Tropical Fish Site

Profiles Reviews Guides for Tropical and Marine

Denison Barb – Barbus Denisonii


Common name: Denison Barb, Red Line Torpedo Barb, Rose Line Shark

Scientific name: Barbus Denisonii

Average Adult Fish Size:  4 inches  /  10 cm

Place of Origin: India

Typical Tank setup: A well planted aquarium with rock work and driftwood / bogwood. Plants will give the weaker individuals a place to hide, until the pecking order of the school is established. Plenty of open swimming space is required as the Denison Barb is always on the move and schooling.

Recommended Minimum Aquarium Capacity: 55 gallon / 240 litre

Compatibility: This fish needs to be kept in schools. The larger the school the better with 6 fish a good minimum amount. If kept in smaller schools the weaker individuals will be harassed continuously by the more aggressive individuals until they die.

Temperature: 68 – 79 Deg F / 20 – 26 Deg C

Water chemistry: pH 6.0 – 8.0

Feeding: Omnivorous. They should be fed a varied diet of flakes, small pellets, frozen and live foods such as daphnia and brine shrimp. Blood worms and brown worms can also be fed as a treat, but do not feed worms very often as they can cause bloat.

Sexing: Being able to tell the sex of the red line torpedo barb can be tricky to do correctly but sexually mature females tend to be more robust and rounder bellied than the noticeably slimmer males.

Breeding: Very little information from the hobby exists although the species is definitely being bred on a commercial basis, presumably via the introduction of hormones.

Additional Information: One of the most colourful and active fish we have had the pleasure to keep, the red line torpedo barb is always on the move and with a school of 6 or more they are a great addition to any community aquarium.

Originally from parts of western India. It’s been collected from the rivers Chaliar, Chalakkudipuzha and Kallada, the wildlife sanctuaries of Aralam and Periyar and in Kallada, Mundakayam and Travancore. Most of the ones seen in the trade today originate from the Khozikhode (“Calicut” in English) province of Kerala.  It lives in fast flowing highly-oxygenated rivers and loves to swim against the flow in tanks with high flow from powerheads.