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Red Line Denison Barbs: Care Guide (Diet, Tank & More)

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Redline denison barbs are a great addition to any large freshwater tank. While they have subtle colors, they are beautiful nonetheless. 

Read on to learn more about these peaceful fish before adding them to your home aquarium.

Red Line Denison Barb Care Guide

Scientific NameSahyadira denisonii
Common NameRoseline Sharks, Red-Line Torpedo Barb, Miss Kerala, Bleeding Eye Barb, Denison’s Barb
SizeUp to 6 inches
Minimum Tank Size55 gallons

Redline denison barbs are silver fish that have a black and red line going from their nose to their tail. They grow up to six inches in length and therefore need to have a larger tank for their living space. They are peaceful and do well in a community.

Lifespan, Appearance & Temperament


Although denison barbs have more subtle colors they are considered to be a colorful species. 

The base of their body color is silver which will shimmer as the light hits their scales. 

Through the center of their body, they have a black line running nose to tail.

Denison barb in planted tank

Right above the black line is a red stripe that runs up to the front half of their body. They also have a yellow stripe next to a black stripe on the forks of the caudal fins. 

Besides the yellow, red, and black stripes, their fins are transparent. As the denison barb reaches full maturity and size, it can develop an emerald green color on their heads.

Denison barbs are rather difficult to differentiate sexes. The main things to look for with sexing the denison barb are size and color. 

Females are typically slightly larger than males. Males also have brighter colors than females do. 

Temperament and Behavior

With the proper habitat in their tank, the denison barb is a peaceful species. 

They get along well with other peaceful fish making them a great addition to a community tank. 

They are larger and tend to stay in the middle level of the tank. 

Denison barbs are very active and can be seen darting around the tank in shoals. 

When they do this their bright colors are shown off as they move in unison around the tank.

Lifespan and Size

In suitable habitats as well as providing them a proper diet, denison barbs can live up to five years in captivity. 

The quality of their care will significantly affect their life expectancy. The adult denison barb will reach up to six inches when they are fully grown. 

Torpedo Barb Diet & Feeding

Denison barbs are omnivores and in the wild will eat almost anything. In the wild, they live off of insects, small invertebrates as well as algae. 

Providing your denison barb with a balanced diet is crucial in keeping them healthy and keeping their colors vivid.

A high-quality flake or pellet food can serve as a solid base for their diet. 

Aside from the flake food the addition of live or frozen foods should be given as well as blanched vegetables. 

Live or frozen foods such as bloodworms, spirulina, daphnia as well as brine shrimp are excellent choices. 

It is very important to avoid overfeeding the denison barb, as well as preserve water quality. 

Because of this, it is best to only feed them what they are able to eat fully within two minutes, cleaning any uneaten food after to keep the waters cleaner. Denison barbs should be fed about two or three times a day.

Aquarium Setup & Water Parameters

Because the denison barb can reach up to six inches in length they require more room. They will need a larger tank of at least 55 gallons.

There should be about five gallons of water for each denison barb you have. They are also shoaling fish and need to be in a group of at least 6.

Denison barbs tend to be hardy fish that can tolerate a range of water parameters. 

Although to replicate their natural habitat they will need plenty of oxygen in their water. 

As long as parameters are maintained they are fairly easy to care for.

Ideal water parameters for denison barbs:

  • Water Temperature: 60°F to 77°F
  • pH Level: 6.6 to 7.8
  • Water Hardness: 5 to 25 dGH

To mimic their natural habitat they will need natural decor resembling that habitat. If these needs are not met they can become stressed and will fade in color. 

For the substrate use a sand or fine gravel with the addition of some pebbles or rocks for a natural look.

Adding plants to the tank is very important! Not only does it replicate their densely vegetated habitats in the wild. 

But the addition of plants will add more oxygen to the water. 

Ensure that the plants are anchored down well as the denison barbs are known for uprooting plants as they dart around the tank. 

They are also known for jumping out of the water on occasion, a secure lid will be needed.

Some great options for plants are java fern or Anubias! When placing plants in the tank ensure you are leaving open space for swimming. 

Also when placing the plants, place some to create hiding spots for the denison barb. These hiding places can also be made with other decor such as rocks and driftwood. 

This will provide them a safe space for when they want privacy to hide out. 

As previously mentioned good oxygen levels are needed, also they do require a stronger current. 

A more powerful filtration system with a robust outlet tube should be used to accommodate these needs. 

Submersible jets are also another option to create a stronger current. 

Ideal Roseline Shark Tank Mates

As previously mentioned denison barbs are peaceful, they do well within a community tank. 

Although they are shoaling fish and need to be in groups of at least six other denison barbs. 

Group of red line denison barbs

Creating the shoal is very important as this species does not do well on their own. They rely on social interactions to stay healthy and thrive.

After forming a shoal of denison barbs other tank mates can be considered. It is best to look for tank mates that are peaceful and similar in size. 

It is better to opt for fast-swimming fish as well to avoid intimidation from the fast-moving denison barb. 

It is also important to ensure additional tank mates have similar tank requirements as denison barbs.

Examples of suitable tank mates:

  • Rainbow Fish
  • Odessa Barb
  • Rosy Barb
  • Larger Tetras
  • Kribensis Cichlid
  • Celestial Pearl Danio

It is best to avoid tank mates that are known to be aggressive or territorial, as it can cause stress for the denison barbs. 

Also, it may be best to avoid fish that are considered to be shy as they may become stressed as the denison barb are larger and fast. 

Much smaller fish such as nano fish should be avoided as well.

Tank mates to avoid for denison barb tank:

  • Oscars
  • Neon Tetras
  • Angelfish
  • Betta Fish
  • Guppies

How To Breed Red-Line Torpedo Barbs

Breeding denison barbs at home is very difficult to do, it can sometimes happen on its own without any intervention. 

However aside from spawning occurring naturally on occasion, there isn’t anything at a home level to initiate the process.

This is not a problem however in commercial breeding. Commercial breeders are able to create elaborate setups. 

Along with their setups commercial breeders use hormones that they inject the denison barb with to initiate the process.

Because it is extremely difficult to breed denison barbs in a home aquarium it is not recommended to do so.  

This is because attempting breeding can cause stress on the denison barb. This stress is unnecessary as spawning will more than likely not occur when forced at home. 

This added stress can lead to poor health and result in death if too much stress occurs like most other fish.

Fish Species Origin & Natural Habitat

Denison barbs originate and are endemic to India. They live in the fast rivers and streams in the Western Ghats which is a large mountain range. 

These rivers are the Achankovil, Chaliyar, and Pamba rivers. These rivers have thick vegetation, and the denison barbs can be found around rocky areas. 

Because of the thick vegetation as well as the fast currents these waters are very oxygenated.

They are a very popular fish for hobbyists. Because of this and their natural habit changing, wild populations are threatened. 

Due to wild populations being threatened, exports of these fish are banned as they are endangered. This means that the fish market, they are captive-bred.