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Main Index > Detailed Fish Profiles > Cyprinids > Denison Barb
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This months profile was written by superpap56 an active contributor to the site.



Siamese Algae Eater

Puntius denisoni


    A fairly recent addition to the aquarium world the Denison Barb is a striking active fish. Still expensive you should use restraint before purchasing and make sure you can supply the environment needed to help them thrive.

Quick stats:

    Listed tank sizes are the minimum
    Size: May grow up to 6 inches (15cm)
    Tank: 55 gal minimum
    Strata: Bottom, Middle, Top
    PH: 6.5-7.5
    Hardness: 5° - 25° dH
    Temperature: 59°F to 77°F (15°-20° C)


    Order: Cypriniformes
    Family: Cyprinidae
    Genus: Puntius
    Species: denisonii


Common name:

    Denison Barb, Red Line Torpedo Barb


    Badmans' Forum

Image gallery:

    Additional species photographs


    Asia: Primarily from Kannaur, Kerala in India.

General Body Form:
    Slender and elongated torpedo shaped body with a slightly rounded belly.

Denison Barb
This photo was originally taken by swordw and the original photo can be found here:

    Body of gold or silver with red and black stripes running front to back and coming to a point at the nose. A red stripe runs through upper part of eye. Tail has 2 bright yellow slashes topped with Black. Dorsal fin has a Red swatch starting at the base and continuing along the top, thinning as it nears the end.

    A peaceful and extremely active schooling fish-especially when young, less so as adults. They will use all water levels (top , middle and bottom). Recommended in a school of 6 or more. These fish are omnivores and eat pretty much whatever is offered. Loves freeze-dried bloodworms and sinking shrimp pellets. Live food is a nice treat as well as fruits and vegetables. Denison Barbs require a large enough tank to allow sufficient swimming space, but appreciates plants and driftwood (or ornaments ) to swim in through and around. Use hardier plants as they will nibble at soft plants. Provide a lot of current. Ideally keep them with active fish of similar size, but they will work well in most community set-ups providing extreme size differences and no overly aggressive fish are present. Coming from swift flowing cool water at 59-77°F (15-25°C) the oxygen content is high and the water conditions in your tank should try to mimic this as much as possible with the use of powerheads, excellent filtration and maintenance practices. Although I would recommend a heater -if your house temp is stable they do not actually need a heated tank.
Denison Barb

    Fast flowing mountainous streams.


    Sexing and breeding is unknown, I have not seen any reports of tank breeding.

Your comments:


Please remember that the following comments are personal experiences and may or may not apply to your setup. Use them as guide to help better understand your fish, like us all individuals will behave differently under different circumstances.


From: Markbn
I lucked out and found these barbs at my LFS for cheap! Bought 6 immediately and have had no problems with them. I put them in w/ several giant danios, zebra danios, rosey barbs and two algae eaters. They get along well with the other fish and themselves. No issues with them bothering the plants either. They swim at all levels in the tank and swim solo and in shoals depending on their mood. I was stoked when I found them in mt LFS at such a low price as I had been planning/ saving for months to buy some great fish for larger tanks!
From: Rohan Wittmer
I was inspired by the book; 'The Barbs Aquarium' to set up a 410 litre planted Asian-biotype aquarium for mixed barbs and Pearl Danios. I'm almost ready to plant it with Cryptocornes, Aponogeton, Java moss & fern and Vallisneria, plus some Nymphaea Lotus to provide dappled shade from lilly-pads & long stems to swim through. They shouldn't want to eat any of these plants much. Now I'm thinking of giving more priority in species-stocking choices to the Denison Barbs, as in the fish shop I was impressed by their looks as well as intelligence and playful, friendly natures. They come right up to the glass to accept you into their school. So I plan to shortly get a school of 6 or 7. I have discovered on the i-net two reports of tank breeding in fairly large community home-setups. Both had plenty of Java Moss, where the very small numbers of fry were discovered hiding. Alot of their eggs can go moldy& die easily too. A drop in pH by adding driftwood is apparently one of the main triggers for spawning within a sizable school, plus being in top health. They will start getting extra colurful, active and playful, pairing off. The baby ones actually have vertical black bars like typical Barbs! They will then change to horizontal stripes in the adolescent phase. They'll get on with any other Barbs. They love spiralina wafers. Smooth stones are good for them to browse over; I found some nice polished Chinese Yantze River pebbles of different sizes at the garden store. Puntius fasciatus, Melon Barbs are also mainly from Southern India & a little hard to breed too, also colourful and active but smaller. Danios are another ideal choice of tankmates from the same environment. I have heard that they are being bred with hormone injections on a mass scale now in Malaysia and India but continue to be threatened in the wild by habitat loss and pollution. Until recently anyway, they have been caught as juveniles in large shoals and grown on to colourful adolescent size in Malaysia, with quite big losses in shipping due to their sensitivity; hence the high-price. They are hardy once established. I saw a video of a happy, healthy pair in a Rainbow Fish tank but think the ideal number seems to be at least 6-9 in a shoal. Thanks for sharing your experience. I'll let you know how the new school go soon.
From: Gary A.MacDonald
A truly striking fish for the planted tank. Though, as much as I love them, I regret putting them in with Cardinals and Cherry Shrimp. Their activity levels have actually quite surprised me and have decimated a good portion of my Hairgrass in the front my Aquarium that I have trying to grow out bushier. I currently keep 6 in a large 70GAL High Tech planted tank (48 X 18 X 18) and eventually have plans to move them to a larger tank of their own. I would recommend them for species only tank or a tank more suited for their needs.
From: Andrew Givens
I find these fish really do well where airstones are employed. Rather Rasbora-like (with the classic nose-to-tail black line with golden upper margin, and scissortail-like flashes on the tail-lobes), but with barbels and habit of bottom-feeding, I feel these fish differ so much from other larger Puntius that they may represent a different genus (they have been reclassified several times, once as Epalzeorhynchos denisoni - in Baench!) My three (later six) were worth every penny - elegant and peaceful - and thrived in a Duo120 180-litre Indian cyprinid community at 25c and pH7. Incidentally, Chester Zoo has accidentally bred these fishes - PFK covered it briefly but with no details of environmental parameters, triggers, etc...
From: Guy
These are one of the most striking and graceful fish I have seen. The bright red streak along their body and flashes of yellow on their tails show up beautifully as they glide through a well planted tank. We have four in our 200 litre aquarium. They are very peaceful and thrive on their mixed diet of flakes and assorted worms. They are expensive, but worth every penny if you can find them (which is becoming harder).
From: Sam
These fish are lively beautiful but EXPENSIVE fish to buy in the UK!!!. They like to be in pairs or shoals they are really just like a colourful bala shark they seem to do very well in community tank and do very good with discus and may be able to be kept with less aggressive cichlids such as firemouths,convicts,severums,blood parrots,kribs. Thats all I have to say for now so good luck with your redline torpedo barb.





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