The Ultimate Bala Shark Care Guide: Size, Diet, Habitat, and more!

Bala Shark Care Guide

Bala sharks are fascinating freshwater animals which some aquarium owners consider. Found in streams and rivers in Southeast Asia, from lotic environments to large rivers and natural lakes. This Bala Shark Care Guide explains Bala shark care in detail.

Bala Sharks – The Silver Shark

Silver body with black margins on dorsal, caudal, anal, and pelvic fins. The lower lip has a posterior groove forming an opening towards the back. Dorsal fin forming a triangle, characteristic, which, together with the shape of its body, gives it the common name of shark, due to such similarities with the actual shark. The Bala Shark is also known as the Silver Shark and is becoming much popular among fish hobbyists.

Bala Shark general

Bala sharks are freshwater species of Southeast Asia. These sharks are not actual sharks and were named for them due to their torpedo-shaped bodies and rigid fins. A bala shark’s health involves identifying the proper tanks ensuring the best water chemistry, finding pleasant neighbors, and cleaning and changing its water regularly. Our training team of reporters and researchers co-authored the article, who validated the report with accuracy and thoroughness.

Varying names

Bala Sharks are also known as Silver Bala and Tricolored Minnows. These freshwater fish do not have similar characteristics to sharks in saltwater oceans. Its name comes from its similar body shape and triangular-shaped dorsal fins. They are believed to have become rare or extinct in most of their native aquatic environment. Many consider this endangered fish species to be scarce in their native habitats. They bear an apparent resemblance to sharks, considered aggressive predators, but are peaceful freshwater fish. They also share similar body shapes with other shark-type freshwater fish.

Bala Shark Appearance

It carries a long elongated, torpedo-style body. Their fins have yellowish striped stripes with black lines. They do have two ventral fins, small and sometimes monocolored. Their bodies are grey and have slightly uneven gradients, mostly above and some lower left. Scales are surprisingly close to each other- this density, together with their size, makes light effortlessly slide away from its. They have big eyes ideal for hunting and allows them to focus on vast stretches of the ocean. They are typically smaller than their frontal fin.

Bala Shark Care Guide

Bala Shark size – Silver sharks can grow

Bala fish are rare in their natural homes. Many of the species are found in fish farms. Adult size can reach 1 foot or 13 inches. Sharks can grow so much. These “sharks” require large tanks because their maximum adult size is 13 inches. They are usually peaceful, but they could eat smaller fish like neon tetras when their size is too large. The aquarium must have a top glass cover to avoid fatalities with your fish. These fish grow more significantly; they must be moved to larger aquariums. It would help if you had an aquarium of reasonable length, as you are a fast swimmer. Well-oxygenated water is needed. You can create a lotic environment periodically, without exaggeration, by operating a circulation pump for this purpose, activating its extinction of excellent swimmers.

Bala Shark Care Guide

Origin and distribution of Silver shark

Bala sharks can be found in medium to large rivers as well as lakes in Southeast Asia. There were once discovered in Malaysia – Thailand, Borneo, Sumatra, and Malaysia. The Bala Shark is now in IUCN’s Red List – threatened species since 1996. Currently, this species was commercially bred in The Far East using hormones to encourage spawning.

Bala shark fish is endangered.

Almost every specimen sold by the aquaculture trade has been captive-bred. They are rare in many regions where they used to reside and have disappeared entirely in certain areas. Current, bullet sharks are rare in their natural habitats. Ng and Kottelat (2007) assume that the species may be extinct in the wild, although recent records need ratification. Its extinction in a natural environment is mainly due to the degradation of its Habitat and environmental changes such as river damming.

Are Bala Sharks extinct?

Bala Sharks used to be prolific in Southeast Asia, but their numbers were dwindling by an average of nearly 51% over the past ten years. Locals believe the Bala Sharks may be extinct in some areas. Many people believe this could be in part a result of over-fishing by the aquaculture industry. The ever-increasing pollution of waters is another factor considered for the death of Bala sharks. Still, the IUCN Red List was on the red list since 1996, but they’re still on the world’s most endangered species of fish and still pose significant threats to other species of marine.

Bala Sharks ideal Habitat

The species is sensitive to water conditions and shallow water temperatures and is exposed to white spot illness or bacterial infection at a high temperature. It would be best if you covered the fish tank tightly as this species jumps when disturbed. Decorate with huge, robust plants around the tank’s perimeter while maintaining plenty to allow pooling in the center. It would be best if you only kept the Bala shark outdoors in spots that are warm during the winter, for example, the warm ponds in cool climates, but you should preserve them in an area where they are vulnerable to water.

Bala Sharks Aquarium Tank size and gallon

A tank with approx 100 gallons is required. It is a large tank and many gallons of water. The choice of aquarium decoration can vary a lot; it is not a demanding species. Aquarium length is essential, as this species is an excellent swimmer, originating from fast water. Like any lotic environment, it should maintain regular water flow in the aquarium, creating currents and increasing the dissolved oxygen indexes in the water, which the species appreciate.

Are Bala Sharks Suicidal?

It’s been reported by some people on CBC that Bala sharks can swim between themselves, play dead or crash into glass walls. This erratic behavior often occurs when the parameters are off or when they lack the space to swim.

Take care with your fish tank.

Experts agree Bala shark care should be relatively simple provided the fish owner has some basic knowledge in fish farming practices. They remain healthy, but fish owners should keep their aquarium clean and water levels and temperatures stable to achieve the best results. Bala Sharks are very vulnerable to disease if their water supply starts getting murky at the bottom of the ocean – the depth of their Habitat. When they are introduced to a new unit, they should be given a month to settle into their new environment. Fish owners should try to keep these fish undisturbed in this period. They need fresher food as they can get malnourished with poorly prepared food.

Temperament and activity level

Despite the size they can reach, they are pacific with tank mates hardly eats smaller fish, except tiny fish or larvae. Given the size it comes, you can keep it with more extensive, peaceful fish. Gregarious behavior develops a rigid hierarchy when kept in an aquarium, which is why it should hold five or more specimens. When kept in smaller numbers, subdominant members can be constantly harrassed by dominant members, which is why you should avoid keeping them in a pair or a trio. This behavior is more evident when the fish reaches sexual maturity.

Reproduction of Balantiocheilus melanopterus

Silver sharks are oviparous, reach sexual maturity around 24 months. Free spreader, releasing eggs close to the substrate or leaves. Their reproduction is assumed to be similar to other cyprinids such as Barbos, where the female releases eggs relative to the substrate and the male fertilizes afterward. Parents do not care for the progeny. Its reproduction inbreeding occurs with the use of hormones.

Fish Gender Differences

Most of the time, there are no noticeable external differences between the sexes. However, during the spawning season, the female develops a rounder underbelly than the male shark.

Feeding your Shark

Bala sharks are omnivores, in its natural environment, it feeds on plants, benthic crustaceans, insects and their larvae, rotifers, small crustaceans, and other invertebrates. Small fish eventually. In captivity, it will accept any food, from dry to live. It would be best if you had a good diet to stay healthy. These freshwater fish can eat all types of fish food, including vitamin-filled flake food, frozen, dried pellets, and live foods. Therefore, your diet should be based on proteins such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, and other worms. Also, he must eat at least three times a day for it to grow correctly. Also include vegetables in your diets, such as peas with pods, cooked spinach, and chopped fruit.

Food and diet

When in their natural Habitat, Bala sharks are omnivores that eat algae, insects, larvae, and small crustaceans. When confined to aquarium tanks, they will eat almost any fish food, including alternatives such as live food and dry flake food selections. Many fish owners also prefer to add some spinach and finely cut fruit. These fish do not need special foods or supplements. Fish owners should strive for a balanced diet for continued good health. Consider adding shrimp to any high-protein diet to increase their growth. You must feed your fish at least three times a day.

Do Bala Sharks eat fish?

Bala shark starts eating fish once they have become adult size. Harlequin Rasboras Neon Tetras Guppies danios or any size fish are surprisingly often mistaken for food. Sharks also find it necessary to ingest and eat snails.

Are Bala Sharks aggressive?

Unless kept individually, the species may behave as an adult to defend itself or protect itself. The Bala shark is a peaceful animal.

Typical behavior

It is recommended to keep at least four (ideally 6) together for extra peace. They are pretty active but always prefer hiding in plant roots. They are sometimes afraid and easily frightened during initial days in tanks, especially in mud and sand. When the fish gets comfortable, it will take active swimmers and jump. They can be greedy for food, so it’s an important observation to keep when you plan to mix them with little fish. Despite their name, they are relatively stable fish that cause minimal difficulty. They sometimes jump and hide in plants and roots.

Water parameters

It would be best if you were careful about the conditions in the water. The safe range is between 6.5 and 8 pH, and the safe range of water hardness is between 10 – 13 dGH. Your aim should always be 12 dGH when the Water temperature is 76o to 80oF, but anything outside this range can cause serious health complications for your Bala Shark.

Keep an eye out for illness.

The Bala shark is one of the best fish for your tropical aquarium. If kept in good quality water and with good food, these fish would likely live for ten years, as they are generally considered resistant and are vulnerable to good health. Most aquarium experts recommend replenishing at least half of the tank water weekly to maintain good water quality and ideal parameters in between. Overall, Bala sharks are an excellent addition to many tropical freshwater tanks and make it easy to add your group of fish to your freshwater tank with regular attention and periodic replenishment. These fish are considered highly resistant.


Bala sharks constitute one of the most durable freshwater species. Give your fish about a month for its settlement in your aquarium. If your shark has careful monitoring, especially in the feeding seasons, it might notice a sign of a problem. Keep a diet, and your sharks will be active and balanced. They aren’t immune to commonly seen animal problem-like jumping in other fish that live there. You can even be required to clear the tank from view to avoid accidental harm to the sharks. You’ll never have issues with your water quality and temperature if you keep your tests and maintenance up to date.


Balas should never be housed with the invertebrates – such as shrimps or snails – as they usually form an integral part of the population in the wild. They scare slow-moving fish out of fear of their constant active life in the tank. Balas are mostly content in schools, preferably with four or more. When kept alone, their behavior tends to be timid and skittish. If only two or three balas can survive in any tank, the dominant fish emerges from it and bullies the other fish. If the tank is big enough for adults, Bala shark species can take in many types of fish to breed alongside larger-bodied fish. Therefore, be certified as being a large aquarium to carry this species and tank mates.

Bala Sharks like company

Bala Sharks are shy and stubborn upon their arrival, and they become happy when kept in groups. Consider buying a school of four or five fish when your aquarium is ready. As a shoaling species, these fish should bond in the wild as they look for food. One group has been established; it is prudent not to get another batch of Sharks even if you have a humongous tank. One pecking order will evolve as dominant parties pick up the inferior group. Sharks need love because of their kind and may create harmful habits in them.

Incompatible species

Balas eat invertebrates, including freshwater shrimp and snails. You also should avoid spawning in your private aquarium. Bala sharks love fish eggs, and they’ll grab anything they’re interested in seeing. Keep livestock on your tank unless you want to provide extra vitamins into your balanced diet. Balas don’t have the same temperament as cichlids, don’t like balas’ character, and don’t eat snails or crustaceans like snails or shrimp.

Bala Sharks will jump out of the tank.

Balas are graceful and solid swimmers, but they could instantly jump out of the tank if they get spooked. In the wild, jumping is a good defense. In captivity, jumping can only lead to falling down and even get eaten by an indoor cat. If your Bala manages to jump out of the aquarium and develops a white eye mark, you’ll need to treat this condition. It would restore slime coat of eyes and slime coat of eyes. If your sea shark died early in a pool at the house aquarium, get a tight lid on their food bowl to contain them.


Bala Sharks are usually bought very young in pets shops generally when it’s still about 3 to 4 inches in length. This cute shark can grow up to half feet by the middle of the season. Since Bala Sharks are schooling fish, they usually have big tanks that can hold several dozen of them.

Bala Shark Care Guide

How do you breed them in a home aquarium?

Bala Sharks can reproduce in captivity when they only reach 3 & 4 years old. They get a minimum length of 5 inches or 33 cm. That’s why a large tank is needed. Fish owners must also be aware that fish held in captivity will rarely reproduce or breed. It is also necessary that Bullets sharks mature for the breeding season when they’re healthy. The actual aquarium used for the spawning process must be at least 65-gallons, and the temperature should stay at 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 Celsius degree) for the ideal breeding environment. There are special nets put at the bottom of the aquarium. These will help you spot the spawning stages easier. A male fish shark then fertilizes the eggs.

Encourage the process

It is essential to provide a consistent water flow to ensure that the male fertilizing agent can travel farther than expected. After spawning and fertilization, the eggs must be removed from the main fish tank and placed in an aquarium for hatching. After that, fish owners can expect to see fry in another 3 or 4 days if the process is successful. The fingerlings are fed with the first ciliated cyclops or artemia nauplii. Bala sharks can develop different growth rates. It may be necessary to move them to other tanks to ensure sufficient space for growth and development. Some fish farmers recommend adding antibiotic treatment to tank water to ensure healthy eggs.


Bala sharks are freshwater species of Southeast Asia. These sharks are not actual sharks and were named for them due to their torpedo-shaped bodies and rigid fins. A bala shark’s health involves identifying the right tank size, ensuring the best water quality, finding tank mates, and cleaning and changing its water regularly.

The Ultimate Red Tail Shark Care Guide

Red Tail Shark

Red Tail Shark (Epalzeorhynchos bicolor) is a tropical freshwater fish native to Thailand. It has been detected in the clear waters and floodplains in the basin of Chaos Playa; nowadays, it is classified as extinct. It is famous for its striking appearance with a completely black body with vibrant forked red tails. In captivity, you should expect your fish to grow to 6 inches, with the majority staying around 5 inches. It should probably live to about six years old. It’ is an omnivore; it will eat anything you put into the tank and should not be confused with the rainbow shark.

Summary of species

The Red Tail Sharks (Epalzeorhynchos bicolor) is a freshwater fish from Thailand. The species has been declared critically endangered. The majority of their body is black except their red caudal fin. The Red Tail Shark population was highly condensed in Bueng Boraphet, Thailand. It has been verified that this fish is still in the wild; their numbers are only a fraction of what they once were. There are things about keeping it in the aquarium that people don’t know about. We only recommend getting one if you are fully convinced of the commitment and responsibility for its maintenance.

Red Tail Shark Appearance

Redtail shark has a deep blackhead offset with a red forked tail. Red Tail Shark are often confused with Rainbow Shark. Both belong to the Cyprinidae family, but they are, in fact, separated species. They should be expected to grow to about 6″ with most going to 5″. At your age, there’s no discernible difference between females and males. Don’t keep Rainbow Shark together, as they’ll fight; more on compatibility and their tankmate section.

Red Tail Shark

Red Tail Shark: Tankmates, Care Guide and More…

The Redtail shark is incredibly active, which will bring plenty of entertainment to everyone who watches it. Due to their non-fussy nature, they are straightforward to feed, and once in their aquarium, they should not offer too many difficulties to remain happy. Read our free guides to learn more about fish diet and habitat.

Is the Red Tail Shark Right for your aquarium?

The Red Tail Shark is an exciting and beautiful fish. They present several challenges for beginner fish keepers, mainly because of their territorial nature; they need large aquariums. If you have space in a sizeable suitable tank, many territorial characteristics may be avoided with plenty of hiding places. We hope the guide has helped you decide if they are the right fish for your aquarium.


The Red Tail Shark is predominantly dark black with a brightly contrasted red tail and white point on the dorsal fin. These hardy and curious fish add personality to an aquarium.

Red Tail Shark 2.5 inch plus

Red Tail Shark has a black body with a red tail that almost looks like a black shark. There should only be one Redtail shark in your tank because as long as you keep them in multiples, their aggressive and territorial behavior will get worse. Avoid the temptation to keep them with Rainbow Shark or other Black Sharks. White Tails sharks can be highly active but territorial when in multiple pairs. Those red-tailed black sharks have an aggressive and very territorial nature.

Red Tail Shark Size

Red Tail Shark

Red Tail Sharks usually grow up to 8 inches when fully grown. It is dependent on an environmental and genetic conditions. We don’t know anyone who has a Red Tail less than 3 inches. The average size tends to be at the higher end of its range as long as you give them proper care.

Behavior & Temperament

Redtail sharks are incredibly active fish and have fun to watch. You will often watch these sharks swim near the bottom of the tank. This species has a very territorial nature that needs to be considered when choosing to put those sharks in a community tank to feel comfortable. All other offensive tendencies displayed will be exaggerated because of lack of space or by the wrong tankmates. They need to find space and need to own space at camp. The easiest way to keep active fish well in an aquarium is by giving them space and the right conditions to reduce stress.

Typical behavior

These kinds of sharks are aggressive with fish that bother them. As he matures as an adult, they become territorial and pursue other fishes until they reach exhaustion. In a vast tank with a wide number of hideouts, you can keep a group of sharks. Each fish need at least 10 gallons of the tank to use as a hideout. Red Tails are aggressive with fish when straying from their territory. They will aggressively attack other fish while you are feeding them. All tank mates should have more space within a larger tank.

How do I keep a black shark happy in my tank?

The Red Tail Black Shark is a fish that belongs to the Cyprinidae family. This family is native to Thailand but is considered extinct in the wild. Famous for its large dark body and a vivid red tail, the fish can grow to about 6-inch in length. A lifespan of six to 10 years is expected, but rare reports report that some people live as much as 15 years. If you plan to keep this fish at your aquarium, be sure the tankmates you chose could stand up to that type of aggressive behavior.

Water parameters

Water parameters are one part of the Red Tail Sharkcare we shouldn’t get crazy about. Even though this isn’t the most sensitive species globally, you should constantly check the water parameters. Checking the water prevents anything from pollutants in the water to pH drops. Get an aquarium kit test and inspect your tank and tap water.

Tank conditions

It would be best to guarantee juveniles have a tank of at least 29 gallons, and adults have 55+ gallons. You may also try to ornament the tank to reduce territorial behavior and help protect more timid tank mates. For the water flow, you should try to ensure water is slow-flowing to match the natural environment. The substrate must include gravel and pebbles, or fine sand. Remember that they can be jumpers, and therefore you should use a heavier lid.

Habitat and tank requirements

During the rainy season in the natural habitat, these black sharks live in the flooded streams and forests. Over the recent decades, the wild population of Red Tails has been virtually gone because of excessive poaching and changes in landscapes caused by population growth. But booming aquaculture business means that this species is still alive. It is now listed as critically endangered.

Take care

The Red Tail Sharks are pretty simple and easy to care about since you know how basic they are. They’re pretty sturdy and withstand a decent number of water parameters. But if you have one in an adequate tank, you will experience a problem. Learn all of your basics to get started on the right path. Red Tail Sharks are pretty simple to keep as well as can be held under normal water circumstances. They are easier to maintain in massive systems.

Tank Size

The recommended tank is 75 gallons. Even though they are not monsters, the fish are very active and require a lot of space for their swim. As semi-aggressive species, the area helps reduce the possibility of aggressiveness toward others community freshwater fish. It is highly recommended to increase the size of your tank significantly if you want to try to keep two of them in the same tank. To get more information, follow this article.

Tank requirements

Moderate water flow is needed to recreate the natural habitat for the red tail black shark. For the substrate, use gravel, fine sand, or big rocks. Live plants add value to aquariums. They might eat algae in stones and glass, but they leave plants unharmed. Putting a thick layer of gravel as a substrate can be helpful.

Life span

The Average Red Tail Species life span is five to eight years. There might be ways you can help them live happily for the rest of their lives. Buy fish from a reputable seller and breeder. Keep these in an excellent habitat at all times. Keep the fish in an environment suitable for it, provide good quality water and the perfect parameters for the species, and an optimal diet, so your fish will live to the full, always in its splendor. Reduce stress by keeping them with suitable tankmates. We also will cover other issues to keep them healthy in a safe environment and a happy place.

What to put in their tank

The ideal substrate for the red-tailed shark is moderate-sized gravel or pebbles. Many owners say they found their Red tail Shark hiding at plants instead of caves. Some driftwood is a good inclusion that gives variety and places where the fish can hide. Make some open space to swimming in the tank. It can be easy to go overboard as you decorate the tank. This species prefers to inhabit the bottom of the aquarium, which is why choosing the correct substrate is so essential. The fish comes from a large basin in central Thailand whose surface is filled with vegetation, driftwood, and stones. Knowing their natural habitat means you’ll use these items for your fish to get more comfortable at home.

Red Tail Shark Diet and Feeding

Red Tail Shark

Red Tail Sharks are omnivorous, prone to herbivory, and in the wild, the food it consumes will consist of insects, larvae, crustaceans, algae, and small insects. They are also scavengers and will eat much of anything put in their aquarium, including fish pellets, fish flakes, and live and frozen vegetables. The core of their diet should consist of an excellent value pellet or flake. It would be possible to add variety to it by using it with animal and plant origin ingredients. If you feed, them vegetables wash them first. Usually, there’s a considerable number of vegetables they accept well, like broccoli, zucchini, and carrots.

Food and Diet Recommendations

The Red Tail Shark are omnivores who are not picky about things they eat. It eats plants, insects including crustaceans, in its natural habitat. Brine shrimp, bloodworms, or tubifex can be a few of their favorite foods. Some aquarists also suggest including vegetables such as zucchini or cucumber in their diet. After feeding, remove any leftover food from the tank; leftover foods are likely to reduce water quality and rapidly increase the potential for illness.

Compatibility and Tankmates

RedTail has a reputation for sometimes dangerous and aggressive fish. The shark is a territorial fish that will get hostile to other fish if it invades its territory or during feeding activities. Although Red Tail isn’t exactly a suitable candidate for a community tank, you can still have it with other fish. Ideal tankmates must also be solid and fast and spend much of their time in water’s middle and upper levels. Other sharks such as rainbow or blue-tailed are to be avoided. In addition, it is advised not to go for other bottom dwellers like some Cichlids and Plecos.

Red Tail Shark Tank Mates

Since they often get aggressive, you must find the right tankmate for it. Fish who are curious and bold are unfit for them. The possibility of keeping more than one Red Tail Shrimp in one aquarium comes at a cost; Due to their territorial nature, there is a very high probability that these fish will fight if they don’t have a substantial area to explore and hide. For this reason, it is good to have a few hideouts.

Keep Red Tail Sharks with other Red Tail Sharks

For each Red Tail, you add one meter or 20 gallons into the tank is required. You must also keep at least five sharks at the same time. Keeping it in a group prevents the “alpha” from brutally killing each fish. For the most avid fish fan, a huge tank is utopic, hence why we recommend keeping only one individual. This does not mean that we need to keep it in tiny spaces. If you insist on house more than one shark in your aquarium, then do it with caution. Make sure the aquarium is large; Redtail Sharks are exceptionally territorial.


There are few reports of successfully breeding Red Tail Sharks in-home aquariums. Artificial breeding techniques are harmful to your fish and can be detrimental. It is best not to try breeding them. We never encourage aquarists to try unless there is a clear path to success, so there’ll be no space-occupying this section. In contrast, the entire world population is obtained from farms. Aquaculture uses manuals and techniques for inducing reproduction, and it also does so naturally, ensuring the species’ prosperity, even if it is practically extinct.

Red Tail Shark Breeding

It’s hardly an example of someone who has produced Red Taileds in an aquarium. It can most likely be a result of luck. They’re extinct in the wild, and the commercial breeding system is left to keep them out of extinction. In many commercial environments, hormones are used to induce mating. As fry develop, they can switch color from silver to brown before dark. At about ten weeks old, their red tail begins to grow. After a male fertilizes the egg, it takes 40-60 hours to hatch the fry. It usually spawns in rock caves.

Disease Potential

Red Tail Black Sharks don’t have a species-specific disease, but they can develop other common freshwater diseases. The likelihood of such an event goes down significantly if you provide them with great care and perfect water conditions. We recommend that you focus your efforts on avoiding problems keeping a maintenance schedule instead of treating it. If your fish is unlucky enough to get sick, you need to find out what disease is affecting them and quickly come up with a solution. Till then, feed your Red Tail Shark a good source of quality food and provide your fish with suitable habitat and water conditions. You also could spend minutes inspecting the water and the fish behavior every day.

Where can I find a Red Tail Black Shark?

Your local fish store may have enough of these fish to supply for everyone. Take your time to choose the right fish from the tank store. Bright eyes and colors, correct and constant movements, and no visible parasites are signs to look for. If the fish is feeling stressed, strange, or looking, you must give up the purchase and go to other stores; all of the tanks should be visibly clean, and the fishes healthy, look for fallen or lying fish, as well as dead fish in hard-to-reach places. A tiny alga on the walls doesn’t mean anything, but dirt on the substrate is a red light. If you come across this type of treatment or carelessness in a fish shop, talk to the responsible and file your complaint. They will be happy to hear candid feedback from their customers and turn the situation around. You should inspect all tanks to ensure cleanliness and safety to purchase. You can also order it on the internet, on specialized online shops.


Red Tail Sharks are beautiful freshwater fish and will continue to be popular in the aquarium for quite some time. Their simple design and attractive appeal make them a good choice for broad-ranging experience levels. The only semi-tricky part of owning one is dealing with their aggressiveness (and this should be only important if you plan on keeping them in a community tank). We hope this guide helps you to understand the care of Redtail Shark.

Best Freshwater Aquarium Sharks | Aquarium Hunter

If you’re interested in sharks, you’ve probably wondered if you could have one as a pet.

Can you have a shark as a pet? While the ocean swim varieties are too large for hobby tanks, there are many shark species that are suitable for freshwater aquariums and ponds. We’ve rounded up the most popular species and created this detailed maintenance guide to help you design the best tank for your freshwater aquarium sharks.

While it is nearly impossible to have a real shark as a pet, there are many freshwater aquarium sharks that thrive in a home aquarium.

Technically, these fish are not real sharks.

They are large shark-like fish that normally belong to the catfish or carp family.

That said, they often look and act like sharks, which is how they earned their name.

We’ve put together a comprehensive list of the best freshwater sharks to keep in your tank. Some are big, some small, but they are all great!

Best 10 Types of Freshwater Aquarium Sharks

Best Freshwater Aquarium Sharks Review

1. Bala Shark

Freshwater Aquarium Sharks

Young Bala sharks are only about 3 inches long, but don’t let their small size fool you. On average, they grow to about 12 inches (30 cm) in length in adulthood, although they can reach up to 20 inches.

Bales need an aquarium that is at least 75 gallons and at least four feet long to give them enough room to stretch their fins. Bullets, like most freshwater sharks, thrive in a large tank, so it’s a good idea to buy the largest you can afford.

Taking care of them is quite easy. They are not picky eaters, but they are omnivores and love a variety of foods.

A good idea about bullet sharks is that they are not particularly aggressive, so you should not be too careful when choosing tankmates.

Make sure what you choose is too big to fit in the muzzle of a bullet and not too aggressive.

2. Red Tail Shark

Freshwater Aquarium Sharks

The red-tailed shark has a very distinctive appearance. The sleek black body and bright red tail really stand out in a planted tank.

In fact, their preferred environment is one with plenty of hiding places among plants, rocks and driftwood, so a planted tank is the perfect place for them.

One thing to keep in mind is that these sharks don’t like each other, so you can only have one in your tank.

Also avoid other sharks and catfish, as well as fish with long fins. Red tail sharks are very territorial and can be quite aggressive.

These sharks are not picky eaters, but they do like a variety of meats and plant foods. A flake-based diet pellet is fine, but adding a few brine shrimp several times a week will make your red tail very happy.

3. Iridescent Shark

Freshwater Aquarium Sharks

If you’re looking for a shark that’s, well, giant, the iridescent shark is about 3 inches long as a juvenile, but it can grow to over 50 inches.

To keep an iridescent shark, you need an aquarium of at least 300 gallons.

Under the right conditions, iridescent sharks will live up to 20 years if cared for properly. While it may be tempting to keep them in a smaller tank, it’s not a good idea. This pet is definitely an investment and is not for everyone.

While iridescent sharks are technically catfish, they don’t feed on the bottom. They are very active and need a lot of space to swim at different levels in the aquarium.

Iridescent sharks are very gentle, but they will eat any fish they can fit in their mouths, and because they grow so big they will eventually be able to eat almost anything. If you really want tank mates, try aluminum foil skewers or plecos.

4. Silver Apollo Shark

Freshwater Aquarium Sharks

Silver Apollos are actually schools of fish that are quite passive and grow to about 6 inches (15 cm) in length.

Since they like company, it is best to keep them in groups of 5 or more. They are fast swimmers and can even jump out of the tank, so make sure to keep it covered.

Although they are easy to feed and peaceful in nature, silver apoli can be difficult to maintain as they are very sensitive to pH changes and even the slightest amount of ammonia and nitrites in water. They require a strong filter and a 25% weekly water change.

These freshwater sharks are quite easy to live with as long as their fellow residents are not small enough to be eaten.

While not aggressive, they are fast and live close to the surface, so they will compete for food and may prevent slower fish from getting enough to eat.

5. Rainbow Shark

Freshwater Aquarium Sharks

Another freshwater shark that is actually a catfish is the rainbow shark. They are a great addition to a planted tank.

Since they like a lot of hiding places, you should give them lots of dense plants, caves and burrows for them to explore.

Rainbow sharks are very territorial and should not be kept with other sharks, especially red tail sharks. If you’re looking for aquarium mates, try fish larger than them with a similar temperament. They should not be overly aggressive, but still be able to defend themselves.

Rainbows will chase peaceful fish, so avoid them at all costs.

Although rainbows prefer the bottom of the tank, they have tender points around their mouths that can be easily injured.

Choosing the right substrate is essential to avoid injury. Only use a sandy or slippery surface as larger, rougher rocks can cause some damage.

These fish tend to stay at the bottom of the tank, but will explore everywhere. Believe it or not, they are actually very good jumpers, so make sure to keep the top of the tank covered.

6. Violet Blushing Shark

Freshwater Aquarium Sharks

Unlike other freshwater aquarium sharks, the Violet Blushing Shark is quite passive. It does not show territorial behavior as you would see it in other species. As a result, they do well in community tanks.
That said, you should still avoid keeping these fish with smaller creatures that they can see for food. They do best with medium sized fish.

Violet blush sharks get their name from their unique appearance. The fish are covered with a silvery white color. You can see some glow on their bodies, but only when they are under powerful lights.

The bodies are transparent, allowing you to see individual organs. The most prominent feature of the shark’s body is the gills. The gills are visible through the body, making it look like a fish is blushing!

Keeping an aquarium in good condition is crucial for these fish. They need stable temperatures between 68 and 78 degrees to stay healthy. That’s not all. The Violet Blushing Shark should also have plenty of room for swimming.

7. Columbian Shark

Freshwater Aquarium Sharks

Here’s a strain that can be quite challenging to care for. The Colombian shark has strict care requirements. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation circulating.

Contrary to popular belief, these are not entirely freshwater sharks. When they are young, they need brackish water to stay healthy. When you set up your aquarium, you should add a little sea salt to make sure the specific gravity is between 1.005 and 1.010.

Colombian sharks also tend to be troublesome when kept with other fish. These are predatory creatures that prey on smaller species of fish. That’s why you want to avoid smaller passive fish.

Another way to prevent predatory behavior is to keep your fish well fed. The Colombian shark thrives on a high-protein diet of live and frozen foods. They also work well with pellets and commercial dry food. However, they prefer live food that they can hunt.

In appearance, these fish are one of the most shark-like species you can get for your tank. They have a large sail-shaped dorsal fin. Their bodies are usually covered in shades of black, gray, and silver.

On the heads of the fish you will notice that they have several pairs of long barbs. These chins are used to navigate their environment and hunt for food.

8. Black Shark

Freshwater Aquarium Sharks

The black shark is covered in black and has that familiar profile that many freshwater sharks share. This includes a huge dorsal fin. When the fish is swimming, the dorsal fin will generally be relatively flat against its rounded body. However, he will also occasionally stand up while the fish is showing off.

The black shark can become very aggressive and predatory. They should not be kept with small fish species. Most aquarists will house them along with other aggressive species that can handle the intimidating nature of the black shark. This includes some types of cichlids.

Interestingly, these fish do not require a pure protein diet. Some proteins are good, but they are omnivores who will eat almost anything. They have a predilection for foods of plant origin. In fact, these fish are known to eat plants.

Therefore, the Black Shark is recommended for tanks that are scarce in the plant department. They do best with plenty of open space for swimming. Many caves are also recommended for them to have places to rest.

9. Roseline Shark

Freshwater Aquarium Sharks

These flashy fish are absolutely amazing! The Roseline Shark is covered in several bright colors that look great against a natural background. You see red, black and gold stripes. Green and yellow spots are also quite common.
Like all freshwater sharks, these fish have a pronounced dorsal fin. In the case of Roseline Sharks, the dorsal fin is accented with a vibrant fiery red stripe.

Roseline sharks are actually part of the baleen family and are some of the smallest freshwater aquarium sharks you can get. However, this can be good when it comes to temperament.

For the most part, these sharks will not be a problem in terms of aggression. They are quite peaceful and pay no attention to other fish in the community. In groups of four to six, the fish will look even better and show playful behavior.

Roseline sharks can tolerate a wide variety of conditions. They can stay healthy in temperatures between 60 and 77 degrees, although somewhere in between is preferred. What they do need is a strong current. Fish are naturally found in rivers and streams, so it is essential to replicate them with a powerful pump.

10. Harlequin Shark

Freshwater Aquarium Sharks

Known scientifically as Labeo cyclorhynchus, harlequin sharks are an interesting addition to freshwater tanks. They are quite beautiful. However, the fish is known to lead a very solitary life.
They don’t like to be around other fish. In fact, they are known to be very territorial against similar looking species. That means you can’t keep them in groups or with other freshwater sharks.

However, you can house them with some fish if you have enough space. The harlequin shark is a bottom-dwelling fish and spends most of its time in hiding. Therefore, they can be kept with larger species that stay towards the top of the water column.

What is a Freshwater Aquarium Shark?

Domestic sharks are not real sharks, but fish that resemble sharks. There is a wide variety of shark-like fish that make great aquarium pets, and some are even great for community tanks! These small species of freshwater sharks have some similarities with each other:

  • Mini sharks have long torpedo-shaped bodies and erect, prominent dorsal fins. It is also common to see deeply forked flukes (tails) on freshwater sharks.
  • They are usually members of the catfish or carp family and act as omnivorous scavengers, eating plant matter such as algae and other animals.
  • Sharks are generally active and entertaining pets that like to swim in strong currents, and many species will congregate if kept in groups.


How to Setup a Shark Aquarium?

When deciding which freshwater shark is your preference, you should research the specific requirements for the aquarium.

That said, there are a few basic things most of these freshwater sharks have in common when it comes to their environment.

Tank size and environment

One of the most important things to consider when it comes to a shark tank is size. These are large fish, very large fish in some cases, and you will need a tank of at least 100 gallons. If you choose a larger variety, you may be looking for a 300 gallon tank.

While you’ll need to research the specific shark you’re raising, most species prefer heavily planted tanks with plenty of hiding places.

Most freshwater shark species originate from major rivers in Central America, South America, and Southeast Asia, and you should try to mimic that environment.

Artificial plants will work, but live plants are better. Be sure to add plenty of rocks, wood, and caves along the bottom of the tank where they can hide and establish their own territory.

Part of setting up an aquarium is the other fish in the community and it is worth mentioning again that freshwater sharks should only be kept with fish that are too large to eat and of uniform character.

Water Requirements

Most freshwater sharks can tolerate a fairly wide pH range with temperatures between 74 and 80 degrees F. There are some specific requirements for each shark.

For example, Colombian sharks prefer brackish water and silver apollo sharks are very sensitive to ammonia.

Filtration is very important, as is water change. You should change 10% of the water weekly (25% with silver apoli) and be sure to use an aquarium vacuum cleaner to clean up uneaten food and other debris.

What to Feed Freshwater Aquarium Sharks?

Freshwater sharks are omnivores and are not picky about what they eat. For most species, their diet consists of flakes, granules, or freeze-dried foods.

Pickled shrimp, vegetables and some live foods should be given several times a week to add some variety.

If you’re not sure what to add to your diet, try seaweed wafers, insect larvae, crustaceans, brine shrimp, and bloodworms. As for veggies, add some spinach, lettuce, zucchini, and peas a few times a week to keep your immune system strong.

Keep in mind that most freshwater sharks don’t hesitate to eat or attempt to eat their fellow residents, so make sure you do your best to satisfy their appetites.

How to Feed Aquarium Shark?

Most freshwater sharks feed on the bottom. Some will come up for pellets and flakes from time to time, but for the most part they will eat what sinks to the bottom of the tank.

Feeding should be done 2 to 3 times a day. Feed your sharks all they can eat in 5 minutes.

If there is any food left at the end of this period, you are probably feeding your sharks too much. Be sure to clean up everything to keep ammonia levels under control.

One of the important things to keep in mind when feeding a freshwater shark is that they are quite aggressive and will easily prevent less aggressive fish from eating enough.

This is another reason why it is so important to have the right roommates for a freshwater shark.


Now that you’ve seen the full list of popular freshwater aquarium sharks, it’s time to pick the ones you’re most interested in. While some of them might be too large to consider for your setup at home, many of the smaller sharks on this list are totally viable.

No matter what your level of experience is (or the amount of time you wish to spend), there should be a species for you! If you have any questions about a species on this list, we’re more than happy to help you out. Freshwater sharks are some of our favorite fish!