasons such as overfeeding, infections or diseases, and aggression.

The swim bladder issue is one of the reasons why it is prohibited to overfeed any fish because once their stomach is bloated by eating a lot, it will be pressing the swim bladder which could in return develop some faults which if time is not taken could even kill the fish.

Again, diseases could do this to any fish, including the hardy types like the Tiger Barbs.

Another fish might hurt the bladder during a fight.

In the conclusion, make sure you feed your fish at least once or twice a day with a minimal quantity that they could finish in less than 5 minutes and they will still be okay and healthy.

Keep the tank clean and always change their water, at least 50% once a week, although Tiger Barbs are not dirty fish.

Again allow the tank to fully cycle, Bio-Spira and filter will help to neutralize all the toxins and keep the water clean.

When you keep to all these, I don’t think they could ever develop a swim bladder issue.

3. Aggression: Another reason why your Tiger Barbs might be swimming upside down or sideways might be as a result of the aggression going on in the tank.

When unsuitable tank mates are kept together, this is one of the problems that might occur. They fight among themselves and fin nip too which might cause the fish to lose balance and could start swimming upside-down.

Also, the swim bladder could be injured in the process too which could lead to the fish swimming upside-down also.

Why Is My Tiger Barbs Swimming Vertically?

Tiger Barbs staying Vertically when they sleep is normal, but if they swim in such a position, then they might be suffering from swim bladder problems.

The commonest reason why fish could either swim upside-down or Vertically is if they have swim bladder problems which could be as a result of bloat through overfeeding or infections.

How To Fix Swim Bladder Problem in Fish

To fix a swim bladder problem in your Tiger Barbs or any other freshwater fish, first, try to know if the fish is constipated or if the problem is a result of infection.

If it is a result of infection, then you need the advice of a qualified Vet.

If it is a result of constipation, maybe you overfed them, then leave them for 2 days to poop out all the foods in their body. Giving then Peas will help too.

Also, feed them once or twice a day with a measured quantity of food they can be able to finish in 3-5 minutes.


These are the likely reasons why your Tiger Barbs are swimming upside down, so know the particular reason and correct it.