Red Tail Black Shark (Epalzeorhynchos bicolor) Fish Species Profile

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The Red Tail Black Shark falls into the same family as carp and minnows. They have a long and thin body that is shaped very much like a torpedo. Their body is black, and their tails are bright red, their dorsal fin begins roughly halfway back on their body hence why they are mistaken for actual sharks.

You have to provide them with hiding places such as caves to help make them feel secure. Also ensure you have a tight-fitting hood because they are known to be excellent jumpers.

Many hobbyists mistakenly decide to add more than one of these sharks to a small tank which doesn't work out as you will find out because one of them will soon become the dominant "shark" which will then chase and pester the others relentlessly.

Scientific NameEpalzeorhynchos bicolor
Other NamesRed Tail Shark, Fire Tail, Red Tailed Labeo, Red Tailed Shark
Aquarium LevelBottom - Middle
Best kept asLoners
Lifespan5 - 8
Maximum Sizeup to 16 cm
Water Conditions
Water TypeFreshwater
Temperature73 - 79 ℉ (22.8 - 26.1 ℃)
PH6.5 - 7.5
GH10 - 16
KH10 - 1

Origins of the Red Tail Black Shark

This species originates from the rivers, streams and waterways of Thailand. At the moment, there is only one known population of red tail sharks in the wild, in the clear waters and floodplains of Chao Phraya basin as far South as Bangkok.

Water flow should be fast to replicate the Red Tail Black Shark's natural habitat.


Redtail sharks will happily eat high-quality flake or pellet food, high-quality plant-based food along with a standard quality flake food.

They will also graze on algae, and you should supply green vegetables to balance their diet.

You can also feed the sharks frozen foods such as brine shrimp, blood worms, and they seem especially partial to frozen daphnia.

Sexing the Red Tail Black Shark

This species is tough to sex. Female sharks are usually larger, fuller and wider where the males will be more slender; the females also have a greyer duller colour rather than solid black like that of the male also females have a more curved dorsal fin.

Breeding the Red Tail Black Shark

You will find it extremely difficult to breed this species, especially when people tend to keep no more than one at a time unless you have a very large aquarium and even then the success rate isn't high.

The only way it's possible is if you use hormone treatment.

Frquently asked questions about the Red Tail Black Shark

Are Red Tail Sharks aggressive?

The Red Tail Shark is very territorial and can be overly aggressive, especially to their species and fish of a similar appearance, such as the Rainbow Shark, Sliver Flying Fox and some algae eating loaches.

It is recommended to house these fish with other semi-aggressive fish or ensure the aquarium is large enough for the other fish to escape harassment. In keeping with other shark type species ensure there is a group, so the aggression is more distributed instead of focused on a single fish.

Is the Red Tail Shark a real shark?

No, the Red Tail Shark is not related to real sharks in any way, the name shark was obtained due to its triangular dorsal fin and similar overall shape in comparison to real sharks.

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Date Added: 5/20/2020 - Updated: 11/28/2020 8:43:43 PM