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FAQs about Horn, Port Jackson Sharks

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Sharks and Rays in Aquariums
Gaining an understanding of how to keep these fishes in captive saltwater systems   

New Print and eBook on Amazon

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Horn shark sick      1/24/19
I bought a horn shark on Sunday. I got him in my tank just fine.
<Is this an Heterodontus francisci? This is a cold water species. Can you provide information about your tank size, water parameters, filtration and tankmates?...If possible a picture.>
He seems like his spine is injured. He is curled in a L shape. He tries to move but his tail just wiggles and he just scoots in circles. He wont eat anything. He breathes fine most of the time. Then sometimes he seems to not breath at all. I find it on its side sometimes just breathing. I think his spine is hurt and can't really move. I don't know how it happened.
<It can be severely stressed or could have been injured during capture.>
He seemed fine when I put him in the tank. He will sometimes start twitching like he is cramping up. I had to force feed him today since it is starting to look really skinny.
<I don´t think it has lost weight in four days, most likely you have acquired it in bad conditions.>
I fear every time I go to him he will be dead. I am not sure how to help him.
<Please give me/us more information. Wil.>
Re: Horn shark sick       1/25/19

It is Heterodontus Francisci. He is in a 300 gallon tank. Water was ammonia .25, nitrite 0, nitrate 0, ph 8.2, and temp is 68-70. I have a overflow box to a large sump underneath (not sure how many gallons) It has filter pad, bio balls, and a protein skimmer in it. I have a few live rock in it I got from an established tank. I have 3 chomps as tankmates.
<Have you done any significant change in the tank/filter recently? This ammonia reading is unusual for such a light bio load in a 300 gallon tank.>
I put some ammo lock yesterday to lower the ammonia and a 10% water change. Still no change in condition.
<You will not see any change that soon.>
I do see some red on his body last night when I turned a flash light on him to check on him last night.
<When sharks are stressed, they show reddish bellies.>
I feel like he is reacting to the ammonia. I would not think such a small amount could hurt him like that though.
<Oh yes, they are sensitive to even low ammonia levels, just like bony fishes. I recommend you to continue with the water changes,10% every other day will be fine; also add vitamins to the water and if/when the shark resume feeding on its own, try improving this fish´s diet with iodine, HUFA´s and vitamins mix added to its foods. DO NOT force feed for now and keep the lights out for a few days to calm the shark. Please keep us posted. Good luck Mike. Wil>
Re: Horn shark sick       1/25/19

The tank has only been running about a month.
I got the tank and equipment and live rock from a business local to me. He has over 2000 gallons running. He said the shark was already acting that way the first day he put it in his tank. He bought it for me at a wholesale place.
< If the shark was already in bad conditions, why did he bought it and placed it in an immature system??...>
So I do not feel like it was my tank that made him this way.
<You´re right, it was in bad conditions before getting in your tank.>
I asked him to hold it until my tank was good to go. He tested my water and said it was good to go for him.
< But evidently not for the shark. I think he didn't want to take the responsibility.>
He has red spots on his side, fins, and around his mouth. You can not see it during the day, only at night with a light on him
< Not to much to do at this point besides what I've already told, only time will tell. Cheers. Wil.>
Re: Horn shark sick       1/25/19

At what age can you sex a horn shark?
<Since birth, males have claspers(tube-shaped pelvic fin extensions),females lack them. Wil. >

Help port Jackson sick      4/17/18
<Hi James, Wilberth here this morning>
i <I>
was reading some information from your site and was unable to find a solution to an issue i am having with my port Jackson shark and am writing to see if i may be able to get some assistance i have had her for 3-4 months and she has recently (right after feeding on some prawn ) started swimming and laying upside down on the bottom of the tank her back fin is looking like it is shredded  questions, been a reader since 2002 and now I am thinking about joining your Crew.
I see that you guys are not answering questions as frequently, so I thought you may be a bit short of volunteers and could use some extra help.
<Ahh! Always looking>
I´ve been keeping marine fish since 1989,became a wholesaler back in 1991,in 1994 I opened an aquarium store here in Mexico City, nowadays I run an aquarium maintenance business and I am still selling marines; as you may recall(if so),I have an special fascination for sharks and I think I can help you on this field and of course with other marine vertebrates and invertebrates too, as well as corals, the later not my specialty though.
If you agree to accept my help, please let me know.
Have a nice afternoon
<Not a good sign>
and she is not eating i am dosing with copper atm
<Stop dosing copper! it kills sharks>
and she is getting a little better but before her next dose she is back to her irregular behaviour she also has small white spots on her nose i don't know what is wrong or where to start any help would be appreciated
<Please send more information of your tank; size, gallonage, water parameters, tank mates...>
i have some video i can send if that would help as well Look forward to hearing from you
Re: Help port Jackson sick. RMF asks Qs      4/17/18

<James; might I ask, what/which species of "Port Jackson" shark is this; the cold/cool water Heterodontus that occurs off the Californias, or the more tropical one? And, what is the make up of your system? Temperature, size, shape, substrate, filtration, water quality measures? Bob Fenner>
Re: Crew Help offering      4/18/18
Do you want to answer the rest of this?
I saw you take it and asked some obvious things I missed, I ask you just to make sure James don´t get more confused, or you want me to continue?
<I do want you to continue; am just trying to do my bit to help. B>
re: Help port Jackson sick      4/18/18

She is cool water from off the cost of western Australia
<Ok I see it is an Heterodontus portusjacksoni>
I have attached some pics the video is still uploading will send lick when done the pics are taken now the video is from 8 hours ago
She is in a 4ft by 1ft tank atm (this is my quarantine tank)
<How big is the display tank?>
don’t have a numbered test book just a basic API test kit will get a test done at shop tomorrow has large canister filter and lime sand substrate no active carbon or chemical filtration
<Do you have a sump/refugium, protein skimmer?>
due to using medication (copper) have attached pictures of setup temp sits at 23 degrees Celsius salinity is 1.020
<Too low, it should be at 1.025>
same as all other tanks
re: Help port Jackson sick      4/18/18

No sump do have protein skimmer and 1.020 is the recommended salinity for this shark as my other Jackson is thriving in these conditions
<should be higher for long term thriving>
I am running 3 tanks with same parameters and other sharks at aquarium store that where in with this shark are still ok don’t think water quality is the issue
<Try doing a partial water change, about 20% and take out the copper from water by using Seachem Cuprisorb, copper is doing more harm than good, trust me here>

Breeding colony of Eppies w/ Ich - Just moved - PLEASE HELP      10/24/13
Hey Friends!
I Just moved my 8 sharks (6 Eppies & 2 Mex Horns)
to their new location in my new home.
(Problem is I moved a 14" Vlamingi with a minor Crypt. issue) Fortunately it was only a 5 mile move but nonetheless I'm in trouble.
The livestock were moved to their new home (a 8' x 8' x 4'h EDPM and plywood pond in the basement.)
I have keep the water level about 2' to preclude jumpers. This is approximately 950 gallons.
<Yes and yes>
So Saturday past I moved the sharks and fish from 1.020 SG 78F to the same parameters at the new location.
<I would keep sharks at near seawater strength NSW... 1.025-6. Raise slowly; see WWM re.>
The EDPM lagoon was soaked and leak tested for 2 weeks along with some "found" plastic plant stands from Wal-Mart.
<... MAKE sure these are ALL polyethylene... I'd at the very least boil them in freshwater, let this cool, use some freshwater fish, perhaps invertebrates as bio-assays here>
I drained it and made up 500g of new 1.020 water. I transferred 500g of water from the existing system and set up a big diaphragm air pump with 4 big diffuser discs.
Cut to the chase - The temp raised from 76f to 81f and a massive Ich breakout transpired once my livestock were transferred.
My beloved 15 year old 'Mingie was dead this am and has left all of my sharks "flashing."
I have not yet moved my 500lbs LR from the old system.  Should I keep the LR in place while I treat my lagoon?
(The 800 lbs oolitic aragonite IS in the new system.)
<What is it you intend... oh I see QS, below... I'd likely leave the rock where it is>
I've determined that Quinine Sulfate from NFP is the solution.  I have enough on hand to treat the entire lagoon.  Thoughts on administration (other than the directions?)
<...? Can work>
Do I continue to use the skimmer?
<May as well. Do turn off UV if there is one>
Is there any methodology to  raising temps or modifying other parameters to accelerate the process?
<Not more than where you have... the "Mexican" Heterodontus (have you found in the lit. where this now IS something besides francisci?); don't ever live in water as warm as you already are at>
Other advice?
<Raise spg>
Pics in the am.
Thanks and I will check back in asap!
Best Regards,
<Cheers, Bob Fenner, working diligently on "this month's" eBook, "Sharks and Rays in Aquariums>

Sorry team, this one has me stumped, Port Jackson hlth.      7/4/12
Hey guys,
Sorry to be a pain but I need a title diagnosis. I have a large predator setup fish only. I have the display tank of 1500ltrs with a sump of 1200ltr and a divorce on the way, just kidding. The sump is cut in half, with filter stages down one side and a refugium the remaining 4ftx2.5ftx2ft with a 9inch DBS. I use exclusively fresh sea water which I have been using for over a year now from a reliable supplier. And ro/di top up. System runs an ozone link, 2 huge reef octopus skimmers, 7 chambers of mixed sponges, filter wool and matrix (approx 15kg) plus about 50 kg of live rock between the main and the fuge. The system is now about 18 months old and due to its size as stable as hell. Ph 8.3 ammonia zero, nitrate zero, nitrite zero usually except when I feed the sharks, sometimes I get a small spike, no more than .02, phosphate is not showing on the test at all.
Inhabitants are 1x red throat wrasse, Ix harlequin tusk fish, 1x stars and stripes puffer, 1x snowflake eel 20cm 1x Voltaire lion, 1x yellow tang, 1 x epaulette shark and my pride and joy, 1 x port Jackson shark.
All has been going great guns. Fish all eat from my hand the Bob Fenner recipe which I make up, subsidising every now and the with one of the pre processed foods. I even have an anemone growing which must have snuck in on the live rock. It is a bubble tip. I should also add I run 3x150w 20000k halides over the tank. Also runs a double chiller setup.
The question is re my port Jackson shark. He is only about  18mths old and say a foot long. Ever since I got him he at times acts like he is blind during the day, even when he eats from my hand, quite often he chomps on my fingers instead of getting the food. About 2 months Agni noticed a very fine white circle forming on his eyes around the pupil. I thought this may have been an error on my part with him not getting enough vitamins and minerals in his food.
 So I changed the mix slightly, adding more squid, whitebait, and school prawns. I also feed him whole fresh king prawns which he just loves. My wife reckons he eats better than we do. I also every now and then give him a cut from what we are eating. I.e. kingfish, dory, tuna, swordfish etc.
The problem is the whitening has steadily gotten larger, it hasn't covered his whole eyes, (sorry yes it is on both eyes) it is like a ring around his pupil. I have attached a couple of photos which are sort of showing it but the camera doesn't really show the white, you can just make out the circle in the pics.
In every other aspect he is as happy as a clam. He eats like no tomorrow, even jumping out of the tank onto the lids if he sees me coming with the food and I have it open. I just don't know what it is. I noticed tonight when I was taking the pics, one of his eyes, the white ring is sort of peeling off for lack of a better description, with new white stuff underneath.
He has caves to go into but never does cause he rules the tank, I was wondering if maybe my lighting was to strong for him. Any ideas would be appreciated. I'm not real sure on treating bacterial infections. I'm also a little worried about stressing him in a quarantine tank cause of his size and I don't want to stress him out.
Your guidance would be much appreciated. I did search the site for eye problems but couldn't get a fix on something that is not really a full cloudy eye. Just a cloudy circle. Again I know the pic is sucky but you can just make out the white circle if you squint and tilt your head sideways.
Sorry it was the best I could do.
Thanks again for all you do for the hobby guys.
<I suspect you are correct re the source of the trouble here: Nutritional. I don't see you mentioning the direct use of Vitamins and Iodide-ate... I strongly suggest you look into Mazuri (Mazuri.com ) tablets for sharks. And search WWM using their company name and the word "sharks".
Bob Fenner>

<Cool water> shark with white spots....... Env. 8/1/11
<... six megs of pix... Follow directions>
Hey crew, I have been looking for answers as to what my shark has. She is a 20" Port Jackson I have had for a year and a half. Recently after adding a yellow tail fusilier she has started swimming more than normal.
Upon inspection I see her skin now has bumps. Fins look bad like she has fin rot, also her skin has white bumps which I thought where Ich but after looking at them they look like 4 legged white starfish. She has been like this for a few weeks. I thought it was Ich
<Not... is environmental, not pathogenic in origin>
and bought quinine sulfate from National Fish Pharm. After a week of treatment I saw no difference. I was wondering if this was due to my tank temp of 70°?
<Very likely so... this animal is subtropical>
Should I run treatment again?
I also did a formalin bath on the shark and it worked wonders
<Burned off outer skin>
but shark now has the white dots reappearing. I was wondering if you guys could help me identify what this is and how I could treat it. I'm not opposed to doing a huge water change and removing all rock etc. Just want the Shark to be fine. Did the quinine sulfate treatment need longer exposure period due to the temp and life cycle of Ich? Thanks again,
Andres G. Munoz
Pics attached......
<Stress, pollution, thermal... Detail the system, foods/feeding, water quality tests... Do you know the needs of this species? Bob Fenner>

Re: shark with white spots....... 8/1/11
Hey Bob, sorry for the crazy email. I don't know how to properly attach these pics to an email from my phone.
<Mmm, me neither... might have to be sent to a computer, with software for manipulating graphics. Our cheesy webmail space is limited to 50 megs... Hence the worry, admonition to limit incoming file sizes>
Anyway I have kept port Jackson sharks for years and just recently began the process of moving. I am setting up my 4' wide by 8' long by 3' tall aquarium up at the new house.
<Ahh, how nice! For function's sake, the system doesn't need to be this deep... could be two feet tall... but does need to be covered as you likely know>
The shark is currently held in a 6' long by 30" long by 30" tall aquarium with a chiller which I usually run about 67°.
<Good. I would limit the high end of temp. here; perhaps stock other "southern" Australian livestock here... i.e., not tropicals>
Tank has about 150lbs of LR, runs a Deltec ap851 Skimmer, 300 gal capacity wet/dry, and a fluidized bed filter rated for 300 gals. I feed her twice a week squid, shrimp, octopus, crab meat, marine fish flesh with added vitamins (soaked in Vitamarin m) use the mazurka <Mazuri> Shark tabs. As far as water q. I tested a few days ago and water was as follows.....Ph 8.3......nitrite 0.......nitrate 40
<Mmm, too high... I'd do what I could to keep under 20 ppm, ideally under 10. This NO3 issue may be a principal indication/source of your trouble here. Do see WWM re NO3>
.....ammonia 0.......sal 1.0024......any ideas? Could it have been something I fed her?
<You may have a thiaminase issue: http://wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_6/volume_6_1/thiaminase.htm
and the linked Nutritional Disease FAQs file above>
I fed her snapper and shortly after I started seeing the white skin spots which Adler more so t shaped.
<Bob Fenner>

Port Jackson shark not swimming well and also not eating. No data!? 4/9/11
Hi, My Port Jackson Shark is not well. He has not eaten this last week and today he is not swimming well. He has seemed to have lost the use of his tail and when he goes to move around the tank the back half of his body wants to float upwards. I have also noticed the slit underneath where he goes to the toilet from (sorry but I cant think of what to call this) seems to be quite red
<A very dangerous sign>
and looks sore. I noticed this when I have been inspecting him tonight for signs of improvement. There are no other signs of bad areas on the rest of his body. Thank you for your assistance! Much appreciated.
<... what re the system? Water quality tests? Foods/feeding? Tankmates?
This is a non-tropical species... do you have it in a chilled system of hundreds of gallons volume? Do see WWM, the Net re this species captive care. Bob Fenner>

Heterodontus japonicus, sys. 7/25/09
Hello crew! Im getting a tank measuring 8' long X 4' wide X 3' tall and was contemplating on getting a pair of Heterodontus Japonicus. Wondering if you could tell me what temp they can be kept at.
<70's F...>
I will run a commercial wet/dry filter
<Mmm, and something to counter the production, over-production of nitrate...>
as well as a 180gal sump and a pair of DeltecAP851 skimmers as well as a 1hp chiller or larger if necessary. Im still in the planning stage so I can readjust at any time. Any care information would be appreciated. Thanks Andrew
<See the Net for general husbandry... Bob Fenner>
Re: Heterodontus Japonicus... shark sys. period 8/1/09

Thanks for the quick reply. I was wondering if I could use black sand for the system since I have heard it can stick to magnets I thought it may be a bad idea because of the sharks.
<... you do want to completely avoid ferrous materials in, about the system. And most "dark sands" lack much soluble biomineral and alkaline content, surface area for nitrifying, denitrifying microbes... which will have to be made up for some other way.>
Not sure if they are magnetic or even if the brand Im choosing is but Will research it thoroughly. Just wondering on your opinion. The tank has 2 Tunze wave boxes and I was wondering if I should remove these or not.
<You will want, need much more vigorous circulation than these can provide. Best with such large systems, animals to remote all pumping, valving mechanisms outside the tank... as in so-called "Closed-Loop" recirculation set-ups... To avoid metal contamination, preserve gear from not being broken, diminish the contribution of waste heat...>
Have also heard they are bad for shark tanks but the tank was set up with sharks before and the wave boxes. Just a bit confused and doing m research since I will change whatever I have to for the pair of sharks I plan. I have about 3 to 6 months of more planning so o rush, just research. Any help?
<You tell me. Bob Fenner>

juv horn sharks... Improper sys., phony "med.s" 2-4-08 Hello there! I am writing to ask the fish guru's a question. I am moving soon and have placed my 2 horn sharks in a 100 gallon tank <Much too small> where they have been for a while now with no problems. I do run a chiller and keep them well fed. Recently I have added my fish and they started getting ick so I started dosing the tank with ich attack which is 100 percent natural and reef safe. <And worthless... ineffective> Anyway I also had fun rot on my snapper so I started using melafix <Ditto> and had no problem. I noticed my female horn shark was getting some white duly material over both of her eyes and didn't know what it was. I have since then removed all the fish and placed them in other quarantine tanks and have kept using melafix for the past 2 days. Wondering what you guys and girls thought it might be. I think it might be Popeye but don't know why. I am unsure what it is and though the problem isn't serious yet I would rather it not get to be a problem. Anyway please help me. 3 do not want to move any sick or fusesrd fish as it probably would make it worse. Any advice? Thanks in advance, Andre <... your system is too small, you're wasting your time with placebos... your fishes are suffering from environmental stress... See WWM re Heterodontids period, the phony medications you list... and soon. Your animals will soon be dead unless you act... with knowledge. Bob Fenner>

Port Jackson difficulties! Dis., sys. 8/1/07Hello Crew, my chiller on my 100 gallon tank recently stopped working and I had to move my 8 inch Port Jackson to my 55 Gallon <Too small...> chilled system which runs an average of 66-72 degrees Fahrenheit. I would have put him in my 400 gallon but am afraid he will become a snack in there. I just recently also acquired 2 epaulettes and now the PJ is acting a little different. <In the same tank? Way too small...> It chafes against the substrate every once in a while and does yawn a bit too. <Indicative of stress very likely> He does have a small bit of blanching on his nose <Ditto> I believe and I think he might have some parasites. <?> If startled it does swim erratically and sometimes does do rectal eversion after feeding. <Very bad signs> I do have Scott W. Michaels Aquarium Sharks and Rays and do have the formalin recommended. Im having a hard time correctly diagnosing though and am unsure if a formalin bath would do more harm than good. <Possibly...> That's why Im searching for help! What should I do? I am out of town and will perform a water change when I get home this weekend. I run a 75 Gallon wet/dry system on it, a 300 gallon capacity fluidized bed filter, and a Pacific Import Chiller. I Will receive another chiller for my 100 gallon soon but would like to treat them in the 55 <What? No! Do NOT put formalin in any biological system...> to Not spread the parasites or disease. I can upgrade the filtration a bit as I do have an extra 300 gallon capacity Wet/Dry filter. What should I do? I don't want to lose my baby. <Read: http://wetwebmedia.com/formalinart.htm and the linked files above. BobF>

Floating egg, Hornshark 7/9/07 Hello Crew! I've had a horn shark egg since February and have been waiting on the baby to hatch. I placed it in my chilled system of 90 gallons (will go into my 400 gallon once he grows enough to not be eaten by others). He is in a little boxed netted area sitting in front of my return hose where he gets proper aeration and can be undisturbed. Yesterday the egg sort of began floating! <Does happen at times...> What should i do? <Mmm, either be satisfied with the current arrangement, leave it alone... Or move this egg to another setting... perhaps wedged twixt rocks below... I did notice it had a little crack on it and let some bubbles out of it. <Not necessarily problematical> Every time i did though some white stuff came afterward. I thought the egg might have been trying to patch itself up but have no idea. Its supposed to hatch in the next two months and now I don't know if it will. <Only time can/will tell> What should i do? Can't candle the egg because my lights are not that strong. Will try to candle under metal halides. The egg is never taken out of the water so it is always submersed, in the meantime here go some pics. <I would likely submerge the egg, as stated, place where it won't easily float free... I am more concerned with the possible lack of water/circulation should too much of it float above water. Bob Fenner>

Port Jackson Shark (tropical in this case... Australia) Reproduction - 4/29/07 Hello, <Hi there!> I have 3 Port Jackson sharks in a tank together. <Neat, I'm guessing/hoping that it's a very large tank!> I would like to know if they can be sexed.. <If they're mature, no problem. If they're young, it might be more difficult. Mature males have obvious "claspers" located at their pelvic region. See photo at this link: http://www.marinethemes.com/aasearchfiles/Horn%20Sharks/pages/S04A02%2054639.html > ...and if they will breed in a tank. <I have heard of these breeding in captivity, but I'm guessing it involved very, very, large systems. I'd think that it would be unlikely in a home aquarium situation. These fish take a long time to reach sexual maturity, around 8 to 10 yrs for males and 11 to 14 for females. Many, simply don't live that long. Given the right conditions and care, though, it's always a possibility!> Regards, Francis <Take care and good luck! -Lynn>

PJ HELP! Shark, not the Underoos... Fritzing, but not communicating 4/2/07 Hey guys! I just got back from a business trip and was completely horrified as I walked in and saw my most prized shark swimming/floating around! He is a port Jackson and was a present to me. I love this little guy! <?> What should I do? the temp is currently 67 and he is used to this! I was told though that the temp was bouncing <?> because the chiller needs more Freon! What is the best solution? He is fed <What?> regularly and also takes vitamins? <Sort?> He does like to swallow air bubbles <Shouldn't be allowed in the system> and I have tried to stop him <?> but have had no success! I was just also told he missed his wed <...> feeding? So he probably has no food in his tummy as I feed wed. and sun.! Pls help? I was reading and am about to try administering Epsom salt in his water! Pls help! Thanks! <Your message makes little sense... No useful data presented... Please read on WWM re Heterodontids, Cold-water sharks, shark systems, Disease/health in general. Bob Fenner>
Re: PJ HELP! 4/3/07
Sorry about the last message! <I was concerned...> I just seemed to panic. I've had this port Jackson about half a year and when i walked in yesterday he was floating! He couldn't really stay down! I've controlled the bubbles and fed him so he is doing better. <Ah, good> He still has some trouble saying down and looks like he hovers a little. The temp is 67 degrees in his system and he seems to be good except for the fact that he has a hard time staying down. Water params are great but i will do a 25% water change just in case. <Good idea> What could this be? <Perhaps just the ingested bubbles> He still has a strong appetite and loving personality! I would like to enjoy it a minimum of 20 more years. What should i do? <Mmm... need to know more re what you have... a large/r system, more filtration...> There seems to be little chunks of LR everywhere by a big piece and am afraid he might have swallowed some. <Mmm> Could this be the cause? <Yes... though not common> I have other fish in there and they're fine. He seems to be the only one floating/hovering? Should i dose Epsom salt and see if it help him pass it. <I would not> I saw this in anther article you guys answered to. Sorry if there is any misunderstanding. If you feel the need to ask please contact me at (XXXX). Thanks so much. <Welcome my friend. Life to you. Bob Fenner>
Re: PJ HELP! 4/4/07
Hey Bob! I would like to let you know I have fixed the problem and my PJ is fine. <Great news Andre> He seemed to have ingested bubbles and has now expelled them. The problem was his feeding was not given and he searched for food all over the tank, at which time he must have ingested bubbles! He is doing fine and I will ensure he does not miss anymore feedings. He is currently in a 400 gallon chilled system. (8' L x 3 1/2' W x 2' T) <Ah, very nice. Friend Anthony Calfo's brother in law has a similarly sized, shaped system (in PA) with some Heterodontus francisci in it...> He will go into a larger system when he is older (my 2,000 gallon currently cycling) <Wowzah!> but at the moment he is only 12". His water is kept at 67 avg. No higher than 69 at any time and he just loves to eat. <Good and good> I thank you for your help and expertise. I run 2 500 gallon capacity wet/dry filters on this tank as well as a 900 gal. capacity fluidized bed filter on it. <I suspect you never have ammonia, nitrite issues... but would stay guarded, look to biological means (DSB, live algal, plant filtration) to deal with accumulated nitrate (keep under 20 ppm...)> There is strong current but no powerheads and he has his own securely fit together cave. I plan on getting him 2 female companions but have had no luck finding the darker PJs. <Darker? Am unfamiliar with this difference... is this the Ca. Horn Shark?> Any idea where I might be able to find them? Also are you really speaking at SaltwaterU? <Oh! Yes> If so I look forward to it. Thanks my friend and all of you at Wet Web Media. <And to you Andre. Bob Fenner>

Shark Eggs 3/28/07 Hey guys! I just received my first horn shark egg and was wondering how I can candle it? Its hard to see inside because of all the curves. Also Where should the baby be located inside the egg? Middle, bottom, top? My system is chilled and the egg is about 2 months old. Im expecting it to hatch in late or early September. Is this right? <Do read FAQ's here and linked files above. Should find what you are looking for here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharkeggfaqs.htm> <<Mmm, no, not likely... the young should be visible... toward the middle of the egg... a flashlight held behind should do. RMF>> Thanks so much. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Horn Shark Egg 3/19/07 Hey crew! I was wondering what i need to do in order to tell if a horn shark egg had a baby inside <"Candle it"... strong source light behind... looking> as well as what to do to hatch it? <Suitable habitat... chilled, rock et all to hang in, circulation/aeration> I plan on placing it in my 55 gallon <Too small for long> until it gets a little bigger and can safely go into a larger tank. It will eventually go into my chilled 400 gallon system. <Much better> I know these sharks <Is this Heterodontus francisci? There are a number of sharks with this common name, some semi-tropical... but not the one from the Californias> prefer cooler water so no worries (all my tanks have chillers). I have been looking for a horn shark but this is my first encounter with anyone who has an egg and I've hatched a few bamboo eggs but would like to ask the experts and see what they have to say. I'm getting it from a local guy and he doesn't know too much! Thanks for all the help! <You've seen my survey article here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/index.htm Bob Fenner>
Re: Horn Shark Egg - 03/20/07
Yes it is Heterodontus francisci. It is from California. Now is there supposed to be movement in the egg at all times? <No, only intermittently> As I am told it is in the first trimester, there is not movement yet and it barley developed eyes. Is this correct? <Yes... barely> I do not want to purchase anything dead! Also how long until I can place him with other sharks biggest being 18" and the other being 12"? <Depends on the other species... The principal predators of cartilaginous fishes... are sharks> Both are docile but the 12" one is a little mean. The tank it will be in when it gets big enough is 8ft long, 3 and a half feet wide, and 2 feet tall. <Mmm, wish this were wider...> As of right now I will hatch it in my 55 gallon. Should I purchase? <What?> Also it is said the egg is about 2 months old and still sort of soft. Is it supposed to be this way? <Mmm, no... all of the "Mermaid's Purses" of this species I have encountered have been chitonous tough...> Also would it survive shipping? <They are shipped... yes> What should it be shipped like so it can make it? what temp should the egg be keep around? Thanks <Best to read on WWM re shipping marine livestock... Insulated, light-tight boxes, double bagged, oxygenated... Much to state. Bob Fenner>

Zebra Horn Shark (Heterodontus zebra) - 12/12/06 The Zebra Horn Shark (Heterodontus zebra) HAS CAUGHT MY ATTENTION AND VERY LITTLE IS KNOWN ABOUT THEM! < http://fishbase.sinica.edu.tw/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=746&genusname=Heterodontus&speciesname=zebra> I currently have a Port Jackson shark < http://fishbase.sinica.edu.tw/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=743> and was wondering if the two were compatible? <Mmm, not very... live in differing, though over-lapping thermal regimes> Also what other info can you tell me about these guys? I currently have a Large chilled system and know these guys don't swim much if any at all! But am interested! Also i was going to get a horn shark but hear they are no longer for sale! Why is that? <Got me... likely the "season is all over" for the year...> my tank is kept at avg temp 0f 66 degrees Celsius and my PJ is great! I give him vitamins and also dip his varied diet in Garlic extract once a week! I try to keep the food different and close to what he would eat in the wild. Thanks for all the help and also the support. You guys are like the fish Guru's! Thanks so Much! <Mmm, thank you for your kind words... These two Heterodontid species are compatible behavior-wise, but not environmentally... one's cold to cool water, the other tropical to cooler... Bob Fenner>
Re: Zebra Horn Shark (Heterodontus zebra) 12/14/06
Hey there! Thanks for the quick response and links! <Welcome> I still couldn't determine a suitable temperature for keeping the zebra horn shark. what would you say is the appropriate temp.? <The low to upper 70's F.> Also what size does this usually get in captivity? <Three feet, a meter or so> I am expecting no more than 4 feet maybe 5! <Yes... fishbase states 125 cm. as maximum length> Also do you have any tips on keeping these animals? <Mmm, myself... just what I have posted on WWM, our site> I research anything before purchasing or even accepting fish! <Good for you, the planet> I currently let them practically overrun my house with many tanks and different species! anyways I want to be responsible and care for them as best as I can! I want to become a marine Biologist and also wanted to ask you if you knew any good schools for this? <There are several... and other concerns rather than just academic excellence to determine which is "best" for you. Which part of the world do you live in?> I know I ask a lot but i really appreciate your time and patience with me! Thanks and much respect, Andre <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Heterodontus on the way out, no info. 10/24/06 Hey everyone, I have a quick question, I have a port Jackson, He has stopped eating, and just lays on the floor with his mouth wide open. The other fish are starting to nip at his fins and he doesn't even swim away. What's wrong ?? please help I am very worried regards Adam <... need useful data... like the make-up of this system, the other species... You know this is a coldwater shark? Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/portjacksons.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Port Jackson Shark Stopped Eating - 10/25/06
Hi Everyone, <<Hello Adam>> Just a quick one, I have a 9-month old Port Jackson, he has been eating prawns since day one and now he spits them out. <<Perhaps some variation is called for here>> The water levels are fine and he is still very active, could he just be tired of prawns? <<Maybe so...or maybe something in the system you haven't/can't test for is out of whack causing the shark to lose its appetite>> Is this something I should be more worried about? <<If it continues for long...but may only be a temporary hunger-strike>> Do you have any suggestions why he is not eating? <<Is this a chilled system? These are cold-water organisms, keeping in too-warm waters will certainly be deleterious...do have a read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/portjacksons.htm >> His 2 dorsal fins have also changed shape like something has been eating them, could this be possible, only damsels are in the tank? <<Maybe, though more likely due to problems with water chemistry/stray electrical current. Make sure you have fresh reliable test kits and assure your nitrates are not elevated>> Is this another problem? <<Sounds like it could be>> Thank you, Adam <<Regards, EricR>>

SHARK QUESTIONS!! Shark comp., Heterodontid sel. 10/1/06 Hey guys! First and foremost thank you for taking the time to read and answer my questions. I currently have a 240 gallon tank with a sandy bottom, one large piece of live rock and an 18 inch Brownbanded Bamboo shark. My questions are how should i build a cave for her and how big should it be? <Yes to the cave... big enough to easily fit/swim through and rest in... Maybe twice the diameter, plus, of the shark...> also my most important question is can it be housed with a 7 inch shark or will it bite or attack it? <Mmm, a possibility> i know keeping 2 sharks in a 240 is a problem due to the amount of waste they put out, this is a temporary thing while my other tank cycles and i am afraid the bigger shark will injure or kill the smaller less active one!! I feed them twice a week and they eat very well. am not sure if keeping them well fed (offering food no more than twice a week) would help me keep the bigger shark from biting the smaller one. <A good risk...> Can they be housed together or should i divide the tank so the little guy can be safe. <I'd separate if easy to do> Also on your page it says to avoid the California Horn sharks offered. Why is that? <Posted... mainly that the principal species offered, Heterodontus francisci is a cool/cold water species... that folks too often try to keep in tropical settings... Second that it's attempted almost always in too-small settings> please help me find an answer to my questions. This site is great i spent some serious time reading through these articles and it is very helpful. Thank you so much in advance!! <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Port Jackson and? Coldwater/shark systems 9/16/06 Hi everyone, <Adam> Great site, Just a quick question, I have a port Jackson in my tank, and i know its difficult to have coral and a shark in the same tank, but, They have been living quite well together for 6 months, what i want to know is do you think the power heads have a bad effect on the shark, if so is there any thing else i can use instead? thanks Adam <Posted... please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharksystems.htm and the linked files above. No way to tell how much you actually know from what you've posted here... Do read over the article, FAQs on Heterodontids as well. Bob Fenner>

Tang and Shark Problems 9/8/06 Hi Bob, <Hi, Chris with you tonight> I was hoping you could advise me on any steps I could take to prevent or dissuade my sailfin tang from nipping the fins of my Port Jackson shark. <Not compatible species for a variety of reasons, primarily that Port Jackson sharks are not from tropical temperate.> I have tried providing Nori for the tang to nibble on, although this only provides a temporary remedy. I would very much like to keep both animals. <Not possible more that short term.> The other inhabitants are a stingray and Flagtail cod which do not seem to get picked on by the tang. <Hope it is a big tank, those are some big fish.> Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Regards, Joe. <Chris>

Port Jackson with sleeping fish... Not joking? Not reading - 09/03/06 Hey everyone, <Adam> Just a quick one for you all, I have recently added a port Jackson to my tank, <A cool/cold water animal...> He is great but I'm a bit worried, He is extremely active at night and my clown fish <Not compatible> have a bad habit of falling asleep in the corner of the tank rather than in the Anenome <Ditto> I have for them, do you think I should be worried??? <Yes... these animals are all likely soon to be dead> They have been together for about 2 weeks so far with no real problems, I keep the PJ fed (by hand I might, add he is like a dog) but I don't want to overfeed/leave food in the tank for ammonia reasons, Any suggestions? Thanks Adam <Read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/portjacksons.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Port Jackson Sharks and Reef Tanks. Not 8/29/06 Hi everyone, <Hi> Just a quick question, I have a Port Jackson and I know its very difficult to have both a PJ and coral in the one tank, However I think the tank is big enough (8x3x3) <Not really for a shark that can get 4 feet long.>, what my question is the Jackson seems to dislike the anemone. I have in the tank for my clown fish he has learned to stay away from it, my question is if I have lots of anemones in my tank to keep the shark away from the coral and live rock is that ok? <No> Will it hurt the shark? <Might> Do you think it will be enough to keep him away from the rocks? <No> Thanks Adam <Port Jackson sharks are not tropical species, usually found in cooler waters, mid to upper 60s. Long term survival is doubtful if kept in a tropical environment. Please read http://www.wetwebmedia.com/portjacksons.htm for more.> <Chris>

Heterodontid on the skids, no useful data 7/29/06 Hi Bob Fenner I have a juv port Jackson shark with the same problem like Victoria brims of Sydney NSW Australia posted on the 7/27/05. Am wondering if the Epson <Epsom, not the printer company> salts help or not. <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/portjacksons.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: PJ Shark like Victoria brims Sydney NSW ... Much more useful info. 7/31/06 Hi I have the heterodontid on the skids, no useful data My name's Nev I'm from highlands pets & produce Emerald QLD Australia. I'm sorry for the lack of information. I've had the shark two weeks tomorrow, sent to my shop by mistake with my last order. He is 22cm in length so I've put him in to a 6x2x2 tank, red sea coral sand, two Eheim power heads, no rock, four Fluval 405 canisters and a red sea Prizm skimmer xl. I now know I know very little about sharks after reading on this site. His problem is raped in a circle to the left now on the floor, <?... this is the position, posture this animal has taken I take it> still eats well but when he tries to swim he rolls on to his back. <Not good... but may be "just young"... This is a Heterodontus zebra? Is it in a chilled system?> I'm using the Epsom salts & I've removed all the sand & the two power heads from the tank in case it is one of them. I've all so change all of his water today. He's been like this from Friday. He looks to be a little better now, my supplier thinks he may have had a stroke would this be true. <Mmm, stress likely, but a stroke? Not> Sorry his water is good at 8.3ph, amm 0,nitrite 0, nitrate 0,temp 19/20 deg/chiller will be here today. <Good... this will likely put this fish aright> Food is krill & squid once a day. If you can shine some light on my problem would be great, will keep reading more on your site. thanks Nev <This little shark's troubles are likely stress and cumulative effects from a too-warm environment. Chilling the water will likely cure all here in time. I would provide an adequate size "plastic pipe" or such for it to get out of view, the light... Bob Fenner>
Re: PJ Shark like Victoria brims Sydney NSW 7/31/06
Hi bob <Nev> Just writing to say thanks for the advise. He is a port Jackson so I'm told (but they said he'd had a stroke to). I have kept him cold should I keep him colder. <Do see fishbase.org for species identification and natural temperature range for this individual... You can view the nominal species by looking up the whole family: Heterodontidae Here's the Port Jackson: http://fishbase.org/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=743&genusname=Heterodontus&speciesname=portusjacksoni> Anyway will write soon to tell how he is thanks. Nev Highlands Pets & Produce Emerald QLD Australia <Wishing you and this shark the best, Bob Fenner>

Port Jackson Shark...Substrate...Lack Of Research - 07/27/06 Hi guys, <And gals.> Great site, <Thank you.> I have a 4x2x2 saltwater tank, how much reef sand (CaribSea aragonite) should I have in it? is 40lbs (1" evenly spread) enough? Keeping in mind I will be putting a Port Jackson in the tank. <Really doesn't matter how much aragonite you put in the tank as this shark isn't going to be spending much time there anyway. In my opinion, a minimum tank size of 1000 gallons is required along with an excellent filtration system. Do not believe you have researched this fish, but it does grow to a length of five feet and is recommended for expert care level only. I don't believe you fall into this category, wanting to put this fish in a 120 gallon tank. > Regards <And to you. James (Salty Dog)> Adam

Port Jackson Shark, comp. sys. 7/16/06 Hey guys great site. <Thanks, but next time please use proper capitalization/grammar, makes our job much easier.> First of all I have a custom corner tank 5x4x4 I built my self at the moment it has a big blue tang an a yellow one (3"), lionfish(4"), a small clown trigger (2"), 2 big tomato clown fish(3") , and a emperor angel(3"). All is good at the moment there are a couple pieces of coral and about 20kgs of live rock but there is a fair bit of open "lay about" area. I really want to get myself a baby port Jackson, 1st of all I have heard ports don't like power heads in the tank, this true? <The electrical current will wreak havoc with their ability to move around the tank.> Will it eat the other fish (even the clowns)? <Probably, if it can catch it and fit it in its mouth it will probably eat it.> Will the clown trigger once it gets big be my biggest problem, will it hurt the shark? <Has happened before.> Can the port and the other fish all live in the same temp. water? <No> What else should I know? <Lots, too much to list here. Please read the listings on WetWeb and pick up Scott Michael's "Sharks and Rays" for more. Keeping sharks is not to be taken lightly.> Help please I really want this shark but I also want to keep my tank the way it is. <Not possible.> Thanks for your help keep up the good work. Regards Adam, Sydney Australia <Welcome> <Chris>

Open Sore on Horn Shark 3/4/06 Hello I have a 1 yr old Horn Shark and just last week i noticed an open sore on his front right fin. I figured one of the other sharks might have bit him, but then today i saw an it was bleeding a little bit, he's breathing normally and swimming only when some walks by to feed him. Could you please tell me what it is and how could i treat this. Thank You <... Mmm, depends on the cause... if "just a bite", it will likely heal... Given the system is fine (large enough, filtered, chilled...). If it has progressed to an infection... See WWM re: The sections on Shark Disease, Port Jackson and Coldwater Sharks. Bob Fenner>
Re: Open Sore on Horn Shark... Non-native speaker? - 03/05/06
thank you, the tank i have is a 300 gallon, and i have a wet dry and a UV and a protein skimmer rated for 600 gallons, i don't have a chiller but my water is at 69 degrees, i believe that's ok right cause in scott Michaels book it says horn shark can stay in temperatures from 65 to 70 degrees. <Should be fine> i contacted the natl aquarium in Baltimore and one person said to put iodine on the fin, idont know if i should or not. <I would not... unless you have cause to otherwise restrict, handle this animal. The further stress, possible physical trauma is not worth it. Please fix your English before sending correspondence... Bob Fenner>
Re: Open Sore on Horn Shark 3/17/06
Thank You, I contacted the Nat'l aquarium in Baltimore and they told me to put iodine on the wound every other day, so I did. Also I treated the water with Mela fix. the wound stopped bleeding and it looks as if skin is growing back. All this was last week, this mourning she was real dark in color and had two pale patches close to the pectoral fin. It wouldn't even take food from me today. The water quality is all normal, and nobody at any LFS could tell me what was wrong. thank you <... likely poisoned... by the Iodine, "Fix"... Perhaps also stressed from the handling... Bob Fenner>

Port Jackson Shark... eye trouble... lack of useful info. - 1/6/06 My port Jackson seems to have some type of growth on its eye? Any ideas as to what it is or how I can remove it? All the LFS suggest either rubbing it of with a finger or rag, <No> medicating the whole tank (penicillin?), <Negative> to actually putting Neosporin on the eye? None of those seem logical or safe for my shark/ tank mates. Any ideas would be great. <... Is this a Heterodontus francisci? What re its system, tankmates, history of husbandry, water quality, nutrition... Bob Fenner>
Re: important port Jackson questions 1/11/06
Will it hurt a shark if I put Neosporin on its eye? It has a bacteria eye infection? or will to go away by itself? <... I would not apply this material to a sharks eye... If you can discern the root cause/s of the eye opacity/injury... I'd solve them. Have you read re shark systems, heterodontids on WWM? Bob Fenner>
Re: important port Jackson questions - 01/12/2006
Bob, <Bill> I have read re shark systems, heterodontids on WWM. I am just looking for the solution to my port Jacksons eye. The whole eye appears to be cloudy. The sharks behavior is as follows: he still eats like nothing is wrong, however all he seems to do it just lie there. <Par for these species...> Usually he is swimming about. I rearranged the rocks a few days ago and his eye was messed up the following day. I assume he scraped it on a rock?!? <If unilateral... one-sided... likely so...> Thank you for your time. I just want to get him all fixed up. Bill
Re: important port Jackson questions - 01/12/2006
Bob, You said that you would not put Neosporin on my sharks eye. Is the because it would not work or would it cause water problems? <Both. Topicals can be applied to chondrichthyous fishes eyes for some maladies... but in this case, providing a good environment, nutrition is about the best/only means I'd advise... Chilled, large quarters, no discernible organics, use of vitamins... Bob Fenner>
Re: important port Jackson questions... learning to use WWM - 01/12/2006
Bob, <Bill> Thank you for you your reply. So time its self, vitamins and good water quality will be all my shark needs for his eye to clear up? What type of vitamins and which is the best method to give them? <... this is posted... on WWM... please learn to/use the indices, search tool there> Sorry to keep asking the same question over and over, I just want to make sure I do this right and my shark gets better. Bill <Please. Bob Fenner>

Protoreastor linckii Star vs. Port Jackson Shark I have a Protoreastor linckii and my Port Jackson decided he would like to bite off the rip of his arm. Will this grow back, will it get infected, what should I do with the star fish? <Only under ideal water conditions will the arm grow back to its original shape.> Would it hurt to put it in the sump pump (which has some nice rocks in it) for a little while? <I'd get it out of harms way. Its not a good match to start with as the Port Jacksons like 60 degree water temperatures whereas the starfish comes from tropical waters.> Another quick question I have is that all of the sudden my sump pump (Rio 2100) is pumping water back into the tank faster than water drains to the sump, and ideas? Nothing appears to be blocked. <Put a gate valve on your output to allow adjustment of the output. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks, Bill <You're welcome>

Port Jackson, Leopard Eel 12/14/05 Hi, <Hello> I have read quite a lot of info. from your site and have gained a great deal of knowledge. So for that I am very grateful. <Me too> I actually live in Sydney Australia where there are a large number of Port Jackson sharks swimming around all over the place. <Neat> My son actually went fishing last week and in a few hours caught (and threw back in) around 20 Port Jackson Sharks. They are pretty much everywhere here. Anyway, I have recently (about 4 months ago) got involved in marine aquariums after 20 years of keeping tropical fresh water fish) and now have a 5 x 2 x 2 (140gal) tank which houses a variety of corals and small marine fish such as a blenny, dwarf angel, small tang, cardinal, banded shrimp and a pair of clowns. I also have 3 x( 4' x 18" x 18" ) 65 gallon tanks. 1 has a 14" zebra eel, one has a 10" port Jackson and the other is a quarantine tank. I have just setup (or in the middle of doing so) a 7' long by 2.5' deep by 2' high (250 gal) tank. Which will have a substrate of crushed coral using a plenum cavity, a 42 gal trickle filter / sump with a 1100 gal pump, a 400gal per hour biological canister filter, and 2 large protein skimmers (one in the sump and one at the other end of the tank). Also connected is a 30watt UV filter and a 1/2hp chiller as well as two 500W heaters in the sump. Inside the tank will be about 60 - 80 pounds of live rock at one end the hide the overflow and setup a few small cave areas. Most of the tank will have no obstructions at all to allow maximum swimming area. Now the question. I have read that the Port Jackson shark rarely grows more than 32inches in captivity even though they can get to over 5' in the ocean. <Okay> The plan is to put the PJS and the eel in the 250gal tank and also add a rather large (about 9 inch) lion fish. I have been told that If I keep the temperature between 74 - 78 (24 - 25 Celsius) then this will be fine for both the shark and the other 2 fish. I was thinking later if all went well to add a 8 inch angel and 7 inch blue tang to add a bit of colour and movement in the tank. Does this all sound feasible. I am looking to do it in the next 2 weeks and your expertise would be invaluable. Thanks in advance Kevin Charles Sturgiss <Always a possibility of predation with the shark, possibly (depending on species... there are a few "leopard eels") with the moray, but all and all sounds like a very nice tank and workable stocking plan. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

HI Dragon Eel and PJ Shark 8/7/05 Good Afternoon Mr. Bob Fenner, <Sunday late AM now...> Your articles about the marine creatures are very helpful. I have searched your site and can't find much about the beautiful Hawaiian dragon eel and the port Jackson shark. <Not that much I know re these species> I have a 300 gallon tank with live rocks (a lot) and fish only and the smallest is about 4". I have a white spotted bamboo shark 2 feet long, wrasses, large angels, tangs, large parrot fishes, Catalufa, Dwarf lion, hawk, Hogs, long nose butterfly, Tassle file, unicorn, and Moorish idol. I have all this fish for about 5 1/2 years now and they are all doing great and healthy. Yes, I am very fortunate to have Moorish Idol, Regal Angel, Parrot fishes, yellow tail coris wrasse, Tassle file which are all rated as hard to take care in Scott Michaels marine book for 5 1/2 years now. it is not easy and it requires so much time and work to maintain delicates. My white spotted bamboo is very docile. <Good> My question: Does the HDE and PJS will be compatible with my fishes? <Uhh, no... both these animals will eat your other fishes...> Do they just swallow fishes that will fit in to their mouth, and if so, what is the biggest fish that they can swallow? Do they attack large fishes and then tear them into pieces before eating it? <Both swallow and bite pieces...> Please, e-mail me ASAP. I have the opportunity to have both fishes for a very reasonable price, but even then, I want to know more about these two fishes before putting it on my system. Also, I don't want to jeopardize my fishes that's been with me for almost 5 1/2 years now. Thanks so much for your help and for your time. Please response ASAP. Your help is greatly appreciated. Mark <Again... I would not add these fishes, nor likely any more livestock to this system. Bob Fenner>

Buoyancy problem with juvenile PJ shark 7/24/05 Hi Bob, Great site! I have a fairly urgent question. I've got a number of port Jackson juveniles (7-10 weeks old). Yesterday one of them began floating upside down, swimming frantically in circles, and he can not stay down. I have tried massaging his belly lightly and straightening him out (as this has worked for PJs I have had in the past) to no avail. I moved him to a shallow tank on his own but even this is not helping. I recently had a crested horn shark baby die after having the same problem for several weeks. What can you suggest and what is causing this? <Frightening... do you know how these animals were collected? There are some enteric problems this might be... so my first, easiest suggestion is to administer Epsom salt to the water (a level teaspoon per ten gallons of system> I can only assume he has gulped air at the surface and can't expel it. <Maybe... but doubtful. Much more likely some sort of food decomposing within the animal... hopeful the magnesium sulfate will "move it". Bob Fenner> Thanks Bob Victoria Brims Department of Biological Sciences Macquarie University Sydney NSW 2109
Re: buoyancy problem with juvenile PJ shark 7/26/05
Thanks Bob. I will give that a try. We had the eggs (laid by captive adults) and hatched them all between 7 and 10 weeks ago. <I see> The only reason I assumed it was swallowed air was that we also have a couple of airlines bubbling in the tank and they sometimes swim through and over those bubbles. To remedy this I have since covered the airlines with pvc pipe so that now they only serve to break the surface tension and the baby PJ can not swim through them. <Good technique> I have moved the PJ that was struggling to a shallower tank where he seems to have settle a bit, but I can see that it is still an effort for him to stay down. <Trouble> Also, in some of our others, they sit with their tails arched upward at times...is this normal? <Can be... that is, I've seen similar instances with the common heterodontid off the Ca. coast... in captive juveniles> Thanks for the advice, I'll give the Epsom salt a go right away. They are kept in natural seawater, that won't make a difference will it? Regards, Victoria <Shouldn't, but there are times when artificially reducing specific gravity a few thousandths apparently acts as a cathartic... Bob Fenner> Victoria

Re: Patience With Sharks? Or not. 5/7/05 have you ever keep these sharks, are they easy to take care of. thanks <After several messages and your last reply stating your intent to hold off on getting sharks, you give me cause for concern. In answer... yes, I have kept these and several types of sharks. I presently have a 1000 gall chilled pond for a single small pair of Heterodontus. Are they easy... not especially. Not are they especially difficult either. Please resist buying any sharks unless you have the needed space for them and the money/time to support them. Anthony>

- Port Jackson Shark Ill - I hope you can help My port Jackson is sick. <I will do my best.> He has not eaten in four days, Here is what happened, I can't figure it out. I have had him about three months now. On Sunday night I fed him like usual, then in the morning he was laying on his side and it has been getting worse. Now he swims or more slides in a circle on his side on the bottom of the tank. The water tests fine Ammonia 0, Nitrate 0, Nitrite 0, SG 125, Temp 65, I don't know what to do. Should I force feed him today since its been four days since he last ate? <I would not bother with food at this time... sharks can go a long while without food, and at this point it's more important to deal with whatever is affecting this shark. Do make a quick check for external contaminants as well as any pumps and/or heaters that may be in the tank with the shark - these should be removed to your sump and away from the shark. For the possibility of contaminants, run a PolyFilter in your filtration path and see if it changes to any of the indicative colors... renew as necessary.> Please help oh and he is still in the 280 I was going to move him this week to the 550 too, what should I do? <I would hold off on the move until the condition is stabilized. Cheers, J -- >

- Housing a Port Jackson Shark - I have asked you questions before and you are great your site is the best, I just built the tank for my port Jackson its 450 gallons I am going to run a wet dry with 10000 bio balls, fluidized bed filter and a huge venturi skimmer I am going to run to Mag 5 for the fluidized filter and the de nitrator I have a 3500gph pump to run everything else is this to much flow I am unsure so I thought I would ask also is that enough filtration also I was thinking of a refugium with mangroves what do you think? <I didn't see anything in there about a chiller - these sharks are not tropical and without a chiller will live very short lives. I'd hate to see you set all this up and not get to keep the shark for very long. Please invest in a chiller before you start worrying about mangroves. Once you've got that ironed out, a refugium with mangroves sounds very nice but probably won't produce the foods this animal needs to thrive. Refugiums are very useful for most aquaria but are more applicable on reef and fish only systems - for a shark system, they would assist in water quality, but really your wet/dry filter will be the star of the show [read as most useful].> Thanks Tony <Cheers, J -- >

- Pacing Port Jackson - I purchased a port Jackson shark from my LFS yesterday and he is swimming up and down the sides of the tank pocking his nose out of the water, He lives in a 280 oceanic with skimmer wet dry and a canister filter. Water is 77f ammonia 0 nitrite 0 nitrate 0 ph 8.2 sg 124 what would cause the shark to do this he just goes up and down until he gets tired then sits on the bottom please help. <This is a cool water shark, and you're keeping it at tropical temperatures. You need to invest in a chiller now or prepare to lose this animal. More reading for you here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/coolh20sharks.htm > Thanks Tony <Cheers, J -- > -

Port Jackson Shark - Bob Great web site. I'll make it short and sweet. I have a Port Jackson Shark and I know they are more of a cool water shark. I cannot get the temperature below 74 degrees and sometimes it gets to 76 degrees. Should I get a chiller, is this too warm for him. <I would give a very emphatic yes and yes. Considering that I've photographed this shark in water that was in the mid 60's... 74/76 is much too warm.> He seems to be doing quite well. <"Seem" being the operative word... being a cold blooded animal, what is going on behind the veil of seeming is that its metabolism is increased by the higher water temperatures. Because I'm in a movie line quoting mode today, I'll give you one - "The candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long."> I have had him for about two months and he is looking good. <Fish are not at all like the mammals we typically encounter [people, dogs, cats, etc.] Fish can often "seem" to be in perfect health and be dead an hour later. Please... purchase the chiller.> Thanks Tom <Cheers, J -- >
- Port Jackson Shark, Follow-up -
Tom, my apologies but given that I hadn't had enough coffee when I answered your question, I must offer this clarification: I have not photographed this shark. I got muddled up with the Horned Shark which I do have photos of. That being said, my advise still holds - given the distribution of this shark which is pretty much southern Australia, the water there rarely gets above 70 degrees, and that's in the dead of summer. Most times the water there is much cooler - you really, really need that chiller. Cheers, J -- <<Actually Jas, this may well be (actually almost assuredly is) the same species, Heterodontus francisci... called by both names in the trade, though there are two other heterodontids from elsewhere also called Port Jacksons... occurs off of and captured from California. RMF>>

Horn Sharks 7/16/03 Hi (whoever is on shift)! <Anthony Calfo in your service> I have been entranced and amazed by all sorts of sharks for as long as I can remember. I read whole books and facts I could get on 'em. Recently however, my aunt got a fish tank. When I saw the fish I immediately fell in love with the whole idea. So now, I want to provide a home for a horn shark. I have researched them for months and I have just found a great tank manufacturer. They sell glass tanks very cheap. Now for my first question: What type of horn shark (I've read there is 3 for home aquariums) would you suggest for me? <The H. francisci is most common an least expensive. Ships the best domestically and can be acquired small. There are some zoos even breeding these in great numbers> Will one of the species you suggest do fine in a 280 gallon with just sand and maybe a small cave or rock fixture (with dimensions of 72"x30"x30")? <for a couple of years... but know that they still reach about 3 feet in length. A 6 foot tank would not be right for the over 2 year plan> I know this is slightly less than you recommend. I know they need the water to be around 70 degrees for them to be both moving and comfortable. <70F is really the high end of their ideal range: higher metabolism and shorter life for it> I still need to find out what they eat, and how often though. <a lot of echinoderms in their natural diet. Squid and shell-on shrimp are recommended too. Ocean Nutrition makes a vitamin enriched Shark Formula... recommended> It would be great if you could give me some pointers. I would love a shark tank, but I don't want to be cruel to these wonderful creatures. Thanks a million in advance, Ryan <do look into joining the national Elasmobranch society, and read Scott Michael's Sharks and Rays if you haven't done so already... comb through his references too in the book for suppliers, information sites and more. Best of luck, Anthony>

Horn sharks I wanted to know what can a horn shark live with in an aquarium. <Other cool/coldwater organisms that it can't or won't eat... Please take a read through www.WetWebMedia.com using the search term "Horn Shark", and get your hands on Scott Michael's recently redone shark book... will save you a good deal of money and grief. Bob Fenner>

California Shark Dreaming Hi again! I'm still going after my crazed 900+220=shark tank + tidepool/bait tank. Due to its size, it would have to be outside, and in SoCal, during summer I don't think I could get the tank below 70, even if I bypassed a chiller to servicing only the main tank on its own separate loop, disconnected from the filter system. <Could be done... with adequate chilling, insulation... but expensive> This filter setup goes overflow-floss/pad-carbon-skimmers (built from pre-made skimmer powerheads to avoid airstones with 3' tubes) - fluidized bed filter-wet dry (to reoxygenate) - refugium-chiller-shark[s]. I was thinking of having a rotating box where the output from the wet-dry would fill it up until it dumped its water into the tidepool, where it would be slowly sucked away by the chillers and back into the tank. is this feasible? <Yes... a few design possibilities here... surge systems, spill-over cammed buckets... but I wouldn't do this. Not enough to be gained for the trouble, added gear, exposure> I am hoping it will simulate waves better, and make the tidepool animals more comfortable. <Our defunct businesses designed, fabricated and installed such systems... mainly for public aquariums and zoos... not hard to do, but require careful planning, upkeep> in the main tank for substrate I am hoping to have mostly beach sand (NOT silica) with some refugium mud and rocks at one for a small macro algae forest, also a large cave for the shark[s] to hide in, or maybe the removable-panel idea from the archives. in the tidepool, a few large rock slabs as the main substrate, with lots of rock and large gravel in the rest to best simulate the tidepool substrate. I am looking at 1-2 H. francisci, with something to stir the sand, any recommendations on what to stir with or sand bed depth would be appreciated. another option in 2 swell and a guitarfish or stingray. <The Heterodontus will keep the upper substrate moved around themselves> would either of these be sufficient for stirring the sand with the 2 horns, or is the bioload too much? <I would start with the Horned Sharks, test the water for accumulating metabolites and add other livestock in a few months> (I'm worried about the crowding, the FBF is going to be enough for 1500 with only 1150 to filter (the extra 30 from all the chillers, piping, skimmers, etc.) in the 220, I'm wide open: Nudibranchs, cucumbers, anemones, octopi, crabs, snails, I know that I really want a small school of Catalina gobies, they are just too cool! what are the regulations on Garibaldi? <Can't be collected from the U.S. coast, but of all things... can be from Baja... and are... and sold in foreign countries. Have your dealer contact the L.A. wholesalers (likely Quality Marine) and ask re their purchase> is it illegal to keep them? do you know any legal places to collect (lightly, over a period of 8-10 months) from tidepools? also, what can I keep as a janitorial crew with the sharks? I figure I would lose crabs, snails, small lobster, etc. quickly. would I just be in for a lot of manual labor? <The last> also, I would be going to college, possibly as far away as Maryland (presently) a couple years after setup of the tank, right now my #1 choice is Humboldt state, in Arcata, CA. <A very fine school, esp. for fisheries.> They have a private aquarium area with a large amount of tanks, so I'm hoping I can overnight the sharks with a battery air pump running a skimmer (about 5) if not, how can I accomplish the 8+ hour transport? <Can be shipped in large Styrofoam boxes in a large truck... with airstones, or if sharks are large (a few feet in length) with 12V fluid-moving pumps... (or if very large sharks with them anesthetized and these pumps recirculating water through their mouths...> I am terribly afraid of temperature stress. I also had problems deciphering the transporting sharks section of the site, any help would be appreciated. Right now I am thinking of using one of the transformers that turn a car outlet into 110v AC to power a chiller, air pump, and maybe the FBF. <Not worth trying to run the/a chiller in transit... you can float containers with ice/cubes if there is very warm weather> is current required for transporting large (for aquarium sharks at least) 3'-5' sharks? also, depending on location, the tank may need to be 8x5x3 instead of 10x4x3 LxWxH which would you say is preferable? <Either will do for Horn Sharks... Anthony's Brother in law has some in an eight by system... in Pittsburgh!> recommendations for supplements needed, water movement, pump styles/names, brands, etc. would be greatly appreciated. For the water coming out of the tidepool, a "wavemaker" <Not necessary. Can run unidirectionally, fine> which turns the powerheads 3 min on, 3 min off would take it out, with either a regular waterfall or the swinging box putting it in, so the water level would go up and down, hopefully simulating the waves as best I can. also, what should the stand be made of? <Either four bys tied together with carriage bolts (for ease of disassembly) and braced in all dimensions, or welded steel, powder-coated...> I am DIY most of the project, and I can't make a steel stand overlaid with wood, which I just learned after reading the site. can you get me in contact with the guy who has the H. francisci in the 800? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/coldshkfaqs.htm fourth and fifth questions from the bottom. <Will cc Anthony here> I would like to learn the specs of his setup, and what kind of plant he has in his "forest" as well as his maintenance routine, and where he obtained the shark. Sorry for the essay of Q's! Robert <No worries. DO your homework as thoroughly as you have time, patience for. Bob Fenner>

An albino port Jackson shark The below link is to a short article about an leucistic "albino" shark. A funny error in one of the first lines of the article though: "As adults, they reach a maximum of just three or four feet and feed on a variety of crustaceans such as oysters, mussels and crabs." Heehee... what wrong with this sentence boys and girls? :) <Har! Am feeding Harry (shell nut friend formerly of Amgen) and Kate (a vivacious diver-employee of Big Island Divers... as other friends are out with their wives for a romantic do...) a real crustacean (local palinurid from diving last night). Bob> Ant- http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/sharks/innews/specialyellow2004.html

Horn shark I have a Horn Shark that was eating very well up until 2 days ago. It seems a little sluggish and just has no interest in food .. I feed it squid and shrimp.. any ideas ? > Probably a little "indigestion". I definitely would not worry. These animals can and do go without feeding for weeks sometimes... Maybe try a bit of fish fillet in a few days. Bob Fenner

Horn shark keeping Hi I am writing to you in regard to keeping horn shark. I have been keeping horn sharks, catshark and bamboo sharks for years. I have found keeping them is very easy to do. I live in Chicago south suburbs. I have kept my horn shark for years and had no problem related to temperature. My tank is kept between 77-80 at all times. <Do you know what/which species of Horn Shark you're keeping?> I have been feeding him fresh shrimp from the store. I house my sharks in 135 gallon tank with four different types of wrasses. I keep tank my cool family room with oceanic reef filter and a sea clone protein skimmer. <A small skimmer for such a large tank, big/messy feeders> My water changes done every two to four months depending on water test results. <This is a long interval.> I have also kept fresh water fish in my other tanks for long as fifteen years. I brought books on sharks and accumulated a large library of information on them. I hope there more successful people out there. <Me too> Yours Truly, Mel Hardwick <Thank you for your input. Will post with the Sharks FAQs on our site, and to an article covering the family (Heterodontidae) to be written. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>
Re: Horn shark keeping
Dear Bob; I am sorry I didn't tell you that the shark I have is a California horn shark. <No worries... Heterodontus francisci is the most popular/commonly used species by far> I live in area with a great deal pet stores. To those who are looking for a great deal of information try Barnes and Noble books or on the net fishbase.org. I thank you for taking the time to respond to my email. The secret to my success is keep my prefilters clean on a weekly basis. <Ah! A good practice with such large fishes> Second is to feed my shark just enough, not leaving no waste at the bottom of the tank. <Again, a very valid point> My shark eats every 2 to 3 days. A lot of information I attain from friends at sea world on line and the shed aquarium. I enjoy your website. I help a lot of friends and co workers get start with fresh water or marine fish. I like to let those who are looking for good pet stores in Chicago or southwest suburbs. Starting with Alsip Nursery-Frankford IL 815-469-1044,Capture Of The Sea Orland Park IL 708-444-7614,For Shark and Stingrays Falling Waters 708-478-7663 and Scott's Pets 31st wolf road Westcher IL. All these pet stores have excellent prices and livestock. Most have a very experience staff on hand. <Great!> I hope I helped someone become a better fish keeper. Remember the fish best fish keeper are the people every time you go to there home they have the same fishes and not lots of different fish in the tank? Thank You Mel H. <Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

Big Small Shark Stocking Plans Hello, I was wandering can you have an epaulette and port Jackson shark in a 500 gallon? <Likely so.> and are Portjacksons fish eaters <Like all members of their family, Heterodontidae ("different teeth"), they eat both fishes and hard-shelled invertebrates...> if so how big would the fish have to be for them to be not interested in eating? <Small, slow, unaware enough to either fit in their mouths or a good piece therein> How big would the Portjacksons get in a setup like this with the epaulette and 4 other big fish that would include a honeycomb grouper stars and stripes puffer, queen angel and other big angel? <About thirty inches> Do you see any problems in this stocking list? <Hmm, just a need for big filtration, aeration, circulation. Bob Fenner>

Horn Shark Update Hey Bob welcome back! Two months after purchase the Horn Shark I put in my 800 gallon tank is doing way better than expected. The little guy is still about 1'6" still, which is a good size he looks really small in the tank so I know he's got room. How big should I expect him to grow? I figured about 3-4' at most at least that's what I have been reading. <Yes, but likely two and a half foot maximum in your care> Probably less than that though in a captive situation right? Any way he has not been to fond of the lights which are reef intensity from my previous tanks. I lowered the amounts of light considerably, however he continued to hide in the giant cave I built for him in the far left of the tank. I visually reduced the size of the tank by adding a removable panel that matches the wall. This way he can have privacy and when I need to awe some viewers I can take it off and show the entire tank. This has been a great success as he now spends most of his time fishing through the sand or swimming open water. The teeth I can see when I look close appear to be purplish. Is this from the occasional urchin I feed him? <Likely, yes> I'm guessing so, I usually feed him mostly muscles and shrimps and once a week an urchin but lately he's been getting spoiled more like 4 urchins per week. Its hard to tell just how he is getting at the soft body inside he does it so fast its mostly a cloud of sand. Any help on how he pulls this off? <Crushing in mouth, inhaling most all that is edible, blowing rest by gill slits, otherwise passing through spiral intestine...> The water temp now is about 60 which is just about right I think. He had some sort of a corrosion on his tail fin when I got him however it has disappeared and the tail is fully grown again. Any other help/ info on this guy would be appreciated. Thanks Again! <You likely know more than I... should write a husbandry article on this groups (heterodontids) captive care, your experiences, speculations. Bob Fenner>

Help for the big tank guy <Heterodontus> Hello again Bob, I have written you in the past about my large systems, 800 gallon angelfish, 500 gallon reef. Now that my house has finally finished all of the cleanup and we're fully settled my tanks finally are too. <Must be a relief!> I sold the contents of my 800 gallon angelfish, most of which funded my 400 gallon office show tank filled with Fathead Anthias, about 22 and Green Chromis about 30 or so, really a spectacular tank especially on a reef setting. <Neat... and all the Sunburst/Fatheads get along?> The Boston Aquarium was generous enough to accept my 16 inch emperor. In return I was hooked up with a deal from a neighboring fish farmer with a 1 1/2 foot horn shark. I put him in the 800 in a cold water setting with very little rock work except for a large cave at one end, mostly large beds of kelp-like grasses to provide a san Francisco bay type setting. The shark seems to be thriving and what I thought would be the biggest eye sore is non existent, him laying on the bottom like in the those undersized nurse shark tanks. Obviously being a Horn Shark he still does this but he is a very active swimmer. He eats well and enjoys the occasional urchin which gets very interesting. <Hmm, yes... I have a pic of a Heterodontus francisci swimming about in Scott Michael's new Shark and Ray book... am quite familiar with this species> What kind of things should I mix into his diet to ensure a long life? <Most anything will do... the name "hetero" and "don't" point up the fact that these small temperate and tropical sharks can/do eat hard-bodied organisms... like the urchins you mentioned, clams, crustaceans... as well as fish...> He thrives in the cold water but how cold is too cold? <Below 50 F. or so. But I would keep mine at nearer 70 F. so you don't go broke chilling water, and your shark will move about more at this elevated temperature.> Its been a pleasure to do this project the right way, the fish has lots of swimming room and it really looks great. The 500 is taking on full life, it turns the corner of my living room into the hall and is longer then wider, more so than usual. I have added a lot of water flow on the branched off section that's in the hall (about 100 gallons of room there) to accommodate my final additions, 3 Jewel Tangs, (Acanthurus guttatus), thanks to the Marine Center. <Wow, have rarely seen this species kept... just not offered in the trade... congratulations> Its kinda like a surge zone with only the hardiest of my corals. Its a pretty cool effect. The Semilarvatus B'flys are growing nicely, all three are now about 6 inches. The Sohal has also maxed out at about 9 inches now. Most of the little fish have been removed except for the occasional cleaner wrasse, I think I still have two, and a group of Catalina Gobies that have really done better than expected in their own little territory near the far glass against a rock wall. What other requirements do the Jewel tangs have? <About the same as the Naso lituratus... lots of room, rock, greenery to eat, water movement> They seem to be healthy after a month of quarantine (I was extra cautious be it I never used e-fish purchasing before. They only feed really well on Nori right now though. What else do they eat? <Mostly green, brown, red algae, but will eventually take most all foods> The Majestic Angel was also removed after he suddenly went violent on my corals. Any reason for this? <Just happens at times> Thanks for all the help, you've contributed a good deal to helping my tanks get to the way they are at this point, nice and steady. Kev <Outstanding. Glad to have helped. Bob Fenner>

55 gallon shark aquarium? I was wondering if a 55 gallon aquarium would be large enough for a Hornshark or a banded shark, possibly if raised from an egg to try and keep its size down? <Only for a very small individual for a few months> Or would they really need a bigger aquarium for when they mature in size? -Evan Glisson <You are correct... a much larger system as it would grow... along with sufficient filtration/aeration/circulation. Please read through the "Shark" and "Cartilaginous Fishes" sections, FAQs posted on our website: www.WetWebMedia.com for more. Bob Fenner>

Shark and ray pond/lagoon at home Hi Bob- I have a question regarding using sharks and rays in an outdoor pond/lagoon. I have a shady courtyard in front of my house where my wife and I would like to put an in-ground small pond. <Good for thermal insulation> I have enjoyed my 80 gallon reef tank for years and would love to find a way to make an outdoor saltwater environment work (not much of a Koi fan), but I'm having trouble gathering good information on this topic. <Have seen a few, and built a couple of largish marine features of this sort...> I live in Southern California - great climate (40 F - 90 F) air temperature year round and about 20 minutes from the ocean. (so obviously pumping in ocean water won't happen!) <We live in San Diego... more inland than you...> The size of the area is going to be about 10' x 10' and 2-3' feet deep, so I'll have great surface area and room for them to turn. The courtyard is also well protected with 4 walls. So, Is it possible/difficult?? <Possible, not terribly difficult> Would I need a heater/chiller? <Yes... a heater during the Winter, or chiller during the Summer, depending on what species you are interested in... to keep temperatures "about" steady> What type of pump/skimmer? <Look around for good service factor (operating cost) and no need to be fully-rated (can do fractional RPMs)... There are a few companies that make/use units here... look for Baldor motors... Skimmers... either stock large EuroReef, Sanders unit... or maybe a DIY or RK2 product... see the WetWebMedia.com marine links here> How many/what types would do well? Would my wife divorce me when she sees the bill? Thanks for the help! <Livestock... either cool or tropical... some input posted on WWM under "Shark Selection FAQs"... and references to other sources of info... Re spouse, electrical costs... who can say? Can/should all be calculated in advance of digging... Bob Fenner>
Re: shark and ray pond/lagoon at home
Thanks for the quick response, Bob - I really appreciate it. After talking it over with my wife, we are going to start with some fresh water fish. <A smart approach, trial> I am going to closely monitor the water temp during the hot summer months and see how much/often I would have to run a chiller. If I was to go saltwater down the road, which species would do best? Hornsharks? Bamboo? Cat? Cal. Stingray? Or maybe Tangs and Triggers? Thanks for your assistance. <I'd try local species... perhaps Heterodontus/Horn Sharks (but they're boring, just sit about), many stingrays, non-stingray species off the coast, a dogfish (my Hash House Harriers namesake), other Squalid sharks, maybe a Triakis (Leopard) in time... other common, hardy, near-shore fishes you might catch, study could go as well... I sense an annual pass to the regional and national (many of them "trade" entrance privileges) Public Aquariums in your future. Bob Fenner> Tim

Little Tank of Horror (sharks?!?) What's up guys, I have a question to add to your list. I am currently upgrading from a 55 gal. tank ( 48 x 12 x 24 ) to a 125 gal. tank ( 72 x 18 x 22 ) with two prefilters drilled, a Rio 4100 pump, a 150 gal. wet/dry, a protein skimmer rated for 150 gal. ( I saw one in my LFS but can't remember the brand ) & two 72 inch VHO lamps. I plan to have 80 lbs. of live sand & a few live rocks in the center - but otherwise pretty barren so the sharks can have as much room as possible. I was contemplating on getting 2 Sleeper Gobies (Valenciennea strigata ), or 2 Yellow Head Jawfish ( Opistognathus aurifrons ) & a Reef Lobster (Enoplometopus daumi ). I want to know what's the best tankmates for sharks? I currently have 2 Leopard sharks, a Horn shark (Heterodontus francisci ), a Whitespotted Bamboo shark, & a Brownbanded Bamboo shark all about 1 foot in length. I figure the lobster would have to be 1/3 the length of my sharks. What's your opinion on worthy tankmates & some cleaner - uppers? By the way Love the site!! <Adrian...let me first say that I appreciate the fact that you made contact in search of information at all. And that any imperative tone in my reply that follows is in no way disrespectful, but rather disbelief. Indeed. When I read the query... I thought at first it was joke. But is seems that the questions and reality of the tank are quite serious. Frankly... I am horrified that someone sold you any ONE of the above mentioned sharks let alone five for 55 gallon tank (or a three hundred gallon for that matter)!!! I'm disappointed that you didn't have the slightest inclination at any point that putting five one foot sharks into your tank was not even possible let alone ethical. You do need help with your tank, my friend, and your charges that you admire so well are in very grave danger even in the soon to be upgraded 125 gallon tank. To answer your question... none of the fish or lobster will be compatible with these sharks in any sized tank short of a swimming pool. The smallest shark species you have mentioned (the bamboos) still attain a feet of 3 feet in length. The leopards are recorded at nine(!) feet in length and are sure to reach at least six. Keeping any one of these sharks in a 55 gallon tank is cruel. You need to find aquaria to donate or sell these fish to or build an extraordinary pool. Else, they will all be dead in your 125 gallon tank within a year for various reasons if not months... you can be as sure of that as the sun will rise. Please forgive me if I sound accusatory or at least critical. But I am very upset. You have been poorly advised and to some extent let yourself be so. As aquarists we must properly research an animal before we take it into our care to give the miracle of life its proper respect. You clearly need more information about shark husbandry. If we as aquarists do not manage our resources responsibly... we run the risk of having the privilege to do so legislated away from us. Your sharks suffering and dying in a cramped tank serves no purpose. Please, my friend...take heed. Anthony Calfo>

Horn shark I am looking for some info on the care and species info on the horn shark, Are they compatible with small marine fish? What do they eat? How much room do they need? How big do they get ? etc... Your help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Jeff <There are a few species of Horn Sharks, family Heterodontidae, offered from time to time in the trade... the cooler water Californian, Heterodontus francisci, and the more tropical, H. portusjacksoni mainly... though the pretty H. zebra is occasionally seen... and there are five more species in the genus... They eat invertebrates found on the bottom and small fishes... most get to about four feet long. Need aquariums in the hundreds to thousands of gallons size. Not compatible with small marine fishes... will eat them if hungry, or the opportunity arises. Bob Fenner>

Subtropical Shark Selection Hello bob, Hope everything is good I just have 2 questions are the Portjackson sharks from Australia coldwater or warmer? <Cooler, sub tropical heterodontids/Horn Sharks... from Southern Australia, Heterodontus portusjacksoni... more tropical Heterodontus zebra from up north> How big of a tank do these need. <Hundreds of gallons. Lots of bottom area, darkened spots, a cave or two to hide in a good part of the time.> These are the ones they have in the collectors corner on ffexpress. <Mmm, a fabulous species. Bob Fenner>

Hello AGAIN (Shark System) Hey, can't get rid of me, huh. I'm annoying like that. Anyway, my parents felt badly about the loss of my shark as do I, they say that if I get straight A's, they will let me get the shark tank of my dreams. As you know I am very passionate for them, but do not know much about. The tank is 500 hundred gallon, the popular for Bonnethead Sharks I see. I was wondering if this would be sufficient. <Good for many of the smaller popular sharks. Please see Bob's articles regarding the good and bad shark choices here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharks.htm and pick one with an adult size under 4 feet.> a Cyclone Biofilter with a protein skimmer made in it. Only about $549. (everything is made to adjust to a 500) A cyclone 1/2 HP Chiller. About $1279. 2 CAP Aqua Pumps, flow 1250 gallon per hour. <You need larger pumps and they really should be external ones. Two pumps rated at 2500 gph each would be my choice.> (you know current, they say sharks love current, I don't know.) $167.98. A UV Sterilizer, $409.99. And the Big Finale, the 96x48x30 500 gallon, Tenecor acrylic aquarium $2,385 and a Oak Stand and Canopy Set, $2517. I think I am getting ripped off with the canopy and stand being more expensive than the aquarium, don't you think? <Get several quotes.> The total Price $7309.97. That is not too bad is it? And I was wondering, what kind of sharks can I house in there, and how many. Is the filter sufficient, too much too little? I was thinking maybe a baby Bonnethead, but how much are those? What about a Port Jackson Shark? What are the price ranges on all these sharks? I am dying to know. <Answers to all of the above questions can be found at the link listed previous or in Scott Michael's book "Sharks & Rays" which should be your first purchase.> Thanks again Bob, for Everything, Alvin Chan P.S. Please tell me if I am getting cheated with anything. :) <Good luck! -Steven Pro>

Sharks and Rays in Aquariums
Gaining an understanding of how to keep these fishes in captive saltwater systems   

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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