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FAQs about Ariid Catfishes, aka Columbian, Silver-Tipped-... "Sharks" Selection

Related Articles: Marine, Brackish & Freshwater Catfishes (Columbian, Silver-Tipped, Black Fin... "Sharks") of the Family Ariidae by Bob Fenner, Columbian Shark Catfishes and other Ariidae by Neale Monks,

Related FAQs: Ariid Cats 1, Ariid Cats 2, Ariid ID, Ariid Behavior, Ariid Compatibility, Ariid Systems, Ariid Feeding, Ariid Disease, Ariid Reproduction, Marine Catfishes, Catfishes in General


Re: Sciades seemanni and Mono Questions  3/8/10
So the other Sciades Seemanni did die.
<Sorry to hear that..>
The bulge in his stomach went away and he was swimming fine for a day. Then the reverse happened, his stomach started to look sunken in. One hour he was fine and dead the next. I think it was due to the quality of fish.
<Possible, or else it was maintained in freshwater conditions for too long.>
I made the mistake of buying the fish at PetSmart. They must have had problems before I got them home.
<Does happen. Like many brackish water fish, if maintained in dirty water, or kept in soft water conditions, these catfish can become very weak. Look for lively specimens with bright colours, especially white bellies, and avoid any with sunken eyes or unusual dark patches.>
A couple days ago I went to a better fish store and picked up a new catfish. I acclimated him over 10 hours and he and the original cat in my tank are doing great.
The big cat I have had for 2 years is tons more active and you can hear both fish grunting.
<Neat, isn't it! Do look at the upcoming 'Conscientious Aquarist' that should be up on this site within the week. There's a whole article on the Ariidae catfish. Some scientists believe these catfish are not just communicating, but echolocating, like dolphins.>
Thanks for the help!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Arius... Wal-Mart, Mis-served consumers  - 05/29/06 hello my name is kylie and I have recently purchased 3 black finned sharks and I cant seem to find any information on them and am only 15 so I have no idea what to feed them or how big they get I bought them from Wal-mart and they said that they only get to be about 6" but am not sure and I would like to know if feeding them stuff like frozen brine shrimp would be a good idea or not? <... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/ariidcats.htm and the linked files above> because I was researching some stuff about a Bala shark because that what I thought they were the same thing and found to be incorrect and I was wondering if a 10 gallon tank would be big enough along with having 4 guppies in the tank with them? <No... this venomous catfish gets too big, is brackish to marine...> I would appreciated very much if you could help me out with this because I do not wish for them to die so if you could pls reply ASAP it would help greatly and is it ok to feed them regular fish flakes or is there something specific I need to feed them?   Thank you for your help,   Kylie <Do research ahead of purchasing livestock. Bob Fenner>

Another <Arius> question  - 05/29/06 I have another question about my black finned sharks is it strange that they swim in a circle in one corner of the tank? <Mmm, no and yes> am asking because they do this all day and am worried that there might be something wrong with them <There in a freshwater system... and they're not freshwater animals...> and I just tried to feed them and its like they didn't even notice the food was there so is there something wrong with them or is this usual? Thank you,   Kylie <Read my young friend, now. I would return these animals to Wal-Mart. Bob Fenner>

Ich and Black fin sharks  - 5/17/2006 Hi, <<Hi, Jennifer. Tom here.>> I have a problem that I can't seem to resolve and I'm not sure if it too late for my fish.  I have a 10g tank with 2 black fin sharks (about 2-3 inches), 2 platies, and 1 Pleco. I had 3 BF sharks, but one died (stress I think..) Also, had 3 platies but 1 died. (I think from being attacked by the other fish because one day 1 of it's side fins was half gone and it's tail fin was pretty beat up looking.  Anyhow, I noticed some bubble looking spots on the 2 BF sharks and went out and purchased an Ich treatment.  The guy at the fish store said they use it all the time and it works fast.  So I followed the 3 day process, and they seemed to look a little better.  I skipped one day as directed and am repeating the process.  This is day three and they look way worse than before.  I also haven't seen them eating and one looks as though it's mouth is fuzzy.   <<Hazarding an educated guess, Jennifer, the white spots you first noticed were the beginning stages of Columnaris. I wouldn't discount Ich, of course, but the "fuzzy" growth around the fish's mouth is Columnaris. I'd recommend you begin treating with Melafix immediately. Once this bacteria affects the organs of the fish, antibiotic treatment is in order and you're not set up for that.>> None of the other fish are affected by the Ich, just the sharks.  Could this be something else?  Are my sharks pretty much goners and if so should I put them out of their misery?  I have no idea what to do. <<Treat with Melafix and, if this takes care of the problem, find a new home for your sharks. In the proper environment and correct conditions, these fish grow to be VERY large. They're also not "true" FW fish but, rather, will require marine conditions as adults. Your Pleco is going to need a larger tank than what you have now, as well. Depending on the variety of Pleco you have, these, too, can grow quite large. Much to learn before any more purchases, Jennifer. This site is the best place to start.>> Jennifer <<Tom>>
Re: Ich and Black fin sharks
 5/18/06 <<Tom>> Thanks, I'll try the Melafix.  Yesterday I did a water change again and they seem to be back to eating like they were before (chasing off the Platies and skimming the water surface aggressively for food).  Hopefully this is a good sign. <<Yes, it is, for now. This will change as the fish mature, though, as they will tend to stay toward the bottom of the tank.>> <Umm... this "good time" will not last... this catfish is a brackish to marine species... will die soon unless moved to more suitable conditions. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/ariidcats.htm and the linked files above> I know the Sharks are going to get rather large as well as the Pleco and will purchase a much larger tank in the future.  They are living in a brackish tank right now, I'll have to look into marine tanks and read up on the care of those.   <Oh! Sorry re... thought these were in freshwater... Loricariids/Plecos don't like/tolerate much salt... Bob Fenner> <<Sorry that you seem to be getting "double-teamed", Jennifer. Both Bob and I assumed your fish were in FW and, of course, he's right about the Pleco not tolerating "salty" conditions for long. (I apologize for the apparent conflict in information.) By way of explanation, we receive a number of questions regarding this fish - the Shark, specifically - and, admittedly, it remains to be one of my "pet peeves" among those who sell/distribute these to "unknowing" consumers. In the end, however, it is we, the aquarists, who need to research and be informed prior to purchasing. It sounds like you're aware already of what will need to be done, which is great. Hope this hasn't proved too confusing for you and we look forward to hearing from you in the future. Tom>>

Columbian Sharks, Use, Wal-Mart, Humanity Sigh, <<"Sigh", Patrick? Tom here and, we haven't even started yet. :)>> As someone else mentioned in your FAQ for Columbian Sharks I went to Wal-Mart and bought four of these beautiful creatures on a whim. <<Never a good idea to buy on a "whim", Patrick, unless you're familiar with the fish you're buying.>> The display said they would grow to be six inches in length.   <<Virtually none of the Columbian Sharks sold at Wal-Mart will ever live long enough to be six inches long because few, if any, of their employees know enough about these fish to educate the customers about them. The signs are deliberately mislabeled because only advanced aquarists are going to buy an animal that will attain 13-14 inches in length, perhaps more. (Thank you, Sam Walton, for yet another despicable business practice.)>> After reading a lot about them tonight I finally landed on this website.   <<Glad to have you with us to share your experience.>> As of reading all of this I have decided to return them to Wal-Mart.  I wish I could keep them because they are so beautiful but I do not anticipate having the capabilities to purchase and maintain a suitable environment for them.   <<Then you're doing the most responsible thing that I, or any of my fellow crew members, could ask of you. Understand, Patrick, that these fish are going to die. Someone who hasn't taken the time to research, as you have, will purchase these fish - provided the store doesn't kill them first - and their ignorance about keeping these fish will lead to their demise. If that doesn't sicken everyone who reads this posting, it certainly should.>> I have also written Wal-Mart an e-mail urging them to change the information on their displays.  I realize that this will do little to nothing but it's a start.   <<My hat's off to you, my friend!>> <Please do write corporate, RMF> Thank you for the information that you have provided.   <<No, Patrick, thank you. I'm only along for the ride on this one. You've provided everyone who reads this with an example worthy of emulation. I only hope others follow it!>> I'm very sad to lose these sharks as they are so beautiful and I have been very excited about getting them.   <<There'll be another day, Patrick. You know what's required for these fish and I'm betting that, in time, you'll have the resources available.>> This e-mail is obviously not a question but a thank you for the information that you have compiled. <<Consider this response a "Thank You" from all of us at WWM!>> Sincerely Patrick Steiner <<Tom>>

Wal-Mart addy, prompting  - 05/13/2006 I read on your site that you were urging your readers to contact Wal-mart to ask them to stop carrying, or train their staff to care for the fish they carry.  Bravo!  But the address would be helpful. Wal-Mart Corporate Headquarters 702 S.W. Eighth Street Bentonville, AR  72716 479-273-4000 If every one of your readers took the time to send a letter, we could make a difference.  If nothing else to alert the "powers that be" that they loose more "product" (translation money) by not caring for their fish than it is financially (in bottom line sales) profitable.  Also, not buying fish from such a place would go a long way to convincing them not to re-order this product.  If you sell glass, you invest in a lot of bubble wrap.  If you sell fish, you should invest in training sales staff to care for them. One letter is worth 500 in store protests, by the way. <Outstanding. Thank you for your interest, help here. Though there are (of course) many fine people, and even some admirable business practices at this largest of U.S.-based (for now) endeavors, I am given to avoid their establishments out of personal disregard for some aspects... the lack of fair representation, health benefits for employees... Some incidental information I've been party to re their adventitious stock/pricing policies... and more to the point here, the lack of regard for the livestock assortment, apparent lack of training of personnel in their "aquarium departments". Am also cc'ing old friends Nevin and Tom Bailey, who supply much of this mass merchandiser with life... to urge their further input. Bob Fenner>

Sharks I'm thinking about getting either a Bala shark or a silver-tipped shark.  I'm getting a 55 gallon tank and want to which shark would do better in that size tank,   Can you help me? <<In the future, can you send your emails with the PROPER PUNCTUATION, please. These emails go directly onto our website, and we prefer it to look a bit more professional. Thank you. Also, what is the scientific name of the silver tipped shark? I will assume you mean the Columbian shark, which will grow to about 6-8 inches. Columbian sharks are carnivorous and can be aggressive. Bala sharks prefer to be kept in groups, and are quite pretty and less headache than most freshwater "sharks". A group of Bala sharks will also grow larger. What species of fish are you planning on keeping with your shark? Either way, be prepared to do regular weekly water changes. In my opinion, you may be better off with a red-tailed shark or a rainbow shark. Please do not cycle your new tank with a shark, however. -Gwen>>

Columbian sharks and other large fishes for display 11/9/04 Hi Bob. <Anthony Calfo in his stead> Two questions for ya. First, I was wondering if I could put two Groupers a Lionfish and a Puffer in a 125 gal? <assuming you are looking at the popular varieties (porcupine/dogface puffers, volitans lion, large groupers like panther, etc), then no... this is way too much regardless of filtration. The sheer adult size (or not if they stunt and die prematurely for being crowded) of these fishes makes all in this one tank inappropriate, if even possible. Do look through our archives and on databases like Fishbase.org to see and consider the adult sizes of the fishes you with to keep. Now... if you are willing to go for "dwarf" varieties of the above mentioned, there are indeed species of small adult length at maturity that will work here> Second, could I put two Columbian sharks with them? <one would not even fit... these fishes start life as fresh/brackish and may end up at sea (coastal) but get quite large (2 foot range) and yet are no match for the toothy predators - they will get mauled. Above all... this tank is too small for so many large fishes to he kept healthy/humanely> Brandon Zimmerman <do research some more, my friend... there are species to appeal and suit you here to be found. Anthony>

Neat Shark Catfishes Looking for a Home <Hi! Amy... Anthony here still answering queries. Bob hasn't got rid of me yet. Of course, that could be because Steve and I have him duct-taped to a chair while we feed him applesauce with a slingshot> I appreciate your help in identifying my fish. <my pleasure> After searching the Internet about Arius seemanni I found a picture of my fish. I now have another question. Could you give me some suggestions on finding a good home for them. I love the fish, but I now know the tank I have is not suitable for them.  <I recognize and admire your sincerity. May I suggest that you contact a local or regional AquaZoo... you have some neat fish of uncommon size. Otherwise, we can post your message for serious aquarists interested in 6-10" Arius catfish for a brackish or to soon to be salt tank to inquire.> Thank you for all of your help. Amy <quite welcome... best regards, dear. Anthony>

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