Black shark Care Guide: Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases, Breeding & More

Updated: December 17, 2022

The Black Shark is a freshwater fish that is popular in the aquarium trade. They are known for their unique appearance and active personality.

However, they can be difficult to care for and are not recommended for beginners. In this guide, we will discuss everything you need to know about Black Shark care.

Species overview

The Black Shark (scientific name: Epalzeorhynchos franssi) is a freshwater fish that’s native to various parts of Southeast Asia.

They’re most commonly found in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.

As the name would suggest, these fish are black in coloration with a few white spots on their fins. Black Sharks grow to be about a foot long and prefer to live in schools.

In the wild, these fish are omnivores but tend to eat mostly insects and small crustaceans.

Black Sharks are a popular choice for aquariums because of their unique coloration and active nature. They are, however, considered to be semi-aggressive so it’s important to research compatible tank mates before adding them to your tank.


Black shark

The Black Shark is an easily recognizable fish due to its unique coloration. The body of this species is a deep black, with a slightly lighter underside.

The fins on the Black Shark are also black, but they have a white leading edge. This is most notable on the dorsal and caudal fins. The pectoral fins are shorter and stubbier than the rest.

The Black Shark has a long and slender body that tapers towards the tail. This shape gives them a lot of speed and agility in the water.

The eyes on this species are large and prominent. They’re silver in color with a black pupil.

The Black Shark is a freshwater fish that is native to Southeast Asia.


Black sharks typically have a lifespan of 10 to 20 years in captivity. In the wild, their lifespan is thought to be much shorter due to predation and other risks.

As with any animal, the lifespan of a black shark can be impacted by the level of care it receives. Poor water quality, for example, can shorten their lifespan quite a bit.


Black sharks can grow to be about 3 feet long, but they are typically only about 2 feet long.


Tank Size

The minimum tank size for a black shark is 50 gallons. If you want to keep more than one shark in the same tank, you’ll need to add at least another 50 gallons for each fish.

As with most fish, it’s best to err on the side of caution and provide as much space as possible. These fish are active and need room to swim. A larger tank will also give you more flexibility when it comes to stocking your tank with other fish.

Water Parameters

Black sharks are a freshwater species, but they come from slow-moving rivers in Thailand. That gives you a good starting point for their water parameters.

Your goal is to maintain water that’s on the warm side with plenty of oxygen. They’re not too fussy about the rest.

As long as you stay within the guidelines below, your black shark should thrive.

  • Water temperature: 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit
  • pH levels: 6.5 to 7.5
  • Water hardness: 5 to 15 dGH
  • Alkalinity Levels: 4-8 dKH

What To Put In Their Tank

When it comes to setting up the interior of a Black Shark’s tank there are a few things you’ll want to consider.

The first is the substrate. These fish love to dig and will often uproot plants in the process. A soft substrate like sand is best to avoid any cuts or scrapes.

The second is the decorations. These fish love to hide and will often do so in caves or among plants. Driftwood, rocks, and plants are all great choices. Just be sure that any plants are securely anchored since they will likely be disturbed.

Lastly, you’ll want to consider the size of your tank. Black Sharks can grow quite large and need plenty of room to swim. A minimum tank size of 100 gallons is recommended.

Common Diseases

Black sharks are actually pretty hardy fish. They’re not particularly susceptible to disease and can withstand a wide range of water conditions.

That being said, they’re not immune to everything. There are still a few things that you need to watch out for if you want to keep your black shark healthy.

The most common disease that these fish experience is ich. This is a parasite that will attach itself to your fish and cause white spots to form on their body.

If left untreated, ich can be fatal. However, it’s relatively easy to treat if you catch it early.

The other disease that you need to be aware of is hole-in-the-head disease. This is another water quality-related disease that’s relatively common in black sharks.

It’s caused by a build-up of toxins in the water and will present itself as one or two pits/holes in the skin of your fish’s head.

If you suspect that your black shark has either of these diseases, the best thing to do is to take them to a vet or experienced fish keeper for a diagnosis. From there, you can begin treatment and get your fish back to good health!

Behavior & Temperament

Black sharks are a semi-aggressive species of fish. In the wild, they are known to be loners. They don’t school with other fish and prefer to stay away from their own kind.

In captivity, they can be kept in groups but it’s important to provide them with plenty of hiding places. If they don’t have enough places to hide, they will become stressed and may start to fight with each other.

Black sharks are a nocturnal species, so they are most active at night. During the day, they like to hide and rest.

Black sharks are not an ideal fish for beginners. They require a lot of care and a well-maintained aquarium. If you’re not prepared to take on that responsibility, it’s best to choose a different fish.

Tank Mates

When it comes to Black Shark tank mates, you need to be careful. These fish are notorious for being aggressive. They’re also large, which can make finding appropriate tank mates difficult.

The best Black Shark tank mates are other large, aggressive fish. These fish need to be able to hold their own against the Black Shark’s bullying tactics.

Some Black Shark tank mates include:


Black sharks are difficult to breed in captivity. Their preferred water temperature is much higher than what is comfortable for humans, so a dedicated breeding tank is a must.

The first step is to sex the sharks. This can be done by looking at the anal fin. Males have a much longer and wider fin than females.

Once you have your pair, it’s time to set up the breeding tank. It should be at least 200 gallons and heated to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. The water should be well-filtered and have a high oxygen content.

You can achieve this by adding an air stone and using a powerful filter.

The next step is to add some decorations. Black sharks like to have hiding places, so add caves, rocks, and driftwood.

When everything is set up, it’s time to add the sharks. Put the male in first and let him adjust to the new surroundings. After a few minutes, add the female.

It’s important to monitor the sharks closely. If the male becomes too aggressive, he may injure or even kill the female.

If everything goes well, the female will start to lay eggs. She will deposit them in a safe place, usually under a rock or in a cave.

Once the eggs are laid, the male will fertilize them and then guard them until they hatch. This can take up to two months.

When the fry hatch, they will be about an inch long. They will need to be fed live food, such as baby brine shrimp.

As they grow, you can transition them to a diet of pellets and flakes.


The Black Shark is a great fish for the intermediate to experienced fish keeper. They’re not the easiest fish to care for, but they’re definitely not the hardest either.

With proper care, they can live for a long time and provide you with years of enjoyment.

If you’re looking for a fish that’s a little bit different and willing to put in the extra effort, the Black Shark might be the perfect fish for you!