Aquarium Livestock Pet Care Guides

Sharks for Freshwater Aquariums


Most from Southeast Asia and Thailand

Tank Temperature:




Tank Requirements:

Tank should provide plenty of hiding places with rockwork, driftwood, and plants; pristine water quality; well aerated; low Nitrate levels.


Omnivorous; flakes, pellets, live foods, and frozen foods; will also eat algae and detritus; should be fed vegetable matter, such as flakes, shelled peas, cucumber, spinach, and chopped fruit.


Becomes territorial and aggressive with age, especially towards similar looking species; juveniles and adults are more aggressive when feeding; solitary; scavenger; most bottom-dwellers.


Community safe; do not keep with slow-moving or showy fish, such as angelfish and guppies. Avoid keeping other bottom-dwelling fish, including some cichlids and catfish. It is advised that you keep one freshwater shark per tank.

Species Overview

Some of the most popular fish for the freshwater semi-aggressive community are commonly known as "Sharks". These are not the cartilaginous carnivores you see in movies or on the Discovery Channel. These fish are most often types of Loaches or Barbs found primarily in the waters of Southeast Asia and Thailand. There are many species that are often imported for use in the aquarium trade, and several species also referred to as sharks that are less common in the trade. Though from several different genera, these fish all have in common the pointed heads and large, curved dorsal fins that give them their common names.

Freshwater Sharks make bold and interesting additions to freshwater semi-aggressive communities, as long as the tank is of adequate size and the conditions in the tank suit their needs. Though these fish lack teeth, some species can grow quite large and territoriality can make them troublesome as they mature. They are generally not suitable for tanks under 55 gallons (some not less than a 75 to 100 gallon tank). Sharks should only be housed with fish that can stand up to chasing and harassment from sharks, especially towards their own kind. Smaller fish may eventually be seen as food items as the fish grow. Suitable tank mates for most include fish like barbs, catfish, large tetras, and other fish of similar temperament.

If you are considering the addition of a shark to your community, there are several things to keep in mind. As far as the set-up goes (besides having an adequately sized aquarium) be sure that you provide plenty of cover like wood, plants or rock formations so these fish can hide and feel secure when they feel the need. A tightly fitting lid is also highly recommended as they tend to be terrific jumpers, especially if startled. Most common sharks prefer well-aerated, clean water with temps between 74 and 81 degrees (F) and a pH maintained between 6.5 and 7.5. Sharks do not tend to be finicky eaters, readily accepting flakes, pellets and frozen, freeze-dried or live treats like bloodworms, tubiflex, glass worms, plankton, brine shrimp or other meaty tidbits.

We always suggest that you do further research before adding a new pet to your tank. What we have provided for you are guidelines and suggestions. If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact our fish room at 717-299-5691 ext. 1213 or

Recommended Items

Freshwater Community Food
Artificial Rocks & Wood
Plastic Plants