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Are Red Tail Sharks Aggressive? (4 Causes of Aggression)

Are Red Tail Sharks Aggressive? (4 Causes of Aggression)

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This post is written to the author's best knowledge and is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. In addition, this post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Red-tail sharks are fun to observe; they’re fast, lively, and feisty! More importantly, they’re one of the smallest freshwater sharks, which means they fit in medium aquariums.

Generally, people love to keep them as they strongly resemble sharks. However, red-tail sharks are a member of the Cyprinidae family.

Therefore, they’re actually more related to carp fish than sharks.

Still, you might be wondering, are red-tail sharks aggressive? And can they eat other fish?

Look no further for the answers. Today’s article will tell you everything you need to know about the temperament of these feisty creatures. Let’s dive into the details.

Are Red Tail Sharks Aggressive?

The answer is yes. Red-tail sharks, scientifically known as Epalzeorhynchos bicolor, have feisty, aggressive personalities. Additionally, they’re highly territorial and might harass any intruder.

However, you can avoid territorial issues by putting them in a large tank with hiding spots. That can reduce the sharks’ aggressiveness towards other tankmates. In addition, they can become aggressive to other red-tail sharks in the same aquarium.

Overall, they tend to be active and dart around the bottom of the aquarium.

Initially, when red-tail sharks are young, they tend to be more peaceful and a little shy. As they grow, they start showing aggressive and territorial behaviors.

Generally, these tiny creatures aren’t highly aggressive. Some people consider them semi-aggressive fish.

Do Red Tail Sharks Have Teeth?

Yes, red-tail sharks have teeth. However, they’re small and cupule-shaped.

So, they aren’t similar to sharks when it comes to teeth. Typically, red-tail sharks have two sets of setules and barbs.

Are Red Tail Sharks Fin Nippers?

No, red-tail sharks don’t nip at the fins of their tank mates. In some cases, they can nip at the fins of fish that resemble food, like guppies and betta fish.

Generally, they don’t prey on fish, but they tend to chase them and eat small invertebrates.

Do Red Tail Sharks Bite?

Although red-tail sharks are aggressive and territorial, they don’t bite or harm other fish. However, they tend to chase fish away from their territory relentlessly.

Can Red Tail Sharks Kill Other Fish?

No, the tiny sharks rarely bite or do any type of damage to other fish. On the other hand, they can chase fish relentlessly for long periods.

Therefore, it can cause stress to the fish and prevent them from eating. In some cases, fish might, in fact, die from stress and starvation.

Do Red Tail Sharks Eat Other Fish?

It’s highly unlikely for red-tail sharks to eat other fish in the tank, including fry. In the wild, they mainly feed on plant matter, worms, crustaceans, and small insects.

For home aquariums, you can feed them plant-based flakes, vegetables, or pellets. Generally, these tiny sharks are omnivores, and they love scavenging for food.

Will Red Tail Sharks Kill Each Other?

Red-tail sharks can show aggression toward other fish of the same species. Overall, you can keep more than one shark in the aquarium, but there are some factors that you need to consider.

For starters, due to their territorial behavior, the aquarium should be large. That’s to provide each fish with enough space to establish its territory.

Additionally, keeping more than one red-tail shark in an aquarium isn’t a task for a beginner. So, unless you have good aquarium experience, you shouldn’t put two of these fish in one tank.

Should You Add Red Tail Sharks to Your Aquarium?

Red-tail sharks can add a lot of fun and liveliness to your aquarium. However, they aren’t the easiest to take care of, and you need at least a 55-gallon tank or bigger.

Further, the aquarium should have enough hiding spaces, decorations, and plants. The ornaments can help lower aggression levels.

Generally, red-tail sharks shouldn’t be your first fish. That’s because you’ll find it hard to add other fish to the aquarium, as red-tails are picky about their tankmates.

How to Lower the Levels of Aggression in Red Tail Sharks

Although these feisty creatures are territorial and naturally aggressive, there are some ways to mitigate that. Let’s check out some ways you can do so.

1 – Larger Tank

As a rule, the larger the tank size is, the less aggressive your tiny sharks will be. Ideally, you don’t want to put them in a tank that’s smaller than 55 gallons.

I found that tanks between 75 and 100 gallons are the best options. In any case, you should avoid crowded or community tanks. That’s because they love to roam around freely, and they tend to be territorial.

2 – Add Plants and Rocks

Any sort of decorations or ornaments in the aquarium can create a visual barrier. Therefore, it’ll be harder for the red-tails to spot other fish and chase them.

Additionally, they provide hiding places for the sharks and other fish, which mitigates the aggression levels in the tank.

3 – Compatible Tank Mates

Ideally, to avoid any aggression between the fish, you want to choose large-bodied species. Additionally, they should be mid or upper levels swimmers, as red-tails swim in the lower level.

Further, it’d help if the fish were less aggressive and fast swimmers.

That said, here’s a list of some fish that can live peacefully with them:

  • White Cloud Mountain Minnows
  • Barbs
  • Danios
  • Bala sharks
  • Tetras
  • Angelfish
  • Honey Gouramis
  • Clown Loach

4 – Provide the Optimum Water Conditions

Although red-tail sharks are hardy fish and can tolerate water changes, you can mitigate aggression by providing the optimum water conditions.

That’s because unsuitable water conditions can stress the fish, which can lead to aggression. You should keep the water temperature from 72 °F to 79 °F.

Additionally, the pH levels should be between 6.5 and 7.5, while the water hardness should be around 10-15 KH.

Overall, they aren’t sensitive to small water changes. However, you should regularly check the water parameters using an aquarium kit.

Why Are My Red Tail Sharks Highly Aggressive?

Generally, red-tail sharks are semi-aggressive. So, if your fish are showing high levels of aggression, there might be something wrong. Let me tell you about some potential causes of this issue.

1 – The Food Isn’t Enough

A hungry fish is a stressed, cranky fish. Therefore, when sharks are hungry, they can become extremely aggressive.

Ideally, you want to feed your tiny sharks once every other day. Additionally, their diet should include plant-based and animal-based foods.

Further, make sure not to overfeed your red-tails, as it can do more harm than good.

2 – They Aren’t Getting Along with Their Tankmates

Red-tail sharks tend to be picky about their tankmates. They don’t get along with other semi-aggressive or slow-swimming species.

For example, you should avoid putting red-tail and rainbow sharks together. They have similar levels of aggression, so they get into territorial fights all the time.

Generally, you don’t want to have more than one shark per tank.

3 – They Might Be Sick

Like any fish, red-tail sharks can become stressed and more aggressive when sick. The tiny sharks are prone to some diseases, such as ICH and fin rot.

Therefore, you want to provide them with the optimum conditions to keep them healthy. More importantly, you need to keep an eye on any signs of disease.

That includes the following:

  • Any discoloration on their bodies
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swimming slower than usual
  • Their fins look frayed at the edges

4 – Not Enough Space

As we’ve mentioned, red-tails are highly territorial. They don’t tolerate having any intruders inside their territory.

Therefore, you need to make sure your tiny sharks have enough space to roam around and establish their territory.

Moreover, make sure you don’t add too many decorations and plants. That’s because they can take up a lot of space, leaving small room for your fish to roam.

Final Thoughts

So, are red-tail sharks aggressive?

Yes, red-tail sharks tend to be aggressive. However, they don’t directly attack or harm other fish. Instead, they chase them out of their territory.

For that reason, red-tail sharks require a spacious tank. Further, they don’t go well with each other, so you shouldn’t add more than one shark to your aquarium.

Further, these tiny sharks don’t get along with many fish species. Ideally, their tankmates should be large-bodied fast swimmers. In addition, they should be mid or upper levels swimmers.

To add, having ornaments and decorations around your tank can mitigate aggression. That’s because they create visual barriers between the fish and provide hiding places for them.

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