SILVER APOLLO SHARK - Complete Aquarium Guide

SILVER APOLLO SHARK – Complete Aquarium Guide

Silver Apollo Shark is a trading name for freshwater aquarium sharks consisting of three look-alike species. These include the Luciosoma setigerum (Silver apollo shark), Luciosoma pellegrini, and Luciosoma spilopleura (long-finned Apollo shark). These species appear very much alike that except for close observations, you may not notice their differences. More so, they all have related needs in terms of care and they share identical behavior.

The Silver Apollo Shark is a freshwater torpedo-shaped fish, usually found in the Malay Peninsula, Borneo, Sumatra, Borneo, and Thailand. This shark species belongs to the family of Cyprinidae. Silver Apollo sharks are fast-moving, active swimmers that prefer streams or clear fast-flowing rivers with rocky, gravel bottoms or stones, and with a high level of dissolved oxygen.

Differences between the Silver Apollo shark and other apollo sharks (Luciosoma spilopleura, Luciosoma Pellegrini)

The long-finned apollo shark which is scientifically known by Luciosoma spilopleura is often confused with Silver Apollo shark which is Luciosoma setigerum because of their similar appearance and behavior. However, it is important to note their differences. Long-finned Apollo shark grows up to 12 inches in size, unlike the Silver apollo shark which grows just 9 inches maximum length. Even more, this shark tends to be much more aggressive compared to the Silver Apollo shark.

The long-finned apollo shark is not a schooling fish, but it may be sold as silver apollo shark which is, in fact, a schooling fish. A misinformed aquarist may buy the two together taking them to have the same temperament. The end result is usually the long-finned shark killing the silver shark because of its aggressive behavior.

A juvenile long-finned apollo shark is usually larger than Silver apollo sharks, still, it can be quite difficult to differentiate them. Therefore, it is important to check for little details when buying them.

Luciosoma setigerum has the following attributes and appearance which you can use to differentiate it from the other species in its genus. Thus, its dark lateral body stripe is interrupted by marks and extended into a black blotch at the edge of the upper caudal-fin lobe. The lower caudal fin lobe has a submarginal stripe. Its lateral line scales have spots. Also, Luciosoma setigerum has well-developed barbels, with no tubercles on its snout and an anterior pelvic fin ray that extends into a filament.

Another uncommon species under the apollo sharks’ genus is the Luciosoma pellegrini. This species rarely come to the aquarium trade but looks more like Luciosoma setigerum with the same growth size. It occurs in regions where only very few commercial fish collections take place, hence the scarcity.


The scientific names of these aquarium sharks are on regular basis misapplied. Most people may refer to the more common L. setigerum with other species. Of course, while we advise against the long-finned apollo shark (L. spilopleura) for aquarium, know also that the true species may never have been collected for aquaria. In other words, if you find the name in the aquarium trade, it is likely misapplied to the L. setigerum species.

Silver Apollo sharks life span and rate of growth

These sharks have a fast growth rate and would increase to a maximum size of about 9 inches in an aquarium if taken care of properly and kept in good water conditions. Silver Apollo sharks have a great lifespan and can live up to about 14 years or more in their natural habitat.


Silver Apollo sharks are peaceful, active predators that feed on the surface of the water. In their natural habitat, they are a schooling fish and prefer a school of about six to twelve fishes. These sharks are found to be uncomfortable and stressed when kept alone or in a smaller school of about three members. They form a pecking order when the school is small and the dominant of the fish pick on others, most times leaving them injured. Therefore, it is best to keep them in a large school.

When kept in a school large enough, this behavior of being dominant would spread among the group, as a result, no individual will bear the brunt. Also, when kept with fishes of their size, these sharks are not territorial. But, they would eat smaller fishes or prevent slower fish from getting enough to eat in the aquarium.

Silver Apollo sharks are skittish in nature and may get scared easily. Hence, they would not do well in an aquarium of territorial fishes like Cichlids, Redtail sharks, Oscars, giant wolf fish, and tiger barbs as they may make them feel uncalm or agitated.

Can Silver Apollo shark fish live in brackish water?

No, they can’t. Silver Apollo sharks are mainly freshwater fish.

How to Identify Silver Apollo shark

Silver Apollo sharks have a cylindrical, elongated body with short whiskers and pointed snout differing from most of the other cyprinids. These sharks have flanks and a greenish tinge above their large scales and lateral line. They have a black line that runs from their snout through their caudal peduncle and continues toward the top edge of their large forked caudal fin. When in juveniles, they have a more pronounced silver color.

What does Silver Apollo shark eat?

Silver Apollo Shark are omnivores, as such, they eat anything they find in the aquarium especially small fishes like neon. These sharks are easy to feed and will eat varieties of food like frozen, fresh or freeze-dried foods. You can feed your Silver Apollo sharks a diet of frozen fish, bloodworms, vitamins enriched brine shrimps, mosquito larvae, chopped worms, Mysis shrimp, etc.

Bigger Specie would prefer ghost shrimp, krill, chopped prawns, etc. With time they would also accept sinking foods like pellets and flakes. When you give your pet sharks a balanced diet, their skin coloration becomes more intense around their fins. On the other hand, you should give these sharks enough food that they can feed on for about 3 – 4 minutes at once. Feed them two to three times daily.


In the wild, Silver Apollo shark lives in freshwater that has fast currents, therefore you need a strong water filter in the aquarium to replicate this shark’s natural habitat. Moreover, they can’t tolerate low levels of nitrate or ammonia, hence the need for adequate filtration. In their natural habitat, you will find lots of plants, rocks, and logs that serve as shelter for this fish. They also enjoy the water surface where they stay often swimming fast.

Conservation Status

There is no major threat to the population of the silver apollo shark (Luciosoma setigerum), hence the IUCN listed them as Least Concern (LC).

Silver Apollo Tank size

Silver Apollo sharks are shoaling species that are similar to Rasboras. They are a very active shark when in their natural environment and would do well in a large tank as these fishes require a large swimming area. Hence, aquarists need to bear in mind that silver Apollo sharks need to be housed in a big tank of about 125 gallons or more depending on the size of the school.

Ensure the tank has a tight lid and no escape holes because these sharks tend to jump out of the water easily when startled. More so, it is advisable to site your aquarium in a quiet place where footsteps and sudden slamming of the door would not disturb your pet sharks.

Suitable Tank water Conditions for Silver Apollo Sharks

Providing and keeping good tank conditions is very important in keeping Silver Apollo shark. There are a lot of things to put into consideration if you want to become the owner of this pet shark. These conditions include the following:

Water Filter

Bigger fish tends to produce more waste than a small one. Silver apollo shark being a big fish needs a long-lasting filter in their aquarium. Canister filters are one of the best at providing safe level filtration for big fish.

Need for Lightning

Silver apollo shark tends to get stressed easily. It is therefore advisable to use low lightning in the tank to make your pet sharks happy. This also helps them see better at night.

Water Temperature

The right water temperature is critical when keeping the Silver Apollo shark. Maintain a water temperature of 72 – 78°F (22 – 25 °C). To ensure this, use a standard heater that would last for a long period. Maintaining a suitable tank temperature will ensure your pet sharks’ continuous happiness.

Nano Tank suitability

It is not suitable

Level of pH

Their water should maintain a pH level of 6.0 – 7.5 to keep them safe as anything below or above the stated parameters may affect your sharks, commonly leading to stress. To ensure the water in your aquarium does not fall below or above, get a digital pH tester.

Water Hardness

water hardness should be around 2-20dGH.

Movement of water

These sharks are active swimmers and would enjoy some currents in their water. As a result, it is important for aquarists to provide a strong water filter in the aquarium. This would not just keep your fish healthy but also make them happy as well.

Tank mates

Silver Apollo sharks are peaceful and active when kept with fishes like large barbs, Tin foils, Bala sharks and other non-aggressive fish that are not too large for your aquarium. These sharks also do well with other bottom dwellers. Do not keep with smaller fishes or other fishes with long fins or any fish that measures less than 8 inches or have silver color on their body as it may lead to serious fight amongst them and sometimes it might lead to death.

Aquarium Decoration

Silver Apollo shark is an active swimmer that needs quite a large swimming space to thrive in the aquarium so overcrowding their aquarium would not be a good idea. However, you can still sparingly decorate their aquarium with bogwoods or driftwood. A rocky substrate or gravel with a background of aquatic plants is okay too.

Substrate Type

Any substrate is okay but be cautious of sharp edges as this may injure your pet sharks.

Region of tank

Silver Apollo shark spends most of their time on the surface of the water but also occupy the middle of the aquarium. These sharks like to roam around the tank a lot.


It is not easy to differentiate their sex until you take a closer look, hence, the matured females tend to have a much fuller belly compared to the males.

Aquarist level

Silver apollo sharks are active fishes that require extra care, thus recommended for intermediate level aquarists.

Water Changes

Regular water change is very important to keep a healthy aquarium; therefore, the aquarist should endeavor to perform the task at least once a week. Partial water change of at least 25% of the water every week to avoid germs breeding or the effect of trace elements in the aquarium is okay.

Although many aquarists are aware of the importance of water changes, they still find it difficult to keep up. We know it is quite tasking and only the right equipment can help you simplify this, therefore, we created a list of tools to simplify this process for you and they are the following. Towels, mat, Siphons, and Tarps. Water spills during the changing of water are unavoidable, but you can minimize it by placing towels around the aquarium. Also, you can use a cleaning mat. It helps keep the carpet and floors clean during the maintenance of your aquarium.

Siphon is one of the important pieces of equipment for convenient water changes. It relies on gravity to draw water from the tank and into a sink or bucket. This smart device is attached to the faucet, it uses water pressure to fill and clean the tank. Since the water drains directly into the sink, it eliminates the time-consuming bucket brigade.

Aquarium Wipes and Cleaners

Using a glass cleaner specifically designed for use in the aquarium will help to prevent watermarks on aquarium glass. Aquarium wipes and cleaner helps reduce the re-occurrence of long-lasting spots, specks of dust, and fingerprints.
Note: Aquarium cleaners are for external surface use only. Do not use inside the aquarium

Water Conditioners

A dechlorinator or water conditioner is also important in every water change to make the tap water safe for your fishes.

Aquarium Journal or Log

Keeping an aquarium journal is a great way to keep tabs on your aquarium water changes.

Preparing Freshwater Aquarium for Your Pet Shark

Adding an aquarium to your home might just be what you to need to bring that beautiful color and life to your surroundings. Apart from that, it can also help reduce stress and lower blood pressure. Here is how to set up a freshwater aquarium for beginner aquarists that just found interest in keeping pet sharks.

  1. Determine the location of where you want to put your aquarium. The place must not be under direct sunlight or air conditioners as rapid changes in temperature can lead to stress in fish.
  2. Put the tank stand in place and adjust the level to the desired position. Then, fill with one or two inches of water to see if the tank is even as an unbalanced tank can be hazardous.
  3. Ensure there is enough space between the back of the aquarium and wall to fit filters adequately for maintenance.
  4. Fill the aquarium to approximately 1/3 of the volume. And, dry off the bottom edge of the aquarium and the stand.
  5. Install the filter
  6. Add substrate to the tank but disinfect before use to avoid contaminating your tank.
  7. If you noticed no leak, you can then fill the tank to the brim.
  8. Add the appropriate amount of water conditioners or additives to the tank.
  9. By now, you can put the heater in the tank. Use clip-on-submersible heaters and hang them vertically. It must be placed close to the outflow of the filter.
  10. Install thermometer now, according to the manufacturer’s instruction.
  11. You can add decorations at this point but remember to leave enough room for your pet sharks. Hence, do not overcrowd your aquarium.
  12. Wait for 24 to 48 hours before adding your fish.

How to Acclimate your Silver Apollo Shark

After researching and investing so much to get Silver Apollo shark, I’m sure the last thing you want is your pet sharks dying because of poor acclimation. As a result, we gathered enough resources for you to properly acclimate your fish in the aquarium without you having to go through so much stress. Now, let’s dive into it.

Before that, it is important to note that there are two methods of acclimation and we would be taking you through the two in order for you to decide which one you are most comfortable with and choose.

  1. Floating method
  2. Drip method

Floating method

  1. In the space where you want to set up your aquarium, dim the light and turn off the aquarium light. You should do this before you remove the fishes from the bag since sudden exposure may traumatize your fish and might lead to stress.
  2. Let the bag that contains your fish float on the water surface for about 15 minutes. Ensure the bag does not come undone during the process. The reason for this process is to allow the fish to adjust to the temperature in the aquarium.
  3. Open the bag, add water to it for 4 minutes and let it flow for another 4 minutes in the tank. Repeat the process.
  4. Dispose half of the water in the bag and carefully place it back in the aquarium. Let it float again.
  5. Once again, add a half cup of water to the bag and let it float for 4 minutes
  6. Finally, your pet sharks can be released into the aquarium. You might need a very small net, gently let your fish into the net and place it in the tank. Be gentle and quick so your fish does not get entangled in the net.

Note: Keep the aquarium light turned off for at least four hours after introducing your fishes into the aquarium.

Drip Method

For the drip method, set up a series of tubes that will run from the main tank to the bucket.

  1. Get 3 or 5-gallon buckets that are specifically for aquarium use and an airline tubing.
  2. Fill the buckets with clean aquarium water to half full and let the bag containing the fish float on it for about 15 minutes.
  3. Open the bag and roll it down to the sides to create air tube that will let the bag keep flowing
  4. Put water inside the bucket and then pour the contents inside the bag at 45-degree angle into the water
  5. Set up a siphon drip and tie every loose knot in the tubing to regulate the flow of air and water. You might want to get a rate of 2 or 5 drips per second. Water will start flowing when you suck gently on the other end of the tubing. Once it does, place the other end of the tube on the edge of the gallon bucket.
  6. Dispose of half of the water when the water is doubled. This may take a while so be patient.
  7. You can now transfer your fish to the main tank.


There are no records of Silver Apollo shark being bred in a home aquarium.

Benefits of Adding Silver Apollo Sharks to Your Tank

  • Silver Apollo sharks are fun, torpedo-shaped good social community fish. More so, they get along well with other species.
  • They are low maintenance. That is to say, Silver Apollo sharks do not require a lot of inputs to thrive.

Fish Diseases

Silver Apollo shark are hardy fish but are still susceptible to various freshwater diseases such as swim bladder diseases, Ich, fibrosis, and fin rot. Ich is a common pet shark disease usually caused by a parasite that makes small white dots appear around the body of a fish. The symptoms involve your fish rubbing itself against things in your tank to ease the itching. The treatment for ich includes raising water temperatures a bit and treating water with commercially available products.


Silver Apollo shark is not very common in the aquarium trade, but aquarists with interest in tropical fish keeping can purchase them occasionally from specialty fish shops and online at reasonable prices when they are 3 to 8 inches in size.


As you can see in this article, these species are not common in the aquarium trade but, if you can get your hands on them, they are lovely torpedo-shaped creatures that will make your tank stand out.

They would do well in a big tank with other no-territorial large fishes and fishes that are not small enough to fit in their mouth. In all, ensure you follow the recommendations given on this page and you will be glad about keeping these amazing sharks.

Check out other Freshwater aquarium sharks suitable for your home Aquarium