There are a lot of so called freshwater sharks available for the home aquarium. Most (read all) of them are however not really sharks but rather a type of minnows. Most so called freshwater sharks originates from Asia and it is hard to see why they have been branded as sharks since they aren’t predators and doesn’t even have teeth. This doesn’t make them any less interesting as pets, but you should know that the so called freshwater sharks swimming in your home aquarium isn’t really sharks.
There are a number of true sharks that live in freshwater, e.g. in Australia and on Borneo, but these aren’t really suitable for home aquariums. These sharks grow large and many of them are critically endangered. There are also species that wanders between fresh and marine water, such as the bull shark. Bull sharks are not suitable for home aquariums due to their size.
The truth is that if you are looking for suitable home aquarium freshwater sharks you will have to consider keeping so called freshwater sharks rather than actual sharks. Your alternatives are more numerous if you have kept tropical fish for a while and would consider a marine aquarium since there are marine sharks that can be successfully kept in home aquariums. Marine sharks are however generally not recommended to beginner marine aquarist; you need to gain some experience with easier marine species first.
I you want to keep so called freshwater sharks in your aquarium you must consider your aquarium size when choosing species because many of the so called freshwater sharks grow too large for most home aquariums and are primarily suitable for public aquariums. Examples of this are the Black shark and the Bala shark (Balantiocheilos melanopterus). Both are popular freshwater sharks kept by many aquarists with ordinary home aquariums, but what most people doen’t know or understand when buying these fishes is how large they really grow. For many aquarists, keeping these species turn out to be impossibil in the long run since ordinary home aquariums tend to bee too small. The black sharks are often sold as 5 cm / 2 in long fry, but can eventually grow to a size of 82 cm / 32 in. A fish of this size is larger than what most aquarists can provide room for in their home aquariums. The Bala shark is small in comparison and only grows to be 36cm / 14 inches, but this size is still larger than what many aquarists can house in their home aquariums. To makes things worse, the Bala shark is a schooling fish that should always be kept in groups of at least 6 specimens or more. Don’t get me wrong; both species are fascinating and highly suitable for aquariums if you can meat their needs, the problem is that so many people buy these so called freshwater sharks for their home aquariums without any possibility of giving them a good home once they become adults. This is the reason why it is so important to choose a species of so called freshwater shark that is suitable for your particular home aquarium and to never by a freshwater shark on impulse (something which is true for all fishes).
Bala Sharks are suitable for home aquariums. Copyright www.jjphoto.dk
If you go to our species guides and take a look at the Balantiocheilos and Epalzeorhyncho species, you will find info on the 6 most commonly available so called freshwater sharks and find out if any of them would be suitable for your aquarium. The members of the genus Labeo is also generally known as “freshwater sharks”, but only a few of the 103 species are readily available in fish stores.
Red tailed sharks are another freshwater shark suitable for home aquariums. Copyright www.jjphoto.dk
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