9 Types of Freshwater Aquarium Sharks

If you are looking for a real shark in this article then you will not find but I will say that except for the Bull Shark (Carcharhinus leucas).

There are no true sharks that can live in freshwater which means all the other sharks that are presented in this article are just namely sharks.

They are not the actual sharks that you have listened to or seen throughout your childhood. If you have gone to a pet store then you will mostly see fish that are not the real sharks.

But any Shark you see in the freshwater section of a pet store is a shark mostly for its looks but if you through it they are called sharks by their eye.

What is a Freshwater Aquarium Shark?

What is a Freshwater Aquarium Shark

If you just at them you will not see the real pattern of why they are called sharks or while no one’s entirely sure how a small selection of aquarium fish was dubbed “Sharks”.

but they usually share some connection towards the shark as you will also see through it as they have a unique pattern to identify them as sharks.

  • The first thing the real sharks and these aquarium sharks have common is that all are cyprinids (carp) or Catfish native to the tropics, home to many of the most popular aquarium fish in the world.
  • The second thing that they have in common is all are active bottom to midwater swimming fish with pointed dorsal fins and forked tails.
  • The third common thing between the real sharks and the aquarium is all are easy to keep, most are common in their home regions, and all will breed in captivity when given ample space.

In short, they are not the actual sharks but they are popular because of some common properties and the name given to these fishes and it works!

Freshwater “Sharks” are loved by many hobbyists who love to keep sharks as their pet sea animals and they are normally found in every aquarium as they are affordable.

If you see it through you will probably see that nearly every fish store in the country will carry at least one of these Sharks and possibly several.

However, if you are a beginner then you should go for only Roseline torpedo sharks as they are more gentle and likable by many little hobbyists than for the other sharks.

It is not possible and it is also a shame to note that every single one of these Sharks is a terrible choice for a beginner aquarist with a small tank.

If you want to feed them it is easy to feed these sharks as they are easy to tolerate because of the water condition as well, they are all either aggressive, massive, or both.

So we can say that they are called because of this as well as they have many different sides and many different faces.

But you should know that what you’re signing up for as they are sharks and they can be deadly and some of them can be very nasty as well.

Although if you see from the other side or the other angle then you will probably see that freshwater Sharks are fascinating fish that become showpiece specimens in most aquariums.

So let’s just get on with it and take a look at these fascinating sharks that you will love to make as a pet.

Types of Freshwater Aquarium Sharks:

Freshwater Aquarium Sharks1

If you do not know that let me tell you that nearly all of the “Sharks” in the freshwater aquarium trade fall into one of two groups: active Cyprinids (Carp and Minnows) and predatory Catfish.

These two groups are making a difference in their behaviors as one of the group have sharks that have a bad tolerant level and the other group sharks are a little descent from the other one.

These groups also make understanding their care requirements fairly straightforward as they’re all are sharks and are closely related to one another.

Red Tail Black Shark:

Red Tail Black Shark

The Red Tail Black Shark is one of the deadliest and more tragic tales in the aquarium world that you can see in the eyes of this fish.

This fish is a striking fish and if you do not know it is unfortunately almost entirely extinct in the wild.

Mostly these fish are surviving because they are taken pet or left in the sea as they are less in numbers.

If you are looking for one to capture or want to see with your naked eyes then you can find them exclusively in the Chao Phraya River.

Which is situated in Thailand which probably is a country to modernize and develop. Thailand’s habitat has disappeared as dams have been built and swamps have been drained.

Because of that most of these fish are dead or ran into some other place and that’s why they are hard to find but I am sure that you can find one in Thailand if you are looking for one.

These wild sharks have not been seen since 2011 and we assume that they kind of even be extinct in nature till now but we are sure that you can see one if you dig deep in Thailand.

However, these sharks are captive bred in sizable numbers and may one day be reintroduced into the wild.

Because they can breed until the last female survives and we are sure you will find one in Thailand if you have to go and see it for yourself ownself.

If you want to buy one or in the past when they usually sell these Red Tail Black Sharks are usually sold as 2″ juveniles that are striking in color.

They are famous because of the color and their striking ability towards their prey. As adults, they retain their midnight black bodies and crimson red tails, with a small white spot at the tip of the dorsal fin.

However, they grow aggressive and territorial as they age, and are especially intolerant of their own kind.

While they lack sizable teeth they can worry away at the fins and flanks of slow-moving fish that occupy the same area of the water column (mid and bottom).

This is usually more of a problem in smaller aquaria. When given at least 55 gallons of space or more, adult Red-Tailed Black Sharks are good additions for a semi-aggressive community tank.

Providing a cave or nook of driftwood gives the Shark a focal point to defend, allowing its tank mates to swim peaceably.

As they are omnivores, Red Tail Black Sharks will eat anything you offer them and they can hunt their prey as well if you give them any live food.

As they can eat more than fish or insects, In the wild, they usually eat detritus, bottom-dwelling invertebrates, and even algae are eaten.

If you see in aquaria they will even take or eat flakes and other prepared foods, graze on filamentous algae, blanched vegetables, and frozen foods.

They are strong to survive and eat a lot plus, they can eat everything you throw at them.

  • Scientific Name: Epalzeorhynchos bicolor
  • Origin: Thailand
  • Length: Up to 6″
  • Aquarium Size: 30+ Gallons
  • Temperament: Semi-Aggressive

Rainbow Shark:

Rainbow Shark

These Rainbow sharks are very closely related to the Red Tail Black Shark, the Rainbow Shark has a  similar color as the Red Tail Shark.

If you see closely all of its fins are pink to red and with a grey body that can be almost black like red tail clack shark but never as dark as its close cousin.

They are called cousins and we can assume as they are deadly as the red tail black shark.

Although Rainbow Sharks mostly common in the trade and are affordable and less expensive, you will see them with albino varieties often seen in aquarium stores.

As they are similar to red tail black sharks Rainbow Sharks have identical care requirements of food as well.

They are also bottom-dwelling omnivores they will take any prepared or frozen foods offered as they can eat everything you throw towards them like red tail sharks do when you throw them any food.

As the red tail shark attitude and aggression were these sharks share the same semi-aggressive attitude as well and will make a  bully of slow-moving mid and bottom-dwelling fish if they stray into its territory.

They also not give them any chance to eat their own food, it will leap towards their food and eat it before they can have a close look at their own food.

If they can keep a cave to their own or hollow to claim, then we can say it will help mitigate some of their outward aggression.

As they are aggressive and intolerant these sharks are also intolerant of other Sharks, including other Rainbows.

If you want to keep multiple rainbows in one tank then you have to take a large tank that has plenty of space to hide so they can not fight with each other. 

If you are preferring to put rainbows in one tank then a tank should have 3 or more Rainbow Sharks to diffuse aggression across the group.

If they are kept with Red Tail Black Sharks, these aggressive and intolerant Rainbows tend to lose as they are thinner and not nearly as robust which means they are not aggressive as the red tail black shark.

  • Scientific Name: Epalzeorhynchos frenum
  • Origin: Southeast Asia
  • Length: Up to 6″
  • Aquarium Size: 30+ Gallons
  • Temperament: Semi-Aggressive

Black Shark Minnow:

These dangerous-looking black color sharks are the same as we discuss two above sharks, when young it’s obvious that the Black Shark.

Minnow is a very close relative to the first two Shark species which means this shark is as aggressive and intolerant as the first two sharks species.

However, if you look closely this Shark grows massive in comparison, if you put this shark in an aquarium it will grow up to 24 inches common.

If you put this shark in the sea which means the open sea then it will grow up to 36 inches, most of the fishes have this common attribute of growing as they grow more in free space like a sea than in a close space like an aquarium.

These Black Sharks are common species and desirable enough to be sought by fishermen for sport as well as food plus, they are the most loveable species for the fisherman.

If you look into the pet trade then you will see these sharks are somewhat uncommon in the pet trade but occasionally sold to unsuspecting aquarists.

These aquarists don’t realize that they will outgrow all but the very largest of aquariums and love to keep them as they are hobbyists of this shark.

If you compare a young black shark and an adult Black Shark you will see that adults have flowing fin extensions and a purplish-black color that’s striking plus, they are robust fish that can weigh as much as 25 lbs.

On the other hand, younger ones are not close to these giants. 

  • Scientific Name: Labeo chrysophekadion
  • Origin: Southeast Asia
  • Length: Up to 3 feet
  • Aquarium Size: 180+ Gallons
  • Temperament: Semi-Aggressive

Bala Shark:

Bala Shark

Bala Sharks are the most lovable and common sharks after the deadly giant sharks that you have seen on your big screen.

But if see them for a trade then you see that they are not so much very common in the aquarium trade.

If you even buy them you will buy them by saying striking small fish with tinfoil bright scales and contrasting black edges to their fins.

This is the way to sell this little dangerous species of shark. If you keep them you will experience that while they retain this look as they mature they also grow far too large for most aquariums.

And sometimes the hobbyists have to change the tank for this fish. 

  • Scientific Name: Balantiocheilos melanopterus
  • Origin: the Malay Peninsula and Indonesia
  • Length: Up to 14″
  • Aquarium Size: 125+ Gallons
  • Temperament: Peaceful

Iridescent Shark:

If we talk about the Iridescent Shark then you should know that this fish is another common, inexpensive aquarium fish that is not suitable for the majority of aquariums.

This means they should not be kept in an aquarium, and if you do buy a tank that looks like the sea.

These sharks are very active and they have strikingly colored, if you look at the color mixing of this fish then you should know that.

The color combination of this fish is a purplish-black iridescence mixed with pale white tones

  • Scientific Name: Pangasionodon hypophthalmus
  • Origin: Southeast Asia
  • Length: 36-48″
  • Aquarium Size: 300+ gallons
  • Temperament: Peaceful

Chinese High Fin Banded Shark:

Chinese High Fin Banded Shark

This Chinese High-Fin Banded Shark is an ugly type of fish that is something like a large cyprinid that performs something of a reverse Ugly Duckling transformation.

They are usually not loved by anyone and do not want it in their aquarium set. However, if you see this fish in a younger form then.

It is attractively patterned, with chocolate brown to black bands and little mottled patterns on a peach-colored background, this combination is most attractive.

Plus, this fish is mostly loved by many people when they are young.

  • Scientific Name: Myxocyprinus asiaticus
  • Origin: China
  • Length: 4-5 feet
  • Aquarium Size: 300+ Gallons
  • Temperament: Peaceful

Columbian Shark:

This shark is also known as the Silver Tipped Shark which means the shark has a pointy face or an arrow typeface at the tip of its mouth.

The Columbian Shark is also called a catfish or you can say it is similar to catfish with predatory symptoms that can crush its prey. 

If you are interested in this fish you should go for the younger ones as they are common in the pet trade and the color of the young Columbian shark are silvery blue.

These fish are very active fish that will eat anything offered to them as they have one of the dangerous predators in this list.

However, these sharks grow larger as the tank size very quickly so it means that they will need a larger tank to survive or you can say they are best for the sea and that also includes tank mates as they grow.

If you look at them closely you will see that these sharks are dangerous predators as their eyes will tell you the story plus, they have a very large mouth that can eat big food easily. 

  • Scientific Name: Ariopsis Seemann I
  • Origin: Central and South America
  • Length: 12″
  • Aquarium Size: 75+ Gallons
  • Temperament: Peaceful


We hope that this article will help you see through all the aquarium sharks and it will help you determine which shark will be best for your tank.

Leave a Comment