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How To Keep A Red Tail Shark

Updated on March 15, 2010
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The red tail shark looks rather beautiful with its black body and bright red tail and its triangular dorsal fin. Red tail sharks grow to around 15 centimeters and make a pretty addition to any tank 20 gallons or more in size. Be aware that you should only ever keep one type of 'shark' fish in your tank, as they will tend to be territorial and fight other fish that look like them. The red tail shark is commercially bred for the aquarium trade and because of the unique conditions it requires to spawn, ikt is highly unlikely that the average fish keeper would have any chance of breeding these fish, so it is best to not keep pairs or larger groups. If this is attempted, you will soon find that a dominant shark emerges and beats the heck out of every other red tail shark in the tank.

If kept with smaller fish, the red tail shark can become quite a territorial bully, especially with other bottom feeding fish, like bristlenose or small plecostamus. For best results, keep the red tail shark with larger cichlid type fish. Though it will be smaller than these fish, they usually do a good job of keeping the red tail shark in line and it is fast enough to dodge any attacks that may come in its direction. Red tail sharks make good tank mates for large plecos, synodontis catfish, Jack Dempseys, Convict Cichlids and other such fish. A large Oscar may make a meal of a red tail shark, so be aware of that risk if you choose to house your red tail shark with a much larger fish like this.

Red tail sharks are fairly hardy as long as they are kept in heated, filtered and cycled tanks with enough room to scavenge and forage about. They do best with larger fish, both from a behavioral standpoint and from a eating standpoint. Large cichlids tend to be messy eaters, but a red tail shark will clean up a great deal of the food that they miss.

It is worth mentioning that the red tail shark is not actually a shark, it is, in fact an cyprinid, an omnivore and scavenger that feeds on scraps of dropped food, tank algae and other aquarium foods. When kept in ideal conditions, you'll never have to feed your red tail shark directly, it will simply scavenge the food from other fish. However they do enjoy a nice piece of cucumber every now and then.For a unique, pretty and impressive fish, it is hard to go past a red tail shark.


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