Wet Spot Tropical Fish Facebook link Wet Spot Tropical Fish Youtube link Wet Spot Tropical Fish Pinterest link

November 29, 2013

Since its introduction into the aquarium hobby in 1996, the Roseline Shark has quickly made a niche for itself in planted aquariums. Roselines are incredibly attractive, offering intense hues of reds and yellows, with an iridescent tan body. These pastel-like colors have made them extremely desirable to planted tank owners. In fact, over the last six years alone 300,000 fish have been collected from the wild and shipped out across the globe. Sadly, after years of harvesting for the fish trade, pollution to their natural habitats, and farming land taking over, the fish ended up on the IUCN’s red list for endangered animals. The bright side to this tale is that in 2011, India prohibited the collection of wild caught specimens during their breeding season. Fish farmers did not want to see this fish wash away from our world and set out to understand how to breed this species in captivity. Through trial and error they were successful, and now our stock of Roselines at The Wet Spot Tropical Fish is entirely captive bred individuals, leaving what’s in nature to stay in nature.

Sahyadria denisonii

While commercial farmers are finding success, there are virtually no reports of hobbyists breeding them in captivity. One report from German magazine Aqualog mentioned a group of 15 adults spawning in a pH of 5.7 with the gH around 2-3 ppm. The fish had apparently spawned over a clump of java moss, typical for barbs and rasboras. This event apparently was elicited by gradually lowering the pH with bogwood. The Chester Zoo Aquarium in England also has had luck breeding and their theory now is that large groups are needed to have successful spawns. It appears that the success of commercial breeding is triggered primarily by the use of hormones.

Sahyadria denisonii

The Roseline Shark was first discovered in 1865, and was given the name Labeo denisonii, after Sir William Thomas Denison, who was the governor of Madras from 1861-1866. The fish have also been known under the names Barbus denisonii and Crossocheilus denisonii for a number of years, until falling into the catch all genus Puntius. As of November 26th 2013, the fish will now be known as Sahyadria denisonii, putting the fish into owns genus with its only other known member, Sahyadria chalakkudiensis, which is rarely exported into the aquarium trade. Hobbyists know them under several common names such as the ‘Roseline Barb’, ‘Red Line Torpedo Barb’, ‘Denison’s Flying Fox’, or the ‘Red Flash Barb’. In India they refer to them as ‘Miss Kerala’ and ‘Chorai Kanni’, which literally means ‘bleeding eyes’. With the bright red stripe running through the eye it’s not hard to understand the origin of this name.


The Roseline Shark, as well as its cousin S. chalakkudiensis, is found in the Western Ghats Mountains in Southern India. According to, the first specimens exported came from a waterfall at the Chalakudy River basin in Kerala, but were more robust and grew quite large. This was explained when people realized what they thought they had been collecting as S. denisonii, turned out to be S. chalakkudiensis (1999). The two fish can not only be told apart by their sizes, but by the black dorsal fin that S. chalakkudiensis possesses.

Keeping the Roseline Shark in an aquarium has usually been a bit of a struggle for many. I believe that this is because wild caught individuals require extremely pristine water. Tank raised specimens; on the other hand, I feel are slightly more adaptable to aquarium conditions. That being said, it is still very important to maintain water quality for these animals, and it is highly recommend that small (20%) weekly water changes are undertaken. The tank should be set up to replicate a small stream. Ideally, smaller pebbles and sand should be the basis for the substrate with larger pieces of driftwood and rocks for decorations. Roseline Sharks will not harm plants, and make excellent choices for your larger planted aquarium. These Cyprinids will grow to be about 5-6” in your tank, and need to be kept in schools of at least six to really show their behavior. Smaller kept schools or individuals are often aggressive towards one another and a bigger group seems to level this out. They’ll enjoy most aquarium foods but have a preference for meaty foods like frozen bloodworms and other insects.


With that I’d like to sum up my article by saying that I hope all of you had Happy Thanksgiving filled with close friends and family. You’ll be able to find two different sizes of Roselines on our pricelist this week. Our social networks are continuing to grow on Facebook at and Pinterest, Be sure to send me any questions you have may have!

I’ll see you all back here in a week!

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager