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FAQs about Shark Systems 3

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

Related FAQs: Shark Tanks, Shark System Lighting, Shark Habitat (Substrates, Decor), Shark System Circulation & Aeration, Shark System Filtration, Shark System Maintenance, & Shark Systems 1, Shark Systems 2, Shark Systems 4, Shark Systems 5, Shark Systems 6, Shark Systems 7, & Sharks in General, Shark Compatibility, Shark Behavior, Selection, Feeding, Diseases, Shark, Ray Eggs, Coldwater Sharks, Leopard Sharks, Heterodontus, Blacktip Sharks, Nurse Sharks, Moving Sharks

Not a useful shark habitat

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

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>

Cold water shark keeping - 3/17/04 I want to thank you for your web site and all your help. <No worries. Glad it could/can help you> I've been doing a lot of research and I am currently cycling a 135 gallon aquarium (for about 6 weeks now).  It is equipped with a euro reef skimmer(cs6-2+), Iwaki 30rlxt pump for circulation and a built in over flow to my 150 gallon AMiracle wet/dry system with a 15 gallon tank attached to the wet/dry for additional sump space. I do also have a chiller as well.  Now I know how you feel about sharks, <Uh-oh. Especially cold water sharks> specially cold water sharks. <Doh!> This is something that I've always wanted to do and I intend to start working on setting up my next aquarium because I do understand that they will not be able to be kept in this size aquarium for long. <How about just not doing it. I don't think your temperature will get low enough with the chiller alone, this is an inadequate tank size amongst other things> I am realistically looking at a 1,300 gallon tank as my next project. <Expensive for a cold water setup plus the time commitment is large. Speaking of large...this is a large long-term investment to undertake> I figure I have enough time <and long-term money??> if I start setting it up now to be able to move them in the near future. <how soon?> My question to you is do I even need a heater? <Probably not> I live in Southern California, water is set currently at room temperature and it fluctuates from 72-75 right now <pretty warm!! and going to get warmer in the summer months> (I do not have the chiller currently running since the tank only has 8 damsels in it). <Why do you have damsels in it?? For cycling? I don't like this method of bioloading a tank. Couldn't come with other ways?> What exactly would be the best water temperature to maintain??? <For what type of shark? Most cold water sharks come from the range of 54-64 but shoot for the middle at around 58 degrees> Should it be kept constant year round??? < A fluctuation of a few degrees is not that big of a deal, but you should ideally want to keep your inhabitants in as perfect conditions as one can create at all times.> Would a heater be required at all to help keep temp steady??? <again, probably not> I intend to purchase 2 leopard pups and one Smooth hound shark pup as well. <and keep them in a 135 for some time? Doubtful. Very doubtful!! I would consider this on the cruel side> I want to supply anything needed to assure the survival of these species in my home. <How about letting them live in the ocean and try a video or take up diving?> What exact water conditions are required??? <High 50's water and excellent water chemistry.> Salinity??? <True ocean salinity and density of 1.025 35ppt>  How often and how much water should be changed once the pups are introduced??? <Depends on how fast it breaks down. Would likely need to change the water very often. A few times a week. these are very messy eaters.> And last but not least, would you recommend any type of Ray that could be kept with these types of sharks and at their preferred temperature??? <there are a few different rays but to add to the stocking density you have planned even a 1300 gallon tank won't be enough room> This is truly my last question, how fast do these sharks grow??? <Fast. Up to 12 inches or more in a well fed aquarium in ideal conditions.> Are they a good compatible combination??? <I thought the previous question was your last? Just kidding.....I don't like most sharks to be in captivity except for by large public aquariums (not in all cases but usually these companies have the money and well educated manpower to keep them). You would/will need a much much larger tank> I want to estimate how much time <time is not as important as money (short term and long term), human commitment, space available, then time> I have (hoping for at least a year and a 1/2 to two years) before I need to introduce them to their new tank??? <No. You will need to start with a very large tank now. I implore you to reconsider keeping these sharks. ~Paul> Thank You for your help. Jimmy Sandoval

Sharks in captivity part 2 - 3/19/04 WOW! I am now seriously reconsidering pursuing this at this time. <Considering?> I've been looking at larger tanks and I think that my "dream" of owning a coldwater shark tank will need to be put on the back burner for now. <Excellent> I've spent so much time, money and effort in creating my 135 gallon tank that I get exhausted with just the idea of starting all over again from scratch with a 1,000+gallon tank. <More like 2000+> I wanted to know for future reference, I did see a "shark tank" that was 12'x6'x3' and wanted to know if you felt this size would be adequate to start if I do decide to pursue my cold shark tank in the future. <I think you know my answer>  I am hoping to purchase a new home in the near future and realize it would be nearly impossible to move a tank this size so I will be putting off this idea for now. <OK> You have helped me in keeping me from making a big mistake. <Good> I was really disappointed with your reply but soon realized it was in everybody's best interest not to do it at this time (especially my wife/she thanks you). <Good to hear> Now that I am just about ready to hang up the cold shark idea I must begin to research further to see what I am going to put in current tank after all. Now I Love Sharks, so I wanted to know if you think I could keep a small banded shark in this tank with maybe a blue spotted ray??? <In a 135? Nope> I haven't really looked in to either one of these so I also wanted to know if they are compatible??? <Well, look into them. They are compatible in my experience but not in that small of a tank. I would say start at 500 gallons or more and be sure the tank is more round than square. Likely a custom build> What water conditions would be suitable for these fish??? <Oh no, do  let your fingers do the walking' and research yourself. This info is available on our website too many other sites as well. No need to reinvent the wheel> Temp???  Salinity??? <Check it out: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharks.htm and do a search in Google> I know that for leopard sharks from what I had read it said not too put much if any decorations in the tank. <I agree> Would it be a good idea to put some type of landscaping with a banded shark??? <maybe some live rock but not too much in the main display tank> And a blue spotted ray??? <same as above> As far as live rock, if so how should the rocks be kept to a minimum??? <Use boulder type configuration> Do they also need the open space to swim??? <Yes> Should I try and make caves for them??? <Large coral heads (fake) would be ideal> My tank is three sided so do they need hiding space??? <Yes. This is a corner unit? If so then I feel this is a very unsuitable tank for a shark or ray ~Paul> Thanks again, Jimmy  

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: Nurse 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>

Re: Nurse Shark Pond Bob, Thanks for your response.  No, I did not get the first reply.  My server said that it was not delivered thus the second Email. <Ah, the wonderful Internet!>   How long can I keep him in a 400 gallon Tank? <If you are VERY careful re feeding a few to several months... most "jump out" (Ginglymostoma will knock an unbelievable amount of weight off a lid on the way out) or die from "unhappiness", pollution before reaching a physiological limit on their tank volume> And I will contact the Atlanta Aquarium.  I was under the impression that most aquariums were "full" from some article or email that I read but I'm sure that I misinterpreted the information.  Again thank you. Scott Geoffrion <Worth trying... think of it, you could go visit "your" shark! For many years to come. Bob Fenner>

Shark filtering - 3/17/04 Hi  Hope this hasn't been answered before, but I can't find exactly what I'm looking for. <Sorry to hear. Let's see if I can't help out>  I'm looking at setting up a shark tank about 10 by 5 and 3 feet deep.  I would like to know what you would recommend for filtering and water movement. <To be honest this is a much generalized subject. I must say though that to some degree it does depend on what type of shark you plan to keep. In any event though, most tanks make use of fluidized beds, deep sand beds, large oversized sumps with live rock (biological) and filter socks (mechanical and chemical if filled with poly filters and/or carbon), UV filters, large skimmer all intermixed in various configurations> I know sharks are messy eaters, so at approx 1000 gals should the skimmer be oversized? <I think I would use an oversized skimmer rated for a larger aquarium> When its done would also like to house rays and eels.  I know this is not a cheap investment so would like to do it right the first time. <Understandable> Thanks for any help.  By the way great site!!! Norm

Sharks in stingrays in a small tank - 3/15/04 I have an 80 gallon saltwater tank; it has been set up for about 2 years. I had a Blue spotted sting ray, and a black banded cat shark. <Much too big in the long run> The sting ray we have had for about a year. I don't know how old he was. The shark was about 2 months old; he was born into our tank from an egg. All of a sudden the sting ray just died no signs of foul play, only a small green mark on his belly. The shark died 2 days later. <Sorry to hear. Your description does nothing to implicate anything concrete> I could tell something was wrong with the shark a couple of days before he died, he was swimming erratically, and bumping into things, as if he couldn't tell which way was up or down. <Electrical current or magnetic field, metal poisonings, inadequate water chemistry, many things could be the issue here or a combination of them> The water tested fine. <Means nothing to me> The only thing I could think of is, it has been a while since I changed the filter in the wet dry, (about 2 months) apparently the filter needs to be changed every 3 weeks, I did not know that. <Hmmm.....maybe but not entirely convinced> If that is the reason why then why didn't my blue damsel die or my maroon clown fish? <That is easy. These are typically very hardy fish. Cartilaginous fish are very sensitive to water quality.> Looking forward to hearing from you. <Not sure what I can tell you here. Please read through our ever expanding section on sharks and rays for more information on nutrition, water quality needs, tank sizes, etc. Sorry I couldn't be of more help ~Paul> Cindy & George

Nurse shark, wrasse and a shoe horn for the aquarium 3/9/04 hi, my mistake. the tank isn't 5,000 gallons. it's 500 gallons 96x36x36. <I had a feeling this was the case. Frankly, very few aquarists can properly house a nurse shark. This species grows to over 10 feet long (reported really at 14 foot or so) and as such is best left for public aquariums. It is impossible to keep this animal alive and healthy in a 500 gallon tank for even a couple years. It will stunt and die prematurely if it doesn't simply jump out of the aquarium first. Its current residence is inappropriate if not unethical. Do make the right choice and please find a much bigger  home for this fish immediately. Be a conscientious aquarist. The wrasse is a moot point here. Anthony> >Wrasse with Nurse shark 3/8/04 >hi, I was wondering if a wrasse would be a good tankmate for my 1 1/2 ft. Nurse shark in a 5,000 gallon tank? and if so, what kind of wrasse would be best? ><what are the dimensions of your aquarium? Anthony>

Bamboo shark - 3/4/04 My boyfriend and I are considering getting a Brown banded bamboo shark. <Alrighty then> We have a 155 gallon tank right now and realize that we would have to upgrade in about a year. <Could be even less than a year>  When we move into our house we are putting a 400 gallon tank in our basement. <Excellent>  Question is what do we use for sand and surroundings for it to live a happy, healthy life. <Soft oolitic sand is nice. I would use some live rock either placed to the back wall of the tank or two islands in the middle. Be sure the shark can turn in and out of the islands and the ends of the tank.> Will the shark be ok in the 155 gallon tank for a year? <Here is what the Live Aquaria site has to offer: The black Banded Cat Shark is known as one of the Cat Sharks because the barbels at the mouth look like cat whiskers. It is also referred to as the Brownbanded Bamboo Shark, and has a cream-colored body with broad dark black stripes. There may be large, muted brown spots between the stripes when the fish gets larger. The Black Banded Cat Shark is a bottom dwelling shark that is common in the home aquarium. It will eat any crustacean in the aquarium. It stays relatively small, but requires at least a 180 gallon or larger aquarium as an adult. It requires sand as the substrate as the abdomen is easily scratched by a coarser substrate, which may lead to an infection. It should never be exposed to copper-based medications. Feeding may be difficult in the beginning. The best way to begin feeding is by offering small pieces of cleaned squid or freshwater ghost shrimp." Also could we put a boxfish in the tank with the shark? <I wouldn't. Here are some good sites about this shark to help you out: http://www.shark.ch/cgi-bin/Sharks/spec_conv.pl?E+Chiloscyllium.punctatum http://animal-world.com/encyclo/marine/sharks_rays/Banded_bamboo_shark_FWZ.php http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?genusname=Chiloscyllium&speciesname=punctatum Take your time and be sure to set the tank up with the inhabitant in mind. Thanks for being part of it all. ~Paul>

A conscientious approach to shark keeping - 2/14/04 Hey!     I stumbled onto your website while looking for information on shark habitats, and I haven't left my chair in 6 hours! <What a compliment. Thank you> I have read through all of the posted FAQs regarding "Shark Systems" and I found the information very helpful. <Especially the part about not keeping them in general aquaria but I digress> I suspect it will be another couple of months of research before the "groundbreaking" for my new tank, but I have a basic design question for you that will greatly impact the project. <OK. Go for it...lay it on me> Our project is as follows:     We are building an addition to our home immediately adjacent to our family room in a space roughly 22' long x 10' wide and a roof height around 8'. In this space we will house the tank and all of the related equipment. This addition will share a common wall with the family room and it is my intention to create the viewing wall through this common wall. <Can I come live with you??> This will create the "in-wall" tank effect when seated in the family room, but the tank will have it's own separate room in the addition. <Again, can I come live with you?> As you can see, I have plenty of room to work with for both tank and equipment in this 200+ sq ft space. I want to create a balance between tank volume (the bigger the better for sharks) <Sir, yes sir!> and shape (the rounder the better for sharks). <Holy smokes, you have been reading. I applaud you!> I will get the most volume from a square design, so one possible choice is to greatly round the inside corners to form an oval and sacrifice some of the inner volume for the rounded corners. <Depends on the shark> This has the benefit of retaining most of the inner volume but the downside is that it still has four walls all facing each other. My other option is to create a "D" shape, <A great idea and does look unique. Gives the illusion of depth> where the front viewing window is flat but the rest of the tank is a half-circle. This obvious benefit to this is that there is only one flat surface and the rest lends itself well to swimming. <I like this idea but greatly depends on the shark> However, I sacrifice a great deal of volume. So the question is, for a given swimming species, is the arc more important than volume? <Not necessarily. Both are very important>     I'm up for some math if you are. <I am never up for math but do enjoy it> If I keep my viewing window a constant 10' long x 4' tall, here are the numbers I get. For a square tank with a width of 5' the volume would be 1,500 gal. After rounding off the inside corners to make an oval we're closer to 1,300 gal. With the same viewing window and a semi-circle tank with a radius of 5' we get a volume of 1177 gal. This is a lot less volume than the square design but it's a better shape. <I agree> I purposely left out my choice in sharks because I have not yet decided. <OK, but this will change the tank dimension and volume> I am planning to keep a single animal in this tank because I think that will give me the best chance at keeping it content for space through adulthood. <Excellent. You truly are a Conscientious Marine Aquarist. I applaud you again, and the future inhabitant will too.> I take very good care of my animals, and for that reason I want to be sure that I choose a species that will work well in the environment that I am creating. <Excellent attitude> I am considering one of the Heterodontidae family, likely a H. portusjacksoni. <The cat sharks (typically  benthic) are fine in a square volume tank as long as they can turn in the tank> I am also considering a Orectolobus maculatus, but I'm concerned about their adult size in spite of the fact that they are listed on your site as suitable for home aquariums. <Mostly because of their hardiness. The Wobbegongs are very aggressive. I recollect a news story regarding a man in Australia having one attached to his leg for more than an hour> A final consideration would be a Chiloscyllium punctatum. <Excellent choice for any of your tank options.> As you can see, I'm looking for a tropical shark to avoid the need for cooling the water (in Arizona). <Understood. May want to connect a chiller for backup though.> My favorite shark of all time is the Stegostoma fasciatum, <I agree. We are working with these right now. They are almost ready for exhibit.> and since I can't house one of those I'm looking for something that reminds me of them. <I really like your approach. I think you should come out to the "Aquarium" in April and not only will we show you the new "Sharks" exhibit but I will see if I can't you a behind the scenes and put in touch with a our two main shark specialists. How does that sound? SO keep on doing your research. Let me know what else I can do to help you. Here are a few links that we here at the "aquarium" feel are very important: http://www.mazuri.com/main.html (most notably Vita-Zu) http://www.shark.ch/cgi-bin/w3-msql/mSQL/overview.html http://saltaquarium.about.com/cs/sharkcareinfo/ I wasn't sure if the shape of the tank would depend on the animal, so I neglected to mention my choices.     Thanks for any insight you can offer, and thanks for taking the time to create such a fantastic resource at WWM! <It is our pleasure! Keep on keepin on, brother ~Paul> Travis

Re: Question about shark tank design, specifically shapes. The answers are coming, Travis. We are looking over your questions carefully. We are super uber busy at the Monterey Bay Aquarium readying for the new shark exhibit to open in March/April! It is coming together amazingly well and looks fantastic! I just wanted you to know we are looking at your questions and want to give a thoughtful educated answer. Should have an something soon! ~Paul Well, I purposely left out my choice in sharks because I have not yet decided. I am planning to keep a single animal in this tank because I think that will give me the best chance at keeping it content for space through adulthood. I take very good care of my animals, and for that reason I want to be sure that I choose a species that will work well in the environment that I am creating. I am considering one of the Heterodontidae family, likely a H. portusjacksoni. I am also considering a Orectolobus maculatus, but I'm concerned about their adult size in spite of the fact that they are listed on your site as suitable for home aquariums. A final consideration would be a Chiloscyllium punctatum. As you can see, I'm looking for a tropical shark to avoid the need for cooling the water (in Arizona). My favorite shark of all time is the Stegostoma fasciatum, and since I can't house one of those I'm looking for something that reminds me of them. I wasn't sure if the shape of the tank would depend on the animal, so I neglected to mention my choices. Thanks for any help. Travis Re: Question about shark tank design, specifically shapes. I was there until 3 AM Monday to Tuesday acclimating the "dither" fish for the background in the various tropical shark tanks. Fun stuff hard work. Expect a reply in the next few days. ~Paul Take your time with the reply, I'm in no rush. Lots of planning left to do. Glad to hear that the MBA exhibit is coming along. I was just there the end of January and I was sorry to see that I missed the sharks by only 2-3 months. I'm going to have to plan for a return visit soon. I can't wait to see how it turns out! Thanks again, Travis
Re: Question about shark tank design, specifically shapes
Paul, Thank you for taking the time to reply to my lengthy question, and thank you for the links. <It's what we do> I have found them very useful and they will be a good future resource. The taxonomy link (the second one) is a real help when it comes to keeping track of species relationships. <I thought you might find interest in it. I could tell by your email that you were not the average shark keeper> From your response it sounds as though I'm considering a tank size sufficient to allow for some loss of volume in exchange for the more ideal shape. <Really depends upon you intended species but from the sounds of it I think you are correct in your statement. You could take a "hit" in the volume for a more ideal shape> As I narrow down the choices (which I guess I'll need to do relatively soon in the design process) I'll spend more time looking up specifics form your site. I'm sure that will generate more questions. <It should> As for the aquarium, it's a shame I was too early for the opening. <Yeah. It is almost complete. We are already putting fish in tanks.> I was there literally three weeks ago for the first time in over 5 years. If you're offering a "behind the scenes" tour, I'll have to go out of my way to take you up on that offer in good time. <Don't wait too long. Email me and let me know when and how many are coming and I think I can prepare something> I better do it after I build the tank, however, or I'm liable to expand my design after seeing yours! <What's wrong with that?? Hehehehe> FYI, you're welcome to come and live with me. <Ahhhh, there was a time when that statement could have been true. Marriage, career, school, volunteer commitments keep me where I am. Don't get me wrong though. My wife and I are well traveled and I have a trip to Egypt approaching very quickly. Three weeks in the Red Sea. I can hardly wait!> There should be plenty of room for a cot in the equipment room ;) <Sure. Put me to work! Seriously though, you must document every step. Send lots of pictures. Maybe make a website dedicated to it? Also, as you learn more maybe even write an article for our new webzine??? Thanks for the follow up ~Paul> Travis

What size tank for a bamboo shark? - 1/30/04 Thanks Paul, Here is a little update. The shark is eating Selcon soaked Mysis and krill. And I have located a 250 Gal. tank for him, 6'L X 4'W 2'H with the corner clipped off. <Excellent.> Do you think this will be a good size for the shark? <Actually I think it might. I still cannot encourage shark keeping for the casual reef keeper but I think you are trying your best and that is all one can ask. Keep me up to date as time allows and maybe some pictures of the new digs? Vary the food stuffs as much as you can to cover the varied nutritional values the shark might come across in the wild. Thanks again. ~Paul> Eric 

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

Nurse Sharks Are Not For Home Aquariums (1/25/04) Hi, my friend offered me his nurse shark and I was wondering if it would do good in my tank. it's about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 ft long, but my tank is only a 55 gallon and he had a 260. so can you help me out and let me know if it would survive in my 55  <Absolutely not.> and if it is good in my tank. can you let me know what else kind of fish would be compatible with it? thanks a lot. <These sharks  grow to 10-14 feet in length and don't even belong in a 260 gallon tank. Recommended size tank per Scott Michael's "Aquarium Sharks & Rays" is 5,000 gallons! Your friend should never have bought this shark in the first place and certainly should not be offering it to you. Sounds like your friend knows almost nothing about nurse sharks. About the only hope for it to avoid a miserable life and death is if he can find a public aquarium that can take it. Let's hope he can. Steve Allen.>

Shark tank -1/23/04 I have recently purchased a new home and would like a shark tank to be the focal point of my living room. <Well, I will be honest, I really don't like the idea of aquarists keeping sharks. Lack of commitment at various levels usually spells doom for the animal. Hopefully you are serious and can commit financially for long term care>  I have discussed this with the builder and he said with the span of the tank being 15 feet I would be safe up to 35,000 pounds.  (home has concrete roof and limestone floors) I have contacted a local company and they advised a 25 foot by 4 foot tank.  I want sharks that resemble the great white. <Whoa, buddy. Then I would suggest looking through various sites to find the specific shark you would like to keep. The I would contact a local aquarium to find out about cost and care. Do plenty of research, by some books, I learn as much as you can.>  The local company will be maintaining and caring for the tank. (local service to many offices, homes and business's) <OK. Still wouldn't hurt for you to know as much as possible.> I would like to just be a little more educated before I spend this type of money. <Awesome! You are on the right track.> I was told plan on 20k. <Or a bit more. Build as big a tank as possible and the best filtration (with shark in mind) that money can buy>  I would like 3 sharks (if possible) are these wants and prices anywhere close to reality or am I being taken for a ride? <Well, depends on the sharks. Everything should be priced around the type of shark, adult length of the sharks in question, feeding and nutrition, maintenance, and  the general needs for the shark environment.> The home is in a nicer neighborhood so I don't want to pay too much just because it appears that I can (which I can not) <Not sure what it is you are saying here> What should I expect to spend on Sharks? <Well, usually somewhere between 40 bucks to somewhere around 5000 a piece or more for a pup depending on what type of shark, of course. It varies greatly as you can see. Obviously the overall cost for keeping a shark will be very expensive as a large tank with superior filtration and food costs will be very financially binding. For me, I like sharks in the ocean. Take up diving and put your money to more enriching things like visiting a new culture and diving with sharks =) Good luck! ~Paul> R. Shane Sherman  

Black Tip sharks - 1/23/04 Paul thank you for your insight.....I have chosen black tips or possibly white tips, but likely black tip just because they will stay a little smaller I am planning on a 70 inch adult animal. (is this adequate?)<Roughly speaking, yes>  I have definitely not gotten a lot of positive feedback on having a couple sharks both from the web and some local retailers... <I agree with them. You don't really have my support either to be honest> The shop I have been doing the majority of my questioning with appears to be willing to take on the task, however they too are trying to persuade me to do a reef tank......<Good idea> I am a diver and would love to see a great white in person (me in a cage) any resources you can recommend on black tip education? <Well, not really any one per se. I have found the price for a 14 inch juvenile to be around $1000> have been told they will eat about anything but should be fed human quality fish from the local seafood department? <True. We feed ours squid and smelts or an equivalent fish, no sardines or anchovies (fatty fish) as you want to prevent the shark from getting too fat. Additionally, you want to supplement iodine to prevent "goiter". Look for some type of multi-vitamin "Shark Tabs" made by Mazuri. Again, I highly recommend something other than a shark tank. Just talked to our shark expert at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and he related to me that just for one black tip shark it would likely require a 2000-3000 gallon tank for one black tip. ONE!!! He said more like 10000 for two and 20000 for three due to aggression and their cannibalistic ways. Imagine that for a moment. I bet it is starting to get pretty financially unviable now, eh?? As far as a site for keeping sharks, I really don't have one source but maybe some of the aquariums around your area? Ummmm......do some searches on the web and again, rely on no one person for you info. There are books out there. Try this link: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1890087572/104-5199566-3996718?v=glance. Do your research man and take your time. Think long and had about what you are about to undertake. Most of all, think of the animal. I believe they are best left to the ocean and looked at via diving and public displays at AZA accredited zoos. Palau has some great dive sites chocked to the brim with black tips, white tips, greys, and silvers on every dive plus many more. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is opening a new exhibit dedicated to sharks and rays. Become a member of your local aquarium. Check it out! Money well spent without the re-occurring high expense! ~Paul>

Coral Catshark System >I was thinking about building an aquarium of 72"L x 48"w x 30"h approx. 450 gal.  Would this be adequate to house two coral Catsharks or a coral Catshark and a bamboo shark when they get to there max size?   >>Coral Catshark yes, JUST adequate, if you can get it deeper (front to back) they'd be a bit more comfortable.  I would add another 6" if possible.  They hit just under 30", but most sharks have a tendency to bump around a lot. >And if not could you please tell me what the appropriate size tank and equipment I would need to achieve this. I appreciate any input you have to offer. >>Treat sharks as invertebrates is my number one recommendation.  Use the softest substrate possible (nice round-grained oolitic sand, or crushed coral that's nicely rounded in the range of 1mm-2mm).  Use NO dead coral skeletons, live rock only, offer lots of caves to swim through.  Filtration is going to be your biggest worry, so skim the bejesus out of this system, lots of flow (10x or better) through it, and if you're using sufficient live rock you'll have your best chance at getting near sea water quality conditions.  I would also consider a refugium, just to be sure you've got nutrient export under control.  Here's a link from fishbase.org: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?genusname=Atelomycterus&speciesname=marmoratus Marina

Sharks and red light - 11/24/03 I have a 120 gallon tank with an eel and a baby bamboo shark, I would like to put a red light in the tank hood for night viewing as I have been told most fish can not see red light and seems both these fish are nocturnal <Not sure about your inquiry here. Firstly, I would like to say that your tank is not of suitable size for this shark (or any mixture of animals together in one tank) in the long term. I would like to hear that you are planning a tank of a much larger width and length. Height is of a lesser concern.  So, about the lighting, these guys usually come from a darker area on the reef, so light is not of too much concern overall. I would think that a regular fluorescent fixture would produce enough light for viewing these animals without disturbing their natural abilities in their environment. Maybe even just an actinic would be useful. In any event, I need to ask our shark expert at the Aquarium I work at, and I will let you know. I will get the answer from a PHD'ed curator of our various shark exhibits. I just need a week or two as I don't see him all the time. If you don't hear from me by December 5th please send another inquiry directly to me.> I thought this may work, <Work?? What is not working?? Are there problems???> what is the best type of light to use (if any) and do you know if it is possible to buy fluorescent tubes in red. <Do a search or call your favorite supplier for red tubes but again, I am not sure that red lighting is really necessary here. I am relatively sure somewhere, out there, there is something that will suffice, though. Again, maybe just an actinic and or an additional 6500K NO fluorescent fixture will look good and not be invasive and overpowering. I will try to get an answer, though.> Any help would be appreciated <Just give me a little time and I will get some additional thoughts from our shark curator. Peace ~Paul > If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact me.

Housing A Shark... I was wondering if I could ask a question about my Marbled cat shark... I heard that this is one of the smallest cat sharks and only grow to a size of 24". So I'm keeping him in a 220 gallon aquarium 72Lx24Wx30H with very little rock work, just enough for my goldentail moray to swim in... Now knowing this guy is only going to get as big as the tank is wide I'll have no future problems with him will I? <To be quite honest...I would pass on this or any shark in this tank. To house an animal in a tank that it will ultimately be as long as the tank is wide is bordering on cruel and unusual! You really need a tank of much, much larger size to keep one of these animals humanely. Otherwise, it's like you being condemned to spend the rest of your life in your living room...Comfortable in a way, but intolerable over time...Enjoy these animals in the ocean, or in a public aquarium...Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Cycling my shark tank Dear Bob <IanB here tonight> Today I noticed that 2 of my damsel fish I'm using to cycle my tank were missing.  After looking around I saw that where the water comes into my powerheads the 2 fish that were missing.  They were dead of course but I noticed that there tails were stuck in it.  Do you think that the powerheads sucked in their tails in or they died then got there tails sucked in.<they probably died...and somehow got sucked up...it has happened to friends of mine that cycled their aquariums>  Also once my tank cycles I plan on getting a shark(s) for my tank.  Either a brown banded bamboo, 2 coral Catsharks, or 2 marbled Catsharks.  After doing much research (including reading Scott Michael's book) I have found that they are all nocturnal.  But with this in mind which do you think would be most active. <they are all relatively inactive.. any of the following would be a good choice...by the way what size is your aquarium? hopefully 240 gallons plus for just one...400+ for 2, Good luck, IanB> Thanks Adam Siders

A very large shark tank hi guys I could really do with some help, I have been planning on getting two black tip sharks for a tank I have been planning to setup for many years I am now approaching the time where I have the funds/room/time for the project. I am deciding between a 55,000 gallon circular display tank or a display pool. would this size be suitable for these sharks as I want to keep them for their whole lives as humanely as possible? <Umm, yes, this would do. Please take a read through our "shark" sections on WWM, starting here with an article on the Black Tip Reef Shark: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/blacktipshark.htm and going on from there reading through the various related FAQs files (in blue, at top). Bob Fenner>

- Really Big Shark Tank - Hi it's me again, <Sounds almost like a Todd Rundgren song...> sorry about the last email it was so brief and shoddy I even forgot to put my name! I'm sorry but it was late (after 4pm I get stupid). So anyway I am Emma, and I would like to commend your site it has helped me greatly whilst planning my tank. <Glad to hear.> I started planning a few years ago and have it sorted however I was wondering if you could help me the tank is 55,000 gallons would this be suitable for two black tip sharks for their whole lives and allow them to live to their full lifespan happily? <It would be, but I'm curious... you must be independently wealthy or something close to it - a tank of this size will cost at least $100,000 to $500,000 to build... the costs to run and maintain a tank of this size will be pretty high too. Are you able to keep up with such expenses for the long haul?> It is ok for size and shape (oval) I think but would it not still be stressful for them to be in the same tank which looks and is the same for their whole lives? <I think they would be alright in a tank of this size/shape.> Or would they not be aware or bothered about this? <An oval to round tank is the way to go with these fish.> I cannot find much information upon sharks intelligence so I do not know if they are easily bored, do they get bored? <Hard to say.> And would it be fair if I bred in another tank a species of fish which this animal prey on to breed so they could have live food occasionally or is this unsuitable beyond shrimps? <If you haven't already, please pick up Scott Michael's book, Aquarium Sharks and Rays. Much information for you there.> Thanks again and great site! Emma <Cheers, J -- >

Shark Tank Filters - 9/28/03 hi bob,<Phil with you today!> I was wondering what you would recommend as a quiet, effective filtration system for a marine fish (bamboo shark) aquarium 200 gallon at first.<Wet/dry for sharks, IMO.> if I was to use a setup other than a sump,<If you're keeping a shark a sump is a MUST!  A shark can bite into a heater and it wouldn't be pretty.  Get a good w/d and put it in the sump.>   what would you recommend?<w/d in a sump for sure.> would canister filters followed by a fluidized bed filter, protein skimmer, UV filter suffice? or does it sound like a totally bad idea requiring excessive cleaning of the canister filters.<With a shark you would be cleaning the canister filters a LOT... it would be a waste of time, IMO.  A good skimmer is a must.  You could get away w/o a UV, but having one just incase is always a good idea.> I do want a good system able to carry the load of such fishes.<A GREAT skimmer is a must.  Sharks are meat-eaters... and they are messy.  The skimmer will help keep them alive.  A wet/dry filter would be a much better choice over a canister filter.> regards, Lex <Good luck Lex!  Please let me know if you have more questions.  And do let us know how the sharks do in the future.  Keep notes and share with other aquarists!  Phil>

Shark Systems input Hi Mike- I enjoy reading your site! We are shark repellent researchers up here in NJ, and if you'd like to include some photos of 1000+ gallon systems, they are at: http://www.sharkdefense.com > go to "Tour". To keep costs low, we adopted those 12' Intex vinyl kiddie pools for shark research use. Circular, nonmetallic, and has sloped sides - Perfect and cheap, and a shark has never bitten through one yet. We keep 2 juvenile lemon sharks and 2 nurse sharks on hand for our micro scale testing, and then go out to the field to validate our results on larger, wild sharks. One specimen has been kept successfully for over a year now. I reasonably estimate that in the first year, we spent more time and $$$ getting the water quality and conditions right than performing actual chemical research! Best regards! Eric Stroud

The Wanna-be Shark Keeper of the Week - 8/29/03 Would a 12*12*5 tank (just over 5000 gallons) be suitable for a few Blacktips and maybe a leopard and/or nurse shark.   <nope.. and here's why: for starters, you are referring to semi-tropical, temperate and tropical species in the same tank. Pick one and stick with it. Secondly, you will want/need a cylindrical tank for their long-term health. Lets be clear here too... you might keep 2-3 of the first two species mentioned... but nurse sharks get huge... like over 10 feet (14 or so perhaps). There will be no "several" for that species here. Temperature, tank shape and adult sizes are very fundamental bits of information... if you haven't gleaned these bits yet, then you clearly have yet to begin your journey to enlightenment on the subject> Could I get away with a smaller tank?   <oh, good heavens... ahhh, depends on which species you will pick. The leopard is the smallest by mass... but will be the most expensive to keep for chilling a few thousand gallons of water. The Blacktip will be best kept single or in a pair in this case... and no... not(!) in a smaller tank (the most active swimmers)> I want to properly take care of this fish.  I realize the financial/time commitment is HUGE!   <you have no idea my friend... a couple tens of Gs at this point in the 5 year picture. A college degree would be cheaper and a much better investment for you <G>> Everything I read just says not to keep them unless you have a really large system.  Is this large enough and if so where can I find more info. Eric <your first investment should be into buying Scott Michael's book "Sharks and Rays". A great book... and as a constructive criticism, his tank minimums are too small IMO for optimal long term health. A please be realistic about your ability to keep these and any fishes.. Anthony>

Big sharks redux 9/1/03 This is the response I expected.  I am not entirely discouraged yet by your dollar figure or your tongue thrashing (which I did need for including the leopard, I knew it was a colder water fish but it was late and I wasn't thinking.)  I am aware of that book, and had already planned on purchasing it.   <very good, my friend. You will find excellent detail therein... very specific information on feeding, reproduction, species param.s, etc. Also... be sure to do a good job as a researching consumer and find and read many of the references in the bibliography. A mountain of information there - if you read it all you'd be on your way to being an expert> I have thumbed through it though.  Let me explain one thing; a lot of my ignorance on the subject is because no one (not even that book) properly tells you how to take care of them.   <you are completely mistaken... Michael's book literally spells it out in text. And the bibliography is impressive. Did you honestly even look at the book? There are tank recommendations by species! There are other resources in the index like a reference to the Elasmobranch society which you need to join and get access to even more information.> They all say unless you can commit to a tank this size, then you can't have one, then assumes no one is that stupid.   <Ahhhh... you do realize that "they" nor "I" will condone the inhumane or inadequate housing of any animal regardless of how bad you want to jam it into a smaller or more crowed tank> Well, maybe I am that dumb.   <you said it... not me> Let me narrow this down a little.  I want to keep a black tip.  Even just one.  I want to be able to properly take care of it, or not have one at all.  I really mean that!!! <OK... and I am grateful to hear it. But your last e-mail said quite clearly that you wanted several... and you wanted to know about mixing three different species. I am concerned for your future success if you are so fickle> I will not proceed until a professional like yourself sees fit.  When you say cylindrical, would a tank 20x8widex5high be better than a 12x12 tank.   <cy-lin-dri-cal> I had already planned for rounded corners, as in you faq it explains that sharks may dart, may be better if it is a glancing blow....  If there are any tankmates I can keep with the black tip, please let me know what (groupers, triggers, etc.).  Try not to make too much fun of me!!! :) Eric <Eric... you really need to read and learn much more than our casual e-mails can proffer. Its all just mental masturbation at this point and really very much the typical day-dreaming wishful shark-keepers do. In and of itself, the day-dreaming is not a bad thing at all... quite the contrary, very wonderful. But do respect our time and your chances for success and make at least a half-hearted effort at some research first. Not knowing/recalling that Leopard are temperate... or trying to talk us into blessing your non-cylindrical tank betray your youth in the endeavor, if not years in life literally. I assure you... reading through "Sharks and Rays" honestly will put much of this in perspective for you. And it is written by an enthusiast that is much more empathetic to shark-keeping by private aquarists than I am. There are many considerations for you to ponder... like the several thousand dollars per year in food alone that a 40, 60 or 100+ pound shark will need... not to mention multiplying that for more than one shark. Water changes on a 5-6K gallon tank cost $300-500 per water change (!) assuming you can buy the salt at cost and by the pallet. You really have no concept of what it will take to run this system. Do make road trips to visit at least a few public aquariums with sharks and arrange to chat with one of their aquarists on staff for insight. Peace. Anthony>

Shark Pond Hello, I would like to find out information on how to, or if possible to make a saltwater pond. My idea is to make a 15'x20'x5' pond for a Nurse shark. <I would not do this, even though you live in Florida the temperature changes drastically from the winter months to the summer months...I too live in FL>  This pond will be undercover by the roof over my patio.<ok> I live in Florida and plan to have the pond in the ground. Hoping that the ground temp. would both cool & keep the pond warm depending on the season. I also plan to have extensive water flow through out the pond. <yes, you would need this>  I have 6 -55gallon drums (plastic) in which to pack full of live rock. I'm going to flow the pond water through the barrels. I also plan to have Protein Skimmers in the mix. <yes, this is a must for this potentially large creature>  Live sand and rock will be abundant through out the pond. I also plan to rig up a float, so that as water evaporates the float will trigger my well to pump water into the pond. I plan to keep my salinity on the low side to compensate the evaporation. <I would keep the Specific gravity at 1.025>  How often do you think water changes will be necessary? <At least twice a month>  Or I'm I wasting time and allot of money!!! Any info would greatly be appreciated. Thanks in advance P.S. you people are the shizzzal.  Seth <Honestly, I think this would be a waste of both your time and money. I doubt the fish will survive the extremes (being winter and the summer months). There are also more factors involved. Such as rain water... getting in the pond etc. Pesticides, other chemicals getting into the pond and possibly killing the shark. I advise you to spend the money on something like a 500 gallon aquarium for your home... and keeping an epaulette shark or bamboo shark in the aquarium. Good Luck, IanB>

Pics of Shark Tanks - 8/20/03 hi,  <Hey!  Phil w/ ya today!>  I was interested in setting up a 300 gallon or so tank for a banded cat shark. <A good size for this shark, please note that a larger tank may be required depending on how larger the shark really gets.>   I was wondering if you guys had any pictures or links to pictures with such set ups. <Hmmm... have you tried a Google search?  Also if you haven't already.  Pick up a copy of "Sharks & Rays" by Scott Michael.  A great book, w/ pics, and tank design ideas.>   I've been looking all over the internet and have not yet found a picture of a small shark tank. <Doesn't surprise me as sharks can't be kept in small tanks.. LOL.  Most people don't have the space/cash/time to setup a shark tank.  It will cost thousands, more likely tens of thousands for a complete tank.  Get that book though, it will help ya out a lot!  Phil>

Stuff The Shark In The Aquarium... NOT - 8/20/03 Can I keep a banded shark in a 55 gal aquarium?  Will it survive but just won't have a lot of room?  <Phil handling the shark q's today.  Sorry bud, but there are no sharks that can live in a 55g aquarium for more then a few months.  A Brown-Banded Bamboo Shark needs at least a 300g tank, more likely a 400-500g tank to live its full life.  Hope this helps... keep reading and saving for a larger tank... then go for a shark!  Phil>

Under No Circumstance - Sharks for a 55 Gallon - 8/13/03 I did a lot of reading on the site and couldn't find an answer <you really need to look a little harder then my friend... there are tons of FAQs on sharks and rays in our archives and all matters pertaining to them. Even recently written articles by crew members. Start at the home page ( http://www.wetwebmedia.com ) and then click your way to wisdom... marines... cartilaginous fishes... sharks and/or rays... articles, FAQs, etc> I have a 55 gallon tank and want a shark. I realize that you need a large tank to house the true sharks but are there any sharks that can house my tank any at all that are even close to the true ones. <the elasmobranches are in a (sub)class of their own. Nothing like them comes close. And 200 gallons would be the smallest tank for an adult of the smallest species (bamboo, cat, epaulette sharks at 24-36" adults)> I just want something exotic and would greatly appreciate your advice. Thank you <there are many exotic fishes available if you have the patience and discipline to make the 55 a species specific tank (only one critter or its kind). Consider a fascinating frogfish... or perhaps a shoal of Footballers or Stripies, maybe a common (vulgaris) octopus if the tank can be chilled. More research bubba. Best regards, Anthony>

Horn shark filters 8/4/03 Hi crew, <cheers> I recently emailed you on a 280 gallon horn shark aquarium. Although I am very close to getting it, I am not good at knowing what to use as filtration/pumps. <please start by purchasing and reading Scott Michael's book on "Sharks and Rays". It's a tell all book for your interest. Info on aquaria, breeding, feeding, etc> I would very gracious if you could e-mail me  back the necessities. Thank you very much. <hoping that you do realize the Franciscan horn shark (almost certainly the one you'll buy) is a temperate species and will suffer an abbreviated lifespan in warmer water? You need a chiller and they must kept under 70FG... in fact under 65F ideally. For filtration, you will need very reliable gross mechanical filtration that is serviced regularly (weekly minimum) as well as a large bio-filter (bio-ball tower, fluidized bed or sand filter likely).> Thanks in advance, Ryan

Catsharks...  8/1/03 Bob<Phil with ya today!  I'll do my best and act like Bob though.  ;)   > Long time no email.  Need some help choosing tank mates. I have 2 female and a male Atelomycterus marmoratus in a 265 gal tank.<Wow... that's a tight fit.  Each shark needs around 180-200 gallons of water.  In this tank each shark has 88 gallons.  Not enough!!>  The sharks are all between 20 and 29 inches. the largest female is laying eggs but the male is not sexually mature) I also had a 9" blue lined snapper in the tank but he was harassed to death by the sharks @ night.<He was probably in "their" space.>  I started noticing his fins were a bit frayed about a week ago but once he got hurt the sharks went on him. Prior to this taking place I was thinking of adding few other blue lined snappers for a small school effect or a large Passer Angel. Now I am not sure. I like Lionfish but don't want to risk the Sharks getting "poked" by the Lion. Any ideas would be most appreciated. I was thinking about a school of something fast and inexpensive. Maybe Blue Chromis?<To be honest Patrick I suggest a tank upgrade.  At least 500 gallons, probably more like 600 for 3 sharks.  The females will begin to fight over time.  They need space.  Scott Michael states that Coral Catsharks are "more voracious then bamboo sharks and will attempt to eat fishes kept with them..."  Mixing other fish with this type of shark isn't a really good idea.  IMO, upgrade the tank and enjoy the wonderful sharks.  One of my all-time favorite aquarium fish.> Patrick Hynes<Best of luck!  Phil>

-Sharks- I'm a novelist and am planning on creating a special barn for the many reptiles and fishes that I collect. <Very cool!> I've always dreamed of creating a nice shark tank that will feature a couple specimens such as a lemon shark, nurse shark, and a white tip reef shark. I have a seller of a 900 gallon tank that is interested in selling to me, the tank would be 8 foot by 8 foot and about four feet deep. Would this be an okay tank to house a few sharks. <Not really, sharks are best kept in circular tanks (they don't make 3 point turns so well)> I used to own a nurse shark and up until the point I sold him, he had never outgrown the 180 he was in (that was about two years) <Likely because he couldn't move much. In the wild these guys get over 14ft long.> I have also been in contact with the local aquarium and they could always take a donation if the sharks became too large. <It's very hard to get rid of all too commonly imported sharks like nurses and white tips. This is pretty much how most people justify buying sharks even though they get far too large for most private aquariums.> Perhaps this would allow me a little more pull when it comes to what I can keep. Lastly, I was curious about other ideas for keeping large sharks once they reach a big size. Are pools, ponds, things like that a notion to examine. <Yes, a large shark pool is best! I'd pick up Scott Michaels aquarium sharks book, it describes the care of each one and gives minimum tank size recommendations. Also check out this article: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharkslvgrm.htm -Kevin>                                                                 Thanks,                                                                 any advice will help,                                                                        Wes-lee

Shark Keeping thanks a lot, the pool idea is nice, and the more I read, the more I see that the idea behind sharks is for we fish lovers to understand that they are best left in the open sea. The advice is appreciated. <I'm glad you see it this way, way too many people don't and it's very very sad. Good luck! -Kevin> Wes-lee

Sharks You didn't answer my question.  I asked how many gallons of water does a tank need to hold for me to get any of those baby fish. <Please read the materials archived on marine sharks on WWM, starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharks.htm and on to the linked files (at top, in blue) on "Shark Systems" et al. Bob Fenner>

Marble cat shark tank size 6/30/03 hi crew, <cheers, my friend> I was wondering if a marble cat shark or any bamboo shark could be about the right size shark for an aquarium of 60X20X24". <bamboo sharks are some of the few species suitable for captivity for their hardiness and relatively small adult size. Still... they get 24-30" long as an adult which is half the length of the tank and longer than the width of it! Seems cruel to a lot of people. I agree. Seek a tank at least wide enough that they can turn around comfortably in and several times their length. 200-300 gallons in this case> and if not what shark is if any. then at what age would I have to get a larger tank? any recommendations? <yes... never buy a species on the hope/promise of getting  a bigger tank someday. It rarely works out even with the best intentions. Please only buy the animal if you can afford top house it properly from the start. That said, your species selection is excellent. They are fine reef sharks for captivity in large private aquaria>                                             thanks a lot. JON <best regards, Anthony>

Bamboo Sharks        HI, I'm planning on getting a banded bamboo shark sometime soon and I was wondering if my tank is large enough? It is 60X18X20". <no it is not. this shark species grows to over 3 feet in length and will not be able to turn around in this 5 foot aquarium> I was also wondering how long it would take for a juvenile of about a foot in length to reach it's maximum adult length?<years, but if you keep a juvenile in this small aquarium he will most definitely die prematurely>                                                                    thanks <your welcome, IanB> much                                                               Jon      

- Sharks, 21 Questions - <Good evening, JasonC here...> Okay I have a question about the marble cat shark (Atelomycterus macleayi). I want to know if it does in fact really only grow to 24 inches long?? <Roughly, yes.> Also I would like to know if it is available in the pet trade business?? <Occasionally.> What temperature it requires?? <Tropical.> Is this shark also sometimes referred to as a tiger shark?? <They might be but that would be incorrect... tiger sharks are a genuine species of shark, Galeocardo cuvier. There are others, the sand tiger shark, et al... might I suggest you enter the species you are interested in into fishbase.org... a good place to get specific data on various species - certainly more that we have here, and often the resource we use to answer these types of questions.> See this website Click here: About.com : http://www.aquacon.com/prod01.htm >   Then go to rays and sharks , It is listed at the bottom of the page. <Ok.> Also how often are Arabian Bamboo Sharks found in the aquarium trade? <Never heard of this one...> How often are the Gray Bamboo Sharks found in the aquarium trade? <Ask your local fish store.> Is the Colclough's Shark (Brachaelurus colcloughi) available in the pet trade? <Perhaps, but difficult to answer with certainty... check around with companies that are likely to carry such things... http://www.themarinecenter.com > Also is the Coral Catshark (Atelomycterus marmoratus) found often in the pet trade?? <Often enough... can be obtained.> I also I would like to know if it would be cruel to keep a Epaulette shark (Hemiscyllium ocellatum) in a 260 gallon 7 X 2 X 2 foot tank?? <For an animal that tops out at three feet, I'd say yes, this is a bad tank size - not enough room to turn around.> Also would it be cruel to keep a Brown Banded Bamboo Shark in the same size tank not necessarily with the Epaulette Shark?????? <This tank is too small for any shark, even the smaller ones. Sharks don't do three-point turns, and will essentially bum-out and die in less than adequate-sized systems.> Thank you very much.   Sincerely,                                                                           Versusdude320 <My friend, I've been reading much of your communications with the WWM staff, and I've answered some of these questions myself. I can't honestly say you're going about this the right way... if you want to keep sharks, please, build the correct system - do not try to fit the shark to a tank you already have or just fits your budget. Sharks can be kept in home aquaria but it almost always is a custom endeavor and quite costly, typically in the $5,000 to $10,000 range. Anything less will compromise the health of the animal, and eventually cost you about the same amount of money. Cheers, J -- >

Bamboo/Cat sharks 5/23/03 okay I would like to know if u think it would be cruel to keep a black banded bamboo shark inside of a 260 gallon 7 X 2 X 3 foot tank.   <seems reasonable indeed and is a much better species for captivity. A true benthic reef denizen, small adult size (mostly tail for this slender group) and does not have the same needs for cool water and large cylindrical vessels as the open water species> I went to the pet store today to look at them and I wasn't sure if it would be humane to keep them like that because I wouldn't want them to be miserable.   <it will be important at maturity (2-3 foot) that it has few if any tank mates in this aquarium. Just one or two other slow, low-metab fishes would be ideal. No puffers, large angels or triggers (would nip the shark)... and no groupers (too fast stealing food). But an anglerfish or eel might be nice. Be mindful of their adult sizes too. A snowflake eel might work... handsome and small adult size (relatively speaking). Also quite hardy> please email me back and if anyone from WetWebMedia has an AOL instant messenger could u please give me the sn so I could talk to live because it would be a great help.  thank you very much. Sincerely,        VERSUSDUDE320 that is my AOL screen name to email me or to instant message me. <duly noted. Best regards, Anthony>

Shark Tank Hi ....Hope you can help us on this query. We are in the process of constructing a shark tank for a public aquarium complex here in Mauritius. <Pete and I and possibly a few others hope to visit your island and maybe Rodriquez (the Mascarenes) in late summer> The tank dimension will be (in meters) 16L x 5W x 1.5D. <I do agree with the height in terms of cost and function> We plan to have 4 viewing panels as follows:-      2 panels of ( in meters)  2.30 x 130 <cm.>                                                                         1 panel            ''           1.90 x 1.15                                                                         1 panel             ''          1. 85 x 1.16 Due to construction error viewing panels are not consistent in size. <This happens, no worries> Our questions are as follows:- 1) Should the panels be in glass or acrylic <Either will work... more dependent on availability and cost for my preference. If possible using the acrylic, I would look into a glass panel in front with a desiccant between (the glass to reduce the public scratching the viewing panel itself, the desiccant to prevent condensation> 2) We only have glass up to a thickness of 19 mm available on the island. Is 19mm thick panels sufficient or should this be laminated....i.e. 2x19mm <IMO laminated> 3) Is laminated glass safe to use and will it begin to blur or discolor with time. <If done properly s/b fine. No blurring or discoloration> 4). Most of our aquariums will made from acrylic and imported....... should we therefore stick with acrylic panels for the shark tank and if so what thickness? <It is the safest. If not too expensive I would go with acrylic... as do most all public aquaria> 5) If we go with acrylic how should this be assembled to the concrete structure...... Is silicon the answer? <Yes, nested in a continuous bead around the inside frame> Your earliest advices would be much appreciated...... my email address is  Thanking you in advance.......we will keep you informed of the progress of the public aquarium project. Mick Ducasse <Be chatting, maybe seeing you. Bob Fenner>

Shark Tank Hi Bob........ Thanks for getting back to me so quickly.....very much appreciated. Look forward to seeing you when you come over....... If it's your first visit I'll be happy to show you around the island. <Outstanding. Will contact you as plans become more solid. A friend (Peter) lived in Swaziland for 15 years... visited your country as a soccer and rugby player... he's doing the planning, leading... will cc him here> This island is a dream come true for ardent marine aquarists like myself. I hope that you don't mind me asking you just a few more questions on the proposed shark tank. <Please> 1) You state that laminated glass " if done properly" should be fine .....what exactly should I be looking for? <Having the glass manufacturing company do this> 2) Would you recommend that the laminated glass be 2x19mm. or can we use 2x12mm.for the tank size quoted? <The 2 by 19 mm at least> 3) If we decide on the acrylic route is there a minimum thickness that we should be using for the tank size. <I encourage you to greatly oversize... 1 1/2"... to allow for future scratch removal (a bane of public aquaria) and safety margin> 4) You mention that a glass panel with a desiccant between is preferred...... can these be siliconed to the acrylic. <Yes... but better to do this "gingerly" (with not much silicone) so it can be removed for future replacement> Finally and please excuse my ignorance what exactly is the desiccant and what is it made of...... I'm not sure we have it here and I may have to import it. <No worries. Some folks use calcium hydrochloride, others silicate type gels...> Thanks again for all your help ..... I'm sure I will be troubling you again from time to time with more queries. Regards, Mick <Am cc'ing a few friends in the business of public aquariums who have put together exhibits recently for their input as well. Be chatting, Bob Fenner> P.S. Do you know of the Mauritian Anemonefish.....it is endemic to this island . I hope to start a breeding program to reproduce this beauty in the near future....will keep you posted. 

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

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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