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Red Tail Shark Breeding Guide (All You Need to Know)

Red Tail Shark Breeding Guide (All You Need to Know)

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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.

Are you looking to add an exotic twist to your home aquarium? With its black body and bright red tail, the red-tail shark is an excellent option to do so. If you have your sights set on breeding this species, you’re probably looking for a red-tail shark breeding guide.

Red-tail sharks aren’t easy to breed in a home aquarium due to their aggressive temperament. They’re usually bred in hormone-infused outdoor ponds by commercial breeders. Those who manage to successfully breed these fish at home can expect 30 to 40 hatchlings.

Read on to learn more about red-tail shark breeding. We’ve also included useful guidelines for keeping your newly born red-tail sharks healthy.

Red-Tail Shark Quick Facts

Here are some basic facts about red-tail sharks:

Scientific NameEpalzeorhynchos bicolor
Adult Size6 inches (15 cm)
Natural HabitatStreams in South Asia
Required Tank SizeMinimum of 36 inches
CommunityOnly keep one red-tail shark in an aquarium
Best ForIntermediate and expert owners

How to Breed Red-Tail Sharks

If you’re thinking of attempting to breed red-tail sharks in your home aquarium, keep in mind that this won’t be an easy task.

The difficulty is due to this species’ temperament. Red-tail sharks are extremely hostile and aggressive towards fish of their own kind. In turn, one of your red-tail sharks may get seriously injured if you breed them in an aquarium.

Red-tail shark breeding typically takes place in large, commercial-scale outdoor ponds. Breeders lace the water with reproductive hormones, which make the sharks less likely to attack each other.

That being said, here’s what you can expect to see if your red-tail sharks decide to breed in the aquarium:

When you introduce the male red-tail shark into the female’s territory, he’ll attempt to grab her attention by darting around in figure-eight motions. If the female likes what she sees, she’ll venture over to the male’s side of the tank.

Once the male has coaxed the female towards him, he’ll proceed to chase her. If she’s receptive to his courtship, she’ll turn on her side and let the mating begin.

Examining your red-tail shark’s color is an effective way to gauge its readiness for mating at a given time. A red-tail shark that’s ready to mate will have vibrant coloration and a plump appearance.


Once mating has successfully occurred, the female will lay her eggs around the aquarium. It typically takes 24 to 36 hours for the eggs to hatch.

Before this happens, it’s essential that you move the eggs to a separate hatching tank. If you fail to do so, the parents may end up eating the eggs.

Prepare the hatching tank by adding 1.5 to 2 inches of clean, aquarium-grade water to it. Make sure the water is at the same temperature as in the main tank.

Next, use a breeder net to scoop up the unhatched eggs and deposit them into the hatching tank.

How Many Babies Do Red-Tail Sharks Have?

If you can successfully mate red-tail sharks in your home aquarium, you can expect the female to lay 4 to 5 eggs daily for about a week. This total adds up to approximately 30 to 40 eggs. The female red-tail shark lays those eggs around the plants and rocky surfaces in the aquarium.

After two days or so, these eggs will hatch. In the meantime, you’ll find the male red-tail shark guarding them.

Young red-tail sharks will start swimming freely two days after they hatch.

You’ll notice them starting to acquire the species’ signature black and red hue when they reach a length of 0.5 inches.

At the age of eight weeks, your baby red-tail sharks will have developed fully.

What to Feed Baby Red-Tail Sharks

In their initial days of life, red-tail shark hatchlings have their own food supply. They’re equipped with an egg sac that sustains them for around four days.

Once this time has elapsed, you should start feeding them yourself. Their ideal diet consists of crushed flake food and brine shrimp.

Young red-tail sharks grow fast. To sustain their healthy growth, you should feed them multiple times a day with small quantities of nutrient-rich food.

Be careful not to overfeed the young red-tail sharks. We recommend feeding them twice a day, with amounts that they can eat up in two or three minutes.

If you provide your young red-tail sharks with the appropriate diet and growth conditions, you can expect them to mature fully in eight months to a year. At this time, they’ll be ready for breeding themselves.

How Do Baby Red-Tail Sharks Behave?

Adult red-tail sharks are widely known for their aggressive temperaments. They’re extremely territorial and will chase away any other fish that attempt to encroach on their established territory.

As a result, these fish are incredibly active. You’ll often find them zooming around the bottom of the tank on the lookout for any threats.

On the other hand, younger red-tail sharks behave quite differently. They spend most of their time in hiding places to keep themselves safe. Therefore, don’t be alarmed if your young red-tail sharks seem less active than their adult counterparts.

Are Red-Tail Sharks Live Bearers?

Most fish species can be classified into one of two groups: livebearers, and egg layers.

Live-bearing fish give birth to fully formed babies that can swim freely right out of the gate. This is possible because the female’s eggs are fertilized and hatched while still inside her.

This type of fish will typically produce fewer and larger offspring in one mating cycle. The reason is that it takes more energy to produce babies that are already developed and self-sufficient from birth.

Red-tail sharks don’t belong to this group. These fish lay eggs that take a couple of days to hatch. Their young don’t become self-sufficient until four days after they hatch.

Keeping Your Red-Tail Sharks Healthy

To give your existing and newly hatched red-tail sharks the best chances of a full and healthy life, you should make sure to provide them with the right living conditions. Doing so will mitigate the risk of them developing deadly illnesses such as Ich and fin rot.

Luckily, red-tail sharks are highly adaptable and can withstand a greater variety of conditions than most species. That being said, optimizing their aquarium conditions is still highly important.

Here are the ideal conditions for red-tail sharks:

  • Water temperature: 75℉
  • Water pH level: 6.5 to 7.5
  • Water hardness: 10 to 15 KH

To ensure that these conditions are satisfied at all times, you should regularly monitor each of the mentioned aspects. Use an aquarium testing kit to verify that your red-tail sharks’ surroundings are up to par.

On another note, it won’t matter how well you maintain the water temperature and pH level if you’re not feeding your red-tail sharks right.

Giving your fish the nutrients and vitamins they need in the correct proportions is key to keeping their immune systems strong and preventing bacterial and parasitic infections.

Final Thoughts

Red-tail sharks are popular fish to keep as pets thanks to their unique appearance and color.

Some red-tail shark owners may wonder how to breed red-tail sharks at home.

This species is highly aggressive and territorial. It doesn’t get along well with other fish of its kind. As a result, breeding red-tail sharks in a home aquarium isn’t easy. In fact, commercial breeders inject reproductive hormones into outdoor ponds to make breeding possible.

If you manage to breed red-tail sharks at home, you can expect to end up with up to 40 baby hatchlings per breeding cycle.

Make sure to provide the young fish with the water conditions and diet they need for healthy growth. In about a year, they’ll be ready for breeding themselves.

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