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FAQs about Shark Systems 1

Related Articles: Sharks, Cartilaginous Fishes, Coldwater Sharks, Leopard Sharks, Port Jackson Sharks, Blacktip Reef SharkNurse 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 2, Shark Systems 3, 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, Large Marine AquariumsMoving Sharks

Other livestock must be compatible... will very likely get "banged" by shark/s.

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

Thinking about a shark tank 8/6/05 I am going to be moving soon, and my parents agreed to let me put in a half way built into the wall L-shaped tank in my new room (that I'm building with the help of my dad, whose an engineer).  The dimension will roughly be 6' long on the built into the wall part and around 8' long on the part not built into the wall, 1' wide throughout the hole aquarium and 3-4' tall.  Its still being worked out so the #'s aren't exact, but that puts it at around 290-390 gallons, if I calculated it correctly.  It's always kinda been a dream of mine to have a shark, and this seems like it would be enough room to house a coral Catshark.  Now I know that they spend most of there time on the bottom, so a shorter-wider tank would suite it better, but i just don't have the space.  I might be able to make it close to a foot wider, but I'm not sure. < Well the difference between 12 inches wide and even 18 inches wide is a lot.  I'd consider as wide as possible. > What I plan to do is build up the back wall with live and non-live rock, and make several ledges large ledges for the shark to go on.  I will secure the rock with fishing string and aquarium safe epoxy so as to make sure the shark doesn't knock anything over. < This would still worry me.  I think the rocks will always tumble no matter what you do. > The biggest problem, however, is the fact that my father doesn't want me to get a shark.  < Okay, well that is something I can't really advise on, but makes a huge difference. > So I plan to put several other fish in it until i can convince him to let me have a shark.  When I get the shark though, I still want to keep the same fish in the aquarium, but I've had some poor luck in finding out what fish i can keep with my shark. < Larger fish; tangs, angelfish, wrasse. > If you could tell me some fish that I could keep with my shark it would be deeply appreciated.  Also if you know of any other sharks that might be well suited for this set-up, please let me know. < Please read through Scott Michael's Sharks and Rays book.  That has far more info than I can provide. > Thanks for the help. -Ryan Olsen <  Blundell  >

Shark lighting question Steven, Thanks for the quick reply.  <Anthony Calfo in your service today> Yet another quick question. Exactly how sensitive are bamboo sharks to light?  <they naturally feed at night and hatched juveniles will not feed for a month or more in daylight in captivity. Best fed with lights off for some weeks if and until they acclimate> I am in the process of ordering my tank, and currently it just has two 72' fluorescent bulbs. I am asking because, I am unable to find any 72' red bulbs, and would like to avoid this at all costs. If maybe I got an extremely low power bulb, or maybe only used on bulb (at night) would this at all effect the animals sleep pattern? Or do you just recommend maybe getting a hood with 3 or 4 bulb sockets, and using one red if I can find one) at night?  <not that big of a concern. A double bulb standard daylight fixture will be fine. Another single bulb red light for night viewing would be cool as well. For red, there are colored plastic sleeves for fluorescent lamps or you could just buy an incandescent "party" colored bulb> Are there any other colors its not sensitive to? I have my heart set on a brown banded bamboo, as they are so incredible but are there any other species that are not as sensitive to light, or not nocturnal?  <most if not all of the smallest bamboo, cat, epaulette species feed at night when crustaceans are active...yummy> I am a night person, so it should go hand in hand, but I would enjoy being able to see it awake. Also, would the light from my room also contribute to this? Do I need my room to be completely dark at night as well?  <again...they are not at all so sensitive... just don't get too crazy with extreme bright or darkness> I have two very low power desk lamps that I use at night, and the room itself is quite dark, aside maybe from the TV. Thanks-- Bob Benson- <do run enough daylight lamps to enjoy the sight of the creature...even if it is sleeping by day. Research on sexing them (it is easy)...perhaps you can buy a pair with the hopes of breeding later. Search for articles on the Web to this effect> P.S. just curious, does 1 foot at 6 months to one year sound about right for bamboo's? <sounds to be in the ballpark... Anthony>

Re: Water Quality, Bonnethead Shark Thanks for the reply. As I say, the water quality is good - not pristine -but pretty close (this morning pH: 8.1, ammonia: 0, nitrite: 0, nitrate: 15 mg/l, phosphate: 0.2 mg/l). I didn?t know anyone made an iodine test until you mentioned it. It will be interesting to view the results. <Yes> One follow-up question. Regarding the ?shark effect?. This has me concerned. <To be clear/er, what I mean is both the psychological effect of having a large potential predator in your living space, AND the overall physiological effects of its metabolism> The shark is extremely well behaved, except at feeding time (where he swims very rapidly and splashes around). Usually, the fish ignore the shark (e.g. the shark often swims up to/into the other big fish as he?s a fairly oblivious swimmer, then swerves around them.). However the angel will, at times, run away and hide in the live rock - especially when the shark is being hyperactive at feeding times. <Good idea don't you think?> Also, when there?s food in the water, the shark has been known to bump and/or follow a fish until he realizes they aren?t food. Sometimes the angel will even lie sideways under a rock overhang. So there?s some good evidence to your concern. <Yes, and theirs> The shark is about 18? long at 2.5 years of age (theoretically having reached maturity at 2). <Mmm, no. Please see FishBase.org re Sphyrna tiburo... this fish does, will get longer if it lives... up to about five feet in the wild... about three in your system... and live for more years> The angel is about 4? long and I?d guestimate between 6-9 months old. Will the ?shark effect? diminish as the angel grows in relation to the shark? <To some extent, yes> Scott Michael lists the lifespan of a Bonnethead at 5 years, so I don?t see him getting too much longer (although his girth continues to increase - he?s up to a solid 6 goodly sized cocktail shrimp/3 days). The angel is a pig and is growing rapidly; very bold, good color, often hand feeding. <Do diversify its diet> Other than the shark and angel, there?s only 1 other big? fish in there - a 3.5? yellow tang. Small fish include 3 Fijian blue devil damsels, a magenta Pseudochromis and a 6-line wrasse. Other than starfish, snails and a cleaner shrimp, that?s it. Any suggestions for reducing potential ?shark effect??  <Skimming, water changes, carbon use, the tying in of a substantial refugium with live rock, lighting (alternating with main system), "mud", many pieces of gear... ozonizer, desiccator for same... more physical break-up (likely more, large rock, nooks, crannies in the main system> I might by able to add some more live rock creating more and larger hiding caves as a start. I?m still working on my master plan to upgrade to the Euro Reef skimmer (retrofitting the stand is proving to be quite the challenge). This should bump up the pH and increase Redox (but otherwise, there?s not too much room for improvement in water quality). Also, this renovation will increase system water turnover from just under 5 to 6 times/hour, and I know the angel will like that. I should have it ready in another month or two. <All good changes, improvements. Bob Fenner>

Block and other construction methods for basement shark system Hello Bob, I was thinking about building a block pond in my basement I just have a few questions about it. If its already on a concrete base in my basement do I need any thing under it or do I just need to make sure that its all even? <It is very likely even (planar) enough... and strong> Do I need a liner inside or no I'm not really sure because I can't get this part of your site to open but I have crappy internet service. <Please tell which "part" (name of file) this is... so I can check to see if there is a difficulty on this end)> Well the size pond I am planning is only going to be 7 ft by 7ft on each side and only 3 ft deep. <Three feet... not likely all the way of water... maybe more like up to thirty inches in water depth. If your ground doesn't shake much (unlike ours here in Southern California) you can get by w/o a liner.> Do you think this filtration would work a 75 gallon sump and a euro reef protein skimmer plus some other pumps and power heads inside for more circulation. The only fish I want are 2 cat sharks probably 1 epaulette and 1 coral cat shark also would a port Jackson shark work with these smaller ones or would they be eaten. <Could all be housed together... given being about the same size... and stipulated the Port Jackson was a tropical species (not the Southern California Heterodontus francisci... a cool/coldwater animal). There is a need for good biological and mechanical filtration with these animals... And you might want to instead (if you can get it down there in the basement) a possibility of buying a gel-coated fiberglass tank of size (that you could retrofit a viewing panel, or buy one with... or even assemble a wood, fiberglass and resin tank of about this size (I'd size it to fit back out an opening to the basement...) instead of block and mortar.> Then I would just have one adult Angel fish and 3 or 4 other misc. fish that wouldn't be no bigger than a foot or a foot and a half? Last Question is my porcupine puffer has been having problems eating he looks hungry and even goes forward trying to bite the food but cant get his mouth on it just cant really tell because he is only around 2-3 inches.  <Please read through the puffer FAQs pages on our WetWebMedia.com site here. This is a serious condition that is quite common.> Sorry for so many questions but there's a lot of info I cant find Thanks for all the help you have given me in the past. <Be chatting, planning and building my friend. Bob Fenner>

Coral Catshark... intelligent Q's hi there, <greetings...Anthony Calfo in your service> I came across your website this evening while doing a little research into shark and ray keeping. I recently bought a one hundred gallon long Plexi tank from a friend who had kept it as a shark and ray tank...  <Really a tank only suited for one specimen of either and limited by species small enough> but the more vie read the more it seems that NO shark species seen in the pet trade would be happy in a hundred gallon tank. is this true?  <very true if you are a responsible aquarist planning for the long term> could I keep a coral Catshark in a hundred gallon long if it were the only shark in the tank?  <for a good while if bought small and it was the only FISH in the tank... grow to 3 feet long... will eventually outgrow the tank> if I could, are there other types of fish that can be kept with it, or would it just eat them? <nope... more into eating crustaceans...but the tank would still be heading down a bad path if you put anything beyond the shark in it... just not kind or responsible. If you admire sharks...please treat it with respect. A six foot tall person would not want to live his whole life in a 10 ' X 4' wide room. And sharks have larger natural wild home ranged than most people do <wink>> also, are there any ray species that can be kept in a hundred gallon tank? when I ask that, I mean for their whole lives.  <thank you for the intelligent and long-sighted answer. I say no...there are not> I work in a pet store and I see a lot of people who come in wanting to trade fish when they outgrow the tank- my thoughts are, why get the fish if you know you aren't going to be able to keep it?  <agreed...lacks respect for the sea life that they claim to admire!> I would like to ensure that whatever species I get set up in this system are going to be happy there for the rest of their lives. I live in a smallish pad so I probably don't have room to upgrade to a larger tank. >honestly... cat sharks are mostly tail and rather lazy... just the shark in the 100 gallon would fly for a very long time> thanks for your time, ~Mixie <with kind regards, Anthony>

Little Tank of Horror (sharks?!?) What's up guys, I have a question to add to your list. I am currently upgrading from a 55 gal. tank ( 48 x 12 x 24 ) to a 125 gal. tank ( 72 x 18 x 22 ) with two prefilters drilled, a Rio 4100 pump, a 150 gal. wet/dry, a protein skimmer rated for 150 gal. ( I saw one in my LFS but can't remember the brand ) & two 72 inch VHO lamps. I plan to have 80 lbs. of live sand & a few live rocks in the center - but otherwise pretty barren so the sharks can have as much room as possible. I was contemplating on getting 2 Sleeper Gobies (Valenciennea strigata ), or 2 Yellow Head Jawfish ( Opistognathus aurifrons ) & a Reef Lobster (Enoplometopus daumi ). I want to know what's the best tankmates for sharks? I currently have 2 Leopard sharks, a Horn shark (Heterodontus francisci ), a Whitespotted Bamboo shark, & a Brownbanded Bamboo shark all about 1 foot in length. I figure the lobster would have to be 1/3 the length of my sharks. What's your opinion on worthy tankmates & some cleaner - uppers? By the way Love the site!! <Adrian...let me first say that I appreciate the fact that you made contact in search of information at all. And that any imperative tone in my reply that follows is in no way disrespectful, but rather disbelief. Indeed. When I read the query... I thought at first it was joke. But is seems that the questions and reality of the tank are quite serious. Frankly... I am horrified that someone sold you any ONE of the above mentioned sharks let alone five for 55 gallon tank (or a three hundred gallon for that matter)!!! I'm disappointed that you didn't have the slightest inclination at any point that putting five one foot sharks into your tank was not even possible let alone ethical. You do need help with your tank, my friend, and your charges that you admire so well are in very grave danger even in the soon to be upgraded 125 gallon tank. To answer your question... none of the fish or lobster will be compatible with these sharks in any sized tank short of a swimming pool. The smallest shark species you have mentioned (the bamboos) still attain a feet of 3 feet in length. The leopards are recorded at nine(!) feet in length and are sure to reach at least six. Keeping any one of these sharks in a 55 gallon tank is cruel. You need to find aquaria to donate or sell these fish to or build an extraordinary pool. Else, they will all be dead in your 125 gallon tank within a year for various reasons if not months... you can be as sure of that as the sun will rise. Please forgive me if I sound accusatory or at least critical. But I am very upset. You have been poorly advised and to some extent let yourself be so. As aquarists we must properly research an animal before we take it into our care to give the miracle of life its proper respect. You clearly need more information about shark husbandry. If we as aquarists do not manage our resources responsibly... we run the risk of having the privilege to do so legislated away from us. Your sharks suffering and dying in a cramped tank serves no purpose. Please, my friend...take heed. Anthony Calfo>

Shark Question Hi, I'm a 16 year old who has been bitten by the "shark bug" and I'm now looking into purchasing one. I already have a beautiful 55 gallon reef setup and that has been going strong now for about a year and a half. I'm now looking into sharks as I've always been intrigued by them. I have a few questions for you. I would like to get either a Brown Banded Bamboo Shark or the Coral Catshark (Atelomycterus marmoratus). I've heard that the Coral Catshark stays about a foot or two smaller than the Brownbanded Bamboo Shark and reaches an adult size of about 24-28 inches which seems like a better choice to me since I'm going to be raising it in a 75 gallon tank, which brings me to my next question. How long can I keep a Coral Catshark in a 75 until it needs larger? <Mmm, well... depends on the starting size, careful (low) feeding, appropriate temperature... maybe a year> I plan on getting a 200 gallon tank sometime in the future to move the shark into if necessary. Or is a 75 ok for one Coral Catshark?  <Only for short term> Also, do you know if Coral Catshark eggs are ever available? <Some are sold as such... some species of Scyliorhinids are ovoviviparous...> I could get my LFS to special order me one if they are available. If you could help me by answering these questions I would greatly appreciate it, I've e-mailed several other people and have gotten no responses. Thank you <Please do read over the articles, FAQs files on WWM re cartilaginous fishes, here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/MarInd6of6.htm and avail yourself of Scott Michael's latest work on these fishes. Bob Fenner>
Re: Shark Question
Ok, so I will need to get something bigger than a 75 as I was expecting. But, is the 200 gallon that I was thinking about getting for one Coral Catshark not necessary for this one fish as it will be the only inhabitant of the tank? Could I go with something smaller and still have a healthy thriving fish? It's always nice to save money and if I could go smaller than a 200 it would save money. So, what do you think is the best sized tank for one Coral Catshark? <This is about the smallest size, shape system I would have this (up to 70cm. species in... less than three times, or one width of this species maximum size... How large a physical system would you be happy in? Bob Fenner>
Re: Shark Question
What is the best type of substrate for Coral Catsharks or Brownbanded Bamboos in your opinion? <Please read over the cartilaginous fishes sections on WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

Wobbegongs I wish to get a Wobbegong in a few years. How big of a tank would be good for a Wobbegong forever, I was thinking 800 g. <A good size> Are there any other fish/sharks I could put in with the Wobbegong it wouldn't eat (triggers, lions, large angels, etc.).  <Carpet sharks will try to eat most any/all fishes given hunger... faster, smarter species would be worth trying (not Lionfishes)> Wobbegongs are also found in tropical waters, correct? 75-80 a good temperature range for them?  <Most species are tropical> What kind of fish would they prefer to eat? <Mmm, cut fish, or small, softer-boned (like silversides) fishes whole are fine... Do read through the Shark materials posted on our site, starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharks.htm and the FAQs files linked beyond, and get, read Scott Michael's latest re-doing of his shark and ray book (for aquariums). Bob Fenner>

Shark Tank Construction Hello, Do you know where you can purchase glass for building fish tanks? <Yes... your local suppliers, cutters> Do they have any web sites? Do you think a place like Lowe's or something like that would have it? <Mmm, look at the Yellow Pages, directories in your town... inspect real aquarium manufacturers websites... how big a tank are you considering? Is just normal glass okay? Let's get specific. Bob Fenner>
Re: Shark Tank Construction
Hello, Yes this glass is going to build a tank that will sit on the ground almost like a glass pool for sharks and big fish would this be possible? <Mmm, yes... make sure and do what you can to assure the base is level and flat/planar... and place plywood and foam between the ground and glass...> I was thinking about just getting some glass to build a smaller tank as my sump and make sure that it doesn't leak then try to build the big one what do you say? <A good idea. The Shark "Pool" though... I would look into other materials... gel-coated fiberglass (there are containers pre-made by a few folks here... some with ready "viewing panels"), even the larger polyethylene "troughs" made by Rubbermaid (these are really neat, inexpensive, easy to retrofit with plumbing...) or substantial "kiddie wading pools" of various makes...> Also I got a question about my queen angel its only using one of its gills and really fast on the one and the other one is not being used at all have you ever seen this before or is this just normal? <This happens... may be nothing. I would not over-react> What is lymphocytes that you state on the queen angel FAQs? <Please use the Google Search tool there. This is a viral complication: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lymphfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>
Re: Shark Tank Construction
Thanks for the quick reply I was thinking about the Rubbermaid idea but I wouldn't be able to get it into my basement that's why I was thinking about the glass. If I did the glass how thick would it need to be?  <At least three quarter inch... and you'll need a frame/bracing...> The dimensions will be 42 inches tall about 10 feet long and 4 feet deep. What is a good brand of caulk or sealant for this that actually has a long hold? <100% silicone/Silastic is what public aquariums, large tank manufacturers use... I would make this system out of block instead... much cheaper, less likely to have problems with leaking... Bob Fenner>

Horn shark keeping Hi I am writing to you in regard to keeping horn shark. I have been keeping horn sharks, Catshark and bamboo sharks for years. I have found keeping them is very easy to do. I live in Chicago south suburbs. I have kept my horn shark for years and had no problem related to temperature. My tank is kept between 77-80 at all times.  <Do you know what/which species of Horn Shark you're keeping?> I have been feeding him fresh shrimp from the store. I house my sharks in 135 gallon tank with four different types of wrasses. I keep tank my cool family room with oceanic reef filter and a sea clone protein skimmer. <A small skimmer for such a large tank, big/messy feeders> My water changes done every two to four months depending on water test results.  <This is a long interval.> I have also kept fresh water fish in my other tanks for long as fifteen years. I brought books on sharks and accumulated a large library of information on them. I hope there are more successful people out there. <Me too> Yours Truly, Mel Hardwick <Thank you for your input. Will post with the Sharks FAQs on our site, and to an article covering the family (Heterodontidae) to be written. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>
Re: Horn shark keeping
Dear Bob; I am sorry I didn't tell you that the shark I have is a California horn shark.  <No worries... Heterodontus francisci is the most popular/commonly used species by far> I live in area with a great deal pet stores. To those who are looking for a great deal of information try Barnes and Noble books or on the net fishbase.org. I thank you for taking the time to respond to my email. The secret to my success is keep my prefilters clean on a weekly basis.  <Ah! A good practice with such large fishes> Second is to feed my shark just enough, not leaving no waste at the bottom of the tank. <Again, a very valid point> My shark eats every 2 to 3 days. A lot of information I attain from friends at sea world on line and the shed aquarium. I enjoy your website. I help a lot of friends and co workers get start with fresh water or marine fish. I like to let those who are looking for good pet stores in Chicago or southwest suburbs. Starting with Alsip Nursery-Frankford IL 815-469-1044,Capture Of The Sea Orland Park IL 708-444-7614, For Shark and Stingrays Falling Waters 708-478-7663 and Scott's Pets 31st wolf road Westcher IL. All these pet stores have excellent prices and livestock. Most have a very experience staff on hand.  <Great!> I hope I helped someone become a better fish keeper. Remember the fish best fish keeper are the people every time you go to there home they have the same fishes and not lots of different fish in the tank? Thank You Mel H. <Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

Big Small Shark Stocking Plans Hello, I was wandering can you have an epaulette and port Jackson shark in a 500 gallon? <Likely so.> and are Portjacksons fish eaters <Like all members of their family, Heterodontidae ("different teeth"), they eat both fishes and hard-shelled invertebrates...> if so how big would the fish have to be for them to be not interested in eating? <Small, slow, unaware enough to either fit in their mouths or a good piece therein> How big would the Portjacksons get in a setup like this with the epaulette and 4 other big fish that would include a honeycomb grouper stars and stripes puffer, queen angel and other big angel? <About thirty inches> Do you see any problems in this stocking list? <Hmm, just a need for big filtration, aeration, circulation. Bob Fenner>

Help for the big tank guy <Heterodontus> Hello again Bob, I have written you in the past about my large systems, 800 gallon angelfish, 500 gallon reef. Now that my house has finally finished all of the cleanup and we're fully settled my tanks finally are too. <Must be a relief!> I sold the contents of my 800 gallon angelfish, most of which funded my 400 gallon office show tank filled with Fathead Anthias, about 22 and Green Chromis about 30 or so, really a spectacular tank especially on a reef setting. <Neat... and all the Sunburst/Fatheads get along?> The Boston Aquarium was generous enough to accept my 16 inch emperor. In return I was hooked up with a deal from a neighboring fish farmer with a 1 1/2 foot horn shark. I put him in the 800 in a cold water setting with very little rock work except for a large cave at one end, mostly large beds of kelp-like grasses to provide a san Francisco bay type setting. The shark seems to be thriving and what I thought would be the biggest eye sore is non existent, him laying on the bottom like in the those undersized nurse shark tanks. Obviously being a Horn Shark he still does this but he is a very active swimmer. He eats well and enjoys the occasional urchin which gets very interesting.  <Hmm, yes... I have a pic of a Heterodontus francisci swimming about in Scott Michael's new Shark and Ray book... am quite familiar with this species> What kind of things should I mix into his diet to ensure a long life?  <Most anything will do... the name "hetero" and "don't" point up the fact that these small temperate and tropical sharks can/do eat hard-bodied organisms... like the urchins you mentioned, clams, crustaceans... as well as fish...> He thrives in the cold water but how cold is too cold?  <Below 50 F. or so. But I would keep mine at nearer 70 F. so you don't go broke chilling water, and your shark will move about more at this elevated temperature.> Its been a pleasure to do this project the right way, the fish has lots of swimming room and it really looks great. The 500 is taking on full life, it turns the corner of my living room into the hall and is longer then wider, more so than usual. I have added a lot of water flow on the branched off section that's in the hall (about 100 gallons of room there) to accommodate my final additions, 3 Jewel Tangs, (Acanthurus guttatus), thanks to the Marine Center. <Wow, have rarely seen this species kept... just not offered in the trade... congratulations> Its kinda like a surge zone with only the hardiest of my corals. Its a pretty cool effect. The Semilarvatus B'flys are growing nicely, all three are now about 6 inches. The Sohal has also maxed out at about 9 inches now. Most of the little fish have been removed except for the occasional cleaner wrasse, I think I still have two, and a group of Catalina Gobies that have really done better than expected in their own little territory near the far glass against a rock wall. What other requirements do the Jewel tangs have? <About the same as the Naso lituratus... lots of room, rock, greenery to eat, water movement> They seem to be healthy after a month of quarantine (I was extra cautious be it I never used e-fish purchasing before. They only feed really well on Nori right now though. What else do they eat? <Mostly green, brown, red algae, but will eventually take most all foods> The Majestic Angel was also removed after he suddenly went violent on my corals. Any reason for this? <Just happens at times> Thanks for all the help, you've contributed a good deal to helping my tanks get to the way they are at this point, nice and steady. Kev <Outstanding. Glad to have helped. Bob Fenner>

Horn Shark Update Hey Bob welcome back! Two months after purchase the Horn Shark I put in my 800 gallon tank is doing way better than expected. The little guy is still about 1'6" still, which is a good size he looks really small in the tank so I know he's got room. How big should I expect him to grow? I figured about 3-4' at most at least that's what I have been reading. <Yes, but likely two and a half foot maximum in your care> Probably less than that though in a captive situation right? Any way he has not been to fond of the lights which are reef intensity from my previous tanks. I lowered the amounts of light considerably, however he continued to hide in the giant cave I built for him in the far left of the tank. I visually reduced the size of the tank by adding a removable panel that matches the wall. This way he can have privacy and when I need to awe some viewers I can take it off and show the entire tank. This has been a great success as he now spends most of his time fishing through the sand or swimming open water. The teeth I can see when I look close appear to be purplish. Is this from the occasional urchin I feed him?  <Likely, yes> I'm guessing so, I usually feed him mostly muscles and shrimps and once a week an urchin but lately he's been getting spoiled more like 4 urchins per week. Its hard to tell just how he is getting at the soft body inside he does it so fast its mostly a cloud of sand. Any help on how he pulls this off?  <Crushing in mouth, inhaling most all that is edible, blowing rest by gill slits, otherwise passing through spiral intestine...> The water temp now is about 60 which is just about right I think. He had some sort of a corrosion on his tail fin when I got him however it has disappeared and the tail is fully grown again. Any other help/ info on this guy would be appreciated. Thanks Again! <You likely know more than I... should write a husbandry article on this groups (heterodontids) captive care, your experiences, speculations. Bob Fenner>

265 Gallon Setup Bob, I hope all is well with you. Wanted to get your advice on what types of filters, skimmer, U.V sterilizer to purchase for a 265 gallon tank I will be setting up shortly. <These are all posted on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com> I know I'll need a wet dry. <Hmm, no.> I want to get one large enough to house the heater. Would a few whisper 5 hang on the back of the tank filters and some powerheads for water movement suffice?  <No> It will be a fish only tank with a bamboo shark, ward's Wobbie, and a few compatible fish. I figure I will want to get the best possible skimmer because I am looking to do the least amount of water changes as possible( the price of sea salt adds up). Also, are there any large angels or triggers that wouldn't bother the sharks if they were smaller than the sharks and placed in the tank last? Thanks for your help. <Yes> PS. I did inquire about the Ward's Wobbegong at the Marine Center and they will alert me when they get them in. <All sounds good... now hit the WWM site... Bob Fenner>

Shark Tank Substrate Question Dr. Bob, <No doctorate puhlease> Been thinking about changing strategies regarding how I setup my sand bed to best facilitate detritus consumption and general water quality support for a 500 gallon tank whose primary occupant is a Bonnethead shark. <A few ways to go here... as you likely know> Currently, sand is sugar-sized aragonite, from 1? - 2? in depth. General maintenance is provided be two 3? goatfish, 5 sand-sifting stars, 2 small queen conchs, a couple of Mexican turbo snails, about 25 Nassarius (sp?) <Nassarius> snails, a few bristle worms and assorted tiny stuff. I was thinking about increasing sand bed depth and trying to propagate critters to create a live sand bed. Stuff like Mysis shrimp, Gammarus shrimp, miniature brittle stars, more bristle worms, orange spaghetti worms and micro stars.  <Sounds neat> Also, I?d greatly increase the number of Nassarius (or however you spell it) snails. Of course, if I wanted to propagate these critters in sufficient numbers, I?d probably have to eliminate the goatfish and reduce the number of sand-sifting stars. What do you think? Which way would you go? Am I O.K. as is, or would the extra expense of creating and seeding a more fully ?live? sand bed pay off? J.D. Hill <I wouldn't spend any money on seeding this substrate... the live rock will do this completely. Bob Fenner>
Re: Shark Tank Substrate Question
But would you: 1) Leave the sand depth as is or go deeper? <As is> 2) Pull out some of the rampaging goatfish and sand-sifting stars temporarily to let the critters get better established, or leave everything alone? <Leave as is> Also, are you familiar with a reddish brown shrimp like creature that grows to a length of about 3/8"? Any guesses? <A reddish-brown shrimp-like creature, small. Bob Fenner> J.D. Hill
Re: Shark Tank Substrate Question
Not to be confused with the dreaded reddish-brown shrimp-like extra small, I hope?? <You're cracking me up this AM... Can't quite make out what it is from where I'm keying here... but likely a crustacean to be eaten soon. Bob Fenner> J.D. Hill
Re: Shark Tank Substrate Question
.and any more responses like this and I WILL be deleting the "Dr." honorific! You're cracking me up!! <Oh, oh... we're starting to use the same expressions... Soon be wearing similar clothes. Hope you don't mind tees and shorts. Bob F> J.D.

Lighting (a shark tank) Bob, Me again (included the old thread, to refresh your memory about inhabitants and equipment). As predicted, your book has prompted a question. Reading your section on lighting... Currently, I have two 65-watt actinics, two 65-watt Smart Lamps (Custom Sealife) and two 175-watt metal halides. When assembling the tank, I built a custom hood and used a 60" Custom Sealife metal halide retrofit kit, which included the 2 actinics, the metal halide lamps, ballasts and a metal reflector. On that unit, I screwed on the two additional Smart Lamps. All are set on timers as follows: 1. Ambient light enters the room from a large window about 20' away. No direct light, but it wakes the fish up around 7:30 in the summer and 9:00 in the winter. Also algae grows a bit better on the side that faces the window -- not much, but a little. 2. Actinic lights turn on from noon to 9:30 p.m. 3. Smart Lamps (combo actinic/full spectrum white) from 10:30 to 8:30 4. Metal Halide #1 (easternmost) from 1 to 5 5. Metal Halide #2 (westernmost) from 2 to 6 <So far, I'm with you> First of all, any suggested improvements to this regimen (other than you believe it a bit much for the shark, but there is a concentration of live rock dead center of the tank that needs light)? <Should be no trouble> But the main question from reading your book is: Do I need a UV screen? <No... the book is "out of date" with current technology. UV screens no longer needed for aquarium MH lamps> Right now, the lights are shining inside the canopy with no UV screen (the canopy acts as the fixture for the lights). The tank is completely covered with 3/8" acrylic (or more where there are cross members), except for the occasional 2" diameter air hole. No heat worries as the lamps are well ventilated (highest daytime temperature inside the canopy with all lights on is 95 degrees). Water is kept cool by a chiller (turns on at 73.7 and cools down to 72). P.S. I'd like to send you a check for the postage on the draft copy of Aquarium Sharks & Rays, but I lost your address. <No worries. A few dollars will not break me... I hope!> P.S.S. My REAL copy of Aquarium Sharks and Rays will be here Monday. For everyone on the site, barnesandnoble.com has it IN STOCK! Ships in 2 days. <Ah, great. Thanks for this news. Will post> P.S.S.S. Have taken your advice and increased water circulation to 6x/hour, which is as high as I can go without adding powerheads in the tanks, which I'm hesitant to do, as I don't want anything else in there for the shark to run into. <Sounds good> Once again, thanks for everything!! J.D. Hill <You're welcome. Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Shark Pool Hello bob, Hope all is well for you I just got my 500 gallon swimming pool and I am going to use my 125 gallon for the sump do you know of a protein skimmer that is efficient for this tank? <Yes... either the EuroReef, or ETSS lines... large> How many watts of U.V. sterilizer would be sufficient because I only have a 15 watt Aquanetics but I know this is way to small. <Depends on flow rate, stock/ing, what you want it to do... a few hundred watts to be much in the way of effective...> The sump is going to be setup like the ecosystem style filtration because I know the ones you buy already made from ecosystem are very expensive so I am going to make my own. Now for my stocking plan I was thinking the fish that are already in my 125 stars and stripes puffer, honeycomb grouper and leopard shark but I am trading that for the epaulette shark I would like to add a blue line angel fish Chaetodontoplus septin... a clarion or Chrysurus angel what ever my LFS has first and probably one more epaulette and marbled cat shark and I think that would be all does this sound like to much or just about because most fish will be started small under 6 inches besides the ones I already have and the sharks will be about 12" if anything doesn't sound right here please let me know because I will be setting it up in about 2 months or so and thanks for all your help and time you have given me Pam Reinsmith <Will you have a viewing panel built into the side? Do place, keep a net/screen on top to keep the sharks from jumping out (this does happen). Bob Fenner>

Stegostoma fasciatum Hi, What are the ideal aquarium conditions for Stegostoma fasciatum?  <Hmm, very large quarters... thousands of gallons...> By this I mean tank size, shape, filtration, food, temperature etc. I do not wish to keep this type of shark, not until I have learned more about it anyway. <Roundish shape... eats well in captivity... a darling of many public aquariums...> I am studying to be an elasmobranchologist and I want this information as I am curious to why more are not kept in public aquaria and for a project I am doing. Also is a specific license required to provide homes for sharks in the UK? <Don't know... would contact the public aquariums there and TMC: http://wetwebmedia.com/tmcpropc.htm  Also, please peruse the pieces on the WWM site re doing bibliographic work: http://wetwebmedia.com/litsrchart.htm Be chatting for sure. Bob Fenner> Thank you M. Shepherd

Shark tank Dr. Bob, For some reason, I didn?t get your response directly regarding the lobster, but I DID see it on WetWeb, so I wanted to follow-up as you raised some concerns. First, the lobster is going back to the store. Thanks. <Really? About the msg... very strange... As you might assume, I send them back to the addr. which they came> Yes, he?s a 2-yr. old male Bonnethead. About 18? long. Hand (e.g. tongs) fed. Much better behaved than the blue Fijians or yellow tang. Photo attached. <Hmm... and a good looking gal to boot! For size comparison only> Tank was newly built specifically to house the Bonnethead. Total capacity is actually around 600 gallons, but I built the overflow low to accommodate the shark?s dorsal fin. Therefore, net water volume is closer to 500 gallons (at least it took 10 50-gallon boxes of salt to get the specific gravity to 1.022. <I'll bet... nice tank> In lieu of Scott Michael?s book (which still is unavailable by the way), <I have my copy... and can/will send you the draft copy if you'd like... this work should hit the markets like now!> I researched everything I could find (you will see several of your past suggestions from different sources following) to make this home ideal until such a time as his size would necessitate moving him into a pond. Here?s everything I?ve done. Please comment on any ways you can see to improve. <Okay> 500 gallons (net) of water, and the tank has rounded (bull nose) ends - like an oval racetrack. Since the shark usually swims the perimeter, the overflow is dead center. Again, the overflow is set low, so there is 3.5? to 4? of airspace between the water?s surface and the tank?s top cross-members. Substrate is 1.5? - 2? deep sugar-sized aragonite sand. Just enough live rock for the fish to hang out in. There are two filtration paths. In filtration path #1, the overflow drains through enough bio-ball type media as is rated for 1,000 gallons. Next the water passes into an ?Eco-wheel? (www.aquaticengineers.com) which is basically an industrial grade skimmer/turf scrubber that uses macro algae on a rotating wheel, continually lit from above. <Know of them... nice units, though pricey> So far, it has maintained both nitrates and phosphates at 0 or barely detectable levels. From here, the water is pumped through a chiller at 400gph (just over optimal water speed for the chiller) and back into the tank. The cool water sprays back across the surface of the water (My idea was that convection would cause the cool water to sink. But more significantly, the cool top layer of water would mediate the heat generated by the tank lights, maintaining an overall more consistent tank temperature). Tank stays at 73 degrees, plus/minus a degree or two. Filtration path #2 pulls from two mid-water drains into a 1600gph pump. From here the water splits, each path going through a 25-micron pleated cartridge, a liter of activated carbon, and a canister of ceramic bio media (basically 2 of the systems pictured) before recombining to go through a 45-watt UV. From there, the water is returned to the tank via 2 oscillating spray nozzles. The current from the 2 oscillating returns is strong enough to hit the side walls, flow to the bottom, and build ?sand dunes? on the tank floor. So in addition to keeping the floor maintained, it would be nice to find something that would help flatten the sand. I rake it weekly, but the granules are so fine that they get suspended in the water, slurped into the canisters and trapped by the 25-micron cartridges. So do I have ample filtration but need more circulation, or do I need more of both? I feel that if I increase the circulation much more, I?ll have aragonite soup! <I would raise the amount of circulation here... by a few times... discharged as to cause a vortex for the shark to swim against> Lighting is 2 175W halides, 2 65W actinics, and 2 65W Custom Sealife Smartlamps. <These are fine... a bit bright for the shark, but will do> Other than ideas on how I can improve this setup, answering the flow-rate questions, and heckling me about the irresponsibility of spending more on my shark?s home than my car... <Yikes. But am not a fan of auto-expense> Any additional suggestions for keeping the sand groomed and cleaned up of debris? Will the goatfish work all by himself? <Yes, get a small group> I have two small queen conchs and about a dozen itty bitty narcissus (sp?) snails in there now. No crabs. How about sand sifting stars or an orange Fromia star to help flatten out the dunes? <Some Archaster would be nice. Be chatting, Bob Fenner> J.D. Hill
Re: Shark tank
Saw/bought your book (TCMA) at our local pet shop this weekend. So hopefully, although you shouldn't expect fewer questions, perhaps you'll receive better informed ones. <Well-stated> Yes, very fond of fine specimens... Aquatic or otherwise. <Me too> If convenient (i.e. You have it in electronic form), I would greatly, hugely appreciate the opportunity to review the draft of Aquarium Sharks and Rays. But only if it's not too much trouble. <Hmm, have a draft copy (black and white, pages) and a bound finished... it's now in print... no electronic> Yes, the Ecowheel was a monster expense... But so are 100 gallon monthly water changes. Now, I'm only doing water changes every 3rd month to replace trace elements. Is this practice O.K. in your opinion?  <We'll soon see... should be... along with skimming> I DO change carbon and filter cartridges on a monthly basis. Other than eliminating nitrates and phosphates, which were previously a constant struggle to deal with, the other great benefit of the wheel is that it occasionally releases pieces of macro algae that my tang greedily jumps on. Since goatfish appear to eat anything they can get their mouths around, I'm thinking about getting small ones(s). Can you recommend number or goatfish and Archaster sp. stars for my tank? <Three of the smaller Goatfish species/individuals... and five or so Archaster> Thanks again, and looking forward to delving into your book. Looks tremendous from initial skim through! J.D. Hill <Yes, lots of good help putting these together. Bob Fenner>
Re: Shark tank
Looked all over the world again for Aquarium Sharks & Rays. Nothing yet. So I'd like to take you up on your offer to send the draft copy... But I'd really like to pay you for the trouble. I, like everyone else who has discovered www.wetwebmedia.com, feels so fortunate to have you as a resource. I don't want to abuse the privilege. J.D. Hill <No worries... though am sure you will be going out for the real thing once it surfaces... very nice pix, printing, binding. Address to send the draft to? Bob Fenner>
Re: Shark tank
Yes. Have already placed my order through buy.com (they're the only people who would take my order without actually having any in stock). But it's nice to know that I'm first on the ship list. Also, have had a bid for a used copy through Amazon.com, but fat chance of that ever coming about. <Yikes... am not a fan (big or otherwise) of Jeff.B's "model"> J.D. Hill Dallas, TX 75219 <On its way> I owe you big. If you're ever down this way... You name it. Dinner, drinks, tour of the aquarium, whatever. Flower Gardens are only a 3hr drive and a boat ride away. Can't thank you enough for this and everything else. J.D. Hill <Hmm, almost worth driving down to see you. TX is my fave country w/in the US (not joking at all). Be seeing you. Bob Fenner>

Skimmer Selection, crowded Tangs, warm water cool-water shark Hello Bob, Hope all is well I would like to know if you can help me out here first by guiding me to a good skimmer for my tank what is about the most efficient for big messy eating fish my tank is 125 gallons? <The EuroReef if you're investing... though a Turboflotor will do> Do you think this new filter setup sounds like enough for my tank I will have 2 over flows that will come down to my 55 gallon sump then go through the U.V sterilizer <The UV should be the last item to be passed through... on the waters return to the main/display system> and protein skimmer is there any thing else I should ad to that I'm not sure what else to use? Will this be efficient enough for my 7 inch stars and stripes puffer 8 inch leopard shark and 3 inch honeycomb grouper <Do add a bunch of carbonaceous material somewhere here... these fishes are going to drive your pH, alkalinity down with their advanced growth...> and after I get my sump running and everything I would like to add a tang possibly a Sohal, Achilles, or orange shoulder tang which would you rate the best for my tank?  <All this going into a 125? No room... as far as suitability period, the Sohal, then olivaceus, last the Achilles> I know how you say the leopard shark is a cool water species but my LFS says every time they get them in they are in warm water <Define "warm"... most all are collected in waters that rarely go to seventy degrees F.... most in the fifties and sixties Fahrenheit... Research this elsewhere... Plug "Triakis semifasciata" or just Leopard Shark into... fishbase.org, elsewhere... this is a subtropical animal, living between 45 and 20 degrees North latitude. That's a fact, Jack.> and they live long every time so is it that if they acclimate good and long they will do better I'm not sure but I don't see no problems with mine and he eats good. Sorry for the so long message but just wanted to make sure I got everything and thanks for any info you can give me. Pam Reinsmith <Good luck to you my friend. Believe what you will till experience changes your mind. This shark lives for more than 24 years in the wild, almost never 24 days in tropical tanks. Bob Fenner>

Leopard shark habitat Hey Mr. Fenner! I really enjoy the information you have to give about all species of sharks.  <Wait till you see Scott Michael's new book on the group...> I have a 125 gallon (about 6X2X2 feet) set-up with nothing but live rock and sand. I would like to add a Leopard shark. I live in the basement of a house and the water temp. stays at 65 degrees year round. Would this set-up be alright for a leopard shark? <Only temporarily for a small specimen... and then not very "humane"... A Triakis will be very unhappy in such a size, shape tank, being able to only turn around in one direction in a short while, for a short while... Study this species from afar, visit it in Public Aquariums, perhaps the wild... maybe try a Bamboo or Epaulette Shark or even small Catshark species..., or even hatch one from an egg instead. Bob Fenner>

Humongous facilities and mucho care (Shark system) I've read everything I can find online on the topic of keeping sharks in a home aquarium. Virtually all of the material recommends bamboo sharks, epaulettes, and true Catsharks. I'm aware that these recommendations are made for a reason. Several reasons, actually. One key reason being that since they spend a lot of time sitting around, the aquarium space requirements are lessened. <Yes> Ah, but I want a swimmer... a black tip reef shark in particular. I've seen several photos and read about stores and homes with 750 to 1000 gallon rectangular systems housing one or two reefs. That's not to say that what they're doing is right, and that's why I'm asking you. Is a 1000 gallon system (octo- or hexagonal and emphasis on width and depth rather than height) adequate for a black tip reef shark?  <For a period of time when/while it is small... more oval, larger volume is better, longer lasting functionally> I'm guessing that by the time the shark got to be around 3 feet in length (how long might that take?), <A year or so> it would start getting tight as he would be "constantly turning". I'll spin the question around another way: what size tank would keep a Blacktip happy? <Very large... swimming pool size> Depending on how the answer to that question goes, I'll have a series of follow-up questions. I'll go ahead and ask them now. :) <Ah, good> Assuming a black tip is a possibility: - What would the ideal tank setup be? In their natural setting, their favorite activity is swimming around the reef shallows and picking up dead injured fish from the reef corals. Every time I've seen black tips in public aquariums, they've been in the "reef environment" tank rather than the plain-bottomed, featureless "big shark" tank. Putting a reef environment in a relatively small 1000 gallon tank seems like a waste of space, though. Would a plain sandy-bottom approach be best, or does this shark require a reef environment to be happy? <Hmm, Carcharhinus melanopterus are found over both bottoms... was just swimming with a very nice/affable group of juveniles this last week off the shore of Pulau Redang, Malaysia> - If the shark will require more than 1000 gallons, I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to investigate alternate aquarium construction than 100% acrylic to keep in budget. I've read on your FAQ page that some people keep a pond-like rubber/plastic liner setup with a sturdy frame.  <Yes, very workable... reasonably priced.>  Perhaps some structure in which one or two walls could be transparent (expensive), and the rest could be opaque (cheap) could prove to cust costs enough. Do you have any recommendations for such "alternative" aquarium construction methods and materials? I'm aware that metal (including rebar in cement) is not an option. <Acrylic (even glass) viewing panels can be worked into liner (and other structural components outside) and fiberglass/resin tanks (Got to find Ed Rewald's e-address... use your search engine here)> - What water temperature is best for black tips? The only information I've been able to find is people's scuba diving reports, a-la "The water was about 80 degrees, and there were black tips everywhere". That seems like a way-too-hot temperature measure to me. What's the optimal temp? <IMO mid seventies to keep their metabolism in check, increase gas solubility... though this species can/does live in water to the mid eighties F.> - For variety, should I throw 2 or 3 fish in there? What type of fish would be best for leaving the shark alone but also not being eaten? I have my ideas, but I'll shut up and let you answer the question this time. :) <Too big a list here... I would look into "cleaner uppers" that are on to what sharks are, fast enough to avoid becoming easy meals... and interesting co-schoolers... Maybe Rabbitfishes, some damsels... look into "biotopic" possibilities... species that live in the same habitats, geographies. Easy to do with "coffee table" type travelogue books> - To supplement the "bonsai" method of feeding, would it be wise to deliberately start with a smaller tank? <Not really> Assuming a black tip is plain out-of-the-question: - Are there any other "swimmers" that might work? If so, all of the questions I asked about setup and companionship for a black tip would apply for this other shark species. <The Blacktip is about the best choice here... one of the few regularly collected species that might fit the bill> Sorry to ask such a huge set of questions. Thank you very much for your time! <Good to ask as many, and for as much detail as you can use. No worries. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>
Re: humongous facilities and mucho care and ad: http://www.redewald.com/industrial.html to links>
First of all, thanks for the reply! I really appreciate the info, and the fact that you took my inquiry seriously. I want to do this thing right, or not at all. <I appreciate your interest and sincerity> > I'll spin the question around another way: what size tank would keep a Blacktip happy? > <Very large... swimming pool size> Very interesting... this brings up all kinds of new questions. Pools vary in size quite dramatically, so I'll ask you to be more specific. Would a 15x24 or 15x30 foot oval "tank" be adequate or overkill?  <About right... 20-30k gallons...> How deep should this tank be? At 4 feet deep, I guess we'd be talking around 12000 gallons, and 24000 for 8 feet. That's quite a lot of boxes of "Instant Ocean" sea salt! :) <Yes> My next question is probably better suited for a general contractor: can a typical slab foundation support this kind of weight? <A Class II of sufficient depth yes... a good 4" slab over sand/gravel...> This has gone from the kind of tank where you "reach in" to the kind of tank where you "dive in" for maintenance. This seems like the biggest problem to me. When I kept marine tanks, I had to mess with stuff in the water quite frequently, and yank out uneaten food before it fouled the water, etc. I guess with well-designed filtration and drainage systems, this would be minimized. But I wonder if I should buy a chain mail wetsuit just in case. Yikes. <A good question, but I wouldn't be that concerned... just keep your eye on the sharks, allow them space when working in the system> > <Hmm, Carcharhinus melanopterus are found over both bottoms... was just swimming with a very nice/affable group of juveniles this last week off the shore of Pulau Redang, Malaysia> How cool! I'd love the opportunity to swim with 'em in the wild one day. <Easily done... commonly encountered in many places in the Pacific and Indian Oceans> > - If the shark will require more than 1000 gallons, I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to investigate alternate aquarium construction than 100% acrylic to keep in budget. I've read on your FAQ page that some people keep a pond-like rubber/plastic liner setup with a sturdy frame. > <Yes, very workable... reasonably priced.> Sounds very interesting. Upon your mention of "pool-sized", I did some research. :) Above-ground pool construction looks like it might be very cost effective as well, assuming that the supports are made from something other than metal. And they even come in shark-pleasing oval and circle shapes. <Yes> > <Acrylic (even glass) viewing panels can be worked into liner (and other structural components outside) and fiberglass/resin tanks (Got to find Ed  Red Ewald's e-address... use your search engine here)> I was unable to find his name with Google or people.yahoo.com. I'll try more searching later. <http://www.redewald.com/industrial.html, sorry for not looking for myself the first time> > <IMO mid seventies to keep their metabolism in check, increase gas solubility... though this species can/does live in water to the mid eighties  F.> Perfect! > <Too big a list here... I would look into "cleaner uppers" that are on to > what sharks are, fast enough to avoid becoming easy meals... and interesting co-schoolers... Maybe Rabbitfishes, some damsels... look into "biotopic"  possibilities... species that live in the same habitats, geographies. Easy to do with "coffee table" type travelogue books> With such a large tank, doing a "biotopic" would be incredibly cool. Perfect idea... thanks! Once again, I really appreciate the information! Thanks, Jeff <Anytime my friend. Bob Fenner>

Sharks <Pam, Lorenzo Gonzalez, responding for Bob-in-Indonesia> Hello, I got a question about adding a new fish to my tank My tank is 125 gallons I have about 150 pounds of live rock 2 in. deep sand bed for filtration I have a emperor 400 and a Skilter 400 also 2 maxi jet 1200 power heads for circulation.  <That's grossly under-filtered. oh. well, maybe not for just one small puffer.> The only fish in the tank now is a stars and stripes puffer I would like to add an epaulette shark about 12 inches and my puffer is about five will this work out okay with just these 2 fish I might maybe add 1 more down the road a little ways but not for a while and definitely before I get the shark I will get a big protein skimmer besides the Skilter and about another 100 pounds of live rock.  <If you're quite set on a shark, (how 'bout a trigger, grouper or lionfish instead?) - I'd forgo all the extra live rock in favor of a much, MUCH more powerful filtration system, maybe a big Eheim canister, one of the wet/dry models, as well as a powerful skimmer. A leopard (you mention one below) will need mucho 'cruising space'.> If this will not work can you tell me what else I need to get for my tank? 1 more question the epaulette shark is 260 dollars is that to much <Too much for me - but sounds pretty typical.> but it has been there for 4 months and is eating great also if I should not get the epaulette would I be able to get a real small leopard because the LFS also has 1 of them but it is smaller than my puffer so I don't know if that would be good.  <With all that rock, the leopard would probably be able to stay out of the puffer's way. But less than 5 inches is awfully small to be buying. And keep in mind that both of these sharks will WAY outgrow your 125 gallon tank in a year or two - the 12-inch epaulette even sooner.  -Regards, Lorenzo>

More shark questions  Ran across your FAQs on the WetWebMedia site and am highly impressed and profoundly grateful. It's hard to get unbiased information regarding elasmobranchs (btw, if you?re friends with the publisher of Aquarium Sharks & Rays, please smack those people for me and tell them to get busy!).  <I am... indeed... and have... on repeated occasions... I was their/our industry rep... very slow to get works in print, the markets... painful for them/us, the industry, writers,  photographers... the "end-users".> Couple of questions from reading your shark article. You mention that vitamin supplementation is highly recommended. I feed my shark a basic diet of shrimp and squid and supplement with frozen cubes (shark cubes, Spirulina algae, herbivore, etc.) for variety and to get some green stuff? into his diet. He greedily eats whatever I provide, so can you recommend specific vitamin supplements to ensure he?s getting the nutrition he needs? <I would soak these foods with a liquid prep. like Selcon, Zoecon, Microvit, ahead of offering... if the animal/s are small (under three feet in length) and "sneak in" tablet types in their larger food items if they are more than 3 feet in length> Regarding electromagnetic fields, I don?t have any pumps in the water itself, but I do have several HEFTY pumps underneath the tank (enclosed in a wooden tank stand), which circulate water through canister filters and return water from the sump. For that matter, what about chillers, they have pretty big motors? <Can be problematical depending on the vicinity of ferrous metals... but likely not a problem if you haven't experienced difficulties to date> I also have oscillating water returns (www.sea-swirl.com) that are electrically powered. The units themselves are mounted on top of the tank on the acrylic cross members, but the outlet tubes are in the water, just below water level. Should I fear any interference problems with my guy?s ampullae of Lorenzini? <Likely not much as stated above... the motors to the last are embedded in epoxy> Lastly, in addition to moderating the shark?s food intake (I feed to satiation once every 3 days), I regulate his metabolism by keeping the water cool (72-73 degrees) for a tropical shark. Is the concept of regulating metabolism by temperature valid, or is that just another fish story? I picked up in my readings somewhere?  <This is valid, useful> I will say that just by observation, he seemed to be hungrier on feeding days when my chiller was down for maintenance. <Yes... in Biology, the Q-10 factor... doubling of metabolic rate with every increase of ten  degrees C...>> Thanks again for your wonderful advice and commitment to the hobby. J.D. Hill <A pleasure and honor my friend. Bob Fenner>

55 gallon shark aquarium? I was wondering if a 55 gallon aquarium would be large enough for a Hornshark or a banded shark, possibly if raised from an egg to try and keep its size down?  <Only for a very small individual for a few months> Or would they really need a bigger aquarium for when they mature in size? -Evan Glisson <You are correct... a much larger system as it would grow... along with sufficient filtration/aeration/circulation. Please read through the "Shark" and "Cartilaginous Fishes" sections, FAQs posted on our website: www.WetWebMedia.com for more. Bob Fenner>

Sharks of course! Quick Shark Question: Is there any shark that could thrive in a tall hex tank 75 gallons?  <Thrive? No... these systems are generally two feet panel to panel in width... and the sharks sold in the aquarium interest more than two feet in length ultimately...> or is this a futile thought that would force me to have to place the shark elsewhere?  <Yes... the animal would be unhappy, unhealthy in such a system.> I haven't the energy, funds, etc for a larger system and was just curious? <Visit them in aquariums, books, the occasional dive adventure vacation... > Thank you for your time! Marie <Please read over our site: www.WetWebMedia.com on cartilaginous fishes, particularly the "Shark" section and FAQs... Scott Michael's new Shark and Ray book will be out soon... be looking for it. Bob Fenner>

Shark aquarium setup advice... Dear Mr. Fenner, Sometime in the near future I plan on purchasing a saltwater aquarium setup. I want to setup up a community fish tank, but I am also interested in purchasing a shark. I have read that keeping a shark is a truly difficult task <Pardon the interruption... Not difficult, though all things seem difficult at first... but keeping cartilaginous fishes requires study and dedication... large systems that are well circulated, filtered, maintained... Many people seem to have the desire to house such wondrous creatures, but lack the concomitant commitment to provide their necessary care.> and I don't plan on raising one until I get enough knowledge on the shark and enough experience with aquariums. I was hoping if I could get some input from you about the setup I plan on purchasing. <Certainly my friend> I plan on purchasing an acrylic aquarium with dimensions of 84"x24"x24". First off, is this large enough? <For very small species for a "couple" of years, yes> The filtration system I plan on purchasing is going to be a combination of a couple of different systems. First the water will leave the tank via an over-flow  <Make sure and provide some surface skimming, and mid-water intake as well> and then go to a wet/dry trickle filter. The water will then be pumped into a separate modular filter system where it will be mechanically filtered, chemically filtered, heated, and U/V sterilized. The final step before going back into the aquarium will be a trip through a fluidized bed filter. I wanted to know if this setup was too much or too little. <As standard components/elements it should be fine... What will you do with metabolite build up? Perhaps a large transit sump with a deep sand bed, perhaps a hypoxic plenum... with compact fluorescent lighting, Caulerpa algae under continuous culture... Look at the very large Rubbermaid "troughs" or the poly "totes" used in the trade for sumps/stands for a suitable container here> My final question on the tank setup is about the actual water pump. Aquariums that house sharks cannot have any metal in it because the electro-magnetic field drives the shark crazy.  <Yes, very often a problem... with metal anywhere in contact with their system water... even in National Public Aquariums...> The water pump has metal parts in it; will this cause a problem with the shark? <Not all do... ask your dealers to show you your choices in pumps with thermoplastic volutes, ceramic or plastic impellers... There are several makes, models to choose from. I would shy away from magnetic drives here... much better efficiency and you can use the flow of a fractional horsepower direct drive type.> The shark that I was looking to get was the Brown Banded Bamboo shark (Chiloscyllium punctatum). The reasons I choose this shark were its size and its availability in its egg stage. Different sources state that it grows up to three feet and others say five feet. Could you please tell me what its maximum length is?  <About thirty nine inches... according to FishBase... in the wild... about two feet maximum in captivity> The reason I plan on purchasing it as an egg is because I don't want a shark taken from the ocean and then be put into an aquarium. <This is a shark taken from the wild... a pre-hatched juvenile shark> Another question on the shark is its behavior. I have read that it is a bottom-feeding shark and that it spends most of its time resting on the bottom of the aquarium like the horn shark. Is this information true? <Yes, the predominant pose is "just lying there"... most of the time> I know the water salinity has to be relatively high, at 1.025.  <And consistent... good idea to get another of those totes I mentioned and pre-mix and store new water> What other water parameters have to be met, such as Ph and temperature. Also, what type of lighting should I have and how powerful should it be? <Lighting more for your preference... lower intensity than most folks use... a couple of watts per gallon of CF should be fine. pH 8.2-8.3... keep your eye on this, easy to slip with keeping large, messy eaters. Temperature, mid to high seventies F> This is my final question; it is on caring for the egg. When I purchase the egg, should it be given a fresh water bath and then be transferred to a quarantine tank. Will this damage the egg in anyway? <No dip necessary, but not damaging> Any advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time. Robert Miele <Do look for the references listed on the www.WetWebMedia.com site for cartilaginous fishes, and more recent works. Bob Fenner>
Re: Shark aquarium setup advice...
Dear Mr. Fenner, Thank you very much for all of your help. One final question for now, can you recommend any good books that I can read on raising and caring for aquarium sharks particularly the brown banded bamboo shark (Chiloscyllium punctatum). Thanks again. <There is one, Scott Michael's ray and shark book... but it's hard to find... and about to be supplanted by a re-do by the new TFH/Microcosm... I think you can see the cover on Amazon.com, but it's still not available, and I have no faith in an opinion of when it might be (am friends with the owner/editor James Lawrence... was their trade sales rep. for their first few years... but they never printed, released, or shipped anything on time...). What I would do is look up and read all the pet-fish citations you can find on shark husbandry, and copy off the "How to Search the Literature" part on the www.WetWebMedia.com site and get on over to a large/college library, have a reference librarian show you how to search the literature (like BIOSIS, The Zoological Record) for works you can get your hands on that seem practical... read over their bibliographies and try to get your hands on those works as well. Bob Fenner> Robert Miele

Sharks/Rays in above ground "pond" I've written a couple of times and I would like to say thanks. We've constructed a 1106 gal. above ground "pond" that will hold sharks and rays. My brown-banded bamboo shark will be going in (I mentioned him to you...he's in 125 gal, not 75 gal as I wrote, anyway...), I know he'll love his new home when it's ready.  <I'll bet> I know bamboo and epaulette type sharks are your recommendations but what other types would be nice in our tropical shark/ray tank? What kind of rays would be nice? Thank you <Please take a read through the sections of the website: www.WetWebMedia.com  for my input and references to Scott Michael's work on these cartilaginous fishes. Bob Fenner>

Pond liner to make a shark tank/pond I am planning to make my own shark tank/pond in my office, and I was wondering if this design is good. I am planning to make it in a hexagon shape with a very sturdy wooden framework. Each side 4.5 feet long. The tank/pond will be 3 feet deep. I am sure this design will hold, but the pond liner connected to the frame to make the tank is what I'm afraid of. Being connected at the top of tank then 3 feet to the floor with about 1000 gallons of water in it, I'm afraid the pond liner won't be able to hold all of that. Will it? I hope I explained this enough. I just want to make sure everything will hold. Thanks. <Thank you for writing... And yes to the liner "working"... have extensive experience with simple 20 some mil nominal PVC liners, EPDM, "rubber", composite ones like Tetra's excellent 32 mil product... and they will definitely work... Of course, stipulated that your wood structure (four by fours minimum for the uprights and bottom and top crosses please...) and "carriage bolts" or such... is secure... do get an oversize piece of liner material and practice folding techniques way ahead of actual cutting... And look into the wide array of "through hulls", "skimmer" fittings available in the swimming pool, spa industries for vinyl liner pools... And remind me to place some graphics on the parts of the pond index on the site: www.wetwebmedia.com for your perusal. We used to fabricate many 8 by 4 by 2 foot tanks of this sort for sumps, holding ponds... Bob Fenner>

Brownbanded Bamboo Shark I currently have a newly hatched specimen (not eating yet but it has been less than a week) as well as an egg case waiting to hatch. Is a 125 large enough if I only keep one and trade in the other at the LFS? <For maybe six months to a year or so yes> Should I upgrade tank size?  <Absolutely> What size would you recommend if I kept both?  <At least a "standard" shape 240, 8'X2'X2'... better, bigger> Will the other inhabitants cause trouble in the future? <Perhaps... Large Angels, Triggers, Puffers et al. might bite your sharks... Basses, other eager eaters consume all their foods...> Currently I have minimal decor (I have recently removed some LR to make room for the shark(s) to move freely about) but there are caves and ledges made from LR to make the pup feel secure. <Sounds good> There are also some hard and soft corals.  <Keep these up and away from the bottom... and your eyes on them... would leave some "outside light on" for the shark to navigate at night times> The tank was 2 years old before introducing the egg(s). The other inhabitants are a snowflake moray, a purple tang, a bicolor angel, a flame angel, an ocellaris clown, and a Foxface. All of these except for the clown and the flame have been in the tank since it cycled. The clown and flame were added about 2 months ago. I use an oversize skimmer as well as mechanical filtration. The water parameters are SG 1.024, pH 8.3, cal 450ppm, ammo 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 20ppm, temp 80. Sorry for all the questions but I want to ensure I provide the correct environment for the sharks now and thru maturity. Thank you.  Steve  <Thank you for being concerned enough to seek others opinions. Do keep reading, perhaps writing about your shark experiences for others benefit. A very popular area of interest for hobby magazines, the Net... Bob Fenner>
Brown banded bamboo shark
I am concerned about the size of my tank to accommodate my Brown banded bamboo shark. He's in a 75 gallon tank, by himself, and it has been 9 months since he's hatched. Right now he is 15.76" long. I have a possibility to move him to a 300 gallon tank but I'm afraid how the shark and blue king angel fish and porcupine fish will act to the shark. How big will he get in the 75 gal.?  <Too big> Is it enough if he's by himself?  <No> Is it safe to move him to the 300 gal. with those other 2 big fish?  <Likely yes... best of all choices offered.> Thanks....I hope I didn't overwhelm you with questions (and I hope this is the right address) Thanks again. <No worries... And this fish will still exceed three feet in a year or so. Bob Fenner>

Hi, I am scheduled to receive a leopard shark here soon. I was told they need cooler water, around 70deg. Is this true? I don't want to cool the water down if I don't have too. Also, I have checked out the breeders registry, not too much on there about clownfish. Exactly how hard is it to raise cardinals and clowns? Thanks for the great info. You seem to be very helpful and knowledgeable, and we need more people like you and not the snotty nose people that work at the pet stores where I live. <The shark, Triakis semifasciata should be kept in water much cooler than 70F.... I would cancel your order if you don't have the facility to keep it. The Breeder's Registry has an enormous amount of material on the subjects you list... go back and check the site more thoroughly... Bob Fenner>

Is it true that sharks remain small if placed in a confined space? Unfortunately no. This "old wives tale" mainly applies to crowded, dirty freshwater set-ups where the waste products and some other chemicals produced by fishes, have a negative feed-back loop, more or less poisoning and cluing them in to their situation of limited resources... and thereby stunting their growth. In some experiments, by changing the water constantly (or using chemical filtrants) you can grow the fishes to where they occupy 90% plus of the space available (bizarre)... But sharks will/do keep growing, most becoming too large and unhappy with their surroundings that they perish directly or manage to knock the top off and jump out. I have a feature article on sharks in captivity and a list of references you're welcome to posted on my website www.wetwebmedia.com Bob Fenner>

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

New Print and eBook on Amazon

by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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