Shark Species

How Big Do Red Tail Sharks Can Grow

It is safe to say that most of us associate sharks with the most intriguing creatures on earth. Sharks are no doubt an integral part of healthy blue oceans, and they have been living here for a long; they are said to have existed even before the trees and the dinosaurs.

Another thing that makes us stop and wonder is the variety of shark species and, on top of that, the species that we can keep as pets. The redtail shark, for example, proves to be the best for the aquarist.

Sharks, however, are frequently believed to be dangerous to humans, and they may reach a size too large for aquariums.

Feel no disappointment unless you don’t know the truth, which is why this article will focus on how big redtail sharks can go and what their behavior is like.

Red tail sharks

The simple yet striking appearance of Red Tail Sharks is something you don’t often see in other freshwater fish. Their characteristics and look are unlike anything else in the sea. Their distinctive red tail and shark-like appearance with a pointed snout and triangular shape dorsal fins give them their name.

Most of its body is black, without any deviations or patterns, except at the tip of the caudal peduncle, the color shifts to bright red.

In spite of the fact that the species is endangered, the red tail sharks have always been popular among aquarium enthusiasts for their aesthetic appeal. With that said, taking care of the red tail sharks requires you to put in some extra effort and provide them with the appropriate habitat.

The average life expectancy of a Red Tail Shark is between 5 and 8 years; however, if you ensure a stable water environment and a spacious tank, you can help promote the growth and development of the shark.

In terms of behavior, Red tail sharks are known for their feisty personalities. Redtail sharks mark their territory, and any fish entering it is challenged with aggressiveness.

However, if you provide them with enough space and vegetation, they will not show fierceness as red tail sharks tend to live alone, and often you will see them behind the hiding spots.

Since they are nocturnal, you have a good chance to see them swimming during the dark hours. Moving forward, let’s now see how big red-tail sharks can go.

How big can red tail sharks grow?

Despite being among the smallest freshwater sharks in the world, this strikingly colored tropical fish certainly doesn’t act as small as it is. As Red Tails are hot-tempered fish, you need to be aware of their size in order to provide them with the best environment.

This fierce fish only reaches a maximum of 6 inches in length, and most are only 5 inches long. However, females are a bit larger and wider than their male counterparts.

But as said earlier, the red tail sharks won’t fit in small size tanks, even though they are 6 inches in length. Due to the fact that these sharks are solitary, they prefer to remain hidden.

If you are planning to keep one, you need to know about the tank conditions, and below, we are going to talk about that briefly.

Tank size requirements

Despite their solitary nature, the red tail sharks are quite active, and you will see them moving all time around. Due to this, they need to have enough space to roam freely. With that in mind, a 55 gallons tank is ideal for Red Tail Sharks since they prefer fast-moving bodies of water along with dense plant life. With this much space, you might help the species in reducing aggression as well.

Aside from the tank size comes more crucial factors such as the water type, temperature, and filtration. To help you with having an ideal setup, let’s see what the minimal requirements are.

Starting with the type, the tank should be filled with fresh water, as red tail sharks are good to go with this, with a temperature ranging from 22°–26°C.

The water should be clear of all impurities with a pH level of 6.5 to 7.5. The Red tail shark is nocturnal, so it prefers dim, dark environments. Avoid harsh ambient lighting and direct sunlight.

Although red tail sharks aren’t amongst the most sensitive species, it is always a good idea to keep a regular eye on water parameters since a healthy environment is vital for viable growth.

Other than the red tail sharks, do check out what other species of sharks you can keep as pets.


The Red Tail Shark is, without a doubt, a popular choice in the aquarium scene, but the only tricky part of owning one is dealing with its aggressive nature. However, if you look into how big a red tail shark can go and set up the environment accordingly, you can lower the aggression. A 55 gallons tank size is what seems suitable despite the small size of the shark.

Nevertheless, the classic beauty and attractiveness of the species make it stand out among other marine creatures.

About the author


I am a Scholar and a dedicated content writer. I am on a mission to stamp out the importance of one of the ocean's most fascinating and remarkable creatures, the sharks, and to let people know about their role in keeping the ecosystem in equilibrium.