Before we dive into red tail shark food and diet let’s first cover a quick introduction on these kind of sharks, then we can look at what we think are the best 5 food options for red tails.
The red tail shark is also known by its scientific name, Epalzeorhynchos bicolor. The word bicolor is because the red tail shark has a black body with a red tail. Interestingly enough, these “sharks” are freshwater fish which used to be found in the streams of Thailand. It is a fresh water fish and are actually a species of carp, not shark. They were actually declared extinct in the 1970s, but small populations have been found here and there.
Many were then captured and bred in captivity to increase their numbers and to get them off of the critically endangered list. Now they are a fairly readily available type of fish that can be bought for home aquariums. These are very active fish and quite aggressive too, but even though they are aggressive, they will rarely harm other fish.
Kind of like Betta fish, red tail sharks should not be housed together as they will become extremely territorial towards each other, sometime resulting in death. They can grow to be around 6 inches in length and will live to around 6 or 8 years in home aquariums, but have also been known to live up to 18 years. (more on freshwater aquarium sharks on this article).
Red Tail Shark Diet
What Does A Red Tail Shark Eat?
When left in the wild, red tail sharks usually eat mostly plant matter, some small insects, smaller crustaceans, and worms. Red tail sharks are omnivores and eat mostly plants and organic matter. They love to feed on algae, which is great for the cleanliness of your fish tank. They also love to eat shelled peas, blanched zucchini, and blanched cucumber too.
Remember that if you feed them vegetables, never leave them in the tank for more than 24 hours because they will begin to rot and poison the water. If you want to give your red tail shark a bit of a treat, you can always feed them some frozen foods such as frozen brine shrimp, blood worms, and daphnia.
5 Best Red Tail Shark Foods
Red tail shark food is not something that you can really find, unlike goldfish or Betta fish food. The best option to go with is some kind of high quality pellet or flake food with a medium content of plant matter and protein. Remember that you will be supplementing these flakes and pellets with veggies and frozen foods. Things like freeze dried or frozen daphnia, insect larvae, crustaceans, and brine shrimp should all be included in the diet of the red tail shark.
Also, the red tail shark loves algae, so it’s always good to have some algae in the tank, plus peeled pees, and blanched zucchini, cucumber, and other veggies should also be fed to your red tail shark. Just keep in mind that at the end of the day, your red tail shark should be eating more plant matter than protein. That being said, here are some of the best fish flake and fish pellet food options to go with for regular feedings.
Wardley Shrimp Pellets
This is a great protein rich source of food for any red tail shark. (You can buy it here at Amazon). This stuff is ideal for a variety of tropical fish with a pellet size ideal for red tail sharks and other medium sized fish. Wardley Shrimp Pellets are made of a mixture of shrimp, other proteins, and some plant matter too. These are sinking pellets which will sink to the bottom of the tank.
Tetra 77035 TetraFin Floating Variety Pellets
Unlike the above option, these are floating pellets, which is probably a little more ideal for red tail sharks than sinking pellets. Technically speaking, this is goldfish food, so that means that it is high in protein. Keep in mind that red tail sharks to feed primarily on plant matter, so you will need to add some veggies and other plants into their diet if using this food. You can check the price at Amazon here.
Hikari Cichlid Gold
This is a well-balanced fish food that has good levels of protein and plant matter in it. These things are floating pellets and they will not cloud the water. They have a large amount of Vitamin C, beta carotene, and NS germ, making it a rounded fish food ideal for a variety of tropical fish.
TetraColor Tropical Flakes
These floating flakes will provide your red tail shark with a well-balanced diet, will enhance its color, and keep it as healthy as can be. This food is ideal for mostly all tropical fish.
Aqueon Tropical Flakes
This is another well balanced tropical fish food with ideal levels of both plant matter and proteins. These float along the top of the water, they will not cloud up your tank, and they will bring out the colors in your fish too. This stuff is full of minerals, vitamins, and other essential nutrients.
Whatever food you buy, just make sure that your red tail shark likes it, and whenever buying new fish food or switching up the diet, keep an eye on your red tail shark. Make sure that it does not get sluggish, loses color, or seems sickly in some other way. Always remember, this is a freshwater fish, they like their food to float, and they love plant matter, but also like some protein too.
You might also like our post on Rainbow Shark Tank mates here.