Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs about Shark Systems 6

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 3, Shark Systems 4, Shark Systems 5, 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

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
Sharks for my pond  8/13/07 Hello to Wet Web Media, <Mike> My question is what type of shark would be best to place in my 25,000 gallon pond? I live in Germany where our Winters get below freezing. <Nice pix, pond...> My pond is 40 feet long and 30 feet wide with a depth of 6 feet. At this time it is used as a swimming pool. It has no filter system and uses no chemicals. It has plants and a 6 foot waterfall which circulates the water supply. Are there any interesting freshwater sharks or would you recommend making my pond into a saltwater system and then adding saltwater sharks to it? Thank you in advance, Mike <Well... all the FW sharks are really too "tropical" to consider here... there are some cold/er water species you might consider... If interested, I would visit with folks who do livestock wholesale AND food-fish distribution for contacts with actual fishers in your country... Ask them if they might conspire with you to live-haul such animals from the sea... Information on shark transport can be found on WWM. Bob Fenner> a couple pictures are attached

Banded Cat Shark... sys.     8/8/07 I am looking into getting a banded cat shark. I would like to know everything there is to know about raising them and everything else. Also I need to know where to actually get one at. Can you help me out with this? >>>Greetings, While I don't have time to type "everything" for you, I can tell you that you need at LEAST a 180 gallon tank, and very little rock work. They are active during the evening hours. Cheers Jim<<<

Shark Tank    8/8/07 Hello everyone at Wet Web, I hope you all have been well! I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about setting up an aggressive tank for my home. A fish only with live rock set up. The tank size I have considered is 74"x36"x27" that's (LxWxH) My fiancé is very interested in having a small shark in the tank, I know this limits the variety and number of fishes I can stock in this tank considerably. I have had my mind on Epaulette sharks. With this shark in the aquarium mentioned above (311) gallons with a really built up wet dry filter system, over sized skimmer, water flow no lower than 5,500 gallons per hour in the display, live rock, and live sand would it be a good idea long term to keep it with the following fish? 1 Blonde Naso Tang 5 Yellow Tangs 12 Bimaculatus anthias (1 Male 11 Females) or perhaps one or two Heniochus acuminatus? (Rock work would be built up to the surface of the water with plenty of places for the tangs, and anthias to hide and sleep.) 1 Harlequin Tuskfish Would the Anthias be a definite problem in this scenario to you? Do you think this tank would be very over stocked? If I was to have to cut anything from the list the Anthias would be my first pick. I would love to have the shark but I really want some other fish to reside with it. I think the list mentioned above would be beautiful together but I know that beauty and compatibility are two completely different things. After seeing what I am looking for if this list would not work, do you have any fish / shark stocking suggestions for me? I am looking for a fairly laid back shark species and bright, active fish to reside with it. Are there any cleaner species you can think of that might do well with these animals? Thank you so much for your time and expertise, Brian Crenshaw >>>Greetings Brain, Jim here. I'm a bit confused as to your "aggressive tank" reference. Are you under the impression that any of the fish on your list are aggressive? You have a pretty mellow tank there. You need a large tank for one of these sharks, even the smaller species as they need swimming room. They are quite active at night, and rock work needs to be kept to a minimum, certainly not stacked to the surface. Don't be fooled by their sedentary nature during the day. A shark tank is a different tank, and you need to be prepared for this before you go and get one. While not nearly the same thing as setting up a tank for a cruising species, you still need to consider their needs in this department. They need space. The stocking rate seems OK...maybe consider 3 Yellow Tangs instead of 5 to keep things down a bit. Anthias SHOULD be OK, but a small anthias and an adult shark..... Cheers Jim<<<
Re: Jim Shark Tank2
 8/10/07 Jim, Thank you for your timely response. The tank I described to you is definitely pretty mellow. In the previous email I was going to ask about other species with a small shark however changed my mind to include some more laid back reef fish. I am trying to decide between an Epaulette Shark (Hemiscyllium ocellatum), a white spotted bamboo shark (Chiloscyllium plagiosum), and a banded cat shark (Chiloscyllium punctatum). Of the three I believe the Chiloscyllium plagiosum stays smaller, but does that make much of a difference for the animal when put into a tank 74" long by 36" wide? Should I make this aquarium 74"x 36"x 30" rather than 74"x 36"x 27" would that make a positive difference for the animals to be housed? If my calculations are correct that would make the larger of the two systems a hair under 346 gallons total with the smaller of the two systems (3" shorter) 311 gallons. The aquascaping should be centered in the tank with plenty of room for the shark to swim around it, and some ledges and caves for the shark to seek shade and protection in, but not built up high enough for the shark to have trouble swimming over it, maybe built half way to the surface then? In the previous email you said 3 yellow tangs would be better than five to keep the bio load down? So the final stocking list would be: 1 Blonde Naso Tang (Naso Elegans) 3 Yellow Tangs (Zebrasoma flavescens) 2 Heniochus acuminatus 12 Bimaculatus Anthias (1 Male 11 Females) 1 Harlequin Tuskfish and one of the sharks mentioned above. Also what size should I purchase the shark? Thank you again for your time and knowledge, Brian >>>The difference in those two tank sizes is minimal. Correct, the remark concerning the tangs was due to bio-load. You should purchase the shark as small as you can find it, as long as it's eating. Cheers Jim<<<

Saltwater Pond, for sharks  - 06/27/07 As I have said before awesome site!!!! I have been reading about everything I could find about this subject. Hope this does not turn out to be a huge email. But I am planning on in the next year or two to add on a 24 x 24 room to my house. In the process I got the idea of possibly building a cement pond and use the epoxy they use for the plywood tanks to seal it. <Mmm, do look into strengthening the joints... perhaps fiberglass cloth and resin...> I want to put a couple Smoothhounds or dogfish in there nothing else. What would be the best size for this pond? <The bigger the better... at least three times the overall likely maximum size of species you intend to keep...> I know I want to max for the fish which ethically would be the ocean. But also know I have to do somewhat of a hex/oval part without 45 degree angles. I originally was thinking 96x96x24. <Way too small> But with chilling, water changes, and humidity I am going to go unfortunately minimum. Is 72x72x24 too small of a space for a couple dogs? <Arrrr, woof woof! Yes> I would be happy with one!!!! Am I wrong in thinking that the colder water, the humidity would not be as bad as my 240 fish only or my 95 reef setup? <Yes> I might have more questions but maybe in another email if you do not mind. <Not at all> But I guess my main question am I CRAZY in this venture???? <Not> I have year or so of planning and design maybe more. Just I guess is it possible with the information I gave you. I guess the main points are the pond inside with how I am constructing it and humidity issue and the huge chiller killing me in bills. Will not be light expect for lights above room so cut down on heat and Tunzes for movement. Thanks for you time!!!!! Mace <A neat project to consider, plan around... keep gathering data! Bob Fenner>

Interested in shark...again -- 06/07/07 Hey guys, I have an extra tank that I never really set up... I got it about a year ago. The dimensions are 6 feet long by 3 feet wide and 14 inches tall. I was suppose to be a frag tank, but I don't really wanna do that anymore. I think I am just going to use my 90 for all my corals. Anyways, I have asked many people and they say a coral Catshark is suitable for life in this size tank. Do you agree? <For a period of time, yes... need a cover...> What are some tank mates I could have with it to? Oh yah I have all the equipment to, 75 gallon sump, skimmer, and lights. Which leads me to my next question...I was planning on putting corals in here so I have 3 175 watt halides, is this to much light for a shark? thanks, Chris <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/index.htm The tray, articles and FAQs files on Sharks in captivity. Bob Fenner>

Magnesium effect on algae and bamboo shark  - 05/26/07 Hello WWM crew,    <Dave>   Great site, the aquarist bible. I have 2 questions that I've been researching, that I was hoping you could help with. I have been having a problem with algae in my 100 gallon tank. Not sure if its hair algae or Bryopsis. I use RO/DI water doing water changes, 5 gallons a week. I also added a PhosBan reactor <For? You have measurable amounts of soluble phosphate? How much, from what source/s?> with Rio <I would "watch" this pump... and would NOT run with a shark present... due to ferrous/Ampullae of Lorenzini issue> 400 pushing it, about a month ago. Lighting consists of 2 150 watt halides and 4 55 watt pc's. Halides stay on for 10 hrs, pc's for 12hrs. Long story short, algae is taking over. I try not overfeed flakes or Mysis once a day, alternating between the Mysis and flake daily, for 8 fish. I was reading here:( http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=1113109&perpage=25&pagenumber=1 )   that a good prevention for algae is to boost your magnesium. <Mmm, no... not unless the proportion is off...> Any thoughts on this? Also I have a month old bamboo cat shark that is temporarily in this tank until i move him into a 300 gallon pond designed especially for him. Will the magnesium boost effect him? Thank you for all your help. Thanks Dave    <... keep reading. Bob Fenner>

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

Flow rate in Elasmobranch display; sump and refugia  3/5/07 Hey crew, <Hello.> I'm setting up a 180 gallon (temporary) shark tank <Key word being temporary.> and have a question regarding circulation. <Okay.. I have a 100 gallon sump (Rubbermaid tank) which is filled with about 60-75 gallons of water, and a mix of live rock and bio balls as media.  I also have a 55 gallon refugium and big skimmer(1500 gallon an hour) plumbed in.  I figured I would circulate the tank through the sump about 5 x an hour, does that sound right? <Yes, slightly more wouldn't be a problem but this is fine, provided there are other water-movement devices adjoining the display.> I'll also have powerheads going inside the tank for added water movement. <Mmm...as clumsy and as sensitive as sharks can be I would prefer closed loop manifold systems if you can cut it.>   What do you feel is right for the circulation through the refugium? <Depends, what is the targeted livestock (assuming it's a species of macroalgae here) in it.> I appreciate your advice. <Of course.> Thanks
<Adam J.>

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

Re: Brown banded Shark, sys., comp.     2/23/07 Hello again Mr. Fenner, <Welcome Steve> I want to thank you for your quick reply. I took your advice and visited Mazuri.com and found Vita-Zu shark/rays with potassium iodate tablets. <Ahh! Good> I will order a batch Friday, since they come in tablets I will break them in half and try to stuff them inside the silver-sides mouths. <Good plan> Should the vitamins be added once a week, or with every feeding, and should I continue to add the Vita-Chem to the water weekly? <Mmm, I would add once a week at this stage...> The shark is now eating baby octopus fragments, frozen prawn, and silver-sides. I inject the food with a small dose of Vita-Chem for now. Since purchasing the shark on Saturday his appetite has increased greatly and he is becoming a very aggressive eater( healthy appetite= healthy shark)? <Yes> He will even locate and sift food buried in the sand. I also feed the Lionfish with the Vita-Chem. I think his color is darkening and he looks fantastic. <Very nice... and if you will, just a cautionary note here re stocking Lionfishes and sharks... can be, is done with no problems, but can be "the end" of both... should the shark venture to try and consume the Lion...>                   Regarding the sump, I plan on leaving it the way it is, however I did hook up a 30 gallon refugium just below the main tank, but above the sump. The refugium has a 6" mix of crushed coral and arrogate <aragonite?> sand. I will add a bunch of sand sifting snails/stars and hope to plant  Mangrove seedlings and Caulerpa is that a good idea or not? <Is worthwhile... Do use a simple assay of nitrate/s to ascertain your water quality picture here... I would endeavor to keep these under 10 ppm... You'll find this quite a task in a very short while...> I have done some research and found they will remove phosphates, nitrates, and will boost beneficial bacteria. I will have an overflow from the main tank to the refugium then from the refugium to the sump. Do  you think this will be sufficient or do I need to add more to the refugium. <Likely much more "help" will be needed... as suggested last time, I would consider illuminating the large present sump, adding a good deal of macroalgae there, on a RDP and a deep DSB...> I would also like to know, since I have all heater/pumps in the sump, will electrical run off still affect the shark in the main tank? <Mmm... a good question... not one easy, or even possible to determine from here... as some gear in the trade is not really well electrically insulated... I doubt though that this will become an issue... as it has not already> The question regarding 1" diameter bulk head fittings providing enough flow, I read each 1" fitting will return water to the sump at a rate of 600 gallons per hour. <Mmm... only in dreams... In actuality, something like about half this is practical in most settings/arrangements> I have three fittings so I figured 600 x 3 = 1800 gallon s per hour would be sufficient water flow. <I would up-size or add to these at your next convenience>               My local pet shop called and said the Marbled cat-shark has arrived. The owner said the shark is 18" long, looks great, and is very active. I will wait to see if the shark eats before I buy him. <Good> I sent you the dimensions of my tank and you agreed it would be big enough to house the two sharks together. <Yes. I recall> I  know the sharks habits/behavior are almost the same, but will  they be aggressive towards one another? <Not likely, no> Thank You for your time and effort in answering my questions, you are with out a doubt a wealth of knowledge. Steve McGauley.
<Glad to share. Bob Fenner>


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

Tank size for Blacktip reef shark    1/10/07 Just wondering how large of a tank an adult Blacktip would need (not just "thousands of gallons" but actual range like "3000-5000 gallons").                                      Thanks for the info! < Please, please read *all* of this info! http://www.wetwebmedia.com/blktipshkfaqs.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/blacktipshark.htm -Graham T.>  

Shark Pool Calculation Error   12/27/06 I was reading the questions for July 25 and saw that Bob had answered a question about the volume of a pool that measures 12 feet diameter by 3 feet height.  He calculated the volume to be around 421 gallons.  This is incorrect as that size pool would contain nearer 2600 gallons of water.  The formula that I use is one from Martin Moe's book Marine Aquariums, Systems and Invertebrates and is (diameter^2 x 0.8 x height)/231 with all measurements in inches.  Using this formula yields a volume of 2585 gallons to the mentioned pool.  I only point this out as to help the person asking the question as this was how I created my first shark pool before I built the present system.  Thank you for your attention.  Matt Hall <Mmm... am wondering how I could have been so far off... I would take pi R squared for the surface area... and multiply this by the height/depth in feet... and use about 7.5 gallons per cubic foot... to get... 6 times 6 times 3.14 times 3... the number of cubic feet of volume, times 7.5 gallons per cubic foot... equals 2543.3 or so... Will try to find the original email and match it up with yours here. Thank you Matt. BobF> <... after taking about an hour spiffing up the six Shark Systems FAQs files... this is the closest (and undated...) item... RMF, who will ask for the URL next time...>
A pool shark Hi I would like to use my old pool to keep my 2 bamboo sharks they are only 3 months old , the size of the pool is 12 feet round x 3 feet tall, how many gal. is in this pool, <Mmm, let's see... volume for a cylinder... pi R squared times height... 12 feet diameter is 6 feet radius, multiplied times 3.12 or so for pi, this sum multiplied times the 3 feet in depth should give us the volume in cubic feet... and there are about 7.5 gallons per cubic foot. What do you get? Me, about 2,527> I live in new York, so I was thinking on my basement, do you think is a good idea. thank you, for you help, my fish tank is 200 gal. <Worth trying... though I hasten to add a few cautionary remarks. Take care (test) that the materials the pool are made of aren't toxic (the liner, metal supports if any, any circulation gear)... maybe scrub all with water and rock salt, let run for a few weeks, add a few damselfishes and see how they do... Do fashion and keep a cover on the pool, as your sharks can definitely launch themselves out if so inclined... and do rig up proper filtration, aeration and some means of preserving alkalinity, pH in this system. Bob Fenner>

Shark / ray tank   12/1/06 After some thinking, and reading (I purchased Scott Michael's book, Aquarium Sharks and Rays.),  I have made some changes to my plans for a shark tank.  I plan to keep a brown-banded bamboo shark, and maybe a more active fish with it such as a goat fish, or a smaller snapper. <Good choices> My filtration Will consist of  a 75-100 gallon sump.  First the water will enter a chamber with a skimmer rated for 350 gallons.  then the water will flow over a 5 gallon bucket full of bio balls. After moving through the skimmer and bio-balls the water will be used in a fluidized bed filter rated for 300 gallons.  there will be some baffles at the end before the return pump to calm the water, and add a location to use chemical filtration.  I will have some foam between some of the devices, and before the bio-balls. <Will need to be cleaned perhaps daily in time... and you should monitor nitrates... these will become an issue with growth>   I also plan to move the heaters to the sump. <Good>   The pump I have chosen for the return will be a Mag Drive 24. The tank will have 3 1.5" drains <Perhaps 2" ID through-puts here> in the top back of the tank. I have not decided yet if I will just use 90 degree elbows with strainers or if I will build a full length surface skimmer box in front of the drains.  I will have one sump return line on each side of the tank, with an output at the surface, and on half way down the tank wall. <With a check valve arrangement to prevent back-siphoning in the event/uality of pump power loss> This will give me 4 water jets in the tank for water to return from, leaving  only the elbows/skimmer   shelf, and the two return lines.    I have combined these new ideas from various reading on your site, Scott's book, TCMA, and a few other internet sites.  I am trying to make sure I get this planned correctly before I finish my setup.  My goal is to have a very healthy system. I am just not sure on the best method of filtration to combine in the sump that will be best for a shark, as opposed to a reef tank full of live rock, which is what I see most plans for on the internet.  I have heard simply filling with sump with live rock is not enough for potential bio-load spikes in the tank, which is why I was thinking of a large amount of bio-balls and a fluidized bed filter combined. <You are wise here... you still want to address the driving of nitrification somehow/where however> I have also come to the conclusion that a large skimmer is very important.  Do you believe this setup will give me good success with this shark? <Can... with testing, good maintenance> also, I am sorry for the badly formatted first email, I hope this is a bit easier to read/understand. Thank you for your time, Daniel <I's not i's... Bob Fenner>
Re: shark / ray tank  12/2/06
I am glad you (mostly) approve of this panned <planned?> setup, knowing your disapproval of sharks in home aquariums.  One last question would be if you have any suggestions to help with the nitrification problem. Thank you Daniel <Yes... my fave, a large refugium with a DSB, macroalgae... but there are other methodologies... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: shark / ray tank  12/3/06
Mr. Fenner,     The thought of a DSB had gone through my head, but I was under the impression that these types of filtration were slightly inadequate for use in a shark tank. <Mmm... no... and usually not in the tank itself... but located elsewhere, tied-in/plumbed together> I could very easily make a DSB in the bottom of the sump I am building, or even in the tank.  With the use of a DSB/fuge would I still need a large volume of bio-balls, or would that just cause more problems? Thank you again, Daniel <Please read on WWM (again?) re shark systems, DSB's... I would not utilize plastic bio-media in such an arrangement w/o adequate means of eliminating the consequent nitrogenous analog. Bob Fenner>

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

Brown banded bamboo shark ... health/system   11/5/06 Hi I have a Brown Banded Bamboo shark. I've had it for about 1 year and hatched it myself. <Ahh, congratulations!> The nitrates in my tank have been about 40 - 80 ppm its whole life and are at 80 ppm now. <Yikes... too high> My shark has never had <apparent> problems before and has seemed happy and healthy. I have been trying to get my nitrates to zero but have never succeeded even after doing a full water change before the shark was born (that only brought it down to 20 ppm). I have plenty of live rock in my tank which is 30 gallons. <Way too small... one, if not the largest issue here> I know that is way too small for my shark (it is about 11 inches now) and I just purchased a 125 gallon tank and it will be up and running within 2 days. Tuesday I came home from my dad's house for the first time in 5 days and went up to check on my fish. My shark looked like it hasn't been fed in a while because it had red spots on its stomach. <A bad sign...> I fed it about 2 to 3 silver sides and it ate them right away the red spots disappeared in no more than 10 minutes. Later I asked my mom if she fed it while I was gone and she said she fed it the day before about the same amount I fed it. After reading about the red spots from questions asked by other people, I have decide to do a 1/2 tank water change. <Good move> I was wondering if I should do more or less next time. <Mmm... thought you were setting up a 125...> Also what should I do if the red spots come back? <Improve the environment, improve the health... "If you can dodge a wrench..."> What kind of test kit do you recommend (I'm starting to think my current test kit isn't accurate)? <Posted...> And what kind of vitamins would be best to make sure my shark stays healthy? Thank you Brendan <Also posted... Mazuri... see WWM re. Bob Fenner>

Sharks in a 75 gallon aquarium? - Part sixty-five billion and twenty...    11/4/06 Hi! Chad here again. Just wanted to ask if there is any way possible to keep a Freycinet's Epaulette Shark in a 75 gallon tank. Dimensions: 48in L x 18in W x 24in H. <Chad, haven't we been down this road before? The majority of literature on the Hemiscyllium freycineti advises keeping it in a 180 gal. tank.  I know you claim to have read Scott Michael's articles, but let me point you back in that direction for a refresher: Mr. Michael's writes "A juvenile epaulette shark can easily be kept in a smaller aquarium, even a tank as small as the standard 20-gallon long. But the aquarist must be prepared to provide larger quarters as they grow, and they can grow fast! Juveniles may grow as much as 29 cm (11.4 in.) in a years time. At maximum size, most bamboo or epaulette sharks could be comfortably housed in a 180-gallon tank. The Hemiscyllium spp. are all found in tropical seas and will thrive at water temperatures of 22 to 29 ºC (72 to 84 ºF). Remember, at lower water temperatures your shark will grow more slowly." Taken from: http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/june2004/fish.htm So, yes, initially this shark would be OK in your 75, but you *must* be prepared to upgrade to a 180, probably sooner rather than later.  Additionally, it is worth noting that the IUCN Species Survival Commission has listed this particular species as "near threatened" - do think seriously about wanting to house this creature in potentially less than ideal conditions...> If not, is there ANY shark species that I could keep in this size tank? <In a 75 gallon tank? Let me be very clear: NO.  I know that my boyfriend Chris, who also answers queries for WWM, has already given you this answer. Thanks in advance. <You obviously enjoy these magnificent creatures...why not take up studying them in books, at public aquariums, underwater as a SCUBA diver, etc...you don't have to "own" them to enjoy them... Thanks, Chad <You're welcome.  On a final note, Chad, we don't mind answering queries - that's what we are here for, but if you do ask a question once (or even more than once, in some cases), please respect the response you've been given. Even if you don't agree with the answer itself, by all means, keep researching on your own, but don't keep asking the same folks here to change their answers, as that tends to make us crabby after time:-0  Take care, Jorie>

Converting to a Catshark Tank - 10/26/06 Greetings WWM Crew! <<Hello John!>> A little background on my situation: I have a 120 gallon fledgling reef that I started about 4-5 months ago.  It has 4-110 watt VHO bulbs(2-10k and 2-actinic), and two 250 watt 10k metal halides. And, my wife loves banded cat sharks. <<Uh-oh...gonna need a bigger tank.  Halaelurus lineatus (Lined Catshark) grows to just over two-feet...and if what you really mean is Chiloscyllium punctatum (Brownbanded bambooshark...often mislabeled by retailers as "Catshark"), these grow to four-feet in length>> My question is this: I would like to convert the 120 into a temporary shark tank until I can upgrade to a 280 gallon tank, and use my 55 gallon aquarium as my new reef setup. <<Be aware the 280 is still only suitable for the smaller of the two species mentioned.  And do try to get your shark as an egg case and hatch it out yourself>> Which of the current lights should I leave on the 120, and which should I move to the 55? <<The shark will do fine under the VHO fluorescents>> Also, what would you recommend as far as the amount of LR to use in the 120, and should I keep any plants or grass beds? <<A "stable" collection of rock at one end with some "hidey-holes", and an open patch of sand will be fine...I see no need for plants or grass>> Thank you very much in advance for taking time out to answer my question. <<You're very welcome>> You have bestowed an incredible amount of knowledge to the public and we all thank you! <<Kind words for a collective effort...>> Thanks for everything, John Tedesco

Active Sharks for a 1250? -- 10/25/06 Greetings WWM crew. <<Hello James>> I'm having a custom made shark tank built for a client.  The tank will be oval, 8' long, 6' wide, and 3.5' high. <<Neat!>> My client wants an active swimming shark, so bamboos are out. <<Mmm, but therein lies the problem.  'Active' sharks require much more space/care than this tank can provide; not for a mature animal...and your client shouldn't consider keeping anything that can't be cared for long-term >> I've been looking into spiny dogfish, smooth-hounds, and as of tonight Bonnetheads, but I have a few questions that I haven't been able to find answers to yet. <<Temperate to sub-tropical sharks, will probably require a chilled system...and even the smallest will likely grow to about 4-feet>> Firstly, which shark do you think would have the best long-term success in this tank, and what numbers (single, pair, three)? <<Um, not what you want to hear but...two, maybe three Bamboo or Coral Catsharks>> Lighting - I was thinking of three 150 watt metal halide pendants.  Do you think they would be a good choice, or too bright? <<Should be fine if they can be raised as bit (will provide nice 'glimmer lines') and rockscaping is such the sharks can reach/rest in shadow if they wish>> On a setup like this, are a UV sterilizer and ozonizer necessary components, or a waste? <<Both can be of benefit if sized/utilized properly>> Water flow - Being an oval tank, should I try to create a circular current, or would sharks prefer a more reef like/random water flow? <<I think a 'circular' current would work well...especially if it can be periodically reduced/reversed (six-hour durations)>> I was planning on using either 3600 or 2500 GPH pumps to create two closed-loop systems, and I can run them through a wave maker if needed. <<Sounds good...do have a look at 'eductors' ( http://www.aquaticeco.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/listings.categories/ssid/460) for multiplying/spreading flow>> The tank will be filtered with a very large wet/dry filter and protein skimmer. <<Might I suggest a large fluidized-bed filter in place of/in addition too the wet/dry as these are able to react very quickly to shifting bio-loads associated with these big, messy feeders>> Lastly, (for now) I've read on here several times about adding vitamins to their food, and have followed links you've given to where the answers are supposed to be, but I have yet to be able to find what kind of vitamins they should be given, or the amount. <<Mazuri "¢ Shark and Ray tabs ( http:// www.mazuri.com/Home.asp?Products=2&Opening=2) >> Thanks in advance for your help. <<Happy to assist.  Eric Russell>> Regards, James Foley Thunder Bay Aquascapes www.tbaquascapes.com
Re: Active Sharks for a 1250? -- 10/30/06
Thanks for the reply Eric. <<Quite welcome James>> I realize bamboos are the best bet, but these (spiny dogfish, smooth-hound, and Bonnethead) are about the best compromise I can come up with (unless you know of a <3' active shark?) to prevent a Blacktip reef shark from going into the tank.  Other stores in town would gladly bring in a Blacktip just for the profit. <<Then educate your client otherwise.  As important as size is in this 8' x 6' oval display, the fact your client wants an 'active' shark compounds the problem.  Active sharks require MUCH more room than bottom-dwelling or 'sedentary' sharks of the same size.  I just don't feel this tank is large enough to house an 'active' species, and that doing so will only result in a greatly foreshortened lifespan>> I'm hoping the shape and water flow will enable the shark to keep a fairly normal swimming routine (would a stronger current help with this?). <<The oval shape is definitely a bonus, and water flow should be about 2x the tank volume or so>> I did read on your site about a 15' cylinder tank with strong flow that had a Blacktip I believe, that allowed it to swim fairly comfortably. <<Mmm, but the diameter of the cylinder is nearly twice the length of the long-side on your system...big difference>> It was also mentioned on here that Bonnetheads often max out at around 3' in an aquarium, which will hopefully be the case.  I intend to try to get in a male to keep it even smaller. <<Though this species may well be the best choice of the three mentioned, the issue here is the 'activeness' of the shark in this system.  Even at three-feet, an active species is going to prove 'too big' I think>> I've taken a look at the eductors, and will probably try them out.  I'll also look into a fluidized filter.  Any recommendations on manufacturers for them? <<Hmm...finding one 'large enough' may prove difficult.  Look at the Pentair Rainbow Lifegard FB-900.  The design of this filter should allow several to be easily plumbed in tandem to create a filter large enough to support the system>> Another question I have is regarding substrate.  I prefer deep sand beds for my reef aquariums, but am unsure of which way to go on a shark tank.  Deep or shallow? <<Many sharks are diggers, a shallow substrate of crushed coral (1mm-3mm) may be better than a DSB in the display.  Perhaps you can locate a DSB of sugar-fine aragonite in a separate vessel plumbed to the system?>> Regards, James Foley Thunder Bay Aquascapes www.tbaquascapes.com <<Cheers, Eric Russell>>

Black tip Reef Shark 10/16/06 Hi. How long could I keep a Black tip Reef Shark in a 265 gallon aquarium that measures 7ft L x 2ft W x 2ft H? Thanks <For the 4 to 6 week quarantine period, and that's about it.> <Chris>

Suitable Shark(s) for the Home Aquarium? 10/10/2006 Hello again. I have been doing research on the Speckled Epaulette and the Freycinet's Epaulette Sharks and have found that they reach a maximum length slightly smaller than the other choices of sharks that I have questioned (besides the Catsharks). What size tank would you recommend for these shark species and where could I buy them (if the right specimen for a tank of this capacity)? Many thanks, <Chad, I have no direct experience in this realm, but have a very high regard for Mr. Scott W. Michael - do see here for more information: http://www.reeftectonics.com/shark_keeping.htm Chad <Jorie>

Suitable Shark(s) for the Home Aquarium? Follow-up - 10/10/06 I have purchased Scott W. Michael's book on Aquarium: Sharks and Rays and have found it quite informative. That is where I receive all of my knowledge on sharks , and also , I have found that this website is just as informative as the book! My question is what size aquarium could I comfortably contain one of the mentioned sharks. Thanks, Chad <Most reputable info. says *at least* 250 gal.  Please also see here for more info: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharkslvgrm.htm Jorie>

Shark Tank...Not To Be - 10/06/06 Hey Eric, Chad here again. <<Hey There Chad!>> Was emailing to tell you that I am now getting a 265 gallon aquarium and was wondering if I could still keep a Brownbanded Bamboo Shark in it and maybe a few fish also. <<Bummer dude...the 1200 gallon "oval" would have been so cool.  I'm afraid I'm of the opinion the 265 will be ultimately too small/the wrong shape for this 40" creature.  Best to turn your attentions to a new direction/a different species interest I think>> Thanks, Chad <<Regards, EricR>>

Re: SHARK QUESTIONS!! Sys., Heterodontids   10/2/06 Ah yes. Thanks! I have another question though!! I have a powerhead on this system to add a little movement. Should i remove it? <Possibly> Also I have a titanium ground probe to remove stray voltage from my aquarium but before I added it on i tried it on a tank with no fish (the tank am cycling) and when i touched the water it sort or gave me a little feeling of electricity!! <What? I would have this water/system tested... Make sure all electrified gear goes through a GFCI. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/gfcimarines.htm> Is that supposed to happen or am i not supposed to be able to feel it? <Assuredly not... Deadly dangerous> I removed it immediately and haven't used it since then!! would this harm my shark or help it? <Harm> i don't want to add any voltage or electricity to my water for good reason and concern of my beautiful prized shark!! Also I have a friend who is interested in a Port Jackson! He has a very large tank and can house it!! What information or tips can you give me so I can correctly advise him? Thanks again!! <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/portjacksons.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Need Help With Bamboo Shark - 09/26/06 I have a 60 gallon salt water aquarium.  Up until 2 days ago the only thing in it was a clown fish around 2 and a half inches who lives in my sea anemone. <<Nothing wrong with keeping it this way...>> My tank is running great, I'm happy to have so much growth inside, mushroom corals, bubble algae, feather dusters, sponge corals and a few things that I'm unsure of the names thrive in my live rock. <<A great hobby, eh?>> Ok I'm sure you must hear this all the time, I have a friend who bought a banded bamboo shark (around 10 inches I would say) and she only has a 30 gallon tank. <<Uggghhhh!  If the LFS where she bought the shark knew this........!!!>> Right away I said "why did you do that?" "it's going to die in there" well, she figured out about 2 days later that she didn't want it and came to me. <<...?  Why not return it to the LFS?>> I told her no because I knew there wasn't enough room in my aquarium for a shark. <<Indeed>> But like she said it's better off in mine then hers until I can find someone else to take it <<Mmm...semantics...>> (I work in a pet store so I'm sure I can find a better home for him). <<Is there a suitable tank at the pet store to house this animal until then?>> I'm curious about their behavior, hopefully you can help. <<I shall try...but you will likely find more info with a keyword Google search re on our site/the NET>> I want to know that I'm doing what I can to keep it alive.  He seems to want out, he goes to the top of the tank and looks like he's trying to find a way out. (it makes me really sad to watch it)  Also it scratches on the rocks and sand.  Is that normal? <<Under these circumstances, maybe...signs of a healthy animal/environment, no.  There is something in this environment that is irritating this creature...could be water quality...could be stray voltage/magnetic field from a "leaking" powerhead or some other electronic device.  Do read through our "shark system" FAQs for clues...you can start here (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharksystems.htm) and do also follow the linked files above>> There are no signs of ich.  I watched it turn upside down and scratch its back in the sand. <<Not necessarily a "parasitic" reaction>> I'm no expert on behavior, do you think that is normal? <<Nope>> Also, how much food they need at one sitting? (Is feeding him every 2 days ok? and how much?) <<Offer a small amount of marine based meaty food daily (shrimp, squid, fish flesh), and do have a good read here (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharkfeedingfaqs.htm)>> For my last question, how well do they see?  Some times it runs in to the rocks and glass of my tank. <<Mmm, environmental again...does this shark have anywhere to get away from the bright lights of a reef tank?>> Thanks so much, I only want to help <<Understood, but this animal needs a more suitable system...and soon.  In the meantime, do avail yourself of the plethora of information on these amazing creatures posted on our site>> -Liz <<Regards, EricR>>

Re: Need Help With Bamboo Shark - 09/28/06 Well, I work at PETCO; there isn't a tank large enough or really safe enough to hold him. <<Okay>> Also I'm worried about returning it to the store, because they will only resell it to another unsuspecting customer who will kill it. My friend said it was housed in an aquarium way smaller than my 60 gallon with around 10 other banded bamboo sharks. <<Mmm...>> It really is a bad idea for it to go back there.  I'm going to turn off my power heads, and see if his behavior improves (I have 3 in my tank for the coral).  Yes he can escape the light quite easily, and has dug several holes under my live rock to hide. <<Ah, good!>> I moved all the live rock to the center so that the shark could swim around. <<Excellent>> Thank you for your help, I'm going to visit a fish store tomorrow that I think may be a good choice for a permanent home for him. -Liz <<Good luck with your quest.  EricR>>

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
Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: