Checker barb is a really beautiful fish, in reality this species is recognized as the beautiful barb to American aquarists. The male is brilliantly coloured red-brown which darkens along the back, and lightens to silver along the underside. The scales along the lateral line are marked with blue-black spots, forming a chequered pattern. The fins are a especially beautiful orange colour, and also the dorsal fin is further enhanced with a thin black line edging the upper margin. This dorsal is very individualistic, no other barb can boast of such a feature.
When breeding, the male becomes even much more beautiful, the dorsal fin deepens in colour and also the body suffuses with black, via which the scales reflect blue and green.
Colouring in the female is comparable to that of the male, but not so striking, also the fins are either only slightly tinted orange or hyaline. When adult the fish only average just a little less than 2 inches long.