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July 15, 2020
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Title Checkerboard Barb

Sara Waller

Last Updated



A brief description of the checkerboard barb.


The checkerboard barb (Oliotius oligolepis) is a small live bearing fish that is native to western central Sumatra, Indonesia, but the full extent of its distribution is unclear.  This fish grows to an adult size of up to 1.7 inches long.  Mature males are noticeably smaller, slimmer,  and more colorful than females.

The checkerboard barb should be maintained in an aquarium of 29 gallons or larger.  Smooth rocks, driftwood (ZM2000) and live or artificial plants may be used, as well as a sand substrate (CS7538).  These fish look great in a heavily planted tank with a dark substrate.  

The checkerboard barb prefers a temperature of 65°F to 77°F, a pH of 5.5 to 7.5, and a hardness of 3 to 12°H.  Be sure water is clean and well oxygenated.     

The checkerboard barb is a peaceful fish suitable for a community aquarium.  Good tank mates include other small barbs, rasboras, tetras, pencil fish, cory cats, and otocinclus.  The checkerboard barb is a schooling species and should be maintained in groups of at least 6 to 10.

The checkerboard barb is easy to feed in the aquarium and will readily accept just about any appropriately sized food item such as flakes (AL165) and frozen brine shrimp (SF6777).   For maximum color, growth, and health these fish will look their best when given probiotics (AL169) in addition to a balanced diet.


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