Checkered barb
Checkered barb

Checkered barb - Puntius oligolepis

Checkered barb
Checkered barb
Checkered barb - Pictures by

Common name: Checkered barb, checkerboard barb, island barb
Scientific name: Puntius oligolepis
Synonyms: Barbus oliogolepis, Capoeta oligolepis
Size: 5 cm / 2 inches
pH: 6.0 -6 .5
Temperature: 20 - 25 °C (68 - 77 °F )
Hardness: 7 - 12 dH
Lifespan: 8 years (usually only 2-4)

The checkered barb is a small friendly fish that is prefect for any community aquarium with other small species that will not be disturbed by the lively demeanor of this fish. Male checkered barbs can often fight and it is therefore best to keep only one male with several females if you are keeping them in a smaller aquarium. In a larger aquarium you can keep several males and females, provided that the aquarium is properly decorated.

This species originates from Asia where it is found in Indonesia; Sumatra and Malakka. The fish is found in river and lakes throughout its range. Different population shows small dissimilarities in coloration and size.

Two color types are available in the trade. One has a more red color while the other has a more greenish hue to it. Most checkered barbs that are sold have been bred in captivity.

This species have been introduced to Colombia where there are now established populations in the wild. It has also established itself in India.

Aquarium & care

The Checkered barb is a hardy species that can be kept in community aquariums with other small not too aggressive species. This species can be kept in most setups. Dense vegetation along the sides and back is appreciated but is not necessary and will produce a smaller benefit than in many other barb species. Dark bottom substrate and shaded areas can also be beneficial although not necessary. The most important thing to keep in mind is to create a lot of open area for swimming. They prefer clean well oxygenated water and a good filtrating system is highly beneficial.

Feeding Checkered barb

The Checkered barb is just like most other barbs species omnivorous and very easy to feed in aquariums. They will happily accept most foods you give them and the basis for their diet can be flake food. They should however preferably be given a varied diet including both meaty live and frozen foods as well as vegetables. They will display more vivid colours if given a varied diet.

Sexing Checkered barb

The Checkered barb is very easy to sex. The males are more colorful and have black edges on their dorsal and anal fins. The females are less colorful, often rounder, and have yellowish fins without the distinct black edges seen in males.

Breeding Checkered barb

The Checkered barb is rather easy to breed and is best bred in pairs. Group spawnings often fail since the males fight rather than make love. It is important to keep this fish at colder temperature during a simulated winter if you want them to breed. They might breed without this colder season it is not very common.

Fill a suitable sized breeding aquarium with somewhat acidic water (pH 6.0). The temperature in the aquarium should be kept near 26°C (79°F). A low water level, ideally 10-15 cm (4-6 inches), helps trigger spawning. The bottom of the tank should be covered with a mesh that protects the eggs from the parents as these will eat their own egg and fry. The aquarium should also contain fine leafed plants or spawning mops.

Separate male and female barbs to condition them for spawning. After about 3 weeks of being separate the fish should be ready to spawn if they have been given a good and varied diet with a lot of frozen and live food. Choose the most colorful Checkered barb male and the fattest female for the spawning and move them to the breeding tank. The pair usually spawns the next morning in a plant chosen by the male. Sunlight that hits the aquarium can help trigger spawning. Remove the parents once spawning is completed.

A spawning  can result in up to 300 eggs. The fry hatch in 24-48 hours. Feed the fry infusorians as soon as they are free swimming and switch to newly hatch brine shrimp when they have become large enough to eat them. The fry grow very fast and can reach adulthood in 4-6 months.