So why are they called sharks in the first place if not because of aggression? Well, as what I believe, the name is actually chosen for them because of their shape and style of swimming that closely resemble the way the ocean sharks do when cruising in deep waters. To further debunk the myth, there is also no connection whatsoever between the ocean sharks and the river sharks and in fact both of them actually belong to different classification and taxonomic group of fish identification.
There are several known genus referring to the large aquarium freshwater sharks but for reference here, we shall refer to these four main groups of family as they are the most common among the lot.
Coincidentally, two of the most famous and favorite shark fish that are reared in freshwater aquarium belong to this genus. One of them is the red-tailed black shark also known by its scientific name of Epalzeorhynchus bicolor and the other one is the rainbow shark, sometimes known as ruby shark identified by its scientific name of Epalzeorhynchus frenatus. Both fishes although are grouped together but however, in terms of behavioral instinct, they are very much dissimilar as the red-tail black shark is extremely territorial while the rainbow shark displays a more solemn nature and is often placed into the community aquarium. Thus the rainbow shark is a more preferred choice because they can mix well with other types of fish without causing any harm. You can also read-up more details about the rainbow shark and why I’ve chosen them as my ideal choice of really cool pet fish.
The Balantiocheilus melanopterus, better known as the bala or silver shark is perhaps one of the most commonly heard freshwater sharks. Together with the Osteochilus, both are genus comprising mostly of friendly type of species which are peaceful and omnivorous. One of the problems associated with the fish however that is, they can grow up to very large, reaching up to 14 inches in length and as such they require huge space to move about. However, with that size in mind, this is still considered small compared to the other shark species like the Labeo chrysophekadion which touches 24 inches for an adult fish. If you are one of the community tank fanatics hoping to create the perfect underwater world, then I would suggest you should also consider the bala shark as one of your additions. (Read up also on some community tank ideas and suggestions)
Labeo chrysophekadion or referred to by its common name as the black shark is among the largest in the family of freshwater sharks. They are also one of the most active fish around but it is also notoriously known for its wild and aggressive behavior which makes it unable to get along well with other species. Because of these reasons, aquarists usually avoid keeping them with other small pets in home aquariums and their presence are mostly confined to a large tank whereby the black shark is the only fish in it. In the Asian countries, labeo is also being bred and kept as predominantly food fish (just like tilapia) eaten and served on dinner tables. There is also another popular breed in this group known as the harlequin shark (scientific name: Labeo variegatus).
Osteochilus as mentioned briefly during the topic of discussion on Balantiocheilus is one of the ideal shark groups for freshwater beginners. The species hasselti is particularly easy to care for and their food consists solely of vegetable diet mainly lettuce and soft leaf spinach. Sometimes if you have a coating of algae on the aquarium sides or you have java moss growing on the bogwood, it would be the best and most ideal setup for your pets as they really love it. However, they are only fussy about the water quality and as such, using powerful aquarium filter that removes particles and maintaining clean water condition all the times are very important. Don’t underestimate or worry on the fish having difficulty maintaining their balance in the water with power filters around as they can handle the turbulent water easily with their big size and strong body.
Need to maintain clean and disease free water condition? Consider using aquarium ultraviolet sterilizer to remove harmful pathogens.
Looking for possible aquarium tank mates for freshwater sharks? Why not consider the peaceful and elegant-looking red-tailed tin foil barbs.