Skip to Content

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

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

Share this post:

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 among the most popular aquarium fish due to their unique appearance. This species adds an exotic aesthetic to your fish tank with its contrasting black body and bright crimson tail.

If you’re looking for a comprehensive red-tail shark feeding guide, this is just the place for you.

Red-tail sharks are an omnivorous species. Their diet in the wild consists of insects, plants, and various crustaceans. Naturally, the best diet for a red-tail shark is one that simulates this as much as possible. High-quality flake and pellet foods are usually what owners go with.

Read on to learn more about the best practices for feeding a red-tail shark. We’ve also included some valuable insights regarding the other aspects of red-tail shark care.

Profile of Red-Tail Sharks

The red-tail shark (Epalzeorhynchos bicolor) is a species that calls streams in South Asia home. It’s most commonly found in Thailand.

This species reaches an adult size of up to six inches and is known for its black body and bright red tail, hence the name.

Despite not being that big, red-tail sharks need a relatively large tank to live comfortably. This is because these fish are active, strong swimmers that need space to explore.

Additionally, they have a highly aggressive temperament and can be quite destructive in an overcrowded tank.

As such, the recommended tank size is a minimum of 36 cubic inches. Due to their territorial tendencies, it’s best to keep only one red-tail shark per tank as well.

Finally, these fish are omnivorous. We’ll get into the details of what they eat in the coming sections.

What Do Red-Tail Sharks Eat?

Due to their omnivorous nature, red-tail sharks will eat a wide variety of foods. Therefore, there’s no shortage of options to choose from when curating your red-tail shark’s diet.

When deciding what to feed your pet shark, the primary objective is to replicate their diet in the wild as much as you can. This will likely involve feeding them a mixture of plants, insects, and crustaceans.

However, some of these foods may be difficult to acquire for a red-tail shark living in a home aquarium. In most cases, the next best option is feeding your red-tail shark high-quality pellets and flake food as an alternative.

That being said, feeding a red-tail shark the same food every day can be problematic. These fish can grow bored of the same old pellets and flakes and start to reject them.

Therefore, it’s important to mix things up a bit on occasion. You can do so by throwing in some bloodworms or brine shrimp into your pet shark’s diet. As for the plant-based dimension of your shark’s diet, you can supplement it with greens, such as zucchini and cucumbers.

Do Red-Tail Sharks Eat Algae?

Unlike other aquarium shark species, such as the rainbow shark, red-tail sharks don’t eat algae in large quantities. However, they’ll eat algae sometimes.

Your red-tail shark will acquire algae from the tank’s walls. They may also find it on several substrate surfaces in their tank.

Be noted that a diet composed solely of algae isn’t sufficient for these fish. They still need other vegetables, such as fruit slices, spinach, and zucchini, as well as meats like blood worms, brine shrimp, and maggots.

If you know how to do it, preparing homemade fish food is an excellent idea. It ensures that you’re feeding your red-tail shark healthy food with plenty of nutritional value.

Are Red-Tail Sharks Bottom Feeders?

If you observe your red-tail shark, you’ll most commonly find it roaming around the middle portion of your tank. These fish do venture to the bottom of the tank at times. However, they don’t do it enough to be classified as bottom feeders.

How Long Can a Red-Tail Shark Go Without Food?

You’d be surprised at the amount of time your red-tail shark can cope without any food.

These fish, as with most aquarium fish, can go for up to seven days without being fed. They can go even longer in some cases, but it starts taking a toll on their health.

The reason behind this ability is that these fish don’t typically get to eat every day in their natural habitat.

As a result, they’ve evolved and developed the ability to store enough body fat to sustain them through long periods without food. This means you can go on that weekend vacation you’ve been planning without fretting over how your red-tail shark will fare without you there to feed it.

The equation changes when we start talking about juvenile red-tail sharks.

Once these small fish deplete the egg sac they’re born with after four days from hatching, they need feeding multiple times a day. If not fed, these fish are likely to get sick, and may even die.

How Often and How Much Do You Feed Red-Tail Sharks?

If there’s one thing about red-tail sharks, it’s that they’ll almost never turn down food.

In turn, you need to be careful not to overfeed them. Generally speaking, you should avoid giving your pet shark more food than it can eat in two to three minutes.

Not only does this provide your shark with the right amount of food, but it prevents leftover food from accumulating in the tank and compromising the water’s quality. As a result, this reduces the risk of your red-tail shark falling victim to fungal or bacterial diseases.

Since red-tail sharks are nocturnal creatures, they’re most active from dusk to dawn. This time of day is optimum for feeding.

The typical red-tail shark needs feeding once every 48 hours. This doesn’t mean they won’t eat between one feeding session and the next. These fish can also find food on their own within the tank.

Why Is My Red-Tail Shark Not Eating?

If you feel that your red-tail shark isn’t eating as much as it usually does, this could result from a couple of factors.

Firstly, your shark may be sick. When red-tail sharks suffer from diseases, a severe drop in their appetite is often an associated symptom. Red-tail sharks can suffer from any of the diseases that freshwater fish are prone to. However, the risk of some diseases is higher than others.

The diseases your red-tail shark is most likely to contract are Ich and fin rot. It may also develop popeye, but the chances of this are slimmer.

On the other hand, the reason for your red-tail shark’s loss of appetite may not be related to its health at all. As previously mentioned, red-tail sharks that are being fed the same thing every time may grow bored with the food and reject it.

To determine whether your shark isn’t eating because of this or due to sickness, try feeding it something different. If its appetite remains low, then there’s a good chance that your pet fish is sick.

At this point, you should start looking for other symptoms to determine the disease plaguing your red-tail shark and proceed to treat it.

Best Water Conditions for Red-Tail Sharks

Keeping your red-tail shark healthy and thriving isn’t just dependent on the quality and variety of food you give it. Caring for this species also involves providing it with the optimum tank conditions.

Relative to other fish commonly kept as pets, red-tail sharks are adaptable and durable fish that can thrive in a range of conditions. However, you should maintain certain parameters in their tank to keep their stress levels low.

Here are the best conditions for red-tail sharks:

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

Keeping the water conditions at these levels requires careful observation and regular maintenance. Investing in a high-quality aquarium testing kit will make it much easier to do this.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can you breed red-tail sharks in a home aquarium?

Breeding red-tail sharks in your home aquarium is possible, but it’s definitely not easy. Due to these fish’s aggressive temperament, even with their own kind, it’s difficult to successfully mate them without having them injure each other.

In fact, commercial breeders have to inject artificial outdoor ponds with reproductive hormones to make male and female red-tail sharks less likely to attack each other.

How many red-tail sharks should you have?

If you were thinking of getting a couple of red-tail sharks so they can keep each other company, we advise against this. They’re unlikely to get along, and you may see bloodshed within your tank.

Those wanting to keep multiple red-tail sharks in the same tank should get at least five. In this case, the sharks will adopt a pack mentality. As a result, they’ll coexist together with no issues.

Are red-tail sharks easy to care for?

Red-tail sharks aren’t difficult to care for. However, they still aren’t a good choice for those getting a pet fish for the first time due to their aggressive temperament.

We recommend red-tail sharks for intermediate and expert fish owners.

Final Thoughts

If you’re thinking of making a red-tail shark the latest addition to your home aquarium, you’re probably researching these fish’s diet to see if you can provide it.

Red-tail sharks are omnivores, meaning that they eat plant-based and meat-based foods. You should feed red-tail sharks high-quality flake and pellet food and throw in the occasional brine shrimp and bloodworms.

These fish also enjoy vegetables. You can feed them cucumbers and zucchini sliced into small pieces.

There you have it! You’re now armed with all the information you need to keep your red-tail shark happy, healthy, and well-fed.

Share this post: