How do you get the best color on red tail shark?

Johawk
  • #1
I've had a red-tailed shark in a 10 gallon for a couple months. I was just wondering how to get the best color out of it. I have seen pictures of these fish that are jet black with bright red tails, I would like my fish to look like that. Any ideas?
 
sirdarksol
  • #2
Good water quality, which amounts to weekly water changes (50% is good) is a good start.
Food is another important factor. Most fish foods start with fish meal, which is basically like the sugar or refined flour of proteins. It has calories, but little else. Try to find a food that doesn't have fishmeal, or that has fishmeal low on the ingredient list (they list the ingredients with highest concentration first). I think you also want to avoid terrestrial grains (like corn and wheat) as a primary source of food.
They are omnivores, so you want them to get both animal and plant. They're also scavengers, so it will probably be searching the bottom for its food. You could feed it bits of sinking algae wafers and shrimp pellets to begin with (switch off between the two), and periodically feed it frozen brine shrimp or blood worms, or the like.
One thing in particular you want to look for in a food is spirulina. This stuff is basically concentrated color for fish. It helps fish of every color grow brighter. Zoos use it to keep their reef fish bright and healthy and healthy looking.

The last thing to think about is minimizing stress. A red-tailed shark should be find in a 10 gallon tank on its own. If you add any other fish to the tank, you'll stress the shark (and likely kill the other fish, as sharks have a tendency to be violent).
 
Johawk
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
I didn't think of the flake food. I remember using Tetramin since I was a kid, but it has fishmeal listed as the first ingredient. I have been feeding it dried river shrimp a couple times a week as a treat kind of thing, but the shrimp float for a long time before sinking to the bottom where it gets eaten. I just bought some frozen brine shrimp and will start using that until the fish gets a little bigger and I won't have to chop the river shrimp up as much. I have heard of giving red tails bits of vegtables or lettuce... how do you get it to the bottom where it will get eaten?

I read somewhere that the color of the gravel can affect color, darker sediment leads to darker fish... anyone here know if this is true or not? I ask because I plan on starting another 10 gallon for some neon tetras and would transfer some of the gravel from the sharks tank to the new tank to help quicken the cycle time and replace it with darker gravel.
 
sirdarksol
  • #4
You can weight it down with a rock, or hold it in there with a pair of forceps (you can get these at a sporting goods store, just make sure you get stainless steel). Or you can buy a vegetable clip (made for aquariums) and drop it in.

Gravel can affect fish's color. The amount it does so depends on the fish. Some fish are capable of changing their color in a matter of seconds (most of these are saltwater), but most fish do change color a little bit in response to their environment. In addition, the color of the gravel will affect your perception of your fish's color. For example, black gravel sets off the neon's color really good, while light gravel kind of washes their color out.
 
Johawk
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
I just put the shark in a 30 gallon with 5 tiger barbs. After just a week, it is a darker black and a brighter red than it has ever been.
 
alexraj
  • #6
Yeap. I don't know what tiger barbs do to red tailed shark (May be he needs some fish he can bully around, and survive with him). I have redtail and 5 tiger barbs in my 30 gallon, and most of the time it is pitch black.
 
KittieKat
  • #7
I keep mine with other sharks and an eel.. and feed it live black worms, tropical flake, sinking pellets, sinking algae pellets, and blanched zucchini... oh and give it lots of attention.. Arrow loves to chase my finger arount the glass! :
 
Johawk
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
Blanched zuccini?
I put some lettuce in the tank last night, but it doesn't seem that to be a big hit.
 
KittieKat
  • #9
I'm tellin ya zucchinI is a big hit in every tank I have (other than my bettas they think theyre too good to eat it or something).. loaches, sharks, platys, killis, tetras, guppies, u name they love it
 
Johawk
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
What is blanched zuccini?
 
KittieKat
  • #11
its just sliced zucchinI (the veggie u know?)... and u toss it into boiling water just until it looks like its sinking and then put it into water with ice in it to cool it down.. if it sinks then ur good to go... if not, then u have to cook it more so the fishies can eat it. they like it better when it is on the bottom
 
Johawk
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
I just didn't know what blanced meant. Thanks. I'll give that a try.
 
alyssium
  • #13
My redtail is really pale in the morning before I turn on the light and then after about five mins his colour is back. Anyone else have this?
 
Shaina
  • #14
My redtail is really pale in the morning before I turn on the light and then after about five mins his colour is back. Anyone else have this?

That's pretty normal for a sudden light change...my neons do that if the room was too dark before I turned on the aquarium light. If I turn on the room light first and let them adjust for 15 minutes or so then turn on the aquarium light, the shock isn't so bad and they are close to full color.
 

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