The checker barb (Oliotius oligolepis) is a cyprinid fish species endemic to creeks, rivers, and lakes endemic to western central Sumatra, Indonesia, but to the full extent of its distribution is unclear. It has also been established in the wild in Colombia. The adult males have red fins with black tips. It will grow up to a length of 5 centimeters (2.0 in). This species is the only known member of its genus. The leading edge of the scales is black, which gives it the checkerboard look. The body color varies from brassy-silver to chestnut-brown on the males while females are more silvery. Males also have more brightly colored unpaired fins, typically orange to red, and feature black edges.

Common Names: checker barb, checkerboard barb, or island barb
Origin / Habitat: Sumatra, Indonesia
Care Level: Easy
Adult Size: Grow to up to two inches (4 – 5 cm).
Tank Size: 20 gallon
Water Parameters: the pH of 5.5-7.5
Water Hardness:  36 – 215 ppm
Temperature: Between 64-77 °F or 18-25 °C)


Omnivore feeds primarily on aquatic invertebrates and smaller amounts of plant material and organic detritus in nature. It is easily-fed in the aquarium, but the best condition and colors offer regular meals of small live and frozen foods such as chironomid larvae (bloodworm), Daphnia, and Artemia, alongside good quality dried flakes and granules.


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 decors 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. In small groups, this species does not reach school very tightly. They will roam as individuals and then come back to form a school. Male’s color will is colorful than females. Checkerboard barbs spawn readily in planted community tanks, scattering their eggs among the leaves.


By fishexp