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Gold Roseline Barb

Aquarium Bred and Raised

Sahyadria denisonii

Current Price: $44.99

Stock Level: 12

Details -

Source: Aquarium Bred and Raised

Estimated size at shipping: 1.5-2.5"

Sold as: Unsexed


The first time I encountered the Roseline Barb was years ago on a trip to Sacramento's Capital Aquarium in Northern California. They were in a bowfront aquarium on an aisle endcap, and they stopped me in my tracks. The bright red stripe, the scissor tail with yellow blotches...this was a beautiful addition to the hobby and I took several minutes to observe and appreciate them.

In June of 2020, the Roseline Barb once again stopped me in my tracks when I first laid eyes on the Gold form of this fish. If you replace the brown base color of a wild-type Roseline with bright gold and expand the thickness of the red stripe, you have yourself a Gold Roseline. They are some of the most brightly colored of all freshwater fish and they are magnificent.

This fish is not a hybrid or a separate species. Rather, it is a xanthic variation (often called "lutino", especially in the bird world) of the wild-colored population. The difference is similar to seeing a lutino colored cockatiel sitting next to a wild-type cockatiel. The Golden variant was developed in Indonesia when one popped up in a batch of aquarium bred fish being raised on a fish farm. The gold "sport" was removed and became the ancestor of all the Gold Roseline Barbs in existence today.

The first Gold Roselines I ever heard about were obtained by Maidenhead Aquatics in England during the final months of 2012. Despite being in the trade for almost a decade, they are still a very rare fish. Only a few are produced each year, and supply cannot keep up with demand. So, it took almost 8 years before I was able to find the breeder in Indonesia, import a group, and see them in person. That first glimpse of them in the bag made the wait worth it...bucket list fish acquired!

Although their behavior, size, and care requirements are the same as those of the well loved wild-type Roseline Barbs, the Gold variants have a few peculiarities which are worth considering before purchasing these fish. The first is that not all of them are a pristine gold color. A few are ghostly white. Some of these white individuals retain their red lips and red dorsal fin. In an online July 25, 2013 Amazonas article, these red-lipped-white fish were described as a "Lipstick" variant, indicating that they are a line-bred form. However, we question if the form is in fact something that can be line bred. From what we've observed, it seems to be a random occurrence in the Gold line rather than a separate morph which can be genetically fixed.

The larger color issue is "late onset" browning. As youngsters, the majority of the Gold Roselines are in fact gold, but as they grow, an unknown percentage of them begin to develop blotches of brown coloration. In some cases, this blotching stays minor and looks amazing as it contrasts with the bright gold body and red markings. In others, it grows until the fish looks very similar to the standard wild-type populations - still a very pretty fish, but not much in the way of gold coloration. Of the six fish that I have kept for over a year, two have become mostly brown, one is distinctly blotched (I think he looks super cool!), and three retained almost all of their gold. This color change looks very similar to, and may indeed be, some sort of piebald phenomenon. It is erratic, unpredictable, and probably quite frustrating to the uninformed purchaser...consider yourself informed :).

The last thing to consider before purchasing the Gold Roseline Barb is its eyes. Some of them seem to go blind, or at least to have a very limited visual range. Like the development of the brown color, the percentage which will develop eye issues is unknown. It seems to be erratic and unpredictable. In some batches we've had, almost all of them developed some kind of eye issue. In our current batch, only about 3% seem to have it. It is unknown if the fish are born with impared vision or develop it as they mature. Luckily for these fish, they have sensory barbels on the corners of their mouths which help them locate food even in the dark, so Roselines with eye issues can still eat well. However, they will be a lot slower to locate food and are more likely to be outcompeted by fast feeders...something to keep in mind when considering tankmates for any Gold Roselines which happen to become visually impaired.

Even though some of them will unpredictably change colors and some can develop eye problems, I still enjoy this fish very much. It has all the characteristics which make the standard wild-type Roselines so popular as well as some amazing coloration. I even enjoy the unpredictability of their possible color changes...something to keep me on my toes!

Diet: Omnivore

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Location: Wyoming, United States

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