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Bala Shark
The Bala Shark originally came from Southeast Asia around Indonesia.  They are also known as the Tri Color Shark and they have a silver body with clear fins edged in black.  Bala Sharks are a mild mannered and very active fish that need to be kept in numbers of at least 6.  They look lovely in schools too.  Because of their size and their need to school, an aquarium of more than 75 gallons should be used and it should have lots of open space.  They eat flake foods, algae and just about anything you give them.  These fish are extremely difficult to breed, as evidenced by a total lack of information on the subject.
Bala Shark
Quick Stats
Minimum Tank Size: 70 gallons
Care Level: Moderate
Tank Conditions: 72-79F; pH 6.5-7.5; KH 10-15
Max. Size In Aquarium: Up to 10"
Color Form: Black, Metalic Silver, Yellow
Temperament: Semi-aggressive
Diet:  Omnivore
Compatibility: View Chart
Origin: Farm Raised, Thailand
Family: Cyprinidae

The Bala Shark, also known as the Silver Shark and is great for the semi-aggressive community aquarium. This is one of the more passive freshwater sharks, and they are an active fish that will be visible during the day. The Bala Shark is a beautiful fish with a metallic silver body with a yellow and black dorsal and caudal fin.

It requires a large aquarium with driftwood, rocks, and spots of dense vegetation. This shark does best in small groups of 3 or more, as they prefer to school in the aquarium. Unfortunately, the breeding habits of the Bala Shark have not been documented.

An omnivore, the Bala Shark is not a particularly finicky eater. Flake food, freeze-dried bloodworms and tubifex, as well as vegetable-based foods should be fed.

 Scientific Name:   Balantiocheilos melanopterus
 Family:   Cyprinid
 Temperature:   22 - 28 C; 72 - 82 F
 PH   6.8 - 7.2
 Size:    17 cm; 7 inches
 Life Span:    4 - 10 years
 Breeding:    Difficult, Egg Layer

Compatibility:

Barbs, Danios, Gouramis, Rainbowfish,  Loaches, Plecos, one Rainbow Shark, one Red Tailed Shark
Flying Fox
The Flying Fox comes from the Thailand, Sumatra and Borneo area.  It is commonly confused with the Siamese Algae Eater or Siamese Flying Fox (Crossocheilus siamensis), the Otto and the Chinese Algae Eater (Gyrinocheilus aymonieri).   The Flying Fox is more colorful than the Siamese Algae Eater.  It has a black band running from its head to its tail, but the band is much thicker and darker in the tail than that of a Siamese Algae Eater.  There is a golden stripe above the black horizontal band, which cannot be found in the Siamese Algae Eater.  For a discussion of the differences, see the KRIB.

The Flying Fox can grow to 6 inches in the wild.  The adult specimen is territorial and aggressive towards its own kind. Flying Foxes enjoy algae more when younger and do not have an appetite for red algae, which Siamese Algae Eaters do.  They will eat common flake foods. There are no apparent sexual  differences.

True Flying Fox

(Epalzeorhynchos kalopterus)
True Flying Fox
Quick Stats
Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
Care Level: Moderate
Tank Conditions: 75-79F; pH 6.5-7.0; KH 5-10
Max. Size In Aquarium: Up to 6"
Color Form: Gold
Temperament: Peaceful
Diet:  Omnivore
Compatibility: View Chart
Origin: India, Indonesia, Thailand
Family: Cyprinidae

The True Flying Fox is a great fish for the larger community aquarium. Ignoring other species, this fish tends to stay by himself.

It prefers a planted aquarium with many broad-leaved plants on which it can rest on. It also requires these plants and rocks for grazing algae. This species can be kept with others of its own kind as long as the aquarium is large enough to allow each of them to have their own territories.

Unfortunately, the breeding habits of the True Flying Fox have not been documented.

An omnivore, the True Flying Fox is not a particularly finicky eater. Ideal foods should consist of a high quality flake food, freeze-dried bloodworms or tubifex, and pelleted foods, as well as vegetable-based foods.

 Scientific Name:   Epalzeorhynchos kalopterus
 Family:   Cyprinid
 Temperature:   24 - 26 C; 75 - 79 F
 PH   6.8
 Size:    10 cm; 4 inches
 Life Span:    years
 Breeding:    Difficult, Egg layer

Compatibility:

Suitable for a community tank, but will defend their territory.  Only one adult recommended in a tank.  Not compatible with the red tail black shark.
Golden Chinese Algea Eater
The Chinese Algae Eater is misnamed, as it originated in Thailand.  It has an uneven horizontal stripe, transparent fins and a clinging sucker mouth, which distinguishes it from the Flying Fox, the Siamese Algae Eater and the Otto .   The CAE can intake water without opening its mouth.  It can grow to 10 inches but barely exceeds 5 inches in captivity.  There is also a golden variety which lacks the dark markings.
 Scientific Name:   Gyrinocheilus aymonieri
 Family:   Cyprinid
 Temperature:   22 - 28 C; 72 - 82 F
 PH   7
 Size:    10 cm; 4 inches
 Life Span:    5 years
 Breeding:    Difficult, egg layer

Compatibility:

Suitable for a community tank, though literature indicates it is more aggressive with age and may attack slow moving, flat bodied fish.
 
Iridescent Shark
 

Although they look great when they are young, Iridescent Sharks grow too big for a regular aquarium. In Asia they are caught in sport fishing.

The Iridescent Shark comes from China.  They are known by the scientific name Pangasius hypophthalmus and Pangasius sutchi.  They are best kept in schools and they need open spaces for moving rapidly. 

The Iridescent Shark is actually a catfish and is also referred to as the Sutchi Catfish.

 Scientific Name:   Pangasius hypophthalmus
 Family:   Catfish
 Temperature:   22 - 26 C; 72 - 79 F
 PH   6.5 - 7.5
 Size:    125 cm; 50 inches
 Life Span:    ?
 Breeding:    Difficult, Egg layer

Compatibility:

Too large for regular aquarium life.
Rainbow Shark
The Rainbow Shark originally came from Thailand and Indonesia.  It is an algae eating minnow.  The body has a greenish hue and the fins are red or orange.  They are also know as red finned sharks.  They are aggressive and intolerant of their own kind unless they are in groups of at least six.  Normally it is best to keep no more than one.  Rainbow Sharks like a sandy substrate and spend most of their time in the lower levels of the tank, but make sure the tank is covered, as they are jumpers.  They like caves and are very territorial, so provide lots of both space and aquarium decoration.  They eat flake foods, vegetable matter, bloodworms and tubifex worms.  Plant matter will enhance their color.  Breeding is very difficult.
Rainbow Shark
Quick Stats
Minimum Tank Size: 50 gallons
Care Level: Moderate
Tank Conditions: 72-79F; pH 6.5-7.5; KH 10-15
Max. Size In Aquarium: Up to 6"
Color Form: Black, Gray, Red
Temperament: Semi-aggressive
Diet:  Omnivore
Compatibility: View Chart
Origin: Thailand
Family: Cyprinidae

The Rainbow Shark, also known as the Ruby Shark or Red-Finned Shark, is great for the semi-aggressive community aquarium, as long as they are the sole shark and the other tankmates are of similar size. The Rainbow Shark is a beautifully colored fish which is a dark gray to black with red fins.

It requires a large aquarium with driftwood, rocks, and spots of dense vegetation. This shark may set up territories around the aquarium. The Rainbow Shark will become very aggressive towards its own species.

Unfortunately, the breeding habits of the Rainbow Shark have not been documented.

An omnivore, the Rainbow Shark is not a particularly finicky eater. Flake food, freeze-dried bloodworms and tubifex, as well as vegetable-based foods should be fed.

 Scientific Name:   Epalzeorhynchos frenatum
 Family:   Cyprinid
 Temperature:   24 - 28 C; 68 - 78 F
 PH   6.0 - 8.0
 Size:    15 cm; 6 inches
 Life Span:    4 - 10 years
 Breeding:    Difficult, Egg Layer

Compatibility:

Barbs, Danios, Gouramis, Rainbows,  a school of Loaches, Plecos, one Red Tailed Shark
Red Tailed Black Shark
The Red Tailed Black Shark originally came from Thailand.  The body is black with a distinctive red tail.  The black color can fade when the fish is distressed.  They are aggressive and intolerant of their own kind.  Red Tails live at the bottom of the tank and establish a territory among plants.  Make sure the tank is covered though, as they are jumpers.  The other community fish should be of similar or larger size and able to defend themselves.  If more than one Red Tailed Shark is kept in an aquarium, hiding places are a necessity and a group of 3 or 4 Red Tails should be maintained - this is not recommended.  Breeding is extremely difficult due to the intolerance of these fish for themselves.
Redtail Shark
Quick Stats
Minimum Tank Size: 50 gallons
Care Level: Moderate
Tank Conditions: 72-79F; pH 6.5-7.5; KH 10-15
Max. Size In Aquarium: Up to 4"
Color Form: Black, Bright Red
Temperament: Semi-aggressive
Diet:  Omnivore
Compatibility: View Chart
Origin: Farm Raised, Thailand
Family: Cyprinidae

The Redtail Shark, also known as the Redtail Black Shark is great for the semi-aggressive community aquarium, as long as they are the sole sharks and the other tankmates are of similar size. The Redtail Shark is a beautiful fish with a jet black body and a bright red tail. The dorsal fin is marked with a white tip.

It requires a large aquarium with driftwood, rocks, and spots of dense vegetation. This shark may set up territories around the aquarium. The Redtail Shark will become very aggressive towards its own species when mature.

Unfortunately, the breeding habits of the Redtail Shark have not been documented.

An omnivore, the Redtail Shark is not a particularly finicky eater. Flake food, freeze-dried bloodworms and tubifex, as well as vegetable-based foods should be fed.

 Scientific Name:   Epalzeorhynchos  bicolor
 Family:   Cyprinid
 Temperature:   22 - 27 C; 72 - 80 F
 PH   7
 Size:    12 cm; 5 inches
 Life Span:    4 - 10 years
 Breeding:    Difficult, Egg Layer

Compatibility:

Barbs, Bala Sharks, Danios, Gouramis, Rainbowfish,  Loaches, Plecos, one Rainbow Shark
Siamese Algae Eater
The Siamese Algae Eater comes from fast flowing water in Thailand and Malaysia.  It is also known as the Siamese Flying Fox.  It is commonly confused with the Flying Fox, the Otto and the Chinese Algae Eater (Gyrinocheilus aymonieri).   The SAE has a distinctive black horizontal stripe running from its head through its later line and into its tail fin. This band is jagged along its edges.  Below the horizontal band it is white and above the band it is a gray/brown with each scale in this area having a dark outline.  The fins are transparent or can have hints of red.  Another distinctive feature are two small barbels on its nose.  There are no apparent sexual  differences. 

SAEs should be provided lots of swimming space as they are very active.  A strong flow to the water will help to produce a more native habitat for them  They will eat algae, including red algae, however their interest in eating algae declines as they grow older.  They will survive well on flake foods.  SAEs are not easily bred in captivity and most are imported from Asia.

 Scientific Name:   Crossocheilus siamensis
 Family:   Cyprinid
 Temperature:   24 - 26 C; 75 - 79 F
 PH   5.5 - 8.0
 Size:    15 cm; 6 inches
 Life Span:    10 years
 Breeding:    Difficult, Egg layer

Compatibility:

Suitable for a community tank and can be kept in groups.  They will disturb slower moving fish such as gouramis and dwarf cichlids.  Not compatible with the red tail black shark.

Chinese Hi Fin Banded Shark
Thanks to Lemuel Martinez ("lemuelpr" in our forum ) from Puerto Rico for the following information:  The Chinese Hi Fin is also called the Banded Hi Fin.  It is mainly a herbivore as it has no teeth.  It will eat granules on the bottom.  It is an endangered species in China and most are wild caught. They told me the ones I bought were farm raised.  Anyway, as they grow they will loose the Hi Fin and will change its form and color into a "pleco like" color and shape.  But I have never read of this happening in captivity.  Because they are so slow growing, one might never see this happen.  I actually have seen 8 inch ones and they still have the high fin shape and color.  Their behavior is super friendly. They are very active swimmers.  In stores they might not look so nice, looking kind of pale, but when they feel safe and have good water quality the bands turn completely black.  I have mine with Discus, Angels, Rainbows, tetras and a dwarf Gourami and "no problemo".  The only fish that have attacked my high fins is my German Blue Ram, but luckily there has been no damage.

Some other names for the Chinese High Fin are: Chinese Hi Fin, Chinese High Fin Sucker, Sailfin Sucker, Topsail Sucker, Asian Sucker, Chinese Sucker, Wimple Carp, Freshwater Batfish, Entsuyui.

Chinese Hi Fin Banded Shark
Quick Stats
Minimum Tank Size: 125 gallons
Care Level: Moderate
Tank Conditions: 59-82F; pH 6.5-7.5; KH 4-20
Max. Size In Aquarium: Up to 1' 6"
Color Form: Brown, Tan
Temperament: Peaceful
Diet:  Omnivore
Compatibility: View Chart
Origin: China - Yangtze River Basin, Northeast Asia
Family: Cyprinidae

The Chinese Hi Fin Banded Shark, Myxocyprinus asiaticus, is also known as the Chinese or Sailfin Sucker, Asian Sucker, and Entsuyui. It is considered a true suckerfish, and is named for the absence of teeth in the mouth and a comb-like row of teeth on the pharyngeal bones of the throat. It is thought to be one of the most primitive members of the Cyprinidae family. As a juvenile, the Hi Fin Banded Shark has striking contrasting colors and an inspiringly high dorsal fin. As an adult, these colors fade. In the wild, this fish can reach up to 39 inches in length; in the aquarium setting they generally reach only 18-24 inches.

Due to its its size, the Hi Fin Banded Shark requires more advanced care and handling. Therefore, an aquarium with 125 gallons or more of moving, well-filtered, and well-oxygenated water is necessary. Many people find this species to be an ideal algae eater in the backyard garden pond, as the fish can tolerate temperatures as low as 40 degrees fahrenheit.   

Peaceful by nature, the Hi Fin Banded Shark is omnivorous, but leans toward the herbivore side of this category, feeding on benthic (bottom-dwelling) invertebrates and rasp algae growing on rocks and logs. Freeze-dried or frozen bloodworms make an excellent diet for juveniles.

 Scientific Name:   Myxocyprinus asiaticus
 Family:   Cyprinid
 Temperature:   15 - 28 C; 59 - 82 F
 PH   6.5 - 7.5
 Size:    60 cm; 24 inches
 Life Span:    years
 Breeding:    Difficult, Egg layer

Compatibility:

Angels, Discus, Dwarf Gouramis, Goldfish, Rainbowfish, Tetras.

Black Shark

(Labeo chrysophekadion)
Black Shark
Quick Stats
Minimum Tank Size: 70 gallons
Care Level: Moderate
Tank Conditions: 75-81F; pH 6.5-7.5; KH 10-15
Max. Size In Aquarium: Up to 2'
Color Form: Black
Temperament: Aggressive
Diet:  Omnivore
Compatibility: View Chart
Origin: Southeast Asia
Family: Cyprinidae

The Black Shark, also called the Black Labeo, is uniformly black or dark brown in color. In some countries it is an important food source. The Black Shark is a very active, somewhat aggressive fish that is not suitable for the community aquarium. A large aquarium is necessary for this shark as it may reach two feet in length.

The Black Shark is one of the only sharks that should not be kept in a planted aquarium because plants are a large part of its diet. A hood on the aquarium is also recommended, as the Black Shark is an accomplished jumper.

Unfortunately, the breeding habits of Labeo chrysophekadion have not been documented.

An omnivore, the Black Shark is not a particularly finicky eater. Flake food, freeze-dried bloodworms and tubifex, as well as vegetable-based foods should be fed.

Silver Apollo Shark

(Luciosoma sp.)
Silver Apollo Shark
Quick Stats
Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
Care Level: Moderate
Tank Conditions: 68-77F; pH 6.0-6.5; KH 5-8
Max. Size In Aquarium: Up to 8"
Color Form: Metalic Silver
Temperament: Peaceful
Diet:  Omnivore
Compatibility: View Chart
Origin: Asia
Family: Cyprinidae

The Silver Apollo Shark is a very active schooling fish that is suitable for the mature community aquarium. This sleek shark is more passive than either Black Sharks, or Red Tail Sharks.

Sharks prefer an established planted aquarium with plenty of free-swimming space. A hood on the aquarium is also recommended as the Silver Apollo Shark is an accomplished jumper.

Unfortunately, the breeding habits of the Silver Apollo Shark have not been documented.

An omnivore, the Silver Apollo is not a particularly finicky eater. Ideal foods should consist of high quality flake food, freeze-dried bloodworms or tubifex, and pelleted foods, as well as vegetable-based foods.

Also See:
Paroon Shark (Catfish)
Columbian Shark (Catfish)