Max Size: 16cm

Red Tailed Black Shark (Epalzeorhynchos bicolor)

The Red-Tailed Black Shark (Epalzeorhynchos bicolour) has become extremely popular in the aquarium due to its stunning appearance and exciting behaviours. Unfortunately, these fish are not suitable for the general community aquarium; however, as long as you carefully choose your tankmates, they are generally peaceful towards other species. Unfortunately, these fish can become increasingly territorial as they mature and become aggressive towards similar-looking species.

Ideal tankmates for the Red-Tailed Black Shark would be active, larger, robust schooling Cyprinids such as Mascara Barbs, Denison Barbs, Odessa Barbs and Clown Barbs. These fish do not seem to bother loaches. It would be best if you avoided most other bottom-dwelling species such as Catfish and similur fish in aperance and shape such as the Rainbow Shark and True Flying Fox.

It would be best if you kept these fish alone in a community aquarium or a group of 5 or more individuals in a large tank with lots of cover. A cohabitation attempt might be possible; however, each individual will need their territory with at least a metre diameter, so keeping them alone is probably your best option.

Red-Tailed Black Shark are not fussy when it comes to decor in the aquarium. However, the ideal aquarium setup for the Red-Tailed Black Shark would imitate a flowing stream or river with differently sized rocks, small pebbles, sand or fine gravel, and perhaps some boulders as a substrate. Adding driftwood and hardy aquatic plants such as Anubias or Microsorum would benefit your fish and give them places to hide if need be.

Like most Cyprinids, these fish live in pristine water in the wild, so they are therefore intolerant to the build-up of organic waste, so good filtration and frequent water changes are a must. It is also advisable to have a tight-fitting lid on your aquarium as these fish are known to jump out if startled.

The Red-Tailed Black Shark has a long and chunky body shaped very much like a torpedo. As juveniles, their bodies are a deep black colour, and their caudal fin is bright red; however, the black fades to a dark grey as they mature. Their dorsal fin sits roughly halfway back on their body, giving them a shark-like appearance.


Red-Tailed Black Shark
Red-Tailed Black Shark Juvenile
Red-Tailed Black Shark
Red-Tailed Black Shark
Red-Tailed Black Shark
Red-Tailed Black Shark
Red-Tailed Black Shark
Red-Tailed Black Shark
Red-Tailed Black Shark
Red-Tailed Black Shark
Red-Tailed Black Shark
Red-Tailed Black Shark
Quick Facts
Scientific NameEpalzeorhynchos bicolor
Year Described1931
Other NamesRed Tail Shark, Fire Tail, Red Tailed Labeo, Red Tailed Shark
Aquarium LevelBottom - Middle
Best kept asLoners
Lifespan5 - 8
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.5 - 7.5
GH10 - 16
KH10 - 1
73 - 79℉
22.8 - 26.1℃

Natural Habitat

Chao Phraya River


In the home aquarium, the Red Tailed Black Shark will readily accept most good quality dried foods such as granules, flakes and sinking pellets. These modern food products have been developed to provide all adequate nutrition to maintain your fish's health and dietary requirements.

Providing additional foodstuffs such as live, frozen, and freeze-dried meals such as bloodworm, daphnia, and tubifex once or twice a week will provide additional benefits to your fish's health and well-being but is not a must for this fish.

It should be noted that bloodworms should only be given as an occasional treat and should not be used as the staple diet as they are difficult for fish to digest and can potentially cause blockages.

This fish is an omnivore in the wild, meaning it will consume some vegetable matter. Although most modern fish foods take this into account and include them in their products, you can still supplement your fish's diet with blanched vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and zucchini. Ensure you do not overfeed your fish and remove any leftovers the following day.

Tank Mates

1 interesting tank mate ideas for the Red Tailed Black Shark could include:

Mascara Barb(Dawkinsia Assimilis)

Sexual Dimorphism

It is difficult to differentiate between the male and female Red-Tailed Black Sharks; when immature, however, once mature, the male's caudal fin is usually brighter than the female and is generally slightly slimmer. The males also develop longer extensions to their dorsal and anal fins.

In contrast, females are larger and plumper than males, and their overall colour is marginally duller.

The Red Tailed Black Shark has been featured on the following stamps

Vietnam - 1988

Frequently asked questions

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.

Are Red Tail Sharks okay with Amano and other shrimp?

The red tail shark is an omnivore, so it could predate on smaller shrimp, so if you plan to breed your shrimp, you should avoid Red Tail sharks and, in general, avoid the addition of all fish to your aquarium for the highest yield. Because Amano shrimp does not reproduce in freshwater and is more significant than most other aquarium shrimp types, these are your safest option.

We have maintained Red Tail Sharks with adult cherry and Amano shrimp in the past without problems.

Can red tail shark live with guppies?

While red tail sharks can be aggressive to their tank mates, they will rarely bite or damage the other fish. However, because guppies sleep on the bottom during nighttime, you may find their fins nipped occasionally. It may be best to avoid housing guppies with more extended fined types of guppies with red-tailed sharks, especially if you value pristine tails.

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.

Other Sharks of interest

Bala Shark(Balantiocheilos Melanopterus)
Black Sharkminnow(Labeo chrysophekadion)
Chinese High Fin Banded Shark(Myxocyprinus Asiaticus)
Chinese Neon Golden Stripe Shark(Sarcocheilichthys parvus)
Rainbow Shark(Epalzeorhynchos Frenatum)
Siamese Algae Eater(Crossocheilus oblongus)
View all Sharks
Date Added: 20/05/2020 - Updated: 10/08/2022 13:58:07