- Scientific Name: Epalzeorhynchos bicolor, formerly Labeo bicolor
- Family: Cyprinidae
- Size: under 5 inches
- Temperature: 72 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit
- Alkalinity: hard
- pH: neutral, 6.5 to 7.5
- Origin: Thailand
This is a gorgeous fish. The red-tailed shark has a deep black body, white-tipped sharklike dorsal fins, and, of course, a bright red tail. However, this fish doesn’t usually show its true colors in dealers’ tanks. One or two dominate fish may show full color, but those lower on the pecking order tend to fade, showing only gray bodies and pink tails. Don’t worry, the specimens you pick will color up when you take them home and get them away from their tankmates.
The red-tailed shark is highly territorial and does not tolerate other members of its species well. Keep only one per community. It will mix well with most other species, but not with similar species, such as the rainbow shark (Epalzeorhynchos frenatum).
This fish is a fabulous scavenger. It will eat any food offered, and even nibble at a bit of algae. The red-tailed shark is normally nocturnal, but it quickly learns to become active during the day when you feed the other fish. Still, monitor its weight to be sure it gets enough food and add algae tablets or pelleted foods as a supplement when necessary. Provide caves or driftwood for resting areas.
Sadly, the red-tailed shark may already be extinct in the wild. Fortunately, fish farms breed huge numbers of them, so we don’t have to worry about this beautiful scavenger disappearing from our aquariums. An albino version is sometimes seen.