Fun Denison Barb Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
May 12, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Denison barb facts fascinate both children and adults alike.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.7 Min

The Denison barb (Sahyadaria denisonii), popularly known as Miss Kerala, red-lined torpedo barb, or a Roseline shark, is a freshwater fish found in south India, especially in the streams and rivers of Kerala. A Denison barb is an active fish that has become endangered in recent times as they are being deprived of their natural habitat and used for commercial purposes. If you are planning to buy Denison barbs for your aquarium, you must make sure that the aquarium is big enough. This species of fish is usually peaceful and its torpedo-shaped body requires pristine water and adequate swimming space so that it can swim effortlessly. They are also really fast swimmers. Roseline sharks can get along with their tank mates but you must ensure that neither the lifespan of a Denison barb or its tank mates is affected.

If you enjoy reading about the Denison barb, you can also check out our articles on longhorn cowfish and pumpkinseed sunfish.

Denison Barb Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Denison barb?

A Denison barb, often known as barb miss Kerala, is a peaceful fish species that is about 6 in (15.24 cm) in size. This fish is mainly found in the freshwater of southeast Asia, and its diet includes plants, frozen foods, meat, and shrimp.

What class of animal does a Denison barb belong to?

The Denison barb is a species of fish that belongs to the Cyprinidae family. Its scientific name is Sahyadaria denisonii.

How many Denison barbs are there in the world?

The population of Sahyadaria denisonii in the wild is spread over 3,400 sq mi (8,805 sq. km).

Where does a Denison barb live?

The major region where this species of fish is found is in the pristine water and freshwater of south India. Traces of Denison barbs have also been found in Eastern Europe.

What is a Denison barb's habitat?

This species of fish is quite active and can be found near the seabed of the Pamba and Chaliyar rivers of Kerala. Some hiding places of this species include rocky caves and thick underwater vegetation. In the wild, Denison barbs survive the best in sub-tropical climates. If you want to store Denison barbs in an aquarium then you must make sure they are in a tank with a minimum tank size of 55 gal (250 l) of water and the temperature should be 66-77 F  (15-25 C). The hardness of the water should not be more than 25 dGH and the pH should be 6.8-7.8.

Who do Denison Barbs live with?

This species of fish thrive when they are living in packs or a community. As mentioned earlier, this species of fish is quite active. When they become tamed in an aquarium, you must make sure that the aquarium is not overcrowded as this may make a Denison barb aggressive to the other species of fish or its tank mates. Cherry barb, tiger barb, and rainbow fish are among the few fish that can be kept with Denison barbs in the same aquarium.

How long does a Denison barb live?

The life expectancy of a Denison barb is around five years.

How do they reproduce?

For Denison barbs to reproduce, they have to be bred artificially. The best way to make this happen is to have an exclusive barb tank. It is next to impossible to breed Puntius denisonii at home or under commercial supervision. They have been efforts to breed this species which have been successful.

One of the best ways to breed or spawn Denison barbs is to have a separate aquarium containing soft and acidic water. The female lays her eggs on various plants and in a couple of days, they hatch.

What is their conservation status?

According to the IUCN Red List of Species, Puntius denisonii has been listed as Endangered. This beautiful fish has fallen prey to humans and human-created environmental decay like water pollution and deforestation. Its over-popularity has led to a decline in its population in India. Denison barbs are one of the most popular aquarium fish brought into the country. They have become endangered because people have not been providing the ideal conditions for these fish to survive.

This species of fish was exported in a large number from India in 1996. As soon as the population started to decrease, the government of Kerala regulated the export of this fish and also banned the procuring of this fish for recreational purposes. In 2009, Dr. T.V. Anna Mercy of Fisheries College, Kerala, and scientists at Chester Zoo in England became responsible for finding ways to breed this species in the wild and their natural habitat, which was a success.

Denison Barb Fun Facts

What do Denison barbs look like?

Denison barbs, often called the roseline shark, is a colorful fish that has quite an attractive color palette. If you look closely, you will see that the color of this fish is silver in color. It has a bright black stripe starting right below its head and running across the length of the fish to its caudal fin. You can even spot a green patch on the head of a mature fish. Depending on the lighting conditions, you might notice a bright red stripe on the dorsal fin. You will also notice yellow and black stripes on its tailfin. Since this fish is in the shape of a torpedo, it is also known as the red line torpedo barb.

Underwater view of a Denison barb.

How cute are they?

Roseline sharks are known to be peaceful fish which makes them quite harmless and great aquarium fish. Their bright colors make them attractive and a treat to the eyes. This fish doesn't grow more than 6 in (15.24 cm) which also adds to its cuteness. However, to make sure that they leave peacefully in an aquarium, make sure you do not overcrowd the tank and that there is plenty of room for the fish to swim around.

How do they communicate?

If you want to communicate with this beautiful fish, place your finger on the glass of the aquarium and wait until it comes near your finger. Their vision will be glued to your finger and as you move your finger, they will move in the same direction.

How big is a Denison barb?

A Denison barb (Puntius denisonii) grows to 6 in (15.2 cm) in length.

How fast can a Denison barb swim?

The exact speed of this fish is unknown, but since it is a fast swimmer, it requires clear fast-flowing water and a pretty big space so that it can swim long distances easily without altering its behavioral traits.

How much does a Denison barb weigh?

There are no such verified sources that can give us an idea of the exact weight or even an estimate of this fish. According to its size, it can be estimated that this fish doesn't way too much.

What are the male and female names of the species?

Both males and females of this fish species are either known as Puntius denisonii, or Sahyadria denisonii.

What would you call a baby Denison Barb?

There is no specific name for a baby roseline shark. A Denison barb is known by various names like a  roseline shark, sahyadria denisonii, or a red line torpedo barb.

What do they eat?

The diet of this fish includes bloodworms, frozen food, shrimps, meat, and plants.

Are they dangerous?

This species of fish is meant to live in groups or a small school. In the wild, Roseline sharks are not aggressive or dangerous. They are not known for harming humans.

Would they make a good pet?

Yes, they do make a good pet, although governments have banned the taming of this species of fish as they have been listed as Endangered. A Denison barb is a type of fish that should be kept in groups and a large aquarium.

You must make sure that the right level of oxygen is maintained inside the aquarium without fail. To make sure that the right amount of oxygen is present, you should plant small aquatic trees that will not only regulate the oxygen levels but also act as a source of food. The right temperature and pH level should be maintained throughout.

Roseline sharks should be made to feel as if they are in their natural habitat. To ensure that, the tank should be decorated in such a way that it gives a tropical feel to it. Roseline sharks tend to hide in nooks, corners of plants, or in small rocky caves, so you can even place a small cave inside the aquarium or plant some branches which will help them to take shelter. The most important thing is that they need enough space to swim around peacefully and that you provide them with the correct diet.

Did you know...

Denison barbs are a bit longer compared to other barbs.

In the world exhibition on Ornamental fish, Roseline sharks secured third place.

Are Denison barbs aggressive?

Denison barbs or roseline sharks are active species of fish. This particular species of fish should be kept in small groups or a community and that is the best way to let them keep their calm. A Denison barb doesn't usually become aggressive unless they are kept in an overcrowded small aquarium.

Can Denison Barbs live with angelfish?

Denison barbs can survive up to 80 F (26.6 C) and angelfish can survive up to 77 F (25 C). The extremity of temperatures can cause a threat to the lifespan of both fish. If a temperature of around 65 F (18.3 C) is maintained, then both of these types of fish can be kept together.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fishes including codfish or skate fish.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our denison barb coloring pages.

Denison barb Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Bloodworms, brine shrimp, meat, and frozen food

What Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?


How Much Did They Weigh?


What habitat Do they Live In?


Where Do They Live?


How Long Were They?

5.9 in (15 cm)

How Tall Were They?








Scientific Name

Sahyadaria denisonii

What Do They Look Like?

Bright red with black and yellow stripes

Skin Type


What Are Their Main Threats?


What is their Conservation Status?

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

Read full bio >
Read the DisclaimerFact Correction