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Fish of the Month
Issue: December 2008

Epalzeorhynchos bicolor

SMITH 1931

1208 FOTM

Hans-Joachim Richter

Common Names: Redtail shark, redtail black shark, black shark, bicolor shark, redtail black loach, redtail sharkminnow, red tailed shark, redtailed labeo, etc.

Type Locality: Central Thailand, Menam Chao Phya River

Range: Extinct in wild, originally endemic to central Thailand

Taxonomic Troubles: Originally described as Labeo bicolor.

Size: 12 cm (4¾ inches) TL.

Preferred Water Chemistry: Tropical freshwater.

Difficulty: A hardy if aggressive species.

Tank Setup: A large tank with robust tankmates is necessary for this moderately large, territorial, solitary fish. Appreciates a planted tank. A home cave of driftwood, rocks, or artificial material (flower pot, PVC section, etc.) will be defended. Do not keep with c

Feeding: Omnivorous. Sinking tablets are excellent. Make sure to include vegetable-based foods in the diet. Live foods are greedily accepted and make great treats.

Breeding: Though listed as extinct in the wild, tens of thousands are exported from Thailand every year thanks to massive captive breeding projects. These utilize outdoor ponds, but reports of aquarium spawning are uncommon, undoubtedly because of the difficulty of keeping more than one adult in an aquarium.


Solid black with a bright red tail in the juvenile; colors fade as the fish ages, though the fish is still attractive when dark gray with reddish orange tail.


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