Red-Tailed Black Shark
Genus name: Epalzeorhynchos Bicolor
Also known as: Red-Tailed Labeo
Length: males up to 4.7″ (12cm)
Minimum Tank Length: 24″ (60cm)
Water Temperature: 72-79F (22-26C)
Diet: Worms, crustaceans, insects, dried food, plant matter
Water: soft and slightly acidic, and filtered through peat
Breeding: Egg layers
The Red-tailed Black Shark is an elongated fish, which has a slight lateral compression. The mouth faces slightly downward, and it has swollen lips and two pairs of barbels.
When the Red-Tailed Black Shark is in good condition, and is happy, the body, including all the fins, are a velvety black, and the tail is orange or red. If the Red-Tailed Black Shark is not kept in suitable conditions, or if they are upset (for instance when catching them to remove from the aquarium), the body will change to a grey colour.
Red-Tailed Black Sharks, as they get older, can get very aggressive. Although suitable for a community aquarium, care should be taken. They tend to be aggressive to others of their species, so are best kept singly. They have also been known to chase new additions to an aquarium, so care must be taken when adding new fish.
Red-Tailed Black Sharks are often called Red-Tailed Labeo, after the old genus name, which makes more sense, as the name ‘Shark’ is very misleading, as they are in no way related to true sharks.
Due to the aggressive nature of Red-Tailed Black Sharks, they are not often kept in groups, which is why they are not often bred in home aquariums.
Red-Tailed Black Sharks are hardy fish, and if looked after, will live for many years in an aquarium. The aquarium should have plenty of hiding places for the Red-Tailed Black Shark to hide in. Often a flowerpot on its side, or a coconut shell will provide the shelter needed, and allow the Red-Tailed Black Shark to establish its territory.