Violet Blushing Shark (Labeo boga)

Violet Blushing Shark (Labeo boga)

The Violet Blushing Shark (Labeo boga) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the Violet Shark, Violet-gilled Shark, and Red-gilled Violet Shark is found in Pakistan, India, Nepal, Myanmar, and Bangladesh.

The critically endangered Violet Blushing Shark is a peaceful, calm, semi aggressive bottom feeding species that occurs in schools in most of the major river systems of it’s range, including the Ganges and Bramaputra. In India, it is not found in the western slopes of the Ghats mountains.   Although Labeo boga is widely distributed in it’s range, habitat deterioration, extensive poaching, and over fishing has rendered the species critically endangered.

Violet Blushing Sharks have a basically colorless body color with a vague touch of blush pinkish-grey, or violet around the cheeks that lend to it’s common name, and a transparent gill cover.   They are a slender pale fish and although the outlines of their internal organs can be seen, their bodies are not actually transparent.    Labeo boga have narrow, elongated bodies, a “snout” with thick lips, two hidden barbels in the lateral groove, and medium size eyes located just behind the middle of the length of their heads. They have crescent shaped mouths with rather narrow upper and lower jaws.   The dorsal fins are located well ahead of their ventral fin, and they have deeply forked tails.

Violet Blushing Sharks are best housed as single species or in groups of at least 6 or more fish, in a moderately planted aquarium of at least 125 gallons, with a coarse sand or fine gravel substrate, some river rocks, and some driftwood for them to hide among.   Smaller groupings will lead to aggressive behavior.    They need a lot of free swimming space and a good filtration system that provides good circulation, and a power-head or two to provide a high dissolved oxygen content in the water. In short their environment should mimic the bed of a flowing river.   They prefer subdued lighting, a pH of 6.6-7.9, a constant temperature, and a minimum (less than 10 ppm of nitrate, no ammonia or nitrite) of nitrogenous waste.   A tightly fitting cover is also necessary as these species are quite agile jumpers.

Violet Blushing Sharks have been peacefully kept with sharks of different species of the same size, rainbowfish, Botiid loaches, Clown loaches, Devarios, and other larger peaceful Cyprinids.

The Violet Blushing Sharks breeding habits are relatively unknown, hence the reason they have not yet been bred in an aquarium environment.

In their natural habitat, the Violet Blusihng Shark is primarily a benthic feeder that forages on worms, small crustaceans, and algae on the river bottom. In an aquarium environment, they will accept a majority of omnivore sinking pellets, algae wafers, spinach, worms, and live, frozen or freeze dried bloodworms, tubifex, dried fish, prawns, etc.

The Violet Blushing Shark (Labeo boga) is rarely available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts, partly because of their unique appearance and endangered status. They are occasionally available online from wholesale importers and fish auction sites.

Violet Blushing Shark (Labeo boga)







Minimum Tank Size: 125 gal.
Care Level: Difficult
Temperament: Peaceful
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 68-78°F, H 36-268 ppm, pH 6.6 – 7.9
Max. Size: 12″
Color Form: Silverish, Violet
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: groups of 6
Origin: Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Myanmar
Family: Cyprinidae
Lifespan: 10 years or more
Aquarist Experience Level: Advanced

One Response to “Violet Blushing Shark (Labeo boga)”


  1. […] Violet Blushing Shark a.k.a Labeo Boga – Image source: here […]

Leave a Reply

Saltwater Fish

Featuring Clownfish

Aquarium Supplies

On-Sale Aquarium Supplies!

Saltwater Holiday Specials

Tropical Fish Keeping – Categories