List Of Fin Nipper Fish

I have noticed some aquarists unknowingly add some fin nipping fish with other gentle fish into a community tank. Unaware of the fact that it certainly causes negative impacts on them. Thus, understanding some aquarium fin nippers is significant if you are a dedicated aquarist. To help you a bit, I have come up with a list of some fin nipper fish, which you must analyze before adding to the tank.

Fantail Goldfish Eating Daphnia
Fantail Goldfish Eating Daphnia

When it comes to fin nippers, fish like Barbs, Bettas, and Cichlids are foremost on the list. Tiger Barbs, Siamese Fighting Fish, Angelfish, etc., naturally are fin nippers due to more aggressive behavior. Moreover, Black Skirt Tetra, Rainbow Shark, Serpae Tetra, Kissing Gourami, Buenos Aires Tetra, etc., also comes under the list of fin nipping species in a tank.

These fin nippers chase and bite the fins, especially of long-fining and smaller fish than them. Thus, caution is significant while selecting their tank mates. Or, keeping their only species in a single tank is relevant.

Aquarium Fin Nipper Fish

Aquarium fin nipping fish are those fish who chase and attacks their smaller tank mates or long-fining fish to bite their fins off. As the fish generally attacks and bites the fish’s fins, they are known as fin nippers. Such fin nippers are usually aggressive and stubborn in behavior.

Some fish species are naturally aggressive and aim to bite the fins of smaller and peaceful fish. It is tough to find tank mates for them as they can be threatening towards others.

Moreover, some fish species aren’t natural fin nippers but can get to that level quickly. The semi-aggressive and sometimes calm temperament fish do nip the fins of their tank mates due to defective aquarium habitat and wrong behavior happening towards them.

Yet, the good thing is not all aquarium fish are fin nippers. Some are gentle, peaceful, and very social. But it is necessary to keep them away from fin nippers.

Hence, it is crucial to know about fin nipping fish before adding them to the tank with other fish.

List Of Fin Nipper Fish

Knowing about some fin nipper fish is significant if you intend to keep them in an aquarium. Especially if you are a beginner aquarist, distinguishing the fin nipper fish is essential to maintain a proper balance in your tank.

Thus, to assist you in knowing about some popular but fin nipping aquarium fish, I have prepared a list of them. The list includes some 8 of the common fish species, which are also widespread as fin nippers. They are:

Tiger Barb (Puntigrus tetrazona)

  • Size: 2 to 3 inches
  • Care Level: Moderate
  • Temperament: Playful but aggressive
  • Expected Life Span: 6 to 7 years
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Water Temperature: 75 to 82 degrees of Fahrenheit (23 to 28 degrees of Celsius)
  • Water Hardness: 4 to 10 dKH
  • pH scale: 6 -8 (6.5 is appropriate)
  • Tank Requirement: At least 20-gallon tank at minimum

Talking about the aquarium fin nippers, I couldn’t start from any better fish but Tiger Barb. Tiger Barbs are one of the popular aquarium fish, which are indeed available at any aquarium supplier.

Tiger Barbs are small-sized fish that have wide radiated bodies. They have a form like barbs or spikes with distinct triangular style noses. The typical body shade of the fish depicts the animal from which they have got their name.

More About Tiger Barb

The more people know about Tiger Barb due to its striking appearance, they also recognize them because of its not-so-good behavior. Their behavior is typically not peaceful but harsh.

Tiger Barbs are naturally more aggressive and threatening towards other fish species. They hold the habit of bumping and nipping the fins of their tank mates, which is toxic and disturbing to other fish.

Tiger Barbs are generally competitive and dominating towards their tank mates. They take no time to chase, bang, and nip the fins of other fish, mainly smaller and long-finning fish. They try to attack the fins of their tank mates and threaten them.

If you keep some small but long-finning fish in front of them, there is no chance the Tiger Barb would let them settle peacefully. Also, some other peaceful and social fish are not safe when kept with the Barbs.

Thus, the behavior of Tiger Barbs is aggressive and offensive in the aquarium. They like chasing, hitting, and nipping the fins of their tank mates. Due to this behavior, they do come under the list of fin nipper fish.

Tiger Barb Tank Mates

It is challenging to select tank mates for the Tiger Barbs as they are aggressive fin nippers. But adding some tank mates for them is significant so that they are not left alone. Hence, there are some fish with whom you can rely upon your Tiger Barbs in a tank.

The best tank mates for Tiger Barbs can be some other Barbs species like Cherry Barbs, Rosy Barbs, Tinfoil Barbs, etc.

Other than Barbs, you can select some fish species that are similar sized to the Tiger Barbs. Clown Loaches, Plecos, Corydoras Catfish, and Pitcus can be suitable pick as tank mates for Tiger Barbs.

Remember, the tank mates for Tiger Barbs should be similar-sized, short finning, and fast-moving fish. Otherwise, they may chase and nip the fins of their tank mates instantly.

Besides, keep Tiger Barbs in a school of at least 6 of them if you prefer keeping their only species in an aquarium.

Siamese Fighting Fish (Betta splendens)

  • Size: Up to 3 inches
  • Care Level: Moderate
  • Temperament: Aggressive
  • Expected Life Span: 2 to 3 years
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Water Temperature: 75 to 85 degrees of Fahrenheit (23 to 29 degrees of Celsius)
  • Water Hardness: 7 to 35 dGH
  • pH scale: 6 to 8
  • Tank Requirement: At least 5-gallon tank at minimum

You may be surprised to see the Siamese Fighting Fish in this list, but it is valid.

Siamese Fighting fish, also popularly known as Bettas, is one of the most desired freshwater fish. Due to its striking body shade and energetic level, people usually love seeing them wander in their aquarium. For more information: Betta Fish Colors and Color Patterns

But many people aren’t aware of the fact that the Bettas are not easy-going fish. The fish is preferred by some beginner aquarists assuming the care level for the fish is pretty simple. Unfortunately, this is not true in actuality.

Siamese Fighting Fish Typical Behavior

The typical Siamese Fighting fish is quite brilliant. They will adapt to the tank habitat without much hassle. But, this happening is not common everywhere.

Some Bettas, especially the males, are somewhat aggressive and offensive than any other fish species. They are more threatening and get into destructive zone quickly. However, the females are quiet and peaceful than the males.

Aggression in the Bettas is what they have received from their ancestors. They get into attacking mode quickly when they see some smaller and long-finning fish in their tank. They attack them directly and start nipping their fins and some other parts of the body. Precisely, long finning fish are hugely unsafe in front of these Bettas.

Bettas are offensive towards some vibrant body shade of other fish species. Due to this, they can chase and nip the fins as their body shade may provoke them to be offensive.

Moreover, in a tank where two or more male Betta fish exist, the game of attack and chase is likely. They will attack and nip each others’ fins, even though they belong to the same fish species. The male Bettas are not compatible with each other to have a mutual tank.

Thus, the Siamese Fighting fish is appropriate fish to add to your tank only if you are ready to care for and control them accurately. Otherwise, their parental aggression will take them over to chase, attack, and nip the fins of their tank mates.

Suitable Tank Mates For Siamese Fighting Fish

Although the Bettas are naturally somewhat aggressive, yet you can find some suitable tank mates for them. But remember, long-finning, smaller-sized, and too much vibrant fish are not fit to keep with Bettas.

Some of the suitable tank mates for Siamese Fighting fish are:

  1. Cory Catfish
  2. Rasboras
  3. Black Tetras
  4. Kuhli Loaches
  5. Ember Tetras

Angelfish (Pterophyllum scalare)

  • Size: Up to 6 inches
  • Care Level: Easy to moderate
  • Temperament: Semi-aggressive
  • Expected Life Span: 10 years
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Water Temperature: 75 to 82 degrees of Fahrenheit (23 to 28 degrees of Celsius)
  • Water Hardness: 3 to 8 dKH
  • pH scale: 6.8 to 7.5
  • Tank Requirement: At least 20-gallon tank at minimum

One of the most required aquarium fish species: Angelfish, also marks itself in the list of fin nipper fish.

Angelfish are regularly available fish that belongs to the species of the Cichlidae. Due to their elegant appearance and more calm behavior than other cichlids, aquarists love seeing them in their aquarium.

However, it can be misleading to claim them one of the peaceful fish to pet as some aggressiveness flows in their blood too. Like any other cichlids, Angelfish are also aggressive. But the only difference is, this fish is a bit calmer than the rest of the cichlids.

In an aquarium, Angelfish form a small group where they fight to own a better position. The group may consist of their tank mates, but Angelfish seems unsocial with them. They then start bullying, threatening, and nipping the fins of other fish. Here, the aggression in Angelfish mainly rises due to territorial reasons.

Besides, while mating, Angelfish tends to nip the fins of other fish even if they belong to the same species. The mating impulse makes them bully and fight with the fish, and of course, nipping the fins.

Therefore, Angelfish are somewhat calm fish than other aggressive cichlids. But they can be offensive and fin nippers once they get uncomfortable, awkward, and fierce in an aquarium.

Angelfish Tank Mates

Finding suitable tank mates for Angelfish is not troublesome but not that easy too. As they are less aggressive, you can get some tank mates that can be compatible with them.

Some tank mates for Angelfish can be:

  1. Dwarf Cichlid
  2. Molly Fish
  3. Catfish
  4. Dwarf Gouramis
  5. Discus
  6. Plecos
  7. Bolivian Ram

Angelfish are unlikely to attack and nip the fins of the fish species mentioned above. Still, remember, long-finning and slow-moving fish should be out of the tank mates list for them.

Black Skirt Tetra (Gymnocorymbus ternetzi)

  • Size: Up to 2.5 inches
  • Care Level: Moderate
  • Temperament: Moderately aggressive
  • Expected Life Span: 3 to 5 years
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Water Temperature: 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (21.1 to 29 degrees Celsius)
  • Water Hardness: 4 to 8 dKH
  • pH scale: 6 – 7.5
  • Tank Requirement: At least 15-gallon tank at minimum

Black Skirt Tetras are one of the most attractive black-colored Tetra fish. They are active, gentle, and peaceful fish in the aquarium, except during unusual cases.

A typical Black Skirt Tetra is a shy and easy-going fish in the aquarium. They get along with most of the species if they are non-aggressive. However, sometimes, they can be unpredictable and get offensive.

Black Skirt Tetras are offensive towards long-finning fish. Their quiet mode changes swiftly after seeing the long-fining fish wandering in the tank. They chase and nip the long fins instantly as their aggression will begin to rise.

Apart from the aggression into long-finning fish, Black Skirt Tetras hardly get offensive. However, some improper tank habitats can also make them anxious and aggressive. Yet nipping the fins of the fish, in this case, seems unlikely.

Tank Mates For Black Skirt Tetras

As mentioned, there are no vast issues in Black Skirt Tetras apart from nipping the long fins quickly. Meaning, they are good with sharing the tank with small-finning and other peaceful fish.

Hence, you have many options to pick as tank mates for Black Skirt Tetras. Some of their best tank mates are:

  • Neon Tetra
  • Cory Catfish
  • Dwarf Gourami
  • Cardinal Tetra
  • Honey Gourami
  • Chili Rasbora
  • Celestial Pearl Danio
  • Harlequin Rasbora

Rainbow Shark (Epalzeorhynchos frenatum)

  • Size: Up to 6 inches
  • Care Level: Easy to moderate
  • Temperament: Semi-aggressive
  • Expected Life Span: 5 to 8 years
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Water Temperature: 75 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 27 degrees Celsius)
  • Water Hardness: 5 to 11 dGH
  • pH scale: 6 to 8
  • Tank Requirement: At least 50-gallon tank at minimum

Another fish species that characterize to be in the list of fin nipper fish is Rainbow Shark.

Rainbow Sharks are widespread freshwater fish mainly due to their vibrant red fins. But they are somewhat challenging to keep in the aquarium as they are not compatible with all fish species. Thus, I would suggest you get Rainbow Shark only if you have few years of fish-keeping experience.

Regarding behavior, Rainbow Sharks are not easy-going as they are territorial. They are one of the leading aggressive and dominating fish.

However, their behavior is not territorial since their younger age. The aggression in the Rainbow Sharks raises as they grow.

Rainbow Sharks are active swimmers and often live at the bottom of the tank. Here, if they see other fish species dwelling around them at tank bottom, giving no more space to them, they tend to be aggressive.

They don’t like another fish approaching in their territory. If any fish does, Rainbow Sharks will attack and threaten the fish, even if it belongs to their species. Their attacking habit includes chasing, biting, and nipping the fins and head areas of the fish.

Besides, Rainow Sharks are not good with smaller and long-fining fish. They will instantly strike such fish species once they notice them in the tank.

Can I Pick Some Tank Mates For Rainbow Shark?

Honestly, Rainbow Sharks are not a smooth fit for a community tank. They want to acquire their tank territory where the approach of other fish is not acceptable. Due to this, they are not a perfect pick for a community tank.

Yet, you can pick some tank mates for Rainbow Shark. But remember to keep less fish and more tank space. Also, select those fish that dwells only at the middle level and upper level of the tank. It will give more bottom tank space to Rainbow Sharks without any disturbance.

Thus, some tank mates for Rainbow Shark can be:

  1. Barbs
  2. Rainbowfish
  3. Danios
  4. Gouramis

Serpae Tetras (Hyphessobrycon eques)

  • Size: Up to 1.75 inches
  • Care Level: Easy to moderate
  • Temperament: Social but semi-aggressive
  • Expected Life Span: 5 to 7 years
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Water Temperature: 72 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit (22 to 26 degrees Celsius)
  • Water Hardness: 5 to 25 dGH
  • pH scale: 5 to7.8
  • Tank Requirement: At least 20-gallon tank at minimum

Serpae Tetras may be a surprising name for you to see in the list of fin nipper fish. Maybe shocking but true!

Serpae Tetras are adorable fish species to add to a community tank. They are not challenging to look for yet; sometimes, their sudden aggression can create an unexpected issue.

The main issue faced by aquarists while keeping Serpae Tetras is they nip the fins of other fish painfully. They usually nip the fins as soon as they notice the long fins roaming around them. Especially if they are in a small-sized tank, the fins of their tank mates are hugely at risk.

There is no way you can stop Serpae Tetras nipping the fins but from separating them in another tank, keeping no other fish. Also, while separating, it is necessary to note the numbers of Serpae Tetras. Because; if the tank gets overcrowded, they tend to nip the fins of each other, even if they belong to the same species.

Tank Mates For Serpae Tetra

The best tank mate for Serpae Tetra is more Serpae Tetars species only. They get along peacefully with their species while with other fish; they tend to nip the fins instantly.

Still, you can add some tank mates for them if you keep them in a larger tank. Also, similar-sized and non-aggressive fish can be a suitable pick as tank mates for Serpae Tetras.

Some tank mates for Serpae Tetras are:

  1. Danios
  2. Cory Catfish
  3. Cardinal Tetra
  4. Neon Tetra
  5. Black Skirt Tetra
  6. Pictus Catfish

Kissing Gourami (Helostoma temminckii)

  • Size: Up to 12 inches
  • Care Level: Moderate
  • Temperament: Semi-aggressive
  • Expected Life Span: 6 to 7 years
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Water Temperature: 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit (22 to 28 degrees Celsius)
  • Water Hardness: 5 to 20 dGH
  • pH scale: 6 to 8
  • Tank Requirement: At least 50-gallon tank at minimum

Among many species of Gouramis, Kissing Gouramis are one of the unique and adorable fish. People fond the distinctive mouth draw of this fish along with its overall look.

However, if I have to define the typical behavior of the fish, it doesn’t level to its appearance. The fish has a loving name, Kissing Gourami, but there are no such immense warm and kind features in them.

Kissing Gouramis usually fights over a particular territory in a tank within their species. Mainly, the male Gouramis are more offensive and fight among themselves in the tank than females. Later, they eventually reduce getting offensive towards each other as they get mature.

Sometimes, the heat of aggression and offensive can point towards their tank mates too. Kissing Gouramis can attack and nip the fins of other fish in the tank. However, the Gouramis don’t strike them suddenly, but it is suspicious.

Besides, Kissing Gouramis may attack and nip the fins if they are unsure about other tank mates and decide they are rivalry.

Kissing Gourami Tank Mates

You can surely keep Kissing Gouramis in a community tank. They don’t attack their tank mates immediately if they see them.

But remember, their tank mates should be medium-sized, short-finning, and fast-moving fish.

Kissing Gouramis do get along with most of the fish species, but the surety of peaceful tank habitat is unlikely with all. Thus, carefully pick tank mates for them.

Some of the best tank mates for Kissing Gouramis are:

  • Tiger Barbs
  • Congo Tetra
  • Angelfish
  • Rosy Barbs
  • Pictus Catfish
  • Swordtails

Buenos Aires Tetra (Hyphessobrycon anisitsi)

  • Size: Up to 3 inches
  • Care Level: Easy to moderate
  • Temperament: Often peaceful, but sometimes aggressive
  • Expected Life Span: 5 years
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Water Temperature: 72 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (22 to 27 degrees Celsius)
  • Water Hardness: Up to 35 dGH
  • pH scale: 5.5 to 8
  • Tank Requirement: At least 30-gallon tank at minimum

Last but not least, Buenos Aires Tetras also makes to the list of fin nipper fish.

In general, Buenos Aires Tetras are peaceful and easy to care for in the aquarium. They are social and active swimmers. They make great Tetra fish in the community tank unless they get offensive.

Although the Buenos Aires Tetras are social and calm, they surely lose their composure after noticing a small-sized and long-finning fish. Their compatibility level with tinier and long-finning fish is unlikely, which makes them offensive instantly.

The Buenos Aires Tetras tend to chase and nip the fins of such smaller fish. Also, they don’t miss any chance to munch the fins, specifically of the long-finner fish.

What Are The Tank Mates For Buenos Aires Tetras?

Although Buenos Aires Tetras doesn’t get along with smaller fish, they certainly get compatible with medium and large-sized fish. You can select tank mates for them who are neither tinier nor long-finner.

The tank mates for Buenos Aires Tetras are:

  1. Barbs
  2. Gouramis
  3. Danios
  4. Serpae Tetra
  5. Rainbowfish

Therefore, these are some major eight fish species that come under the list of fin nipper fish. Before selecting any of the fin nippers listed above, thoroughly analyze their compatibility with other fish species. It will prevent the issue of fin nipping in the aquarium.

Reasons Behind Fin Nipping In Fish

There are some fish species, which don’t nip the fins. On the contrary, some natural fin nippers munch the fins like anything. So, what makes them nip the fins?

Some of the reasons behind the fin nipping behavior in fish are:

Naturally Aggressive

Some species like Barbs, Bettas, Cichlids, etc., are fin nipper fish, which are more aggressive than a general fish. They lead towards chase and attack as soon as they see any small or long-finning fish around.

They are naturally more aggressive, which is held down by their ancestors. Moreover, their aggression is growing more lately as the species breed further.

Territorial Aggression

Some fish species like Rainbow Shark and Kissing Gourami are pretty strict regarding their space in the tank. They occupy a specific tank space where they don’t allow any other fish species to enter.

In case any fish comes around their tank territory, they tend to get aggressive and attack them. Then, their attack eventually leads to chasing and nipping the fins of their tank mates.

Bullying From Tank Mates

Among the list of fin nipper fish above, there are some peaceful fish too. They are neither naturally more aggressive nor territorial.

Some peaceful fish species get offensive if they have some bullying tank mates around. Due to bully and threat, some fish changes their calmness to aggression.

Hence, they then chase and nip the fins of such tank mates to puke out their frustration.

Breeding Induce

Breeding inducement has been another reason to be nasty with other tank mates. Most of the fish, especially males, are more aggressive and intense due to the breeding persuade.

The fish tend to get aggressive, which makes them nip the fins of their tank mates if their mating urge doesn’t fulfill.

Assuming Fins As Food Source

Some fish chases long-finning fish to nip their fins as they believe it is a diet left for them. The fins are certainly tinier, making the fin nippers think it a part of live food.

Besides, some aquarium fish have the habit of eating every tiny element that fits into their mouth. Relating to this, the fish do try nipping the fins of its tank mates.

Improper Tank Habitat

For every fish species, it requires a proper tank setup for their comfortable life. Here, if the tank setup is incomplete or the tank is overcrowding, the fish feels unusual and nervous.

Such anxiousness in the fish leads them to behave negatively in the tank even if they are calm and peaceful in general. They will act miserably and attack their tank mates.

The negative attribute slowly hampers their physical and mental health too. Eventually, the fish will get sick and try attacking other fish for food, hidden space, sometimes, with no reason.

Does Fin Nipping Hurt Fish?

Imagine someone starts munching a part of your body while you are alive! It undoubtedly hurts.

Likewise, when fin nippers charge in munching the fins, it sure does hurt the fish. Initially, your fish gets confused, but sooner, the ache starts to reach the summit. Due to anxiety and pain, the fish may fall sick.

Later, the situation may get severe if you don’t treat the fish on time or separate the fin nippers from the tank. Eventually, the fish may die due to extreme mental and physical suffering.

Aiding Nipped Wound Of Fish

The first step to aid the wound fish is separating the fin nippers from the tank.

Following this, you can use API MELAFIX to heal the wound soon. It helps to improve the wound condition and prevents it from any fin rotting disease. Along with this, change at least 20 to 25% of tank water. It makes the water clean that carries fine water quality, which helps to cure the wound soon.

Moreover, if the wound has reached critical and the fish is suffering from any fin rotting disease, you can put API FIN & BODY CURE on the bite area.

In extreme cases, seek a medical specialist to cure the injured fish quickly.

Will The Fish Fin Grow Again?

The wound of the fish does heal after some time. However, the healing time is uncertain as it depends on the deep level of injury. But in most cases, the wound heals after 5 to 6 weeks of the nipping time.

Generally, the fins of the fish grow again in their original form. But, regrowing is possible only if the primary fins of the fish have some parts left in their body. Also, there must be correct aid provided to the fish on time.

Points To Remember While Keeping Fin Nippers In The Aquarium

Not all fin nipper fish mentioned in the list are unsuitable to pick for community tanks. These fish are unique and delightful in their way, which is appropriate to keep them in the tank. The only thing you require is proper care and maintenance.

Therefore, here are some points to remember while keeping fin nippers in the aquarium:

  1. Provide adequate tank space to all fin nipping fish so that territorial issues don’t grow.
  2. Analyze the behaviors of other fish species and their compatibility with the fin nipping fish before putting them in the same tank.
  3. Avoid picking slow-moving fish species as tank mates for the fin nippers.
  4. Set up enough hiding spots in the aquarium so that the fish can maintain some separate space.
  5. Try to keep fewer male fish in a group while keeping them in an aquarium. Male fin nippers are more aggressive than females.
  6. Avoid overcrowding the tank. Or, don’t go for a small-sized tank for a large number of fish.

In case you are a beginner aquarist, note these points to avoid any major aquarium mistakes.


The issue of fin nipping has resulted in the worst nightmare of the aquarists. To prevent this, knowing about some most adorable but top fin nippers is significant.

Thus, in this article, I have made a list of some fin nipper fish in the aquarium to help you learn about them. Analyze the behaviors of every fin nippers listed above before you keep them in a tank with other fish.

Keep the fin nippers live calmly without harming any other peaceful fish in an aquarium!