New Red-Tail Shark
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Origins: Originally from Thailand, most red-tail sharks come from Far Eastern fish farms these days. The larger ones cost more than the smaller ones (as we all know). The smaller ones are also more fragile.
Name Origin: The
“shark” in their name comes from their high dorsal fin that makes them
look like a saltwater shark. Of
course, they’re not. Many
cyprinids (minnows) with high dorsal fins earn the more sellable name
Look-a-Likes: When small, red-tail sharks resemble the “rainbow shark.” This slate grey fish with orange fins very closely resembles the darker bodied red-tails. Same info applies to both species. We still puzzle over the “rainbow” appellation.
Water Conditions: Red-tail sharks adjust to nearly any water conditions. They will fit into most community tanks.
Appeal: Most people like red-tail sharks because they look like sharks. Others like them because of their dramatic colors. Red-tails also get along fine with other fishes. They’re easy to keep and rarely stop patrolling the waters of their aquaria.
Jumpers: Nearly all sharks jump. Red-tail sharks will not disappoint you. They will bail from uncovered tanks – especially if spooked, such as when you turn on their lights.
Semi-Schoolers: If you keep two red-tail sharks together, they will argue constantly. They will not pine away when kept as singles. If you want more than one, keep several so no single fish gets picked on.
Breeding: Forget spawning. You will not likely spawn your red-tail sharks without the spawning hormone extracted from carp pituitary glands and access to very large aquaria or ponds.
Foods: Red-tail sharks eagerly eat whatever you feed them. They also graze the algae on the sides of your aquaria. However, don’t expect them to clean your aquaria sides like a plecostomus. They need foods with algae in them. Spirulina foods help bring out their colors. Red-tails also love live foods and frozen foods. Color foods will also make them turn darker and bring out their bright red tails.
Gravel: Red-tail sharks also color up best when kept over dark gravels. However, keeping them over black gravel or in front of a black background makes them nearly invisible.
Great Tank Mates: Red-tail sharks fit well in most community tanks. They mix well with nearly all typical fishes. However, some specimens have been known to pick on slow-moving goldfishes. Do not mix them with large, rough cichlids. The faster sharks will avoid the hungry cichlids for awhile (but not forever). We’ve kept a few larger ones with mid-size African cichlids for a while. We don’t recommend the practice.
Protective Plants: Some aquarists consider red-tail sharks a shy fish. Add some grassy plants such as vallisneria or sagittarius to make them feel more at home. Even plastic plants help.
Disease: Not particularly disease susceptible, red-tails show ich spots quite easily. Most ich cures used at full strength will weaken or kill red-tails. Use any ich cure at half strength if you keep red-tail sharks in your tank.
Filtration: Red-tail sharks like clean water. You cannot over-filter their water. Do not overfeed. Add snails to clean up the excess. LA.
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