17 Best Red Tail Shark Tank Mates

The Red Tail Shark; these aggressive fish add a certain pizzazz to any aquarium but are known to be difficult to keep in a community tank. While some people steer clear of keeping these fish in tanks with other species, some daring people relish the challenge, but the question remains, which fish?

Red Tail Sharks should be kept with semi-aggressive, fast swimming, or shoaling fish to mitigate their territorial aggression. Some species include Danios, Tetras, Silver Dollars, Gouramis, Platies, Barbs, Bala Sharks, Angelfish, Cloud Minnows, Mollies, Loaches, Rasboras, and Swordtails.

Below are some of the best fish to keep with your Red Tail Shark.

Zebra Danios 

Zebra Danio | Source: Deposit Photos

Zebra Danios are social fish from Eastern India that are particularly hardy, making them easy to keep.

A minimum tank size of 10 gallons is needed. They need to be kept in groups of six or more fish.

  • Size: 1- 2 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Tank Requirements:
    • Temperature: 640F- 770F
    • pH: 6.0- 8.0
    • Hardness: 5- 12 dGH
    • Substrate: Sand/small pebbles
    • Décor: Plants (planted and floating), driftwood and rocks.

Zebra Danios are a good fit for Red Tail Sharks because they are fast-moving, peaceful schooling fish that avoid conflict.

Another species of Danio that could be considered are the Giant Danios.

Neon Tetras 

Neon Tetras | Source: Deposit Photos

Neon Tetras are unaggressive shoaling fish that are popular and easy to keep. They originate from South America. Neon’s need a minimum tank size of 10 gallons and a minimum population of six fish.

  • Size: 1.5 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Tank Requirements:
    • Temperature: 680F- 790F
    • pH: 7
    • Hardness: Max 10 dGH
    • Substrate: gravel/sand
    • Décor: lots of plants and driftwood

Neons are schooling fish that are fast-moving, peaceful, and live in the middle section of the tank. They should not come into frequent contact with Red Tail Sharks.

Silver Dollars

Silver Dollar (Metynnis hypsauchen) | Source: Deposit Photos

Silver Dollars are peaceful fish from South America. They require a tank of 75 gallons for a school of six or more.

  • Size: 6 inches
  • Diet: Herbivore
  • Tank Requirements:
    • Temperature: 750F- 820F
    • pH: 5.0- 7.0
    • Hardness: Up to 15 dGH
    • Substrate: gravel
    • Décor: Plants, rocks, and driftwood

These fish, which stick to the top half of a tank, are also shoaling fish. They will therefore avoid Red Tail Sharks as much as possible.

Congo Tetra

Congo Tetra | Source: Deposit Photos

Originating from the Congo River in Africa, Congo Tetras are peaceful fish that should be kept in schools of at least six fish. Their minimum tank size is 30 gallons.

  • Size: 2.5- 3.5 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Tank Requirements:
    • Temperature: 730F- 820F
    • pH: 6- 7.5
    • Hardness: 3- 18 dGH
    • Substrate: sand/silt/mud
    • Décor: Plants (floating and substrate)

These fish are quick swimmers who shoal together for safety in the middle section of a tank and should move away from Red Tail Sharks.

Dwarf Gourami 

Dwarf Gourami | Source: Deposit Photos

Originating from India, Dwarf Gouramis are peaceful, top and middle section dwelling fish. They require a minimum school size of two fish in a 15 gallon tank.

  • Size: 2 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Tank Requirements:
    • Temperature: 720F- 820F
    • pH: 6.0- 7.5
    • Hardness: 4- 10 dGH
    • Substrate: gravel/sand
    • Décor: plants, driftwood, and rocks

When kept as a male/female pair, Dwarf Gouramis make great companion fish for Red Tail Sharks.

Honey Gourami 

Honey Gourami | Source: Deposit Photos

Honey Gouramis originate from South Asia and are non-aggressive fish requiring a minimum tank size of 20 gallons, where a minimum school of four fish should be kept.

  • Size: 3 inches  
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Tank Requirements:
    • Temperature: 710F- 820F
    • pH: 6.0- 7.5
    • Hardness: 4- 15 dGH
    • Substrate: sand
    • Décor: plants (floating and substrate), driftwood, and rocks

These fish will avoid Red Tail Sharks and hide in floating vegetation.

Sparkling Gourami 

Sparkling Gourami, AKA Pygmy Gourami (Trichopsis pumila) | Source: Deposit Photos

Originating from Southeast Asia, Sparkling Gouramis should be kept in groups of five or six in tanks of around 50 gallons.

  • Size: 1.6 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Tank Requirements:
    • Temperature: 710F- 80°F
    • pH: 6- 8
    • Hardness: 5- 18 dGH
    • Substrate: sand/gravel
    • Décor: Plants (floating and substrate) 

Although they move through all the levels, they often spend time close to the surface to breathe. This keeps them out of the way of Red Tail Sharks. They are not aggressive to other fish species.

Pearl Gourami 

Pearl gourami (Trichopodus leerii), also known as the mosaic gourami. | Source: Deposit Photos

Pearl Gouramis come from around Thailand. They are peaceful, but males compete with each other. Schools should be one male to three females in a tank of 50 gallons.

  • Size: 4.5 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Tank Requirements:
    • Temperature: 770F- 820F
    • pH: 5.5- 7.5
    • Hardness: 2- 30 dH
    • Substrate: gravel/sand
    • Décor: plants (floating and substrate)

Pearl Gouramis are good tank mates for Red Tail Sharks because they stick to higher sections of the tank and form schools.

Common Platy

Wagtail Platy | Source: Deposit Photos

Platy fish originate from South America. They can be kept as one male with two females in a tank of 30 gallons.

  • Size: 2- 3.5 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Tank Requirements:
    • Temperature: 720F- 750F
    • pH: 6.8- 8
    • Hardness: 10- 28 dGH
    • Substrate: gravel
    • Décor: plants, some driftwood

Although not specifically shoaling fish, they do join bigger schools. They are peaceful, medium activity fish that inhabit the central areas and should avoid Red Tail Sharks.

Bala Sharks 

Bala shark | Source: Deposit Photos

Bala sharks originate from Southeast Asia. A tank size of a minimum of 120 gallons is required, and they should be kept as two or more in a  group.

  • Size: 6- 12 inches
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Tank Requirements:
    • Temperature: 720F- 820F
    • pH: 6.5- 8
    • Hardness: up 10 dGH
    • Substrate: small pebbles
    • Décor: plants, driftwood, and rocks

These large fish are peaceful, shoaling, and should be left alone by Red Tail Sharks due to their size. 

Tiger Barbs 

Tiger Barbs | (C) Tiny Underwater | License: CC-BY-4.0

Tiger Barbs originate from Southeast Asia. They are semi-aggressive, but when kept in schools of six or more, they become less. The minimum tank size is 30 gallons

  • Size: 3 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Tank Requirements:
    • Temperature: 700F- 780F
    • pH: 6- 7.5
    • Hardness: 5- 15 dH
    • Substrate: gravel
    • Décor: rocks, driftwood and plants

Due to Tiger Barb’s and Red Tail Sharks having similar behavior, they will “balance” each other’s aggression out, especially with enough rocks for shelter and Tiger Barbs to shoal.

Other Barb species to consider are Tinfoil and Rosy

Angelfish 

ID 131219147 © Antos777 | Dreamstime.com

Originating from South Africa, Angelfish are semi-aggressive. Keeping them in schools of five to six fish in a tank of 80 gallons (20 gallons for a pair) is recommended.

  • Size: 6 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Tank Requirements:
    • Temperature: 750F- 820F
    • pH: 6.8- 7
    • Hardness: 3- 8 dH
    • Substrate: gravel
    • Décor: driftwood and plants 

Angelfish as tank mates for Red Tail Sharks are great because their natures are similar, so they should avoid one another. Angelfish are some of the less aggressive Cichlids.

White Cloud Mountain Minnows 

White Cloud Mountain Minnow | Source: Deposit Photos

White Cloud Mountain Minnows originate from China and Vietnam. They are non-aggressive fish that should be kept in schools of six or more in a tank, no less than 10 gallons.

  • Size: 1.5 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Tank Requirements:
    • Temperature: 600F
    • pH: 6.0-  8.0
    • Hardness: 5- 19 dGH
    • Substrate: sand/gravel
    • Décor: plants, rocks and driftwood

These fish spend their time in the top half of the tank and should avoid frequent contact with Red Tail Sharks. They are also shoaling fish

Black Mollies 

Black Mollies originate from Central America. They should be kept in tanks of at least 20 gallons, in shoals of at least five fish.

  • Size: 2- 3 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Tank Requirements:
    • Temperature: 700F- 820F
    • pH: 7.5- 8.5
    • Hardness: 10- 25 dH
    • Substrate: sand/gravel
    • Décor: plants, driftwood, and rocks

Black Mollies are large enough not to be pushed around by a Red Tailed Shark. They are also not aggressive. Although they move all over the tank and eat algae, they don’t spend much time at the bottom

Extra algae pellets may be required to reduce fighting.

Clown Loach

Clown Loach w/ Albino Rainbow Shark in Background | Source: Deposit Photos

Originating from Indonesia and the surrounding Islands, the Clown Loach is a non-aggressive fish that requires a tank of at least 100 gallons and four or more in the school.

  • Size: 12 inches
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Tank Requirements:
    • Temperature: 750F- 850F 
    • pH: 6- 7.5
    • Hardness: 5- 15 dH
    • Substrate: sand
    • Décor: plants, driftwood, and rocks

Clown Loaches are renowned for being amicable with most other (peaceful) fish species. Although they spend a lot of time on the bottom, their size means Red Tail Sharks will avoid them.

Clown loaches tend to shoal with other species.

Scissortail Rasbora

The Scissortail Rasbora originates from Southeast Asia and requires tanks of at least 20 gallons. They are shoaling fish, with a minimum size of six.

  • Size: 3.5 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Tank Requirements:
    • Temperature: 730F- 780F
    • pH: 6.6- 7.0
    • Hardness: 2- 12 dGH
    • Substrate: sand/garvel
    • Décor: plants, driftwood, and rocks

These fish form schools and generally stay in the top half of the tank. They are therefore out of range of Red Tail Sharks. They are not aggressive, and they also enjoy faster-moving water.

Swordtails

Swordtails feeding on bottom of aquarium | Source: Deposit Photos

Swordtails originate from Central and North America. They are social fish that require a shoal of one male with three to four females and a minimum tank size of 30 gallons.

  • Size: 2- 5.5 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Tank Requirements:
    • Temperature: 750F- 790F
    • pH: 7.0- 8.4
    • Hardness: 12- 35 dGH
    • Substrate: any
    • Décor: plants

These timid fish are more likely to avoid a conflict situation than instigate or escalate one. These fish tend to frequent the top half of the tank and should avoid confrontations with Red Tail Sharks.

Conclusion

Although not the most aggressive, Red Tail Sharks can still prove to be a challenge for inexperienced aquarists to keep in a community tank. With the correct tank mates and tank setup, their territorial aggression can be mitigated and managed, making Red Tail Sharks a joy to keep!