Checkerboard Barb

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Puntius oligolepis - (Bleeker, 1853)
Checkerboard Barb

A glittery, peaceful species previously known as the Island Barb.


This is a distinctive, peaceful schooling species once known as the Island Barb as it was found only on the big island of Sumatra. Mature males have red fins with black tips. This species sports a small pair of barbels.

Family: Cyprinidae

Other common name(s):

  • Checker Barb
  • Checkered Barb
  • Island Barb

Native range:

Habitat: As with most of its family, the primary focus of a tank for Checkerboard Barbs should be lots of room to swim. Keep plants and other decor to a minimum, mostly on the sides and back of the aquarium, leaving plenty of open space in the center for swimming. Long tanks are best.

Maximum length: 5 cm (2 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 76 L (20 gal)

Water: Freshwater 22 °C (72 °F) - 26 °C (79 °F)

General swimming level: Midwater


Omnivore. Puntius oligolepis feeds on worms, small crustaceans, insects and plant matter in the wild and will accept all types of fairly fine-grade foods, such as flakes, freeze-dried and frozen varieties. Include vegetable-based foods like Spirulina wafers or flakes.

Aquarium Compatibility

It is best kept in groups of at least three. Males may display toward one another, but this is mainly for show and rarely results in injury.


These are typical egg scatterers that shed adhesive eggs among bushy plants and will eat their own spawn if the eggs and adults are not separated.


The Checkerboard Barb is an active schooling species that does well in most community tank settings, as long as there is plenty of room to swim.

Reference: 101 Best Tropical Fishes
Image credit: JJ
Text credit: KW