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Cyprinds / Red-Tailed Black Shark

Red-Tailed Black Shark; Red-Tailed Labeo
Epalzeorhynchus bicolor

Synonyms: Labeo bicolor
Physical description: Elongated fish with slight lateral compression. The mouth faces downward and two pairs of barbels are present. The main body color is black which provides an impressive contrast with the striking bright red tail. Specimens kept in unsuitable conditions are paler.
Size/Length: To 6" (15 cm)
Similar species: None
Habitat: Clear and muddy rivers with wood and stones. Southeast Asia in the Me Nam Chao Playa basin to the Paknampo region in Central Thailand.
S: bottom, middle
Aquarium: A tank measuring 36" (91 cm) with a capacity of 35 gallons (132 L) is sufficient. Provide multiple hiding places with caves, wood, roots, and rocks. Use a fine gravel or sand substrate for this species will burrow. The tank should be well-planted with robust plants and have dim lighting.
Water chemistry: pH 6-7.7 (7.2); 5-18 dH (10); 73-82°F (23-28°C)
Social behavior: Can be kept in a community tank. Keep only one specimen to a tank, because this species is very aggressive to their own and other similar looking species. Keep more than one individual in large tanks (i.e. tanks over 50 gallons). The Red-tailed Shark establishes a territory to defend aggressively. Older fish may become aggressive towards all other fish.
Suggested companions: Gouramis, Barbs, Danios, Bala Shark, Loaches, Acaras, Eartheaters, Angelfish, hatchetfish, Characins.
FOOD: Algae; flakes; tablets; vegetables; lettuce, spinach; live; insect larvae, Tubifex, crustaceans, aquatic insects.
SEX: The female is less colorful and larger. The male is slimmer and has an elongated dorsal fin.
Breeding techniques: Difficult because of their aggressive behavior towards their own species. They are not bred often, although it has been in accomplished in peat filtered water with a pH of 6.8. Use dim light or no light. They spawn in rocky caves and fry hatch after 30 to 60 hours. The fry are free swimming after four days. Start feeding with small live foods. Their colors change from silvery to silvery brown, to brown and finally to black. The red tail develops after 7 to 10 weeks.
Breeding potential: 9. Breeding is very difficult and rare in captivity.
Remarks: Many natives make a living catching Red-Tailed Black Sharks in their native countries.  They are caught in a similar manner to the Clown Loach. These fish are actually not related to the shark family as their misleading name suggests.
Difficulty of care: 4. The Red-tailed Shark is a species that is a bit aggressive and requires a diet that includes live foods.


By Rhett Butler   Mongabay.com