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FAQs about Shark Foods, Feeding, Nutrition 2

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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

Shark Feeding FAQ       4/7/16
My son recently learned about sharks in school and was really excited to come home and tell me all about them. We decided to jump on the computer to see what else he could learn and we found your page,
Thomas asked me to send you a message to say thanks because he really enjoyed your shark information.
<Kind of him to let us know!>
He also asked that I share a neat article he found about shark teeth,
We thought it might be a good fit for your page. Thomas loves to help others out and would be thrilled if you found it useful.
<I'm sure it will be. Do be sure to have your son check out the fossil shark Helicoprion; nobody has a clue how this thing's teeth worked!>
Just goes to show the funky stuff evolution tries out if you study it for long enough!>
Thanks again,
Melissa and Thomas
<Cheers, Neale.>

Banded Cat Shark not eating; Poor nutrition, no data on system... Mike not reading    6/8/14
Hey, I have an issue with one of my sharks. There are two of them in my tank right now, along with a clown and two tangs. Both are a few months old, one a couple months older than the other, and were eating perfectly fine. I have been feeding them squid.
<...> <A poor solitary diet... part of the issue here>

Recently, for the past few days, the older one stopped eating and will not take any of the food I offer it. The other shark is still continuing to eat. What could have caused the shark to stop? The only thing that has changed was the placement of a couple rocks because the shark was getting too big to fit under it and liked to stay there a lot. Could this have caused it by stressing the shark?
<.... don't write w/o searching, reading first. Start here:

Scroll down to the Cartilaginous Fishes tray... read re foods/feeding/nutrition, systems, more appropriate aquarium species.
Bob Fenner>
Re: Banded Cat Shark not eating
I was researching but could not find anything about stressing the shark with moving the rocks. Also, looking at your article on keeping the sharks, I read down to the feeding. There, you said squid is widely accepted, but messy. However, in the email you stated squid is a poor solitary diet.
According to the article, it's never said to stray away from squid. So I should change the diet?
<.... yes. BobF>

sharky question; fdg. mostly      1/29/14
Good afternoon all, Bob here as well (if this is Bob). I have been keeping various marine aquariums for the better part of 15 years. I have had reef tanks, and now decided to stick with fowlr. I currently have a 155 bow tank, with minimal rock work. (60 lbs in display, 20 in sump). I have a 50 gallon sump with an MTC protein skimmer rated for 200 gallons. I do weekly
water changes of 25 gallons.(15% roughly) Parameters are 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and between 20-40 nitrates contingent on which test I use.
Salinity 1.23,
<Likely you mean specific gravity; of 1.023>
 and temp 78. Tank has been up and running for about 10 years. Also 2 inches of sugar sand at the bottom (half aragonite, half silica based marine sand)
<I'd double this depth... with more sugary aragonite or fine coral sand>

I have done a lot of research, but still feel it is insufficient, then again, I did research for nearly a year before acquiring my African Grey Parrot. Once my basement is finished, I am eyeing up a 300 gallon fowlr.
Two days ago I acquired a 7 inch marbled cat shark from a local lfs who picked it up for me at one of his distributors. He did not acclimate into his tank, simply picked it up, called me, and in an hour I had it. I drip acclimated him for about 75 minutes, and once PH, Temp and Salinity were matched, I placed him in.
Tank mates are a clown tang, sohal tang (risky I know, but they were placed in same time at same size, and hardly ever fight)
<Will need more room... I'd be getting that 300 up, going>
spiny box puffer (slow swimmer, very docile, doesn't pick at my lion at all), volitans lion fish, rainbow wrasse, Koran angel, and humu trigger (never picks on lion, if he does, he goes).
<... all need more room. Stat!>

The marbled cat has been hiding for the last two days, rarely showing himself under the little rock work I have in there. I know the day the LFS picked him up, the guy said he had him with garden eels, (mistake on someone's part) and the eels were shredded, only fish in the tank was this shark. So I know he was eating something. He was only 100, so I assume he
is not the Australian variety.
It is now day 3 of me having him, and to my knowledge, he has not eaten in my care. Before shutting the lights off the first two days, I placed a few pieces of krill, a silverside, and scallop at bottom of tank which adhered underneath the live rock. I did not wish to spook him the first several days (or any) with a feeding stick.
I have various foods to try via feeding dowel, my question is if he is hiding, without moving rocks to get to him, how long can I let a shark go of this size, hide without spot feeding him?

I was hoping by now when the lights went dim or out, he would show himself, but he hasn't.
<Time... patience... the other fish livestock may well be scaring this little shark>

Also, I am looking into the Mazuri vitamins, I am assuming for this guy these http://www.mazuri.com/mazurivitazusharkraytablets-2.aspx  would be appropriate once he is steadily eating.
Any advice you may have that I could add to my research library, about the aforementioned concerns, or marbled cats in general would be highly appreciated. Thank you, Bob
<Not much more/anything to state that I haven't written/posted on WWM, and a compilation recently published as a ready to print and eBook on sharks and rays in captivity (on Amazon). Bob Fenner> 
follow up, bob... more gen. FOWLR maint.; skimmer f', Lion loss...      1/29/14

Thanks for the response, Bob. Yes I meant to say 1.023 salinity.
 That is with my glass hydrometer that was once used by the company my father worked for, which shipped petroleum products including jet fuel via underground pipelines. It was used in there lab, and needed to be calibrated and accurate in order to properly calculate millions of barrels of oil. I believe it is a good one, but would a 50 60 dollar refractometer
be better in the long run?
<Perhaps... more accurate>
Another thing I wanted to ask is about my protein skimmer. I have read reviews on people skimmers in tanks equivalent to the size of mine, that pull a gallon or so of skimmate out per week. Is my mere cup not cutting it?
<Please search, read re skimmer operation on WWM... the amount of skimmate varies hugely in systems, depending on many factors. Some fab systems produce very little>
 I believe I have it tuned correctly, and when I called MTC about  a week ago, I told them how much I was producing, and they sarcastically (in a funny way) said if you want more skimmate, empty more garbage into tank.
<Valid comment though>
My feeling is it should be getting more, but then again, before the water enters the skimmer, it goes through a filter sock via overflow, and a thick foam pad before entering return pumps to enter protein skimmer. Maybe too much "debris", protein, etc, is getting picked up by those medias, not allowing particles to get to skimmer. Your thoughts?
<Are posted; searchable>
As far as shark feeding goes, I regularly feed my fish 3 total times per day. In morning I throw about 20 pellets in there, which tangs, angel and puffer consume in about 30 seconds. A few hours later I rinse and thaw out a few pieces of krill, PE Mysis, regular Mysis, and clams or squid. I shut one pump off to reduce circulation, and put enough food in there to be gone
in a minute, preferable less. Krill does commonly get stuck to overflow vent, which I then use a net to remove. I then feed one more time in the evening, same drill as the latter. And of course for the sohal and clown tang, I place in a bout a 10 inch by 2 inch piece of Nori, which is gone by night fall. (use a clip to ensure it doesn't get to overflow) But this time, using my dowel, without moving rock, putting a silverside, clam, or scallop, near the vicinity of the shark. If he doesn't take, I will leave a few pieces in for the dark overnight, but if I read correctly, night feeding is not preferred either as well, correct?
<Worth trying>
Last thoughts, is the store bought roasted Nori the same stuff, or equal to the more expensive marine algae in pet stores?
<It's identical... unless you're buying a flavored variety>
Oh, and very last thing (my excitement for this stuff is like an 18 year olds testosterone level). When I pre-wrote the email about the shark, I wrote it yesterday morning. I am sad to say that my lion fish did in fact pass away last night. I neglected to correct that this morning when I sent it. I only had him for about 4 days, he was the last fish I placed in the tank. He was a small black volitans, which I bought last Friday, and he never ate in my care. The store I bought it from told me they never seen him eat frozen, only live guppies. I was trying different frozen items, no live fish, and truly believed I would have had more time then 4 days before he passed. He is the only fish that I have lost in a year, and he was only 4 days. Could it have been starvation?
<Doubtful; most likely "stress"; from the other fishes, being new>
 I did see him eat 4 guppies at store the day I bought him? I know lion fish are hardy, and could go a while without nutrition. Every fish in my tank (other than new shark) are eating strongly, and look terrific.
Parameters are ideal, with nitrate being the one thing not perfect. Any thoughts on this lion? I can also tell you, as I work from home, I spend 8-10 hours a day near the aquarium. I never seen one fish hassle him, or come in to his vicinity. He spent most of his time perched on some live rock or floating about in the water column.

Help me with my sharks please!    6/6/12
We have 20 Blacktip Reef Sharks ( *Carcharhinus melanopterus* ) in 400 m3 tank.
We have had them for over 1 year now but lately, I  have noticed their chin getting fat and unusual. It looks like they have a tumor(i send you some of their pictures).
<Yes; goiter most commonly labeled... Their diet is lacking in useful iodide-ate... Are you familiar with Mazuri (.com) foods for sharks? SEARCH WWM re shark goiter and READ. They need this halogen for metabolism>
Beside that, They are doing fine and eating normal but I'm so worry. I don't know it's just they are too fat or it's a disease sign. I looked up everywhere but I cant find anything the same. I hope you can give me some advices. Here is condition of my tank: pH: 7.8, Ammonia: 0 mg/L, Nitrite: 0 mg/L, Nitrate: 0 mg/L, Salinity:  29 ppt, Temperature : 29 OC. its tankmates are 9 stingrays, 14 small turtles and 5 white tip reef sharks (white tip reef shark 's chin are normal ) We feed the sharks with fish and feed them once in 2 days. please help me!  Any advice from you guys would be appreciated.
<This condition is VERY dangerous. Needs to be addressed ASAP, their diet supplemented. Do you understand?
Bob Fenner> 
Shark goiter query

Hey Bob,
I saw a query in the crew mail related to sharks "Help me with my sharks please" that I can handle for you, but it won't be as complete as might be needed.  That is, I know the problem is goiter, related to an iodine deficiency, but the fact that there are probably other issues going on is something I may well miss.   I've never kept sharks, much less Black Tips, 20 at a time, along with turtles and other sharks in a system and am not sure of their requirements re: tank size, chemistry, etc.  If you're in a crunch for time, I can handle it for you though and go over the iodine issue.  Just let me know..
Take care,
<I already responded, but do ask that you do as well. More "fuel to the fire" needed here methinks. BobF>
Help me with my sharks please! Goiter - 6/6/12

<Hello, Lynn here today.>
We have 20 Blacktip Reef Sharks ( *Carcharhinus melanopterus* ) in 400 m3 tank. We have had them for over 1 year now but lately, I have noticed their chin getting fat and unusual. It looks like they have a tumor (I send you some of their pictures).
<Thank you, your sharks appear to have what’s known as a goiter, which is an enlarged thyroid gland, that’s brought on by an iodine deficiency.> 
Beside that, they are doing fine and eating normal
<The goiter can eventually interfere with the shark’s ability to eat, so it’s important to address the situation as soon as possible.>
…but I'm so worry. I don’t know it's just they are too fat or it's a disease sign. I looked up everywhere but I can’t find anything the same. I hope you can give me some advices.
<You’ll need to provide the sharks with a supplement.  Do look into the “Vita-Zu Shark/Ray Tablets” offered by Mazuri (as an example): http://www.mazuri.com/search.aspx?find=vita-zu+shark .  For more information on this topic, please enter the search term “shark + goiter” in our Google search engine: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Googlesearch.htm .  Here’s a good site as well for captive shark care that has articles covering a variety of topics: http://sites.google.com/site/elasmobranchhusbandry/manual >
Here is condition of my tank: pH: 7.8, Ammonia: 0 mg/L, Nitrite: 0 mg/L, Nitrate: 0 mg/L, Salinity:  29 ppt, Temperature : 29 OC. Its tankmates are 9 stingrays, 14 small turtles and 5 whitetip reef sharks (whitetip reef shark's chin are normal) We feed the sharks with fish and feed them once in 2 days. Please help me! 
<Hopefully the supplements will take care of the problem but do refer to the above-listed links for more information related to keeping sharks in captivity.>
Any advice from you guys would be appreciated.
<You’re very welcome.  Take care and good luck with your sharks! Lynn Z>

Re: Help me with my sharks please! Goiter - 6/7/12
Dear Lynn Z and  Bob Fenner
Thank you so much for your advice and the links you gave me. I will do as you said and hoping the goiter will go down. Your e-mail was like a lifesaver to me. Once again, thank you so much for your big help.
<You're very welcome and good luck! Lynn Z> 

Problem with white tip reef shark, likely nutritional    9/7/11
Hi Bob
We are having an issue with our white tip reef shark, and we are hoping that you may have an idea. I have attached a picture of the swelling on her head.
A couple weeks back, we noticed that she had a sore on the bottom of her neck (she has had a small lump there for years), and it seem to have burst, and was red and raw, about a half centimeter deep, and the size of a dime.
It didn't seem to be bothering her, but to prevent infection, we did a large water change and ran a course of Melafix in the tank.
As this healed up, and left the bump under her neck, but she seems to have gotten a swelling on the back right side of her neck/head, which as it has grown has been twisting her head and making her swimming very awkward.
I have tried to find some information online, and all I can figure is that maybe it was a goiter that has burst.
<Yes; my first guess>
We are adding some vitamin supplements to her food, with a bit of iodine to see if we can get the swelling to go down.
<...? You had not been adding these to date? Search, read on WWM re Mazuri.com, their use>
We have found that every summer she tends to go a bit lighter on her feedings anyways, but there are some weeks where she has not been eating at all, and has lost some weight.
Tank details
10' x 7' x 3' + 75-100 gallon sump
pH: 8.2
Nitrite : 0
Ammonia : 0
Nitrate : 60 (due for another water change this week, but I am waiting for my salt order to arrive.)
<I'd avail myself of other means to keep NO3 under 20 ppm. See WWM re>
I can send through a video as well as the picture. If you have any thoughts or ideas, please let me know.
Thank you for your time,
<Read then write back if you have further questions, concerns. Bob Fenner>

Bamboo Cat Shark Question   7/22/11
Hi guys, I am a big fan of your site and appreciate all the knowledge.
I have an adult Bamboo Cat shark that has a white film over his entire eye.
<Mmm, an injury... this fish "swam into" something...>
The other eye is missing (purchased from a pet store this way). His eye has been completely white for over 3 months. He currently resides in a 300 gallon aquarium with 0 ammonia, 0 nitrates, low nitrates. Several puffer fish reside in the aquarium with him and never seem to bother each other.
If given the change he will eat everyday numerous silver sides, shrimp, mussels, shrimp, etc and acts completely normal.
<This diet may be an issue. Read here:
Do you use/administer vitamins? Are you familiar w/ Mazuri.com?>
Do you have any insight what this white film could be. Potentially an injury or parasite?
<The former almost assuredly>
Thanks for the help. Zach
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: More re: Bamboo Cat Shark Question   7/22/11

Thanks for the quick response. I have never used vitamins with my shark. I took a look at mazuri.com and am purchasing the shark/ray gel pack. Is this gel pack meant to be the sole diet of the shark or should I continue to vary his diet and use this as a supplement?
<The latter; this is a supplement>
Thanks again, Zach
<Welcome. BobF>
Re: epaulette shark stopped feeding 7/29/11

Hi I thought I would update you on recent developments!
<Ahh, thank you>
The shark has begun eating again, very slowly at first but is now getting back to his old self. It was almost 3 weeks with only one very small meal consumed in that time. Needless to say I was worried! I will not be feeding those shelled crabs again. They do get a very varied diet of marine worms (live farmed ones) squid, fish, shrimp, and occasional soft crabs.
I have not been using vitamins because I assumed the diet was varied enough, but I have decided that I will from now on just in case.
<A good idea>
This leads me to another question. I have just bought Vita-chem marine vitamins and it is full of lumps! Also there is no date on the bottle, is it supposed to be lumpy?
<Not as far as I'm aware, no. I would discard this bottle, notify the maker (Boyd's)>
Lastly I have bought Lugol's solution after reading on your site but it seems stronger than others mentioned as it is 12% solution. do you know how much I should use?
<Posted on the Net... a good idea to use on a punctuated basis if not using purposeful test gear>
Thanks again Andrew
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: epaulette shark stopped feeding 7/29/11
Thank you for the reply I am glad I did not use that bottle just in case!
Cheers, Andrew
<And you, BobF>
re: HELP!!! Vitamin Use... no searching or reading   7/29/11

Daily? Sorry.
... No
re: HELP!!!   7/29/11

How often?

Drunk Sharks?!   7/4/11
Good Morning Crew!
I am about to overhaul and upgrade my 180 gallon system to a 400 gallon system with a 180 gallon tank, a 100, a 90 refugium, and a 20-30 gallon wet/dry sump (the 400 does not include hang on filters or plumbing naturally). I would like to put a whitespotted bamboo shark in my 180 for about a year or so two at the absolute most.
<Mmm, start w/ a very small specimen... feed very sparingly... not easy for any shark, chondrichthyous fish to "turn around" physically, and even bamboo sharks get excited from time to time... can damage themselves in such small rectangular spaces>
At which point I will be building a 700-900 gallon tank. My issue is that I do something rarely recommended by anyone, vodka dosing. Its been very successful and I'd very much like to continue the dosing but if there will be a problem with the small shark (approximately eight inches at the moment
and still at the store) then I will have to decide.
<Well... I am not a fan of this practice being done on a continuous basis... but IS of value/utility on a punctuated, time to time use>
Idealistically I'd just like to alter the acclimation process accordingly.
I have been reading for days here on sharks and have purchased the book which is on its way. I'm very excited at the potential to have such a beautiful shark that will hopefully have as much personality as the
rest of my fish if not more. Please tell me if it can work out with the vodka dosing.
Thank You
<Can... Bob Fenner>
re: Drunk Sharks?!   7/4.5/11

That is great to hear, or see. I am looking into purchasing the recommended Lugol's iodine
<Mmm, commercial Iodine/ide ones are vastly superior>
solution but the problem is there are two dilutions! There is one with 4% potassium iodide and 2% iodine (not the one I want I am assuming).
<Could be...>
Then there is one with 7% iodine and 2.2% iodine.
<Mmm, summat wrong here>
I saw the post with the recommended half ml. per week but for which dilution?
<Would have to see/read the excerpt... Of course, depends on what you're starting w/ as a stock solution>
Also since my book has yet to arrive I am unsure of whether the recommended vitamin supplements are in it. If they are there is no need to respond I'll find them shortly. But if the items are not listed then would you please point me in the right direction?
<Posted on WWM: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/FishInd1.htm
scroll down to Sharks, Foods/Feeding/Nutrition FAQs>
As for my current system and menagerie, I would like to try Gamma Nutraplus Reef Feed but I cannot find a distributor.
<Have your LFS's (local fish stores) contact Quality Marine, LA>
I found limited information at Tropical Marine Center and perhaps I overlooked a link to purchase it there. It isn't even available on eBay.
<TMC is the maker/manufacturer, QM is their principal US distributor>
Thank You once again for providing optimal brain-picking!!
<Welcome. BobF>

re: Drunk Sharks?!... Nutr., I2, F's    7/5/11

"Re: Shark Problems Follow-up 10/13/05
Thanks for the quick reply. I am using an artificial salt mix, Bio Sea's "Marine Mix",
<I'd look for a good deal on a better brand... perhaps the 200 gallon size of Instant Ocean's products... even from etailers if they have a deal on freight>
Vita-Zu "Sharks & Rays Vitamins" and Kent Marine's "Tech 1" Iodine Supplement and "Essential Elements" in the water.
<Am not a fan of this company's products... too many hokum, no smokum...>
Do you think I should be injecting their food with Iodine? If so what kind or brand of Iodine, how much, and how often.
<I would use Lugol's Solution... about a half ml. per week, in one dose per shark>
Their food is cut up: 2 small anchovies, 2 shrimp, and 2 clams. I feed them once a day.
<Good mix, technique. Bob Fenner> "
That is the post that set me on the search for it. The 7% and 2.2% are what is available on eBay. Each posting says 1fl. ounce with either 7% iodine or 2.2% iodine. Here is the link to the eBay search:
<<I've changed my mind since this date/posting in 05... Too many people have troubles making their own I2 solutions... Please peruse here: http://wetwebmedia.com/IodineSWArt.htm
and the linked files above. DO invest in a test kit if you intend to supplement often>
I will buy the Mazuri tablets to supplement the shark's diet. Should they be added to the food, say stuffed in a piece of prawn, or dissolved in the water?
<Added to foods, hidden inside as you state>
And how often should this take place? If the iodine is once a week should the tablets be the same?
<About this interval, yes>
Also how do I weigh the shark? Placement on an average digital scale seems very stressful...
<Approximation is fine... as with humans, much/most of the vitamin content (water solubles) is not easily over-dosed... B>

Shark vitamin supplements  1/27/11
Hi guys I was wondering if you have any ideas how to obtain Mazuri shark vitamins or something similar in the UK?
<? Can be ordered from their site am pretty sure. If they won't ship there, I'd "make a deal" w/ someone in the U.S. to purchase and have them ship to you in turn>
I have just acquired a pair of epaulette sharks from another keeper and so obviously I want to give them the best of care! I am an experienced marine fishkeeper and so I am hoping to be able to get them to breed one day. I have frequently read on your site about the Mazuri vits
being the best but their website says they don't send internationally.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated,
cheers, Andrew
<Welcome. Bob Fenner> 

Banded cat shark, juv., hlth... may be nutr.  -- 02/02/10
I have a banded cat shark that hatched in October. She has been very active, night and day, and has always had a very good appetite. I usually feed her shark formula by ocean nutrition, but sometimes mix it up with frozen clams.
<Mmm... and vitamins, iodide/ate supplements?>
I have always fed her everyday; just half a cube of food. She stopped eating almost 2 weeks ago. I have tried feeding her squid during the night and the day to perk up her appetite, but there's been no response. Her color hasn't changed, but her respiratory rate has gone up. I checked my water and the only thing that tested positive was nitrates at 10 ppm. My salt is at about 1.025, and I always top off with fresh water. None of the other fish are having any symptoms like these. My first theory for her loss of appetite was when I bought two new fish for my tank, they were attacked by a territorial damsel and killed. When I noticed that I had no ammonia count
<Mmm, this could be "it"...>
in my tank, I figured that she had been eating the remains of the fish since I had never recovered any of the fishes bodies. I wonder if an Anthias or a honey damsel could have given her a toxin to cause her feel this way.
<Not likely, no>
I've also heard of force feeding which I might be willing to try after two weeks of starvation,
<Best to avoid>
but my tank is a couple feet deep which makes it impossible to grab her. I don't think I can persuade her to eat any kinds of vitamins.
<Marine fishes "drink" their environment... so, adding to the water will get a (diluted) amount into them>
Is there something else that I missed that might be worth trying? I'll do anything for my Shelia. Thanks for reading!
<I suspect a nutritional deficiency syndrome here... Please put the string (of words): <shark nutritional deficiency vitamins iodine goiter>
in the search tool on WWM here: http://wetwebmedia.com/Googlesearch.htm
and read the cached views. Stat.
Bob Fenner>

Re: New Shark Acting Strange, now nutrition  -- 10/31/09
Thanks for the fast reply. Did make sure to cover up the top good before I got him. One final question though. I know iodine supplements are needed for sharks but I've heard pouring it directly into the
water is a bad idea. What is the best way to get iodine into their diets?
<Mmm, actually, better to supply the I2 with other needed micro-nutrients... via concealed (hidden in food) supplements. Do see Mazuri.com's site re sharks. B>
Re: New Shark Acting Strange
Thanks for the site. Do you recommend the shark/ray tablets or gel? Or
both perhaps?
<I like the tabs... easy to measure, see if they've been ingested. B>

Black Tip Reef Shark not eating. 1/14/09 Dear Bob, I have read some of the articles on your web, very interesting. Meanwhile I have a issue with reef black shark 2.5 feet not having regular feed of macreel , <Insufficient nutritionally... I hope you are using vitamins, inserted inside...> We have one of the best aquarium in the country and is taken care by professionals but still we wish to know how to sort out this issue. What do you normally attribute this problem to. Ramesh Naidu, Mumbai. <Mmm, need information to make any real suggestion... the system, water tests... Likely a cumulative nutritional deficiency at play here, with a stress component for sure... Please read: http://wetwebmedia.com/sharkfeedingfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Mortimer the white spot bamboo shark, fdg./hlth.    9/6/08 Dear Mr. Fenner, A few years back I wrote to you with this same problem . Morty was 10 then and now he's almost 15 . Although I have a good idea what you'll tell me , maybe you'll see a solution I don't . Morty is obviously interested in all of the food I try feeding . But each and every thing , he spits out . I've tried so many things . Shrimp, cocktail and fresh , squid, scallop, clams, oyster, and silversides which he usually woofs down since he rarely gets them . I've also tried live shrimp and live mollies, both of which were sucked in and spit out ! I'm going to go to a bait shop . <Mmm, better by far to use previously frozen fare... to avoid pests, parasites and more> But I can't imagine what they might have that won't evoke the same response . The last time he gave me such a hard time , I gave in and fed the silversides , which he doesn't want now .But it s been about three weeks since we've been playing this game now. I see no indication of something like goiter which would affect his ability to swallow . I've dealt with that in another shark . That shark , an epaulette, we lost after trying the force feeding thing . At the time Paul on your crew was helping me out with his guidance. He even did a necropsy for me at The Monterey Bay . It was determined that we had gotten the food into his stomach . So it wasn't likely we did anything wrong . But I'm very scared to try to force feed Morty , and lose him . I love him lots! I wondered if you could think of any reason for this behavior ? Or any other remedies ? I'm at a loss . Thanks to you and your crew for your time . Terri Rego <... Do you use supplements in the foods? What brand, make up, dosage? Bob Fenner>
Re: Mortimer the white spot bamboo shark -- 09/07/08
Hi Mr. Fenner , As far as the food I've been trying , including the bait shop idea which i haven't done yet , it all was listed as things to entice him with in the book. And the only supplement I was using was the Mazuri shark vitamin . <A worthy product. I would supplement this with iodide/ate... and try a liquid HUFA prep. on the offered foods to stimulate feeding> And I was trying to get one pill in him a week . But since he became such a picky eater , it's been a while since he's had any . But until I got in touch with you all those four years ago , he never had any . Today I plan to try some bay scallop and the frozen fresh shrimp again . I work nights , and every morning when I get home he's out looking for me . Obviously active and interested . I'm just baffled . Thanks again , Terri Rego <Perhaps... senescence... cumulative genetic/replicate errors... BobF>
Re: Mortimer the white spot bamboo shark -- 09/07/08
Sir , I'm sorry but you will need to translate your comments. How might I supplement the iodide, <Posted on WWM...> and I'm not familiar with a HUFA prep or where to acquire it. <... Highly Unsaturated Fatty Acids... can be purchased in commercial products for ornamental aquatics... Like Selcon...> And what exactly is senescence ... cumulative genetic/replicate errors ? Terri R <... Please use your search tools... Bob Fenner>
Re: Mortimer the white spot bamboo shark -- 09/07/08
Mr. Fenner , sorry , I'm a little frazzled. <You're in good company... This is my usual state...> I looked on your site and I see that you mention a product called Selcon . <Ah yes> I will find that . And I also see that by the senescence thing you mean maybe he's getting old . Bummer . Sorry again for not checking first before asking you to explain . Terri R <No worries Terri. BobF>
Re: Mortimer the white spot bamboo shark 9/8/08
Again I am sorry that I asked before I looked . I didn't mean to seem lazy or stupid . I was tired and not thinking clearly . I would not want to take advantage of your kindness . T Rego <No worries... and another pet-fish friend has written in with comments: Thought I might comment on this. This is exactly what happened to my Bamboo Shark before I lost him. It went on for a month before he expired, and I never was able to figure out what happened to him, other than at the time I had a substandard skimmer on the tank and I think that water quality played a major role in his demise. It may have been the nastiness in the tank that a quality skimmer should remove that you cannot really measure with test kits. I wish I had done some major water changes at this time. Not much info, but a suggestion from someone who dealt with a very similar occurrence. Take care, Thomas <Bob Fenner>
Re: Mortimer the white spot bamboo shark 9/8/08
Sir , please don't kill me . My next question would be , at what point do I give up this game and try to force feed him ? As much as I don't want to . T Rego <Mmm, if this fish isn't too terribly thin... I'd wait another few weeks. Bob Fenner>
Re: Mortimer the white spot bamboo shark 9/8/08
Mr. F , I thank Thomas for his input . Although I recently did a water change , I will plan another . Anything is worth trying . I'm also relieved to hear that you would wait a while to try force feeding . I will look for something like Selcon tomorrow . If you don't mind , I'll keep you posted . Terri R <Please do Terri. BobF>
Re: Mortimer the white spot bamboo shark  9/10/08
Mr. F , Still having no luck . And it looks like I'll have to wait up to a week for the store to get the Selcon . Do you know of any liquid supplement that may help to sustain Morty ? <Mmm, yes I do> I'm thinking of something that the food would be soaked in . Perhaps just chomping on his food then might get some vitamin into him ? Or perhaps an intramuscular shot of some vitamin ? <Can be done... do you have a small syringe?> Like B or whatever you think might help ? And the iodide you mention , shouldn't the water changes take care of that ? <No> Do you think I should add iodine to his water after all this time ? <Yes> And Sir , I wondered if you were still in touch with Paul who used to be on the crew ? <Paul Mansur has left our Crew... I think he still lives in SF> I lost the numbers I had for him . But I sure would like to pick his brain about now . I sure do appreciate all your time and help . As always . Terri R <Do look for "baby vitamins"... liquid prep.s for young humans... BobF>
Re: Mortimer the white spot bamboo shark   9/11/08
Hi Mr. F , you said you knew of a supplement that might help to sustain him . Is that the baby vitamin you mentioned and should I soak the food in it ? <Yes... please read here and the next linked file above: http://wetwebmedia.com/sharkfeedingfaqs.htm> And as far as the shot goes , I would ask my friend who's a DVM to give it to him . She would need to know what to give him , where on his body , and sir , how much should we give him ? <RMF> 

coral Catshark vitamin supplements  8/26/08 I have a captive California Stingray (Urolophus halleri) and a coral Catshark (Atelomycterus marmoratus). Both are still very young (both around 6" in length). Currently I am feeding them a varied diet consisting of marine fish flesh, shrimp, scallops and squid. All of their food is frozen to prevent pathogenic infection. However, this leads to a loss in vitamins so I know that a vitamin supplement is needed. I was wondering how you supplement lost vitamins for small captive sharks that are too small to be given tablets in their food (even when full grown) and where these supplements can be purchased. <Mmm, pieces of tablet/s snuck into choice food items. See Mazuri.com> If you can give me any information it would be greatly appreciated, especially by my Elasmobranchs. <See here: https://www.mazuri.com/PDF/5MD8.pdf and look into buying/using a "pill splitter". Bob Fenner>

Banded Cat Shark Feeding 1/3/08 Hello :) <Hi> All I needed to know was if I could feed my banded cat shark feeder fish from the local pet store. I really did try to find this, but it seemed as if different sites held different opinions. I figured you guys could tell my for sure. Thank you so very much. Shelby <No for a variety of reasons, see here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharkfeedingfaqs.htm and here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/feedrfaqs.htm for more.> <Chris>

Banded Cat Shark Issues, fdg.  -- 09/29/07 Crew, <Tom> Bob and I have discussed this a bit, but I'm still seeking his and ya'lls (Georgia word) thoughts on the matter, as it really has me stumped. First the background, in case it is not Bob reading. We have a 200 gallon tank, 72"x24"x27". It is filtered by a Fluval FX5, which has only ceramic biomedia and filter pads, which are cleaned/rinsed at worst every two weeks. I have a wet/dry filter as well, with a prefilter pad which is also rinsed in the same time frame. There is a large hang on protein skimmer with powerhead as well, which produces waste and is cleaned as needed. Finally I use a Magnum canister filter to run carbon through, though it is not rated for this size tank, but it is solely for carbon filtration. The salinity level is 1.024, 0 ppm for ammonia & nitrites. I did a nitrate test last night and have 5 ppm or less. The tank temperature runs from 80 to 82 degrees consistently (we live south of Houston, it's friggin hot most of the time here.). Occupants of the tank are a Passer Angel, about 5 to 6 inches, extremely healthy and beginning the last phase of adult coloration (I think), two blue damsels, a lunare wrasse, and a 8" banded cat shark. I would guess I have approximately 100lbs of LR in the tank, stacked high to provide open swimming space. There are bountiful numbers of copepods in the tank, who come out at night and scurry into the rock in the day. The substrate is 3 to 4 inches of fine sand. I perform 20 to 25 % water changes every 7 to 10 days. The shark was hatched in late May/early June. At that time, they were all in an 80 gallon tank (chastisement from here led to our 200 gallon purchase). The transfer went well and all fish were well until we had an outbreak of ich and even possibly velvet. The ich was definitely my fault for introducing a fish w/o quarantine, the velvet may have been from the purchase of Caulerpa algae for the tank from a LFS that had inverts and fish in the same system. Until this time, the shark was an excellent feeder, eating shark formula pieces with Zoë or Zoecon, and the occasional offering of ghost shrimp. The ick was a horrible battle, I lost numerous specimens, including a dogface puffer that I had with me for 4 years, and a lovely yellow tang. It was to this time that I link the problems with the shark. I can't remember exactly when that was, but probably mid August is when it became a problem feeding the shark. I had to treat the tank with Quinine Sulfate, from Natl.Fish Pharm. We did a 9 day treatment, at 3 day intervals full dosing the Quinine after a 25% water change. Up until that point, the shark would eat numerous pieces of the shark formula and fill his belly. Midway through this treatment, that changed. Usually I would cut up half a formula cube into about 8 pieces and he would eat at least 6. Now, he mouths them, tries to ingest them it seems, and spits them back out, repeating the process until he finally loses interest. If the food remains, the Angel swoops down and eats it. The shark has gotten painfully thin, but still appears in good spirits. I can see a line down his back (not bone, cartilage spine, whatever) and the area behind his gills is mighty thin. Any time food is present, he comes out and searches around, showing an appetite. Every 4 or 5 days I will buy about 3 dozen ghost shrimp and put them in the tank, and he attacks them and I have seen him engulf a number of smaller ones. I have resorted now to cutting half a cube of formula into tiny pieces, and turning off all but one light in the house at night, and placing all of this food near his head (which he starts to eat). I then run to the light switch and turn the last light off, so that the angel won't eat the food and the shark will have time to eat. Naturally I can't tell how much he actually ingests since my night vision isn't so good. <Try a red/dish light...> Also, I've been putting the ghost shrimp I buy in a Tupperware dish, soaking some marine flake in Zoecon, and feeding the shrimp for about 20 minutes before putting them in the tank, hoping that this might give them some kind of nutritional value. <Good> The only real factor I can think of is the Quinine treatment, though NFP and Mr. Fenner agree that this should not have bothered the shark. <Mmm... may indirectly> I do know that it was day five of that treatment when the shark stopped feeding regularly. The ich/velvet was eradicated by this treatment, which was of the utmost importance, and I am grateful for WWW for the advice which led me to the NFP and the steps needed to do this. Since that time all remaining fish have been healthy and we even introduced the wrasse after my first successful QT tank attempt. Bob and I have discussed possibly trading in this shark, but realistically there is not an LFS which I think will give this animal the attention it deserves and needs to return it to health. This shark is my responsibility. I may trade it in at some point, but not until I have done what I feel needs to be done. <Good> I'm looking for maybe a brainstorm as to why this animal won't feed. I believe all of my parameters are in order. Can you point out anything I may have missed? <Possible metal contamination... try adding a Polyfilter in your filter flow path... it may well show color, indicating such...> Could a shark be so picky in that he prefers live food over anything else? <Not likely> He eats these, has interest in the shark formula and attempts to eat it, but has zero interest in squid, silversides, and krill. Of 40 ghost shrimp that go into the tank every week, they all disappear. The passer has his share, but I believe the shark eats them at night while he's hunting. If he didn't, there'd be 100 in there somewhere by now, and I know that's not the case. Finally I'd like to deter aquarists from purchasing these animals. They have been a fascination for me since I was 5 years old, but their requirements go way beyond the realm of the average fish keeper. <We are in total agreement> I believe (thanks to this website, not any LFS) I now have a properly maintained, large marine aquarium, and to lose an animal with such personality is certainly more troubling that having a damsel die. We are going to keep trying, though. I'm hoping the crew might have some thoughts or ideas that have not yet been tried. Thomas Roach <Force feeding this animal (plastic tongs, wooden dowel...) may prove efficacious... till it resumes self-feeding in earnest. Do try the Polyfilter. Bob Fenner>

Re: Banded Cat Shark Issues 10/2/07 Mr. Fenner <Tom> I tested the nitrates on Friday night, and they were high, between 10 and 20 ppm. <Very hard to control in tanks with predaceous fishes... w/o very large filters that don't over-promote nitrification, high circulation...> Saturday I did a 30+ percent water change, cleaned all pads, and replaced the carbon in the canister filter with fresh. <The pads and canister... are producers...> I also took the protein skimmer off the tank for a day or so... since this is the only powerhead in the actual tank, I am trying to see if maybe it causes some voltage or something that he might not like. <Doubtful... best to measure such possible electrical current with an electronic meter> I would imagine the take <tank?> would be ok w/o the skimmer for 2 or three days, right? <Should be, yes> I'm trying to determine if is had any effect, I would think I might tell tonight when I try and feed him again. I'm looking for PolyFilters, no one is going to have them locally that I know of. <May have to order> During the water change I was brainstorming as to where any metal contamination would come from. Could it be from tossing pennies in the tank like a wishing well? (Don't yell! Don't yell! This is a joke!!!). <... not rising to this! Heeee!> I took the powerhead apart and cleaned it, the only metal I could see is the magnet for the impeller and a stainless shaft. For voltage, if there is stray voltage from this skimmer, is there a way to negate it? <Mmm, yes... there are such things as grounding probes> Most skimmers as far as I can tell, rated for this size tank, are going to have some form of powerhead submersed in the water. This model is a Jebo. It produces good waste, so it seems really effective. I'm not saying this is fixing the problem yet, maybe we can tell tonight. How long can I leave that skimmer off, do you think? <Possibly forever... by testing for nitrates you should get some idea...> Also, if you pass the query around, if anyone else has any ideas I'd love to hear them. The other fish are doing fabulous, it's just this durn shark... Thanks a million! Thomas Roach <Sharks are not easily kept in captive circumstances... As you likely agree. B>
Re: Banded Cat Shark Issues 10/3/07/>
Oh, I definitely agree. I kept a shark for a year in Atlanta in that 80 gallon I used to have, and he did well. Moving to Houston, of course he couldn't come with us so I traded him in. I had just always wanted another one. Looking back on that, it obviously wouldn't have stayed rosy very long due to the small tank. Heck, that one was overstocked, too. I've been using the process of elimination trying to figure this out as well. Metal and inverts don't mix, correct? <Yes> I've got quite a few obsolete snails in the tank, and bunches of copepods as well. How would these critters react to metals, I wonder? <Badly> It all leads me back to the quinine dosing. So, you might mention using quinine with caution, at least, with sharks. That was the whole dilemma in the first place, finding a suitable treatment to use with a shark. <There are none with zero-sum negative effects> As I said, we had to get rid of the ich, anyway... Setting up a hospital tank of the size needed while this tank went fallow just wasn't practical. Man, that ounce of prevention... The distressing part is seeing this fish seemingly waste away while the others do incredibly well. You oughtta see this Passer. It's colors are incredible, it's going from the intermediate color phase to full adult phase, and it's beautiful. <I have collected hundreds of this Angel... seen many thousands... from Baja to the Galapagos> Definitely my show fish, for sure. As far as the canisters go, the magnum has only carbon, and I change that regularly, so I don't believe it's a nitrate issue. When I had that 80 gallon set up, I just let that Fluval 404 run for months, the LFS saying "Oh, yeah, that's fine!" Bah. With this FX5, which is a monster water mover, at worst every two weeks I break it down and rinse the filter pads clean, and rinse the biomedia in saltwater. It is amazing the amount of funk that gets in there. The filter pad for the wet/dry and the 'polishing sponge' are easy access, and I rinse them every three days or so. Since I've had the 200 set up, even when it was grossly overstocked, I've been able to keep the nitrates below 10 ppm most of the time, so I think it's working ok. <I agree... but wouldn't it be great to have a monster size refugium... with macroalgae, DSB... tied in with this system?> Look, let me know if you ever make it to Houston. I need to buy you an adult beverage. <Ooooh, now you're talkin'. BobF> Thomas Roach

My new Wobbegong shark, fdg., sys., reading   9/27/07 G'Day, I purchased a wobbegong shark 4 days ago and he is not eating I am offering him shrimp and whitebait every night and am getting no where can you please give me some advice on how to get him eating. <Don't generally feed for a while when moved... Is this system new, cycled? Water quality tests?> He is about 30cm long and it is a 150gallon tank with plenty of room <Uh, no... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/index.htm The second tray... On sharks in captivity, systems, feeding... Bob Fenner> thanks Aaron

Re: Ick update 9/6/07 When I said I feed him by hand, he is a Brown banded bamboo shark, or banded cat shark, I've seen it called both. <Me too> He was about 6" when hatched, now he's closer to 9". I don't feed him by hand all the time... <But... the point of what is unusual... It is not to have this animal feed from a hand, nor at night> I did initially, when I wanted to see if he was definitely eating, so I would make sure that small cubes of the shark formula soaked in either Zoë or Zoecon was placed right by his nose. Up until this quinine treatment he would eat them well. You've seen the frozen cubes, I'm sure. I would cut one in half, then cut the half into 4 to 6 pieces, soak them in the Zoë, then drop them down to wherever he was, and he would eat them all. I never had to hand feed him after he started eating. I've been doing it as of late because he hasn't been taking the food. Now, I'll put one piece at a time in front of him, or let him take it out of my fingers (No, we won't do this as he grows, trust me), and he'll mouth it, spit it out, mouth it, spit it out, eventually leaving it. It's almost like he's sucking the Zoë out of it, leaving the rest. I bought more ghost shrimps yesterday, and watched him eat some of those. I was really worried more about a mouth injury or infection, not sure now after seeing him munch on some ghost shrimp. I'll purchase some silversides today, and soak them in the vitamins as well, and see how that goes. <Better to insert parts of the tablets of Mazuri (.com) inside such foodstuffs> Water quality is 0 ppm both Ammonia & Nitrites, Nitrates less than 10 ppm, PH is at 8.2, and the salinity is a 1.024, 200 gallon 72" tank. I have the FX5 for bio and water movement, of which the pads are cleaned weekly now, I added a wet/dry because that is good for a high bio load (it has a filter pad before the bio media which I clean weekly), I run carbon in a magnum hang on periodically, and I have a 200 gallon rated protein skimmer that produces nasty stuff. As for the little tank, I'm going to put my live rock and snails in a cooler and drain the tank and replace the substrate with sand, that way I can pick the tank up and manipulate it to get the firefish out, I can put him in my QT tank and treat it with copper, then just let him reside in there for a month while the 20 gallon goes fallow. Then I can move the snails. Thomas Roach <Well, the lack of feeding could be from a few influences... the Quinine exposure... metabolites of many sorts... I would add a few pounds of activated carbon to your filter flow path... in bag/s, and be patient. Bob Fenner>

Bamboo Shark, Vitamins 9/5/07 Hey guys, I have a Bamboo Shark, she is about 2 years old. I read on your site a while back about Mazuri vitamins. I have been trying on and off for months to get her to eat them. I stick them in her food, She just eats the food, and then you see the pill come flying out of the gills. Do you have any suggestions on how I can get her to eat them? thanks, Jenny <Smaller, tastier food to push/plant it in... Like a silverside. Bob Fenner>

Mazuri Shark/Ray vitamin supplement tablets  9/3/07 WWM Crew, <Etay> I have a question regarding the Mazuri vitamin supplement for sharks. I have searched your website for an answer on this specific question but was unable to find one. <Lifetimes of material missing...> I went to the Mazuri website to order supplement vitamins for my newly hatched banded cat shark as suggested many times over in this site, and found that they offer 3 different products; - VitaZu Shark/Ray Tablets [5M24] - VitaZu Shark/Ray II Tables [5MD8] - VitaZu Shark/Ray w/ Tables Potassium Iodate [5B4Z] I read all the above products' PDF specifications and was unable to understand the difference between them. The products' descriptions are very general and there are no specific guidelines as to what one product does differently than the others. <Too often the case in our interest> I have compared the contents listed on each product and have noticed several common ingredients and several different ones, and I am not sure which are more appropriate and/or better for a newly hatched shark. I also noticed that the first two products mentioned above contain Iodine as Calcium Iodate and the latter contains Iodine as Potassium Iodate, and I am not sure as to the difference here, either. <The latter (if memory serves) is more appropriate for larger, more mature specimens... the Calcium compound better for young, fast-growing sharks> A second question I have is related to the dosage needed. The product's manual specifies usage in tablets per lbs of food given, and in the case of the 0.19g tablets, it specifies 1 tablet per 8Oz of food. The problem is, the shark will not eat 8 Oz every day and I read on the FAQ that grinding these pills and mixing with 8Oz of food will not be effective and is better given as whole tablets. <Mmmm, better to get/use a "pill splitter"... and feed the whole split piece mixed in with food> I am not sure how to dose these vitamins; If I give 1 tablet with every feeding it will be over the dosage listed. <I would NOT do this> Should I measure how many feedings makes 8Oz of food and then give 1 tablet as per that many feedings, or should I just give the tablet on a weekly / By-Weekly basis? <Split the pills> I have searched WWM, intensively, looking for answers to these questions and could not find an answer that specifically discusses the product differences, I apologize in advance if I missed one :) Regards, Etay <No worries. Vitamins and some other materials are an important supplement for captive shark husbandry... supplying them through supplements is a realistic means of supply... But overdosing is to be avoided as well. Bob Fenner>

Bamboo Shark Not Eating... poor maint., English  7/8/07 Dear Dear WWM crew, I have e-mailed you 1 time before about my bamboo shark and found your advise very help full. I have had my bamboo shark for about a year and it is about 13 or 14 inches. It is in a 125 gallon tank and has nitrate levels of about 80-90 ppm (I know this is way to much and I have planned a 75% water change in the next couple days). <... not useful in the long or ongoing term... YOU need to address this issue definitively... NOW> The nitrate levels in my tank have always been very high and my shark has only had a problem once before (he had a red rash on his belly which went away once I moved him into a larger tank, lowered the levels and started to feed him the shark formula food again -- Thanks for the help with that). I was out of town for about a week leaving my mom to watch my shark.?(She?is?very familiar with how to feed it) When?I got back,?she told me that?she could not get it to eat. I feed my shark the shark food formula cubes along with a few silver sides?(my local pet shop stopped carrying silver sides so I've been buying them from a bait shop, Is this ok?). I have never tried feeding it anything different, mainly because I don't know what is ok for it to eat. Tonight I tried force feeding it under water. I would be able to get?a silver side halfway in but it would just spit it back out. I tried this with the formula cubes also and it did the same thing. He also has barely been swimming around and just stays under a rock in the corner of the tank. I know most bamboo sharks are lazy but it is very concerning to see this because he is usually racing from one end of the tank to another almost 24/7. His breathing has also been different, he used to breath very fiercely (like throwing his gills out very fast, he did it to a point where the edges of every slit of his gill were white and looser than the skin around it), now his breathing is much softer. The salt level is perfect.?It is being kept with a Koran?Angle fish and a?Panther Grouper.?I?also tried to add a new?bamboo shark to the tank, sadly it dug itself under one?of my live rock and got crushed.?Since that happened?I have noticed?the shark is allot less active and?about?3 weeks after the death the shark stopped eating.?What can?I do to help my shark?start eating again? Thank you,? ?????????? Brendan ?? <Have just skipped down. Please... proofread what you send us, eliminate extraneous ? Question marks... And read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/index.htm scroll down to the yellow line, Nitrogenous wastes... Bob Fenner>

Re: Bamboo shark not eating... Still not reading  -- 07/08/07 Dear Dear WWM crew, I have e-mailed you 1 time before about my bamboo shark and found your advise very help full. I have had my bamboo shark for about a year and it is about 13 or 14 inches. It is in a 125 gallon tank and has nitrate levels of about 80-90 ppm (I know this is way to much and I have planned a 75% water change in the next couple days). <... not useful in the long or ongoing term... YOU need to address this issue definitively... NOW>  - how?do?I do this? <<What? Please... learn to/use the search tool, indices... there are tens of thousands of folks using this site daily... we don't have time to do this for you... Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/index.htm scroll down to the yellow line, tray...> The nitrate levels in my tank have always been very high and my shark has only had a problem once before (he had a red rash on his belly which went away once I moved him into a larger tank, lowered the levels and started to feed him the shark formula food again <... you have had, and have "this problem" continuously... Now evidenced in your shark ceasing feeding...> -- Thanks for the help with that). I was out of town for about a week leaving my mom to watch my shark. (She is very familiar with how to feed it) When I got back, she told me that she could not get it to eat. I usually feed my shark the shark food formula cubes along with a few silver sides (my local pet shop stopped carrying silver sides so I've been buying them from a bait shop, Is this ok?). <... and vitamins... see WWM re> I have never tried feeding it anything different, mainly because I don't know what is ok for it to eat. <...?! Then read!> Tonight I tried force feeding it under water. I would be able to get a silver side halfway in its mouth but it would just spit it back out. I tried this with the formula cubes also and it did the same thing. He also has barely been swimming around and just stays under a rock in the corner of the tank. I know most bamboo sharks are lazy but it is very concerning to see this because he is usually racing from one end of the tank to another almost 24/7. His breathing has also been different, he used to breath very fiercely (like throwing his gills out very fast, he did it to a point where the edges of every slit of his gill? turned white and looser than the skin around it), now his breathing is much softer. The salt level is perfect. It is being kept with a Koran Angle fish and a Panther Grouper. <...> I also tried to add a new bamboo shark to the tank, sadly it dug itself under one of my live rock and got crushed. >...< Since that happened I have noticed the shark is allot less active and about 3 weeks after the death the shark stopped eating. What can I do to help my shark start eating again? Thank you, Brendan <Have just skipped down. Please... proofread what you send us, eliminate extraneous ? Question marks... And read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/index.htm scroll down to the yellow line, Nitrogenous wastes... Bob Fenner> -- sorry about the question marks I have no idea how they got there. <<Please... don't write... Read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/index.htm RMF, disgusted>>

Cat Shark juv. fdg. questions -- 06/08/07 Hey, guys, I browsed through the FAQ on feeding sharks, saw a lot about sharks not eating & such, but nothing really about this one... My hatchling is 2 weeks old, has started feeding readily on cocktail shrimp soaked in Zoe. Question is, how much should I feed him? Currently, he eats one per day. So is that enough or too much? I've heard conflicting reports, feed them daily, every three days, etc. Oh, btw, he's a banded cat shark! :) Thanks again!!! Thomas <Need more than this nutritionally... and the bio-assay of a non-concave "tummy" is useful here. BobF>

Getting Back Into the Game; Bamboo Shark Care  -- 05/03/07 Dear Crew, <Hello Bill'¦> Thanks for the wonderful site you have put together. <You are welcome and thank you.> I've been reading all the FAQ's (its taken me several days- not a joke) and I just wanted to say a few things. <Be my guest.> I was surprised at the redundancy of a lot of questions. Do people not read FAQ's before they send in questions? <Sadly, no'¦> Wow- READ UP FIRST PEOPLE!! <Agreed.> Anyway, I had a few of my own.... <No problem.> In a couple of questions, Bob had recommended adding vitamin solutions to food offerings for sharks. Makes sense. He had also said to add Iodide supplements as well, but in a previous question, I think it was MikeD who had said not to do this, as it could prove fatal. Which is it? <Over dosing iodine is indeed something the aquarist should be aware of'¦though through a disciplined practice it should not be an issue.  The occasional dosing is necessary (happens anyway with water changes)'¦it is also recommended that you soak the food in an iodine solution on occasion to prevent goiter.> I'm confused, is it only certain species or an age range that is the key factor? <See above; also if you want more detail I would look into Scott Michaels book; 'Sharks and Rays.'> Also, I know most sharks are nocturnal, <Most of the benthic species we keep in the 'average' aquaria; yes.> and therefore spend most of the day "sleeping." As I work late at night this is fine. My question is if I come home at maybe 11 to midnight, the shark should be active, but would prefer the tank lights to be off. So are there any lights that would allow me to watch him at night without interfering with his natural clock? <Low watt L.E.D. lighting or a red incandescent bulb.> Like "safe lights" used in photo darkrooms (deep red lights that wont exposed normal light sensitive photo paper)? Or possibly "black lights"? <No not black-lights. See above.> And should I just have my regular tank lights kick off at sunset-ish and just use the "spying" lights afterwards? <Yes use a normal lighting cycle; and then as you put it the 'spy' lights to view the animal later.> Anyway. I found you site while trying to research shark aquarium keeping and have been hooked ever since. When I was living at home with my parents, my step father (who probably knows more marine biology than most biologists) had a banded bamboo. We never really had a problem with him, not till he got big enough to try to eat a bird wrasse (my moms favorite) and a spiny puffer (the other favorite). I believe he was a good two to three foot at the time. Anyway, my mom made us get rid of him (he went to a trusted LFS who specialized in exotics). Ever since then, I've wanted to get another one. After being on my own for several years, I came across an aquarium setup (at a garage sale) that I couldn't pass up. I set it up with the idea of getting a banded bamboo once again. Though he might be the only thing in there besides "live in food" (e.g.. ghost shrimp, etc. ). <I would recommend a VERY large/oversized protein skimmer.> Which brings me to my last question, How can I encourage "natural" hunting behaviors? <In young specimens; ghost shrimp (like you mentioned above) and fiddler crabs.  Having said that I'm not really a fan of live-foods. I prefer varied captive fair; mussels, scallops, squid, krill; etc. . Soaked in iodine now and then and vitamin supplements like Selcon.> What edibles can I keep in the tank for him to hunt, as enrichment (sorry, zoo term)? <See above.> Thanks for your time. I will reference your site for all my future questions. Keep up the great work. <Thanks.> Bill <Adam J.>

Cat shark:  feeding and soft water    1/17/06 Hi guys, <Tim>       I have a newly hatched cat shark and had two questions that I couldn't answer myself on your site.  First, knowing that you don't recommend silversides as a diet for them I was wondering if it was ok to feed striped killifish (a common salt water bait minnow). <These should be fine> Second,  do you know how this fish will do in soft water?  When I set up the tank the softener was bypassed and it was filled with regular dechlorinated tap water.  The manufacturer of the softener recommends that you gradually introduce the fish to soft water and it will be ok.  Just wondered if this would be ok for such a delicate fish.  Thanks for any help you can offer.                                                                                                Tim Taylor <Mmm... most water softeners are "exchange" in principle... trading ions for "hardness" material... and being re-charged with salt/s... One can end up with a bit of sodium/chloride imbalance... but not really much of an issue in an otherwise properly set-up and maintained system... I would not go to extraordinary measures to avoid the softened water here... Just mix, store your synthetic and you'll be fine. Bob Fenner>

Bamboo Shark Feeding Help Needed Please   12/28/06 Hi, hope you are well. <Thank you> I have 2 Bamboo sharks, they 7 and 8 months old both hatched from eggs. They are in a 150 gallon system with 15 kilos of live rock, water parameters are ammonia 0, nitrate 0, ph 8.3, nitrite 0, salinity 1.025, temp 78. Over the last 2-3 weeks I have been struggling to feed the youngest one he seems to try his best to bite the food but does not seems to be able to grip it very well almost like he has no suction in his mouth, I vary their diet but their main source of food is raw tiger prawn and squid, <... no vitamin supplementation? And this menu needs to be expanded... insufficient biomineral content for one> both cut in to very small pieces, some days he eats but others he gets tier of trying and gives up. The older shark eats very well and is larger they are also different colours the larger of the two having brown and white strips and the smaller having grey and black strips, the smaller one has darkened in colour more over the last 6-8 weeks I am not sure if this is related to his eating issues. <I do think it is... not good> I have now separated the two and placed the smaller shark in 50 gallon hospital tank to enable me to get food to him more easily as some times the larger shark interrupts at feeding time. He is not current what I would call extremely skinny but I am concerned that he will pass this stage soon if I can not get more food into him. Just wondered if you have any idea's from your wealth of experience on how I could fatten him up, also I am struggling to find a B vitamin supplement for these guys in the UK, and wondered if you knew of a good source as non of the UK import companies supply specific shark foods. Many Thanks Darren <Do contact the folks at Mazuri.com here. It is imperative that this fish get other material into its feeding... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharkfeedingfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Bamboo Shark not feeding - (Shark & Ray Tablets Vitamins)   1/4/07 Hi Bob/Crew <Darren> You responded to an email earlier last week which I am very grateful, the email was regarding one of juvenile Bamboo Sharks not feeding over the last 2-3 weeks, you suggested I introduce vitamin supplements in to their diet to aid their growth. <Yes, I recall this clearly> I have managed to trace a UK supplier of Mazuri Food Supplements who seem to be able to supply what I need, please see details below. My only concern is how I get these vitamins into the sharks them being so small and also the dose being only 0.006grams, <Am surprised at this dosage... is low... is this the "finished" weight of product to be supplied? That is, aren't there "fillers" as with human vitamins? The best way of supplying these here is to "sneak" them into a capsule, incorporate this into the food bolus, and if need be force feed this to the animal> surely if I grind the dose into the juices of the meat then it will just wash off when the food goes into the tank. <Yes... not efficacious to apply in this fashion, nor directly to the water... needs to be introduced via food or injected (likely intramuscularly)> I have a asked the supplier for some assistance but they normally deal with zoo's who mainly have animals of much greater size, so dosing is not an issue. Just thought you many have some experience in this area. As always your help is greatly appreciated Kind Regards Darren <Mmm... if there were time... I would encourage you to peruse a copy of Ed Noga's excellent book, Fish Disease, Diagnosis and Treatment, for a cursory introduction into such topics, techniques... Do you have the capacity to buy gelatin capsules, perhaps dilute the Mazuri component (see where you buy the capsules... likely a "health food store")... and if you can get/find help, possibly the dilution in whatever base (perhaps just clean water) of the vitamin mix and injection via a "diabetic" syringe (28 or 30 gauge)... into the upper body flank/musculature... of the shark... with the help of someone holding the animal in a wet towel... up near the surface. Bob Fenner> Re: Brown Banded Bamboo Shark   1/4/07 Hi, my Brown Banded Bamboo Shark stop eating...  He's around 2 feet long and ate really well for about a year straight...  Now he just stopped eating...  I was giving him tiger shrimp and that was his food of choice...  I also gave hem octopus and krill...  But mainly tiger shrimp...  He has not eat-in in around 8 days...  What should I do/ Thanks <We have had this discussion a few times running now... Please review it here: http://wetwebmedia.com/sharkfdgfaq2.htm and the corr. from today. Bob Fenner>

Dry <vacation> food for sharks and rays?   12/6/06 Hi Bob, <Joe> I would like to ask a question regarding the feeding of my sharks and rays. I have baby Port Jackson, baby Wobbegong and small Epaulette shark, as well as a small masked ray. All have been doing well for the past 6 months. <Ah, good> My dilemma relates to my upcoming holiday in which I will be completing my scuba diving certificate. I will be away for one week, <A blast! Congrats!> and I'm trying to find out whether there are any dried foods (like pellets) for sharks and rays which I will be able to place in my automatic feeders for the week I am away? <Mmm...> All the specimens are healthy looking and are by no means under-fed. I am of the opinion that my sharks will easily be able to last the week without food, but I am concerned for my ray, as she is quite a hungry little thing, and as I understand, rays have a much faster metabolism than sharks. What are your recommendations for the feeding of these animals when I am away? <Just gauging from your apparent "sophistication" from this email, I would rather (myself) "risk" consequences of skipping feeding these animals for the week (maybe turn down their temperature between now and then a few degrees C... to slow their metabolisms), rather than risk overfeeding or related troubles with having someone come in and feed them... As far as I'm aware there are no dried foods of use for the purpose you have in mind> Regards, Joe Sydney, Aus. <Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Shark Question/s... sel., health, fdg., sys.   11/14/06 Hey Bob,        I am located in Toronto, Canada and was browsing your website and was fascinated by all the useful information I found. For the past 1 and a half months I have been doing a lot of research on the Brown Banded Bamboo sharks. I have read and gone threw <through> multiple websites, joined multiple forums, and bought many books including Scott Michaels " Aquarium Sharks and Rays" which was very informative. I will be purchasing a 250-300 gallon aquarium soon which will be the home for 2 Brown Banded Bamboo sharks. It will be a flat back hexagon shape with the dimensions 84x24x10x64 with a 30" height. Do these dimensions sound good for Brown Banded Bamboo sharks? <For a short while, for small specimens> For feeding would you recommend live food? <No... fresh/or defrosted meaty foods> Or frozen food. Most people I have talked to recommended frozen would, on a feeding stick to ensure I give both an equal share. But some say its easier to get them acclimated with live food? <Unnecessary> Is this correct or no? As well when I first introduce them into the aquarium how do I go about acclimating them? <See WWM re... marine fishes period> When I purchase them they will either be in eggs still or newly hatched. Should I leave them in the bags and place those bags in the aquarium like most fish are acclimated. Or should I place them in bucket with the same water as in the aquarium and then half of the water from the bag they came in? <This latter> Please let me know as I want to offer these sharks the best living conditions I possible can, and want to make the transition from the store to my aquarium as stress free as possible. I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks,              Brenden Hewko <Will need more room in time. Bob Fenner>  

Epaulette sharks Parasites  9/18/06 OK I have gotten the new tank up and running. It is run by an Eheim 1262, 9 watt UV filter, 1 Berlin Turbo Skimmer, 1 Prism Skimmer, <Need something much more serious> large refugium under the tank, Magnum canister filter with Reef Carbon and a PolyFilter pad in the overflow box. No powerheads in the tank and 1 red sea pump for the Skimmer with a grounding probe in the same chamber as the pump.       The Epaulette in question was isolated in a large container for 3 days. 2 days treated with PraziPro (from Hikari) and formalin. The third day the water was replaced with new water and treated with Erythromycin. He is still rolling over and scratching on the substrate. A close examination of the skin looks like small bumps under the skin. Almost like warts. http://www.poseidonsrealm.com/stuff%20238.jpg. <Good pic> Since what is bothering him is internal, how do I treat him? <... am not so sure there is "something" internal going on here that is "treatable"...> Tonight I soaked some krill in vitamins and erythromycin and let it soak for a while. <Need much more volume than soaking can/will provide... to "sneak" such materials in capsule form inside foods... Have you investigated Mazuri's site? www.mazuri.com> He then ate all 8-10 pieces or krill without issue. I have Scott Michael's and the Noga disease books but have found nothing that looks the same so far. How are internal parasites in sharks treated?   Thank you for your assistance,   Mike <I would go the immune system bolstering route here... No more formalin and vermifuges... vitamins, HUFAs, Iodine/ide in capsules in the foods. Bob Fenner>

Bamboo shark won't eat... Nutritional deficiency most likely  9/18/06 Crew at WWM, <HC> I have a Bamboo shark I hatched from an egg about 2 years ago. The shark is about 23" in length which most of the growth occurred over the past year. I do water changes every week to every other week no less than 10% of the tank which is a 125 gal. The water is from tap which goes through a R.O. filtration unit plus a D.I. unit. Where I live the city water is pretty bad with copper and other minerals. Up to about a week to 10 days ago my shark had been eating every day (silversides) and some Brine shrimp which falls to the bottom that is fed to the fellow tank mates. The tank mates include: 1-Regal tang, 1- Niger Trigger, 4-small yellow tail blue Damsel, 2-large black Damsel, 2-Pencil Urchins a few small hermit crabs & sand sifter stars. When I feed and allow the Silversides to fall to the bottom my shark is not interested nor acknowledges the food. I have tried Mysid shrimp which was the sharks staple up to about a length of 12" along with Krill. I had noticed about 4 days ago the shark had twitched and rubbed on some of the live rocks in the tank. (no ich is present) when I cleaned a pre-filter to the wet/dry filter  there was a lot of Amphipods and the sump filters have a lot of very small Feather duster babies, not sure if these critters larva are causing the eating problem. <Highly unlikely> The water condition in the tank is as follows: Temp. 78 degrees Ammonia- 0.1 Nitrate-30 <A bit high... would keep under ten ppm> Nitrite-0 Calcium-540 <Way too high... would keep under 450 ppm> Phosphate-4.5 <Again... should be less than 1.0 ppm> Iron-0 Alkalinity-70 pH.-7.9-8.0 <A bit low...> Salinity-1.023-1.024 I have attached a couple of photo's of the shark, I have not noticed any weight loss but the not eating is concerning me. If you have some advise please help. <I do... you don't mention the use of vitamins, supplementation including iodine/ide... This is likely the primary problem here... Deficiency syndrome. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharkfeedingfaqs.htm and the linked files above... At this point, you may have to force feed this specimen, or have someone inject it... to have it resume feeding behavior on its own. Bob Fenner> Bamboo shark not eating (five weeks in)   8/18/06 Hi there guys, firstly thanks for all the help over the past year on the site it has been an invaluable source of info. However I find myself stuck. As of this Sunday it will be five weeks since my bamboo shark hatched. As with the info on your site and Scott Michaels book I have systematically gone through a wide variety of foods with no luck. However I did make the mistake of only dimming lights for feeding over the first two weeks, but as we know she may not want to eat during that time. So far the food list is muscles, prawn, krill, ocean nutrition squid and shark formula, brine shrimp on the off chance, and a bit of herring. Without the specific numbers water parameters are all ok. <W/o numbers I can't help you> Ive <This is your tenth English error thus far...> tested the water for current but all under 0.1v. I feel it may be time to try the force feeding? <Not encouraged> Scott Michael does suggest live foods but im unsure on what to do about this. During the force feeding im assuming like other larger species she will go into the trance state when turned upside down. Is this going to be to stressful especially if she's weak? <Uhh, yes> As for her behaviour its completely normal, sleep during day relatively active at night. The other morning I found two hermit crab shells so hoping that maybe she's eaten them in the meantime. Any other suggestions would be appreciated. thanks very much Jonathan <Check your system... other tankmate behavior... not listed, change the water temp. (upward), NSW concentration? Use your spelling, grammar checkers. BobF>

- Shark Questions!  LFS advised to change my ways -   6/14/06 Currently I have a 2000 gallon tank with a 16" bamboo shark, 18" black tip reef shark, assorted damsels and tangs. I have a huge Wet/Dry, a large power head pumping the water in a counter-clockwise direction. <Too bad the black tip will out-grow even this tank.> Question 1 I have been advised to add a second power head pumping in a clockwise direction and put them on a timer so they rotate X amount of time one way and then the other (to simulate its natural environment). Didn't sound like a bad idea but is it necessary? <Well... an opposing current would help create turbulence in the water which would help deal with some of the issues you list below. A singular source of water flow always creates a laminar flow - these do you no favors. On the other hand, electromagnetic devices in the same container as sharks is ill-advised. Even simple pieces of metal will interfere with their electromagnetic senses which they use to locate prey. Best to offer such enhanced circulation in a closed loop with the pumps outside of the tank.> Question 2 Currently I am feeding them daily and a set time/place/amount and have had no problems. I get fish from a local market, carve it, freeze what I won't use within 2 days, and refrigerate the next days food overnight in a Vitamin solution. Now I am being advised to feed only every other day instead, at what ever time, only fresh fish. <Well... every other day is probably better for a couple of reasons: one, you don't want them growing too quickly and secondly, this will tax your filtration system. But more importantly, sharks generally have a very slow digestive system and just don't need constant feedings to stay healthy. On the fresh vs. frozen debate, as long as you are going through the frozen stuff pretty quickly (isn't becoming freezer burned), then I don't see any real difference nutritionally - just make sure you thaw the food before offering it.> Question 3 The tank has a sand bottom that tends to get dark over the week from algae growth, before the black tip arrived we used a rake and stirred it a little to clear it up, but in doing so made the water cloudy for hours. <More circulation in the tank would help this.> Since the Black tips arrival we have been limiting the stirring to 1/8th at a time to keep the water from being cloudy.  My thoughts being the shark could become disoriented smack into the walls.  LFS says its ok to just stir it all at once. <Would think more regular stirs would be fine. Sharks don't have particularly great eyesight and rely on other mechanisms to locate prey, etc... should do fine in a sandstorm.> Thanks for the help ahead of time! <Cheers, J -- >

Feeding Sharks, using WWM    5/2/06 I have a pair of coral catsharks, female is about 19 inches, male is about 16 inches. I have had them almost a week. the Female ate a silverside the next day, the male ate a shrimp 2 days after I got them. since then neither of them has eaten anything. I know sharks only eat 1-3 times a week but what should I do to get them to eat? <...> I soak their food in Selcon and garlic guard. <Just like in the wild...> Should I even worry about it and try to feed them just once a week. I understand they are adults and eat little. <Please "I", not "i"... and read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/sharkfeedingfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re-do/try: Feeding Shark info...  - 5/2/2006
Lets try this again shall we. Hi, I have read through your FAQs extensively. I still have a few questions I would like answered. First off let me start by saying I have a 180 gallon tank with a large wet/dry filter with a 1200gph pump in it, 2 marineland emperor 400s, and 2 Rio 1100 powerheads for circulation. I have a female Coral Catshark at 19 inches, and a male Coral Catshark at 16 inches in the tank with a Volitans Lion and Harlequin Tusk. I have had the sharks for a week as of today. I have been soaking their food in Selcon and Garlic Guard. Is this a good thing to do? <There are better means of encouraging health, palatability... Encapsulated vitamins (hard to get "enough" via liquid prep.s) and garlic is of dubious value...> I have been feeding them frozen silversides and shrimp from a grocery store with no head, soaked over night, and yesterday my female ate a Ocean Nutrition Shark Formula cube. I have read on your sight that silversides are not good for sharks, is this true? <Not good as in a steady diet, however not bad nutritionally> Also, does the food I have been giving them provide them with a good diet? <Not from what you list here> Here's my real concern. As I stated, I have had them for a week today. My female has eaten twice, my male just once. The female ate one day after I received them, one soaked silverside. The male ate two days after I received them, a big piece of headless, soaked shrimp. Yesterday my female ate for the second time, five soaked silversides and one Shark Formula cube. The male wouldn't eat. I have tried almost everyday to see if they were hungry, but they only have eaten on the days I have mentioned. <Not unusual for new specimens not to take food... and sharks of size/species don't eat all that often... Are these two thin? Do they display a low index of fitness?> I have been feeding them by rubbing the food near their mouth lightly, holding it with a pair of plastic Aquatongs. My concern is, are they eating enough? I have heard that adult sharks do not eat as much as juveniles, is this true? <Yes> Also, I understand they are nocturnal. They hide all day and only move when I attempt to feed them. Is this normal? <For the most part, for this species, family, yes> Are they still getting acclimated to the tank, could this be causing the lack of movement? <Very much just getting acclimated... takes weeks to a few months> Do you think the other fish in the tank have something to do with their lack of movement. <Mmm, no, not likely> The fish never go near the sharks if that helps you out any. Thank you for taking the time to read this e-mail. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I have made a significant investment in these sharks and want to make sure they are happy. I plan on getting a grounding probe as I have read on your site it helps sharks with their senses. <Mmm, any metal exposure... is to be avoided... including such probes. The electromagnetic receptive sense in sharks is extremely acute...> I do plan on breeding these animals, and I have read the "Aquarium Sharks and Rays" book. Again thank you. <Good luck, life to you and your sharks. Bob Fenner>
Re: Shark Feeding  - 5/2/2006
To respond to your question of how fit do they look, I think they look good. However, I am no expert. <Will soon be...> The female of Course is a little thicker, but she is eating a lot more than the male. The male does not have a sunken stomach <Good> or any other visual problems, like those I have seen in the Aquarium Shark book. Yesterday I did notice that after I was trying to feed him, and he was not accepting and moving away from me, that under his mouth was a little pink. <Good observation... not atypical... through rubbing, the collection, shipping process... but I see below...> I think it was just from him rubbing on some nearby rocks. I have small crushed coral as my substrate. I do not think it would be enough to scratch him. <Actually...> Should i change it to sand, and if so can I use the Caribbean Play Sand from like Home Depot. <Yes and yes> Do you think it would be better if I took out the rocks I have in the tank that make them a cave and simply have pieces of PVC pipe in the tank for them to hide it? <Not likely an issue if there is sufficient room, space around the perimeter of the tank, rock> I have seen this done on www.Tropicorium.com where they have built a large pond and are breeding Epaulette sharks. <Yes... Dick Perrin "knows his stuff"> I have one piece of PVC in there now, but they seem to like the rock cave better. I don't want it falling on them or tearing there skin up. Last thing, should I use the human vitamins like B-12 and others, or should I use the ones made for sharks and rays available from Mazuri.com <The latter are far superior> that I have seen suggested on your site before. Thank you again for reading this and responding. <A pleasure, honor to serve. Bob Fenner>
Re: Force Feeding a Coral Catshark   5/9/06
Well I guess you were right when you said I may be back, because here I am. <Possessed of strong pet-fish intuition...> It has been 10 days since my male 15" Coral Catshark has eaten. I am not sure what to do. I have read through your FAQs quite extensively and have come to the conclusion I probably have 2 options, either force feed or a B12 injection. <... about it/this> I have the book "Aquarium Sharks and Rays" and feel I should be able to handle the force feeding they suggest. My question is this, while he of course isn't thick from eating, he is not emaciated. He still swims actively at night and I have tried feeding him at this time. <Good> I saw him digging through the sand with his snout and placed several silversides down in the sand as I have seen in pictures. He did get near one but wouldn't eat. The female did eat one. When I woke the next morning they were all gone but I don't know who ate them. When should I force feed him? <I would hold off on this procedure at this time...> Is the time now, it has been 10 days? How much should I force feed him. I plan to put a mixture of vitamins and food in him. B12 is a appetite booster correct? <Yes> I have ordered the Mazuri Shark and Ray vitamins but haven't gotten them yet. Do you think force feeding is the right way to go, or the B12 injection? <Neither... as you state, the animal is not emaciated, still active... can go for long periods w/o eating... I'd try adding vitamin soaking to a mixture of meaty foods (crustacean, fish flesh...) and a "feeding stick"... waving the food items toward "lights out" in front of the animal...> Thank you for your help once more. Because of you assistance my sharks will hopefully live well. Don <Mainly your efforts. Bob Fenner>

Good news... re Coral Catshark, eating, health - 05/16/2006 Hi again, <Hello> Just wanted to tell you thank you for all your help. Yesterday I came home about an hour after the lights in the tank went off and my male Coral Catshark was swimming all around the tank. He hadn't eaten in almost three weeks but still looked good, I emailed you several times about him. Anyway his eyes were all wide open and big so I thought I would try to feed him. I put a silverside in there and he ate it. I was so happy. I decided to see if he would eat more and he did, three total. <Yay!> I know silversides aren't the best for him but he did eat after almost three weeks. I am going to try to feed him again in a couple of days. If nothing happens then I am just going to start feeding the pair at night as they are nocturnal and have only been recently brought into captive life. Thanks for all your help. I hope he keeps eating. I plan on feeding him squid that they sell at the Tropicorium, which they feed all of their sharks they breed, with the Mazuri vitamins. <Thank you for sharing this good news. Bob Fenner>

Juvenile sharks, feeding    5/2/06         I have a banded cat shark that hatched from its egg a week ago and i was wondering what i should do to get him to eat or should i worry about it this early and what would be the best food to start him out on. I have been trying the frozen krill and what would be the best techniques to deliver the food to a juvenile shark to get him to accept it.                                                 Thank You,                                                    Sheri Kitsmiller <Please... read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharkfaq.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Vacation Question ... feeding a shark in a too-small system- 2/28/2006 Hi Bob, <Amanda & Chris> My husband and I have a 125 gallon salt water tank, and in it is a Bamboo Shark (don't worry we are getting a 300+ gal within the next few months for him) He is 10 months old and doing great. We are leaving Friday for a trip and will not be returning until Wednesday. We want him to be fed while we are gone and I am not sure if we will have someone to come here this time. Do you have any suggestions? We normally feed him Raw Shrimp, Scallops, or Live Ghost Shrimp. He refuses any of the Frozen Shark Cubes that you get from a pet store. <Mmmm. I would elect to not feed this animal myself... but if you're adamant AND have someone who knows what to do, will do it, I would pre-make the food allotment, hide all other foods... leave explicit instructions...> I was also wondering, Bandit (the shark) has a white eye, and I am thinking that he bumped into a piece of rock. <Very common with sharks, small systems> It kind of looks like a cataract. It doesn't seem like he bothered at all by it. Do you know if it could be something serious or if it is not really anything to worry about? <I am concerned, would move to the larger, new system ASAPractical> Sorry but one last thing, my husband wants to know if you have ever heard of and know where we can get Garden Eels (type of Goby)? <Perhaps Pholodichthys? Look on the Net re... are available. Actual Garden Eels (Ophichthyids) are very difficult to keep in home settings> Thank you for your time!! Amanda & Chris     <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Bamboo Shark/Feeding Hi, <Hello> I have a week old Banded Bamboo Shark, can I give it baby vitamins (human)?  If so what brand, do I have to by marine vitamins if the shark is the only fish in the tank?  <Read FAQ's here.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharkfeedingfaqs.htm> Thanks <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>
Bamboo shark/feeding   2/1/06
Last night some time my bamboo shark (Chiloscyllium Punctatum) hatched, and I just want to know what would be the best thing to feed it.  Also I hear a lot <No such word.> about a vitamin type formula thing, what is the name of it so I can buy that for him. <Interesting that you know the Latin name for the shark but don't know what to feed it.  Read the FAQ's here and see what others have done.  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharkfeedingfaqs.htm As far as the vitamin, I'm thinking of Selcon.  James (Salty Dog)> <<Nope... read the provided link... RMF>>
Re: Bamboo Shark/Feeding   2/1/06
I know what to feed it but the stores where I go told me two different things. One told me frozen Mysis shrimp, and the other told me ghost shrimp. <The FAQ's should have steered you in the right direction if you read them.> And also I noticed him eating some type of worms that were in my tank, is this ok. <They are scavengers and will eat most anything.  Don't see a problem eating the worms in your tank.  Marcel, in future replies, do include original email and response.  It makes it easier to route the mail to the crewmember involved.  Thanks, James (Salty Dog)>

Banded Cat Shark  12/7/05 Hi, I recently hatched a Banded Cat Shark and he quickly began eating. Woo hooo!! I feed him small chunks of raw tiger shrimp and he appears to love it. (I'm also trying silversides).  Today he took a large chunk and I noticed a piece of the shrimp he just ate was hanging out of his gill. 1) Tell me he'll manage to clear it without a problem. 2) Verify that helping him by removing it would be bad and may harm his gill.  <<If it were my shark I'd be hand-feeding him/her (have you sexed it yet?) bits of the shrimp, as well as krill.  Just keep your fingertips turned under, even if it latches onto you it shouldn't be able to do any damage (though it may scare you).>> <I'd let nature take its course right now.> He was hatched in quarantine and I intend to keep him there long enough to establish a healthy eating pattern. (Stick feed) Then I intend to move him to my 150 FOWLR. (I know I know.. it's small. I'll get a larger tank later. ;) 3) How long do you think I should leave him in quarantine?  <At least 21-28 days>  4) Can you suggest a vitamin supplement that I can use to mix with his food? I'm looking for something that I can use on my Porcupine Puffer, Niger Trigger, Volitans Lion, Yellow tang and Squirrelfish. I take it Centrum would be bad.. right? ;) <I'd use a vitamin formulated for marine life not human life. Selcon is one such product. Please read articles on this link so you know what you are getting into. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharksys3.htm > Thanks!!  <You're welcome, James (Salty Dog)> 

Banded Cat Shark  11/18/05 Hi, I've read about everything I could, but I can't seem to find an answer to my question. I have a 125 tank with a panther grouper and the shark. The water quality is good and I recently did a water change. The shark hatched on 11-6-04 and until recently was very healthy. A short time ago he started swimming very erratically and hunched almost like his back was broken. He lays on the bottom on his back. He is breathing normally and was eating with help now he won't take food at all. He is still thick bodied so the food isn't a real issue yet. I could force feed him if it came down to it, but I'm not exactly sure how to go about doing that. <This is posted on WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharkfeedingfaqs.htm > Please help I hate to have to watch him this way and worse I don't want him to die. Please any advice would be appreciated. Thanks, Bill <Read. If your shark is not taking food, you need to take matters into hand. Bob Fenner> 

Banded cat shark  11/16/05 Hi, I don't know if this where I am supposed to send this question, but maybe you can help me. I have a cat shark that is a year old I hatched him 11-6-04. Recently he has started swimming very erratically and hunched almost like his back was broken. He lays on the bottom on his back. He is breathing normally and eating with help. Is there anything I can do? Thanks, Bill Ward <Likely a lack of nutrient at play here... Not enough information offered... as to system, history, foods/feeding... These issues are covered on WWM... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/index.htm.  Go there, now... and read re. Bob Fenner> 

Re: banded cat shark  11/16/05 Hi, The system is a 125 acrylic with a extra large wet dry filter that has 5 gallons of bio balls in it, the protein skimmer is a ETSS evolution 500, and there is a 25 watt U.V light setup. As for feeding I was feeding him along with the large panther grouper shrimp without the heads. <Not a good diet...> <<Yeah, most of the flavor (and nutrients!) is in the head!  MH>> He was eating to the point they would almost race to see which could finish all the shrimp first. Since he started having issues I've been feeding him cut squid with a probe because he has a problem getting to the food. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks, Bill Ward <Read... Bob Fenner> 

Bamboo Cat shark Question 7/6/05 I read through all the forums, that took some time!! But I have a question about a behavour that my cat shark is doing. I have about 2 inches of fine sand in my 125gal tank and there are a lot of live stuff seen in the sand. My shark actually pushes his noses and mouth into the sand and shakes around and then he will come up and I can see the sand sifting through his gills and then back in the sand he goes. Is he eating all the live critters in the sand?? <Is likely looking for food organisms> He also eats squid and krill with no problems. I didn't know until today that they need vitamins too. <Yes... as do you and I... from foods, exogenously if not> I will purchase vitamin first thing and start offering them to him. If I were to do the vitamins and his other tank mates eat them will it be ok?? <Yes> It's hard to get the food to him, sometimes. The grouper and lionfish eat the squid as soon as it hits the water. Once they are full then I can stick feed him. But sometimes they get that food too. I just need to know if this act he's doing is safe. Thanks a lot!! Stephanie <Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Chiloscyllium punctatum egg 6/13/05 If I were to consider raising a Chiloscyllium punctatum egg and would like to provide it with the best food possible, what live foods could I consider culturing ahead of time?  I had considered trying Poecilia reticulata and feeding them live brine shrimp fed on cultured phytoplankton and copepods. I had read though they like shrimp a lot as well.  Is there a species of shrimp that is not impossible to breed and that would be a healthy died for a small shark of this species? <I commend your willingness to culture live foods, but it is impractical and unnecessary.  Quality frozen foods are available or can be made at home.  Mysis and chopped squid are high in HUFAs which are necessary for early development larger sharks will do fine on a diet of just about any meaty marine foods as long as you provide variety.  Occasional supplements of vitamins and iodine (hidden or injected into food) are a good idea.> I am months away from purchasing an egg, and trying to learn as much as possible.  Do you think a 96 gallon corner tank would be sufficient for a single shark of this species and nothing else? <Not even close.  A standard 180 is a bare minimum.  The shark should be able to comfortably turn around in it's home, and at adult size, this would be tight even in a 180.  At it's full size of about 36", it might be able to turn around in the corner tank, but it would be able to do little else but chase it's own tail.> I have read your article at ' http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharks.htm' as well as a great deal of ' http://www.colszoo.org/internal/drum_croaker/pdf/2004SS2.pdf' are there any text you would suggest buying or pulling out of the library that could help me to further understand this species.  I also want to find out if it would hurt to have computer speakers in the same room as the animal, or if music or television noise in the same room would bother a Chiloscyllium punctatum.  Any and all information greatly appreciated.  Jon Gordon.  <There aren't any sharks that should be kept in any smaller than a 180, and we generally discourage the notion of keeping one in a smaller tank with the intention of upgrading later.  It seems that no matter how well intentioned we are, such upgrades rarely come.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

Nurse Shark Questions 6/13/05 I just put a 2.5 foot nurse shark on layaway while I get the enclosure prepared.  my plans are to use a 1500+ gallon spa and later move him to a pool (not prepared to spend the money on salt for a pool size at this time).  He/she has been at the LFS for 2 years NFS in a 200 gal. <Keeping this shark in a 1500 gal spa is marginal.  A 200 gallon aquarium is flat out cruel.  If you aren't prepared for the expense of the salt for a larger pool, have you considered the ongoing cost of food and water changes for this animal?  Also, these animals can be difficult to maintain in well designed technologically advanced systems.  Trying to do so in a make-shift situation can be a real challenge.  I am not trying to be harsh or pessimistic, but these are demanding animals!> We will need to be moving him across Houston (50 miles at least).  Any tips on this to keep it calm, acclimating once it arrives, etc?  I was going to move it in a large tote with a powerhead but I didn't see much about this on the FAQ. <The tote is probably the best idea, but I would plumb it with an external pump that would draw water from behind the shark and return it toward the head.  You will also need a vessel that is both deep enough and has a tight enough lid to prevent excessive water loss.  I would not attempt any kind of sedation without the assistance of a marine vet.> what kinda of vitamins will need to be added to his diet and where can i get them if any are needed?  I currently make food for my triggers by blending squid, smelt, frozen trigger food, shrimp, scallops, and anything cool that the bait shops are selling cheap and freezing it in ice trays.  I was planning to do the same thing for this little guy so that I could add anything he might need.   <Your food recipe sounds fine, but considering the meal sizes that this shark will require, it may be tedious to prepare and make too small pieces.  Frozen squid is cheap, easy to come by and nutritious.  Try to find other whole foods (guts, heads, etc. intact) at your local sea food market.  No specific vitamins should be necessary if you use these good foods, especially since this shark is no longer a juvenile, but small amounts of a general fish vitamin can be injected into meaty foods.  You can also stuff whole small fish with Nori or dulce for added nutrition (especially iodine which is important).> The guy says he eats goldfish which seems overly stupid to me as there is no way he would ever encounter them in the wild, so I kinda figured a trigger-like diet would be better but larger.  I was planning on freezing it in plastic cups.  I was also curious about piggy perch and things like that which I could put in there live and he could eat them whenever he wanted and have something to make him work for his food so to speak.  a meal with mental enrichment.  I don't know if this is important for sharks but I have several exotic animals and it is very important for them.  what kinds of live food from the Galveston bait stores would be good/safe. <Indeed, goldfish are among the worst food choices for marine predators.  In fact, I would question the current owner for further info on what the staples of this fish's diet have been.  If it has been goldfish, I would pass on it for fear of poor nutrition.  Any kind of live marine fish that isn't obviously dangerous (stonefish, etc.) if fine and will indeed provide much needed stimulation, but it will also come with a risk of disease.  Also, to reiterate.... be sure to keep the pieces of your shark food preparation large enough that bits won't be lost to rot in the tank.> I saw something on the faq for shark moving where the guy stressed that he was not using playground sand.  Is this bad for the shark?  The shark and a remora (if I have the extra money when I'm ready to buy him) would be the only things in the tank. <Aragonite sand is a better choice than silica sand, but silica is acceptable.  Fine grain substrates reduce the risk of abrasion.> I plan to build a wall that would go around the spa so if it jumped out (I hear they are jumpers) it would fall back in.  good idea/bad idea? <A very good idea, probably a requirement.> basically my idea is to put the spa into my deck and cover the deck.  from there I would install fans in the walls to keep good air circulation and I have 2 pool pumps to circulate water into 2 bathtubs for filtration.  I wanted to run this all by the experts for a professional opinion as I do not trust LFS guys very much.  Thanks for your time, Michelle Walton <Please be sure that all of the components of this system are saltwater safe.  Sharks are very sensitive to metals, so any corroding fittings, drains, pump parts, etc could be dangerous to the shark as well as to you and your family.  You will need some serious filtration, both mechanical and biological for this system.  Sand filters work well, and backwashing can be combined with water changes.  Simply using the tubs as large sumps with conventional filtration techniques may be difficult, but a few gallons of bioballs prefiltered with frequently changed filter pads should do nicely.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

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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