Red-tail sharks are popular freshwater fish known for their attractive pitch-black body and vibrant red tails. They’re one of the fishes considered easy to maintain in a home aquarium since they can quickly adapt to their environment.
They can live up to eight years and grow up to six inches, making them a great companion to your home. If you plan on buying a red tail shark, you might have asked yourself: How much do red tail sharks cost to own?
You should consider several factors when owning a red tail, including the price of the fish, tank size, food, and maintenance. We’ll examine these factors individually to help you decide whether owning a red tail suits your budget and lifestyle.
Just like with any other pet, owning a red-tail shark requires a certain level of commitment. In this article, we’ll guide you on what to consider before buying a red-tail shark.
The price for red-tail sharks may vary depending on the size, age, and location. These ranges may vary from 5 to 15 dollars. It’s also crucial that you buy red tail sharks from reliable stores that obtain the fish responsibly and aren’t contributing to the endangerment of this species.
By purchasing from trusted sources, you can ensure that you’re not supporting illegal trades that affect the decline of their population. Buying from reliable stores also assures that the fish have received proper care and are in good health.
You may think the purchase price is inexpensive, but it’s not all there is when owning a fish.
Unlike other small fishes, red tail sharks require a larger tank. They are active swimmers and they move a lot around the tank. They also enjoy hiding spots and shades, so make sure to decorate the tank with driftwood and plants to make them more comfortable.
The ideal tank size would be at least 30 gallons for young red-tails and 50 gallons for adults. The price for this tank size starts at 120 dollars. If you include the cost of the filtration system, heater, and decorations, the total cost for a tank set may reach 150 dollars or higher.
Although setting up the fish tank can be expensive, it’s an important investment in ensuring your red tail shark is living in a suitable environment.
When choosing the fish tank, choosing a bigger tank could be more cost-efficient in the long run. Since it would be necessary to replace the small tank once the fish gets bigger, it will account for an additional cost. Although, compared to smaller tanks, big tanks are a hassle to clean.
If you’re planning to buy more than one red tail shark, you’ll need to take into account that they are aggressive and territorial, so you’ll need to adjust the size so they can have their own private spaces.
They tend to fight other fishes when they feel like their territories are getting trespassed, even more so if they are of the same kind.
Angelfishes are good candidates for tank mates because, unlike a red tail that roams in the bottom, angelfish stay on the upper level of the aquarium. They are both semi-aggressive so they would usually avoid each other as long as they don’t compete for space or food.
You’ll also need to choose a good filtration system. Filters help remove the build-up of toxins from fish wastes, uneaten food, and other organic matter. They do so by trapping them before they fully decompose and turn into ammonia. Additionally, it helps maintain the quality of water.
Poor filters will cause water quality to decline quickly. It also reduces the oxygen level, which will make it difficult for your fish to breathe and may cause suffocation.
You should remember when buying a filter that the current shouldn’t be too strong. If the filter produces too much current, it may restrict the movement of the fish or cause them to get dragged by the water current. This may create stress and cause them to stay hidden.
Buy decorations for your tank. Creating a good atmosphere for the tank is one thing, but decorations also help make the fish more comfortable and provide hiding spots. They sometimes feel stressed when exposed to an open space.
Creating the right environment will help them act more naturally and spend more time out of their spots. Be careful about adding decorations—too many decorations will cause the tank to be overcrowded. Overcrowding hinders their growth and will reduce the water quality
Additionally, don’t choose decorations with sharp edges as they may accidentally harm them.
The monthly costs for owning the red tail fish are similar to other fishes. The expenses include food, maintaining water conditions, and electricity for running the tank equipment like the filtration system and lights.
These costs can range from 30 to 80 dollars depending on the tank size and how often you clean it.
When buying fish food, red tails are omnivores and should maintain a diet of fish flakes and small live prey like worms and plankton. Since red tails aren’t picky when it comes to food, it’s easy to look for the proper meal for them.
However, ensuring they receive all the nutrients they need is also vital. Protein, for example, is essential for their diet since it helps provide energy and aids growth.
The fish tank must be cleaned once in a while, and the water should be replaced from time to time. A dirty tank may cause unbalanced water levels, leading to poor fish health and increased bacterial growth.
Cleaning the fish tank should be done at least once a month to remove debris that the filtration system can’t remove. Fish waste and organic materials that have settled at the bottom of the tank are hard to remove and usually require cleaning.
Although it’s normal for the water to blur during the initial set-up of the tank, algae that build up over time harms the fish. It’s essential to change your fish’s water to help remove decomposed particles from food and waste that may cause various problems to their health.
If your fish has health issues, the medication, and veterinary service costs should be included in your budget. It’s crucial to prepare funds for emergencies to cover healthcare expenses that may come in the future. These start at $50.
That said, a clean environment is necessary in keeping your red tails healthy. Besides cleaning the tank and the water, you should also monitor the fish for possible health issues. Loss of appetite, idleness, or discoloration may be signs of illness.
If you’re keeping multiple fish, you should separate the fish that have shown signs of illness to prevent them from spreading to others. It’s also a good practice to quarantine new fishes before adding them to the other fishes.
A little effort goes a long way. It’s better to take extra measures to ensure the safety of the fish rather than spend money on costly treatments.
Overall, owning a red-tail shark is fun and exciting, but it also comes with a price.
The initial cost of the fish and the tank setup can be expensive, and the monthly payment for food and equipment will accumulate. So, careful consideration should be made concerning the budget.
We hope we helped you determine whether a red tail is right for you. Owning a red tail shark will undoubtedly require time and money, but the joy of owning a red tail shark is worth the investment.
Jeff has always enjoyed having pets, but as a child, he was drawn to his family’s fish tank. Being able to maintain a small ecosystem and observe the behaviors and interactions in the underwater world peaked his interest early on and has kept him hooked until this day. On Avid Aquarist, Jeff shares everything he’s learned about helping aquatic life survive and thrive in a home aquarium.