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Maximum size : 16 cm

Red Tailed Black Shark - Epalzeorhynchos bicolor : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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The Red-Tailed Black Shark (Epalzeorhynchos bicolour) is a fascinating and visually stunning fish that has become highly sought after in the aquarium hobby. These fish are best kept in a species-only tank or with carefully selected tankmates to avoid conflicts. In terms of tankmates, larger, active, and robust schooling Cyprinids are ideal, such as Mascara Barbs, Denison Barbs, Odessa Barbs, and Clown Barbs. However, it's essential to avoid similar-looking species, such as the Rainbow Shark and True Flying Fox, as they may be mistaken for rivals and lead to aggression. Decorating the aquarium with rocks, pebbles, and driftwood, along with hardy aquatic plants, will provide plenty of hiding places for your fish. To replicate their natural habitat, a flowing stream or river setup with a substrate of sand or fine gravel and boulders would be ideal. To keep these fish healthy and happy, you will need to maintain excellent water quality with good filtration and frequent water changes. Additionally, these fish can be jumpers, so a tight-fitting lid is necessary. As juveniles, the Red-Tailed Black Shark is jet black with a bright red caudal fin, but as they mature, their colour fades to a dark grey. Their chunky torpedo-shaped body and dorsal fin halfway down their back give them a striking shark-like appearance that is sure to impress. In summary, the Red-Tailed Black Shark is an impressive and exciting fish that will undoubtedly be a highlight in any aquarium. With proper care and attention, these fish will thrive and display their stunning colours and behaviours for years to come.

Red Tailed Black Shark Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

It can be challenging to distinguish between male and female Red-Tailed Black Sharks when they are immature. However, once they reach maturity, there are some visible differences between the sexes. Typically, the male's caudal fin is brighter than the female's and appears slightly slimmer. Additionally, the males tend to develop longer extensions to their dorsal and anal fins. In contrast, female Red-Tailed Black Sharks are larger and plumper than males, and their overall coloration is slightly duller.
Featured Male
Featured Female
Male Female

Quick Facts

Scientific NameEpalzeorhynchos bicolor
Year Described1931
Other NamesRed Tail Shark, Fire Tail, Red Tailed Labeo, Red Tailed Shark
Max Size16 cm
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

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

Natural Habitat

Red-Tailed Black Sharks originally hail from Thailand in Southeast Asia, these magnificent fish are indigenous to the clear waters and floodplains of the Chao Phraya Basin, located as far south as Bangkok. Red-Tailed Black Sharks are typically found in streams, rivers, and waterways that have rocky substrates and vegetation. These features provide a perfect environment for the fish to feed, shelter, rest, and hide. Sadly, these amazing fish are currently classified as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List. From 1996 until 2011, they were even believed to be extinct in the wild, which only adds to their uniqueness and rarity. Adding the Red-Tailed Black Shark to your aquarium is an excellent way to showcase their beauty and contribute to their conservation efforts. So why wait? Explore the wonders of these incredible fish and help protect them from extinction!
 Chao Phraya River - Thailand
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There is currently no information available regarding successful breeding of the Red-Tailed Black Shark in home aquariums. However, it is worth noting that these fish are typically mass-bred using hormone treatment in commercial farms.

Diet & feeding

Providing a balanced diet for the Red-Tailed Black Shark is essential for maintaining their health and vibrant colouration. High-quality dried food such as flakes, granules, or pellets can make up a significant portion of their diet. However, it's important to supplement their diet with live and frozen foods, including bloodworms, daphnia, mosquito larvae, and brine shrimp, to ensure that they receive all the necessary nutrients. Additionally, these fish are known to graze on algae, so it's advisable to provide them with plant-based food, such as spirulina or algae wafers. Including a variety of food in their diet will help ensure that your Red-Tailed Black Sharks remain healthy and thriving.

Frequently asked questions

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 <a href='/species-spotlight/rainbow-shark/'>Rainbow Shark</a>, Sliver Flying Fox and some algae eating <a href='/loaches/'>loaches</a>.\r\n\r\nIt 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.

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.

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. \r\n\r\nWe have maintained Red Tail Sharks with adult cherry and Amano shrimp in the past without problems.

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.

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