Violet gilled shark, Labeo boga

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The Violet gilled shark has a very odd colour pattern, and it's one of the most placid Labeo species, says Matt Clarke.

Common name: Violet Gilled Shark

Scientific name:Labeo boga (Hamilton, 1822)

Origin:Originates from Asia - mainly Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar where it has been recorded from the Ganges, Gadavari and Krishna River systems. According to Talwar and Jhingran the species spawns in flooded rivers.

Synonyms: Cyprinus boga, Cyprinus falcatus, Cirrhina boga, Gobio boga and Cyprinus boga.

Size: Museum records show records of fish up to 30cm/12", however, aquarium specimens typically reach a size of 10-15cm/4-6" on average.

Diet: Labeo are grazers and detritivores and browse on algae and invertebrates. In captivity these are easy to feed and accept catfish tablets and wafers readily.

Aquarium: As with any Labeo, these are territorial, so they should be kept individually and provided with shelter to hide from other fish. Do not keep them with anything with a similar body shape, or anything likely to strike up territorial disputes with them. They'd make good tankmates for the more robust Indian river fishes such as Barilius, Opsarius and the larger Devario species.

Notes: The odd colouration of this species has led some fishkeepers to believe that it is dyed or selectively bred - it's not, this is the natural pigmentation for the species. Labeo boggut is a distinct species, despite the similar-sounding name.

Availability: This species is becoming more common in imports from India and Singapore, to where it may be shipped from outside the region.

Price: Expect to pay up to a tenner for a young fish.