Red-line Torpedo Barb

The Red-line Torpedo Barb (Puntius denisonii) is a vibrant and active freshwater fish that is native to the Western Ghats of India. With its striking red line along its body and unique torpedo-like shape, it has become a popular species in the aquarium hobby, but unfortunately it is also a threatened species in India in the wild. In this article we will delve into the details of the Red-line Torpedo Barb, including its appearance, natural habitat, behavior, reproduction, life span, diet, and how to care for them in a home aquarium.

It’s a newer discovered species first imported back in 1996 for the aquarium trade, also known as Miss Kerala fish or Roseline shark. The Denison Barb is somewhat unique in that exports of wild fish have ceased, but local commercial breeding of this species is thriving. Availability is more dependent on the supply chain of bred fish than the actual demand for the species, which is quite high.


The Red-line Torpedo Barb is a cylindrical-shaped fish that grows to an average size of 10-13 cm (4-5 inches) in length. Its body is metallic green and silver, with a striking red line running along its entire length from the gill plate to the tail. The fins are transparent, with a slight yellowish tint.

Natural environment

The Red-line Torpedo Barb is native to the Western Ghats of India, mostly found in Kerala and Karnata states in Southern India, where it inhabits fast-flowing streams and rivers. These environments have moderate water temperatures, good water quality, highly oxygenated and plenty of hiding places provided by rocks and vegetation.


The Red-line Torpedo Barb is a highly active and social species, and in the wild it is often found in schools. In the aquarium, they should be kept in groups of at least six individuals. They are generally peaceful and will not cause any trouble with other species in the aquarium, but they are active swimmers and will require plenty of swimming space. But be aware, they can be very skittish and easily frightened. It is therefore recommended to keep the top of the aquarium sealed closely on top, so they cannot jump out of the aquarium.

Reproduction & life span

The Red-line Torpedo Barb is a egg-laying fish and they are relatively easy to breed in the aquarium. The eggs will hatch in about 24-48 hours. The adult life span of the Red-line Torpedo Barb is approximately 8 years with proper care. It seems probable that this species will be a mainstay for the aquarium trade for some years to come, and it’s likely that the use of hormones could help to encourage aquarium fish to spawn, leading to a drop in price as the fish get produced by suppliers in the EU. It is now one of India’s biggest exports. Locally, this species is known as “Chorai Kanni”, which literally means “bleeding eyes”.


The Red-line Torpedo Barb is an omnivorous species, and in the wild it feeds on a variety of small invertebrates and plant matter. In the aquarium, they will eat a variety of foods, including live or frozen foods, flake food, and pellets. It is important to provide a balanced diet to maintain the health of the fish.

Keeping a Red-line Torpedo Barb

The Red-line Torpedo Barb is a hardy species, but they do require a spacious and well-maintained aquarium. A minimum aquarium size of 115 liters (30 gallons) is recommended for a small group of 6 individuals, but it’s best to provide a larger aquarium for a larger group of fish and to ensure proper swimming space. They prefer a water temperature between 15-26 °C (72-79 °F), a pH should of 6.8 to 7.8, that is, slightly acidic to slightly alkaline, and a water hardness between 4-25 °dGH. They also require a strong filtration system and a weekly water change routine to maintain water quality. It’s also important to keep the water well-oxygenated.

In conclusion, the Red-line Torpedo Barb is a beautiful and active species that adds energy and vibrant color to the home aquarium. With proper care, they can live for up to 8 years and provide a stunning display of colors and activity. If you are considering adding Red-line Torpedo Barbs to your aquarium, be sure to provide a suitable environment and a balanced diet to help them thrive.

Scientific namePuntius denisonii
Type of aquariumFreshwater
Size10-13 cm / 4-5 inches
RegionWestern Ghats of India
Ideal tank sizeAt least 115 liters / 30 gallons per 6 fish, more is recommended
Ideal water temperature15-26 °C / 72-79 °F
pH6.8 – 7.8
DietOmnivorous: flake food, frozen or freeze-dried brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia
SchoolingYes, keep at least 6 together


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