Max Size: 15cm

Denison Barb (Sahyadria denisonii)

The Enigmatic Denison Barb, also known as Red-line Torpedo Barb, the Roseline shark and Miss Kerala (Sahyadria denisonii), are active and attractive fish with fascinating behaviours, making them perfect for a large, peaceful community aquarium.

In addition, these Barbs are relatively hardy, and their needs can be easily met in the home aquarium, making them ideal for the beginner aquarist and the more advanced hobbyist.

These Barbs are shoaling fish in nature; therefore, keeping them in groups of at least six or more individuals would suit their needs better than maintaining them in smaller groups or as lone fish.

When you retain these fish in more significant numbers, they will feel more comfortable, resulting in a more natural-looking display and behavioural characteristics.

Ideal tankmates for Denison Barbs could include other Barbs similar in size, Danios, and more significant sized members of the Tetra family. You can also house them with Rainbowfish and most Cichlids. However, it would be best to avoid keeping them with shy, delicate and slow-moving species as they may struggle around the busy temperament of the Denison Barb.

It is advisable to provide a sufficiently sized aquarium with plenty of room for these fish to swim around as these are active fish that constantly need to be on the move. You can add rock caves or driftwood in the aquarium with live plants from hardy genera such as Anubias as long as they are well anchored.

This Barb species requires high oxygen levels and pristine water; therefore, high organic matter levels are not tolerated well. Consequently, you will need to perform regular water changes and keep on top of tank maintenance to keep your Barbs healthy. In addition, these Barbs come from fast-flowing waters; therefore, a decent current will be required.

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 their midsection. In addition, the dorsal fin is edged in vibrant red, while the caudal fin exhibits prominent black and yellow stripes. Finally, you can find the striping detail on the tips of both forked ends.

There is also a rare gold morph variation of this Barb, which has been line bred for the fishkeeping hobby.

Denison Barb (Sahyadria denisonii) Video

Denison Barbs


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 Barb
Denison Barb
Denison Barb
Denison Barb
Denison Barb
Denison Barb
Denison Barb
Denison Barb
Denison Barbs
Denison Barbs
Denison Barb
Quick Facts
Scientific NameSahyadria denisonii
Year Described1865
Other NamesRedline Barb, Roseline Shark, Torpedo Barb, Denisonii Barb, Denison's Flying fox, Denison's Barb, Miss Kerala, Red-line Torpedo Barb, Bleeding Eye Barb
Aquarium LevelBottom - Middle
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespan4-8 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.5 - 8.0
GH5 - 25
KH4 - 10
TDS50 - 140
65 - 80℉
18 - 27℃

Natural Habitat

Chalakudy River
Chaliyar River
Kallada River


In the home aquarium, the Denison Barb will readily accept most good quality dried foods such as granules, flakes and sinking pellets. These modern food products have been developed to provide all adequate nutrition to maintain your fish's health and dietary requirements.

Providing additional foodstuffs such as live, frozen, and freeze-dried meals such as bloodworm, daphnia, and tubifex once or twice a week will provide additional benefits to your fish's health and well-being but is not a must for this fish.

It should be noted that bloodworms should only be given as an occasional treat and should not be used as the staple diet as they are difficult for fish to digest and can potentially cause blockages.

This fish is an omnivore in the wild, meaning it will consume some vegetable matter. Although most modern fish foods take this into account and include them in their products, you can still supplement your fish's diet with blanched vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and zucchini. Ensure you do not overfeed your fish and remove any leftovers the following day.

Tank Mates

10 interesting tank mate ideas for the Denison Barb could include:

Black Ruby Barb(Pethia nigrofasciata)
Black Widow Tetra(Gymnocorymbus ternetzi)
Bleeding Heart Tetra(Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma)
Boesemans Rainbowfish(Melanotaenia Boesemani)
Borneo Red Fin Silver Shark(Cyclocheilichthys janthochir)
Mascara Barb(Dawkinsia Assimilis)
Melon Barb(Haludaria fasciata)
Orange Finned Danio(Danio kyathit)
Red Eye Tetra(Moenkhausia sanctaefilomenae)
Red Rainbowfish(Glossolepis Incisus)

Sexual Dimorphism

The male and female Denison Barb are very similar in appearance and colour, making it challenging to differentiate their gender, especially when they are young.

However, once sexually mature, females tend to be slightly larger, rounder bellied and somewhat slightly duller in colouration than their male counterparts.

Frequently asked questions

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.

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)
Borneo Red Fin Silver Shark(Cyclocheilichthys janthochir)
Butterfly Barb(Barbus hulstaerti)
View all Barbs
Date Added: 09/05/2020 - Updated: 06/12/2022 14:40:34