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Old 06-08-2019, 01:33 PM
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Default Red tailed shark aggression

Hi there, I have kept fish for years, but have no real knowledge other than what I get from reading and asking at the local aquatics shop. The guys at the shop have let me down so many times now that I cannot go back, or trust their advice. So I wonder if you can help!
So I have a 500l fresh water tank and I started it out with a few rainbows and a plec and then the shop guys suggested tigers and so I got them and then they said a good match would be a red tailed shark. So I got that and for the last 5 years all has been fine.. until now! Overnight the shark has been bullying everyone! He knocked and stunned 3 of the tigers and this morning 3 tigers are dead as well as my favourite blue rainbow fish. All I have left in the tank now is one large rainbow, a huge plec, 3 catfish and 5 tiger barbs! Everything else has disappeared over the last 3 weeks. Now.. do I re-home the red tail... or let everything die off and replace them with more suitable fish? Or will having more fish in shoals make it harder for him to bully them? (I started with 20 barbs) Ideally I would like to have an attractive, active tank with many species.. but will he make that impossible now. (I thought the barbs were the bad guys.. until I saw him in action last night.) Anyway, I have no idea what to do. I love the red tail and I do not want to re-home him to the shop I do not even trust...
Thanks in advance...
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Old 07-08-2019, 02:29 AM
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Default Red tailed shark aggression

You’ve done well to keep things going for 5 years with what I presume is a fairly big Red Tailed Black shark !

It must be around 5 to 6” long now ?

They are absolutely stunning looking fish .. more so as they get gradually larger ..

I’d say any fairly robust fish can suddenly go ‘rogue’ any given day in my experience.

I’d keep him and get some new bigger , robust ones to share his tank .

Note — when adding new fish to existing ones I always rearrange all the rocks and plants to make it a kinda ‘neutral’ area for old and new fish .



Incidentally I’ve had a very similar think happen over the last 10days or so !!

I had a nice set up with a shoal of Congo tetras and a mixed shoal of Neons / Cardinals... about six months ago I added a pair of Platinum White Gouramis .. that looked spectacular and fitted in real nice .

About 2 months ago the shop had a sale so I added another 6 small Platinum Gouramis ( 4 female and 2 Male ..

Everybody was getting on , the tank looked wonderful until just recently when I noticed that the fish were disappearing one by one ...

Anyways the other day I heard splashing in the corner of the tank ... dashed across to see the big female battering a small female .. which later died.

It seems that the huge female has been going rogue for some reason and has more or less got rid of all the others apart from her partner and the two Male Platinum Gouramis.

I’ve decided to keep them but add some newer , bigger more robust ones to the tank

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Old 08-08-2019, 01:24 PM
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Thanks Zincubus! Yeah, he must be about 6 years old and he is stunning... but we have decided to rehome him to the guys at a really good aquatics shop near us. He has decimated all our livestock so we have decided to rehome all the survivors too and start again from scratch with a totally different set up and go for Mbunas. Theoretically he could be happy with Mbuna, but my husband is a purist and wants a totally one species tank. I am still trying to convince my husband to keep the massive 10 year old plec though.... I do love the hobby, but am so focused on my snakes and rescue parrots that I dropped the ball on the fish for a while.
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Old 09-08-2019, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Aconite View Post
Thanks Zincubus! Yeah, he must be about 6 years old and he is stunning... but we have decided to rehome him to the guys at a really good aquatics shop near us. He has decimated all our livestock so we have decided to rehome all the survivors too and start again from scratch with a totally different set up and go for Mbunas. Theoretically he could be happy with Mbuna, but my husband is a purist and wants a totally one species tank. I am still trying to convince my husband to keep the massive 10 year old plec though.... I do love the hobby, but am so focused on my snakes and rescue parrots that I dropped the ball on the fish for a while.
Be careful of the tiger barbs too- they can also turn into nasty fin biters, especially in numbers of 6 or less.
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Old 09-08-2019, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Aconite View Post
Thanks Zincubus! Yeah, he must be about 6 years old and he is stunning... but we have decided to rehome him to the guys at a really good aquatics shop near us. He has decimated all our livestock so we have decided to rehome all the survivors too and start again from scratch with a totally different set up and go for Mbunas. Theoretically he could be happy with Mbuna, but my husband is a purist and wants a totally one species tank. I am still trying to convince my husband to keep the massive 10 year old plec though.... I do love the hobby, but am so focused on my snakes and rescue parrots that I dropped the ball on the fish for a while.


Oddly .., I’ve decided to take these Platinum Gouramis back and will swap for something different.. I like having fish as our grandkids love them


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Old 28-09-2019, 12:54 PM
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Default Red tailed shark aggression

So I saw that Red Tail Black Sharks were on offer at ridiculously cheap prices sooooo as I have a decent sized tank with just a pair of young Angel fish and a shoal of young Clown loach I decided to experiment ... Years ago I had two together and they had half a tank each but came to blows halfway so I added a third and things were a lot calmer ...

Anyways using that experience plus seeing a similar thing in my tank of Malawis I decided to get FIVE baby RTB Sharks !!

They are all getting along rather well ... The tank is full of rocks and hiding places / quiet areas and they all like their own area but they just occasionally chase one of the others for a second or so but no nipping or fighting or aggression !!

I've had them together for a week or so and they keep in less than brilliant condition but all look fabulous , great colouration and all have perfect fins !!


I have other tanks if things go pear shaped and the shop is happy to swap any ..

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Old 28-09-2019, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Zincubus View Post
So I saw that Red Tail Black Sharks were on offer at ridiculously cheap prices sooooo as I have a decent sized tank with just a pair of young Angel fish and a shoal of young Clown loach I decided to experiment ... Years ago I had two together and they had half a tank each but came to blows halfway so I added a third and things were a lot calmer ...

Anyways using that experience plus seeing a similar thing in my tank of Malawis I decided to get FIVE baby RTB Sharks !!

They are all getting along rather well ... The tank is full of rocks and hiding places / quiet areas and they all like their own area but they just occasionally chase one of the others for a second or so but no nipping or fighting or aggression !!

I've had them together for a week or so and they keep in less than brilliant condition but all look fabulous , great colouration and all have perfect fins !!


I have other tanks if things go pear shaped and the shop is happy to swap any ..

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You'll find they will likely be fine for a while - it's often once they gain some size and reach sexual maturity that aggression and bullying issues start within a tank, especially around breeding time. Typically Red tails don't seem to bully Clown loaches, despite occupying the same area of the tank.

Normally it's recommended to have a robust shoaling or schooling species that will inhabit the middle and top section of the tank, adding a single red tail last to inhabit the bottom - adding the red tail shark last simply means they don't have the chance to claim the entire tank as their territory.

Alternatively people do keep them in a group, limiting the amount of decor or hiding spaces - this prevents them and other aggressive species from being able to setup a territory, some may still get beaten up.
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Old 28-09-2019, 03:27 PM
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Default Red tailed shark aggression

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Originally Posted by Esiuol View Post
You'll find they will likely be fine for a while - it's often once they gain some size and reach sexual maturity that aggression and bullying issues start within a tank, especially around breeding time. Typically Red tails don't seem to bully Clown loaches, despite occupying the same area of the tank.

Normally it's recommended to have a robust shoaling or schooling species that will inhabit the middle and top section of the tank, adding a single red tail last to inhabit the bottom - adding the red tail shark last simply means they don't have the chance to claim the entire tank as their territory.

Alternatively people do keep them in a group, limiting the amount of decor or hiding spaces - this prevents them and other aggressive species from being able to setup a territory, some may still get beaten up.


I watch them avidly .. and rearrange the rock-work weekly ...

As regards the clown loaches .. I don’t think anything bullies them due to those two spiked under their eyes .. they were double bagged when I got them and they still managed to puncture through ..

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