Saturday, July 12, 2008

Red Tail Black Shark


Scientific Name: Epalzeorhynchus bicolor
Other Names: Red Tailed Shark, Red Tail Black
Shark, Red Tailed Labeo, Fire Tail, Labeo bicolor
Origin: Thailand
Adult Size: Up to 6 inches (15 cm)
Social: Aggressive with own spieces.
Lifespan: 5 -8 years
Tank Level: Middle and Bottom
Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons (or larger)
Diet: Omnivore
Breeding: Very hard
Care: Easy
Ideal pH: 6.5 - 7.5
Temperature: 73°F - 79°F (23°C - 26°C)
Tank setup: Tight lid recommended as these fishes are very strong jumpers
Sexing: Hard to determine, but the female may have a grayer stomach whereas the males are solid black.


The Red Tailed Black Shark has a black body with a red tail (hence the name). The Red Tailed Black Shark has a downwards facing mouth with two pairs of barbels. The female is slightly large than the male.


Red Tail Black Shark are very aggressive and territorial towards their own speices. Therefore, it is best to keep only one of this species in your tank and avoid the temptation to keep them with a Rainbow Shark or other Red Tailed Sharks. Some literature has noted that in a large tank with sufficient hiding places, it is possible to keep more than one shark together, but one of these shark will be dominant shark, and will chase away other sharks when it is feeding time.

The Red Tailed Black Shark used to be found in fast moving waters in Thailand, particularly in the Mea Klong River. This river has a slow current, and has lots of wood and rocks for hiding. Therefore, and ideal aquarium should mimic the natural conditions of this fish.

However, various literature noted that the Red Tailed Black Shark is becoming extinct in the wild, and an article from Wikipedia notes that these beautiful fishes are in the Red List of endangered speices.

Many literature review indicated that these fishes are excellentjumpers. For this reason, the tank should ideally have a tight lid.


Red Tailed Black Sharks are omnivorous and cheerfully accept a wide range of food, including flake food, worms or vegatable pellets. To ensure that they look their best, it is highly recommended to give a varied diet.


Reports of hobbyist breeding Epalzeorhynchus Bicolor are very rare. A large well planted tank with a ratio of more females to males is needed. The females are more robust and rounded than the males. A spawning tube will appear weeks before spawning and the male fertilizes the eggs in jerky thrusting motions as the eggs are scattered. It is said that the eggs hatch in a couple of days and the fry are easy to raise. Most breeding is done in open ponds in their native Thailand and exported around the world.


1. FishLore, Online, Accessed 6 Jul 2008,

2. Aquarium Land, Online,,%20Red-Tail.htm

3. Aquatic community, online, Accessed 12 Jul 2008

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