Red Tail Shark

Red Tail SharkScientific Name Epalzeorhynchos Bicolor
Family Cyprindae
pH 6.0 – 7.0
dH 5 – 15
Temp 22 – 26 degrees
Life Span 7+ years


South-east Asia in the Chao Phraya River to central Thailand.


The Red tail shark is from the Cyprindae family. It’s appearance is streamlined having an elongated body. Its mouth points downward with 2 pairs of barbells. The body is completely black with a large dorsal fin and a bright red Caudal fin. Females are larger than males with the caudal fin of the female being not as bright. They will usually grow up to about 15 – 18cm in length.


Use a substrate of gravel or sand providing plenty of wood and rocks for hiding places. Keep well planted and use dim lighting. Set the temperature between 22 – 26 degrees with a ph of 6.0 – 7.0 and a hardness of 5 – 15dh. They can withstand a wider range of parameters but it is best to match the environment as close to their natural habitat as possible. Provide frequent water changes and if possible a larger tank for a group, as this will help with the established hierarchy. Suggested minimum tank size is 120 litres and tank occupants can include Tiger barbs, Angelfish, Loaches, Hatchet fish, Danios.


The Red Tail Shark has a shy nature but will be aggressive to its own kind. They are very territorial and will defend their space diligently. They have a tendency to chase other fish around the tank but not bite them. This can add stress to the other fish so be careful in the selection of tank mates. Best to keep a single shark in a community tank than 2 or 3 as one will try to dominate the others. Keeping a larger group of 5 or more is recommended as this makes them a bit more peaceful. The Red Tail Shark is prone to jumping, so keep the lid on your aquarium.


They like to forage for food on the bottom of the tank and feed continuously throughout the day. They are omnivores and will eat almost anything from flake foods, frozen foods, dried foods, vegetables and small live foods.


Ich and Velvet are the main diseases this fish will catch, although it is susceptible to others.


Breeding in captivity is possible but difficult as they are aggressive toward their own kind. Use dim to no lighting and keep a ratio of more females to males. They will spawn in caves and fry will hatch after a couple of days. Young red tail sharks are silvery at first then turn to black after about 7 – 10 weeks gaining the red colouration in their tail.