Red Tail Sharks
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Red Tail Sharks

This is a discussion on Red Tail Sharks within the Freshwater and Tropical Fish forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> I'm planning to buy/start an aquarium after Christmas (and after Christmas is paid for ) in the new year and the fish I would ...

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Old 12-24-2009, 04:11 AM   #1
 
Red Tail Sharks

I'm planning to buy/start an aquarium after Christmas (and after Christmas is paid for ) in the new year and the fish I would most like to get is a red tail shark.

However space is a bit of an issue in my rather cramped lounge and so I was hoping to gather some opinions on what size tank any RTS owners feel they need.

Searching previous posts it seems that some have them in tanks right down to 10g whilst others recommend 20g or more.

I understand it isnt really an A + B = C type question but all opinions appreciated.

Any other hints/tips/experiences keeping them appreciated too.
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Old 12-24-2009, 04:56 AM   #2
 
Exclamation

I just purchased a 54 Gallon BOW FRONT tank for my son and his wife for
X-mas....
they live in a small 2 bedroom apt. and after looking at their place
I realized the BOW FRONT would be the perfect addition....
they have contemporary furniture and the BOW FRONT is Black with
a Black stand.... You might want to consider the BOW FRONTS....
would save you room and look like a piece of Furniture to boot.

Just my 2 Cents worth...... Once we get it set up and running
I will snap off a couple of pics and then Post them for ya...

Ron
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Old 12-24-2009, 05:37 AM   #3
 
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I have kept the Red Tail Shark in many different aquariums over the years. In fact, it would probably not be a stretch to say i've had this fish in 20 to 30 different setups. It is one of my favorites.

In my experience, the RTS is a rather territorial fish, generally picking a place in the aquarium that it calls home, and then defending the territory around that space rather aggressively. It will behave most aggressively towards fish with similar body shapes, and especially other RTS.

The good news is these aggressive tendencies begin reduce as the length of the aquarium increases. I found that 55 gallon tanks appear the be the ideal minimum size for a community which houses a RTS. When kept in smaller tank, it will also sometimes attack schools of fish, and may consider the entire aquarium to be its territory.

If you do decided on a RTS, I strongly recommend placing an upside down flower pot somewhere in the decor. The fish will almost always call this cave home, helping it to settle into the tank and feel at ease. Also, realize that this fish will fade color at night time, and appear almost a light gray color in the morning. Do not be concerned by this.

Finally, if you prefer a more peaceful option, the Albino Rainbow Shark is a much more appropriate fish for most mixed communities. It is a great algae grazer, is much more active during the day, and shows very little aggression towards tankmates.

Good luck with your new tank.
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Old 12-24-2009, 05:58 AM   #4
 
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If you do decided on a RTS, I strongly recommend placing an upside down flower pot somewhere in the decor. The fish will almost always call this cave home, helping it to settle into the tank and feel at ease. Also, realize that this fish will fade color at night time, and appear almost a light gray color in the morning. Do not be concerned by this.
I had planned to create a cave for him to call home, having read about their territorial nature, with plants placed to break the line of sight from the cave to the opposite end of the tank.

I doubt I'd get more than a 20g tank in the corner I have earmarked, would the general feeling then be this would be too small?
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Old 12-24-2009, 06:45 AM   #5
 
yes a 20g is too small for these fish. Mine was a matured fish at 6ish inches in a 55g and I had to do some redecorating because it became cramped for her. I had a very large cave for it to hide out in and it made a world of difference when it comes to the aggression. I have since parted ways with the fish but while i had her she was the center piece of the aquarium and a very interesting fish to watch.


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Old 12-24-2009, 07:17 AM   #6
 
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Another RTBS owner.

RTBS are aggressive fish and if you don't plan for it they can raise merry hell in a community aquarium. However, with careful planning and setup you can minimize their aggression and integrate them into a community aquarium. First off, minimum tank size for a RTBS is 30 gallons, and that's if you don't plan on having much else in the tank. If you want them in a good community you need to go larger. I have a 48 gallon corner tank that works out magnificently as it has good bottom area and is rather tall. A 55 would work nicely but expect one end to be the RTBS's domain.

So, how to control your RTBS? First off the fish is primarily aggressive in regards to its territory. So the key to controlling your RTBS's aggression is by planning out its territory. First off, your RTBS is going to want a cave/cover. This will be it's home. Like Pasfur said a flower pot on it's side would work great for this or an artificial cave. I built my RTBS a cave from slate. I'd highly recommend putting this cave to one side of the tank. Secondly, the RTBS's territory is largely based off what it can see from it's home. The less of a view they have the less territory they claim as their own. So I strongly recommend heavily planting your tank be it real or fake. This will limit the RTBS's territory and give the other residents of the tank somewhere to get away from your bruiser. Finally, and this is the worst part, believe me I know, is to add your RTBS to your tank last and as young as you can get them. When added to an established tank and when young your RTBS is far less likely to claim the whole thing as their own domain. They'll pick out a smaller territory they feel they can defend and stick to it.

A few other things, first off RTBS's are bottom feeders. You'll find yours spends most of their time on the bottom. Secondly they are quite a bit like cories in that they are scavengers. Good quality sinking foods supplemented with the occasional algea wafer will be good staples for your RTBS. Just like a cory, a RTBS couldn't bite another fish if it wanted to, their mouth is oriented all wrong. My RTBS will occasionally chase off another fish that strays to close to her territory but she doesn't bite. The RTBS gets a bad reputation because just like a cory they are the first on the scene to start eating a carcass. A lot of people see their "shark" eating a dead fish and assume the RTBS is an active predator. They're not, they're just opportunistic scavengers. You can tell if your RTBS is male or female by looking at the belly. If its as black as the rest of them its a male. If its gray it's a female.

They're magnificent fish, I love my Mekong to death and dote on her like no other fish. She's a touch on the pudgy side from the regular diet of shrimp pellets, algae wafers, and frozen food she gets. She occasionally feels the need to put the other fish in their place but most of the time she's perfectly well behaved. Oddly enough the only fish in the tank she ignores are the cories. They can wander into her cave and poke about and she does nothing. Go figure.
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Old 12-24-2009, 07:27 AM   #7
 
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My RTBS will occasionally chase off another fish that strays to close to her territory but she doesn't bite
My dad has always had tropical fish and I remember when I would sit and watch his RTS it would look so kind of.. 'proud' in his cave and watch out anyone who tried to go in there :) But as you said it would only ever chase them off, never bite.

It looks as though then, sadly, an RTS isn't going to be a good choice for me at the moment until I can fit a better size tank.

It is interesting that you mention a corner tank as these tend to be higher rather than wider, and I was under the impression that wasnt as good? Or is that in a more general sense, where as for an RTS it gives him the bottom to patrol and other species can live happily higher up away from his territory?
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Old 12-29-2009, 07:30 AM   #8
 
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The second part mostly. The tank has quite a bit of floor space which allows the shark to have room. In something like a 55 gallon that's long but narrow the shark can quite literally claim half the tank because of how small the actual bottom is.
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Old 12-29-2009, 12:41 PM   #9
 
The RTS will have to wait til I move later this year. I'm going to get a 10g until then though, so will look at some more suitable fish now.

Thanks for the advice though, it will certainly come in useful when I have the tank to house one.
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