Denison Barb (Puntius Denisonii) Fish Species Profile

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The Denison 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 immense 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 which 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 are also rarer gold morph of the Denison Barb which have been line bred for the fishkeeping hobby.

This beautiful 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.

Scientific NamePuntius Denisonii
Other NamesRedline Barb, Roseline Shark, Torpedo Barb, Denisonii Barb, Denison's Flying fox
OriginsWest India
Aquarium LevelBottom - Middle
Best kept asGroups 5+
Lifespan4-5 years
Maximum Size15 cm
Water Conditions
Water TypeFreshwater
Temperature65 - 80 ℉ (18.3 - 26.7 ℃)
PH6.8 - 7.8
GH5 - 25
KH4 - 10
TDS50 - 140

Denison Barbs

Origins of the Denison Barb

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.


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.

Sexing 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.

Breeding 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 without hormone treatments currently used in the fish farm environment, there is no clear documentation on replicating this.

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Date Added: 5/9/2020 - Updated: 12/29/2020 12:19:36 AM