August 1, 2022
Best Freshwater Sharks | 2022 Guide

Best Freshwater Sharks | 2022 Guide

If you’ve been investigating new species to add to your aquarium, chances are you have come across discussions regarding freshwater sharks. Although there are indeed several shark species that stray into freshwater environments in the wild, freshwater sharks in the aquarium trade actually refers to several catfish and cyprinid species. The reason these fish species are loosely labelled as freshwater sharks is that they share some physical similarities with the fearsome aquatic predators.

As with sharks, these catfish and cyprinid varieties boast fearsome forks in their tails, as well as dorsal fins with a dreaded point. Although the majority of freshwater shark species originate from South America, South China and Africa, they are regularly sold by aquatic retailers. Below are some of the very best freshwater sharks you should think about introducing to your aquariums.

Silver Apollo Shark

The Silver Apollo shark isn’t the easiest of species to care for, but if you’re looking for a dazzling new addition to introduce to your tank, this animal is well worth considering. These fish boast a particularly slimline body, which allows them to cut through the water at tremendous speed. As such, thy tend to prefer freshwater tanks with a simulated current. Therefore, you’ll want to ensure your tank is kitted out with at least one quality powerhead.

These freshwater sharks are particularly attractive thanks to their shimmering silver scales. Meanwhile, their relatively docile temperament means you’re not too restricted when it comes to deciding on tank mates. However, these fish do best as part of a group. In fact, you’ll need around half a dozen to keep each individual stimulated.

Rosaline Shark

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance addition to your aquarium, the Rosaline shark is a good choice. Although small, these freshwater sharks aren’t lacking in character. Their vibrant red and blue striping makes them easy to spot in a large tank, especially if you’re keeping multiple specimens at any one time. Ideally, you should be looking to introduce Rosaline sharks into freshwater tanks in groups of six. This shouldn’t limit you too much however, as the Rosaline shark requires very little swimming space to live out an active and healthy life. They’re a great starter shark for those with minimal experience, thanks in large part to their non-demanding dietary requirements.

Red Tail Shark

A quick glance at one of these beauties gives you a clear idea of where they get their name from. Most specimens are completely black, save for the tail fin which is vibrant red in colour. This distinctive colourisation sets the Red Tail shark apart from most freshwater species, with the unique colouring enduring for the entire lifespan of the animal. Although impressive to look at, the Red Tail shark can be rather demanding when compared to other freshwater species.

For starters, they’re fairly aggressive. They’ll quickly attack other fish of the same species, as well as any other freshwater shark you might have introduced to your aquarium. They’re also not adverse to nipping at other fish. If you must introduce tank mates to live alongside a Red Tail, go for particularly agile species.

Bala Shark

If you’re interested in purchasing a Bala shark, make sure you’re prepared for the considerable growth spurt that is a signature of this popular species. Although these freshwater sharks are fairly diminutive in their infancy, they can quickly grow to a considerable length. In fact, most adult specimens can measure more than 12 inches in length. However, provided your aquarium is large enough to accommodate a Bala shark, they make particularly good pets.

Unlike other freshwater shark species, the Bala is fairly docile and won’t cause tank mates too much bother. However, they are easily alarmed and prefer the comfort offered by fellow Balas. It makes sense to introduce a small group of Bala tanks in one go, although this of course means you’ll need a suitably large tank to house them.

Harlequin Shark

The Harlequin shark is another good choice of freshwater species for those with a smaller tank. Their dappled exterior makes them particularly attractive, although their beautiful aesthetics belie a surprisingly aggressive nature. Harlequins are notoriously territorial, although this challenging behaviour can be circumnavigated successfully. For starters, provide them with a designated space that they can etch out as their own territory. An artificial cave will quickly be marked out as Harlequin territory. As the Harlequin is a bottom-dwelling fish, you should also avoid introducing other species that might frequent the substrate layer of your tank.

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