Redtailed Black Shark

From Microcosm Aquarium Explorer

Epalzeorhynchos bicolor - (Smith, 1931)
Redtailed Black Shark

Epalzeorhynchos bicolor.jpg

A favorite aquarium fish, but one that needs space and the right tankmates as it matures. Not a good choice for a small, peaceful community.


A very beautiful fish, if properly fed, but not for smaller aquaria where it can be very disruptive.

This species has reported disappeared from many areas in the wild. It is a common aquarium fish, however, with an estimated tens of thousands of new specimens captive bred each year, primarily by producers in Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries.

Family: Cyprinidae

Other common name(s):

  • Redtail Shark Minnow
  • Redtail Shark

Native range:

Habitat: Once found in mainstream rivers, tributaries, and flood plains. Appreciates some cover in the form of plants and driftwood.

Maximum length: 12 cm (5 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 208 L (55 gal)

Water: Freshwater 22 °C (72 °F) - 26 °C (79 °F)

General swimming level: Bottom.


Omnivore. Feeds from the bottom and will take all manner of sinking foods for herbivores, omnivores, and carnivores. In the wild it feeds on vegetative matter, small crustaceans, worms, and other bottom-dwelling prey.


Regionally Extinct According to the IUCN in its Red List status report on the Epalzeorhynchos bicolor, it is "regionally extinct in Thailand." An excerpt from the report:

"The reasons for the decline in the wild population of E. bicolor are not known. The aquarium fish trade has been accused of driving species to extinction because of very selective overfishing, but there is no documented evidence for this (Kottelat and Whitten 1996). Habitat modification may be the more likely cause of population declines in this case (M. Kottelat, pers. comm.). In the 1970s, many dams were constructed in Thailand and these probably severely impacted several large basins in the region. Large swamp areas have also been drained."

Full report: [1]

Reference: 101 Best Tropical Fishes
Image credit: JJ
Text credit: KW