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How to Care for a Full Grown Red Tail Shark in Your Aquarium

A red tail shark full grown can be a great addition to an aquarium, providing a unique, eye-catching presence and lots of personality. Caring for a fully grown red tail shark requires a little bit …

A red tail shark full grown can be a great addition to an aquarium, providing a unique, eye-catching presence and lots of personality. Caring for a fully grown red tail shark requires a little bit of extra attention and dedication, but the rewards are worth it. This article will provide tips on how to properly care for a full grown red tail shark in your aquarium.

Basic Information about Red Tail Shark

Basic Information About Red Tail Shark

  • Scientific Name: Epalzeorhynchos bicolor
  • Size: Fully grown Red Tail Sharks reach a maximum size of 7-8 inches.
  • Appearance: The most prominent feature of the Red Tail Shark is its bright red tail. Its body is usually gray in color and has two black stripes running from the snout to the tail.
  • Diet: Red Tail Sharks are omnivorous and should be fed a variety of foods, including live or frozen foods, such as worms, shrimp, and small fish.
  • Behavior: Red Tail Sharks prefer to swim in groups and are territorial. They are also active and playful, so they need plenty of space to swim and explore.

Red Tail Sharks are an attractive and active fish that make a great addition to any community aquarium. They are relatively easy to care for, but they do require a larger tank in order to have plenty of space to swim and explore. They should be kept in a tank with other Red Tail Sharks or other peaceful, compatible fish. Red Tail Sharks are omnivorous and should be fed a variety of foods, including live and frozen foods such as worms, shrimp, and small fish. They need a diet rich in protein and vegetables for optimal health.

It is important to maintain good water quality for your Red Tail Shark. The water should be kept between 72-78°F and the pH should be between 6.5-7.5. The tank should also be equipped with a filtration system to keep the water clean. Red Tail Sharks are sensitive to changes in water conditions, so it is important to perform regular water changes and monitor the water parameters.

To ensure your Red Tail Shark stays healthy, it is important to provide a tank that is big enough for it to swim and explore. They should also be provided with hiding places such as rocks and caves so they can feel secure. Red Tail Sharks prefer to swim in groups, so it is best to keep them in groups of at least three.

With proper care and maintenance, your Red Tail Shark can live up to 8 years and bring a lot of excitement and joy to your aquarium.

Aquarium Setup

Aquarium Setup

Tank Size

Red Tail Sharks require a minimum tank size of 55 gallons, but the larger the tank, the better. This species grows to a maximum size of 12 inches, so the tank should be more than wide and long enough to provide a comfortable swimming space.


A strong filtration system is essential for any aquarium, and the Red Tail Shark is no exception. A high-quality canister filter should be used to keep the tank clean and well-oxygenated.


The substrate should be soft enough to protect the Red Tail Shark’s delicate barbels, yet rough enough to provide good traction for its swimming. Avoid sharp or abrasive substrates such as crushed coral.


A moderate to low level of lighting is recommended for the aquarium. Red Tail Sharks are nocturnal, so they prefer dimly lit environments.

Decorations and Plants

Live plants can provide hiding places for the Red Tail Shark, and can also help maintain good water quality. Artificial decorations such as rocks and driftwood can also provide hiding places and swimming areas.



  • Frozen Foods: Provide small amounts of frozen fish, shrimp, squid, and other seafoods to provide a balanced diet.
  • Live Foods: Live foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, and ghost shrimp can also be fed.
  • Vegetables: Offer vegetables such as blanched lettuce, spinach, and zucchini.
  • Flake Food: Provide a high quality flake food for a balanced diet.

Red tail sharks may also eat live or frozen worms, crustaceans, and snails. Feeding a variety of foods will ensure good nutrition and health. It’s best to feed several times a day just enough for the fish to consume in a few minutes. Overfeeding can cause water pollution, which is harmful to the fish and other inhabitants in the aquarium.

Water Quality

Water Quality

Water temperature should be maintained between 75 and 82°F. Red Tail Sharks can survive in a wide range of pH levels, but they prefer a pH of 6.5-7.5. Ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels should be kept low, preferably at 0. Make sure to do regular water changes to keep the water quality optimal.

Filtration should be strong enough to keep the water clean and provide some flow. Canister filters are ideal for larger tanks.

Aquarium salt should be added to the tank. The recommended dosage is 1 teaspoon per 10 gallons of water. This will help the shark reduce stress and fight off parasites.

Test kits should be used to monitor water quality. Test for pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels regularly to make sure the water stays clean and safe for the shark.

Breeding Red Tail Shark

Breeding Red Tail Shark

Breeding Red Tail Sharks is a difficult task and is not recommended for most aquarists. You will need to have a large aquarium with plenty of hiding places and a stable environment for the species to breed. It is also essential that the aquarium is well-maintained and that water parameters are kept stable. Additionally, the aquarium should be stocked with a variety of live foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia to provide suitable nutrition for the sharks.

In order to encourage breeding, it is important to provide the Red Tail Sharks with a suitable environment. This includes providing them with an area with plenty of plants and hiding places, as well as plenty of rocks and other objects for the sharks to hide behind. Additionally, the water temperature should be kept between 74-82°F and the pH between 6.5-8.0. It is also important to ensure that the aquarium is well-oxygenated, as this will help to promote breeding.

When the sharks are ready to spawn, they will typically form a pair and the female will lay a number of eggs. The eggs will take around 10-14 days to hatch and the fry will be ready to be fed after a few days. It is important to provide the fry with a variety of live foods such as microworms and brine shrimp. Additionally, the water parameters should be kept stable in order to ensure the health of the fry.

Finally, it is important to note that breeding Red Tail Sharks is a difficult process and is not recommended for most aquarists. If you are considering breeding Red Tail Sharks, it is important to research the species thoroughly and ensure that you have the correct setup and the necessary knowledge to successfully breed them.



The Red Tail Shark is an aggressive species that should only be kept with other aggressive fish such as cichlids and other shark species. It is not recommended to keep them with other fish such as tetras and guppies, as they are likely to be harassed or even killed.

Species Compatibility
Cichlids Compatible
Shark Species Compatible
Tetras Not Compatible
Guppies Not Compatible


  • Fin Rot: Fin rot is a bacterial infection which is characterised by fraying and disintegration of the fins. It is typically caused by poor water quality. The fins will become discoloured and whitish in appearance, and the edges may become ragged. Treatment involves improving water quality and using a suitable medication.
  • Skin Flukes: Skin flukes are parasites that can cause irritation to the skin of the red tail shark. Symptoms include rubbing against objects in the tank, erratic swimming behaviour and white spots on the skin. Treatment involves using an antiparasitic medication.
  • Ich: Ich (also known as white spot disease) is a common parasitic infection in aquarium fish. Symptoms include white spots on the body, lethargy and a loss of appetite. Treatment involves using an antiparasitic medication and maintaining good water quality.
  • Dropsy: Dropsy is a condition that causes swelling of the abdomen. It is usually caused by a bacterial infection, and can be fatal if left untreated. Symptoms include a swollen abdomen, lethargy, loss of appetite and discolouration of the fins. Treatment involves using an antibacterial medication and improving water quality.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Type of Tank Size is Necessary for a Fully Grown Red Tail Shark?


  • 55-75 gallons


  • 75-125 gallons

A fully grown red tail shark needs a tank of at least 55-75 gallons in size, but an ideal tank size is 75-125 gallons. A larger tank is beneficial in providing the shark with ample swim space, which helps reduce the chances of it becoming aggressive. Additionally, it will also provide the shark with enough space to swim and explore.

What type of water parameters should I maintain for a fully grown red tail shark?

  • pH: 7.0-8.0
  • Temperature: 74-82°F (23-28°C)
  • Ammonia: 0ppm
  • Nitrite: 0ppm
  • Nitrate: <20ppm
  • GH: 6-12 dGH
  • KH: 4-8 dKH

A fully grown red tail shark requires certain water parameters to remain healthy. The pH should be kept between 7.0-8.0, the temperature should be between 74-82°F (23-28°C), and the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels should all be 0ppm, <20ppm, respectively. The GH and KH should both be kept between 6-12 dGH and 4-8 dKH. It is important to regularly monitor these parameters and adjust them as necessary.

What Type of Food Should I Feed My Red Tail Shark?

  • Live foods such as brine shrimp, worms, crustaceans, and insect larvae are great for providing a varied and natural diet.
  • Frozen foods like shrimp, krill, and plankton are a convenient and nutritious way to feed your red tail shark.
  • Vegetable matter such as romaine lettuce, spinach, and other leafy greens can provide extra nutrients and serve as a snack.
  • Prepared foods such as frozen fish, shrimp, and other seafood are a great way to add variety to the diet.

It is important to provide your red tail shark with a varied diet of different foods. Feed your red tail shark small portions multiple times a day to ensure they are receiving an adequate amount of nutrition. Be sure to provide a mix of both plant and animal-based foods to maximize nutrition and health.

How Often Should I Clean the Tank and How Should I Do It?

It is important to maintain the water quality of your tank to keep your Red Tail Shark healthy. The aquarium should be cleaned at least once every 2-4 weeks, depending on the size of the tank and the number of fish. When cleaning the tank, use a siphon or aquarium vacuum to remove debris from the substrate, and use a gravel cleaner to remove any waste from the gravel. Replace 10-15% of the tank’s water with fresh, dechlorinated water to maintain water quality.

Are Red Tail Sharks Aggressive and Will They Be Compatible with Other Fish in the Tank?

Red Tail Sharks are generally not aggressive and can be kept with other fish in the tank. However, they can become territorial, especially if the tank is overcrowded or they do not have enough places to hide. Be sure to provide plenty of hiding places, like rocks, plants, and decorations, so they have an escape route if they feel threatened. Additionally, it is important to choose tankmates carefully, as Red Tail Sharks may become aggressive towards fish that are similar in shape, size, and color.


Red tail sharks are a popular species of freshwater aquarium fish that require a carefully balanced environment to thrive. They need plenty of hiding spots, good water quality, and a diet of live and frozen food. When cared for properly, red tail sharks can live up to 8 years in captivity and make a beautiful addition to any aquarium.


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