Max Size: 15cm

Denison Barb (Sahyadria denisonii)

The Denison Barb, also known as the Torpedo Barb, is a beautiful looking, very active fish that makes an excellent addition to any tank. These fish are best maintained in large groups. However, due to its size, a large aquarium is recommended.

The Denison Barb has a long torpedo-shaped body and is typically silver in colour with a yellowy-gold tint that appears once mature. It displays a black line that runs from the snout to the caudal fin and is contrasted by an adjacent red line running from the nose through the eye and fades away at the fish's midsection.

The dorsal fin is edged in vibrant red, while the caudal fins exhibit prominent black and yellow stripes. You can find the striping detail on the tips of both forked ends. There is also a rarer gold morph of the Denison Barb, which have been line bred for the fishkeeping hobby, and the rare Janthochir Barb is often confused as a colour morph of the Denison Barb when in fact, it is unrelated.

This fish's popularity resulted in intense overfishing of the wild stock, pushing them into becoming endangered. Thankfully, they are now captively bread, which has taken the pressure off of the wild population and reduced the hobby's selling price.

Quick Facts
Scientific NameSahyadria denisonii
Other NamesRedline Barb, Red-line Torpedo Barb, Roseline Shark, Roseline Torpedo Shark, Torpedo Barb, Denisonii, Denisonii Barb, Denison's Flying fox, Puntius denisonii
OriginsWest India
Aquarium LevelBottom - Middle
Best kept asGroups 5+
Lifespan4-5 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.8 - 7.8
GH5 - 25
KH4 - 10
TDS50 - 140
65 - 80℉
18 - 27℃
Adult Denison Barb
Denison Barb Shoal
Denison Barb Juvenile
Group of Denison barbs
Denison Barb
Denison Barbs
Denison Barb
Denison Barb
Denison Barb
Denison Barb
Denison Barb
Denison Barb
Gold Denison Barb
Gold Denison Barb


Denison Barbs

Natural Habitat

The Denison Barb is endemic to Western India, mainly in the rivers Chalakkudipuzha, Chaliar, and Kallada.

Shoals of these fish are known to occur in clear, fast-flowing, highly oxygenated water bodies such as rocky pools with plenty of vegetation along their banks.

Denison barbs are now captively mass bread and are readily found throughout local fish shops around the world.

Other Barbs of interest

African Banded Barb(Barbus fasciolatus)
Arulius Barb(Dawkinsia arulius, Puntius arulius)
Black Ruby Barb(Pethia nigrofasciata)
Blue Spotted Hill Trout(Barilius bakeri)
Butterfly Barb(Barbus hulstaerti)
Checker Barb(Oliotius oligolepis)
View All Barbs

What to feed the Denison Barb

In the wild, the Denison Barb feeds mainly on insects and water crustaceans. They also consume algae and plant matter.

In the home aquarium, these Barbs will eat anything from high-quality flake, granule and pellet food to live and frozen fares such as bloodworm, daphnia and brine shrimp as well as vegetable matter such as blanched broccoli and spinach.

Feeding these Barbs several times a day regularly with a mixed diet will ensure your fish remain in the best health and keep them vibrantly coloured.

How to Sex the Denison Barb

The male and female Denison Barb are very similar in appearance and colour, making it challenging to differentiate their gender when they are young. However, sexually mature females tend to be more firm and rounder bellied than noticeably slimmer males.

How to Breed the Denison Barb

There is currently very little information or recommendations on breeding this beautiful species of the Barb in your home aquarium.

There have been some anecdotal reports from some hobbyists of accidental breeding instances. However, so far, there is no clear documentation on replicating this without hormone treatments currently used in the fish farm environment.

Frquently asked questions about the Denison Barb

Are Denison Barbs an aggressive species?

Denison Barbs are usually peaceful; however, if you keep them in an aquarium with less space than they need, they may outcompete other smaller and slower species at feeding time. Denison Barbs are not fin-nippers, although you should take care in keeping them with similar or larger-sized species.

How big can Denison Barbs get?

Denison Barbs can reach up to lengths of 15 centimetres; however, most Denison Barbs do not grow much bigger than 11 cm.

How can you tell if your Denison Barb is male or female?

It is somewhat challenging to differentiate males from female Denison Barbs as they look almost identical; however, adult females usually grow slightly larger and are typically a little less colourful than the males.

What should I feed my Denison Barbs?

Denison Barbs are omnivorous, so they require a diet of both vegetable matter and meaty protein. However, these Barbs are not fussy and will accept most foods, including high quality dried food such as flakes, granules and small pellets, as well as live and frozen foods such as cyclops, daphnia, brine shrimp and bloodworms. These foods can help heighten the red colouration on the flanks and in the fins. In addition, feeding them foods rich in carotenoid pigments and astaxanthin can also help make Denison Barbs more colourful.

What size aquarium will I need for my Denison Barbs?

Denison Barbs are robust, active swimmers that can grow relatively large, so they require plenty of space. Therefore, it is recommended that you have an aquarium of at least 200 litres for a small group of these Barbs or more if you would like to keep a community of mixed species.
Ideally, the aquarium should be a rectangular shape to maximize their swimming space, and you'll need a tight-fitting lid, as these fish can and will jump.

What tankmates are suitable for Denison Barbs?

Denison Barbs do poorly when they are kept alone or in pairs as they rely on social interaction to remain healthy and stress-free. Therefore, it is recommended that you keep at least six individuals. In addition to their own kind, there are quite a few other fish species that generally do well with Roseline barbs. The most suitable tank mates for these barbs are active fast-swimming species of fish that do not have delicate trailing fins. Ideal tankmates can include other Barb Species, large Tetra species, celestial pearl Danios, Kribensis Cichlids, Corydoras Catfish and Rainbowfish.

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Rosy Barb(Puntius conchonius)
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Date Added: 09/05/2020 - Updated: 23/11/2021 09:04:48