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Barbodes aurotaeniatus (TIRANT, 1885)

SynonymsTop ↑

Barbus aurotaeniatus Tirant, 1885; Puntius aurotaeniatus (Tirant, 1885); Systomus aurotaeniatus (Tirant, 1885); Puntius stigmatosomus Smith, 1931; Barbus pessuliferus Fowler, 1937; Puntius samatensis Smith, 1945


Barbodes: from the Latin barbus, meaning ‘barbel’, and Ancient Greek εἶδος (-oides), meaning ‘form, likeness’.

aurotaeniatus: from the Latin aurum, meaning ‘gold’, and taeniatus, meaning ‘beribboned’.


Order: Cypriniformes Family: Cyprinidae


Described from ‘Thu-dâu-môt, Vietnam’ in the lower Mekong River basin with current knowledge suggesting it to range throughout much of the middle and lower Mekong and its tributaries in Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand, plus some minor coastal drainages in southeastern Thailand.


Inhabits a variety of biotopes from flowing streams to irrigation canals, ditches, and occasionally impoundments.

It occurs alongside numerous other fish species, and was recorded alongside Channa gachuaDevario gibberMastacembelus armatusMonopterus albusRasbora paviana, and Rhinogobius taenigena at one locality in the Xe Kaman river system, Laos, for example.

Maximum Standard Length

60 – 65 mm.

Aquarium SizeTop ↑

Base dimensions of at least 80 ∗ 30 cm or equivalent are required.


Fairly undemanding provided the aquarium is well-maintained but can appear a little washed out in very sparsely decorated set-ups.

A combination of subdued lighting and a dark substrate will encourage it to show its best colours, and it should look superb in a planted set-up decorated with pieces of bogwood, twisted roots and patches of floating vegetation.

The ideal set-up would be dedicated to the replication of a slowly flowing stream.

Use a sandgravel or mixed substrate and perhaps some smooth, water-worn rocks of varying sizes.

Filtration can be quite gentle but try to provide some water movement, adding some roots, branches, twigs and some aquatic plants for cover.

A few handfuls of leaf litter should complete the natural effect and may help to bring out the best colours of the fish.

Water Conditions

Temperature18 – 26 °C

pH6.0 – 7.5

Hardness36 – 268 ppm


Likely to be a foraging omnivore feeding on worms, insects and other small invertebrates, as well as plant material and organic detritus.

In the aquarium it’s easily-fed but the best condition and colours offer regular meals of small live and frozen foods such as bloodwormDaphnia and Artemia, alongside good quality dried flakes and granules, at least some of which should include additional plant or algal content.

Behaviour and CompatibilityTop ↑

Apparently very peaceful so should an ideal resident of the well-researched community aquarium.

Species which inhabit similar biotopes in nature, especially those swimming in open water, such as other similarly-sized cyprinids constitute good choices while many cobitid, nemacheilid, and smaller botiid loaches are also suitable.

Try to buy a mixed-sex group of at least 6-10 specimens, include other schooling fishes to provide security, and you’ll be rewarded with a more natural-looking spectacle.

Males will also develop better colours in the presence of conspecific rivals.

Sexual Dimorphism

Adult males are likely to be smaller, slimmer, and more colourful than females, especially when in spawning condition.


Possibly unrecorded but recommendations for related species are as follows:

Like most small cyprinids ‘Puntius‘ spp. are egg-scattering free spawners exhibiting no parental care.

When in good condition they will spawn often and in a mature aquarium it’s possible that small numbers of fry may start to appear without intervention.

However if you want to maximise yield a more controlled approach is required.

The adult group can still be conditioned together but a smaller aquarium should also be set up and filled with mature water.

This should be very dimly lit and the base covered with some kind of mesh of a large enough grade so that the eggs can fall through but small enough so that the adults cannot reach them. The widely available plastic ‘grass’-type matting can also be used and works well, as does a layer of glass marbles.

Alternatively filling much of the tank with a fine-leaved plant such as Taxiphyllum spp. or spawning mops can also return decent results.

The water itself should be of slightly acidic to neutral pH with a temperature towards the upper end of the range suggested above, and an air-powered sponge filter or air stone(s) should also be included to provide oxygenation and water movement.

When the adults are well-conditioned and the females appear gravid one or two pairs should then be introduced, and spawning should take place the following morning.

An alternative is to spawn the fish in a group with half a dozen specimens of each sex being a good number, although a larger aquarium may be necessary.

In either situation the adults will probably eat the eggs given the chance and should be removed as soon as any are noticed.

These should hatch in 24 – 36 hours with the fry free swimming after 3-4 days.

They should be fed on an infusoria-grade food for the first few days until large enough to accept microworm, Artemia nauplii, or suchlike.

NotesTop ↑

B. aurotaeniatus is uncommon in the aquarium trade.

Following Kottelat (1998) it has a single pair of maxillary barbels, a complete lateral line and colour pattern usually comprising four small, vertically-orientated black markings on the flanks (located above anterior lateral line origin, below dorsal-fin origin, below posterior end of dorsal-fin base and on caudal peduncle, respectively) and one on the dorsal surface, below dorsal-fin origin.

This species was formerly included in the genus Puntius which was for a number of years viewed as a polyphyletic catch-all containing over 100 species of small to mid-sized cyprinid until Pethiyagoda et al. (2012) published a partial review covering South Asian members.

The majority of sub-Himalayan Puntius species were reclassified and new genera Dawkinsia, Dravidia (subsequently amended to Haludaria), and Pethia erected to accommodate some of them, with the remainder either retained in Puntius or moved to the existing Systomus assemblage, though the definition of the latter was altered meaning some Southeast Asian species formerly placed there are no longer members.

Kottelat (2013) published a comprehensive nomenclatural update for Southeast Asian fishes in which this species was among a number of former Puntius transferred into the genus Barbodes. Members are told apart from related genera by the following aspects of ontogeny and colour pattern: small juveniles have 3-5 dots along the midlateral scale row, including one at middle of caudal- fin base, and an additional one at dorsal-fin origin; with increasing size, the spots on midlateral row may become more numerous and may fuse to form a stripe or broad band, and the spot at dorsal-fin origin may become a large blotch or a broad bar.

In addition, the following characters are useful in identification of Barbodes spp.: last simple dorsal-fin ray serrated posteriorly; rostral barbels present (except in B. aurotaeniatus); maxillary barbels present; lips smooth and thin, postlabial groove interrupted medially; lateral line complete or not, with 22–32 scales on lateral line row on body; ½4/1/4½ scale rows between dorsal-fin origin and ventral midline in front of pelvic-fin base; 12 circumpeduncular scale rows; 12–15 gill rakers on first gill arch.


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    A preliminary checklist of the freshwater fishes of the River Dong Nai, South Vietnam.
  2. Kottelat, M., 2001 - WHT Publications, Colombo: 1-198
    Fishes of Laos.
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    Fishes of the Nam Theun and Xe Bangfai basins, Laos, with diagnoses of twenty-two new species (Teleostei: Cyprinidae, Balitoridae, Cobitidae, Coiidae and Odontobutidae).
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    The fishes of the inland waters of southeast Asia: a catalogue and core biography of the fishes known to occur in freshwaters, mangroves and estuaries.
  5. Pethiyagoda, R., 2013 - Zootaxa 3646(2): 199
    Haludaria, a replacement generic name for Dravidia (Teleostei: Cyprinidae).
  6. Pethiyagoda, R., M. Meegaskumbura, and K. Maduwage, 2012 - Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters 23(1): 69-95
    A synopsis of the South Asian fishes referred to Puntius (Pisces: Cyprinidae).
  7. Rainboth, W. J., 1996 - FAO, Rome: 1-265
    Fishes of the Cambodian Mekong. FAO Species Identification Field Guide for Fishery Purposes.

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