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'Puntius' snyderi OSHIMA, 1919


snyderi: named for American Zoologist John Otterbein Snyder (1867-1943).


Order: Cypriniformes Family: Cyprinidae


Type locality is ‘Rigyokutsu, Nanto, Taiwan’ and this species is distributed central and northern Taiwan, being replaced by the closely-related ‘P.semifasciolatus in the south of the island.

It also occurs on mainland China but those populations are still referred to as ‘P.semifaciolatus (Chen and Chang, 2005).


Displays a preference for shallow, marginal areas in slow-moving streams, irrigation canals, and ponds, and most abundant in habitats with dense aquatic or riparian vegetation.

Maximum Standard Length

65 – 75 mm.

Aquarium SizeTop ↑

Base dimensions of at least 90 ∗ 30 cm or equivalent are required.


Choice of décor is not especially critical though it tends to show better colouration in a heavily-planted set-up with a dark substrate.

The addition of some floating plants and driftwood roots or branches to diffuse the light entering the tank also seems to be appreciated and adds a more natural feel.

Filtration does not need to be particularly strong though it does seem to appreciate a degree of water movement and will also do well in a hill stream-type set-up.

Water Conditions

Temperature18 – 24 °C

pH6.0 – 8.0

Hardness36 – 357 ppm


A foraging omnivore feeding mostly on benthic diatomsalgaeorganic detritus, small insects, worms, crustaceans, and other zooplankton in nature.

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 and an ideal resident of the well-researched community aquarium.

Fishes inhabiting similar biotopes in nature, especially comparably-sized, peaceful cyprinids  perhaps constitute the best choices but other potential options include balitorid, cobitid, and nemacheilid loaches as well as benthic cyprinids such as Crossocheilus and Garra species.

Try to buy a mixed-sex group of at least 8-10 specimens, include other schooling fishes to provide security, and you’ll be rewarded with a more natural-looking spectacle.

The interaction between rival males is interesting to watch and they will display their best colours when competing for female attention or hierarchical position.

Sexual Dimorphism

Adult females tend to be much the rounder-bellied sex and grow slightly larger than the males.

Sexually mature males develop red pigmentation on the lower portion of the body.



NotesTop ↑

This species is poorly-known in the aquarium hobby but may be traded on occasion.

It’s almost identical to the wild form of ‘P.semifasciolatus which is best known as the ‘golden barb’ in the aquarium hobby due to the popularity of a ubiquitous ornamental strain with yellowish body colour.

However the natural colour pattern of both is greenish with variably-arranged dark flank markings, and in terms of external characters they’re only reliably distinguished from one another by the fact that ‘P.semifasciolatus possesses a pair of prominent maxillary barbels whereas ‘P.snyderi has only tiny and indistinct barbels which are not present in all individuals.

In addition ‘P.‘ semifasciolatus is a somewhat slimmer fish than ‘P.‘ snyderi and has 7-9 ‘main’ dark vertical markings on the body versus 4-5 such markings  in ‘P.‘ snyderi. 

The two also differ genetically and have been recovered as forming two distinct monophyletic groups in phylogenetic analyses (Chang et al., 2006).

The genus Puntius 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, and Pethia erected to accomodate 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.

It subsequently became clear that the name Dravidia was preoccupied by a genus of flesh fly, therefore the replacement name Haludaria was made available by Pethiyagoda (2013).

No species from Indochina, China, or Indonesia were included in the study meaning a significant number of former Puntius are currently classed as incertae sedis, i.e., of uncertain taxonomic placement, and this also applies to a number of South Asian species of unresolved status.

They’re perhaps best referred to as ‘Puntius‘ for the time being whereby the genus name is surrounded by quotation marks to denote its questionable usage, and that is the convention used here on SF at the moment.


  1. Oshima, M., 1919 - Annals of the Carnegie Museum 12(2-4): 169-328
    Contributions to the study of the fresh water fishes of the island of Formosa.
  2. Chang, C-H, Y-T Shao, and H-W Kao, 2006 - Zoological Studies 45(2): 149-156
    Molecular Identification of Two Sibling Species of Puntius in Taiwan.
  3. Chen, I-S, and Y-C Chang, 2005 - The Sueichan Press: i-xx + 1-284
    A Photographic Guide to the Inland-water Fishes of Taiwan: Vol. 1 Cypriniformes.
  4. Pethiyagoda, R., 2013 - Zootaxa 3646(2): 199
    Haludaria, a replacement generic name for Dravidia (Teleostei: Cyprinidae).
  5. 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).

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