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FAQs about Shark Foods, Feeding, Nutrition 1

Related Articles: Sharks, Sharks In My Living Room?, Cartilaginous Fishes, Blacktip Reef SharkNurse Sharks, Coldwater SharksLeopard Sharks, Port Jackson Sharks, Moving Sharks

Related FAQs: Shark Feeding 2, Sharks in General, Shark Identification, Shark Compatibility, Shark Behavior, Selection, Systems for Sharks, Diseases, Shark, Ray Eggs,  Coldwater Sharks, Leopard Sharks, Heterodontus, Blacktip Reef Sharks, Nurse Sharks, Moving Sharks

Even generalized feeders like this Black Tip need variety in their diets

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
Brown Banded Shark Questions... sys., fdg., comp.  - 02/21/07 Hello to the crew at WWM. <Steve> I recently stumbled across your web site, while researching Bamboo Sharks. I have since been hooked on the endless amounts of information posted. I've been reading for 3 weeks and learned as much as I could before purchasing my first Bamboo Shark. The shark is now housed in a custom 465 gallon tank, built by my brother and I.(9'x4'x25") <Nice!>   The tank has very little rock work optimize swimming room) with a 2 1/2" sand bed premium grade play sand). The water flow and filtration consists of a 100 gallon sump. The sump is fed by three 1" bulk head fittings, <Am surprised at this... seems like too small a diameter> and water is returned through two 1" bulk head fittings via 1800 gph mag drive. I have two,  5 gallon, spring water bottles filled with bio-balls and  filter padding, protein skimmer, XP3 canister filter, and 2" of crushed coral all in the sump. I have attached photos and hope they are sized properly. I hope this set up is sufficient, any suggestions would be appreciated. <I see your images>          The shark's tank mates consist of 1 Niger Trigger extremely passive), <Keep your eye on...> 1 Pygmy Yellow Angel, Volitans Lionfish,1 Coral Catfish, 1 large Strawberry Hermit Crab, <These last two could be trouble if ingested> 1 Snowflake Eel, 1 Porcupine Puffer, and a few assorted Damsels probably will  be food soon). I now have some question I hope you cab help with. I purchased  a bottle of Vita-Chem, made by Boyd Enterprises any good)? <Not a bad product. I have used this> I know I can add directly to water, but what about injecting into food, if so how of a dosage/often? <Is a good idea... once a week or so... You know of Mazuri (.com)?... I would look/read on their site re...> I've read pros and cons on Silversides and Goldfish, probably more cons. <I would NOT feed goldfish> Would it be ok to feed Fresh Cleaned Calamari and Sea Scallops from local food store? <Yes> Will this along with Vita-Chem be enough of a healthy diet? <Not completely, no...> I've had the shark since Saturday and he has eaten three Silversides since then, but i want to switch him over to Squid/Scallops. Sorry for the long e-mail, just want to provide as much information as possible, and keep a happy, healthy shark. <Take your time... no need to shorten> One more question (sorry) is this tank big enough to add a Marbled Catshark to? <Mmm, yes... Do you intend to convert/amend the sump to make it into more of a refugium? with DSB, Macroalgae, lighting...? I would> Thank you in advance, Steve McCauley <Bob Fenner>

Feeding a newly hatched bamboo shark - 4/14/05 Hello.  <Good morning> I know that there has been others asking questions on feeding new born Bamboo sharks.  <Oh yes.>  Mine just hatched one week ago and has not eaten.  <Not unheard of at all can take up to a few weeks and sometimes a few days. Remember they feed on the yolk until hatching.>  The store where I got the shark egg from says that the shark should be eating right away and if it does not eat soon that it will die.  <If sharks don't eat they will die, but remember, as I said before, they do feed from the yolk until hatching and in some cases it may take a while for the shark to build appetite.>  From some of your other questions answered you stated that you should not feed the new born for three weeks.  <Oh no, it can take a newly hatched pup three weeks to eat but you should offer food every day. The question here is what foods are you offering? It is well documented what to feed them but I would try pieces of human quality prawns, krill pieces, smelts, anchovies, squid. Try various small pieces of fresh human quality marine foods.>  I am just confused with what I have heard and what is on this site.  <Understandable.>  Do you know for sure that I should wait for three weeks before feeding it?  <I would not. Offer suitable food choices everyday.>  I just don't want to starve it for 3 weeks and risk it dieing if this is not what I was suppose to do.  <Agreed. Thanks for being part of it all! ~Paul>

Forcing a shark pup to eat - Baby Bamboo Follow-up - 4/18/05 Thanks for your reply.  <No worries, mate> What about force feeding the shark if it still does not eat?  <Well, can be done and actually not super hard to do. I highly recommend not having to do this. Wait some time to see if it does not begin to eat. Try different foods maybe an appetite stimulant like soluble vitamin B12. You could either drop a tablet in the tank and let it dissolve or crush it and sprinkle it on some food. If all else fails, catch the shark in a very soft net, flip it on its back, and try to open the jaws and add small (I mean small) pieces of food. You will likely need a friend to help out. I would not recommend the tracheal tube force feed method for such a small shark though (even though it is recommended on this site for sharks who have stopped eating due to goiter.>  How long should I wait if I try to force feed?  <I would try other methods first, then try over the weekend. Look at the overall health of the shark, though. Do water changes 5% at least every 5 days as well. Be sure you water chemistry is within the parameters specified for saltwater fish keeping detailed on this site.>  I was told to catch it in a net and get it on its back then try to stick some food in its mouth.  <Yes>  Not sure if I am the guy to catch it and try to put food in its mouth.  <Well, you will may need to find the guy to do it for you>  Any suggestions as to how I can do this easier?  <Unfortunately, I don't have anything else. See above details and may luck be with you. ~Paul>

Shark jump How prone to jumping are bamboo sharks? <Very> Mine jumped yesterday, I found him next to the tank. Fortunately, he seems ok. Ate well the following day. My water conditions seem fine, any idea why he jumped? <Too small a system, something "spooked it", because it can...> He is 3 feet long and I feed him 4 or 5 chunks of seafood about 1 inch square. He would eat more, is feeding more a good idea? (I am feeding 3 times a week now) Thanks, Tim <Feeding more is a poor idea... better to keep small/er, hungry... will live longer, better life. Bob Fenner>

Nurse Shark not eating and stressed (Big Surprise) - 2/10/05 I know a nurse shark is not good for the home aquarist but I couldn't let him stay in the small tank at the fish store. He had been there a week.  <Well, now he can not do well in your tank too.> Anyways, I have had him for 4 months and he has been doing really good. Was full of life and personality. Actually was a great entertainment to watch. Would come to meet you if you walked up to the tank, do push ups with his front fins. Been a great addition to the house. Starting last Tuesday I noticed that salt level was really high due to evaporating water and he wouldn't eat.  <So are you not topping off with freshwater?>  I did a water change and brought it back to normal. Wednesday he ate a lot, my wife said. Not sure the amount she fed him. He is under 2' from nose to tip of tail. We have been feeing him silver sides. He has been really happy with them.  <Not a real good choice of food for a nurse shark. You could feed a kid a Snickers bars for lunch and dinner (and of course he will love it) but does it mean it is a nutritious food for good health and longevity?...... Try human food grade clam and or abalone chunks. Feed variety maybe some squid, anchovies, and maybe fresh sardines. Careful for feeding too much. They will get fat on anchovies and sardines. You could try prawns as well.> I went to feed him Saturday as I feed him every 3 days and he wanted nothing to do with the food. He has been very lethargic the last few days, not really moving. Just sitting where the blower blows on the ground. That is his favorite spot. I did another small water change to help and tested the salt, ammonia and nitrate levels. Everything was fine.  <Not the only water chemistry test that should be done when one keeps a shark.>  He just wouldn't eat or move much. He did have a white looking color to him.  <This sounds like a monogene (flukes) infection. The white film is defense mechanism (mucous coat) The best thing to do is to get a little scrape of the film and look at it under a microscope (you could take the sample to a vet or a college lab) Without treatment the shark is likely to die. This is my best guess based on you description. There could be other issues here but likely the animal is stressed and the flukes are a result of the stress. To treat this (once it has been positively identified) you will need to treat with Droncit or Praziquantel. You use these by weight. You can buy them as de-wormers (used for dogs) and crush the pills up and use them in food. (which might be a problem for you as your shark is not eating) Which brings me to a point, do realize sharks can go for more than three days without eating. Keep water quality high and wait for a few days.> I tried to feed him again Sunday with no results. Hoping to help jump start his feeding I grabbed some live tetras as they looked small enough to feed him. I tossed in 4 of them and they are still around. I fed the tetra's last night and the shark seemed interested in the food. I bought some scallops and cut it up in to small pieces and tossed it in for him. He would suck it in and then spit out. He acted liked he wanted to eat but couldn't type of thing. I also put in a piece of a silverside as well. No luck. He is now showing a pink color mostly by his dorsal fin.  <Hemorrhaging is not a good sign>  He is making me very nervous as he stopped all his playful behavior... <May not have been playful at all......maybe he was always irritated...maybe something was bothering him from the start> ... and is just laying there most of the time. He did more a bit last night when I feed the tetras. He almost ate on but spit it back out.  Any suggestions? I really want to get him back to his normal self.  <You need to act immediately>  Oh, my tank I know is small for him but this is what I got until I can get a custom one built to keep him for a bit longer width. It is a 180 gallons, 6' long, 2' wide, about 3' deep.  <Wider is more important than depth, but over the long haul this is just too small a tank. You need a great amount of surface space (a very large tank), soft sandy bottom, great filtration, and quality foods. Do read more of our FAQs on sharks. You have to keep you water chemistry to high standards with regular water changes, top off with quality freshwater, and regular testing.>  I know he needs a lot bigger tank but that is what I had. He as in a 30 gallon when I saw him.  <I would like you to recommend to the dealer that he should look at our section on sharks, research his offerings before purchasing and treat to his animals better. Let him know if his practices don't change that you are going to not only stop shopping there but you are going to recommend to others not shop there as well. Don't reward this crap! Regardless of your intention, you are ill prepared for the long term care of your shark. So whether it dies in a dealer tank (where he will learn the lesson that a nurse shark is not a good animal to sell) or you take the shark and it dies in your tank thus frustrating you, and rewarding the dealer with business all cause you feel bad for the shark. Don't get me wrong here Peter, I see where your heart lies, and your intentions were noble (if your true intentions was to save the shark and not because you wanted to try one). Thanks for the question and being part of it all ~Paul> 

Nurse shark in distress follow up - 2/10/05 Thanks for the reply.  <My pleasure.> They white has gone away and the red tinge replaced it.  <Not good, my friend>  I know buying him rewarded the fish store but I felt bad having him stuck in there.  < I understand, but now it has become your issue too>  I am planning on getting a better set up for him I know I won't be able to make one big enough but something he can be in for a while anyways.  <Very noble>  Then I am sure to donate him to a local aquarium.  <Don't be so sure your local aquariums are waiting for the public to drop off animal they can no longer care for. They have space allocation issues too. Not to mention they also have the issue of added bandwidth (food, upkeep, staffing, medical issues...etc.....)>  It has been over a week not a few days since he fed.  <Be forewarned, it is possible this shark is doomed. It seems it was stressed out from the start.>  I will definitely get a better source of food for him.  <Excellent>  Hopefully that will help.  <Well, he has to be willing to eat which is one of the issues we are dealing with here>  With regards to not topping off with fresh water, I had been, I don't know why I didn't, which allow the salt level to increase. Stupid me basically!  <Not something you can afford to do unfortunately> I definitely will try those different foods hoping one will work to get him to eat.  <Good idea>  Thanks again for your help.  <No problem. It is what we do>  I will definitely let that shop know to not offer them again until they are prepared to care for them properly.  <Great. Feel free to offer him this site>  I will work on my system as well. Make sure that it is what it should be.  <Be sure to do your research before picking up any animal stressed or not. ~Paulo>

Nurse sharks that don't eat - 2/21/05 To answer your questions. What I did to turn this around was frequent water changes, using store bought water.  <I do the same>  I started with a 20% change then I did small changes of 5 - 10 gallons. With that, he seemed to respond a bit. Each night I tried giving a little a bit of food to try to get him to eat.  <Excellent.>  I looked for supplements but didn't find any at the stores around here.  <Won't find them in stores. You will have to order from www.mazuri.com>  I will be getting some online soon.  <Good to hear. I can tell you all the horror stories you can handle about sharks in captivity dying from goiter or some other malady due to a lack of proper diet and care>  I got him some squid last night and some smelt. He really liked both.  <Awesome!!!!!>  The tetras were the only thing the store had that was small enough and would live in the salt water the store had.  <No need for these>  So that is why I went with them.  <Yeah, I wouldn't worry about this anymore. And for all those others out there reading this....NO GOLDFISH!!!! For reasons stated many times over on this website>  Is there a better live fish I can use in the future?  <He won't need live foods if you supplement and feed the aforementioned food items> He did put out some weird looking waste. Almost looked like he might have been bound up and finally got it to pass.  <Sounds normal. When healthy, they are quite messy and produce copious amounts of waste. (A bit strange looking I might add)>  I cleaned that out for a couple days at night and in the morning after he would go.  <Get ready.....such will be your mania as long as you own this shark.>  So I am sure staying on top of that helped. <A MUST do chore!> He is much more active now and looks good with his color.  <Glad to hear. Remember what I said about the large tank needed for this shark. Don't assume an aquarium is waiting for you to drop a shark on them.>  Thanks again for your help and keeping up the website.  <No worries. Thanks for coming here ~Paul> 

Finicky shark feeding Hello Paulie , and the rest of you fish folk :)   <Howdy>                  Having a little trouble with Morty the Whitespotted bamboo. I m trying to fatten him up a little because I can see he's a little thin. But he's become quite finicky for a shark, hehe. <Most cartilaginous fishes are "finicky" in captivity> The only thing I can get him to eat these days is shrimp or prawns. And since usually they have been frozen before purchase, they are obviously displeasingly tough to him. So find he spits out more than he eats sometimes. Hence the skinny Morty. I'm sure we've covered this, but let me be dumb for a moment . Can I try feeder goldfish? <Not a good idea... Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/goldfshfd.htm> I think that's a bit strange since it would never be in his normal diet. But I need to get some weight back on him .                               As usual, I hope all is well in your worlds .                                 Thanks for your time .                                                                         Terri <I'd look into a "bait shop" type outlet... even mail order... for reasonable foods... maybe even culture some. Bob Fenner>

Re: finicky shark Mr. Fenner,    Thank you for your response to my question. I will look into a bait shop type thing. I have had Mortimer for almost ten years now :) He s never been so hard to please though.                           Thanks again ,                                                    Terri <You are to be commended... ten years is a good long time for this species in captivity. Am sure you utilize a vitamin-prep. containing iodide with your shark... Continued success to you. Bob Fenner>

Re: still having trouble, shark feeding Hello Mr. Fenner , Morty still spitting out the food ( was shrimp ) I try to feed him . I had a Epaulette that got goiter , we were unable to save him. But I see no indication of a lump on Morty. He is getting very thin though. And I am becoming increasingly concerned . Any ideas? I know silversides are a no no, but should I try to get him to eat even those? Terri <I would try most anything rather than seeing the animal die... including force-feeding. Are you familiar with this? Bob Fenner>

Re: finicky shark Thanks Mr. Fenner , and I did look into the bait shop idea . What exactly might Morty want from a bait shop do ya think? <Most any not-too-fatty bait fish, worms, crustaceans will do... he will likely go "crazy" for ghost shrimp...> He normally is not interested in krill, and won't eat scallop as of late. So my fish store and supermarket options are running low. I have tried in the past different bits of fillet such as catfish or sole, snapper, etc. He s hit and miss with those types. And most he spits out after smushing for a bit. And yes, I do give him a supplement. The shark and ray tab from Mazuri. <Ah, good> And that is courtesy of the help and info I received from you all in the past. Thanks again, ask Paulie, I'm a real pest. Terri <No worries. Bob Fenner>

Re: fattened shark Hello again , Well Morty is fat and happy at the moment . He feasted on those nasty little silversides. So my stress level has dropped considerably . At least I know he s just being picky. And I will try to find some bait type fish. But really worms, eewww.   You asked if I was familiar with the force feeding thing. Yes I am, also courtesy of the help I received from Paul . Who did all but come and hold my hand through my ordeal with Hannibal, the shark we had with goiter . Unfortunately we were too late . But it was determined, by necropsy , that we were successful in getting the food to his stomach. So although he died the next day , Paul told me it was not likely due to any mistake on our part . And if it ever came to that with Morty, well I love him, of course I would try again :)  Thanks for being there :) Smack Paulie upside the head for me :) <Mmm, will share this with him. Bob Fenner>

Feeding a Bamboo shark - 11/23/04 Hi guys <Hey John> I first want to say thanks a lot for all the great info. My question is that I have a 1 month old bamboo shark and he has a very healthy appetite.  Yet the problem is he will only eat live fish. <If live fish means goldfish then you have a real problem. This is not a good alternative to their natural diet. I would try human consumable prawns, squid, and maybe if you can find it, rock fish steak. Chop into very small pieces I'd say an inch or so. Only feed a little at a time, maybe one to three pieces. I would only feed your shark every other day at the minimum. Be sure to supplement your sharks diet with vitamins as I feel this is crucial to healthy shark development. I use Mazuri shark and ray tabs from www.mazuri.com. This is a very necessary supplement for your shark as water chemistry and food stuffs cannot exactly replicate their biological needs. Again, I don't advocate for captive shark keeping of any sort, but since you already seem to have acquired one, I expect that you design your system around the shark and not your budget. =)> I have tried krill (dried or frozen? Either way likely to have little effect as this is not something they tend to eat in the wild> and other type of dead food and he will have no part in that. <What other types??> I was wondering if there was any way to switch him from live fish to some type of dead food that could be kept in the ice box. <Sure, don't feed him for few days, when he is hungry enough he will likely eat what is offered. Try to feed human consumable foods when possible. Buy small amounts to keep in your refrigerator for a week or so. Hope this helps. ~Paul>     Thanks a lot, John  

Epaulette shark feeding issue - 11/22/04 I acquired an epaulette shark from my friend after the hurricane, which was in early August. The shark came from a 300 gallon tank to a 125 gallon tank, <can be stressful. Not to mention this is a bit small for the adult form of this shark. Remember, height is nowhere near as important as the width and the length, even for bottom dwelling less motile sharks.> the shark is about 2 1/2 feet, there is nothing else in the tank. I have the proper filtration, skimmer and UV. My water readings are perfect. <OK> The shark was eating for the first two months, shrimp and sea scallops, then just wanted to eat the sea scallops. <Well, sounds like now the shark might be wanting to train the trainer! The best way to mitigate this is to let feeding go for up to five days. Try human quality squid and large prawns (not frozen) and only feed every other day about an inch of food. A squid "ring" or a section of prawn. The shark does not need to eat every day. As a matter of fact you shouldn't feed every day.> I was feeding it every 4th day, it was eating 2-3 sea scallops and 5-6 medium shrimp. Then the shark would only eat the sea scallops. <training the trainer, see?> Now it will only eat one sea scallop every 4th day. <This is normal for a fatty meat like a scallop. See the above recommendations. Alternate food types, feed only small pieces, and feed every other day. If the shark has not eaten food in 5 days, then you might need to coax it a bit with a favorite food type.>  I've tried introducing other food, not interested. <Let it grow hungry. Then try again. Also, be sure to supplement the sharks diet with essential vitamins. I highly recommend Mazuri Shark and Ray tabs from www.mazuri.com. Use as per instructed on the bottle. In captivity sharks and rays seem to suffer occasionally from vitamin deficiency. Alternating food types, good water quality, and additional vitamin inputs are important to the long-term care of your animal. Typically, WetWebMedia, have a hard time advocating for sharks in aquaria, (In fact, I recommend against it) but if it is to be done, please design your tank around the animal not around your budget.> Please advise. <hope this helps> Thank you. <Thanks for participating here at WetWebMedia. ~Paul> Feeding a nurse shark - 9/29/04 Hi there. I was checking out your site and was interested to learn more about the nurse shark. <Not a suitable home aquarium species due to its size.> In one post there was mention of what it likes to eat, being chopped crustaceans, fish pieces, shrimp, shell fish and squid. On the chopped crustaceans and fish pieces is there anything specific? <Depends on the size of the shark. Try bits of clams, squid, sardines, anchovy, smelt, or even chunks (of dolphin....just kidding) I meant chinks of salmon, or herring. Anything to stimulate the shark to eat.> I had seen another post stating that goldfish are really bad, which makes sense. <Absolutely. Don't even think of using goldfish to feed a shark. Borders on animal cruelty.>  I couldn't find anything stating on what is good for a fish. Sharks fascinate me so I always want to know more. <Continue in your quest for knowledge and try volunteering at a local aquarium. A good way to not only work with sharks, but to become knowledgeable on all things marine! ~Paul> thanks for your help. Peter

Alternative sharks species for smoothhound shark or leopards - 9/29/04 I've decided NOT to opt for the smoothhound shark just yet, until I get a much larger habitat for it to be happy for many years.... so my question now is what species of catshark is most similar appearance-wise to free-swimmers like smoothhounds and leopards? <There really isn't a catshark that looks like a smoothhound (maybe a shai shark) but the pajama catshark has similar features of the leopard sharks. Of course, catsharks are not typically free swimmers so I wouldn't expect much movement from them. Also, be sure to supplement the diet with vitamins. A very important aspect of shark keeping often overlooked. Check out www.mazuri.com and get the vitazu shark and ray tabs (5M24). ~Paul> thanks

Marbled Cat Sharks Good afternoon. I am new to this forum and unsure where to retrieve answers from questions. I apologize in advance for my ignorance on the following. I have inherited (2) Marbled Cat Sharks from someone who could not care for them. They are currently in a 75G which I know is too small. They are 9" at the most right now. I am planning on a custom 350-400 tank for these guys with rounded sides. My question is this...they have some pinkish/red coloring on there bellies right now...it seems to come and go. <Not so much danger, a problem if transient. To be expected with such small shark specimens> It was not there yesterday but was the day before and is back again. I have live sand as substrate which I read was fine. I have kept the temp at 77.7-77..2... best I can get it currently. Ammonia is 0, nitrites 0, nitrates 0, ph 8.2, alkalinity 3. They ate once for me but have not eaten in 2 days and the pink coloring has me worried a bit. I am using a 125G wet/dry for filtration with no skimmer until I have the new tank set up and done for them. <All sounds good to okay. Feeding strikes of a week or less would not worry me> I have searched the site and have not seen much on the marbles cat as far as bacterial infections which I thought the pink color was from. Any advice on this and the proper care of these animals? <The physical and chemical parameters, size, gear of the present system and the fact that you're planning on upgrading to a larger system all sound fine. There are some antibiotics you might consider "sneaking" into these animals feed if they re-start feeding... or the possibility of having to force feed them if they persist in their hunger strike. If this time is getting close, and the animals appear emaciated, I would at least execute a large water change (25%) and add a vitamin admixture directly to their water (like Selcon). Bob Fenner> I want them to survive and give them the best chance possible. Money is not an issue. I apologize if that sounds arrogant. Just wanting to make sure they have what they need. Please advise on your suggestions and how to follow the replies to this email on the boards. Thank you for your time. Todd Hornsby

Re: Marbled Cat Sharks Thank you for the response Bob. It is really appreciated. The sharks are feeding again as of tonight. They each ate 2 silversides a piece and would not take anymore. <This is a considerable amount of food for these animals> I did not push the issue either. I feed them with a pair of plastic tongs. The pinkish/red still comes and goes, but looks to be less severe each time I do see it. So whatever the issue is with that, it appears to be clearing itself up on it's own. I did add some Zoe to the food for vitamins as they did not eat for awhile. I will keep you posted on the status. <Real good> I am trying to land a deal on a nice custom tank for these guys. Any recommendations on a vendor for this? <Which part of the U.S. (or world) are you in? Have you tried the "classified ads" yet? A small weekend ad often finds a wanting system of size> Thanks again for your time Bob. Very appreciated. Todd Hornsby <A pleasure to serve. Bob Fenner>

Unhappy and not feeding banded bamboo shark - emergency!! Hi there. <Hi, MikeD here> I've found the wealth of information on this site extremely handy, so thanks already! I've now had a brown banded bamboo shark for nearly 3 months (hatched him early June)<Congrats...mine hatched a year ago August and is nearing 3'>, and has been feeding very well since about 5 days after hatching (could see no sign of umbilical cord etc).  He's in a 60x20x20 tank (for another 2 months until we can build a 10ft x 5ft x 2ft high tank) at the moment with a few fish and inverts. He's not touched anything in the tank other than his food that he's given.  The tank has a red sea Prizm pro deluxe skimmer (for 1k litres), UV, carbon, ozone, several canister filters (wet/dry Eheim and standard), small refugium and nitrate reductor, and two powerheads. Anyhow, about 10 days ago I noticed one of the fish had ich, ugh.... So I decided I would try Kent Marine RxP.<Oh, NO!> Yes, I know sharks don't do well with meds, but it was a natural product, and I only half dosed it.<there's no such thing as a "natural product", and my first suggestion is to NEVER treat your main tank proper!> However, the shark stopped eating that day, for the first time ever. He has not eaten since (10 days now)<Can't say that I'm surprised>. He really didn't seem to like it, and tried jumping out of the water at least twice. I've done a 25% water changed (buffered and temp/sal the same etc), put in new carbon etc to get rid of the meds. The water quality is pretty good, the salinity is a little high though (1.024 to 1.025), but I try to keep it from changing.<Your specific gravity is fine, but you need to boost partial water changes ASAP. The jumping is a REALLY bad sign> The only thing I could ever get him to eat is frozen octopus cubes (the Dutch stuff), but haven't found any shark food yet (until today, about to go out and get a load of shark food and vitamins that the local shop just got in).<Mine is a bottomless pit, with its FAVORITE food being well rinsed moist cat food! (seafood variety**grin**) It also eats raw shrimp, fish and squid  I also started to dose and test iodide, yes a little late maybe. The readings were 0.0 as far as I could see, so it can't have helped. The shark is still moving around a little, however this morning he's laying on his back (wasn't an hour ago when I last checked, but is now). I can't see any external problems, no redness or lumps. What should I do? I presume it's important to keep the iodide (I've heard iodine itself is as toxic as chlorine?)<Very true, but use great care.....a good reef supplement at MINIMUM dosages is all that's needed> levels up (and at what level should they be? the test kit says 0.06 to 0.08ppm). Is it a bad idea to drop a few drops of the iodide booster to the shark's food, or should I just use the shark food alone?<DO NOT put iodine or iodide on the food. This can be immediately FATAL!> Is there anything you can suggest to help to get him eating again? I've literally put a cube of octopus under his mouth with tongs and he's just ignored it, he seems much more docile than normal, and is very worrying seeing him on his back. Is there anything you can suggest? As I write this he's just swam around, "flashed" and turned upside down again on the sand. He's breathing fairly deeply about once every 1.5 seconds, is his breathing normal? Until today, it was just not eating and slightly odd behaviour, but now it's got a little more serious, I've heard isn't not uncommon for them to stop eating, so I ordered in that shark food, I'm going to nip out and get it and try him on it, but I don't see him suddenly wanting to eat. Lastly, I've just put a grounding rod that I made (from titanium bike spokes - cleaned thoroughly first, connected to ground, and sealed so no copper from the cable will touch the tank water) yesterday as there was a shocking (excuse the pun) 50V AC between the tank water and ground. I'm sure this hasn't helped the poor shark, and I think it's been like that for some time (possibly months before I realized it). The voltage difference has dropped to 0.3V AC which seems much more acceptable. Thanks for the help <I held off until here because all of this is vital. Sharks are EXTREMELY sensitive to electricity, and you need to find the source of the problem and eliminate it COMPLETELY! Check for a deteriorating pump, heater or electrical cords against the tank frame, including those of the lights. Any trace current can result in RIP!  I suspect the diet problem and hesitating to feed is actually a symptom of a larger problem. Likewise, NEVER treat your main tank. I'd start doing VERY frequent water changes (don't worry about % but rather watching the reaction of your animals, possibly to the amount of 5 gal/day until they show improvement.) If you improve water quality, remove medication and eliminate electricity you ought to see a MAJOR improvement unless the shark is too far gone!> Regards, Tom Worley

Unhappy and not feeding banded bamboo shark - emergency!! <MikeD here> Thanks for the reply, Unfortunately the shark was too poorly by the time I got back from the shop. He was swimming in circles and upside down, and I picked him up very gently with my hands and he offered no resistance at all. I held him up at the top of the water (Still under water) and tried to feed him with a syringe of bits of blended frozen food (krill, brine shrimp and shark formula food), however I couldn't get any down him and didn't want to force him. He died shortly after :-( <Truly sorry. It's a feeling I know all too well.> I have eliminated the voltage in the tank with the titanium ground probe, and have increased to 10% water changes weekly. I do hope to get another some time, but I have learnt the hard way (even after much research), I will in the future never put any meds of any sort in the tank.<That may have made the lesson and sacrifice worthwhile all by itself.> I do think that the voltage didn't help, but it was the Kent Marine RxP that stopped him eating. Do you have any tips for feeding them, as I've talked to other banded bamboo shark owners who just drop food in the tank and they eat it, but the tank has a fair bit of clean-up-crew, so it wouldn't last in mine.<I suspect that your shark was pretty far gone when you got it, and possibly nothing that you could have dome would have made a difference.  A healthy shark would DEFINITELY get his/her share, with no clean up crew able to stand in the way.  As with many creatures, IMO a varied diet is the key, and while I've never used the product and may be speaking unfairly, I'd use caution with "special" foods such as the shark diet that you mentioned.  All too often the appeal is directed at the human purchaser and what you end up with is actually an inferior product designed to do one thing and one thing only...garner profits for the manufacturer. "Shark diet", "Betta diet", etc., etc.....research the animal in question's natural diet and come as close as you can and the results will likely be MUCH better.> I was feeding him with tongs, but he wouldn't touch anything but octopus.  I'll wait until we have the big tank setup, and not have any (or less) cleaner shrimp!<don't feel guilty about that, as it was entirely your fault...had you gotten a healthy animal the shrimp would have ended up cleaning from the inside.> Thanks for the help. Tom.

Coral Catsharks <Hi, Mike D here> The cracks look like cracks in your skin when you get sun burnt pretty bad.  The skin isn't pealing it just has the cracks in them and they are only on the back<That's definitely not good and something I'd be very concerned about, as it's obviously not related to poor substrate>.  Also today both of them bit on to the piece of squid I tried to feed them but didn't eat any of it<You're right, that IS a good sign. Try using smaller pieces of squid, and if worse comes to worse, try a pouch of moist cat food, well rinsed, of course.>.  It looks like a good sign to me but then again I could have just provoked them.  Also last night one of them bit onto the food but my stupid eel came along and grabbed the other end and ate it.<This you'll get used to. These are all gluttons and have nearly identical food preferences and habits, so have plenty of food on hand when you start and be prepared to break up fights> Thanks Adam Jonathan -

I got my shark to eat Hi, <Hi, MikeD here again> I just thought I'd let you guys know that I got my coral Catshark that I got about 2 1/2 weeks ago to eat.  If other people are having trouble feeding there new sharks I just wanted to say that if you are using some type of metal feeding stick, like a skewer, that that might be the problem because it was with mine.<that's understandable, as sharks have an extreme sensitivity to electricity, which the metal would conduct>  I got some wooden skewers put the food on the end and he ate it right away.<Again, congratulations. Just an afterthought, but you may want to consider getting a grounding probe for your tank (available at many LFS) to help eliminate any stray current that may be in your water as often occurs from heaters, powerheads, or even light cords laying against the tank rim.> Adam Siders

Bamboo shark and clownfish in the same tank - 8/4/04 Hello I have recently purchased a bamboo shark and a large clown fish Will they be ok in the same tank? <What size tank are we talking about here, Jason?> what other fish can I put in the tank? <Again, what size tank?> Kind regards, <A little more information would be helpful here. Overall, there aren't many recommendations for fish as a shark is a shark is a shark and an astute opportunist at minimum. The clownfish will be a test of the aggressiveness of the shark. Also if this tank is less than 100 gallons and this is an adult shark you might have trouble with the shark being able to turnaround in the tank without attaining rub wounds on its rostrum or tail (or even its sides). This is where the cost of owning a shark can skyrocket as it can be somewhat expensive to treat sharks for abrasions. So the advice here is to see if you can't get a tank that has greater width than height.             Also, don't forget to look at adding vitamin supplements for your shark. Check out www.mazuri.com This is the brand we use at the Monterey Bay Aquarium for vitamin supplementation. Vitamins are a very important addition for your shark and should never be under estimated. Hope this helps ~Paul> Jason Theuma

Bamboo and clownfish in the same aquarium part II - 8/4/04 Hello I have recently purchased a Bamboo Shark and put it in a 4ft x 2ft x 2ft tank with a large clown fish. <Hey, I just sent a response to Jason. This is a 55 gallon I believe. My recommendation is for a wider tank if possible. For sharks long and wide is better than long and tall.....are we still talking about shark tanks??......sheesh> I was told this would be OK but I have been noticing that the clown fish only stays in one corner of the tank and that the sharks has be circling around the tank below the clown fish? <Well, could be a problem. Again, a shark is an opportunist at minimum. Survival skills, adaptation, wild instincts, have made them the apex predator that they are. There is no hard and fast rule for compatibility. I personally have never seen a bamboo shark eat large aquarium fish, but that doesn't mean someone else hasn't. So my thing is this will be a 20-40 dollar lesson/experiment (depending on how much the clownfish cost you). Don't forget to supplement your shark's diet with vitamins. Check out www.mazuri.com. A great source of shark vitamin supplement. Go with a multi type vitamin.> Will the clown fish be OK? <Impossible for me to say. Some people may have had no problem keeping their fish and sharks together, yet others may have not been so lucky. Animals have personalities not unlike humans. So....well.....you get what I am saying.....> What other fish can I put in a tank with a Bamboo Shark? <the above statement says it all. Let's see how the clownfish does. Give it some time. ~Paul> Kind Regards Julia Griffin

Banded Cat shark not eating - 4/27/04  Hi again my name is Jason,  I have a banded cat shark which I hatched from an egg, it lives in a 110 gallon tank which has 3x large canister filters,1x protein skimmer,1x U.V. light system and 1x sand filter. The water test is fine ph above 8.2, nitrate well below 40 ppm etc. <All relative but OK for now> The problem is the shark is now about 6-7 weeks old and up to about 3 days ago was feeding very well on squid, but now it has just stopped, I feed it using a feed stick but it just does not want to know. <?????> I have also noticed it is breathing very fast, it also seems to be more active than it used to be. <Well, these sharks have been known to stop eating from time to time. I would recommend to wait for a while. I have heard of these sharks stop eating for weeks on end (3-4 weeks) before beginning to eat again. <Try some other foods, and read through our shark FAQs. Give it time. Be sure to feed vitamins (MAZURI) to help supplement the sharks much needed iodine intake and other required vitamins. No silversides!!! Interferes with iodine intake> I hope you can help as I do not wish to loose the shark as it is like a member of the family. <Give it time Jason. Do a 20% water change and continue to try and feed. I would be more concerned if it were over say, three weeks or more likely four. Thanks for the question. ~Paul>  Thank you,  Jason.

Forcing an Epaulette to eat - 3/15/04 Hi guys ,          I don't think I'm informed enough yet to try to force feed my Epaulette. <OK> My friend and I are concerned that we will kill him trying. <He will die if not fed or able to feed on its own> Paul was able to give me an idea of how to do it, but never having done it before, I don't feel too confident that I have a handle on it. <Understandable> Should the tube be a half inch in diameter? <Large enough to push blended puree'ed food through> How exactly do I get it down, and how far do I put it in. <Flip te shark on its back (head out of the water) Force the jaws open, push enough of the tube down the throat (enough tubing to get past the pectoral fins for reference) then fill the turkey baster with food, (burp it so there is little air) and gently squeeze food down the throat> Can I use only the gel food if I can get it? <Sure. Thought it takes 24hours to prepare. Also still use the supplement> How mashed up does the fish have to be if I cant find the gel? <Blended and puree'ed> Do I need to mash it mixed with water? <No> Do I need to be concerned about air in the baster or the tube getting into the shark? <Not really but good to "burp" out extra air from turkey baster>  These are some of my questions and concerns. <I understand> I'm sorry to be such a pest. <Don't let it happen again. Just kidding. Look to hear from you soon ~Paul>                                       Thank you ,                                                        T
Epaulette trouble - 3/15/04
Hey it's me again ,   Am I to assume that the lump I could once see on him is now inverted? <Possible, but could just be that it has massed much bigger than before and now looks as if the entire throat has grown??> Swollen on the inside? <Yes> If so , how are we to get the tube down without injuring him? <Soft tubing, should bypass the swelling hopefully. You could ask for veterinary help maybe> And do I need to worry about getting the tube in the wrong place and damaging him further? <Always a possibility, but not likely.> Going to give it my best shot either way tomorrow. Hate knowing he is suffering and I'm just sitting here :( <I understand ~Paul>                                     thanks ,
Epaulette in trouble - 3/15/04
Paul ,   Thanks so much for taking the time to help me out. <No worries> I'm working on getting the stuff together to try to help him. Unfortunately , it being Sunday , most places for the supplements seem to be closed. <I understand> So hopefully tomorrow I can get those somewhere near me. <May have some trouble. Contact Mazuri for retail outlets in the area> I live in Rohnert Park , Ca. <I live in San Jose> And I was told there is a place in Sebastopol that should have it. <Oh, very good> I'll be surprised though if they do, I have a feeling I may have to order it. <Well either way, would be good to have on hand for keeping of sharks> I'm assuming that even without the supplement I should try to force feed him ASAP. <If he is not eating and has not for some time then yes, he is likely starving> So I plan to have some help lined up tomorrow to do that. <Good. Again, this is an extreme case.> I doubt I can tackle that on my own. <Really hard to do at all> I don't want to stress him any more than I have to. <Too late for that.> And needless to say he is already showing signs of stress in his breathing , and color. <Starving to death. Growth in his thyroid. A very unfortunate set of circumstances. I am really sorry for this outcome.> Can you tell me what type of tube I need to use. <A soft tube (veterinary grade ((ask a vet)) 1/2 inch tub for insertion through throat into stomach.> I will look for the something soft and supple, but not sure what I'll find besides maybe airline tubing. <Likely airline tubing is too small> And I sure don't want to hurt him. <He is already hurting. Think of a vet or doctor's job. Pain for the better good>   There are so many questions I have in general. Having done this with no help for 9 years. <I understand> I guess I've been extremely lucky. <I agree> Even if I'm not feeling that way right now.  <It happens. Remember what you have learned and what you now know> I cant help but feel that this might have been prevented some how had I been more knowledgeable :( <In all honesty, it may have been, but let's look to helping out your animal in hope of recovery>   Will talk to you soon. Thanks again, I feel so much better just knowing you guys are there :) <Good to hear. I look forward to hearing from you>                                         Terri

Shark not eating follow-up - 3/15/04 Paul , you said to flip him over when we do this, with his head out of the water . How long is he safe this way? <Probably for some time......Uhm...we place the shark on a wet towel (seawater wet) upside down. We use a vet trach tube to spooge food into its gut.> Since am sure the process is going to seem interminable. I think am going to see if I can convince my vet to come help. <If you can get a vet's help, then I would ask him to bring a syringe of Vitamin B12. We use this as a vitamin appetite enhancer and shoot it into the shark intravenously. Usually helps! Do not feed anymore silversides =) ~Paul>                                               T
Re: Force feeding
Hey Paul, I would have to figure that any of the other problems you mentioned like metal poisoning or electric current type stuff would also be affecting the Whitespotted bamboo that shares the tank with him. <I agree. I forgot about that. I am grasping at shark tails here, though. I really think goiter is the likely culprit. (as well as my colleagues at the Aquarium) Do take care going forward, though, as I am sure you have read by now, some sharks (like people) are more susceptible to goiter than others. Take care of your other shark now that you are informed> Morty's almost 9 yrs old and seems perfectly happy and healthy still :) <See above statement.> And I do have a grounding probe <Excellent> in there too. <What else can I tell ya?? Trying to go over everything I can think of. Let me know how things go. I want to remind you though, there is high probability that you could lose the shark. Let me know. ~Paul >

Shooting a shark with B12 - 3/16/04 Paul, Hi, where intravenously? <Intramuscular injection Shoot into the muscles in the back.> My vet is coming tomorrow evening to help. <excellent> Not sure she'll have a clue how to shoot up a shark. <Understandable> And it's not that he doesn't have an appetite, he definitely wants food. <OK> Do you think the vitamin B12 would be necessary in that case. <Worth a try> Also any idea why I don't really see a lump? <what about some sort of swelling? Not sure why you don't see the lump but I still feel this shark suffers from goiter. I am not a vet or even a shark hobbyist. I do work with them at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and have access to a crack staff of Marine Biologists who do specialize in shark husbandry. if its not goiter there are other things to look at: possible magnetic fields, stray electrical current, or maybe even metal poisoning??? Anything change around or in the tank lately??? Otherwise I couldn't tell you why your shark has stopped eating other than the fact that not long ago, you stated to me that you had seen a lump in the throat area of your shark. Also, you were feeding silversides (not a great shark food as it tends to bind needed iodine molecules). These are all signs that could lead to goiter. Hard to say though.> I know I'm a pain in the arse. <Not at all. Just a worried aquarist.> And I doubt I'm done being one yet. <No worries. I want to help! ~Paul>                                         T

Goiter in epaulette - 3/16/04 And so you shall hear from me soon, hehe. Hiya, <Heya> did I make it clear that I don't really see the lump anymore? <You did. Sometimes it turns into more of a general swelling of the area. Do look at the links (articles) I posted in past correspondences> Once we took out the substrate the lump seemed to pretty much go away near as I could tell. <I understand but I still believe this is goiter> That's why I thought his behavior so odd. And its been a while since all that. <6 months or so??> A time during which he was fine. And he was fine and eating when the damn thing looked like it was gonna burst out of him. <I understand this to be perplexing as well, but myself and others here, still feel that this is likely an issue resulting from goiter> Now when he looks good, or at least did look good, he starts having this problem. But I do not see a lump. <Swelling?> If anything there may be a slight swelling. <Ahhhhh> And about the gel food, I had no idea it took that long to prep. <You can read about the food on the Mazuri site> But I cannot get either that or the vitamin for two more days. <I figured as much> I had to order it through Purina test Diet place. <Couldn't order from the Mazuri site and have it overnighted?> They are shipping it out tomorrow overnight delivery. <Oh.....helps to read ahead> So I assume I should have it on Wednesday. Sounds like I'll need to make a trip to the vet also. Geez Paul, you're awful close to me, hint hint, heheh. <I guess this is the part I am supposed to say, "Haha! Yeah, I will be there is a few hours to help".....right? Nah, too busy to do other people's aquarist/computer work anymore. As it is I never have time for much of a social life.> Anyway my friend will be here later and I'll have her read through your emails also. <Good 'nuff> And I look forward to your next reply. <Here it is! Till the next one ~Paul>                                                          thanks , always thanks :)                                                                            Terri

Re: Epaulette shark Ok ok , I know , quit talkin about it and do it already! <I thought you did it yesterday?> Waiting on the vet who will be here this evening. <Ooh let me know how it goes> Did you see my question bout the Vitamin B shot? <Yup, did you get my reply?> And about seeing no lump?  <I replied to that in the same email.> You're prolly bout ready to smack me. <Never! I would detail as much of this into a journal if you can. Take pictures of the step, and hopefully the result will be a success, and then you can write an article and have us help you submit it around the hobby. Make a little money.                        Thank you Paul, for all your time and patience, <My pleasure, come visit the Aquarium one weekend and say "hi!". See the new shark exhibit. It looks fantastic!>                              Hannibal's stressed out mother,                                                               Terri

Shark not eating - 3/5/04 dear sir/madam My name is Nikos fm Athens/Greece <Good morning from sunny California> I noticed at your site that you are able to answer and give advice regarding sharks. <We try our best> I have in my aquarium (which is 211 us gal) a Chiloscyllium punctatum (brown banded cat shark) also 3 damsel, 1 angel fish, 1 clown fish,1 lovoalpinus (fox face). The aquarium has live rock and off course enough free bottom space for the shark to swim, presently she is about 42 cm length. Usually she was eating 6-8 pieces squibs per day or max 2, <???> the last 2 weeks she is not eating anything. <Not unheard of. This shark has been known to just quit eating> My question is if this has to do with the other fishes that enter the tank or this is the natural behavior of the shark <Does sometimes seem to happen in captivity. Have you tried offering other types of foods? Be sure to research feeding habits for this shark on the web. Most sharks need a vitamin supplement addition as well. Here are some good sites regarding cat shark husbandry: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharks.htm http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/prod_Display.cfm?siteid=21&pCatId=290 http://www.shark.ch/cgi-bin/Sharks/spec_conv.pl?E+Chiloscyllium.punctatum http://animal-world.com/encyclo/marine/sharks_rays/Banded_bamboo_shark_FWZ.php http://www.whozoo.org/Anlife2001/callmatt/CMM_Bandedcatshark2_JES.html http://www.reeftectonics.com/shark_keeping.htm> - maybe any kind of disease?? <Hard to say. You haven't mentioned anything that would indicate a disease issue. I wouldn't fret just yet. Sharks can sometimes go for weeks without eating. Be sure to try different types of food. (i.e.. fresh clam, squid, crab, mussels) and try adding shark vitamin supplements ( http://www.mazuri.com/main.html). and keep up your water chemistry. Watch the other fish for picking at the shark or eating its food. You may have to resort to using feeding tongs or a feeding stick. Thanks for the question ~Paul> Your help will be highly appreciated. Regards Nikos   

Nurse shark in aquaria - 1/25/04 I wanted to ask you if you can feed nurse sharks gold fish, <NO!!! and I will be honest.... it scares the hell out of me to think you would ask a question of this caliber when keeping a shark. This is information you should ask before purchasing a shark or any marine animal or plant> or is it not good for them. <Too fatty and of little substance to most marine carnivorous fish> Also I wanted to know what is a good pH level for them cuz I heard that sharks put out a lot of ammonia, <????!!!!! pH and ammonia are two different things. Let me answer first: a "good" PH is one that is found where this shark habitats. Probably somewhere between 7.9 - 8.3 but this will do nothing for ammonia or ammonia output of the shark. You need to have top notch filtration to deal with fish waste ( in the form of excrement and waste by-product as well as uneaten foods) which is usually converted in the form of ammonia. This information is about the nitrogen cycle which is on our site for all to see. This line of questioning is not boding well for me or for your shark. Forgive the rant as I may be too pretentious and presumptuous here, but I suggest you donate this shark to a public display aquarium as soon as possible. Learn about the cycle and what it means to your inhabitants before acquisition. Here is some information about your shark: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/Gallery/Descript/nurseshark/nurseshark.htm This is a very large shark to be sure, it will need LOTS OF SPACE, LOTS OF FOOD, and LOTS OF ATTENTION. This is one of the worst sharks to keep in the average aquarists charge. A very poor choice indeed. There is more to caring for sharks then the tank size, filtration, water chemistry, and food. There is vitamin issues, current issues, as well as climate controls and processes to be put into place. Again, I may be too presumptuous here, but I doubt you are capable to provide all of this if you haven't even thought of what to feed your shark and you question about PH, to be quite frank, scares the hell out of me! Please forgive me if my assumptions are out of place or misguided, but I am thinking of the shark only and know nothing of you personally or what you may or may not know about sharks. Enlighten me if I am misguided. I just worry about the well being of your animals.> so I wanted to know how do I keep the ammonia level under control. <Through an amazing filtration system and lots of diligence in water chemistry.> any answer from you would be appreciated. <Are you sure??>thanks a lot. <Please, my friend, let's talk seriously about your animal. Please email back you responses or rebuttal and if you need my personal info or phone number please let it be known. I want to help but I need some convincing! Your mate and conscientious marine aquarist, Paul>

Nurse shark in distress - 1/26/04 Paul, hey thanks for your fast reply. <No problem.> so what should I feed it cuz the guy at the fish store told me that goldfish was alright? <I am gonna say something I seldom do so as not to offend......your source at the fish store is wrong and ill-informed. Quality squid, clams, you could try smelts are a more quality product from a health standpoint. You can either buy from a local fresh fish store or maybe from a local grocery store's fish department. You will also need vitamins as well. Look at the links under sharks on our site as I think I have mentioned this before.> and right now the shark is about 1 1/2 ft. in length and the tank that it's in right now is a 55. <Not good my friend. It is already too big for this tank.> I am planning to move it to a bigger one, at least a 1,000 gallon or bigger tank, but that probably can't happen till about 5 months. <Not good! The tank will need to be custom with rounded corners instead of 90 degrees and more like 5000 gallons.> do you think I have a chance of keeping it alive till then. <I am always honest and that is the issue here. Robin, in the three emails I have sent you I have been telling you that based on the questions your asking, the lack of research you have done, your hastiness to take on such and animal tells me that this shark does not have a good long-term prognosis. I would implore you to find a more suitable home immediately> be honest. <Always!> the salinity is about 1.023 and the temp. is 77 F my pH meter just broke so I can't check that till tomorrow and I don't know how to check ammonia. <Well, this is what I am talking about. You don't know how to check ammonia?? You need to become more familiar with the processes of owning a tank. Test kits are a great way to check water chemistry and water health. You have a lot of reading to do my friend. Let me put it this way, I have been keeping marine animals of all types for about ten years and more focused on saltwater animalia for the past 3 years, add to that that I have been working at the Monterey Bay Aquarium for about 7 months, and have the financial means to do just about whatever I want within reason....and I don't have any sharks!!! I help with the shark program a bit here at the aquarium and it is a lot of care even at a large scale exhibit. It pales in comparison to the small scale version kept by the passive home aquarist. Please reconsider your abilities to keep this animal alive long-term. My offer still stands, if you need help finding a home I will do my best to connect you with a public aquarium who can help to recover the animal and place it in a proper display.> I have a wet and dry filtration system with no protein skimmers at the moment. <Needs more than a wet-dry and protein skimmer for filtration, Robin.> so what you think man, does mano (the shark) have a chance for 5 months? <May live that long but may not. I am gonna say based on your skill set I have some doubts. Again, this is not a challenge to you to prove me wrong but to check your reality here. Let me know what else I can help with. Here is a great link on sharks in captivity with FAQ links. Read it like it were a bible, my friend. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharks.htm click the links as well. Knowledge is power!!!! ~Paul>

Shark Assistance Hi, Sorry to bother you again but, I have a 4 week old Bamboo shark which has been feeding now for nearly 3 weeks on a mixture of squid and tiger prawn chunks one a day 2 too 3 pieces.<that's good that he/she is eating> I noticed over the last couple of days his breathing has speeded up slightly too about 30+ breaths per minute I believe the average is about  22 breaths per minutes and tonight also noticed how very fat he is.<I would not be too concerned about this yet, you might want to feed him a bit less> My main concern is how fat he is I was told to feed him daily for at least the first couple of months.<I agree, feed a little less though> The water levels are ok nitrate 15ppm, Ammonia Zero, PH 8.2 and Nitrite zero, I have an operational Prizm pro skimmer and 2 large canister filters with 4 power heads and most importantly the tank is 120 UK gallons.<is this a 6 foot aquarium?, if not he will definitely need one> Is the breathing linked to the possible over feeding,<possibly, my fish tend to breathe harder if I overfeed them :)> how would be best to deal with this.<feed less lol> he is very active at feeding time and has always eaten with the lights on.<very good> Your advice would be much appreciated Thanks again<So far everything sounds really good, you might want to try to get the nitrates to 0, but 15 is really not bad, just feed a little less and you and your little shark should be fine, IanB> Darren  

Baby Shark Handling 10/29/03 I have a newly hatched Bamboo shark and have been reading a little more on feeding over the past couple of days. <no feeding please... it can actually kill a newly hatched specimen. Wait some days and as much as 2+weeks for the "pot belly" to subside indicating residual yolk (unseen) has been absorbed> I just have a quick question about the food sack that these fish have after birth, <no "food sac" should be visible, else the shark was sprung too early> I have heard many version of what to look for, do they eat this before hatching or are they meant to be dragging this round behind them, <god heavens no... they would be mortally vulnerable if the yolk sac was exposed> as it was only 2 days ago when he hatched and does not look fat or seem to be dragging anything round behind him. <please have patience. After a week... begin to offer fragment foods with the lights off (important at first). No worries if it keeps refusing.> Your advise would be greatly appreciated Darren Adams <please do yourself and your shark a favor and read Scott Michael's "Sharks and Rays"... an outstanding book on the subject. Anthony>

Nurse Shark Eating a Lion fish I have I 220g fish tank FOWLR. I have a 19" Nurse Shark, Naso Tang, and had a Volitans Lionfish. My question is the Nurse Shark ate the Lionfish, is there any cause for concern being the Lionfish is venomous. I didn't think anything ate the Lionfish. Thanks for any info. on this. Seth <Does happen... and could be real trouble... physically, if the shark's stomach, alimentary canal has been perforated... not so much for ingestion of toxin. "Only time can/will tell"... Not a good idea to mix anything that can be inhaled... Bob Fenner>
Re: Nurse Shark Eating a Lion fish
Thanks for the quick response. I read anything and everything I can on my new found love of saltwater life. Most of which is on your web site. This is the most informative site to date. And appreciate the time and dedication devoted by all members. I look forward to purchasing the books you have put out. Thanks again Seth <Do feed that Nurse Shark sparingly... it will grow virtually "right before your eyes" otherwise. Good luck, life. Bob Fenner>

New Bamboo Shark is not eating >Greetings WetWebMedia Crew! >>Greetings, Marina giving it a go. I had a question about a new shark that I just bought yesterday that seems to be about 2 months old. He looks like he has grown about 1 or 2 inches since leaving the egg. At the store, I could tell he was shy, because he was trying to hide his head behind some piping. There was a much bigger one that was about 9 inches long that was not so shy. He was always facing the front of the tank with his head turned up. I asked for a feeding and the LFS claimed that he was eating and told me to return him if he isn't. >>Must admit I'm not pleased with this offer/reaction. >I put him in my 80g(I know this won't house him forever) tank and he swam from side to side in a weird fashion along the ground then hid under some live rock. >>I hope you have him on a very finely grained substrate, sand is best.  Otherwise his skin will continuously become more and more abraded, which can EASILY lead to death. >I placed two pieces of food right under his nose in the sand including shark formula pieces and squid pieces. One time, my snowflake eel came up and ate it because the shark wasn't interested and in the morning when I placed it under his nose again, my bird wrasse snuck up and took it. Is this normal for a bamboo shark to fast for a few days or what? >>No, it isn't, but it is normal for babies to need to quite literally hand fed.  I used krill pretty much exclusively for the group of baby bamboos under my care at the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific.  Those that aren't eating tend to show it in their growth rates (or lack thereof).  You aren't mentioning water quality or filtration, so I feel that, along with agreeing with your assessment of the poor choice of a shark in an 80 gallon, these animals must be treated as reef invertebrates in regards to their water quality requirements, environmental sensitivities, etc.  As long as their water is pristine and they suffer no ill effects of stray voltage, they'll remain quite healthy.   >I really don't want him to die in my tank. >>No, of course you don't.  However, maybe being a bit more insistent with the shop employees may have been in order. >Also, my friend bugged me to add a baby lobster in the tank. >>Cool, shark and eel food! >He spent $17 on it and in the morning, the lobster is dead. >>LOL!  I guess he won't be bugging you to add things like that again anytime soon, eh? >His pinchers are torn off and his body was eaten out. >>I bet he was GOOD, too. >Out of the snowflake eel (about 5-7"), the bamboo shark and the bird wrasse, what do you think tore the lobster apart? >>Toss-up between the shark and the eel, more likely the shark (not knowing size ratios, of course), but we can't put it past the eel, either.  However, crustaceans and many hard-shelled things are part and parcel of the bamboo's diet. >I watched them for a while and from 6pm to 2am, the lobster was still walking around. If the bamboo shark ate it, I would be happy because at least I know he ate well but the snowflake and the wrasse I don't care about. They eat all the time.  Thanks again for your help,  Rocko >>You're welcome.  Be sure the shark is NOT on crushed coral, Rocko, this type of substrate can kill the babies in a horrible, gruesome manner.  You'll need to hand feed him, know that you risk being bitten by the eel (though in my experience they "doink" and let go right away.. unless you're really smelling/tasting like krill!).  Make sure you've got best water quality, "normal" or "acceptable" parameters measured from a cheap test kit aren't going to cut it.  Just remember to treat the shark as an invertebrate and you'll be doing it a favor.  Next on the list is a tank on the order of 4'x8'x2' (and that's a minimum for good health).  Hope this helps!  Marina

BANDED CAT SHARK WON'T EAT... >I was hoping you could help me out. I have 2 banded cat sharks. One hatched from an egg, the other I bought. The one that hatched is white and black, the other more of a gray and black. The one that hatched eats no problem, mostly just squid frozen and cut from the grocery store, even lets me hand feed him. >>Hopefully they're in a system of several hundred gallons at least, with a finely grained substrate.  Do vary the feeds, include clam, octopus, krill, and shrimp.  Soak food in Selcon a few times a week as well to ensure better nutrition. >The other one I have had now for about 2 weeks. He was eating krill at the pet store where I bought him, and when I got him home he ate krill and squid. Last night I noticed that he was swimming around a lot, something neither of mine do unless feeding time. Then he would kind of keep rubbing in the substrate, on his sides, back and belly. I noticed this was unusual behavior. >>This is a description of irritation--could be caused by parasites or water quality (off the top of my head). >I immediately checked my water myself then took it to the pet store to have it double-checked. My nitrates and ammonia were slightly up from 0, nothing they said to worry about to much but go and do a 10% water change. >>Sharks are primitive creatures, VERY sensitive to water quality (should be treated as one would invertebrates), therefore, what may not cause much harm to a bony fish can, indeed, cause harm to sharks.  10% will do nothing to change these parameters, 50% is in order. >I went home did the 10% water change, buffed my ph to 8.3, added T.L.C.. Did everything correct. Tried to feed him again last night with it completely dark and still nothing, he would actually turn from it when placed in front of him. So I left him alone for the night. This morning I turned the lights on and he appeared to be kinda fading where he is gray, almost blotchy. Tried to feed him again this morning and nothing. I am stuck, and help would be greatly appreciated. Also he appears to be breathing quite heavily. Every other fish in my tank, including the other shark are fine, all eating and acting normally. I have a 125 (I already know they will out grow this, there is a local fish store that trades all sizes of sharks) 3 tangs, 2 green Chromis, and a pair of Percula clown fish (false).  Sorry for the length of this e-mail, I just don't want this little guy to die.  Thanks, Bill >>No, of course you don't.  However, I will discourage you from purchasing such animals in future.  First, do the water change as above, second, be certain your test kit is neither out of date, nor of poor quality.  Around here we like SeaChem, Salifert, and LaMotte.  Third, if he IS infected with any parasites, he should be removed to a sufficiently large, bare container.  You can NOT use copper on the shark, further research will be needed to determine just how well it will or will not react to hyposalinity, which is my first recommendation (only if he should prove to be succumbing to parasitic infection).  Please do a search on our site for shark information, we have at least two articles, and MANY FAQ's on the subject.  Best of luck, Marina

Banded Cat Shark >Hello again, thank you for the quick response last time, it was most helpful. >>You're welcome, glad it was of help. >My new cat shark is acting rather peculiar, it's  lifting its head up like it's sniffing for something a lot.  My local fish store told me to feed him right away, so I did, I fed him a little blood worms, but he did not eat them, is this normal?? What should I do? >>First, don't use the advice of that shop.  Second, DON'T feed your sharks bloodworms.  Third, address the issue of substrate.  The young sharks have very sensitive skin, and are best kept on fine sand -- NO gravel.  You have mentioned no testing of water, no parameters, and no test kit brand.  You must treat sharks as you would invertebrates, they require the BEST of water conditions.  As such, I would like to recommend, if you don't already, making good use of foam fractionation, copious and large water changes, and a refugium (more for the production of good quality water and natural nitrate reduction than for the "pods" most covet).  Back off on feeding -- a hungry fish is a healthy fish.  Use krill, squid, clam, shrimp, soak in Selcon.  Skip a day or two, and see if this helps boost the appetite.  Let's deal with these issues first, and move on from there.  Marina

- Feeding a Young Bamboo Shark - Greetings, <Hello, JasonC here...> I really appreciate the tips you gave me last time. My bamboo shark is now 2 1/2 weeks old now. I read that you are suppose to wait at least 3 weeks before feeding the shark. <I've heard this anecdotally but never seen it in print.> Today I dropped in a few ghost shrimp for my eel and my young bamboo shark went after one. He ended up chewing and swallowing one that was no longer than an inch. I also read that it is sometimes hard to get it to feed so I was kind of happy to see it eat, especially with the lights on. Is this still too early to let him eat? <I don't think so, and it would seem that neither does your shark.> He has been lurking for food during the eels feeding time the last few times I saw him so I figured it wasn't too bad to let him eat. If it is still too early, when should I start letting him eat and how often should he be fed? <Start right away.> Much thanks, Steve <Cheers, J -- >

- Shark Feeding - Hey Guys I gotta question about my Banded Cat Shark. <Ok.> I've had him for about a week and a half now and I don't know if he is eating, since he only comes out at night. My question is HOW LONG CAN THIS SHARK LIVE WITHOUT EATING? <Not too long, no more than a week or two.> Can you tell me how old he is just by his size? He is 6.5 to 7 inches from head to tail. <Fairly young, less than one year.> One night I left like 10 ghost shrimp in my tank over night but who knows what happened to those. A lot were still alive in the morning so I doubt he ate that. <Ahh...> One time I put some squid or calamari in at night and it was gone in the morning but I may have been eaten by my 2 hermit crabs? <Depends how much you put in.> I've also used some shrimp with head, tail, and feet. Again its nibbled at but may be the crabs. Do you think he is eating? <Doesn't really sound like it.> What is the best way to initiate feeding? <Perhaps try with smaller pieces, also try a feeding stick, at night... wiggle the thing around in it's face.> Why wont he come out AT ALL UNLESS ITS PITCH BLACK? <How it's feeling most comfortable at the moment. Give it time, patience.> Thanks in advance <Cheers, J -- >

Keeping A Shark....  6/20/03 Hey Guys<You got Phil today!  Here to help!  Let's roll...> I gotta question about my Banded Cat Shark. I've had him for about a week and a half now and I don't know if he is eating, since he only comes out at night.<A week and a half old?  So it hatched 1.5 weeks ago?  Or is that when you bought it?  This shark should NOT be feed until 3-3.5 weeks after it has hatched.>  My question is HOW LONG CAN THIS SHARK LIVE WITHOUT EATING?<Depends on the shark!  A Great White can last days.. even weeks.  A little guy like yours can surely go days if needed.> Can you tell me how old he is just by his size?<I can make a good guess.> He is 6.5 to 7 inches from head to tail.<I'm gonna say newly-hatched...> One night I left like 10 ghost shrimp in my tank over night but who knows what happened to those. A lot were still alive in the morning so i doubt he ate that. One time I put some squid or calamari in at night and it was gone in the morning but i may have been eaten by my 2 hermit crabs?<Possible> I've also used some shrimp with head, tail, and feet. Again its nibbled at but may be the crabs. Do you think he is eating?<He should have plenty of food stored up from the egg he hatched from.  Try going a few days w/o adding food.  Then try a very small amount.  See what happens...> What is the best way to initiate feeding?<Read above.. and go out and buy "Sharks and Rays" by Scott W. Michael.> Why wont he come out AT ALL UNLESS ITS PITCH BLACK?<I need more info on your tank... size, water quality, lighting, other fish, etc etc. Get back w/ me and we can work together to get this little guy chowing down in no-time!> Thanks in advance<Phil>

Searching For Shark Chow Hi there, <Hi! Scott F. with you today!> I have read through your site and a few times your crew has mentioned that there is frozen shark food that can be bought online and is a good food to try to feed sharks. Do you know where I can get this? I have tried searching on Google but haven't found any frozen foods made just for sharks. Thanks a lot, Steve <Actually- Ocean Nutrition makes a food called "Shark Formula", which has been formulated to meet their nutritional needs...I'd contact them directly through their web site, and ask them where you can purchase this food locally...It's a good product- worth the search! Good luck finding it! Scott F>

Shark That Won't Eat   6/12/03 Hello, <Hey, Phil here to help ya out today...> I recently purchased for a client, a marbled cat shark,<A good shark, max length of about 23 inches.> approximately 18" in length.  It is currently in a QT (55 G) and being offered ghost shrimp, guppies, frozen krill, and chopped, frozen squid (the latter two presoaked in Vita-chem), however, it is not eating and what food is left in the tank the next day, I remove, rinse in freshwater, presoak in Vita-Chem and feed to my other fish (harlequin tusk, emperor angel, pair of maroon clowns, splendid dotty back or chevron tang).<Hmmmm Scott Michael's "Sharks and Rays" states "It probably feeds on small, benthic invertebrates.  Was the ghost shrimp you tried feeding the shark live or dead?  Have you tried the frozen shark foods offered by many "mail-order" companies.  I've heard that sharks seem to like them.> The QT consists of a 55G wide with a Fluval 304 canister, a Diatom XL, a red sea prism skimmer, 2" of live sand and 10 pounds of Caribbean LR.  This tank was established two months ago in anticipation of introducing a shark for QT, with substrate, rocks and 50% water from my main tank to jump start it. Water parameters for Nitrate, Nitrite, Ammonia are 0, pH averages between 7.9 and 8.1, temperature fluctuates between 73/4 at night to 76/78 in the day time.<Ahhhhhh.... I think we may have found something.  Sharks can not handle large pH changes.  The pH of 8.1 is a little low to begin with.  But the drop down to 7.9 is too much.  The pH must stay almost level the entire day.  Also, the temperature change may be upsetting him.  Little is truly known about this shark, so I'm just stabbing in the dark here.  Keep attempting to feed the shark, as it might just one day start eating.  Also, is it possible that there is any stray voltage entering the tank?  This could be messing with the shark and making it not want to eat.>   The fish will be residing in a 300 Gallon tank,<Good size tank for this type of shark.> but only after I quarantine it (anticipate two weeks)<Please do a full 4 weeks, best for you/shark/tank.> and re-aquascape my client's tank to remove bleached coral decorations and provide some ground swimming space (e.g., provide a "hallway" between overflow box and rocks).<Good plan>  This tank also has a 40G wet/dry and a 20G sump with an Aquafloater 1000 skimmer and has been established for over twelve months.<Wonderful!>  It's current inhabitants are three yellow tangs, one blue regal tang, a maroon clownfish and a few damsels (approximately 22" of fish).<Please watch those tangs... Tangs and sharks don't always mix.>   I noted a number of questions about the brown banded bamboo cat sharks on WWM but not much, if any, on the marbled cat shark.<It's not as well known, which is sad as it makes a great aquarium shark.>    Scott Michael's book mentions briefly, but does not have any relevant information on this species.<I understand, I have the book and have looked through it.>   Of what I was able to find and read, the feeding habits living habits are similar to the aforementioned bamboo cat shark.<Yes, they have a number of things in common.> I'm concerned as it is not eating or accepting food.  The shark does move around to explore areas of it's QT.<That's good>    I tried spearing the frozen food and wiggling it in front of it, however, this was with lights on (room overhead lights, not PC or MH) all to no avail.  I wanted to use silversides, but there hasn't been any due to harvesting problems this time of year.  Any thoughts?<Try live foods, and try and get the frozen "shark food" made by "Ocean Nutrition" I believe.> I purchased it from a distributor and I have had it for five days.  The distributor had it for almost a week before I purchased it.  The distributor feeds it ghost shrimp, but could not confirm if it actually eats it as his holding tanks include other sharks (bamboo cats) and blue spotted rays.<Well... keep up the feedings.  Next time make sure that the shark is eating or don't buy it.  This way it forces the distributor to keep track of what's eating and what's not.> Regards, marty <Good luck and please update me to any new events with the little guy!  Phil>

Feeding Sharks...  5/5/03 I have a question?<Let's hear it!>  I am new on having this type of shark.  It was born one week ago.  Do I have to feed him immediately?<NO!!!  Don't!  Feeding too early will kill the shark!  Wait at least 3 weeks.>  What type of food should I provide him?<Best bet may be to get the "pre-made" shark food>   What is the adequate temperature for this type of shark at its aquarium?<mid-70's>  How long should I wait before feeding it?<See above.> Is there any link or address were I can search more information of my banded shark.  That can orient me on its growing, development, stages, etc...<Not being an pita, but next please research the animal before you buy it.  Sharks will die in 90-95% of all aquarist hands.  Much research and planning must be done.  IMO, "Sharks and Rays" by Scott Michael is one of the best shark books out there.  Pick it up ASAP!!!> I will appreciate all the information that you can provide me!<Hope this helps! Phil>

Shark Questions  5/1/03 I got a banded cat shark and he wont eat anything i put in front of him. I only got him 3 days ago, so is he still adjusting to his surroundings?<Ya, and how old is he?  Sharks under one month shouldn't be fed.> How long can he go without eating.<Depends, at least a week when fully healthy.>  I've tried frozen brine shrimp and regular shrimp, both on a feeder stick.<Time is the key.  Read more on WWM for more info on shark feeding. Phil>

Banded Cat Shark Question   4/5/03 Hi<Hey there!  Phil answering shark questions today.> My banded cat shark hatched from its egg about three weeks ago.<Very cool!>  I have just started feeding him in the past couple of days and he is taking well to the calamari.<One of the hardest steps is behind you.  Getting a "newborn" shark to eat.  Good on your part for waiting at least 3 weeks.  Feeding too soon can and probably will kill the animal.>   I have not seen him swim yet he seems to just crawl along the bottom of the aquarium.  He looks healthy otherwise.  I'm wandering<I wander sometimes too... LOL sorry just had to crack a joke.> if this is normal or if there is a problem with him.<This is rather normal in new sharks.  Give it some more time and it will be swimming around.  FYI, this is not a "swimming" type shark.  Cat sharks will swim, but will spend a lot of time on the sand or rock resting.> My other question is there anyway to tell what sex a shark is.<Check out "Sharks & Rays" by Scott W. Michael.  It lists all this info and more!>   Thank You in advance<No problem!  Good luck!  Phil> Mike

Shark Tank Update...  3/25/03 Hello Bob and Crew,<You got Phil again!> I just wanted to let you guys know where I am with my Bamboo sharks.   I began with an 8 inch adolescent and an egg in a 125 gallon.  I upgraded to a 150 gallon (I know this doesn't seem like much, but it has a much larger surface area, the tank is a custom acrylic that is 72 long 28 deep and 18 high).<You know you will need a bigger tank.  And you are planning so that makes you that much better off...>  I moved my titanium heaters to the sump and upgraded my sump to a 29 gallon dual drain unit with carbon, Purigen, poly filters, and a mag drive 1800.<Cool>  I am also cultivating red and green macroalgae. My skimmers are a Sealife motorized 150 hang-on and a Sealife Impact Skimmer 400 in the sump.  There is a 5inch deep sand bed in the main tank with 50lbs of live rock set up in an island layout.  Water parameters are: ammonia=0, Nitrite=0, Nitrate=10, Phosphate=0, Ph=8.4, SG=1.025, Calcium=460 and temp=78-80.  The last time we spoke I was worried sick about my baby bamboo that had hatched five weeks prior.  It had still not eaten despite attempts at approximately 8 different types of frozen and live food. Feedings were even attempted in the middle of the night (in case he somehow thought I was tricking him by turning the lights out for feeding during the evening.)  Well I finally initiated a manual feed and he is plump as St. Nick.  He initially regurgitated on the first attempt, but kept everything down on the second.  Prior to the manual feed his belly was appearing concave and I feared if another week went by I would have lost him.  I think he is definitely going to make it.  As I have said before, I have had great experiences raising some more delicate eaters such as freshwater Discus and a blue spotted stingray that is as happy as can be after over a year with me.  These sharks are truly magnificent creatures that require diligent husbandry.  I am glad I have taken the challenge and I an very appreciative to have you all for collaboration.  I would love to see some instructions on a good manual feed technique, as I collaborated with veterinary medical professionals to conduct it myself.<I agree... so anyone out there wanta write something up???>  I am trying to get a hold of Scott Michaels book, but have yet to be able to locate it.<Try amazon.com or eBay.com  some book stores can special order it for you.>  Thanks again crew...Cheers! (okay, I stole that, so what) Mike<LOL, well it's not my line... who's line is it anyway??  I think Anthony is our cheers man!  So from Phil to you... Hope this helps!  And good luck!  Phil>

- Shark in Distress - Hello Crew, <Good morning to you, JasonC here...> I want you to know I read your articles everyday and I thank you for this valuable resource. <I'm glad you find it useful.> Having said that, I am still having problems initiating the feeding of my baby banded bamboo shark.  He hatched one month and four days ago.  I have attempted feeding him during the evening and late night, mid morning hours.  About a week ago I moved him from his 150 gallon home to a 29 gallon hospital tank.  I have set up my hospital tank to care for the shark with a 1/2 inch live sand bed and two little live rocks.  I moved him to this tank so I can focus on feeding him and don't have to worry about his being distracted by the other peaceful fish in his 150 gallon (60x24x24). I have tried stick feeding him live (heads pinched) ghost shrimp, prawn, squid, clam, and ocean nutrition baby shark formula.  I have tried garlic soaks, live feeding, stick feeding, and frozen food. His belly is no longer plump and has now become concave. <Not good.> Water parameters are perfect. Ammonia=0, Nitrite=0, Nitrate=0, Calcium=460, SG=1.025, and temp=79.  No phosphates.  We only use distilled water and Instant Ocean in our systems.  Should I resort to force feeding? <You might give it a try.> I couldn't stand to see him die. I have raised one bamboo shark before and never had trouble (guess I got lucky). I have also raised a blue spotted stingray, and had wonderful results (he has been with me for over a year).  Please help.  I am very worried about this fella and I trust your judgment.  Thank you in advance. <I'm not sure what you mean by live ghost shrimp, heads pinched - I know I wouldn't be very alive after that. I would consider adding these to the tank alive and kicking, so that their movement might entice a feeding response. Likewise, some mollies acclimated to salt water might encourage the shark to take a bite. And as you mentioned, you might also want to marshal the gear to handle a manual/forced feeding.> Michael J. Busse <Cheers, J -- >

Bamboo Shark Not Eating I recently purchases a bamboo shark and tonight I went up to feed him and as usual he took right to the food (frozen squid) but he held on to it for a while, then spit it back out. Is this normal? I fed him before and he never spit it out. He acts like he is still hungry. He goes over to the food but doesn't eat any. Is this normal? I haven't been able to find much on their feeding behavior. If you could tell me what you think that would be great</DIV> <There's really not enough info to give a diagnosis that will make me feel comfortable. Have you run a full battery of water tests? Maybe he just decided that he didn't want squid this time around. Most sharks eat with gusto if doing well. May I suggest the book Sharks and Rays (published by TFH)? This book will detail the numerous problems inherent in keeping sharks as well as procedures to overcome many of the problems. Without a doubt...your tank may be big enough right now but you will need a huge tank in the near future. According to Scott Michael's book Marine Fishes, this fish grows to 40"!> Thank you for your time <You're more than welcome! There is lots of information about the keeping of saltwater fishes at wetwebmedia.com. Good luck! David Dowless>

Baby Bamboo Shark's feed with lights off at first Bob, I noticed that you tell people that newly hatched Bamboo sharks will not eat with the lights on for at least a month. I thought you might be interested to know that I have a shark that has eaten with the lights on since it was one week old. Keepin' it real. <Tom... thanks for your input. Will duly post this. Your shark is simply an exception... and it is necessary for us to advise people of this likely quirk with such Elasmobranchs when the majority do indeed behave as such. If 800 of 1000 baby bamboos need the lights off for the first few weeks... so be it, and their keepers are well advised. The other 200 aquarists are pleasantly surprised. Best regards, Anthony>

Bamboo shark Question (vitamins) Bob, I asked my LFS if they had any sort of shark vitamin, they suggested Kent marine essential. I read the contents and saw that it contains, Inorganic mineral salts of aluminum, boron, bromine, calcium, chromium, cobalt, copper, iodine, iron, lithium, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, potassium, selenium, sulfur, strontium, tin, vanadium, and zinc in a base containing deionized water and EDTA. <Mmm, not what you're looking for> I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that they were wrong. You will be happy to know I decided to consult with you first. I cant seem to find any shark specific vitamins or water additives, <Not necessary that they be specified for sharks... the metabolism of all vertebrates is about the same...> do you know of an chain stores that would carry this or any brand names I can call and ask for, I know of ocean nutrition Shark formula, any others? <Look for encapsulated (or make your own with store bought gelatin capsules) "baby vitamins"... and do conceal them in food items right ahead of feeding... and add a drop or two of an iodide supplement to the food. Brand not important. Bob Fenner> Thanks a lot Tom

Bamboo Shark I've recently bought a bamboo shark. I've had it for about 2 days, but I can't seem to get it to eat. I put food in front of its face and it just swims away from it. I was just wondering if I'm doing anything wrong. I also left the squid in the tank it was gone in the morning, but it could have just drifted under a rock. I'm not positive that the shark ate it. Hope you can help thanks. <Please see here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharks.htm and following on through the blue linked files for additional information/education on your purchase. -Steven Pro>

Bamboo Shark Hi Bob, I just bought a baby brown banded bamboo shark. I have a 150 gallon tank. How and what do I feed it. I was told my pet shop to feed it by hand is this true. <You should never feed anything by hand. Always use a pair of aquarium safe tongs. See here, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharks.htm, and the other linked pages for additional information on sharks and their care.> Thanks, Edward <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Writings (Bamboo Shark, TMC) Hi, just read your article on anemones on the TMC homepage. My 24 year old son has had a marine fixation since he was very small. He is a certified diver and we hardly see him while we are holiday. He has now bought a large tank (7.5 feet) and, after spending huge sums of money, has a nice marine system in his home. <24 years old, fab tank and parent, traveling, diving on holidays... The lucky pug!> He hatched a bamboo shark three weeks or so ago and that seems to be doing very well. He has other fish in his tank and this is a list Bamboo shark Yellow tang x 1 Regal tang x 1 Clown fish x 2 A blue and yellow damsel x 1 (don't ask me the name) smallish soft coral smallish anemone hermit crabs small x 3 (one died) He has twin filters and pumps, twin heaters, a UV filter and a protein skimmer. The tank certainly looks very clean and healthy and all the fish are feeding well. He is feeding live river shrimp to the shark using long tongs. Now the questions: Is the shark old enough to be eating live river shrimp? He does eat them with some relish I have to say, but wont eat lancefish for example, even when offered. <The shrimp are fine for now, but do keep trying to expand the diet with other meaty foods "wiggled" in front of the shark via wood or plastic tongs/other device> Is the shark going to eat any of the other fish when it gets bigger? <It will indeed if it can get hold of them and is hungry> He is just about to buy a Blue Spotted Ray, is this going to cause any kind of problem, now or later? <I would skip trying this animal, Taeniura lymna. Please read the article and FAQs here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/rays.htm> I really appreciate your reading this and hope you might respond. I just want to avoid him doing or buying anything that might cause problems. Thank you for your time. Lindy Evans <Please have that lucky son read through our site, WetWebMedia.com and contact me directly if he has questions, concerns. Thank you. Bob Fenner>

Shark egg Is there any way to know if my banded cat shark egg is still alive. And do you have any hatching tips thanks <they take three to six months to hatch, Never forcibly hatch open an egg (the last two weeks the sharks will be very cramped and still in the egg case appearing as if dead but waiting to bust out), watch embryonic development by backlighting (lean egg up against corner of tank, turn off lights and shine flashlight through water behind egg in corner), Do not feed the hatched shark for the first two or more weeks until yolk sac is completely absorbed (may just be a bulging belly but still, do not feed until clearly absorbed), when ready...feed with lights off at first...many babies will not feed with lights on, offer finely shredded crustacean meats. Hatched shark 101 <smile>. Anthony>

Shark Egg When the egg hatches and I feed the shark what should I feed it, how should I feed it, and how often. Also is it normal for the egg to have a hole on it? <for care of hatched sharks, please do read the FAQs in the archives. It has been asked and answered quite a bit to your liking I suspect. As far as the hole in the egg... yes. Indeed the eggs are born with an open end to the "purse" egg capsule. If air should ever get into the egg you can actually point this end of the egg upward underwater and "burp" it. Do avoid the event however... just need to know info. Baby sharks also may abrade or chew a hole in the egg capsule to facilitate hatching... else their growth expands the open end of the capsule. Kindly, Anthony>

New Banded Shark Hello Bob, <Anthony Calfo in your service> first let me just say that I love your site.. Second I was wondering...I just bought a 6" banded Shark about 4 days ago and it isn't eating.  <this is a newly hatched shark... if it has a "pot belly" or a "button" (remnants of a yolk sack) feeding before complete absorption will kill it. If you are sure that this is not a concern, the next obstacle with these juveniles is that many will not feed with the aquarium lights on for a month or more. Feed minced shell-on crustacea (krill, plankton, shrimp) and squid tentacles (buy calamari at the Italian groceria if you must to get the tentacles) and again...try feeding an hour after the light go out. Put a little bit of thawed meat juice in the tank 10 minutes prior to the attempt to see if it stirs. Please research through the archives on this site for articles and FAQ's about bamboo/cat Sharks. There is a lot you need to know. Even as one of the smaller species... this shark approaches three feet in length in 3-5 years (else you may watch it stunt and die prematurely). Do be sure that you have a large enough aquarium. Live crayfish and crabs will be necessary in the future for tooth wear...many things for you to learn. Best regards, Anthony> I have tried Squid, shrimp and scallop. it doesn't eat any of it. any suggestions. Also I have noticed that its gills are puffing more frequently then they were when I first bought it. almost like it is panting, can you advise on this as well. thanks

Re: New Banded Shark Thank you for the quick response.  <very welcome> I don't think that this is newly hatched, I have seen 1 and this one is about twice the size of that. <good...a more stable youth> I tried the calamari, but it wasn't the tentacles, it was streaked.  <indeed... sharks and eels go berserk over squid tentacles> I will see if Sacramento has a Italian groceria. Where do you suggest I get the krill or the plankton, is this live.  <most always frozen... at the local aquarium store in their freezer section> Also the shrimp, I tried the little salad shrimp that you get from the grocery store. I think it was prior cooked.  <correct, but please don't bother to ever feed cooked foods (nutritively poor). You want raw cocktail shrimp with the shell and legs still on. Better if they have heads and intestines as well (true of all prey items to prevent your predator from dying of a deficiency on incomplete diets). Dice raw cocktail shrimp (gulf shrimp, tiger prawn, even small crayfish or ghost shrimp live from the pet store if small enough> Thanx again for the quick response. <best regards, Anthony>

Little shark Bob, Happy New Year! Our baby shark hatched...! Now we're worried that he won't eat. It's been almost two weeks, no more egg sac left and we've offered him shrimp and smelt with no success. Scott Michael's book is on the way but do you have any suggestions in the meantime? Water and temp. are all per your web site's specs. We do have a glass enclosed heater with a metal element in the tank... would this throw him off his feed? Again, thank you in advance. Linette <Good question re the heater... should be okay... Do just keep offering small bits of meaty foods in front of this young shark's snout. Bob Fenner>

Cat Shark and Large Crustaceans Would a Banded Cat Shark eat or get hurt from either a Mantis Shrimp or a Blue Lobster. My LFS had a shark egg that just hatched and I wanted to put it in my predator tank. But I wanted to have either the blue lobster or the Peacock Mantis Shrimp, and the Cat shark is a bottom dweller and I am afraid if I got a Mantis shrimp it would get a slash wound. Would the lobster be a better choice. And on the same token would the cat shark eat even these most menacing of crustaceans in the trade? <The Shark will indeed eat these animals if/when it gets larger... perhaps bothered by either while it's young. Bob Fenner>

Shark vitamins Bob, Hey, long time no e-mail. Everything must be working (and for the most part, it is)! Read in Scott Michael?s book about a pellet vitamin recommended for sharks. I think it?s made by Purina. Do you know anything about it? Do you know where to acquire it? Is the a Web site? <Do know about administering vitamins to sharks... very common in public aquariums. Don't use Purina products. Sure whoever owns them now do have a website... recently bought out> Right now, I soak my shark?s food with a few drops of Zoe and Zoecon. He looks great, but I have a few patches of the red, velvety-looking algae forming on the top layer of sand. I think I read somewhere on your site that this particular algae can be caused by the vitamins in the water. The algae is very photosensitive - it goes away almost completely overnight only to reestablish the next day. It?s also more prevalent on the side of the tank that faces the window (thereby receiving additional ambient light) than the side that faces an interior wall. <Yes... a transient BGA/Cyanobacteria colony... increase redox and it will disappear> I?ve tried to combat it by directing more water flow directly at the sand bed. It?s helped some, and it?ll probably do better if/when I can upgrade that particular pump from 800gph to something in the 1,000 ? 1,200gph range But I was also thinking the pellet vitamins would direct more nutrition directly into the fish and less to float randomly around the aquarium feeding algae. My shark is about 18? long, and not exactly what you?d call a picky eater, so I thought the pellet vitamin might be a good option. <Yes... you can "sneak" other animal vitamins into its food... I would secure these from your/a veterinarian> Also, any other suggestions regarding the algae would be greatly appreciated. J.D. Hill <Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Banded cat shark Dr. Fenner I have a two week old banded cat shark that I have not seen eat yet. I have tried fresh brine, frozen brine, krill, silversides, silversides cut into little pieces and he has yet to take a bite. Is this normal for a recently hatched banded cat shark?  <Normal, but not healthy. Please read through the "Shark" materials on our site: http://wetwebmedia.com/sharkfeedingfaqs.htm You should buy or build a "feeding stick" and use it> He does not appear under nourished weight and appearance are ok. I have tried to feed at different times during the night and that did not help either. What do you suggest and what type of food should I use? Thank you in advance for your time and advice. Jeremy Ray Fedoruk B.S.E., C.S.C.S. <A variety of foods... and to possibly check the temperature, chemistry of your water. There may be something amiss here that is forestalling your young shark from taking food. Bob Fenner>
Re: Banded cat shark
I forgot to ask of all the foods you have used what seems to be a favorite among young banded cat sharks?  <Silversides, other whole small fish, cut fish, crustaceans (fresh, frozen/defrosted)... many others... important to not allow to get "used" to limited food choices... and a good idea to soak foods in vitamin and iodide supplement solutions ahead of offering (inserted into foods for larger sharks at all public aquariums)> What type of water quality/parameters are they use too? My tank is a reef tank that has been established for about 3 years. <Please see the WWM site. Bob Fenner> Jeremy Ray Fedoruk B.S.E., C.S.C.S.

Bamboo Cat Shark Question Hello, I have just recently added a Bamboo Banded Cat Shark to my tank. It is 200 gallon tank, besides the shark I have 2 yellow tanks, 2 hermit crabs and several blue yellow tail damsels. My shark does not bother them and they do not bother him. The shark is 5 inches in length. <Wow, this is small... like right out of the egg small> My question is this: I feed him a variety of silversides that I cut up into small pieces, squid, brine shrimp. I only feed once a day and that is a night, when I get up the next morning to check on them some of the food is gone but I do not think my shark is eating at all. Any advice, suggestions on how to ensure he is eating would be a great help. <Please look for Scott Michael's new Shark and Ray book and read over the information and FAQs on sharks on our site: http://wetwebmedia.com/sharks.htm... Don't overfeed... try offering less food, maybe twice daily, but leave no "extra" on the bottom. Remove it after a few minutes if not eaten. Bob Fenner> Thank you, Brian Eddy

Banded Shark Hey Bob, I stumbled onto your site a few months back and have found it very interesting and informative. Hopefully you can come up with a solution to my problem. I have a 90 gal fish only tank that has been doing quite well for the past several months. Back on April 4, I added a Banded Shark egg and on April 16 it hatched. As far as I could tell he has been doing fine although he spends all day and night hiding behind the coral in back of the tank and doesn't come out until the middle of the night.  <Not atypical> I cut up silversides into small pieces for him to eat and in the morning they are gone. I have never witnessed him feeding though, but I don't think the other fish could eat it all. Recently he has become more active and at times is coming out a little earlier even when the lights are on. This is when I noticed red blotches on his belly. I had a fairly large jewel damsel that was dominating the tank so I removed him thinking that he might be the problem. The other fish that I have in the tank are a yellow tang, red Coris wrasse, flame goby and 2 small damsels that are blue with yellow tails (don't know what they are called) and they've all been doing fine. An employee at the local pet store advised me that it could be the water temp. (mine is at approx. 80 deg.) or it could be caused by him lying on the coral.  <Not the temp., but likely physical trauma from the substrate or decor> I had the water checked for the usual ammonia, nitrates and nitrites and it came back fine and since he has been in the tank for almost 2 months, I would think he would be acclimated to the water temp., however I have seen him get into some tight spots in back of the tank. My questions are: 1. Could the coral be causing this? <Yes> 2. Am I feeding the right food? <I would expand the selection and soak it in a vitamin preparation ahead of offering> 3. I feed only at night and I cut up about 5 silversides, is this enough? He does look a little skinny, he's about 5-6 inches long. <Do eat daily when young... shouldn't be allowed to get too thin> I'm due for a 30 gal water change in the next few days, anything else that I can do to help this guy out? <Keep observing, learning. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Steve

Hi, shark stuff of course Just read your very excellent FAQ on the Net. Thanks for creating such an excellent resource. I just bought a brown spotted cat shark, about 18" in length. First, he promptly ate my little box fish. "He never had a chance." I guess the funny movements of this funny little fish appear distressed to the shark. "All box fish must die." they think. <As all life my friend> My tank is a 125 gal tank, and all the fish I have are a variety of damsels, a couple gobies and a scooter blenny. I don't know if he'll be there in the morning. Yes, I didn't have to rearrange the rocks in the tank, the shark did it for me. A few swift times around the tank and all the rocks were in the middle. <"Told you so"... or wrote you so... wonder who will be consumed next?> I currently have a couple of canisters and a UV system on the tank, and will do water changes when necessary. Your faq mentioned several times that sharks really add to the tank load, and require more care. Other than feeding them $11 box fish, what should I look for in this type of cat. Oh, yes. I also hatched one of the ever popular bamboo shark eggs. It's still a baby, dragging its little yoke sac around. Thoughts? Thanks, Ted Coombs Author, Setting Up an Internet Site for Dummies www.tedcoombs.comblic Aquarium)... In the meanwhile, keep an eye out for Scott Michael's new re-do of his Ray and Shark  <Interesante. Well, if you had/have the time (you obviously have the inclination), I would suggest working for a public aquarium with lots of space and selachians... Or if you make the big coin in the publishing biz, maybe starting your own (Book through Microcosm/TFH (yep, they've joined forces), and keep up filtration, aeration, water changes (pre-made water only need apply), and a steady, but diminished offering of "silversides" and other meaty foods (in small quantities)... Your other fishes will be consumed. Bob Fenner>

Leopard shark thank you for you advice on feeding my shark. I have him in a 125 fish only tank. I have 2 triggers (Huma&niger), a 9 inch golden puffer, a 2 foot snowflake eel, blonde Naso tang and blue-faced angel. The triggers pay no attention to the shark, but my puffer seems curios. The shark is eating silversides he seems to like them. I don't have a chiller the tanks stays at 78, is that okay. Any more advice would be appreciated. >> Sounds like a pretty tight fit... The temperature is fine for all but the Shark... the waters it is in this time of year are in the fifties... It will/should eat crustaceans (raw, defrosted shrimp for instance) as well... Bob Fenner

Wobbegong eating habits My friend has a Wobbie that he says is about 12-14" long. He has it in a 500 gallon tank. He said that he thought that it had not been eating the last few days. He later found out that it ate a lion fish that was about 1/3 its size. I think this is the second time that it has eaten a lion fish he had in the tank. now he is wondering if the wobbie's eating habits are similar to a snake in that it only eats once or twice a week. The lion fish are getting expensive. How often do they eat?? >> Ah, clarity is pleasurable! Yes, these carpet sharks do only feed once in a while... probably only a few times a week when young to less with age/size... They will indeed eat most any/everything that can fit in their mouths... and depending on species... get from a handful to several feet in length... Bob Fenner

I recently purchased a 12 inch leopard shark, I was wondering what would be the best food to feed it. Thanks in advance. >> In my opinion cut fish, or whole fish... and not too frequently... these are messy feeders... and you don't want yours to grow too fast, or eat, waste too much... BTW, this shark, Triakis fasciatus is a cool/cold water animal... am curious about the environment you're providing it... How big, the shape of the tank, if you're using a chiller, if there are other livestock in with it... Bob Fenner

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

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
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