Freshwater Fish

Torpedo or Denison Barbel – Sahyadria denisonii: Care Guide

The Torpedo O Denison Barbel is a beautiful addition to a large community setting. These fish are colourful, active and social, and make a beautiful display when kept in a group.

In the wild, Roseline Sharks are considered endangered on the IUCN Red List, thanks to declining fish numbers, and they are not the easiest fish to keep in the home aquarium.

That said, if you’re up for a challenge, read this detailed guide to find out everything you need to know about Torpedo O Denison Barbel care.


Scientific name Sahyadria denisonii
Common name (species) Roseline shark, Torpedo O Denison barbel, Red line torpedo barb, Miss Kerala
Family Cyprinids
Source Weston Ghats, India, specifically the Achankovil River, Cheenkannipuzha (a major tributary of the Valapattanam River), near the city of Mundakayam, and on the Chaliyar River.
Diet Omnivore
level of care Intermediate
Exercise Active and peaceful shoal species
Life expectancy Up to 5 years
Temper Calm
tank level All areas, but predominantly midwater
Minimum tank size 55 gallons
Temperature range Tropical 60° to 77° Fahrenheit
Hardness of water 5 – 25 dGH
pH range 6.8 to 7.8
Filtration / Flow Rate You need pristine, highly oxygenated water and a high flow rate
type of water Sweet water
Breeding Egg layer, rarely achieved in home aquariums
Compatibility Calm. Gets along with most other non-aggressive freshwater fish species.
Is it ok for planted tanks? insurance with plants


The Roseline Shark was first described in 1865 and is found in just four locations in Weston Ghats, India, specifically in the Achankovil River, Cheenkannipuzha (a major tributary of the Valapattanam River), near the town of Mundakayam, and in the Chaliyar River..

Unfortunately, the popularity of the species in the hobby led to overfishing and that, along with local deforestation, decimated the wild population of Denison barbs. For that reason, the fish are now considered endangered and their populations are listed as «declining» on the IUCN Red List.

>Fortunately, commercial fish farming programs now exist in Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia, and wild collection of the Roseline Shark is severely restricted.


Denison Barbels live in large schools, inhabiting streams, rivers and ponds where the water is clear and highly oxygenated.

The environment in these areas is rocky and densely vegetated with a relatively high flow rate.


Denison barbs are long, torpedo-shaped fish. The body is silver with a black line running the length of the fish from snout to tail. In contrast, there is a bright scarlet line that runs along the top of the fish’s black line, from its snout, through the eye, and along the body to the midpoint.

The dorsal fin has a bright red edge and the tail fin has bright yellow and black stripes. As they mature, some specimens develop a green tint to their heads. You can also buy an artificially created gold variant that has the red line but not the black stripe.


An adult roseline shark is about 6 inches long.


Torpedo Barbels live up to five years in captivity, provided you provide a high quality diet and pristine water conditions.


Although the Roseline Shark is a peaceful fish, they are extremely active, darting around the tank in a beautiful, bright school.

However, it should be noted that there have been reports of aggression in specimens kept in very small aquariums, so enough space should be left for them.


Roseline Barbs do not do well when kept alone or in pairs, as they rely on social interaction to stay stress-free and healthy.

For that reason, I recommend that you maintain a school of at least six Denison tines.


In addition to their own kind, there are quite a few other species of fish that generally do well with Roseline barbs. Basically, you want fish that are agile, fast swimmers, and don’t have delicate fins that drag.

Some ideas for tankmates include:

  • Large species of tetra
  • cherry pick
  • pink pick
  • Celestial Pearl Danio
  • tiger barb
  • Rainbow Fish
  • kribensis cichlids
  • corydora catfish

It is recommended that you do not keep slow-swimming fish, which could be injured or stressed by Denison’s swift barbs.


To keep your sharks in top condition, always feed them the highest quality food you can get your hands on. Cheap fish feed brands usually contain a lot of filler, which has no nutritional value and can cause long-term digestive health problems.


Roseline sharks are omnivores, requiring a diet of meaty protein and plant matter.

In the wild, these fish consume insects, small invertebrates, some plant matter, and algae. You can feed your Denison Barb tropical fish flakes and pellets as a staple diet, choosing a high-quality food that contains carotenoids to enhance the color of the fish.

Add variety to the diet and add live and frozen foods, especially daphnia, bloodworms, brine shrimp, and spirulina. These fish also appreciate some blanched vegetables as a delicacy.


Feed your fish twice a day, offering them only what they will consume in a couple of minutes.



Roseline sharks grow to around 6 inches long as adults and are powerful, active swimmers that need plenty of space.

The minimum aquarium size I recommend is 55 gallons for a small school of fish, larger if you want to create a mixed species community setup.

Ideally, the tank should be rectangular to maximize swimming space, and you will need a slip top or tight fitting lid as these fish can jump!



Choose fine gravel or coarse sand as a substrate in your Torpedo or Denison Barbel’s tank.


It is important to replicate the natural habitat of the Torpedo Or Denison Barbel when choosing decorations for the interior of the tank. This helps relax the fish, prevents stress and encourages the barbs to develop their vibrant colors.

Add rocks, smooth stones, and pebbles for a natural look, but remember that these fish need plenty of room to swim, so don’t overcrowd the tank. That said, sharks do appreciate some hiding places, so that can include caves, overhangs, and some twisted roots.

Dense planting is very important, but you need to make sure you anchor your plants securely so fish don’t uproot them, going through and around the stems.



Roseline sharks need fast flowing and extremely well oxygenated water. The water in the tank must be pristine, so we recommend that you use an external canister filter and powerhead.


water temperature

Roseline sharks are tropical fish that require a water temperature between 60° and 77°F.

pH range and water hardness

Your tank water should have a pH in the 6.6 to 7.8 range, with a water hardness of 5 to 25 dKH.

Turning on

Roseline sharks are happy in normal lighting conditions, so choose the LED lighting rig that best suits whatever plant species you decide to go with.


Roseline sharks need pristine water conditions, so they are not suited to lazy fishkeepers.

You will need to do a 30% to 35% water change every week as well as vacuum the substrate, the corners of the tank, the decorations below and around the base of the plant stems. That’s crucial, as you want to remove uneaten fish food, plant debris, and fish waste, which would otherwise contaminate the water.

Remember to rinse the filter media and change it as needed, based on the manufacturer’s guidelines.


When you set up your fish tank, start by putting together what you need, which includes:

  • Sand or fine gravel substrate
  • LED lighting unit
  • canister filtration system
  • power head
  • Heater
  • aquarium thermometer
  • Decorations, including driftwood, smooth stones, and caves.
  • Floors


  1. Rinse the substrate under running water to ensure it is clean.
  2. Put two to three inches of sand or gravel in your tank and place an upturned container on top of the substrate.
  3. Install the filter unit and heater in the tank, but do not turn them on.
  1. Now, fill the aquarium with tap water that has been treated with a water conditioner to remove any harmful chemicals. Empty the water into your tank, pouring it over the container to avoid displacing the substrate.
  2. You need the water to contain a small amount of ammonia to start the nitrogen cycle in your biological filter. To do that, “seed” the water by adding a bit of gravel from a mature tank, a pinch or two of fish food, or a few drops of pure ammonia.
  3. Rinse your tank decor to remove any dust and place everything in the tank.
  4. Tidy up your plants by removing damaged or dead stems and leaves. Make sure there is enough space between the plants so they can grow and spread.
  5. Turn on the heater and filter. Turn on aquarium lighting for eight to ten hours a day if you are using live plants.
  6. Wait at least ten days before adding fish to the aquarium so the tank can fully cycle. Before introducing your Roseline Sharks, test the water. Ammonia and nitrite levels must be zero and nitrate levels must be a maximum of 20 ppm. You may need to wait a few more days if the levels are too high.


Roseline sharks are generally healthy and hardy, but you need to give them clear, crystal clear water. If the water is dirty or unsanitary, the fish will become stressed, leaving them prone to common fish diseases.


Denison Barbs are extremely active, lively, schooling fish that love to swim in the open areas of the tank. They are curious fish that like to explore their environment.


There are some red flags to watch out for, including:

  • poor appetite
  • Lethargy
  • No swimming as part of school.
  • Inflammations, ulcers and red spots on the skin.
  • Rub against tank decoration or hit substrate


Health problem Symptoms or causes suggested action
Ich (white spot disease) Ich or white spot disease is caused by a ciliated protozoan parasite called Ichthyophthirius multifiliis. Affected fish hit or rub against objects in the tank. A rash of white spots spreads over the gills, fins, and body of the fish after a day or two. Set the tank temperature at 82o F for three days and treat the water with a White Spot treatment.
skin and gill flukes Trematodes are parasitic creatures that attach to the gills or body of the fish. Affected fish rub against the substrate and decorations and secrete excessive mucus. Treat the aquarium with an antiparasitic drug.
fungal infections White cottony growths. Quarantine affected fish and treat the water with an antifungal treatment.
Bacterial infections Reddened areas on the skin, sores, ulcers. Treat the tank with antibacterial drugs.


Roseline sharks cannot be successfully bred in the home aquarium. The specimens you buy at fish stores or online are usually raised by commercial breeders who use hormones to stimulate spawning.

I do not recommend that you try to breed the fish in your tank, as that can cause them stress and is more likely to fail anyway.


You can sometimes buy roseline sharks at fish stores, but you’re more likely to find them for sale through online dealers and fish stores starting at around $20 a fish.


  • a grid
  • algae magnet
  • aquarium thermometer
  • aquarium vacuum cleaner
  • Books on tropical fish farming
  • Filtration system
  • Fish tank (minimum size 55 gallons)
  • Heater
  • High quality tropical fish flakes and pellets
  • LED lighting unit
  • Floors
  • Rocks, driftwood, twisted roots, caves
  • Sand or fine gravel substrate
  • Frozen food selection
  • water conditioner


I hope you enjoyed our Roseline Shark Care Guide.

Do you have a Barbel Torpedo OR Denison in your setup? Tell us about them in the comment box below!

And don’t forget to share our guide if you liked it!

Publicaciones relacionadas

Deja una respuesta

Tu dirección de correo electrónico no será publicada. Los campos obligatorios están marcados con *

Botón volver arriba