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April 10, 2015

Well, friends, we’ve made it through another week. It’s Friday and with that comes the newsletter. This week, it’s all about big Cyprinids – the fish we colloquially refer to as ‘sharks’.

Our most recent acquisition is Labiobarbus leptocheilus, the “Sailfin Shark”. These beautiful, metallic silver fish are ticked with black at the tips of their scales and will occasionally feature darker lateral lines that fade as they approach the front of the fish’s body. The dorsal fin of these fish give rise to their names – they are tall and gently curved, extending half the length of the fish’s body. As the fish matures, their now-translucent fins will gain black speckling and red tones, particularly visible in the pectoral, ventral and anal fins. These peaceful, gregarious hillstream fish are widespread in Southeast Asia and enjoy cooler, clean and well-oxygenated water. An immaculately clean tank with neutral water kept in the low 70s Fahrenheit will suit them perfectly. Due to a very large adult size of up to eight to ten inches (with the largest specimens reported to top out at twelve inches) and gregarious nature, these fish should be kept only in large aquaria for long-term maintenance – an eight foot length is ideal.

WS Lariobrabus leptocheilus

Next up is Labeo chrysophekadion “Black Shark”, a beefier, deeper bodied fish with a pointed head and large finnage. These fish are deep charcoal black from snout to tail with a thin white edge to their gill plates and leading fin rays. These are very much specialist fish – their adult size is up to two feet in length, necessitating a tank with a comfortable swimming length of twelve feet or more and a depth from front to back of at least three feet to allow the animal to turn comfortably in the space. These fish are also cool-water loving – an outdoor heated or chilled pond to keep the temperature between 65° and 78°F would work well for this fish. They can be remarkably territorial and aggressive to other members of their species or other fish that look similar in appearance, so it is best to keep these fish as single specimens.

WS Labeo chrysophekadion

Finally, one of the best species of ‘shark’ for the home aquarium – Epalzeorhynchos frenatum, the “Rainbow Shark”. These are much smaller, more peaceful fish with an adult size of five to six inches and lovely coloration of deep brown-black and brilliant cherry red fins. They sport a bold black spot at their caudal peduncle, as well as a black stripe from snout to eye. The popular albino form has paler, strawberry pink fins and a peachy body tone. Each fin is bordered in a fine edge of white. The Rainbow Shark prefers the same water parameters as its larger cousins above and, much like the Black Shark, can be somewhat territorial with similar-looking fish so a single specimen is advisable in your large community tank. A group of loaches and a robust, upper-level schooling cyprinid would make ideal tankmates.

WS Epalzeorhynchusz frenatus

Thank you all for reading and we’ll see you back here next week!

Jessica Supalla