Labeo bicolor

Red-tailed Black Shark (Labeo bicolor)

Dive into the depths of the aquatic world with one of its most intriguing inhabitants – the Red-tailed Black Shark, also known as Labeo bicolor. With its striking appearance and captivating behavior, this fish is sure to make a splash in any aquarium enthusiast’s heart. Join us as we explore the vibrant world of the Red-tailed Black Shark and uncover the secrets behind its mesmerizing allure.

Size and appearance

The Red-tailed Black Shark is a sleek and powerful fish, boasting a striking contrast of colors that immediately catches the eye. Growing to an impressive size of up to 15 centimeters (6 inches), its jet-black body is accentuated by vibrant red fins and a distinctive red tail, giving it a truly unique and commanding presence in the aquarium.


Hailing from the freshwater rivers and streams of Southeast Asia, the Red-tailed Black Shark is native to countries like Thailand and Vietnam. It thrives in warm, well-oxygenated waters with plenty of hiding spots among rocks and vegetation.


Known for its territorial nature, the Red-tailed Black Shark can be quite assertive in claiming its territory within the aquarium. It often displays aggressive behavior towards its own kind and similar-looking species, so it’s best kept singly or in larger tanks with plenty of space for each individual to establish its own territory.


As an omnivorous species, the Red-tailed Black Shark enjoys a varied diet consisting of both plant and animal matter. In the wild, it feeds on algae, small crustaceans, and insect larvae. In captivity, it readily accepts high-quality flake or pellet foods supplemented with fresh vegetables like blanched zucchini or spinach.

How to keep the Red-tailed Black Shark at home

When keeping Red-tailed Black Sharks in the home aquarium, it’s essential to provide a suitable environment that meets their specific needs. Here are some key considerations:

Tank size: A spacious aquarium with a minimum capacity of 100 liters (26 gallons) is recommended to accommodate the territorial nature of the Red-tailed Black Shark. Ensure the tank is well-aerated and furnished with plenty of hiding spots and caves.
Water parameters: Maintain a stable water temperature between 24-26 °C (75-79 °F) and a pH level ranging from 6.5 to 7.5. Regular water changes and filtration are crucial to keep the water quality pristine and ensure the well-being of your fish.
Tank mates: Choose tank mates carefully, avoiding other bottom-dwelling species or fish with similar coloration that may provoke aggression in the Red-tailed Black Shark. Peaceful, mid-water dwelling species like tetras or rasboras are ideal companions.
Dangers and risks: Be cautious when keeping Red-tailed Black Sharks with other aggressive or territorial fish, as they may engage in fights resulting in injury or stress. Additionally, ensure that the aquarium is securely covered, as these fish are known to jump when startled.

With proper care and attention to their specific requirements, Red-tailed Black Sharks can thrive in the home aquarium, delighting aquarists with their stunning appearance and fascinating behavior.

Scientific nameLabeo bicolor
Type of aquariumFreshwater
SizeUp to 15 centimeters (6 inches)
RegionNative to Southeast Asia, specifically Thailand and Vietnam
Ideal tank sizeMinimum 100 liters (26 gallons)
Ideal water temperature24-26 °C (75-79 °F)
DietOmnivorous, feeds on algae, small crustaceans, and insect larvae
ReproductionSpawns eggs in suitable substrate, no parental care
Life spanApproximately 5-8 years
SchoolingSolitary, aggressive towards own kind and similar species

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