field guide to the freshwater fishes of singapore
Contents

Index of fishes
General parts of a fish
Kelvin K P Lim and Peter K L Ng
  Family Cyprinidae
About the family in general

Genus Puntius
Primary freshwater fish; oviparous; omnivorous; mainly gregarious. Asia. Rhomboidal-shaped fishes, usually with at least one pair of barbels at the mouth.
Some aquarium books have used Puntius, Barbus and Capoeta for a variety of Asian species. The tendency however is for Capoeta to be used for large Middle East taxa and Barbus for large European and Mediterranean taxa. The genus Puntius is probably still heterogeneous and will have to be revised. We have used the better known name here purely for convenience.


photo of whole fish, side viewdiagram of stages of growth of common barbCommon Barb or
Two-spot Barb

Puntius binotatus
Ikan Puteh,
name in chinese characters

18 cm; near-bottom to midwater dweller. Indigenous, common. Forest streams, some rural streams and drains. Young fishes are rather attractive, being slender with scattered black markings. Larger animals tend to be more uniformly silvery-grey with a distinct blotch beneath the dorsal fin. There may be a smaller blotch on the caudal peduncle, and sometimes, a rather faint dark lateral bar along the sides of the body. The diagram on the right show the stages of growth and change in colour pattern of the Common Barb.

photo of whole fish, side viewSpanner Barb or T-Barb
Puntius lateristriga
Ikan Bagoh,
name in chinese characters

20 cm; midwater to near-bottom dweller. Indigenous, endangered. Forest streams. This distinctively marked fish has attractive dark markings on the sides which looks like the shape of a spanner, or a capital-letter 'T' lying on its side. It is sometimes sold for aquaria, but tends to eventually grow too large and boisterous for the average community tank.


photo of whole fish, side view
Photo: Yip Hoi Kee
Six-banded Tiger Barb
Puntius johorensis
Ikan Pelampong Jaring,
name in chinese characters

5 cm; near-bottom to midwater dweller. Indigenous, endangered. Forest streams.
Formerly (and more descriptively) known as Puntius hexazona, the Six-Banded Tiger Barb is one of our most attractive native freshwater fishes, and justifiably much sought after for the aquaria. At the moment, this delicate species can only be found in very few streams in the central catchment forest.

photo of whole fish, side viewFive-banded Tiger Barb
Puntius partipentazona
Ikan Pelampong Jaring,
name in chinese characters

6 cm; midwater dweller. Feral, common. Some forest streams, ponds and reservoirs. It is not known exactly when this popular aquarium species was introduced, but this was probably in the late sixties or early seventies as it was not recorded here prior to 1966. This active little fish abounds in many of our catchment reservoirs (e.g., MacRitchie) at present, and has even penetrated some forest streams. This fish is native to Peninsular Malaysia, Thailand and Indo-China.

photo of whole fish, side viewFour-banded Tiger Barb
Puntius tetrazona
Ikan Pelampong Jaring,
name in chinese characters

7 cm; near-bottom dweller. Feral, uncommon. Another recently introduced and closely related species is the Four-Banded Tiger Barb, Puntius tetrazona. This originally Sumatran fish can however be distinguished by its more intensely red fins, and the third bar on the body more or less meeting the dark bar extending from the dorsal fin.

In P. partipentazona, the bar on the dorsal fin does not meet the third bar on the body.

Some scientists regard P. partipentazona and P. tetrazona as subspecies of each other. Many colour strains have been bred from this species, although none of these have become feral so far.
colour diagram
Dorsal fin of
Four-banded Tiger Barb

colour diagram
Dorsal fin of
Five-banded Tiger Barb

photo of whole fish, side viewGreen Barb or Chinese Barb
Puntius semifasciolatus
Ikan Tompok Tujoh,
name in chinese characters

7 cm; near-bottom dweller. Feral, uncommon. Disturbed forest streams, rural streams and ponds. This small, greenish-gold fish with several short, black bars on the sides, seems to have been imported with pond-culture carp fingerlings from southern China, like the Striped Chinese Minnow. Records seem to suggest that the fish might have been introduced in the early 1900s.
Introduction
Freshwater habitats
Fishes in Singapore
Conservation
Amazing Fishy Facts
About the guidebook
 
From A Guide to Common Freshwater Fishes of Singapore by Kelvin K P Lim and Peter K L Ng
Published by the Singapore Science Centre and sponsored by BP

@Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research and Singapore Science Centre