The Fish Guru

Unveiling the Vibrant Red Tail Shark: Tips for Optimal Care and Breeding

Red Tail Shark: A Freshwater Fish from Thailand

Red Tail Shark, scientifically known as Epalzeorhynchos bicolor, is a popular freshwater fish that originates from Thailand. It is also known by other names such as Red Tailed Shark, Red Tailed Black Shark, and Labeo bicolor.

This torpedo-shaped fish is black with vibrant red fins, which give it an impressive look. In this article, we will be discussing every aspect that goes into keeping a healthy Red Tail Shark.


Red Tail Sharks have an average lifespan of 5-8 years with proper care and maintenance. However, several factors such as water conditions, tank size, and diet can influence their lifespan.

Therefore, it is essential to create an optimal environment that promotes the health and longevity of these fish.


The striking look of a Red Tail Shark makes it a popular choice for aquarium enthusiasts. They are torpedo-shaped with a black body and bright red fins.

The black coloration of the body makes the red fins look even more vibrant. They also possess a shark-like appearance that is why they are called a Red Tail Shark.

Tank Size

Red Tail Sharks are active swimmers and need a lot of space to move around. Therefore, it is recommended to keep them in a tank that is at least 55 gallons (208 liters) in size.

These fish prefer an aquarium that is long rather than tall, as it provides ample swimming space.

Water Parameters

Maintaining an optimal environment is crucial to keep a healthy Red Tail Shark. The ideal water temperature for these fish is between 75-80F (24-27C), with a pH level between 6.5-7.5. They also prefer slightly hard water, with a water hardness between 8-12 dGH.

Regular water testing should be done and changes should be made quickly if any of these parameters are off to ensure that their environment is optimal.


Red Tail Sharks are used to living in fast-flowing rivers in their native Thailand. In an aquarium, they require plenty of hiding spaces such as rocks, wood, and vegetation.

They will enjoy playing or resting among these decorations. Keeping a lot of vegetation is also recommended, as it provides them with places to hide and explore.

A well-decorated aquatic environment will greatly benefit them, adding to their overall health and well-being.

Disease Potential

Like any other pet, Red Tail Sharks are susceptible to contracting diseases. They are primarily affected by Ich and fin rot.

Ich is a parasite that is also known as white spot disease, while fin rot is a bacterial infection. Both diseases can be treated with medication, but prevention is always better than cure.

Keeping the water clean, providing a balanced diet, and creating an optimal environment will significantly reduce the chances of these diseases. Food & Diet Recommendations

Red Tail Sharks are an omnivorous species; they can eat both plants and animals.

They are not picky eaters and will readily accept flake or pellet food. However, it is recommended to supplement their diet with frozen foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, and tubifex.

These fish enjoy eating vegetables such as cucumber, zucchini, and peas. A balanced and diverse diet will ensure optimal health for these fish.

Behavior & Temperament

Red Tail Sharks are active fish that enjoy swimming around. They are also territorial and can be aggressive towards other fish, mainly other Red Tail Sharks of the same sex.

They are not suitable for community tanks and should be kept alone or with compatible species. Red Tail Sharks are known to be aggressive towards slower-moving fish but can be kept with faster moving fish such as Neon Tetra, Bala Shark, Honey Gourami, Sparkling Gourami, Congo Tetra, Pearl Gourami, Angelfish, and Dwarf Gourami.

Red Tail Shark Tank Mates

It is essential to choose the right tank mates for Red Tail Sharks to ensure a peaceful and happy environment. They are territorial and will look to protect their territory from other fish, especially other Red Tail Sharks of the same sex.

They can be kept with faster-moving fish such as Neon Tetra, Bala Shark, Honey Gourami, Sparkling Gourami, Congo Tetra, Pearl Gourami, Angelfish, and Dwarf Gourami. In conclusion, Red Tail Sharks are a fascinating species to keep in an aquarium.

With proper care and maintenance, these fish can live a happy and healthy life for up to eight years. Providing them with an optimal environment, keeping the water clean, offering a balanced diet, and choosing compatible tank mates are essential in ensuring the best life for your Red Tail Shark.

Breeding Red Tail Sharks:

Difficulty and


Breeding Red Tail Sharks can be a challenging task and is not something that should be taken on by novice aquarists. It requires a lot of careful planning, specific water conditions, and a suitable environment for the fish to breed successfully.

Breeding is a natural process that requires a lot of effort from both male and female Red Tail Sharks. The female will usually lay a batch of eggs anywhere from 50-150 eggs.

These eggs will stick to wood and other decorations in the aquarium. The male will fertilize the eggs, and the female will guard them from predators.


Breeding Red Tail Sharks is considered to be a difficult task. The first obstacle that aquarists must overcome is finding a breeding pair.

Red Tail Sharks are known for their aggressiveness and are typically solitary fish, making it challenging to find compatible individuals. Once a pair is found, the breeding tank must be set up to provide the optimal environment.

Water conditions are essential in ensuring that the eggs survive until they hatch. The water temperature should be around 79-80F (26C), with a pH level of 6.5-7.5 and a hardness between 8-12 dGH.

High-quality water conditions can influence the hatching rate positively.


Breeding also carries a lot of risks, such as the death of the female after laying the eggs. This can happen if the female is stressed during the breeding process or if the tank environment is not appropriate.

Another issue is the likelihood of the male becoming aggressive towards the female after the breeding. The male can easily turn on the female, causing physical harm and even death.

It is essential to monitor the breeding pair regularly to ensure that these types of behaviors do not occur. Overall, breeding Red Tail Sharks poses several challenges and is not for everyone.

It requires expertise and experience, and aquarists who attempt this task should be prepared to face the risks that come with it.


Red Tail Sharks are quite popular in the aquarium scene, which makes them readily available for purchase in most pet stores. They are appealing because of their vibrant coloration and their shark-like appearance.

These fish can add a unique and exciting element to any aquarium.

Easy Care

Red Tail Sharks are relatively easy to care for, making them an excellent choice for novice aquarists. They have straightforward needs and do not require specific food or water conditions as long as they are kept in a well-maintained tank.

Their omnivorous diet means that they can eat a variety of foods, including pellets, flakes, and frozen foods.


Red Tail Sharks are known for their aggressiveness and territorial behavior. This aggressiveness can pose a challenge, especially when trying to keep them in a community tank.

It is crucial to choose tank mates carefully and to ensure that they have adequate hiding spaces and enough room to swim. Therefore, it is crucial to research the needs and temperament of any fish before introducing them to the same aquarium as a Red Tail Shark.

Endangered Status

Red Tail Sharks are not currently classified as endangered. However, their wild populations have suffered a decline due to overfishing and habitat destruction.

It is essential to respect these fish by not removing them from their natural habitat and by only purchasing captive-bred individuals. Consumers should always place environmental conservation at the forefront of their aquarist interests.

In conclusion, Red Tail Sharks are an exciting and popular species in the aquarium world. While breeding them can be challenging, they are relatively easy to care for and can add a unique element to any aquarium.

However, their aggressiveness and critical endangered status should be taken into consideration. Aquarists should always research the fish they keep and work towards conservation efforts to ensure a healthy and sustainable environment for all aquatic life.

In summary, Red Tail Sharks are a popular addition to aquariums due to their distinctive appearance and relatively low maintenance care requirements. However, they can be aggressive and need careful consideration when choosing tank mates.

Breeding these fish is challenging, but it can be accomplished with expertise and experience. As an endangered species, it is critical to respect these fish and take steps towards conservation to ensure their survival.

Through proper care, research, and conservation efforts, Red Tail Sharks can be a beautiful addition to any aquarium while preserving their natural habitats.

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