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FAQs about Shark Selection 2

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

Related FAQs: Shark Selection 1, Shark Selection 3, Shark Compatibility, Shark Behavior, Sharks in General, Systems for Sharks, Feeding, Diseases, Shark, Ray Eggs, Coldwater Sharks, Leopard Sharks, Heterodontus, Blacktip Reef Sharks, Nurse Sharks, Moving Sharks

Ginglymostoma cirrhatum in captivity.

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

The Smoothhounds - they get all the girls!  12/10/05 Good Morning! <Night time now, hello. Adam J with you.> I am an aquarist at a museum in FL and would like to inquire about how to obtain a Mustelus canis (smooth dogfish). Any insight? Thanks for your time! <Well this being a temperate species they are native to the west coast so I would attempt to contact some of the wholesalers out this way such as Quality Marine or Walt Smith, possibly even The Marine Center. These animals are fairly common out this way.> <<Actually, let's just take my dog Missy to Dog Beach down in San Diego.  She'll get some small Smoothhounds for ya!  Marina>> Danielle <Adam J.>

Where to buy a shark? Should we even buy sharks?  11/30/05 Do you know any web sites or anyone I can get in contact with so that I can get a shark? <Maybe.> I want a banded Brown cat shark and I just wanted to know if you know anyone selling them? <First off I would urge you to go into some "DEEP" research before purchasing such an animal. Although small and inactive in comparison to there jaws like cousins, these animals still can reach nearly 4 feet in length. Their requirements and care are not to be taken lightly in thought or in wallet if you get my drift. (BIG TANK!)  Most folks who purchase these animals really don't know what they are in store for and sadly the animals suffers for their ignorance, <<Suffer HORRIBLY.  MH>> this is one of those specimens that is often best left in the ocean. Please search through WWM re: Marine sharks. As far as purchasing these animals are quite common and can usually be easily ordered through a local dealer. Most online dealers have them year round, such as LiveAquaria, the marine center and marine depot to name a few.> << <sigh> MH>> thanks and have a nice day. <Welcome, Adam J.> 

Another shark- 10/9/05 Justin, <Pat, I apologize for the extended wait on the reply, I have been under the weather.> Nice to meet you, and many thanks to you and the rest of the WWM for all your help. On your advice I did some research in your anemones FAQ's. I was not able to positively ID the organisms living in my tank, but my chosen livestock comes first so I will rid my tank of the offending anemones no matter what they are (the feeling I got reading your pages seems to be that all accidentally acquired anemones are parasitic). <<Mmm, not "parasitic"... don't live in or on other species... RMF>> My tank contains three small sharks (an epaulette, a bamboo, and a coral cat, 400 gallon is in the works for January, two 29 gallon sumps/ wet-dry trickles with bio-balls are currently cycling with my current 150 so they are ready for the new tank) as well as one large tesselata moray.  As such I am always wary of medications, sharks seem to react negatively to such things. Your FAQ left me with two alternatives I am interested in trying: One was peppermint shrimp. I understand that a few of these will dispatch the offending organisms, but in your opinion would they have a chance to do such before they themselves fell to the bigger predators in the tank? <<No, they'll be eaten. RMF>> I also saw that I could remove the rock the anemones are growing on and boil them to kill all the organisms on it (recall that it is established volcanic rock and not live rock from the sea), or failing that I could just toss it and replace it with new rock. Your wisdom is greatly appreciated.  <I really think you best bet is to put the rock into your sump and let the peppermint shrimp reside there and see if they will clean it off. Otherwise ask your LFS to see if you can bring the rock to them for their shrimp to clean then pick it up when its done. Otherwise boiling works or does hypersalinity in the 1.60 range in a container and put the LR in that, It will kill everything or most everything as well. Third idea is to use Kalkwasser to inject the anemones full of and that kills them that works very well.> Also: I have a few questions regarding sharks. As I said I already have three, but in a four hundred gallon with ridiculous filtration (the two sumps I mentioned, 1200 GPH protein skimmer, six foot home made suspended gravel filter in addition to heavy mechanical/carbon filtration) I would be comfortable adding one more. < Unfortunately I would not as you are already overcrowding a shark tank. Each requires quite a lot of water and space and may kill another shark if not enough space is available. Also if you really want to keep a shark for its lifespan or the three you have, I would look into making a Saltwater pond of several thousand gallons. MattieJ on Aquaticpreadators.com has the most expertise on such things and keeps an 18,000gallon tank in his basement, and a 35,000 gallon 55ft by 35ft pool for 5 sharks. one or two being Blacktip reef sharks.>  My totally unrealistic dream is a black tip reef shark (LOL, some day), and your FAQ's/information sheets turned me off to leopard sharks. I was wondering about the Freycinet's epaulette shark (Hemiscyllium freycineti) and the hooded carpet shark (Hemiscyllium strahani). I searched you site and got a hit with no information on the latter and nothing at all on the former. I've also searched on-line dealer inventories exhaustively and found nothing.  <<Ever hear of fishbase.org?  A listing of species, with as much information as they have is packed into a huge database.  There are no assessments of availability within the ornamental trade.  Marina>><<<Actually Marina, if you look at the "Use..." per species, you'll find there is a description "Aquarium" for species. RMF>>> You can see pictures of them here: http://www.seapics.com/spsearchLynx/cgi.pan$188140x1x10?spsearchLynx  and here: http://www.seapics.com/spsearchLynx/cgi.pan$qs+&hemiscyllium&strahani?spsearchLynx  respectively. My question is do you know if these species exist in the trade, or are they entirely unattainable? I realize the scope of this question is massive and any help would be appreciated. <Hmm well I do not know about either of those sharks in the trade, however as for the Blacktip shark I DO NOT recommend it for any aquarium less than several thousand gallons as it is a constant swimmer and requires space and a lot of it to survive. The only ones outside of public aquariums that are thriving belong to MattieJ at AP (see above). If anyone knows about those particular sharks you are searching for he would, He also goes on shark collecting expeditions at times and has the licenses etc to do so. I highly recommend you get in touch with him.> <Justin (Jager)>  Thanks!! Pat 

Prospective Shark Doom? - 09/17/2005 Hello, my name is Roberto. <Roberto, proper nouns (like your name), the beginnings of sentences, and "I" are capitalized.  "You" is spelled Y-O-U, not U.  "I'm" has an apostrophe.  Please do not write to us with horrible grammar.  We have to retype these things for posting on the site.> I'm interested to buy leopard shark. <Don't.  These are not meant for home aquaria.  Enjoy these in the wild, or in sufficiently sized public aquaria, unless you have several tens of thousands of gallons to play with.> I live in Miami Florida. <Location is irrelevant, unless you live in the ocean, which is where these animals belong.> If you be so kind if you know anyone or any stores here in Florida that sell them let me know in this email address. <If I knew, they would NOT be stores I would recommend purchasing from; selling animals like these to ignorant folks with tanks of a few hundred gallons is deplorable.> Or if you know who is selling some smooth shark let me know too. <You need to do some research.  And desperately so, lest you be yet another person who has led one of these magnificent beasts to its doom.  WetWebMedia is here to promote conscientious fishkeeping, not the slaughter of sharks.  Or teaching grammar.  Start reading here, with emphasis on the article on leopard sharks:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/index.htm .> Thank you. <Any leopard sharks viewing this note: avoid the consumer pet trade at all costs.  -Sabrina>

Shark Question 7/21/05 Mr. Fenner - <Barry> Are you the author of the Shark article and if so have you heard of anyone having experience keeping smooth dogfish? <Yes and yes> My thought is to build about a 500 gallon tank in my private outdoor Tiki bar in Ocean City, Maryland.  I am not on the water so I plan to use a closed system with 100 gallon bio-ball filter I am building, a d.-earth filter, and a large protein skimmer.  We can catch about 18" specimens in the surf, put them in a cooler with salt water and have them in the tank in no more than 5 minutes. <Mmm, do look into the Jungle Brands product "Hypno" for a useful anesthetic... or perhaps a twelve volt (car and boat battery) water moving pump (of small amperage... to save "juice") and a bit of flexible tubing to "ventilate the gills" of captured, shipped animals... (pump water through their mouths enroute)> We'll catch them in spring and release them in fall.  I plan to use live bull minnows, live grass shrimp, and live clams for food. I heard that these sharks don't do well in rectangular tanks and should have oval or round tanks. Is this true? <In general, yes... the more active sharks, more crowded, tend to become foreshortened, swimming into the sides... not so much a problem with more sedentary species of reasonable size as here. Bob Fenner> Any insight will be appreciated. Thanks, Barry DeBald <Sounds like a great project>

Re: Shark Question 7/21/05 Bob - <Barry> Thanks for the info.  A few more questions if I may. Are the dogfish reasonably hardy in a big tank? <Yes, very> Since you say the dogfish are relatively sedentary; will a rectangular tank work? <Very likely so if it is overall large enough> I just happen to have a significant amount of 1-1/4" thick LEXAN that I can build a tank of 5-1/2 feet long by 42" wide by 42" deep.  Will this work? How many fish in this size tank? <Two, three> Temperatures that the dogfish can tolerate?  Will I need a chiller? <Mmm, likely no chiller needed for fish collected during the warm months. Please see fishbase.org re natural temperature range for the species.> Thanks so much! Barry   <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Another Shark Question 7/10/05 Hello! <HI! ;)> First of all, let me extend my gratitude for all of your efforts in answering the endless line of questions. Your site has been an excellent resource in my search to better my understanding in this hobby. <Thanks - to me as well> Since I have already read the FAQ's, I realize that keeping a shark is a responsibility best left to professionals or dedicated hobbyists with plenty of time (and even more money). <I wouldn't say "professional" because we all feel like "newbies" at one time or another, but definitely someone with the budget to support their requirements> Although certainly not condoned, but very apparent, is that there are many hobbyists who impulse buy sharks for a small aquarium and this leads to the eventual demise of the shark or the 'closet' analogy I've seen used throughout the FAQ's. <Glad to see you haven't fallen into this entrapment> To get to the point, my interest is in keeping a 'swimming' shark. After much research, I realize that a Blacktip Shark is not a real possibility because of its eventual size. <Correct> There are far better choices for captivity, but they are bottom dwelling and not the 'Mini-Jaws' that many of us dream about keeping. Since I live in Central Florida, I have been fishing out in the Gulf and caught several Sharpnose Sharks - Rhizoprionodon terraenovae (Richardson, 1836) *NOTE* I always catch and release*. <Good to hear> Supposedly, the sharks can attain a maximum length of 43.3 inches but average 31.5 to 33.5 inches as mature adults (most of the ones which I've caught have been little over 2'). Their feeding habits are not particularly special as they are reported to feed on silversides, shrimp (what I caught them on), and many other bony fishes and inverts. <Sharks usually aren't too picky> This shark as well as the Bonnethead - Sphyrna tiburo (Linnaeus 1758), attains approximately the same length but seems to be more inclined to prey on crustaceans than the former but not specifically. According to what I've read on the FAQ's I would need a tank 2x's body width wide by 3x's body length long to be adequate.<<Minimally. RMF>> Since most of the FAQ's are concerned with bottom dwelling, more or less inactive sharks, do these calculations also hold true for these sharks as well? <Not at all.  Most "ground dwelling" sharks are much less active swimmers.  The open water\'swimming' sharks never stop moving, and need much more swimming area> I had amateur engineered a tank 4' wide by 8' long and 2' deep giving me approximately 480 gallons.  I had figured on 4' high walls for avoiding 'leaping carpet' sharks. I've done enough research to provide adequate filtration, but will the tank size provide a adequate home for either of these sharks? It would be good to know before I build! <First of all, no sharks like the typical rectangular aquariums that we are used to seeing.  You should have a cylindrical or oval shaped aquarium custom made for you out of acrylic.  Second of all, you are going to need a very large tank for a ~3' open water shark, most likely too large to be practical.  For an oval\rectangular shape, we're talking 15-20 feet long, 10 feet wide, 3-6 feet high.  A cylindrical tank with a diameter of 15 feet or so would also work>   Also, are there any special husbandry requirements for either of these species which should be considered beyond filtration/supplemental vitamins/corrosive metals/copper medications/chemical water treatments/contoured corners? <Ah, you are aware of the need for contoured corners.  I would also use a grounding probe in the tank, to ground any stray electrical currents as sharks are very sensitive to these.  All in all, I do not recommend attempting to keep  this species in captivity without a tank of 1,500+ gallons> Lastly, if there aren't any other special requirements for these species, it seems rather absurd to purchase a Nurse Shark or Black Tail Reef shark given that there are much better choices for captivity. <Nurse sharks are much less active swimmers than the Atlantic shark you're wanting to keep, and black tip reef sharks are simply absurd for a private individual without a tank in the tens of thousands of gallons> Thanks for the great work, <Hope I was of service> Steven Beckman <M. Maddox>

Looking for that other Leopard Shark Ia Orana again Bob, <Hello again!> Here's another question for you: I have a client from a public aquarium who is looking for a 2,50m Stegostoma fasciatum to add to his 'shark tank'; the tank is 8m high x 14m long, and holds 500 000 Litres; there are already 4 white- tips (1,60m-1,80m)in it. 1)What do you think ? <Might get nipped...> 2)Are there any big Stegostoma on the market right now ? (the ones I have been proposed are 1,50m-1,70m, and most public aquariums interested find them too small compared to the other sharks they have in their tanks; I thought white-tips & black-tips of roughly similar size are not a threat to Stegostoma (if they are "properly introduced" at least). <You might try the Pittsburgh Zoo/Aquarium... don't know if they want to trade/sell... but had an individual about this size... And of course, an open query to the public aquariums in its range... Sentosa in Singapore... might be productive. Bob Fenner> Patrick E. Corsi Aquatic Transship

Availability of shark eggs I am interested in buying the following shark eggs: -Stegostoma fasciatum (Zebra shark) -Hemiscyllium ocellatum (Epaulette shark) -Atelomycterus macleayi (Marbled Cat shark) -Atelomycterus marmoratus (Coral Cat shark) -Chiloscyllium confusum (Cat shark) -Heterodontus francisci (Horn shark) or any other eggs that may become available, other that Chiloscyllium punctatum and plagiosum which I already have. Please let me know if  you know where I may find them. Thank you, Haroldo <Stegostoma you might be able to get from fishermen or institutions (mainly in the orient) who keep them on display... Heterodontus eggs are sold from time to time by California collectors... you might have luck contacting or having a LFS contact Quality Marine re... The others are available from time to time from aquarists, stores and large (public) aquaria... but you will have to write, call... Are you a member of the Elasmobranch division of the ASIH? Likely an association there will benefit you, your charges. Bob Fenner>

- Word Up! On CMA and Sharks - Hey, <Hey.> I just wanted you to know that I found your book about 5 years ago and I FREAKING LOVE IT.  I ALWAYS recommend it to ANYONE who sees my tanks and wants to get started in marine aquaria. <I'm guessing you're talking about Bob's book. I'm not Bob so I can't bask in the glory of your accolades but I'm sure he appreciates your kind words.> I can't tell you how much I love how you're all about the fish. <I'm going to bet you don't know the half of it.> I always tell people to WAY UNDER-STOCK their tanks because it's better for the fish AND the keeper, especially compared to the tasteless, gaudy tanks so many people have.  Anyways.  Just wanted to give you a digital thumbs-up for that. I also wanted to give you a digital hi-five for your section on sharks.  (I especially enjoyed Anthony's tirade 2/3 of the way through Shark Systems V.3..."mental masturbation"...I was cracking up for a good five minutes.) <Anthony has a way with language.> Anyways, I just wanted to say that I love your attitude discouraging people from keeping sharks because I run into the irresponsible jerk-offs constantly.  I often end up taking 18" sharks off their hands because they're going to destroy them.  I used to hold them for a while until I could find someplace to take them and then ship them at my own cost.  I spent (literally) thousands of dollars and countless hours doing this for a few years. I got tired of it, and I love the sharks myself, so I ended up building a tank just under 200,000 gallons (a circular track 15' wide, 12' deep, with 30' interior diameter).  I utilized the expertise of the local aquariums, whose experts were only TOO happy to help because they couldn't keep up with the number of people who wanted to donate their growing sharks. <A widely misconceived notion I might add... everyone thinks Sea World really wants another nurse shark.> Since building this I've taken in 2 black-tips.  The first guy I took a black-tip from was talking about getting another baby again.  I was FLABBERGASTED at the selfishness of this man, so in return for taking his shark in, I made him sign some fake legal-bullshit thing I printed up real quick that says he's not allowed to own another shark again.  He bought it :-)  No more sharks for THAT guy... <Let us hope not.> Anyways.  Keep up the good work.  It's incredibly reassuring that you guys will stand up for the animals against immature, selfish, would-be torturers.  I love you guys. <And we appreciate your enthusiasm.> David <Cheers, J -- >

Leopard Sharks in a small world I have two leopard sharks in a 180. I have had them for 1 year and everything was doing great until my baby nurse was getting red on the bottom and just stopped eating and dies in two days. The same thing is happening to my leopard shark. <Typical...> Just one of them just stop eating and is turning red on the bottom and is not moving. All levels are perfect and my filtration is excellent with two wet dries, protein skimmer, and UV. It like a host that attacks the fish and kills them in two days. I really need help with this it makes me sick that am going to lose both of theses sharks. Any question please call me at XXXX Thanks Darrell <We don't "do calls"... Please read my articles archived on WWM re coldwater sharks, Leopards, Nurses... the inappropriateness of their hobby keeping... Bob Fenner>

Public Aquarium shark collection Dear Bob, <Aamir> We are planning to build a public aquarium. Could you please guide us how can we get Sharks for the aquarium, from where we could purchase them, how much does it cost? Regards, Aamir Sajjad <Most public aquariums buy their sharks from either collectors directly or wholesale intermediaries... Some are fortunate to be located near areas where they are fished, and buy them from fishermen... the very wealthy mount collecting expeditions and go get their own... the last two means can net you some larger animals... Do study re sedation, transport of these animals... a specialized activity. Bob Fenner>

Sharks out-growing their homes 4/28/05 I am considering getting a bamboo shark. What I would like to know (that doesn't seem to be answered anywhere) is what to safely do with the shark when/if it out grows the tank? I know from experience that zoos will come to collect animals & transport them safely; do aquariums do this as well? I would rather do that then attempt to do it myself. Thanks so much! Kate  <The answer to this dilemma is to never keep any animal unless you have the facilities to maintain it at it's full adult size. This includes the size of it's home as well as the budget to feed it, purchase suitable equipment, etc. Animals that have been kept as pets should never be released back into the wild, especially outside of its native range. Zoos do come and collect animals from irresponsible owners, but only as a matter of public safety and at great expense to their institution and risk to their employees. Zoos and Public aquaria have strict policies against taking these animals in for many reasons - not the least of which is so that they don't encourage folks to keep animals that they shouldn't. Captive bred bamboo sharks are available and are among the better sharks for the home aquarist, but a 36" x 96" tank should be considered a minimum. If you have the budget and desire go for it! Otherwise, please leave them to live long happy lives in the ocean. I am sorry if my tone seems a bit harsh, but my hope is that others with the same idea might find this message in the WWM FAQs and learn from it too. Best Regards! AdamC.>

Leopard Shark/s How much money is it for baby leopard shark? If I was to buy one do you  deliver them? Please send an e-mail back to me a quickly as you can thank you.  <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/leopardsharks.htm  and the links above. Bob Fenner> 

Coral Catshark Hi WWM Crew <Hello Justin here> I have a few questions regarding coral cat sharks. I am planning on buying one in the next week or two, but I want to set my questions straight before I do anything (so I do not wind up hurting or insufficiently equipping the shark).  <Sharks are not normally an animal we recommend for anyone to have in an aquarium as they are very specific in their needs>  First off, I would like to thank you and your site for all of the info you have already given me. So my first question is, if I have a 75 gallon tank, how long could I safely hold a coral cat shark? <It really depends on the dimensions of the tank, but probably it will only be comfortable in a 75 till it's 6" or so because of the need to turn around>  I am planning on buying a 180+ gallon tank as soon as needed. What is the minimum size tank I would need to hold a full grown CCS?  <umm a full grown Coral Cat Shark is at least 3ft but probably 4ft. You would need at least a 300 gallon tank that has NO sharp edges but the bigger the tank the better.>  Secondly, what would you recommend to feed it? From what I've read already you can feed it fresh human-quality seafood such as shrimp, but are there any other options? <Not Really it's cheapest and safest to use seafoods that you get in the supermarket uncooked and feed it those, do wash them in Freshwater, then freeze them to kill parasites, then before feeding rinse it off in a bucket of saltwater from the tank to defrost it.>  Would you recommend any live feeder fish?  <No, their health is always unknown and they can lead to having overweight fish that die from fatty liver problems. Stick to the seafood in the supermarkets.>  Also, are there any aquarium kits to round off the corners of a tank? (if there aren't, there should be!)  <Not that I am aware of but the power of the internet is great here use a search engine and check on it. Sharks are not in demand highly enough for something to be available in any LFS.>  I've been researching these sharks for the past 2 weeks, and from what I've read CCS's enjoy dark water lighting, but what exactly does that mean?  <it means to use subdued lighting, because the bottom of the ocean isn't nearly as bright where these sharks hang out, and they are seemingly more active at night.>  How dark should my tank be/how many watts should I use to light up a 75 gallon tank?  <Well I would use a standard lighting system of 80 watts or so and use eggcrate from lighting covers (they sell it at Lowe's and home depot) to cut down on that even more. A 180-220 gallon tank?<Maybe 200 watts or so but very indirect lighting, make it dim lighting so use that eggcrate. and its a huge tank you'll be needing not a 180 or a 220.>  Lastly, I've read that they need/like a place to hide, such as a overhang or cave. Are there any fake rocks I can purchase to do this? Can a fake rock be secured to the side of a tank safely?  <On this note I am not sure, most aquariums that keep these fish have the sides free on rocks and have a pile in the center with a cave or shelf in there.> Thanks A lot ~ Matt <Matt I would highly recommend AGAINST you getting a shark, because you have forgotten the greatest parts of keeping a shark. You need massive filtration with a huge skimmer so that the water quality is near perfect, you cannot even have measurable nitrates. You also cannot have any metal or electrical items in the tank, so you are looking at a very large sump and return system to handle this very large waste producer. Also your tank will need to either be huge 500+ gallons or more or you need a custom made circular tank so that there is no way the shark could get stuck, get cut or get into any trouble. as well as using a very fine substrate (sugar fine). Any course type will scratch the underbelly and it will get infected. Also you will need to invest in a chiller as these fish need VERY controlled temperatures to do well. I highly recommend you find other fish that interest you, as sharks are best suited for the ocean or an aquarium that can handle the full sized adult, with its appetite. and its VERY expensive tank setup and filtration needs.> <Justin (Jager)>  <Editor's note: Substrate is another big problem for baby sharks - fine sand is best to avoid injury and subsequent death.  Do not underestimate this problem.>

Sharks in captivity Hi, In the May 2005 edition of Aquarium Fish Magazine, an article about building a shark pond was published, and it discusses various requirements and suitable species of sharks.  <Saw this piece, by Scott Michael> Species such as black tip reef sharks, nurse sharks, epaulette sharks, and woebegone sharks are mentioned. Although I am very interested in building a shark pond in my greenhouse, I would never want to do this if it was unethical, so I have researched on the topic and found your web page. Assuming I build this pond, it would measure 12' long, 2-3 feet deep, and 3 feet wide.  What species are suitable for these dimensions. If large species like nurse and black tip reef sharks are not suitable, am I better off making a pond half that long for small sharks? Thanks, James <Mmm, well... ethics are a "personal" matter as well as "group"... to/for me, only the usual bamboo, epaulette sharks would be appropriate for this size, shape, type system... Not the orectolobids, nurse, or any requiem shark species. Bob Fenner> 

My shark story Hi guys, let me first say wonderful web site! If I had only seen it first! if you could please post this: <Gladly> Here is my story, I'm going into my third year at saltwater, many as six years in freshwater. but all tanks are saltwater now. my first year at saltwater I knew I needed the biggest tank possible I could afford 72x24x24, also pieces of live rock, then it hit me , I wanted to try a shark!!!!! A Brownbanded bamboo was it. Well all too often people are ILL advised to these wonderful animals. I went out and bought a egg case and put into my tank, over several months I did my homework, to make the best home for my shark. I had changed everything around, filters (BIGGER) protein skimmer (BIGGER), water changes more (every week), not to mention, the overtime I had to work for just one fish! it was worth it! and one day the egg hatched! it was a female. This little shark brought me more meaning into my life. and remember the only fish in this tank. As months went by, I kept a log on everything from test of the water to how she was growing, even the math to get her weight. All these tests that was the work. She was eating great, taking her vitamins as instructed by public aquariums, I invested my time off at these places to learn as much as I could about her. Well, what a shock I got when someone told me, they can get up to four feet sometimes! So now I had to think what to do next? I was so attached, I could not let her go. A bigger tank was the answer, well I could not afford a bigger tank last year so I started saving. I also went searching to see how long she could live alone in this size tank of 180 gallons. I was told about three years, then need a bigger home. she made her 11th month with no problems at about 15 inches. Then it went downhill! She stopped eating and I noticed things were changing, she was having what was identified as seizures, and started developing a large lump on the very top of her head. Growing from inside, well back to the public aquariums, web sites and books (sharks and rays) Scott Michael. now my bible, most said it was goiter, but I believed different, this bump was in the wrong spot. Well she never ate again and continued to have seizures, it was killing me, so I decided not to let her suffer anymore, as I prepared to end this , it was close to her one year birthday. All I did was cry, so I got a large (fish) transport bag, took her out of the tank, she was soo weak, there was not a single struggle from her. And into the freezer she went. It was like I had lost part of my life, but determined to find cause! After many Aquariums looking at her photos, we think it is a tumor (rare) but happens. I'm still waiting to have some expert look at her in person and not in photos. So she waits as do I for answers. My 180 gallon sits very empty, no water etc., and I had failed to do what I was set out to do, have her live a long and happy life. I thought about trying again with a different shark the coral cat or the marble cat from Australia. But I want to do thing right. I know one of these will fit my 180 gallon all by it self for a long time, if gotten small, but I will hold out for now. so folks PLEASE DO NOT EVEN BUY THE SMALLEST SHARKS unless you have the means to dedicate all of your time, and even though I did I still failed. I will not stop trying to figure out what went wrong, until then she (BOOBOO), will always be with me. I have started a 72 gallon reef to keep me busy and in good practice of great water parameters. Everything is growing and looking great. I still visit and talk with people who are in public aquariums, and spend time with the most wonderful small sharks. this is my story thank you  SUNDEE!  please email me at above address on you thoughts again thank you. <Thank you for relating your experiences... Am sure we are of very similar mind re the captive husbandry, use of marine sharks. Bob Fenner>
Response to shark story
   Thank you for letting me know you have gotten my story. is there any way to send some photos to you, to see what your take is on this matter? I know this will take time, and I am willing to keep learning about these sharks . thanks for all you do. SUNDEE <Yes my friend. Attach, send them here. Bob Fenner>

Psst: Want to buy a shark? Dear sir            Happy new year  My name is per from Bangkok Thailand I like keep sharks in aquarium and I want buy Bonnethead shark [ Sphyrna  tiburo ]  please answer me   Where ? and How much ?                                           Thank you <Mmm, I take it you are aware of the size system needed for this Hammerhead Shark? Thirty, forty feet diameter, circular... There are a few folks that still collect this species out of Florida from time to time, principally for the public aquarium industry. Please read here: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/Gallery/Descript/Bonnethead/Bonnethead.html and reconsider. This shark sells for a few hundred dollars apiece, and likely that and more to ship to Thailand. Bob Fenner>

Another Leopard Shark... I have a 500 gallon fish only and I would like to keep a Leopard shark in the tank but I don't know where to buy them can you help me? <Hi Peas, Not too many people have the luxury of having a 500 gallon tank.  Why would you want to tie this up for one fish?  Sharks are best left in the sea or public aquariums.  Most people get them as a novelty and that soon wears off leading to "where do I unload the shark.  If your really serious about this try contacting Live Aquaria.com and inquire as to the availability of a leopard shark.  Good luck,  James (Salty Dog)>

Needing to sell or trade a 17 inch banded reef shark 12/31/04 It is eating smelt, krill and silversides and is beautiful, but it is in a 125.  I had planned on upgrading but am unable to do so.  Where can I go?  No pet store here in the Milwaukee area can handle one this size. <This is a difficult but all too common problem.  If you have a local aquarium society, they may be able to help.  You may also try one of the large discussion boards like www.reefcentral.com.  Dick Perrin at Tropicorium (see www.tropicorium.com) in Romulus Michigan has developed a soft spot for sharks and has appropriate quarters for them.  He may be willing to accept the animal and also has the expertise to suggest/arrange successful transportation techniques. Also, while I dread to even suggest this, you may want to check with any public aquariums or zoos with large aquariums that are within driving distance.  Most have very strict policies against accepting any animals from private individuals (with the very good reason of not wanting to encourage the keeping of inappropriate animals), but some will "bend the rules" for desirable specimens.  For future readers of this message in the FAQ's:  ZOOS AND PUBLIC AQUARIUMS SHOULD NOT BE DUMPING GROUNDS OR BACK-UP PLANS FOR ANIMALS THAT GROW TOO LARGE TO BE KEPT BY THE HOME HOBBYIST.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

Bamboo Sharks Thank you so much for the great help. I guess I am kind of wondering what  are some signs of a healthy bamboo shark?< The single most important is probably the presence of a healthy appetite, for, like most of the moray eels, they have an extremely acute sense of smell.  Physically, you should probably look for a lack of red areas on the abdomen or other signs of inflammation.>   I know they are pretty mellow  sharks, so I was just wondering if there is any way to tell that they are happy  and doing ok? <Again, as with many other marine animals, a healthy appetite is always one of the best indicators.  Even though they are primarily nocturnal by nature, the scent of food in the water should at least bring their nose out of the LR in a fairly short time, and the longer the shark is with you, the more this becomes evident.....after a year, mine has no hesitation about feeding from my fingers at the surface of the water, even in broad daylight and has moved well into the "bottomless pit" category. The best of luck with your new baby and don't hesitate to spoil it at every opportunity.>     Thanks a lot John & Tiff  Proud parents of  a new bamboo shark

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

Shark filtration hey bob, <Hey Will, MacL here with you this fine and lovely evening.> you've compiled and put up some great info on wetwebmedia.com ! <Every day I become more amazed at the work that's gone into this site. Bob Fenner and company are fast becoming my idols> I must say that it has been the most comprehensive and informative source that I have come across yet. anyway, lets cut to the chase... I've got a 55 gallon glass tank with a hood, stand etc... I've got about 40 lbs. of live sand, I've mixed some instant ocean salt. as far as equipment, I'm running 2 fluorescent tubes in their own hoods, 2 powerheads (150gph ea. ), and a 30-60 hang on filter that uses carbon/foam cartridges. I've also got an airstone aerating the incoming water. <sharks cannot stand nitrates whatsoever so your tank has to be firmly and completely cycled. And you have to watch the nitrates very closely.>   as far as equipment goes, I will be replacing the filtration unit with a protein skimmer, of course, however I am a little unclear about what else I am going to need... one of my local fish stores that sells sharks told me that I will need to purchase a good protein skimmer and place it inside of a 20 gallon sump filled with live rock. it sounds as though this would be a very good idea, after all biological and mechanical filtrations working in conjunction with one another should be better than just a skimmer. although it may just be overkill... <I don't think with sharks you can have over kill.  They are big waste producers they eat a lot of food.> I don't plan on placing anything inside of the tank other than 1 small juvenile grey smoothhound shark. no decorations other than live sand either.  <You might need some type of cave for him to feel secure in.> with this said, my main questions are as follows: 1. what do you recommend I go with as far as filtration ? I would like to be as economical as possible, but don't want to get crappy components that will just barely keep my shark alive. my local fish stores wanna sell me all this super pricey equip. so specific product recommendations will DEFINITELY be taken into consideration and appreciated. <Definitely take a look at the best protein skimmer you can get. Aqua C and EuroReef come immediately to mind.> 2. my tank's got a glass support in the top middle, I don't want my smoothhound to jump up and catch a sharp edge, what should I do ? >is it something that can be sanded? > 3. should I keep my powerheads in the tank when my smoothhound arrives ? <I would definitely keep them in the tank but make sure the shark can't get into them> 4. anything you could recommend that I may have missed or gotten wrong that will keep my shark as happy as possible until it moves to its bigger home... <Sounds like you are serious about your research and well on the way to keeping him happy.> 5. lastly, how do grey Smoothhounds and leopards compare ? leopards are just so beautiful but my understanding is that they grow larger and possibly faster than Smoothhounds... I don't want a beautiful unhappy shark, so I'm pretty much set on the smallest smoothhound I can find... unless I can achieve the same results with a baby leopard. thanks so much, I look forward to hearing from you <I think you are definitely going to see very fast growth and lots of movement from both species. Please keep us up to date Will. MacL> -will

Possible Shark Addition? Hi Crew,<Hi, Mike D here> I just finished upgrading to my new 240 gallon tank. I transferred my puffer, black and white banded clown, yellow tang and damsels from the 75 gallon to the new tank.<After it completely cycled right? How long has this new tank been up and running?> Now the tank is looking sort of dead with so few fishes in a large tank.<Use care not to go overboard. Even if fully cycled, it takes a considerable time to balance and stabilize, with additions of large fish or large numbers of fish likely to cause ammonia and nitrite spikes> I have been planning on adding a large angel fish<personally, I'd suggest waiting before adding the angel. I've never had good success with any of the larger species in tanks that have been set up less than 12 months>, 2 dwarf angels<When adding more than one dwarf, even in larger tanks, it's best to add all of them at the same time to avoid territorial conflicts> and a zebra moray soon.<Zebras are magnificent animals and usually do well if provided fresh shrimp and crabs, usually from a seafood market or such. Very few shops carry the proper foods for many of the larger species> I was thinking about adding a bamboo shark to the tank, would this work with the current fish or the fish I plan to add?<I'd suggest against that one. I have one in my 300 gal tank and in just about a year even it's up to two feet long. Small fish, such as damsels and clownfish are at serious risk of becoming lunch. If you feed sparingly to protect water quality, as many people erroneously do, the likelihood of other fish being attacked increases dramatically.  Bamboos can and do reach a full 39", and they do it MUCH faster than many people realize. Pull out a tape measure and actually look at the 39". That's a BIG fish even for a 240, and these definitely are carnivorous. If you don't feed sufficiently heavy, being sharks, they are quite capable of adding to their diet by removing fish in with them> Thanks
Possible Shark Addition? continued)
Wow, thanks Mike for the quick reply.<You're welcome and you got me again>  For your question, I did add the fish after the tank had cycled and the tank was cycling for about 6 months until I added the fish to the tank. I realize that when adding the new fish to add them very slowly and not all at one time so the tank can stabilize with the large bioload that it will create.<Very good Grasshopper! **grin**> Though, in a couple more months when the tank is ready for me to add the large angel, I read that the angel should be added last to the aquarium, but should I add the large angel and the 2 dwarf angels at the same time so they wouldn't fight to avoid territorial conflicts or would this be too strenuous on the stability of the aquarium and detrimental to the other inhabitants?<I wouldn't be concerned about the large/dwarf angel problem, although you should make sure there is plenty of LR arranged so that the little ones can escape to areas where they can't be followed. Often large and dwarf species don't seem to recognize each other as even being related. I WOULD make sure to add all dwarf angels simultaneously, though!> Also for future reference, if I did upgrade to a bigger tank again and placed the damsels in my other 55 gallon, would I have to be worried about the angels and stars and stripes puffer who is very peaceful at 7" right now, picking on the shark?<This would be my concern, and in relation to the Angel only, because of territorial aggression, with the puffer likely not a problem in that respect> or would it be the other way around, the shark picking on the puffer and angel?<Only if the shark is starving, and if a shark ever attacks and kills a puffer it's usually fatal to AT LEAST the shark and puffer, occasionally to everything in the tank. Once it's shredded in the aquarium, any fish that so much as samples one tiny piece containing tetrodotoxin is doomed> Thanks again<You're welcome> and sorry for all the questions :-)<Why?  No questions=no reason for me to be here. As it was once said (Mark Twain?)" The only dumb question is the one never asked."

Suggested Shark Home Size? Hi, my name is Steven <Hi, MikeD here> and I love your website. I was wondering if a Whitespotted Bamboo shark could live in my 96x24x20 aquarium for its entire life<I'd suggest the book "Sharks and Rays" by Scott W. Michael as essential, considering your interests. I'm not sure of the adult size attained for this exact species but suspect it would do fine if not overcrowded, as the Bamboo sharks are crepuscular bottom dwellers and not overly active>. If not are there any other sharks available.<There are relatively few pertaining to maintenance in captivity, so just keep in mind that bigger is generally better in regards to shark aquariums and that most WILL achieve the maximum size given over time. IMO none but the smallest bottom dwellers are suitable for the home aquarium>

I purchased a Brown Smooth Hound shark for my system today the shark is swimming fine I have a 200 gallon 5 feet long 2 feet wide an 30 inches high my temperature is a 72 degrees and I have a 150 pounds of live rock is that to much for the tank with a shark write me back tell me please.<MikeD here, and in my opinion you've goofed.  The only sharks I'd even begin to contemplate for a 200 would be the smallest Catsharks (largely a bottom dwelling species), and even there it would be barely tolerable, with a 6 foot length usually the BARE minimum.  If possible read "Sharks & Rays" by Scott W Michaels before even contemplating  anything else along this line. Is there any chance the fish can be returned?>

-240 Shark tank follow up- Thank you so much for your quick response! <No prob bob> So basically I am just limited to a bamboo shark in my 240 gallon tank? <Check out: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharkslvgrm.htm and pick up a copy of Scott Michael's book Aquarium Sharks and Rays, which along with very detailed information on each species, gives a tank size recommendation. You want a shark that stays small, and isn't an active swimmer.> Which isn't a bad thing. What's the most amount of rock do you think i can put in the tank with what design for the rocks so the bamboo shark will be happy? <While it's impossible to guestimate a poundage, be sure to leave plenty of space in, around, and through the rocks. Remember that the sharks you're looking at spend most of their time sitting in the sand, so make sure that there is copious amounts of sandy areas that stretch across the long sides of the tank.> Thanks again for all your help. I just want to do this right for me and my pets :) <An excellent attitude, I wish you great success! -Kevin> Thanks, Michael Satterfield

Nurse Shark Pool/Pond I have a 19 1/2" Nurse Shark in a 220 Gal Aquarium.  I naively acquired the entire system free from someone who was moving.  I immediately determined that the tank is way too small. <Way, WAY too small> I want to build a salt water pond 12'wx24'lx3'd oval shape. It will have a deep sand bottom at least 12".  What is the best materiel for construction?   Is Gunite or concrete suitable? <Either can work for the structural shell... You'll have to have a smooth "plaster" (it's actually cement-based) coat put over either as well> Will steel rebar affect the shark adversely? <Good question and YES. A very common source of mortality for captive sharks is the presence of ferrous metal... I used to necropsy sharks for public aquariums and can assure you that even very modern facilities have had REAL problems with iron metal contamination. Whatever coating over the reinforcing steel and/or mesh you use must be sealed from metal influence... again the "plaster coat" should do it> I live in Atlanta, Georgia and plan to build this outside. It gets cold here in winter so I plan on heating with a solar heat system. Basically, I plan on building him a swimming pool using standard methods. <Yikes... do look into a heat-exchanger mechanism... and the possibility of building a thermal insulating structure over the pond... will save you money in just a short while>   Any help on filtration, circulation, anything to help me keep this shark alive and content.  {I have read your articles and notes to people who are about to put themselves in my predicament.  I did not research before I took "him" in.  But now that I have him, he is my responsibility for the rest of his life.  I would like to make that comfortable and long.} <I hope I can convey what I feel compelled to state here in a simple, straight-forward manner that you'll consider/take to heart. I applaud your apparent positive attitude toward your situation, obligation to this animals welfare... But I encourage you to wait a while, think and plan this project all the way through... the costs for building such a system actually pale in comparison to ongoing costs for power (pumps, heating), synthetic seawater... the time commitment. I would look into donating this animal to perhaps the new public aquarium being built in Atlanta... perhaps they have current facilities for housing it till the aquarium is finished/open. To help you with your decision and plans please do read through the archives on sharks and their husbandry posted on WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

Re: Shark Donation Sir, I would like to donate a Nurse Shark to the Atlanta Aquarium.  It is approximately 19 inches long. He needs a good home to grow and be healthy.  If you are interested please contact me, Scott Geoffrion, at GSGeoffrioXXXX@yahoo.com.  Or you can reach me at Home 678-479-XXXX.  I really want the best for this animal and I think that if there is a place for him at the Aquarium he would be much better off than in a private aquarium which he would eventually outgrow (they can reach 12'-14' ) and live cramped, unhealthy, and unhappy. Sincerely, Scott Geoffrion <Looks good Scott. Do send it in. Bob Fenner>

Purchasing a shark - 3/10/04 Dear Bob~ <Paul in this morning to help Bob out>            I am looking to buy a shark right now but know very little about the significant facts that I SHOULD know when looking to buy one. <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharks.htm> I was wondering if you could help me out. <The links and corresponding FAQ links should answer all you need to know> Are there any sharks that do not exceed at the max 2 feet (preferably 1 ft.) <Not really. The sharks in the family Hemiscyllidae (commonly know as the epaulette and bamboo sharks) are your best bet. They do range in size to around 3ft. max.  Here is a great article from a renowned author on sharks and ray Scott Michael: http://www.reeftectonics.com/shark_keeping.htm> in length that still look like a real shark with the pointed fin??? Please let me know, and if so, any other information needed in helping me with my search...thanks, Stephanie <Hope the above info will help aid you in your quest. Let me know what else I can help with. Thanks for your question. ~Paul>

A Shark at Any Other Size....  03/08/2004  <<More likely a freshwater minnow-shark. RMF>> I recently saw a shark at a pet store that I had not seen before.  They where calling it a Zebra Shark and selling it for 49.99 <Shame on them - and many other fish stores - for selling such beasts that cannot be properly contained in home aquaria.> When I got home I started researching this Zebra Shark, because I was very interested in it's unusual small size.   <Baby alligators start out tiny, too - even you fit in those teeny baby socks once!  And KUDOS to you for researching BEFORE making a purchase!  Well done - so many newcomers to shark keeping do not do this, and do not have a prayer of properly caring for their animals....  Much grief (and life!) is saved by understanding the care of the animals you're interested in.  Kudos, again.> I soon realized that none of the information I found said that this is anything close to being a zebra shark.  This shark is 2 1/2 to 3 inches long short head and long tail with  a very slender body. It's color was white and black stripes and the stripes got a yellow tint as they got closer to his head. <The coloring sounds right, at least....  Juveniles are black with white to yellow stripes.> The information I read about Zebra Sharks said that they are born at about 10-12 inches. <Fishbase ( http://www.fishbase.com ) says that this beastie (Stegostoma fasciatum) is born around 8" - still quite a bit larger than the size you saw.  My guess is that the little sharkie was forced out of his egg case early, by accident or whatever, and I doubt that it would survive long if that is the case.> Could this possibly be a dwarf, if so does this mean he wont reach the 12 feet of the normal Zebra. <Mm, again from FishBase, the ultimate size of the zebra shark is more like 8 feet.  Still *completely* unsuitable for home aquaria - unless you have space for a several-thousand-gallon pond in your basement.  Either way, if this is a Stegostoma fasciatum, I seriously doubt that it is a natural "runt" - and even if it were, even at a fraction of its adult size, it would still be a poor choice for any but the largest of home aquaria - which are even still usually very poor houses for sharks in most cases, being improperly shaped, and so forth.  We're still talking thousands - not hundreds - of gallons.> P.S. I know I am not giving you allot of information to go on and there are allot of shark species out there, but I figured that if anyone could answer this question you could. <Fortunately, the long tail and short head, with the coloration you describe, do seem consistent with Stegostoma fasciatum.  Please take a look at what FishBase has to offer on this species, which, by the way, is the only species of its genus, and the only genus of its family:   http://www.fishbase.com/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?ID=5374&genusname=Stegostoma&speciesname=fasciatum .> P.S.S. Do you guys have any book in print that gives information and a picture of all or most shark species? Or would you know of anyone who would offer such a book? <We do not offer such a book, but I would highly recommend "Aquarium Sharks And Rays" by Scott W. Michael.  I am of the opinion that, while the information in this book is excellent, the "minimum tank size" requirements listed are just too small.  Keep that in mind, and do please pick up a copy of this wonderful, very informative book.> Thank you very much <Glad to be of service.  -Sabrina>

A great point about shark keeping - 3/8/04 Paul / Nikos Many thanks for your prompt reply, <It's what we do> I will act accordingly and hope for the best. <Good idea> Anyhow I will keep you posted regarding further developments on this issue. <Please do.> But my personal conclusion is that, these kinds of animals are not for captivity. <Couldn't have said it better myself. ~Paul> Thanks

Sharks - 3/4/04 Hey thanks for all of your help. <You're welcome>  I have already done more research than I really need about sharks and have been trying to get some coral Catsharks for over two months now but am deciding to give up and just get an epaulette shark. <What is wrong with ordering online? On another note, one can never learn enough. (especially when it comes to animal husbandry) There is always something to learn. Good luck to you ~Paul>

Not Everybody Should Own a Wobbegong Shark... But this guy might be qualified: http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/asiapcf/02/11/australia.shark.ap/index.html -Zo <Have heard of folks with Wobbies attached firmly to their arses... from becoming a bit too familiar while underwater in their presence. Bob F>

Sharks in small tanks - 1/27/04 I currently own a small salt water aquarium (75 gallons), <Not exactly small but I guess all things considered.....small> and I know how you talk about small aquariums and large sharks mixing. <Don't even get me started> I am looking for a small shark and I am going to get a 125 within the next year that he could be transferred into but, not any larger than that though. <Nah. Forget it. Some will say there are sharks that will fit in 125 but I am not going to bite. No sharks under 250 gallons for the smallest sharks.> Is there any types of sharks that you can think of that could do well in these tank sizes. <Not going there. I don't believe so, in my opinion> I have read of some types of sharks that stop at about 24" and then read of the same sharks on different web sites reaching 4'. <Exactly. It is better to plan for genetic differences by being open to getting the largest tank possible when dealing with small sharks let alone the largest of 'em> Am I wasting my time looking or is there a shark for me out there? <I would have to say to leave the sharks to the professional public aquarists or the ocean and go for something else. 'Neff said. You could look our site for info on sharks, though. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharks.htm  Sorry for the rant, but it just doesn't bode well for aquarist or shark in the long run. ~Paul> Thanks for any help, Brandon

Small shark - 1/23/04 hi I am quite interested in buying a shark, <OK.> but what is the smallest size there is while still looking like a shark? <Again, Amrita, I am very against aquarists owning sharks as usually long term needs are rarely met or committed to. There are various small sharks available in the trade, some of which are noted here on our website. Here is the link for you research: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharks.htm Please look through all the links at the top of the page and do as much reading and research as one possible can before making a decision on what shark you are to keep. Check various other sites by using a search engine and grab some books. Talk to other aquarists as well as professionals at your local aquarium. Think of the financial commitment as well as the long term growth and feeding. Many things to consider when one considers an apex predator for a pet> and also, I have tried to use your link to www.themarinecenter.com, however I do not believe that the company is still up. <Nope. They are up and the link does work however, thanks for your concern.> thanks for any help. <Think it over long and hard. ~Paul> - Tina

Wants to buy a lemon shark - 1/23/04 I want to buy a lemon shark. <Amrita, I know I am here to help and so I will do just that. Please do a modicum of research before sending such a question as just entering "lemon shark" into a webpage returns over 300 hits on Lemon Sharks. With that, the first site that comes up relates to me all sorts of information about lemon sharks. Here is the site and an except: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/Gallery/Descript/LemonShark/LemonShark.html "Size, Age, and Growth - Lemon sharks are one of the larger species of sharks, commonly obtaining lengths between 95-120 inches (240-300 cm or 8-10 ft.). and have a growth rate of .21 inches/year (.54 cm/year). The maximum length that can be reached by this species is between 125-135 inches (318-343 cm). Females and males reach sexual maturity around 6-7 years of age and at 95 inches (240 cm) and 88 inches (224 cm) respectively. Pups are between 24-26 inches (60-65 cm) at birth." Help us help you.> One source said that they only need a 500-gallon tank but that cannot possibly be humane! <You are correct> Is this information correct? <It is not. The fact that you ask is a cause for concern here.> Also, where can one purchase shark eggs from a reliable source? <I am sure that most of the LFSs and online dealers can or do have various sharks and eggs available to purchase and it wouldn't surprise me that they might have the audacity to sell lemon sharks. I really recommend against aquarists owning sharks. I just recently removed a Blacktip from a local fish store here in the Bay Area and took it into our stock here at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. This is the third time in the last year we have done this. Sharks grow too quickly and their long term needs are almost never met. Please reconsider this but if you must, do your research my friend. ~Paul> Thanks for any help.

Smallest available? hi I am quite interested in buying a shark,<aren't we all lol> but what is the smallest size there is while still looking like a shark?<looking like a shark? do you mean like a great white, blue shark, i.e. not a bottom dwelling species that are the only appropriate species for the aquarium trade?> and also, I have tried to use your link to www.themarinecenter.com, however I do not believe that the company is still up.<The marine center is still open I just called them today inquiring about a Cephalopholis polleni>  thanks for any help. <the question I have for you is if you do not know your shark species then how do you anticipate caring for this animal. First of all you need to read information on WetWebMedia.com on sharks (including all the FAQ's regarding sharks). Second of all you need to purchase Scott Michaels book on Sharks and Rays and then you will need to select an "appropriate shark species" and plan the system around this specimen. Good luck and hopefully you can find a shark that you can and will care for, IanB> Tina

Sharks, importing 12/29/03 I'm really disappointed in the species of sharks available. I would like to research a directory of Australian/Indonesian exporters. Can you point me toward such a list? It's about time MORE Freycinet and Hooded Epaulette, etc. become available. A push in the right direction would be nice. How about African exporters? Lee <livestock from Australia and Africa specifically are in short supply for good reason: the extended transit time and small demand translate to low profitability and higher mortality. Still... some specimens do make it through. As to the ones from Indo that could come, its a simple matter of demand again: if no one asks for them, then no one collects them. To help you find a supplier, let me suggest you subscribe to the trade journals like Pet Business or Pet Age magazine. They publish an annual index of many of the biggest industry players. Anthony>

- Hard to Find Items - None of my LFS's have or will special order sharks for me.  And I would like a Coral Catshark (Atelomycterus marmoratus), Marble(d) Catshark (Atelomycterus macleayi), or White spotted bamboo shark (Chiloscyllium plagiosum).  If you know any links where i can get any of these sharks it would be greatly appreciated.  By the way I love your site! Sincerely, Ryan <Do try one of our site sponsors, http://www.themarinecenter.com - they specialize in rare and hard to find fish. Cheers, J -- >

- Shark Source, Follow-up - Hmmmm.  Only shark I found was a Wobbegong. <Did you try to contact them? They can get you almost anything you want.> I'm sorry if I'm annoying you.  If I am just say the word and ill stop, but do you know anywhere else. <My friend, had I known another place to send you, it would have been on the original list. Do contact them, they'll help you out. Cheers, J -- >

Coral Catsharks Dear Bob I am planning to get two coral Catsharks once I get my tank cycled.  I read in Scott Michael's book that they have bitten off tails of moray's and have eaten puffers.  So I was wondering if you think it would be safe to keep two together or if you think they my eat each others tails off or something? <I would just go with one of these fish. Unless your aquarium is 500 gallons plus> Also I plan on getting them when they are small if that's possible and I was wondering if I got 2 males, 2 females, or 1 male and 1 female if they would fight?<I would just go with one of these fish, good luck, IanB.> Thanks for reading Adam Siders

Bonnetheads Why aren't Bonnetheads listed as an aquarium suitable species? <Get too big, are too active for most size, shaped aquariums that hobbyists have, use> Also, the Shark and Ray book is listed as "not released yet."  Do you know where I could get a copy? <Mmm, it's been "out" a couple of years. Maybe try Custom Aquatic, Marine Depot, Di's Aquatics on-line businesses for a copy. Bob Fenner> Tyler Medaris

Black Tip Reef Shark Dear Bob, <Hey Holip> Just wanted to say that your photos are amazing! <Glad you enjoy them> I am thinking of getting the black tip shark for my home.  There are currently a couple of them in my local LFS, sized around 14 inches. <Mmm, I wish you would think a bit more about this... not easily kept in home aquariums> The aquarium I am planning to set up will be 120 inches (L) x 40 inches (W) x 36 inches (H).  Is this aquarium sufficient in terms of size? <Not for long (enough). This fish could be as long as this tank is wide in a year or so... or much more likely, dead from being too cramped.> If they do outgrow tank, how long before they do so? <Generally don't "outgrow"... but die as a consequence> How fast will a 14-inch black tip grow? <Depends on feeding. 1-2" per year the first year or so> Thanks in advance for your time on this. Best, Holip <Please give the shark sections on WetWebMedia.com a good read over here. Either consider a less "sharky" shark (e.g. Bamboo, Epaulette) species, or better still, other groups of organisms. Bob Fenner>

Active sharks 9/18/03 I am planning to get a 12'x4'x3' aquarium in about five years. I was just wondering if you know of any active sharks for an aquarium that size. how active is a bamboo, horn shark. I just want a shark that would move when my friends come over. Thanks a lot guys love your website <good to hear of your realism in the endeavor, my friend... both of your shark choices will be fine for this aquarium... with the bamboo sharks affording space for several as they are smaller by far (well under 1/3 the mass of the same length horn shark). My advice is to lean towards cat, bamboo or epaulette sharks (the latter being the best and smallest) as they do not require expensive chilling/temperate water, they are easy to breed, and are less of a burden on bio-filters. Do check out Scott Michaels book "Sharks and Rays" for great additional information. Best regards, Anthony>

Grey Hound Shark (7-26-03) Hi, I was wondering about how easy it is to keep a gray hound shark. Would the water need chilling? And how big would the tank need to be for the first 3 years of its life?<Yes the water will need chilling.  Assuming you got it very small, at least 500 gal then if he lives you will need thousands of gallons.  You can read here for more: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/coolh20sharks.htm Cody> Thanks, Steve

Smooth Grey Hound Shark Hi, again. You labeled my message as  a horn shark. Is that the same as a smooth hound? <Mmm, no. Entirely different families: Heterodontidae, Mustelidae> Also I read one of Bob Fenner's reply saying that some smooth hounds are tropical. Is the California grey smooth hound one of them? <Nope. Please take a look on fishbase.org re the mustelid families members. Bob Fenner>

Sharks suitable for an 8-foot Aquarium 7/21/03 Hi Guys, <cheers> Very interesting comments I have seen posted on your site re: e-mail questions. <thanks kindly> I have one for you. I plan to get an aquarium 8'L x 4'H x 4"W approx 960 gallons. What would be in your opinion the best combination if any at all of sharks to put in this aquarium for long term survival and comfort? <any of the epaulette, cat, bamboo sharks will be fine here. If you can chill the tank adequately... then some horn sharks or Wobbegongs (some warmer water here). That about sums it up. No reef sharks, leopard, nurse, lemon etc. Still too big by any definition.> What would be their average life expectancy in this system? <varies... but over a decade easily. Resist collecting a gaggle of them. A male and one or two females if they are small (under 3' as adults)> Thanks...Harry <best regards, Anthony>

Arabian Bamboo shark? Is there anyone that could direct me to a source for the Arabian Bamboo Shark (Chiloscyllium arabicum/confusum)?  I am sure they would make a more suitable captive shark than the common Chiloscyllium punctatum. I have read Scott Michael's book. I can't find a source for them anywhere on the internet. I can find every un-suitable shark but not this small Bamboo. <Although that made me giggle, it is very sad and unfortunate how many un- or misinformed aquarists keep the shark trade going with ridiculous items such as nurse sharks.> They are supposed to be quite abundant during the summer months. I have touched them while at Underwater World in The Mall of America. I would really like to have one. My local fish stores & their suppliers are no help. <Give our sponsor www.themarinecenter.com a holler and tell them we sent you, if anyone can get them, they can. Kudos for being a responsible would-be shark keeper, I bow to you! -Kevin> Thanks Warren F.

Poor Nurse Shark Oh yes I wanted to say that the Nurse Shark that the woman in NJ wanted to save is Value Pet Ctr 7951 S Crescent Blvd Pennsauken, NJ 08109 Main Phone: 856-662-3666 Fax: 856-662-3309 They have a 4-5 foot Nurse Shark if anyone knows of an aquarium that could take it.  It is $500.00.  It grows to 14 feet so no one should take it as a pet for themselves unless they have more than a 4000 gallon aquarium.  Preferably circular.  I just thought that I should send this in case someone that could help it could possibly see it because I do not think keeping a 5 foot Nurse Shark in a 180 gallon tank is humane especially when it will grow to 14 feet at the max.  Have a nice day.                                 Sincerely,                                                  Versusdude320

Baby Bamboo Shark Hi, My baby bamboo shark is about to hatch in about a week and I was wondering if it would be prone to attack by the few carnivores I have in my tank. Of most concern is a Emperor Snapper (about 4") and a Black/White Heniochus (about the same length although a bit taller). I also have a newly bought Niger Trigger (about 3-3.5") that is really shy and hides a lot since he is a newcomer and gets bullied by the Blue Hepatus Tang (just a tad larger than the Niger). Will any of these be a problem to the newly hatched shark? Right now, the Emperor Snapper seems to be the king of the tank, occasionally chasing any fish that gets in the way of his food. If the Emperor is a problem,<grows to over 3 feet in the wild> I will probably just give him away.<These fish will definitely be a problem  for this vulnerable shark, Bamboo Sharks should be kept in a species aquarium only. Bamboo Sharks grow to around 36" as adults, this fish needs an aquarium of at least 200-300 gallons by himself.> Also, I was wondering what else would get along with the above fish.<Well if you left the shark out Yes, but you would still need an aquarium of at least 180 gallons-for now until the cute little snapper grows to 3 feet-plus> The shark will be my last addition as far as fishes go but I wanted to know how a baby snowflake eel would fare or if any types of crabs, shrimp would be able to survive along with these predators.<NO NO NO> I know that invertebrates are food for these guys but what about hermits, or would there be certain species or sizes of invertebrates that would withstand them?<nope><Do read about the species of fish that you are putting into your aquarium before you purchase them, IanB> I love your site and really appreciate the dedication and expertise you all have in helping out the community! Thanks,   Steve

NO SHARKS FOR YOU.........         Hi, I'm  looking to have a pet shark in my house. I want to have a type of shark like a baby tiger shark, hammerhead, white tipped shark things like that.<These sharks are not in the pet/fish trade and grow way too large for your small aquarium> But will it out grow my tank?<Do you grow in your house?> The tank that I am thinking of getting is about 1 to 2 and feet wide and about 1 to 2 feet tall. And 2 to 3 feet in length.<These fish as juveniles are twice the size of this aquarium> Can you help me with a kind of shark that will fit me?<The only shark that I can think of that will fit your aquarium are located here on this link http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/hemiodontidae1.htm > Here are some sharks I would like: Baby Tiger,<no> hammerhead,<no> great white,<Definitely NO> black tipped,<nope> white tipped,<nope> lemon,<nope> blue, <nope> Mako,<nope> thresher,<nope> Greenland,<nope>goblin,<nope> nurse,<nope> bull<nope> and requiem shark<nope>.<you better go catch the sharks yourself and plan to invest as much as you would in a house to accommodate these very large predators> please send back as soon as possible <Have you ever seen the size of these sharks that you "plan" to keep in your little 3 foot aquarium? If not I suggest that you watch either the Discovery or the National Geographic Channel and see just how big these sharks get, IanB>

10-25ft Sharks in a 100 gallon aquarium=NO         So do you think a 100 plus tank will hold any of those sharks?<Are you insane? Definitely not, IanB>

Wannabe shark keepers are tenacious- gotta give them that much! Dear Anthony Calfo, Okay- I just wanted to you to know that I was the person that you wrote a nasty email replying to me that said I wanted to house sharks in a 220 gallon tank which I made a mistake.  The tank is a 260 gallon tank.   <I do recall... and for the benefit of our daily FAQ readers, I proffer the reminder that I was the second crew member to answer your string of persistent e-mails trying to get someone on the crew here to say that it was "OK" to stick a shark or two and several other large predators in a regrettably small tank (with a shoehorn, I suppose)> Also I was very offended by what you said to me.   <I apologize for offending, you... certainly not the intent. But do also keep in mind our point of view after a so many emails from a nameless person that became belligerent, IMO. After all of those messages, you refused to recognize or acknowledge our advice given (specifically "no 3-4 foot sharks" in a 6-8' aquarium), and just kept trying to get us bless your misguided intent of a crowded aquarium. To do so would have led to the premature death of the animal(s). So rather than ignore you, and failing to get through to you with straight-forward advice, I elected to use sarcasm> I also called up the New Jersey State Aquarium and the person who takes care of the sharks at the aquarium told me that 1 Epaulette Shark and 1 Black Banded Cat Shark would be fine in a 260,     8 X 3 X 2 foot tank.   <good for you... you found somebody that condone your plans. Interestingly though... if you put two 3 foot long dogs in an 2x8 cage to live their life, you get can arrested by the ASPCA. Yet with sharks its OK. Go figure. Ironically, they (the Catsharks) were not even the sharks your were originally asking about. My guess is that the aquarists compromised by suggesting these slender species to you.> I was very offended by the way that you treated me and I won't be asking you for any more help because I have found out that you don't know what you are talking about, Anthony Calfo.   <dude... its kind of creepy hearing/reading you keep throwing my name about repeatedly while you hide behind a moniker. Please stop.> Also threatening a child (15 years old) to have Animal Rights Activists come over to kick me in the balls and to wear a cup was not very adult like or even very respectful: <<QUOTE: if it will drive the point home any clearer... you can proffer your addy and we can have a local Animal rights activist drive to your house and kick you in the jimmy. Just a suggestion. Best of luck... wear a cup.>> <I sincerely regret the humor in hindsight, dude... but how would I know your age if I do not even know your name (discovered later re-reading archives). My apologies... but please try to understand. After 4, 5 or 10 emails, you are still not going to get any one of us here to agree that putting 2 sharks in a tank in which they will compose 20% or more of the tanks total volume is a cool thing to do. I really am saddened that you cannot see the inappropriateness of the matter. Young man... it would be like putting you in a large closet with another person and living out your life there. Not cool. Sharks, unlike our popular reef fishes, generally swim over large ranges.> I also must say that you are very ignorant and you should not be working at Wet Web Media.   <I can see how you would feel that way. In all seriousness though... I was flip and irreverent, not ignorant> That is a company that is there to help people not offend and criticize people.   <agreed... I hope we will both learn/grow from this> I came to you asking for help so that I would not make a bad decision and due to your rudeness I went elsewhere for answers.  The only person that I will listen to now is the shark person at the New Jersey State Aquarium because they know what they are talking about unlike you Anthony.   <OK> So if I was you I would try to learn some more about sharks before you tell anyone how to take care of them because you don't know what you are talking about.   <good advice... always so much more to learn. Learning now in fact.> Get the right information before you tell others how to care for sharks. <right> Please get proper and correct information, and I must thank you for giving me the lack of information that I needed so that I had to call the aquarium to get proper and correct information.   <the pleasure was mine> I suggest that you not answer any more questions about sharks.   <I'll take that into consideration. You have driven that point home. Driven it home... parked in front of it, ran over it... backed up... ran over it again.> I will place the email that you sent to me at the bottom of this email below my name in case you don't remember it.   <appreciated> I would like to say "thank you" to everyone else at Wet Web Media for helping me and giving correct information except for Anthony Calfo. <they said, "you are welcome."> I would also like Anthony Calfo to email me back with an apology.   Sincerely, Versusdude320 age 15 <again, you have my apologies and hope for your success with your aquarium, the creatures whose lives you take charge of, and in life at large. I think some chamomile tea is in order, now. Kindly, Anthony Calfo... in case anyone forgot my name at this point>

- Rescuing a Nurse Shark - Hello, <Good morning, JasonC here...> My husband and I are quite concerned about the conditions of a nurse shark that is currently being kept in a local fish store in our area.  Apparently she grew too large for her former owner to keep any longer so they took it to Value Pets in Pennsauken, NJ.  The fish store is keeping the 5' shark in a 180 gallon tank, and she is for sale for $499. <Quite unfortunate.> We have asked the employees of the store what they plan on doing with her and there has been some talk about giving her to the Garden State Aquarium, but they are not interested as she is too small to be housed in the shark tanks there.   We have several aquariums at home, but the largest is only 240 gallons and that would not be much better then her current conditions. <Or really ever... these sharks grow to between 9 and 14 feet, so as you might guess... you'd be upgrading your tank quite often - optimally you'd need a system over 5,000 gallons.> Over the years we have rescued a couple of greyhounds, many stray cats, and quite a few mutts, but we do not have the expertise to rescue a shark that could grow to fifteen feet in length. <I'd advise against it...> Currently we have three dogs and four cats all rescues living with us and they bring us a tremendous amount of joy. <Very admirable.> I would love to see this shark rescued, I just don't know how to go about it. <I would recommend that you forget about it... sadly, this shark should have never been taken out of the ocean, and the only way to truly rescue it would be to get it into a public aquarium. The difficulty there is that most large aquariums already have their fill of nurse sharks and are unable to take on additional specimens.> We would be willing to buy the fish and help financially to get her released into her natural habitat or into a marine facility somewhere. <I think you may find the cost prohibitive... do continue to check around with other large aquariums, perhaps Atlantis in Long Island, but if not, please don't take it home... you won't be doing the shark or yourselves any favors, and it will also encourage the shop to procure more nurse sharks, which is the real tragedy here.> If you have any suggestions or advice it would be greatly appreciated. <Well, I admire your concern here, but if we were talking about a killer whale, you'd quickly surmise the complications of getting such an animal into adequate care. If you're interested in captive care of sharks, I'd recommend Scott Michael's book Aquarium Sharks and Rays as a good place to start. I'll briefly quote from this work, as it's quite apropos for this situation: "Even public aquariums have a problem getting rid of these sharks, so the hobbyist should not expect their local public aquarium to take an oversized nurse shark when it threatens to burst the walls of its aquarium. These animals should never be returned to the wild, leaving as the only alternatives turning one's pet shark over to a fish monger or taxidermist. If none of these scenarios appeal to you, as they don't to most aquarists, resist ever buying a juvenile nurse shark." [pg 108] > Thank you, Michele Todd <Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Cheers, J -- >

Mini-Sharks?... ahhhh, no!!! Good day WWM Crew I wanted to clear something up shark wise there are much smaller (dwarf sharks) that can easily be kept in a 75 to 100 gallon tank <there are no true marine sharks (tropical or cold water) that could humanely be kept in a 4 foot long aquarium, my friend. I assure you of this> but I'm not quite sure what they where called i saw them at the petstore and under facts about it it says they grow to be a maximum of a foot if less and very neat to watch they are small and silver and they lady was feeding the silversides. <don't believe everything you read mate <G>. Again... no such thing as a foot-long mini-shark> Thanks And GREAT WEB SITE <Jerry... the input is appreciated, but I assure you that there are no commonly available "dwarf" shark of tropical origin. Marketing and wishful thinking/sales at best... merchant lies at worst. There are a few coldwater/temperate dogfish that weigh in under 3 feet... but among the popular tropicals (epaulettes/cat/bamboo and Wobbegong sharks)... 3 feet long is really the low end. The more commonly available leopard, smoothhound, black-tip and nurse sharks in the trade reach 6-9' long as adults (nurse sharks really larger). For anyone interested in pursuing the less common/rare species that are "smaller"... I'd suggest Scott Michael's shark book for reference and consultations of the archives/data from the Elasmobranch society. Kind regards, Anthony>

Size matters: Sharks and Athletic Supporters 5/13/03 Hey thank you for your last email <Anthony Calfo with the follow-up because everyone else is sick and sad of answering queries from folks that want to keep true sharks in tiny aquariums with other fishes> that you sent to me it was very helpful except for one thing.  It was about the Wobbegong which you said grew to be 10 feet.  This is the Wobbegong that I want, Wobbegong Shark (Orectolobus japonicus) aka Japanese Wobbegong.  I want to know how big it will grow to be at its maximum size because the website says 4 feet and you said 10 feet.    <OK... now that we have the species name... we see/agree that the shark you are talking about does indeed get 4 feet long (see fishbase.org). So lets say you are a 6 foot tall person... who doesn't venture very far from the couch except to get to the kitchen. Now compare that to a 4 foot shark that has a home range of... miles? Does it seem appropriate to you to pry the little bugger into an 8 foot long (or smaller) aquarium with a shoehorn? Would you want to live in a 3 foot tall and 12 foot wide room for your whole life (with other people too)? Sharks don't belong in small (mere hundreds of gallons) private aquariums, bubba. I can type it slower if that helps clarify the matter... but it doesn't change the facts. I really want that shark and I want to know is that size of 4 feet correct??   <correct> Also do they do well in a tank that is 220 gallons with a epaulette shark because I will definitely get an epaulette shark. <horrifying, shameless and cruel come to mind. You actually are really (!) asking us if a 4 foot long animal can live in a 2 foot wide (6-8 feet long) aquarium... with other fishes??!?!?! What are you smoking?> Also can you tell me if they will get along with a Tesselata Eel or a Zebra Moray Eel.  Thank you very much.   Sincerely, Versusdude320 <if it will drive the point home any clearer... you can proffer your addy and we can have a local Animal rights activist drive to your house and kick you in the jimmy. Just a suggestion. Best of luck... wear a cup. Anthony>

The Costly World of Sharks   Hey thank you for your last email that you sent to me it was very helpful except for one thing.  It was about the Wobbegong which you said grew to be 10 feet.  This is the Wobbegong that I want, Wobbegong Shark (Orectolobus japonicus) aka Japanese Wobbegong.  I want to know how big it will grow to be at its maximum size because the website says 4 feet and you said 10 feet.<The Common Wobbegong and the Japanese Wobbegong are two different marine fish.  The common one reaches 9 feet, with the Japanese one reaching 3.3-4 feet.>  Click here: Wobbegong Shark I really want that shark and I want to know is that size of 4 feet correct?? <About...>  Also do they do well in a tank that is 220 gallons with a epaulette shark because I will definitely get an epaulette shark.<NOPE!  A 220 is even small for an Epaulette, you need at least a 500-1000 gallon tank for the Wobbegong alone.  Plus the Wobbegong is a cold water shark.  The two CAN NOT be housed together!!!>  Also can you tell me if they will get along with a Tesselata Eel or a Zebra Moray Eel.<I would not trust either eel around my shark.>  Thank you very much.<Phil>

The World of Sharks... Part 2  5/14/03       Hi.<Hi>  I have looked all over your website for information about the shovelnose shark.  I have had a hard time finding any information about it and I would like for you to tell me the appropriate size tank that it needs and if it can be housed with an epaulette shark or a Wobbegong shark?????<It CAN NOT be housed with the other two sharks.>  I don't have an epaulette shark or a Wobbegong so I could house it in my 220 gallon saltwater tank if it cannot be housed with them.<The 220 is WAY too small.>  I really want to know the size tank in gallons and a specific number of gallons if you could????????<This shark needs an 825 gallon tank, and that is on the small side.  More likely to need 1000-1500 gallons.>   I would also like to know the temperature it needs to be kept in???????<55-70 Degrees F>  Please answer all of the questions to the best of your ability.   Thank you very much for helping me and have a good night. Sincerely,Versusdude320 <Ok, I'm going to be honest.  In the past 72-96 hours you've sent the crew 4 or 5 different emails about sharks.  The questions you ask are basic, which is ok.  But you keep asking the same questions over and over.  I want you to go and take $10,000 and burn it.  Yes, burn it.  OK, that's what will happen when you setup a shark tank that is going to fail.  How long have you been keeping marine fish?  To keep a shark you need to have kept other fish first.  I understand that you may have "shark fever" right now.. name one aquarist that doesn't at one time.  But putting a shark into a tiny tank and watching it slowly die is just wrong.  I'm glad you are getting a copy of the "Sharks and Rays"  book.  It is a good book.  But please remember to add at least 100-200 gallons to each "aquarium size" that is listed.  Some of the smaller sharks need bigger tanks then what is listed.  The  Epaulette is a fine example.  It's listed at 260.. but it really needs a tank more around 400-500 gallons to be healthy and happy.  And that is the prime goal of aquarists.  To keep healthy happy animals.  Hope I didn't come off as rude.  I really do care, I've just seen/read about too many cases where sharks are in tanks that are WAY too small.  Read the book and read everything you can.  Go to a public aquarium and talk to people there.  Information is power... use it!  Hope this helps... Phil>

Swimming With The Sharks (And Rays)! Hi <Hello! Scott F. with you> I just purchased a 220 gallon salt water tank and I am buying 2 Epaulette Sharks but I also want to purchase a Tesselata Eel or a Hawaiian Dragon Eel.  I wanted to know how the sharks will get along with each kind of eel.  I also would like to know how well Blue Dot Stingrays do in captivity, requirements and how well they will get along with an Epaulette Shark and how they will get along with a Tesselata Eel or a Hawaiian Dragon Eel. Please help me.   Thank you. Sincerely, versusdude320 <Wow...There are a lot of questions that you ask which tell me that further research is needed before you want to proceed with the stocking of your tank. I'd do some further reading on the WWM site, and pick up a copy of "Sharks and Rays" by Scott Michael, which is THE treatise on captive husbandry of these creatures...Please do the homework before you purchase any more of these creatures...They are depending on you, and you owe it to them to do the best job possible here...You'll enjoy the process, and the animals will thank you for it later with healthier, longer captive lives...Good luck with this project! Regards, Scott F> Sharks, systems Bob, <TJ>   I have to laugh with the exchange that we have going but it still intrigues me that your signals are mixed when it comes to your information page about reef sharks. <I will try to be clear/er. Am not opposed to the conscientious care, attempts at keeping any species. There is a "range" or crossing over point here where it comes to size, shape of systems, the intended parties capacity. The vast majority of people who are desirous of keeping "real" sharks do not have the physical means to do so, and many who do not the commitment, knowledge that it takes. But there are circumstances where the destruction of a percentage of these animals is "worth it"... most public aquariums, a few commercial, and very few residential settings>   I don't know if you are against the housing of such species in an artificial environment or, are you neutral? <Rarely neutral on any subject>   The reason I am so adamant about this is because I like to really explore these avenues before I commit myself to them. I think I have covered most all of the care and maintenance there is for such a system but if there is anything you can add other than what you have then please feel free do so. I am all ears. In this case I am all eyes. <Need to know much better what you know, have done. I have collected Carcharhinus, at least ten other families of sharks for public aquariums, used to do necropsies of lost animals for public aquariums (my advanced degree involved fish pathology), have supplied services for moving, treating Elasmobranchs for institutions. Our old companies (no longer in business) used to fabricate systems, in latter years mainly supply and install mechanicals and controllers for same. Do you belong to the Elasmobranch Division of the ASIH? Have we met? Have you read through Scott Michael's re-do of his Aquarium Sharks and Rays book? I will gladly relate what little I know re the capture and husbandry of sharks. Perhaps you'd like to come out on our dive/travel trips and meet some of the folks in the field. Bob Fenner>      TJ
Sharks, systems
  Well, thank you Bob for your generous offer and invitation and I will take a rain check on that for now.    I don't believe that we have ever met but I am appreciative of your all your helpfulness. Perhaps I will look up those reference books and skim some of the material from them and hope they will aid me in building some more background on micro environments for reef sharks and rays.     Stay in touch,                                   TJ <Okay. Bob Fenner>

- Finding a Spined Pygmy Shark - <Greetings, JasonC here...> I would like to know where I could find more info on the spined pygmy shark? <Good luck, my friend. I did a little research on this shark, and their normal swimming range is typically at 2,000 meters deep with a vertical migration to 200 meters to feed. While these sharks do stay small, I'd wager a pretty large bet that these are absolutely inappropriate species for aquaria and would perish quickly in any aquarium, regardless of design. Likewise, based on their range, these would be cool water sharks... so... I would pick a different shark if you are set on keeping one.> I'm planning on buying a 400 gallon tank. It will be only a foot and a half high. So it will be pretty long and wide. Mostly wide so it will have plenty of room to turn and stuff. What other kind of shark can it get along with? <Might I suggest that you pick up a copy of Scott Michael's book, Aquarium Sharks & Rays and start educating yourself about the various species that can be kept in an aquarium and their captive care requirements. Likewise, there is some reading for you on our site, please check it out: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharks.htm Cheers, J -- >

Smoothhound sharks I just found this web site and I can tell you how helpful it has been. I am in the process of cycling a 180 gallon tank and I was considering a leopard shark until I read your information regarding this species on your site. To tell you the truth I have spent $6,000 on my tank set-up just to have a shark. I really had my heart set on the leopard shark, but now I realize that it is better to leave them in the ocean. <Good for you, us, it, the world> Now I'm stuck, even though I have read your recommendations to the alternatives such as bamboo sharks, horned sharks, etc. they just don't give  that shark look to me personally like the leopard did. Is there anything in comparison to that true shark look if you know what I mean? I read on your web about the Smoothhound sharks and I think they look awesome even better than the leopard with that thin brown or grey sleek body. Would this shark be an option for me? If so where can I obtain one? <There are some that are more tropical... I would try your local dealers (ask them to ask their suppliers... special order) or Marine Center(.com) (a premium etailer of marines) in Texas.> Thank you for your help. wetwebmedia.com now reads at the top of my favorites section......--Brandon <Glad that we've found each other. Bob Fenner>
Re: Smoothhound sharks
Bob Thank you for your fast reply and your information on Smoothhound sharks. I can't get access to MarineCenter.com is this the correct web site? If so is there another premium etailer of marines you could recommend? Thank You! -Brandon <Ahh, the link is here: http://www.themarinecenter.com/ Good fishing! Bob Fenner>

Shark aquariums Hello. I am very interested in a shark or 2 tops. I want nothing else in my tank except their food. I however want a shark that looks like a conventional shark. I am planning on a 250 gallon + tank as per your advice. I recently saw a few on sale that were grey and had some black accent marks on the tips. The nose was blunt. <Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharks.htm Perhaps the Black tip reef shark is what you saw> They looked like sharks but I cannot seem to find them anyplace. The sales guy SWORE they would get no larger than 24 inches. <I believe he is mistaken. Once you find the name (common or scientific) you can plug it into the search feature on fishbase.org for more information. Few "sharky" sharks stop at just two feet in length> I was apprehensive because I have done some real study into this and shudder at the thought of having to kill an animal because I was a dumbass when I bought it. Can you lead me into the right direction? If there is not a grey looking shark out there for me then I will just have to settle for a blue spotted stingray. I hope you can help. Thanks, Dorothy PS. I am checking with my architect on the weight thing. I never even considered it... thanks again for the heads up. <Glad to be of assistance. Bob Fenner> Dorothy D. Minidoka
Re: Shark aquariums
The black tip reef shark is the one I saw. 6 FEET!!! No thank you, that guy belongs in the ocean not a tank. Thanks for the insight and curbing what could have been a disaster! DDM <Ahh, very glad to find you educated yourself. Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Sharks Hello, to all you saltwater and freshwater guru's! <Oops!  You got the sorcerer's apprentice today!> I have a quick and simple question?      I have a two hundred and forty gallon aquarium in my den. I am very much interested in putting a epaulette shark, or a horn shark, or a brown banded bamboo shark in my aquarium!     The question is would he get along with an adult angel fish? Koran angel to be exact. I also would like the shark species that I pick to put in my aquarium to be very active by swimming in circle's in my aquarium. can you please give me some input on which one would be the most active and showing specie's.  Thanks in advance, your Phish friend in Salinas California.     Carlos Padilla <Hi Carlos, WetWebMedia.com has a very healthy shark section, you can get the info you need in the marine section, much shark info! For more specific info, type these species into the Google search engine at the bottom of WetWebMedia.com which should point you to some faq's as well.  Pay special attention to the filtration requirements for these fish!  Craig>  

Coral Catshark Hello,  I hope this email finds you well. As always I have to thank you for the energy you expend helping us would be marine aquarists. Not that I expect you to remember but I emailed a few months ago regarding potential shark species for my tank. You advised me that coral Catshark (Atelomycterus marmoratus) or marble Catshark (Atelomycterus macleayi) would be best suited to my tank. Well after waiting for several months, keeping my tank minimally stocked, I finally got one. He is almost two feet. Only problem is I'm not certain if it is a coral or marble Catshark. Photos of the two closely related species aren't easy to come by and they seem to depict the same shark. Could you supply me with some distinguishing features between the two? <Please take a look at www.fishbase.org or your copy of Scott Michaels' "Sharks & Rays".> Also just to verify, I'll run my tank parameters by you to be certain everything is in order. 180 gallon (6' long, almost 3' wide), 50 gallon sump, trickle filter, 40 pounds of LR, sand bed, AquaMedic skimmer rated for 250 gal, two 802 powerheads. Is this enough aeration?  <You neglected to mention your return pump and its rating. A test for dissolved oxygen would confirm either way.> Temp: 79, pH: 8.3, Ammonia: 0, Nitrite: O Fish: 4" black volitans, 2" fuzzy dwarf lion, 4" Naso tang, 3" tomato clown and couple of damsels. Tank has been running for 7 months. Compatibility? <To me, if you are going to have a shark tank, have a shark tank. I would have left everyone else out. I do not see any out and out compatibility problems, but this tank seems overstocked or will be when everyone reaches full size.> I've done my research and believe I've provided a good home for this creature. Nonetheless, your expert advise is of great value and duly appreciated.  <Have a nice day! -Steven Pro>

Big Marine Display thanks for the info. and believe me it was very helpful and I know how you disdain people abusing these sharks so that is why I asked about my situation.  <I truly appreciate your understanding and consideration to research ahead of time. It is a big beautiful display that you have/will be getting! It should be magnificent> also do the brown banded shark or bamboo swim around a lot or just sit on the bottom?  <alas... the few sharks that are suitable for large marine aquaria (bamboo, epaulette, cat sharks, e.g..) are all bottom dwellers that do not move around very much. All of the "attractive" mid water swimming sharks need huge displays of many thousands of gallons if they can be kept at all. You have probably noticed that most all new public aquaria with sharks have curved aquaria to facilitate the need for these sharks to swim constantly> also what other non sharks can you keep in there with them? thanks for the help and I will take your advice. <excellent. For tankmates, eels and large slow gulping predators will often work. Avoid toothy predators like Triggers and Puffers. Also avoid large Angels (they pick at the sharks fins and eyes!). Ultimately... they are best kept in a species tank only with perhaps some low maintenance eels at most. Best regards, Anthony>

Ughhh... more Leopard Sharks  HELLO. <cheers> my name is Bryan and I find your site great. I have been reading over all day. I am considering purchasing a large tank. the dimensions are 8ft long by 4 ft wide and 30inches high. would this be a good size tank for leopard sharks.  <not even close my friend. Adult Leopard sharks reach 6 to nine feet long in the first 3-5 years of their life. They are entirely inappropriate to keep by most any private aquarist. Most folks put them in smaller tanks 200-300 or smaller where they live for a few years at best before dying stunted and prematurely> and I have seen all the negative comments towards owning them but I have to ask because I have not read one person ask about a tank this size mostly under 200 gallons.  <there's nothing much to chat about here, bud. Your tank is 8 feet long which is a foot smaller than the potential adult size. It would be like locking a great Dane in a closet in an apartment. Just because it fits doesn't make it humane or responsible.> this is an acrylic tank a friend of mine is selling. the price is right for everything he throwing in but I need to know about these sharks and my tank. the tank I was going to save up for brand new was a lot more money but it was also 2 feet longer. that's is why I ask about the 8 foot tank. also can you have the banded brown shark in with leopard sharks as far as getting along? and water temp? thanks for any help <do read more my friend... you are missing some basic information beyond the adult size of the species. Leopard are temperate species and bamboos (great sharks and fine for this tank of yours) are tropicals. They cannot survive together based on temperature alone. Here at WetWebMedia we talk to too many folks killing sharks prematurely. Please take my advice... few sharks species can be appropriately and humanely kept. Few aquarists have the means to do this. Admire them from afar, my friend. It would be ironic to kill the thing you admire so dearly for inadequate husbandry. Best regards, Anthony>

Brownbanded bamboo shark  Hello Bob, I just read your FAQ's on shark-keeping and after the many hours I spend on the Internet looking for info on this subject, your site was by far the most interesting one! <Throw in most informative and inspiring and we have a deal> I've found out that the Chiloscyllium punctatum (Brownbanded bamboo shark) is one of the sharks suitable (more or less) for the aquarium at home. <About the most so... and most readily available> I'm thinking of setting up a 200-300 G tank somewhere at the end of 2003 (want to give myself all the time of the world planning this major step). However, I'm still wondering if I really should devote this tank to a bamboo shark. The reason I would love to keep a shark is the power, elegance and beauty of this fish. However, one of the reasons I want a big tank in general is because the beauty and peace a fishtank can give to a living- room. In short: can a 200-300 G tank with 1 (only one) bamboo shark be "decorated" with a central-positioned rock-structure (with everything on and around it). Can this shark- tank look more or less like a "normal" fishtank with different kinds of colorful vivid fishes, plants, ...? Or is this combination impossible? What about the shark itself ?  <Mmm, possible, but "difficult"... to a degree... Mainly due to the shark being relatively massive, a big eater/waste maker... and its potential for consuming tankmates, knocking over sedentary invertebrates... and the seemingly antithetical possibility of fish tankmates (e.g. large Angels, Triggers, Puffers...) picking on it... But can be done> Will it live happy and a long time in a 200-300 G tank? <Mmm, yes... but I do caution you... folks tend to be "underwhelmed" in a short while with the "non-sharky" sharks... admittedly, pretty boring, sitting most all the day/light time on the bottom, not doing much... Please do think carefully over this aspect... a big investment on your part, money, time, effort-wise... Will you be happy (for a long time) with this set-up, organism choice?> I only want to do this if I can keep the shark in good shape and health for at least 5 years. And concerning the shark-activities : I've read these sharks mainly just sit still in the sand and they don't tend to swim? Is it that bad, or do they move from time to time ? :-)) <Oh! Yes, do get up and go... and you can impress the relatives, friends, neighbors, combo. of the aforementioned, by temporarily raising the temperature, adding favored food juices... to get them to get up and about more...> I hope you do find the time to answer my questions ! <Of course. Thank you for writing. Bob Fenner> Kind regards, Willem. (Vienna, Austria)
Re: Brownbanded bamboo shark
Hello again, Thanks for replying on my mail (and with a terrific SPEED !!). Actually your site IS also the most informative and inspiring out there on the internet !! <Well... okay! That's more like it...> I still have some last (?) questions I would like to ask you. It is exactly the fact of the "underwhelming" of a "non-sharky" shark that made me think about the combination of a central-placed "island-reef" (with hiding-place for the shark and the other fishes) in the same tank as the shark. <I figured as much> It doesn't bother me the shark being lazy most of the time (as long as he stretches his fins from time to time to show him/her- self in full glory). But because of the shark not moving most of the time, it is very important to me to have colorful movement coming from other fishes .... What kind of fish/other creatures can be included without the risk of major-incidents between the shark and the other habitants of the tank?  <There are some hardier invertebrates that aren't too tasty... and some faster, aware fish groups... Are you seeking specific suggestions? Mmm, I would look through survey works (like WWM) for animals with overlapping geographies with this shark species... and that are noted for toughness in captive settings.> ( the shark may eat one of the Damselfishes from time to time, but the expensive ones ...eueuhh : NO... :-))....) I was thinking on following fishes : small Angelfish, <Make this large Angels> Damselfish, Hawkfish, Butterflyfish, Goby.  <Any of these may be eaten by night... when the shark is searching prey amongst the rock> What about anemones, they require lots of light, <No to anemones here> the shark kind of not .... Has the combination shark-and-reef been done before by anyone else?  <Numerous times, places... public and private> Where can I find explanation, pictures, projects of other people who have done this before. <I'd definitely invest the time, money into purchasing and carefully reading Scott Michael's "Shark and Ray" book... as a start.> Just to mention: if this project is only possible with a (much) bigger tank, I will definitely try to accomplish this ($$$). The only thing is that I want to be as sure as possible that it will work out fine. If you will put me to the VERY difficult choice between a reef-only-tank or a colorless tank with nothing but some rocks and one shark, I think I will go for the reef- only-tank at the end (my wife will definitively prefer the reef-only). But if you tell me that it will be possible with a (even big) list of conditions and a (even small) list of compatible fishes and "reef"-setups than I will definitively go for the combination. <Is possible... and the few incidental ingestions may be no big deal> Hope you can advise me even more than in your last mail. Thanks !! Kind regards, Willem. <Check on Amazon.com, Sea Challengers (.com), locally for Scott's book. Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Nurse sharks hello, <<Good morning, Mike, JasonC here at your service...>> I'm interested in buying a nurse shark and a eel but I never had a salt water aquarium before. <<Oh my... in all honesty, the nurse shark is not the best fish to start learning with. In addition, this fish can grow to near 14 feet in the wild and just is not appropriate for any tank short of a public aquarium.>> My question is it hard to take care of these. <<The eel... depends on which one, although most all are expert escape artists so extra care must be taken when building their tank. The nurse shark, again - please don't purchase or attempt to house this fish. They really shouldn't be taken from the wild.>> Are they more durable than salt water fish. <<Not any more or less so... they are just as much a salt water fish as any other.>> Any info would be greatly appreciated. <<Please read the following URLs and the FAQs beyond: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharks.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/morays.htm >> Thank you, Mike <<Cheers, J -- >>

Sharks  Hi, me again.  How big of a tank does a Whitespotted bamboo shark need & will it eat a octopus <<Sharks of most any type need specialized tanks - typically not the normal rectangular type, but a custom, oval shape. For the bamboo shark, it's best to shoot for 180g or more. The chances of the shark eating the octopus are pretty good, and likewise, if the octopus is forced to deploy its ink in defense, you will have serious water quality issues on your hand. It's in your best interest to house the octopus alone. Cheers, J -- >>

Hopefully an informed shark question Firstly, I'd like to thank you for the invaluable service you provide. Based on your advice, I've tried to adopt a conscientious approach to fish keeping.  <And life> To that effect, I've thoroughly read your article on aquarium shark keeping and the numerous FAQs along with other sources of shark related info.  I've come to the following conclusion. I can keep one of two shark species, either banded bamboo or marble cat shark, in my 180 g (approx 6x3x2.5). The tank is equipped with a trickle filter leading to 50g sump, Bioball filter media, an AquaMedic protein skimmer rated for 250g, a deep coral sand bed, and minimal amount of live rock. I've kept it minimally stocked in anticipation of getting a shark, 2" black volitans, bicolor angel and tomato clown. <I see> Given these parameters, I believe that I could keep Atelomycterus macleayi or its cousin the coral Catshark through adulthood. I am less certain about the bamboo shark. Could I keep it in the current tank through adulthood or would I have to upgrade within a few years? <The latter> I prefer the bamboo because it adapts well to aquarium life and is more readily available. I live in Calgary AB Canada and am not certain I could get something in the Atelomycterus genus. Could you recommend a supplier?  <Marine Center in Burleson, TX. Their link is on our site> Which species would you advise me to get?  <One of the smaller ones... that's available... my favorite is A. marmoratus> I hope the answer will not be "none" but if it is I appreciate the honesty. My knowledge of shark husbandry may seem limited, however, I do intend to purchase a copy of Scott W. Michael's book. Again thanks for your tireless efforts. -Kamil

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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