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June 29, 2012

The Wet Spot Tropical Fish knows that if you want a business to thrive you must instruct your regular and potential customers the right and wrong ways to keep a tropical aquarium. Unfortunately, there are fish sold in the hobby as “beginner” fish. These fish are often sold to their new owners without ever informing them about how large they get, what they really eat, or even how old they could potentially last if given the proper care. I will admit I was one of these “victims” as a child, and I’m sure there are many of us out there who can say the same thing. Therefore, this week I wanted to take a moment and point out a few species that are often sold to the wrong environments.

Epalzeorhynchos frenatus

Though they are thought to be almost extinct in nature, Epalzeorhynchos frenatus “Rainbow Shark” and E. bicolor “Red Tail Shark” are still exported from Thailand by the tens of thousands thanks to commercial farm breeding. Overfishing for the aquarium trade was thought to be the reason for their decline in numbers, but it’s more likely that building of dams on major rivers and draining of swamps is more than likely the cause.

Epalzeorhynchos frenatus

Rainbow and Red Tail Sharks are often sold or bought as “algae” eaters. Yes, they may graze at algae, but they also require a diet of frozen bloodworms, daphnia, and flake food to keep them in good health. The Rainbow Shark is considered a little better of a community tank-mate than the Red Tail Shark, but you should still carefully consider what you are going to keep them with. Both sharks do not like one another. If you are planning to keep them, you should either have them by themselves or in numbers of three or more. Both sharks grow to around 5-6”, and if you are planning on keeping one, or a group, you will need a tank that measures at least 48x12x18 (standard 55 gallon tanks). Both species can also live over 15 years. This is certainly something to consider when making your purchase.

Epalzeorhynchos bicolor

Sadly, another well-known aquarium pet is vanishing or even extinct in some areas, Balantiocheilos melanopterus “Bala Shark” has been declining in numbers in Borneo and Sumatra since 1975. Unfortunately, for reasons still unclear, but overfishing and pollution are certainly views to be considered.


The Bala Shark, also known as the “Tricolor Shark”, is one of the most common fish in the trade, but often is sold without proper care information given to its new owner. Bala Sharks can grow to over 14” in length, and despite its robust size, are actually a schooling species that ideally should be kept in groups of five or more. These schools form a pecking order that levels out any aggression that few numbers may exhibit. The Bala Shark should only be kept in aquaria larger than 72x18x24 (standard 125 gallon tanks). Though the Bala Shark is generally peaceful, if it can it will eat smaller fishes, so be warned not to keep them with your Leopard Danios (Danio frankei). Much like the Rainbow Sharks, a varied diet of frozen bloodworms, flake foods, and pellets are required to keep the fish in proper health.

It’s been our goal since day one to educate and inform our customers what they are going to be buying. Tropical fish are a pet just like a dog or cat, and can live for many years if given the proper treatment. An aquarium should not be treated as a decoration, but rather as a responsibility like any other animal that is taken into your care. I am aware that many pet stores unfortunately do not share the same beliefs as we do, but we hope we can all come together to make the hobby stronger, and more informed.

The Fourth of July also falls in the middle of the week. Due to the holiday we will not be shipping on Tuesday the 3rd and Wednesday July 4th. There will be no USPS priority shipments this week.

Next week, will be my last newsletter for a couple of weeks as I will be attending the 2012 American Cichlid Association and after that I will be on my vacation. My employee, Jess Supalla, will be taking your orders, and writing you all something while I am away. She will be taking care of you just as well as I have. If any of you have any questions please contact me via phone or email. Thanks again for all of your support, and I hope to see many of you Indianapolis!

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager