Checkered Barbs (Puntius oligolepis) originate from Indonesia, where they are found in small rivers, streams and drainage ditches. While abundant in their native habitat, specimens found in the aquarium hobby are almost always farm raised. The ease at which Checkered Barbs adapt to the aquarium environment has made commercial breeding more cost effective than wild collection and eliminates the pressure that collection places on wild communities. Checkered Barbs are ideal for beginning hobbyists as they adapt well to aquarium life, are peaceful towards other fish species and can tolerate a wide range of water conditions. Being a schooling species, hobbyists should consider keeping a group of 6 or more individuals if possible in order to allow the fish to live as they would in nature. Overall this species is ideal for any community or planted aquarium. Commercially bred Checkered Barbs tend to vary between two color types, one with a red coloration and the other a more greenish coloration. Both color morphs are attractive and both allow for the checkered scale pattern to show through. The Checkered barb is a hardy species that can be kept in community aquariums with other non-aggressive community fish species. They generally require plenty of open swimming room, but can also do well in aquariums with dense vegetation provided some swimming room in front or over top the plants. Ideally they will prefer an aquarium setup that provides them with both open swimming areas and locations that are shaded from the aquarium lights by plants, driftwood or other similar aqua-scaping. Checkered Barbs are one of the fish species that will benefit greatly from a dark substrate, as it will cause them to exhibit a more brilliant coloration. In regards to aquarium conditions, the most important thing to keep in mind is to provide clean well oxygenated water and a good biological filtration system. In the wild Checkered Barbs primarily forage for algae, diatoms, small insects and crustaceans, worms and decaying plant matter. However, they will quickly adapt to commercial aquarium foods. Recommended aquarium foods include: quality flake foods, freeze-dried blood worms and tubifex worms, brine shrimp, dried algae and frozen foods designed for freshwater omnivores. Checkered Barbs will also consume naturally occurring algae within the aquarium and decaying plant matter if kept in an aquarium with live plants. They should be fed a couple of times a day an amount of food that they will eagerly consume within a few minutes. Monitor the overall girth of the fish and adjust feeding frequency accordingly.
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