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FAQs about Shark, Ray Disease/Health 4

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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

Banded cat sharks... health, nutr....       3/25/19
I have two banded cat sharks living in a 150 grow out tank until my 1000 gallon tank is finished for them. My female is extremely healthy, ten inches and had good, vibrant color. But my male has really Grey coloration, hasn't grown as much (only seven inches) and seems to have something growing on his eyes.
<Sometimes there are color variations in the same shark species>
They are BOTH eating healthy on vitamin soaked krill silversides and clams.
<This diet must be enlarged, silversides have poor nutritional value, try squid and shrimp instead. Are you familiar with Mazuri Shark & Ray formula?, it is a well-balanced food source for captive Elasmobranchs.>
Ammonia nitrite are both 0, nitrate is 20ppm pH 8.3 Carbonite<Carbonate> hardness 8 and salinity <Specific Gravity> 1.025. I'm  really worried about my male and was wondering what was going on, especially with his eyes, and if I could do anything to help him.
< Can you send us a pic?, is this unilateral or in both eyes? Wil>

Re: Banded cat sharks      3/27/19
I've had them since January. The tank has been running since June. The only other tank mates is a Naso Rank <Tang> and a volitans. Neither of wich <which> bother the sharks.
<I suggest you to do frequent 10% water changes and add a good vitamin supplement directly to the food to improve shark's health; also do read where you were referred to. Wil.>
Re: Banded cat sharks      3/27/19

I do at least a 20% water change every week and soak their food in vitamins. I'll also widen their diet and hopefully that'll help
<Me too, keep us posted. Wil.>

Horn shark sick      1/24/19
I bought a horn shark on Sunday. I got him in my tank just fine.
<Is this an Heterodontus francisci? This is a cold water species. Can you provide information about your tank size, water parameters, filtration and tankmates?...If possible a picture.>
He seems like his spine is injured. He is curled in a L shape. He tries to move but his tail just wiggles and he just scoots in circles. He wont eat anything. He breathes fine most of the time. Then sometimes he seems to not breath at all. I find it on its side sometimes just breathing. I think his spine is hurt and can't really move. I don't know how it happened.
<It can be severely stressed or could have been injured during capture.>
He seemed fine when I put him in the tank. He will sometimes start twitching like he is cramping up. I had to force feed him today since it is starting to look really skinny.
<I don´t think it has lost weight in four days, most likely you have acquired it in bad conditions.>
I fear every time I go to him he will be dead. I am not sure how to help him.
<Please give me/us more information. Wil.>
Re: Horn shark sick       1/25/19

It is Heterodontus Francisci. He is in a 300 gallon tank. Water was ammonia .25, nitrite 0, nitrate 0, ph 8.2, and temp is 68-70. I have a overflow box to a large sump underneath (not sure how many gallons) It has filter pad, bio balls, and a protein skimmer in it. I have a few live rock in it I got from an established tank. I have 3 chomps as tankmates.
<Have you done any significant change in the tank/filter recently? This ammonia reading is unusual for such a light bio load in a 300 gallon tank.>
I put some ammo lock yesterday to lower the ammonia and a 10% water change. Still no change in condition.
<You will not see any change that soon.>
I do see some red on his body last night when I turned a flash light on him to check on him last night.
<When sharks are stressed, they show reddish bellies.>
I feel like he is reacting to the ammonia. I would not think such a small amount could hurt him like that though.
<Oh yes, they are sensitive to even low ammonia levels, just like bony fishes. I recommend you to continue with the water changes,10% every other day will be fine; also add vitamins to the water and if/when the shark resume feeding on its own, try improving this fish´s diet with iodine, HUFA´s and vitamins mix added to its foods. DO NOT force feed for now and keep the lights out for a few days to calm the shark. Please keep us posted. Good luck Mike. Wil>
Re: Horn shark sick       1/25/19

The tank has only been running about a month.
I got the tank and equipment and live rock from a business local to me. He has over 2000 gallons running. He said the shark was already acting that way the first day he put it in his tank. He bought it for me at a wholesale place.
< If the shark was already in bad conditions, why did he bought it and placed it in an immature system??...>
So I do not feel like it was my tank that made him this way.
<You´re right, it was in bad conditions before getting in your tank.>
I asked him to hold it until my tank was good to go. He tested my water and said it was good to go for him.
< But evidently not for the shark. I think he didn't want to take the responsibility.>
He has red spots on his side, fins, and around his mouth. You can not see it during the day, only at night with a light on him
< Not to much to do at this point besides what I've already told, only time will tell. Cheers. Wil.>
Re: Horn shark sick       1/25/19

At what age can you sex a horn shark?
<Since birth, males have claspers(tube-shaped pelvic fin extensions),females lack them. Wil. >

Coral cat shark; hlth....        1/18/19
We have had our aquarium set up for a year and some odd 3 - 4 months now.
We have some blue hermits, snails, batfish and our shark. We recently took a trip to the store to get more crabs and picked up the orbit batfish. They hadn't bothered each other for the past 4 days. Our shark has never had an issue health wise. We fed her regular meal about 3 days ago and she usually digests pretty fast and ready to eat in less than 48 hours. She's very well fed and maintained. After she digests she's usually back to her normal size after being plump but its 4 days later(noticed she was still
plump and hadn't went to the bathroom yet yesterday) and this morning I went to turn her lights on and she was laying on her back, struggling to get up so I helped her. I thought the light was bothering her (or she was being dramatic because she's spoiled) because it was a little bit earlier than usual so I turned them off and let her be for a few hours. Went back to check on her after a Dr. appointment and she was dead. Mouth wide open, plump. No signs of injury, we throughorly checked her. She wasn't pale or
anything. Just gone. So I just don't know what happened. No change in food, the only thing that changed is the new fish. I'm not sure if she sucked up a crab or snail because she has before but was fine after but I'm just at a loss. Like I said she has been fine for almost a year and a half. If you could please help me at least determine what could possibly have happened I would appreciate it .
<I/we need more details about your tank (size, filtration, water parameters, tankmates, maintenance chores)…could've been due to numerous factors. Please send the above information. Wil.>

High phosphates wither sharks      7/16/18
I have a 550 gallon salt water fish only tank. I two sharks approximately 2 feet long , epaulets and coral cat. I have been able to control the nitrates but not the phosphates, it us off the chart.
<Please tell me more about your tank equipment, other tank mates and maintenance practices.>
I am looking into hooking up a reactor with Phosguard but have read that some phosphate removers are not good with sharks. I was making sure Phosguard is okay to use with them.
<Phosphates are very hard to keep at low levels in Elasmobranch systems because of their feeding habits(amount and frequency). Fortunately high phosphate levels are tolerated by must shark species and YES, phosphate removers are toxic for them because of its ferric oxide composition which affects their electroreceptive system, I suggest you to use a deep sand bed refugium with algae(Chaeto/Caulerpa sp.) to keep phosphates in check; do frequent water changes and use a high quality skimmer rated to your tank gallon capacity to export nutrients before they break down.
Thank you
<You`re welcome. Wilberth>
Re: High phosphates wither sharks    7/17/18

I will try Phosguard thanks for your assistance.
<Let me know how it goes. Wilberth>

Marbled cat shark; sys., hlth.       12/31/17
Hi! My boyfriend recently purchased a shark for me for Christmas. I noticed about a week in that her belly started getting pinkish/red.
<Mmm; indicative of.... what? Some irritation likely... from the substrate? Being moved?>
The lady that sold her to him apparently had no clue what she was doing and sold us this very gravely type live rock.
He had no intentions of going and buying her so not much research was done which obviously wasn’t a smart move but she should have known because he sure didn’t. But we took that sand out and put a fine grain in there of the live and it still had a few shells and such in there that are hurting her belly. It was better for about a day before it got red again. What would you recommend?
<Mmm; how big and what are the dimensions of the tank, shark? Could you send along a well-resolved pic of all?>
Just taking all of the sand out or medicine or what? Your help would be much appreciated thank you!
<Glad to help; just need useful info. Bob Fenner>
Re: Marbled cat shark      12/31/17

I’m definitely thinking it’s irritation from the substrate. We just switched to the fine grain 2 days ago so we’re hoping if it DOES get better it’ll be by tomorrow or the next.
<Mmm; a longer time frame... perhaps a few weeks>
It’s seemed to have lighten up a lot it’s just kind of alarming. But it’s a 150 gallon. Which I know is small for now but we are looking into this 300 gal so it won’t be long before she is moved. She’s only about 6 months so she’s still small. I’m at work right now but I can send you s picture later!
<Real good. BobF>

Re: Marbled cat shark      12/31/17
This is the stuff they first sold to us.
<... inappropriate>
We also took the last be rock out for now. We had about a pound in there but just wanted any type of irritant out

Re: Marbled cat shark     1/1/18
Okay! Well thank you so much for your help and reassurance! I’ll be in contact to let you how she’s doing here soon! Happy holidays!
<Please do read the numerous "shark" articles and FAQs files archived on WWM... Not much to understand their needs, but unless provided... dire consequences. Happy new year. BobF>

Re: Marbled cat shark     1/27/18
I know it’s been awhile but I’d just like to let you know she is doing amazing!!! We got her in her new tank and is a champ!
<Yay! Thank you for your note. Bob Fenner>

Attn Bob Fenner - Regarding black tip Reef sharks     8/2/17
Hello Bob,
So I have a 10 foot 1200+ gallon QT tank being used to house 3 small Juvenile/pup black tip reef sharks (24 inches).
<Need to be moved from here ASAPractical...>

Pup #1 and #2 were received perfectly healthy, pup #3 came in very sick at the receiving facility. It swam with an extreme wobble and dragged the rear half of the body. At one point to laid at the bottom of the tank gasping
for air. The facility specialist gave it steroids and it bounced back to life. We went ahead and accepted all 3 back then
Anyways, 6 weeks of QT had past. The Friday morning while the pups were being feed. The #3 only ate 1 of the silverside and refused anymore food.
Swam with a wobble and in distress. Body became pale towards a light brown color. It refused to eat the rest of that Friday and seemly became more lethargic and constantly running into things. The next morning it was
<Not surprising>
The following week we received another replacement. from the supplier.
Very healthy and ate from the beginning. Its been about 1.5 weeks now and as of a few hours ago, we're noticing the same symptoms with the new shark. I am lost now
<Capture, handling, shipping stress all conspiring here>
This 1200 gal QT gets 400 gallons of water changes per week. it has a jumbo skimmer that pulls out 3/4 - 1 full gallon of skimmate per day. 80 lbs of ceramic media and 100 lbs of live rock.
any ideas? Thank you
<The wear and tear before you received them is at work here. I REALLY wish folks would not sell "sharky" sharks. Stick with the boring epaulettes, bamboos... that spend a good deal of the time on the bottom.
Bob Fenner>
*Wally Do*
Sea Side Aquatics and Tom's Aquatics LLC

Copper edta in a shark tank       4/11/17
First let me start by saying I love this site. I have used it many times now. My question is I have a coral cat shark that I would like to put into my 375 gallon reef tank. I use Kent's essential elements and a couple other products for dosing my corals. After reading all the ingredients to make sure none contain copper, I found that the Kent's essential elements
contains copper edta. My question is can I still use this and put my shark in the bigger tank?
<The use of this product, the little bit of copper and preservative is likely of little consequence here. I would not be concerned. "Some" copper is an "essential nutrient"... and the Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) chelate is of little activity>
I know you can't use copper based medicine for sharks, but I have not found anything on using Kent's essential elements in a shark tank. Thank you for your time and knowledge.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Copper edta in a shark tank       4/11/17

Thank you for the quick reply. I will be adding him to my 375 real soon then. Thanks again.
<Cheers Joe, BobF>

Banded cat shark 3 week old acting strange. Hlth.; nutr.           6/13/16
Hi WWM crew,
I have a banded cat shark (Chiloscyllium punctatum) that I had hatched from an egg. I haven’t seen it totally eat yet but it has snapped at my grabber when I put squid in front of its face a few times and the squid seems to go missing so you’d assume it had eaten. This only happened once or twice though and I have tried to feed it prawns, scallop, squid, mussels and krill.
<Do please read on WWM re Thiaminase poisoning/B avitaminoses. The diet needs to be enlarged, altered (whole non-fatty small fish esp. added)... plus vitamin supplemented. Are you familiar w/ the Mazuri line? Search on WWM Re
It has never really shown any interest even if I put the food in its face. It likes to hide in the caves and is quite inactive a lot of the time. It breathes every second or so at a healthy rate, it has no cuts or abrasions or redness and looks to be healthy. it is currently about 8 inches.
I have tried soaking the food in Selcon and garlic guard, the other fish eat it with no problems. (other fish currently only a regal tang, fireball angel and a leopard wrasse)
Tank is 200 gal, 25 degrees Celsius usually, no nitrates or phosphates
<How are these rendered zip? This could be an issue... chemical filtrants
or ammonia (obviously).
I found the shark upside down today and thought it was dead, I flipped him over and he moved off a bit, was still breathing but seemed sort of asleep. He has been acting sort of ‘asleep’ in the same area of the tank at the same time of evening 2 or 3 days in a row now. He hides in the cave during the day and every time I check back to the tank he is in one of his 3 usual spots. He doesn’t exhibit this worrying behaviour during the day, just for a few hours on an evening around 8-9pm for the last 2-3 days.

I am baffled by this behaviour. My priority concern is getting him to eat now, my next concern is why would he be upside down and not wake up or move even though he was breathing steadily whilst upside down! do they sleep?
I read they are nocturnal.
I have tried fooding a plethora of foods at different times of day.
How would I test if this was a ‘grounding issue’?
<Gone over on WWM>
I live in England and don’t know if plugs are different in the US but aren’t all plugs grounded? our plugs are all “earthed”
<Mmm; your other livestock has not been mal-affected; so I discount induced current issues>
I have tried to include all the info you may need here to rule things out so sorry for the length of this email.
<Let's review: You're to read re young shark nutrition, Mazuri.com vitamins for sharks, the mis-use of HPO4 and NO3 removing methods... on WWM. Write me back if you have further questions, concerns.
Bob Fenner>

What killed my Coral Catshark; env.         1/30/16
Hi Guys,
I just lost my coral Catshark after only having him for 4 weeks.
<Ahh; too commonly lost>

He had been
eating well and even started to come out during the day and boss the puffers
<Not compatible>

about. I need to know what is likely to have killed him so I can make sure i don't loose <lose> the rest of the tank, and to make sure I don't let this happen again in the future.
He looked fine in the tank, not floating or upside down, but when I took him out I could see that his underside and some of this top had blood red shadows under the skin.
<Again; basic symptom of stress... aspect/s of water quality, physical habitat, psychological, physiological poor fitting>

In some places these had actually bled through the skin and gills.
There were no other signs of damage, infection or parasite. The only other thing i had noticed is that for the last 2 days he had been moving as if swimming even when sat in his cave. The tank is 2500 litres, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 25mg/l nitrate,
<Too much... see WWM re>

0 copper, 0 chlorine/chloramine, 0.06 ppm iodine. Highly oxygenated (2 large air stones, 45 l/min air pump, 2 skimmers), steady 25 degrees C. The only other thing i have found is that the ph has dropped to 7.6 without me noticing.
<.... disastrous. The pH scale is base ten logarithmic... a whole point change is an order of magnitude difference... See WWM re this as well
All other fish are fine and behaving as normal.
Please help as I love my animals like members of the family and don't want to loose <lose> others or do something wrong.
Many thanks
Steve Rose
<Let's have you start reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharkdiseasefaqs.htm
then the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Help With Marbled Cat Shark       1/11/16
I presently have a 300 gallon tank that houses one snowflake eel, one yellow tang, and two marbled cat sharks.
<The sharks will very likely bother, then eat the eel in time>

I recently added one of the cat sharks (a juvenile) two weeks ago. All of them, except the addition of one
of the sharks, have been in the tank and doing well for the past 6+ months. Everything seems fine with the new shark, she eats and appears healthy. However, my full grown cat shark has started to flash as if there is something irritating the bottom of her jaw/front belly and she does yawn once every few hours. All of this started last night.
<Mmm; what is the substrate here? Do you dose or soak foods regularly in iodine-ate? Perhaps use Mazuri (.com) foods?>
I can't see anything visibly wrong with her. I wish I could have quarantined the new shark, but I didn't have the space. My water parameters are: Ammonia 0.0ppm, Nitrite 0.0ppm, Nitrate 5ppm, Ph 8.3, Salinity 1.024, Copper
0.0ppm, Phosphate 0.25, temp 77F. The only thing new to the tank is the new shark and I started using carbon. She was able to eat tonight and ate 4 shrimp soaked with Mazuri Vita Zu (I use this on almost all of their food).
<Oh! Do beware of high Thiaminase foods>
I turned down the lights in my tank with the hope she'd be less stressed. I'm not really sure what's wrong with her, could it be a parasite from the new shark or something I overlooked?
<Not likely... I would not panic>
<Patience here for now. Bob Fenner>
Re: Help With Marbled Cat Shark       1/14/16

To answer your questions, my substrate is ultra fine sand and I do try to avoid foods with high thiaminase in them.
<Ah, good on both counts>
Over the past couple of days,
the flashing has decreased but has not gone away.
<Well; some flashing, glancing is natural; to be expected. Sharks do this in the wild...>
I was able to get a better look at where she was trying to rub since she not thrashing as much and it appears to be the gills on her left side. Something to also note, my eel has started to twitch its head and rub its gills on the rocks on a semi-regular basis.
<Do you, did you "de-worm" the shark/s? I strongly encourage this procedure.... for all Elasmobranchs, Batoids.... during quarantine/acclimation. See WWM re Anthelminthics, sharks.... Trematodes.
They always (yes, absolutely) have them when wild-collected. Will produce the symptoms you relate
I rechecked my water parameters this morning and Ammonia and Nitrites are still at 0 and Nitrates are at 2.5-5 ppm. Other
than rubbing of the gills, all of them are eating perfectly. Could this be gill flukes?
<Oh! Yes>
Thanks Again,
<Welcome. BobF>

bamboo cat shark; goiter     6/4/15
I have a bamboo cat shark that appears quite healthy and definitely has a good appetite He has developed a lump/bump on its underside behind the mouth area
I have looked online and cannot find any info on what might be the problem

<Put the two words: "Shark goiter" in the search tool on WWM and read. Bob Fenner>
Any ideas….???
My tank is a 400 gallon tank
Bob Bishop

Coral Cat shark swollen tongue or something else in its throat.        3/3/15
I have a 15" Coral Cat shark and she's having trouble eating. There is a large pink bubble like body part in her throat. It looks like her tongue is swollen to the the point where she cannot close her mouth. I've been on several forums and websites and a lot of them say it is likely that it is an iodine deficiency.
<Yes; a goiter... not iodine, but iodide-ate>
Unfortunately there has been no studies on this issue.
<.... wrong>

Do you have any other ideas on what this problem is? And how to fix it before it's too late. Any answers will be appreciated.
<Search "shark goiter" on WWM and read. Bob Fenner>
Re: re: Coral Cat shark swollen tongue or something else in its throat.        3/3/15

did you see the pictures? are you sure that its a goiter?
<Did see the pix; not sure. Do you feed Mazuri? BobF>
Re: re: Coral Cat shark swollen tongue or something else in its throat.        3/3/15

she gets ghost shrimp, live blue green Chromis, live craw dads, thawed silver sides, thawed shrimp and occasionally a hermit crab or snail that she sucks out of shells she finds in her tank. We do not give her Mazuri.
<Ahh; I would. B>

Help shark      7/21/14
See picture attached...this is my 2ft marble cat shark top fins. Do you know what is going on...is this fin rot?
<Mmm; the end of the dorsal fin structural elements are showing... something is eating, eroding the back edge.
Water quality is most likely off here... but could be... I'd be reading: WWM, my book on sharks...
Bob Fenner>

Re: Help shark      7/21/14
Is this likely to kill the shark...or will it grow back with time and good water conditions.
<Keep reading. BobF>

Shark Aquarium & black tip problem     4/5/14
I’m Mike Giltzow with the Aquarium in Boise. We are planning to build a new shark tank and I wanted to ask a few questions while we are still in the planning stages. We want to get it right in the beginning. The preliminary plans show a trapezoidal shape apx size is 16’ at the short width end, 24’ at the long width end and apx. 32’ long and will be apx 8’ high. Sorry for all the apx. measurements but we are still very much in the early stages of planning this tank.
<Understood. No worries>
After reading Mr. Fenner’s book I see that we need to rethink a few items starting with the square corners of this trapezoid. So we would be rounding those corners and what I would like to know is what radius on those corners we should be using?
<Mmm... for a system of these dimensions the trapezoid will likely be fine>
Or should we just forget the trapezoid (which by the way fits our building layout – that’s why the shape was chosen) and do an oval? Maybe an oval that tapers a little at one end?
<Ovals/bullnoses are better>
My second question concerns rebar in the tank. I note that in “Sharks and Rays in Aquariums” that Mr. Fenner states “Even metal rebar (reinforcing steel) cast into concrete walls in public aquariums has been indicted as ‘driving these fishes crazy’ , resulting in their deaths.” So if we don’t use metal rebar in the walls what would be an alternative? Could we use a plastic reinforcing or could we coat the rebar? What would you recommend?
<You definitely should (will have to) use re-bar for this height systems... just make sure it is coated/sleeved and that the plaster (cement) coats are done properly... doubled>
Last question is about a black tip we have in our old shark tank. The tank is about 17000 gallons and holds 2 black tips, 1 leopard shark, 1 bonnet head, 2 morays and several other occupants as well. One of the black tips is having a problem. Much of the time he is swimming normal<ly> and appears in good health. Then he will start swimming at apx a 30 degree angle from level (head up). He seems to be struggling to get back to level and sinks to near the bottom of the tank. He does not touch the bottom but struggles back up and then sinks again. Just as quickly as this comes on it stops and he starts swimming normally again. We routinely check the water chemistry and the tank is within normal levels. The black tip is about 3 1/2’ long and is eating normally. Our Veterinarian originally thought it was constipation and treated it as such. But this has been going on for more than a week and so we have asked another vet to take a look this coming week. If you have any ideas or suggestions about this we would greatly appreciate your help. Thanks - Mike
<Do you folks use Mazuri (.com) food supplements for sharks/cartilaginous fishes? Do you have any blood work up data you can send along? Does this animal look physically damaged? Bob Fenner>
Re: Shark Aquarium & black tip problem
Hi Mr. Fenner and thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. The Black Tip does not look physically damaged. In fact when he is swimming normally it is easy to mistake him for the other black tip in the tank. The 'second opinion' vet has indicated that he would like to do blood work; so we will know more when he does that and I will pass the information on to you.
<Real good>
I don't know if we use Mazuri food supplements but will find out and let you know. Have you ever seen a black tip or other species of shark exhibit this type of behavior?
<Yes I have... your Vet.s may want to look through the ASIH' Elasmobranch group (AES) to gather more input>
Thanks again - Mike
Appreciate the information on the tank.
<Glad to assist your efforts. Bob Fenner>
Re: Shark Aquarium & black tip problem – 04/09/14

Hi Mr. Fenner
<Mr. G>
We don't have a membership in ASE but I have joined and am waiting for them to process my application and send my log in information. In the mean time you have said you have seen this type of behavior in sharks. I am very interested in what you found to be the problem. Not looking for a diagnosis, just a reference to start. Thanks again - Mike
<Undetermined etiology unfortunately... Requiem sharks as a family do die mysteriously in captivity... Stress of various inputs, perhaps avitaminoses... ? Bob Fenner>
Re: Shark Aquarium & black tip problem       4/9/12

Tehank you - Mike
<Certainly welcome. BobF>

banded cat shark died of liver cancer    1/14/14
Hi I had a 15" male banded cat shark that died of liver cancer (the vet did an autopsy and it had 2 black spots on the liver which he said was cancer)
 and consequently killed all of my other fish and inverts before he died.
<What? By decomposing?>

 :(  First I was wondering if that was common with this type of shark?
Second what should I do with the water currently in the tank, would a 50% water change cover it or should I do a larger change. If a larger change is necessary would  the live sand and live rock be a problem?
<... need more useful info. here... IF in doubt re biological pollution, I would dump, bleach all, refill... Per the SOP posted on WWM>
I would really like to try another banded cat shark but don't want to have the same problem.
Thank you for your time.
<.... Need at least histological work up to determine IF this were a cancer... What have you read re keeping sharks? I have a new e- and print book on their use in captivity you can borrow if you're a Kindle member for free.
Bob Fenner>

Breeding colony of Eppies w/ Ich - Just moved - PLEASE HELP      10/24/13
Hey Friends!
I Just moved my 8 sharks (6 Eppies & 2 Mex Horns)
to their new location in my new home.
(Problem is I moved a 14" Vlamingi with a minor Crypt. issue) Fortunately it was only a 5 mile move but nonetheless I'm in trouble.
The livestock were moved to their new home (a 8' x 8' x 4'h EDPM and plywood pond in the basement.)
I have keep the water level about 2' to preclude jumpers. This is approximately 950 gallons.
<Yes and yes>
So Saturday past I moved the sharks and fish from 1.020 SG 78F to the same parameters at the new location.
<I would keep sharks at near seawater strength NSW... 1.025-6. Raise slowly; see WWM re.>
The EDPM lagoon was soaked and leak tested for 2 weeks along with some "found" plastic plant stands from Wal-Mart.
<... MAKE sure these are ALL polyethylene... I'd at the very least boil them in freshwater, let this cool, use some freshwater fish, perhaps invertebrates as bio-assays here>
I drained it and made up 500g of new 1.020 water. I transferred 500g of water from the existing system and set up a big diaphragm air pump with 4 big diffuser discs.
Cut to the chase - The temp raised from 76f to 81f and a massive Ich breakout transpired once my livestock were transferred.
My beloved 15 year old 'Mingie was dead this am and has left all of my sharks "flashing."
I have not yet moved my 500lbs LR from the old system.  Should I keep the LR in place while I treat my lagoon?
(The 800 lbs oolitic aragonite IS in the new system.)
<What is it you intend... oh I see QS, below... I'd likely leave the rock where it is>
I've determined that Quinine Sulfate from NFP is the solution.  I have enough on hand to treat the entire lagoon.  Thoughts on administration (other than the directions?)
<...? Can work>
Do I continue to use the skimmer?
<May as well. Do turn off UV if there is one>
Is there any methodology to  raising temps or modifying other parameters to accelerate the process?
<Not more than where you have... the "Mexican" Heterodontus (have you found in the lit. where this now IS something besides francisci?); don't ever live in water as warm as you already are at>
Other advice?
<Raise spg>
Pics in the am.
Thanks and I will check back in asap!
Best Regards,
<Cheers, Bob Fenner, working diligently on "this month's" eBook, "Sharks and Rays in Aquariums>
Re: Breeding colony of Eppies w/ Ich - Just moved - PLEASE HELP - # 2     11/7/13

Thanks for your previous response Bob!
<Welcome Luke>
OK so here's where were at:
I fed the fish before I treated with Quinine Sulfate and everybody ate.
Then I noticed an abrasion on the face of my largest male Eppie.
<I see these in your excellent pix>
The next day I was able to handle him and he had what appeared to be a small circular unmistakable puncture under his head where his throat would be.
It must have bit onto one of my Horns (new acquaintances in this system) and rolled the horn right into his throat.
It was, at this point completely infected and red discolored skin covered his abdomen.
The infection had gone through his head and was showing itself on his face through his nostril.
The following day he was essentially gone.
I fed the fish again about 4 days into the QS treatment.
Everyone ate but the 2 horns
<The "horns" aren't in your pix... these are Heterodontus francisci? Cold water animals... do you know how cold the water was they were in ahead of your acquiring them? Off the coast here it's in the upper 50's F., low 60's F. at depth>
 and the youngest Eppie. I'm ok with this as I'm certain the QS is having some impact on their tummies.
At this point I noticed that the medication was helping with the flashing and yawning.
The last flashing I witnessed was about 2 days ago.
Today (Nov. 6th) is the last day of the treatment and I have put in about 10 lbs of carbon to start the adsorption.
Tomorrow I plan on doing a 200 gallon water change.
Now my unpleasant discovery....
Today I noticed that three of my mature Eppies have abrasions on and behind their first and second dorsal fins. 
I'm freaking out inside and trying to remain calm.
My wife said I moved my fish while "mercury is retrograde."
<... is this... astrology?>
Well F#$K ME.
I was smart enough to place an order from NFP for more Quinine Sulfate and some Parinox (what they consider to be the cure all.)
Thankfully I have these on hand now.
If the abrasions were only on one shark I would use the 8x2x2 quarantine tank in the pics, but three sharks would be stressed in the cramped quarters.  Not only that but it would seem clear the problem will eventually spread to the other sharks and the system should be treated as a whole. (8x8x2)
What I need is a water change / carbon / treatment strategy.
I.e. day 1 - 10 lbs carbon, day 2 - 200 gallon water change - day 3  and 4 wait, day 5 - 200 more gallon water change and 10 lbs more carbon, day 6 and 7 wait, day 8 treat the entire system with the recommended parinox and remove carbon.
(Do I even have 7 days?)
<Likely so; yes>
Also keep in mind my ETSS 1800 Quad has been skimming like a champ and has routinely pulled 3 gallons of water off a day.
That is to say that it is possible that the original dosage of QS has been decreased to some extend from aggressive skimming to keep the DO up.
<Yes; and just time going by>
Please advise in any way you can.  My treasured H. Halstromi female has this too.
Is there a parasite on them that they are rubbing on the rocks to remove?
<Not likely a parasite, but I'd get a cheap (QV or such see WWM re) 'scope, learn to sample and just take a look/see. a couple notes re your system...
I would switch out the substrate for something smaller, softer... use/leave the coarse underneath... And put in some large diameter PVC sections...
Your sharks may really just be reacting to cuts, scrapes from... and the coldwater animals mixed in...>
These open wounds are clearly an opportunity for secondary infection.
I have Focus on hand, should I use it when I feed?
<The SeaChem product? Yes I would>
I should I continue to soak my food in Mazuri Shark Vitamins?
<Yes; definitely>
Thanks so much for your quick response and feel free to paraphrase where necessary.
<When, where in doubt here, do nothing... the QS is harmful in long exposure... Bob Fenner>

Flaying re sharks...      11/3/13
I have a 500 gallon salt water tank with a bamboo cat shark and some tangs.
Recently One of my  Naso tangs suffered from frayed fins and glossy eyes and then died several days later. Now one of my shark top fin is turning whitish and frayed. I feed him silversides krill soaked in garlic and has a great appetite. I downloaded sharks and rays and it talks about quinine compound.  Would this be appropriate for what I think is a bacteria disease.
<... not really; no>

I have worked so hard on keeping this shark healthy and I am saddened I could lose shark. Please help. What medication can I treat my fish only tank.
<... for what? Do you utilize iodide-ate? Mazuri.com products? BobF>

Abrasion on banded houndshark     9/29/13
Hello Bob,
    Two days ago I noticed this marking on my banded.  Does not look like it is bothering him but not sure what it is.  Any idea what this mark could be.   It looks to me like an abrasion of some sort.  Thanks for your help. 
<Is a "rub" likely... for now... these "marks" can turn into secondary infections (bacterial, saprophytes period) with "poor water quality" (have I bugged you re using RedOx as an indicator of such?)... or nutritional deficiency... Are you using Mazuri (.com) foods, supplements (in part. Iodide-ate?)... Search these re sharks on WWM. B>

Bob; you lost... the pic! Maybe Shea will re-send
Re: Abrasion on banded houndshark   9/29/13
Yes I am currently using those.  For the last month I have been.  I was previously soaking all food in Vitality from SeaChem.  But switched to something more specialized. 
Shea Bailey
<Ahh; then I would do nothing further here if your water quality is "up to snuff". B>
Re: Abrasion on banded houndshark    9/29/13

Also.  I changed nitrate test from API to SeaChem and it tested between 20-30 nitrates.  Massive difference (about half of what the API test showed.).
<Yes; the Aq. Pharm. kits are for... cheaper systems, folks>
 I am going to order a Salifert test as well and see where that goes. 
Everyone I spoke told me API test test high and are unreliable. I guess to each his own and just because the SeaChem is lower does not make it correct.  Now on to my AquaC ev-1000 skimmer that is giving me problems. It never stops in this hobby.
Shea Bailey
<Am hoping not.>
Re: Abrasion on banded houndshark    9/29/13

Here ya go
<Ah, thanks Shea. B>
Shea Bailey

3 year old banded cat shark sick... hlth., likely env. and nutritional    2/19/13
I've owned this cat shark for a little over a year, she's always been active and healthy. She's kept in a 300gal tank (84/30/24). We run two can filters, a 450gal skimmer, small sump, 2 power heads. Water parameters are 1.026sg, 76 degrees, 8.3ph, 0ammo/nitrite and our nitrates are usually in the 80ppm range
<Much too high
... and symptomatic/common for most all shark losses in captivity: the ill-effects of exposure to concentrated, accumulated metabolites>
 (I did recently upgrade to that larger 450gal skimmer and also added a bio pellet reactor to help with the nitrates)...
<I'd do more than this. See WWM re methods of NO3 control>
 I know the nitrates are high but I've had people say its not too big of a deal in a tank that large.
<Is a big deal>
Shark has seemed fine in the listed conditions.
However, 6 days ago she stopped swimming
and just lays in one spot, she'll wiggle a little to scratch her belly and before some major water changes (50% then 30%) she was swimming in her side for a brief moment, presumably to scratch her gills. After the 50% water change she finally ate and swam around a bit. I thought we were in the clear, that was 4 days ago. But she went back to just laying on the sand. I haven't actually seen her swim since she ate 4 days ago. I'm not sure what to go, or what caused this, but here's a little history of some out of the norm things from a few days before her signs of illness...
About 5 days prior, I did a large (40%) water change. After, I realized that my RODI system was putting out about 86ppm if TDS. So it's possible there was something in the water that is bothering her.
<Doubtful... there's more TDS added via salt and foods>
In a state of panic (a couple days later when the shark was looking sick), I dosed the tank with Prime just in case it was water pollutants or metals.
<Of no use here>
Also, just a day or two before the symptoms, I added a bio pellet reactor which made the water cloudy from a bacteria bloom (every thing I've read says that's normal and harmless, but I'm not convinced).
<You should be>
Also, I had just bought a fish from a local chain pet store (against my better judgment), so in thinking possible disease introduced?
Lastly, I put a capful of Iodide in the sharks food (per my local fish stores direction) and let it soak in. I do this about once a month just to make sure she doesn't get gout. I feed her mostly frozen silversides and a little krill. Occasionally some thawed squid cubes.
<See WWM re shark feeding, Mazuri.com foods, supplements>

Her breathing is normal. Eyes and belly look normal. Everything else in the tank looks fine. Well, I do have a Cortez ray that I've had for over 2 years that occasionally shows a red line on her belly.
<This is telling as well... see my initial comment... the skimmer may help... do you use Ozone, have a RedOx measuring tool? Very useful for determining real life-sustaining capacity of captive systems. See WWM re these as well>
We thought it was a scratch, but maybe it's some sign of a parasite?  She is always super active and has the appetite of a 15 year old boy.
Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!!!
<Read and write back if you have questions, further concerns. Bob Fenner> 
Re: 3 year old banded car shark sick     2/20/13

Here's a video of her behavior, also she's covered in sand, exhaling sand and her belly is bloated and sort of hard; she won't swim at all.  Anything I can or should do immediately to relieve her of pain or improve her condition?  Is it possible that she's just about to lay an egg (she's probably about 3.5 years old)?
<Just patience and hope. BobF>

Help me with my sharks please!    6/6/12
We have 20 Blacktip Reef Sharks ( *Carcharhinus melanopterus* ) in 400 m3 tank.
We have had them for over 1 year now but lately, I  have noticed their chin getting fat and unusual. It looks like they have a tumor(i send you some of their pictures).
<Yes; goiter most commonly labeled... Their diet is lacking in useful iodide-ate... Are you familiar with Mazuri (.com) foods for sharks? SEARCH WWM re shark goiter and READ. They need this halogen for metabolism>
Beside that, They are doing fine and eating normal but I'm so worry. I don't know it's just they are too fat or it's a disease sign. I looked up everywhere but I cant find anything the same. I hope you can give me some advices. Here is condition of my tank: pH: 7.8, Ammonia: 0 mg/L, Nitrite: 0 mg/L, Nitrate: 0 mg/L, Salinity:  29 ppt, Temperature : 29 OC. its tankmates are 9 stingrays, 14 small turtles and 5 white tip reef sharks (white tip reef shark 's chin are normal ) We feed the sharks with fish and feed them once in 2 days. please help me!  Any advice from you guys would be appreciated.
<This condition is VERY dangerous. Needs to be addressed ASAP, their diet supplemented. Do you understand?
Bob Fenner> 
Shark goiter query

Hey Bob,
I saw a query in the crew mail related to sharks "Help me with my sharks please" that I can handle for you, but it won't be as complete as might be needed.  That is, I know the problem is goiter, related to an iodine deficiency, but the fact that there are probably other issues going on is something I may well miss.   I've never kept sharks, much less Black Tips, 20 at a time, along with turtles and other sharks in a system and am not sure of their requirements re: tank size, chemistry, etc.  If you're in a crunch for time, I can handle it for you though and go over the iodine issue.  Just let me know..
Take care,
<I already responded, but do ask that you do as well. More "fuel to the fire" needed here methinks. BobF>
Help me with my sharks please! Goiter - 6/6/12

<Hello, Lynn here today.>
We have 20 Blacktip Reef Sharks ( *Carcharhinus melanopterus* ) in 400 m3 tank. We have had them for over 1 year now but lately, I have noticed their chin getting fat and unusual. It looks like they have a tumor (I send you some of their pictures).
<Thank you, your sharks appear to have what’s known as a goiter, which is an enlarged thyroid gland, that’s brought on by an iodine deficiency.> 
Beside that, they are doing fine and eating normal
<The goiter can eventually interfere with the shark’s ability to eat, so it’s important to address the situation as soon as possible.>
…but I'm so worry. I don’t know it's just they are too fat or it's a disease sign. I looked up everywhere but I can’t find anything the same. I hope you can give me some advices.
<You’ll need to provide the sharks with a supplement.  Do look into the “Vita-Zu Shark/Ray Tablets” offered by Mazuri (as an example): http://www.mazuri.com/search.aspx?find=vita-zu+shark .  For more information on this topic, please enter the search term “shark + goiter” in our Google search engine: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Googlesearch.htm .  Here’s a good site as well for captive shark care that has articles covering a variety of topics: http://sites.google.com/site/elasmobranchhusbandry/manual  >
Here is condition of my tank: pH: 7.8, Ammonia: 0 mg/L, Nitrite: 0 mg/L, Nitrate: 0 mg/L, Salinity:  29 ppt, Temperature : 29 OC. Its tankmates are 9 stingrays, 14 small turtles and 5 whitetip reef sharks (whitetip reef shark's chin are normal) We feed the sharks with fish and feed them once in 2 days. Please help me! 
<Hopefully the supplements will take care of the problem but do refer to the above-listed links for more information related to keeping sharks in captivity.>
Any advice from you guys would be appreciated.
<You’re very welcome.  Take care and good luck with your sharks! Lynn Z>

Re: Help me with my sharks please! Goiter - 6/7/12
Dear Lynn Z and  Bob Fenner
Thank you so much for your advice and the links you gave me. I will do as you said and hoping the goiter will go down. Your e-mail was like a lifesaver to me. Once again, thank you so much for your big help.
<You're very welcome and good luck! Lynn Z> 

Bamboo Shark, goiter, rdg. 1/10/12
We have a Bamboo Shark in our aquarium. He has developed a goiter, his genitals (or what we think maybe his genitals) are exposed
<... don't have such... Males have claspers; modified pelvic fins for genetic intromission... these are exposed permanently>
and his fins look like they have been snipped at. All of these events happened separately, only a few weeks apart. Please advise. Thank you
<Advise re what? See WWM re the use of Iodide/ate and Mazuri.com to combat the goiter... The search tool, indices.
Bob Fenner>

Hi Bob, I need your help please!
<Here for you amigo>
This week temperature went down here in Mexico City and my costumers shark tank drop to 70 degrees.
The tank is 1200 gallons housing a 30" 3 year old Blacktip Shark, the shark was eating and behaving normally all this time, water levels are:
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 0
Ph 7.7

<Mmm, a little low... I take it you use buffering compounds...>
Temp (before heater failure 78)

My guess is that the shark got hypothermia(let me know if I am right).we spend the whole night and part of this morning raising tank temperature, now it is 75 degrees but the shark barely swims and sinks on the bottom after just a few laps to the tank.
I grab it every time carefully and force him to swim, I increase aeration and last night add some ph up(Brightwell Aquatics) but don't know what else to do, is it possible that having his temperature back to normal his muscles and other body organs work again or he is far gone?
Please help me the answer is not on your files, I was searching for hours.
Thanks a lot
<"Don't panic!" All should be fine w/in a day or two my friend. Go slow here w/ any changes. Nos vemos. RobertoF>

Muchas gracias Bob, I'll keep you posted
<Thank you, BobF>
Re: BLACKTIP SHARK HYPOTHERMIA, plus pH/Alk adjustment for large volumes 12/3/11

Hola Bob,
<Hey Wil!>
I want to tell you that the Blacktip is swimming normally again, like you said it took a couple of days.
I didn't know they could get that bad at 70 degrees, I mean it is not really cold but they are tropicals hu.
The only problem to be solve is de Ph/Kh issue, I can't raise it to the right levels, is there an effective product that you recommend?
<For 1,200 gallons... It may well behoove you to make your own. Formulations are available on the Net if you search. Otherwise, there are "bulk" suppliers, like BRS: http://www.bulkreefsupply.com/store/products/calcium-alkalinity-magnesium
In the long/er term, if this were my account, I'd be looking into a calcium reactor...>
Thanks for your help as always.
<Welcome. BobF>

Chiloscyllium griseum disease 11/21/11
Hi! I have a Chiloscyllium shark. It's about 6 years old.
Everything was always ok. But, 3 weeks ago, I was trying to catch it and, scared, it slightly damaged the skin while swimming through the rocks. I thought that it was nothing serious. At least it was looking like that.
But now, on the places the shark scratched itself, there are big wounds that do not heal (see attachment). I don't know what could be the reason.
<The usual/real mix of bacterial decomposition and environmental, nutritional interplay as the saying goes>
The water in the tank has following parameters : pH: 8.2; NO3: 5; NO2: 0; SG: 1.023;
<I'd raise this up a couple thousandths>
Ca: 420. I would be very grateful if You could tell me anything about this problem.
Thank You!
Best regards.
<Well... I'd try a food fix first... do you utilize vitamins, iodide/ate?
See WWM re (the search tool) or wade through the FAQs starting here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Problem with white tip reef shark, likely nutritional 9/7/11
Hi Bob
We are having an issue with our white tip reef shark, and we are hoping that you may have an idea. I have attached a picture of the swelling on her head.
A couple weeks back, we noticed that she had a sore on the bottom of her neck (she has had a small lump there for years), and it seem to have burst, and was red and raw, about a half centimeter deep, and the size of a dime.
It didn't seem to be bothering her, but to prevent infection, we did a large water change and ran a course of Melafix in the tank.
As this healed up, and left the bump under her neck, but she seems to have gotten a swelling on the back right side of her neck/head, which as it has grown has been twisting her head and making her swimming very awkward.
I have tried to find some information online, and all I can figure is that maybe it was a goiter that has burst.
<Yes; my first guess>

We are adding some vitamin supplements to her food, with a bit of iodine to see if we can get the swelling to go down.
<...? You had not been adding these to date? Search, read on WWM re Mazuri.com, their use>
We have found that every summer she tends to go a bit lighter on her feedings anyways, but there are some weeks where she has not been eating at all, and has lost some weight.
Tank details
10' x 7' x 3' + 75-100 gallon sump
pH: 8.2
Nitrite : 0
Ammonia : 0
Nitrate : 60
(due for another water change this week, but I am waiting for my salt order to arrive.)
<I'd avail myself of other means to keep NO3 under 20 ppm. See WWM re>
I can send through a video as well as the picture. If you have any thoughts or ideas, please let me know.
Thank you for your time,
<Read then write back if you have further questions, concerns. Bob Fenner>

<Cool water> shark with white spots....... Env. 8/1/11
<... six megs of pix... Follow directions>
Hey crew, I have been looking for answers as to what my shark has. She is a 20" Port Jackson I have had for a year and a half. Recently after adding a yellow tail fusilier she has started swimming more than normal.
Upon inspection I see her skin now has bumps. Fins look bad like she has fin rot, also her skin has white bumps which I thought where Ich but after looking at them they look like 4 legged white starfish. She has been like this for a few weeks. I thought it was Ich
<Not... is environmental, not pathogenic in origin>
and bought quinine sulfate from National Fish Pharm. After a week of treatment I saw no difference. I was wondering if this was due to my tank temp of 70°?
<Very likely so... this animal is subtropical>
Should I run treatment again?
I also did a formalin bath on the shark and it worked wonders
<Burned off outer skin>
but shark now has the white dots reappearing. I was wondering if you guys could help me identify what this is and how I could treat it. I'm not opposed to doing a huge water change and removing all rock etc. Just want the Shark to be fine. Did the quinine sulfate treatment need longer exposure period due to the temp and life cycle of Ich? Thanks again,
Andres G. Munoz
Pics attached......
<Stress, pollution, thermal... Detail the system, foods/feeding, water quality tests... Do you know the needs of this species? Bob Fenner>

Re: shark with white spots....... 8/1/11
Hey Bob, sorry for the crazy email. I don't know how to properly attach these pics to an email from my phone.
<Mmm, me neither... might have to be sent to a computer, with software for manipulating graphics. Our cheesy webmail space is limited to 50 megs... Hence the worry, admonition to limit incoming file sizes>
Anyway I have kept port Jackson sharks for years and just recently began the process of moving. I am setting up my 4' wide by 8' long by 3' tall aquarium up at the new house.
<Ahh, how nice! For function's sake, the system doesn't need to be this deep... could be two feet tall... but does need to be covered as you likely know>
The shark is currently held in a 6' long by 30" long by 30" tall aquarium with a chiller which I usually run about 67°.
<Good. I would limit the high end of temp. here; perhaps stock other "southern" Australian livestock here... i.e., not tropicals>
Tank has about 150lbs of LR, runs a Deltec ap851 Skimmer, 300 gal capacity wet/dry, and a fluidized bed filter rated for 300 gals. I feed her twice a week squid, shrimp, octopus, crab meat, marine fish flesh with added vitamins (soaked in Vitamarin m) use the mazurka <Mazuri> Shark tabs. As far as water q. I tested a few days ago and water was as follows.....Ph 8.3......nitrite 0.......nitrate 40
<Mmm, too high... I'd do what I could to keep under 20 ppm, ideally under 10. This NO3 issue may be a principal indication/source of your trouble here. Do see WWM re NO3>
.....ammonia 0.......sal 1.0024......any ideas? Could it have been something I fed her?
<You may have a thiaminase issue: http://wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_6/volume_6_1/thiaminase.htm
and the linked Nutritional Disease FAQs file above>
I fed her snapper and shortly after I started seeing the white skin spots which Adler more so t shaped.
<Bob Fenner>

Bamboo Cat Shark Question 7/22/11
Hi guys, I am a big fan of your site and appreciate all the knowledge.
I have an adult Bamboo Cat shark that has a white film over his entire eye.
<Mmm, an injury... this fish "swam into" something...>
The other eye is missing (purchased from a pet store this way). His eye has been completely white for over 3 months. He currently resides in a 300 gallon aquarium with 0 ammonia, 0 nitrates, low nitrates. Several puffer fish reside in the aquarium with him and never seem to bother each other.
If given the change he will eat everyday numerous silver sides, shrimp, mussels, shrimp, etc and acts completely normal.
<This diet may be an issue. Read here:
Do you use/administer vitamins? Are you familiar w/ Mazuri.com?>
Do you have any insight what this white film could be. Potentially an injury or parasite?
<The former almost assuredly>
Thanks for the help. Zach
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Banded Cat Shark HELP ME PLEASE 1/17/11
Hello, love the site BTW, I've had my banded cat now for about 4 months (well longer, but he was an egg ). Last night we checked in on the tank and all was well, about 20 minutes later I was heading to sleep and my shark was M.I.A. I searched and searched only to find him on top of the glass that covers the tank.
I immediately put him back in the water, and he began breathing ( a little fast, I figured he's stressed). The shark does enjoy laying on the two power-heads near the top of the tank, could his fins have got caught by one?
<Not likely>
He made it through the night, but I don't know what I can do for him. Is there anything I could do? Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!!
Thank you,
<I would lower the specific gravity, density of the water a few thousandths... and not feed, keep the lights off... for a few days. Bob Fenner>

Bamboo Shark, hlth. 11/23/10
I recently noticed a white patch on the underside of my 16" bamboo shark.
It is rectangular and is approximately 1" x 1/2" in size. I have searched for what this could possibly be and have found no answers. It does not look like something that is latched onto his skin, but his skin itself. He is otherwise healthy and eating by himself in my 210 gallon FOWLR tank with a 125 gallon sump. The sump is about 60% DSB and also has an Aqua C EV-400 protein skimmer. I also have an area for carbon in between the baffles. In the tank there are 2 Koralia 4's and 2 Koralia 3's. My water parameters are Ammonia:0, Nitrites:0, Nitrates:<5, Temperature: 78-79(day and night), SG:1.024. I feed him a homemade mixture of marine fish (what is available and affordable at the store), Squid, Scallops, and Shrimp. I add Iodide, Selcon, and Vitamin C to his food before offering it to him. Any thoughts on what this could be and how to remedy the issue? Thank you very much for all your help. It is greatly appreciated.
<My best guess is that this is a physical trauma, an injury. I would not "treat" the water in any manner. I might add Mazuri (.com) vitamin tabs to your nutritional mix, and do be looking for a larger system. Bob Fenner>

Bamboo Shark HELP 8/11/10
Hi, I'm writing because I am concerned with my bamboo sharks behavior and appearance. He's a month and a half old bamboo shark who is temporarily housed in a 125 gallon tank. I just moved him to the tank yesterday after fully acclimating him the drip method.
<... 1.5 mo. old, moved yesterday...>
He was hatched in a quarantine tank because my previous shark, Leo, died due to a faulty iodine test kit giving me false low readings and a pathogen. During his time in the QT he ate fine and was swimming normally.
Now, in the 125 gallon tank, he is not paying much attention to the food, and has what appears to be hemorrhaging on his underside.
He is also appearing to scratch himself in the sand
<... what sort of sand? Have you read on WWM re Shark Systems?>
and is sometimes laying on his back (which is frightening me).

<Very bad!>
His eyes are not clouded. I placed an order for Furan-2 from Foster Smith's because none of my local fish stores carry it (its going to be used to treat the apparent hemorrhaging).
<Not really of use here, and very likely way too late>
I have to wait a week until it comes. Can someone please tell me what's going on with my baby shark and if there is anything else I can do to aid him in becoming better?
<Likely vitamins and HUFA AND Iodide-ate added directly to the water>
I feel as if I might be over-reacting due to my past experience.
<You are NOT over-reacting. Time is definitely of essence here. Please read: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/FishInd1.htm
the second tray... Bob Fenner>
Christian Pfeiffer
Re Bamboo Shark HELP 8/11/10
Thanks for your timely response. Unfortunately, it came too late for Cody.
At 5:55 he died. :(
Christian Pfeiffer
<Ahh! I responded as soon as I saw your msg... Sorry for your loss. BobF>

Nurse Shark... dying, env. -- 7/7/10
In a matter of going to bed last night and waking up this morning our Nurse shark has a huge sore on both sides of him. He's about 2 and half feet long and the sore is bout 1/3 of him and spreading fast.
<Very bad... have seen such "breakdown" syndromes many times with Elasmobranchs...>
Water quality is good but it's getting so bad so fast we doubt we can save him.
Now our concern is our three smooth hounds, horn shark and cat shark in the same tank and if it will affect them??
<Declining, poor water quality definitely will>

We don't know what to do with them if you have any advice we could really use it. The tank is 750 gallons and filtration is another 200 gallons.
<The species of Smoothhounds, the Heterodontid... are these cool/coldwater species? I/we need more information to be of substantive help... The make up of the system, its history of operation/maintenance, water quality test results, foods/feeding... Do peruse what is archived on WWM re Sharks in captivity. Bob Fenner>

Coral Catshark... hlth. f' 6/14/10
Hi Crew!
I have a small query, my coral catshark that I've had for around 4 or 5 months now, in a 130gal
<... too small a volume>
custom aquarium sometimes "flashes" in a fashion akin to ich ridden teleosts,
<Elasmobranchs are susceptible to most of the external protozoan complaints of advanced bony fishes>
the are is about an inch behind her gills and if I look closely there's a small black spot with a whitish outline, running my finger over in concern it feels slightly raised, any ideas as to what this is?
<A trauma marking likely>
she's eating fine and the params are all optimal, 0 ammonia nitrite, and nitrate. I add iodine supplements to the water and feed a mix of squid, store bought fish and shrimp.
<Mmm, see WWM re Shark feeding and Thiaminase>
any ideas what this as and how to help? due to her coloration it doesn't show up readily on photos.
please reply back as I'm kind of concerned, and I dont seem to be able to find anything similar on the web.
thanks, Thiro
<Keep reading... Bob Fenner>

Shark question, mysterious loss, commercial/service co. 5/19/10
Hello WWM crew!
If you don't mind a few minutes of your time...
<Not at all...>
I am looking for a second opinion on something. I am the owner of a small aquarium sales, installation and maintenance company in Florida, and we had an aquarium related incident with one of our maintenance customers,
(thankfully this has been the only incident we have ever had).
The customer has an early 90's era 300 gallon tank. It was originally setup with a large canister filtration system, (canister #1 had a large 15" pool filter and canister # 2 was essentially one giant chemical reactor filled
with about three gallons of carbon + a UV sterilizer and a broken early 90's chiller).
<I'd remove it from this system... too likely to be/come a source of metal contamination... And slows circulation>
The canister system was plumbed to bulkheads drilled in the bottom of tank,
<You and I's least fave placement>
but had not been used in many years. The last maintenance company before us tried to update the filtration by installing a medium-sized wet/dry filter. Unfortunately they did a terrible job.
First, they left the canister-style filtration system in place, with no shut-off valves.
You can imagine how bad the hydrogen-sulfide smell was when I eventually capped-off the bulkheads and removed the canisters. The pool filter was black with hydrogen sulfide producing bacteria. Needless to say, this went directly into the garbage.
<Good riddance>
Second, they plumbed the wet/dry filter with one single 1 1/4" pvc pipe that ran from the bottom of the tank to the water surface. At the end of this standpipe is a crude "screen" (slices cut into a piece of pvc pipe). As you can imagine, this setup is loud, (a Durso style is not an option since there is no overflow compartment of any sort), ugly (the standpipe sits smack in the middle of the tank, off to the left hand side), and circulates very little water, (200 gallons per hour at the very most).
Third, the aquarium contained no live rock what-so-ever, only fake decor and bleached corals. The store that maintained the tank has since gone out of business and had a *very bad* reputation. My guess is that the owner had a surplus of old-school aquarium decor and saw this particular tank as an opportunity to unload his junk.
I know that the owner had originally kept juvenile leopard sharks, (he donated them to a public aquarium when they grew too large), but when we took over the aquarium was only stocked with a handful of small to medium
sized fish, all of which were easy to keep and feed. The tank ran just fine, and received 40 gallon water changes and cleaning every two weeks, (I know that 40 gallons is small for a 300 gallon tank, but the bio load was very
Last year the company where the tank is located then went through re-structuring, and there was a period of several months that the tank received no maintenance at all. When we were able to return most of the fish had died and I pulled out several intact, complete skeletons of a few recent casualties.
At this time, the tank owner decided to turn the tank back into a shark system. Luckily, I was able to talk him out of leopard sharks, and ordered him two medium sized coral cat sharks instead. In my opinion, 300 gallons is too small for any sharks at all, but I figured that if he was going to keep any sharks in a tank that small then they might as well be Coral Cat Sharks, (since they stay small compared to other species).
<We are in agreement>
In preparation, I removed the old fake decor, and replaced it with 200 pounds of Fiji live rock (I felt that the extra biological filtration was essential because the wet/dry would not be able to handle all of the ammonia). I also put in several handfuls of macro algae, and performed several 50 gallon water changes over a period of about 1.5 months or so.
By the time the sharks went in, the tank was stable, and the macro algae had become very well established, and was growing quickly, (again, I chose this set-up to help maintain the best water quality possible considering the
less-than-perfect conditions of the tank).
This is where things go down hill.
I [thought] that I had also made it clear that the tank would need the water changed every two weeks due to that fact that sharks (1) need excellent water quality and (2) were high ammonia producers. Between 11-23-09 and
05-05-10 the water was only changed six times. Below are the days that we able to get into the office to change the water:
11-23-09 - Water change/ Sharks arrive
12-23-09 - Water change (50 gallons)
01-08-10 - Water change (50 gallons)
03-09-10 - Water change (50 gallons)
04-01-10 - Water change (50 gallons)
05-05-10 - Water change (50 gallons)
On May 6th, 2010 (the day after the last water change) both sharks died.
When I first got the news, I panicked. I could not believe that a 50 gallon water change could kill two sharks. I immediately sent a water sample to AWT in Colorado. Here are the results:
Ammonia- 0.150 (bad)
Nitrite- 0.355 (bad)
Nitrate- 5.4
Phosphate- 3.32

Silica- 0.5
Potassium- 168
Calcium- 302
Boron- 3.5
Molybdenum- 0.1
Strontium- 12.6
Magnesium- 1588
<Too high, out of proportion w/ [Ca]>
Iodine- 0.18
Copper- 0.07 (probably from contaminated freshwater top-off)
<... is this ppm? Is significantly high for sharks>

Alkalinity- 2.55
The salinity was 1.026.
This was 50 gallons of water from a 225 gallon water tank. The rest of the water from that particular batch of water was delivered to 8 other aquariums, with ZERO loss of any marine life, (we checked). The water we use is filtered through a high efficiency commercial grade 300 GPD RO/DI system, which designed and built specifically to our specifications by Aqua Engineering & Equipment, Inc just outside of Orlando. The water is electronically monitored, the pre-filter is changed weekly and the carbon block is changed every two weeks. All of the water is mixed to 1.026 SG with Instant Ocean and reef customers get extra calcium and magnesium by adding Brightwell Aquatics brand liquid supplements, (this particular customer does not get supplemented water).
<I don't think the loss of the sharks is/was that related to your source water>
Needless to say, the water quality problem was not because of our water.
It was because the water in the aquarium was allowed to get this bad, (we had no control over this).
Nothing about the tank cleaning was done differently, either. We have been cleaning this aquarium since 06-27-08, and the methods used to clean it have not changed. We clean the glass with an algae scraper, "gravel vac" the sand
and clean the rock using a nylon brush/ turkey baster. We rinse or change the filter floss and spray down the glass with fresh water from a plastic spray bottle. We use ZERO chemicals in the tank. The old water gets flushed down the toilet and new water is pumped from our water tank into 5 gallon water jugs and brought upstairs via a hand truck and elevator. Nothing complicated, and we have been doing this for years.
<I did so for 19 as well>
this leads me to believe that what caused the death of the sharks was a rapid change in water chemistry.
<I do agree... likely low DO>
I think this for three reasons:
(1) The sharks had been breeding, but stopped. When I was there on 03-09-10 there was at least one shark egg. By 04-01-10 there were at least four shark eggs. By 05-05-10 all of the shark eggs were dead, and floating at the
surface of the tank, decomposing. This makes me think that deteriorating water quality from lack of water changes had 'killed' the eggs, (assuming that they were even fertile to begin with).
(2) The sharks were particularly lethargic, even for Coral Cat sharks.
<This is a clue>
(3) The person who fed the sharks mentioned that one of sharks had, at one point, stopped eating almost entirely.
<This as well>
When all is said and done, the water change itself must be what caused them to die.
<Mmm, I don't follow... What is your reasoning here?>
Exactly why is what I am trying to figure out. One problem is that we are a no-contract company, and I can't "force" them to let me come in and change water every two weeks, (remember, this is how we make money, so you would be correct in assuming that I did try my best to keep them on an every-two-week schedule). I also made two attempts to get into the office.
I tried to get in on 04-23-10, but the office manager asked me to "come in next week." Then, the following week, I attempted to get in again but she never returned my call, (I called twice). Now I'm put into a situation where I am responsible for two sharks dying because of a water change, but they did not follow my advice for two week water change intervals.
<I don't consider you, your co. liable here>
I guess that I will be changing the way we do business, and require contracts, (other then the contracts that our customers sign now, which does limit our liability).
<I do strongly endorse this change, practice. We, Aquatic Life Services, ONLY did work on contract... IF something goes sideways, your insurance co. will NOT enforce your policy w/o such>
Do you think that the rapid change in water chemistry?
<I think this is likely... a "cascade event"... with low dissolved oxygen the most likely "cause" here>
Do you think I should require contracts?
Any thoughts or advice on the situation?
<I'd ask the account to "split" the cost of livestock replacement... and require there be a set time for you to service this system at least every two weeks, if not weekly>
Thanks for your time, and keep up the great work!
<Welcome Jay. Bob Fenner>
Re: Shark question 5/20/10
Mr. Fenner-
<Just "Bob" is fine Jay>
Wow, thanks for the lighting quick response!
Yes, the copper was 0.07 ppm... I'm sure it was driving the sharks nuts.

The high copper is also a concern to me. I am assuming that it is a result of topping off the water with tap water, slowly building up over time. A chemical reactor with carbon ran every other week should help here a bit.
<I would use a good grade of carbon... rotate the bags out every month here... And add aeration... a sump and gigantic skimmer likely...>
The phosphate level is also strange, especially considering the amount of macro algae/ marine plants in the system, and the magnesium/ calcium ratio has me confused, especially since this customer does not get any supplementary dosing of either.
<The HPO4 is sky high>
I think that the poor guys were on their death bed to begin with, and the stress of the water change and cleaning just put them "over the edge," (especially considering the dead eggs and lethargic lifestyle).
<Very likely so... and once they started to go... the aforementioned cascade event>
Do you have any thoughts on increasing water flow with out adding potentially disruptive [to sharks/ metal] powerheads?
<The modern inside use products by Tunze and Koralia (and sometimes EcoTech/Vortech) are to be recommended. These are pretty well insulated>
The only thing I can think of is a Wave 2K, since the motor sits outside the tank, but that would probably be overkill for the sharks. I could also plumb in a second wet/dry,
<Mmm, am not a fan of their use with Chondrichthyous fishes... too much generation of NO3>

but I'm not sure if the customer would agree to the expensive process of having to drain all 300 gallons/ remove the rock and sand in order to add a second standpipe and return.
I hate the idea of having to require long term contracts.
<Month to month is fine>
I don't want to alienate customers who live paycheck to paycheck, but I think that it will be necessary to give us more protection/ less liability.
<? Are they, the customer, expecting you to pay for the improvements up front? I would not do this>
Right now everyone signs a work release/ terms and conditions (which actually states that "due to their delicate nature, there is no guarantee on livestock"). We have since written a new work release/ terms and condition that makes statement much this more clear and concise. The customer fills it out, signs and dates it. We keep the original, and the customer gets a "yellow copy" (carbon paper imprint).
Well, I suppose the best thing to do now is do a large, (maybe 100 gallon) water change to re-balance the tank. Honestly, I had been considering sending him a refund check via certified mail for the sharks and just walking away, (wiping my hands of the situation), but that would make me look bad/ make him unhappy.
<And weaken you. Again, I encourage you (strongly) not to do this>
I try to be VERY customer service orientated, and we have earned an excellent reputation for giving our customers great advice and charging the lowest prices within 100 miles more more. We have never lost a customer because they were unhappy with our service/ we killed their fish, and we don't want to start now. I built this company literally from nothing... from using a few water jugs and a couple buckets to earn some extra cash in college... to a full service aquarium sales, installation & maintenance company.
<This parallels my life, time frame>
Its a frustrating situation...
<Can be... but (and this is easy for me to state, distally in both space and time), all will take it's place in perspective as the years go by. You can trust me here>
Its a fine balance between being inexpensive and flexible [with people's schedule] and being pushy with my customers, (I never try to be pushy or pressure people into buying anything... I think its one of the reasons people like us so much).
<Register, reflect on your priorities... business is not a matter of "being liked", likeable... but doing the job at hand well... the PR aspects are tertiary at best>
Well, again, thank you for advice. I have admired your works for many years now, and I appreciate the fact that you take time out of your day to help out others!
<A pleasure to serve, share with you. BobF>
Re: Shark question, sys. 5/25/10

Mr. Fenner-
Thanks again for taking time to help me out on this issue!
We are in complete agreement about wet/dry's on shark tanks. When I kept bamboo sharks, my system was filtered by an enormous sump filter with a skimmer, some live sand and a few [very large] pieces of live rock
strategically placed throughout the aquarium. I did a water change every two weeks, kept the water nice and cool and didn't over feed them. I never had any problems keeping sharks this way.
This tank is proving to be a shark nightmare, but I think I may have a solution that the customer will agree with:
(1) Add four Koralia 4 powerheads to increase water movement/ better oxygenate the water/ keep organic waste from settling to the bottom.
(2) Add a protein skimmer.
(3) Swap the wet/dry for a sump.
What do you think?
<Outstanding changes, choices!>
Thanks again!
<Welcome. BobF>

New Shark Acting Strange 10/29/09
Hello, I have recently purchased a male white-spotted bamboo shark. He is about 7 1/2 inches long and he is in a 180 gallon long tank. I know this is not large enough for life but I will upgrade in a couple years.
I have a larger protein skimmer with a 40 gallon wet-dry/refugium sump.
<Do keep your eyes on Nitrate accumulation>
I drip acclimated him for a few hours and when I let him into the aquarium he swam around for a while then just went behind the rock and laid down. Then for some reason for about 2 hours straight he was swimming around sporadically as if he did not know where he was going (even swimming into rocks)
<Ow! I do hope these are placed centrally so this animal can swim all around the system's perimeter>
and swimming upside down.
<Yikes! Not good>
Now he has resumed to laying behind the rock and he looks normal. All other fish are healthy (sail-fin percula tang and a couple of clowns).
Water parameters all read zero and salinity is at 1.024. Is this anything to worry about or was he just getting used to the tank?
<Was the pH matched with the drip water to the shipping water? I think this animal was poisoned ("ammonia burned") by being exposed to too high a pH in the acclimation process>
I even offered him some squid before this all happened and he came it and nibbled on it and swam away. I just want to know if all is good. Thanks.
<... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/FishInd1.htm
the second tray down... the Shark articles, FAQs files for needed background. Bob Fenner>
Re: New Shark Acting Strange 10/30/09

Hello, thank you for the fast reply. Yes the rocks are all centrally located for the best swimming room and I made a nice cave for him.
<Ah good>
For the past day and a half he has just been laying on the bottom not moving much (even at night which worries me knowing they are nocturnal).
<Actually, this and some other "sedentary" shark families members are quite inactive en toto>
I noticed that he is breathing really hard also. It almost looks like he's doing pushups off the sand with his front two fins with every breath. I offered him fresh squid, krill, and a cut up silverside and I stick it right in front of his face and he just sits there or moves a little.
<Don't be overly concerned re the lack of feeding... try some appropriate size pieces every other day...>
Referring to what you said about the pH it is
at around 8.2 .
<... Have you read where I referred you? What re NO3 conc.? BobF>
Re: New Shark Acting Strange -- 10/31/09

Hello, my No3 levels are at zero.
<Wow, great>
He is doing much better now. He ate a squid tentacle and is breathing normally.
<Ahh, good>
Sometimes he finds the smallest places to sleep in , I hope that is normal. Also is it normal for him while he is swimming to be so close to the surface? Even poking his head out sometimes?
<Does happen... Make sure the top is covered... as they can leap out.
Cheers, BobF>

Mysterious bamboo shark death 6/11/09
There are no words to express my absolute love for sharks. On December 24, 2008 I was given a bamboo shark egg (very young). On March 19, 2009 tellulah (the shark) hatched at 6 in. Since then she's been eating mysis shrimp (I've tried feeding her squid but she doesn't seem to like it as much). She has always had a very healthy appetite. She's been swimming very well and no irregularities in her behavior. When I got? home from school yesterday (6-10-09) she was very very pale and had blood around her gills. I picked her up and could not find any cuts.?She was not breathing and had no response to touch or movement. I was hit with the reality that she had died. I've search your web page an the web, but have not found an explanation for her death.?Here is some info on my aquarium.
75 gallon (only temporary for her first few months)
The tank is longer and short so there is more room for swimming
3 small damsels
1 clown fish
2 turbo snails
Live rocks (all kept in one area to prevent scratching of the shark)
KH (carbonate hardness): 180 mg/L
PH: 7.5
<Way too low>

nitrite: 0
nitrate:80 mg/L
<Way too high...>

All levels have been constant since birth.?Please help me find what happened to my dear tellulah. Thanks very much
<The chemistry you list above could itself be the explanation/cause of loss here; though there are quite a few other possibilities... Bob Fenner>
Re: mysterious bamboo shark death 6/12/09

Thank you very much for responding so quickly. My only thoughts on the water quality being the cause is that, wouldn't it affect the other fish too,
<Mmm, yes. But to a much slighter degree... i.e. the other species are far more tolerant>
and why it is that she had been acting and eating as usual. I will fix the water quality ASAP. Do you know of any diseases that could have caused her to die so suddenly. (names or links to learn more about it)
Thanks very much Erin
<... please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/FishInd1.htm
the second tray... BobF>
Re: mysterious bamboo shark death 6/13/09

I've looked over the link you sent me, I do recall there being a small lump on her underside below the mouth, but it was there since the moment she hatched. Could she have gotten a goiter while she was in the egg. If so can a goiter kill her so quickly without a change in behavior.
Also, by any chance the tomato clown fish that i mentioned before was recently purchased (5-22-09) he is very young, but could he have brought in a parasite or something.
<... doubtful. B>
Keep in mind he was bought from my usual fish store where? I have purchased all my fish from.
???? -Erin

Bull shark 2/25/09 Oggetto: Dear director, <Andrea> I have a problem with a Bull shark, he has the gills completely open and stopped, even if he swim normally ( the oxygen in tank is 8 mg/l). I can't understand what's happen! Can you help me? Best regards, Andrea Andrea Dr Tomei Shark Expo Palazzo del turismo Jesolo 30016 Venice ITALY <Is this Carcharias leucas? How long have you had this animal? What other species are house with it? Are any of them acting odd? What have you done recently? Bob Fenner>
Re: Bull shark 3/2/09
Dear Bob, Yes we have a pair of Carcharhinus leucas, now the shark is doing well. We have 18 species ( sand tiger shark, wobbegong, Zebra shark, lemon shark etc...) and about 50 sharks. Have you experience with sharks? <A great deal of old experience with their pathology... Not so much with their "live husbandry". Am glad to find your collection is doing well. The others listed are not hard to keep generally... but the Bulls... can be. Bob Fenner> Best regards, Andrea Dr Tomei Shark Expo Palazzo del turismo Jesolo 30016 Venice ITALY

Re: Bull shark, hlth. -- 03/03/09 Dear Bob, the bulls is not simple to maintain but they are beautiful animals! <Ah yes... do keep them well-fed... and under observation... This species has a great tendency to predate other sharks, rays...> 3 months ago they have had a problem with parasite, I think Turbellaria. After using all the drug normally used ( Trichlorfon, formalin, lower salinity) i have tried with Diflubenzuron an inhibitor of chitin synthesis, with excellent results. I send a picture before the treatment. Sorry for my bad English. Andrea <No worries re your English... Better than my Italian for sure... I do agree with your materia medica list, use. Ciao, Bob Fenner> Andrea Dr Tomei Shark Expo Palazzo del turismo Jesolo 30016 Venice ITALY

Dead bamboo shark, no data of use 2/10/09 Hi everyone, <Anthony> I woke up to find my bamboo shark dead in my aquarium this morning and was wondering if any of you could shed some light on what may have happened here... <Given information...> I've experienced several deaths in the past with my tank, but never anything this peculiar. I've attached some pictures that I took once I pulled her out - you can see that one side of her body is all red (I can only imagine internal hemorrhaging?) while the other one seems mostly fine (except for a little blood in her eye. Do any of you know what might have caused this? <...? Not w/o data, no> Thanks, Anthony <This shark is... obviously dead... Petecchial... but... cause/s? System, tankmates, maintenance history, foods/feeding, water quality measures? No sense guessing w/o data... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/shkdisfaq2.htm and the linked files above... to gain insight into your situation and what sorts of input we're looking for. Bob Fenner>

Re: Dead bamboo shark 2/10/09 Hi Bob, thanks for the reply. Sorry I didn't include the typical information in the original email - I was kind of shook up at the time. <Ahh, understandable> The shark was in a 180 gallon tank with a Picasso Trigger, Snowflake Eel, Dog Faced Puffer, Black Spotted Puffer (both of which are extremely non-aggressive), a porcupine puffer (a bit more aggressive towards the other puffers at feeding time but always left the shark alone), and a Queen Trigger. <Yikes... some very tough customers as tank-mates> The system has been running for over 2 years and there were no water quality issues from a chemical perspective. One thing that did happen recently (about a month ago) was that the sump started leaking salt-water, and before I knew what was going on, the leaking water had been automatically topped off by new fresh water. About a week later, the Queen Trigger and Porcupine Puffer both died within a day of each other. <Highly stressed... and reason here for the shark's loss> I attributed this to what happened with the salinity dropping so rapidly the week before. When I spoke to my LFS about it, they were surprised that the shark had survived it - they said if anything, the trigger should have been able to deal with that, but I guess not. <Yes> As for feeding, I fed them frozen shrimp and scallops every couple of days. The food would never hang around for more than 5 minutes in the tank, and with the exception of the porcupine puffer being a little over-zealous when eating, everyone got along very well. There is around 130 lbs of live rock in the bottom of the tank, with two caves at both extremities of the tank where the shark would hang out. The middle of the tank was clear of live rock so she could swim without hitting anything. The marks that you saw on the pictures were never there prior to her death. I did however catch her swimming upside down the night before she died. As I said earlier, all the water quality measures were normal: pH around 8.2 - 8.3, no ammonia, no nitrites, 10 ppm nitrates. The specific gravity was back to 1.023 (it had dropped to around 1.017 when the incident occurred - I brought it back up gradually by filling my ATS with 1.025 salt water over the course of 2 weeks). The protein skimmer was functioning properly. Thanks for your help Anthony <I do suspect that the principal cause here was the sojourn too-much, too-fast into too-low specific gravity. Such effects are not always so straightforward, obvious.. but the internal changes... damage to kidneys, other organs consequently, can be deadly. There are controllers, with alarms that can notify one of deviation from measures as specific gravity. Perhaps you're a candidate for such. Bob Fenner>
Re: Dead bamboo shark 2/10/09
Thanks Bob. I'll look into it. I had a feeling it was because of the salinity drop, but was thrown off by the delayed reaction. <Yes... a useful, though painful lesson here re such delayed responses and what passes for our understanding (terrestrial, homeotherms...) with other animals we're familiar with. Cheers, BobF>

Bamboo shark trouble 1/17/09 Dear Bob (and WWM crew) I just hatched my first bamboo shark late last night. The birth was natural with no assistance from me. When I awoke this morning I was distressed to find the shark had wriggled past the eggcrate I set up to protect it and other critters from entering the overflow and gotten caught in my filter sock. I pulled the shark from the sock only to find it has ingested a small string or something, I had to cut the string or risk hurting the shark trying to pull it free. Now it is sitting on the bottom of the tank(breathing regularly) but with a tiny piece of filter sock fuzz hanging out of it's mouth. What should I do now?!?! <Wait, be patient... try to keep the shark in a low-stimulus setting as much as possible. The string is not likely trouble. Bob Fenner>
Re: bamboo shark trouble 1/18/09
Thank you. I did manage to remove a small amount of material with no effort. There is still some in there and was resistant to very minor force, (just enough to scare the shark from the palm of my gloved hand) <Leave it be> so I will follow your advice and leave it be. I noticed some of the material made it's way through the gills so I removed that as well, again, with no Resistance from the material or shark. I don't know if you will remember it, but I actually showed you the shark egg back at MAX where I was at Tim McGuire's booth with our friend Harold Diaz (frag city), I was also supposed to make your Xmas party with the rest of SDMAS but work came up and I was forced to miss it, much to my chagrin. I normally go by Maz BTW. <So it is> Thanks again for your advice, I have been researching relentlessly trying to find a solution. Maz. <To go is to come. To accept what is to be is a high achievement... those who cannot/will not accept what will be will be destroyed upon the lathe of nature/chi'en/heaven>

Bamboo shark treatment... Prazi? Nope. 1/14/09 I have a bamboo shark that is about two weeks old. I saw him rub or scratch on the bottom. I want to know if Prazipro (distributed by hikari ) is safe to use. Thank you. Kris <Umm... why would you be using/exposing this animal to an anthelminthic... Prazi treats for flukes, flatworms... Your shark is not suffering from these assuredly... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/sharkeggfaqs.htm  and the linked files above, elsewhere you lead yourself. Bob Fenner>

Mortimer the white spot bamboo shark, fdg./hlth. 9/6/08 Dear Mr. Fenner, A few years back I wrote to you with this same problem . Morty was 10 then and now he's almost 15 . Although I have a good idea what you'll tell me , maybe you'll see a solution I don't . Morty is obviously interested in all of the food I try feeding . But each and every thing , he spits out . I've tried so many things . Shrimp, cocktail and fresh , squid, scallop, clams, oyster, and silversides which he usually woofs down since he rarely gets them . I've also tried live shrimp and live mollies, both of which were sucked in and spit out ! I'm going to go to a bait shop . <Mmm, better by far to use previously frozen fare... to avoid pests, parasites and more> But I can't imagine what they might have that won't evoke the same response . The last time he gave me such a hard time , I gave in and fed the silversides , which he doesn't want now .But it s been about three weeks since we've been playing this game now. I see no indication of something like goiter which would affect his ability to swallow . I've dealt with that in another shark . That shark , an epaulette, we lost after trying the force feeding thing . At the time Paul on your crew was helping me out with his guidance. He even did a necropsy for me at The Monterey Bay . It was determined that we had gotten the food into his stomach . So it wasn't likely we did anything wrong . But I'm very scared to try to force feed Morty , and lose him . I love him lots! I wondered if you could think of any reason for this behavior ? Or any other remedies ? I'm at a loss . Thanks to you and your crew for your time . Terri Rego <... Do you use supplements in the foods? What brand, make up, dosage? Bob Fenner>

Smoothhound snout problem 6/1/08 I have (2) 18" grey Smoothhounds in a 5'x5' sq <Too small> aquarium with wet/dry <Inadequate for chondrichthyous fishes> and protein skimmer filtration. All levels are great <...> since the system is tied in with our 700 gallon reef system. <Oh!> The shark tank has a small island of gulf rock, very round. Also I have a 24" shovelhead shark and marbled Catshark. All but one Smoothhound are doing great. The one looks like the tip of the snout was cut of. At least the front 1/2" is missing. We can see some blood and even the cartilage. He is eating but not healing. Any suggestions for medicine. <Mmm, yes... none. This condition is quite common with captive sharks in small, non-rounded containers... they run into the edge repeatedly... Hopefully yours has learned the physical limits here. Nothing will "treat" the symptom... need to address the cause... too small, square world. Bob Fenner>

Re: Smoothhound snout problem 6/1/08 Hello Bob, <Tom> Thank you for the response. However, I do not think this is a case of rubbing against the corners as I have seen that happen many times before. <I see> This looks as if some cut of the front of the snout of. <Yikes! It sure does> Also, this happened within 2 days of the shark living in this tank. It started with a good junk missing and now it seems as if progressing further. I did have a few local "oyster rocks" in the tank which are really sharp and I think he may have cut the snout of while searching around for crabs living around the rocks. Can I use Methylene or Lugol's and apply it directly to the cut using a q-tip. <Yes... a good use here. Full strength> I could do this many times per day if I had to. The shark is still eating but the snout looks really bad. Please see the attached photo and let me know what you think. Thank You Tom M <Does look like a physical injury... I do hope this cool/cold water animal rallies in your care. BobF>

Re: smooth hound snout problem 6/3/08 >>Thank you for your response. I will use Methylene twice per day using a q-tip. Will keep you posted. <Oh! And one more bit... in other times I've used the old timey "mixer" of zinc oxide... to prevent nose-sunburns... to coat such wounds. The curatives can be mixed in with. BobF> <<

Re: Smoothhound snout problem 6/16/08 Hello Bob, <Tom> Just want to keep you updated. The shark is still eating and getting better. I keep him in an empty 60x24x24 aquarium, part of our reef system. He is easy to remove for daily meth. blue q-tip rub. Looks like it will heal but will have a blunt nose. Thanks. Tom <Outstanding... I do hope you have larger quarters for this fish in mind. Thank you for this update. Bob Fenner>

New question about an old issue, shark hlth., sys. 4/26/08 Crew, <Tom> Perhaps you remember (and perhaps you don't) me writing a ton about a pet Banded Cat Shark that I owned, my display tank having ick with the shark, and my treating the tank with Quinine Sulfate in an attempt to eradicate the ick with the shark present. And you might remember how the Quinine was very effective in ridding the tank of the ick, but that the shark began a steady decline over the course of a month and a half and finally passing away after being unable to eat (this after feeding wonderfully on shark formula and vitamins for 6 months, and doing quite well.) <I do recall> Months have passed, and though I have added a few additions to the tank, we have been nearly 4 months with absolutely no issues. But, my mind still wanders back to that time and while I have no intentions or desire to have another shark, I still think about what caused his demise. I don't really run carbon continuously in my tank. It's 200 gallons with probably 150lb of live rock, filtered by a Fluval FX5 (which I clean and rinse sponges every two weeks) used mainly for water flow and biological filtration, a wet/dry trickle filter, and a large hang on protein skimmer which is actually rated for 180 gallons. I do a 25% water change every two weeks. But I do have a small canister filter that I put carbon in and run on occasion. Obviously during the treatment with the Quinine, I did not run the skimmer or the carbon. but after the treatment duration I did appropriate water changes, turned on the skimmer and put carbon back on the tank. Now, I wonder, how long is fresh carbon actually viable? <Mostly gets "used up" within minutes, hours... rapidly drops off past then> Some information outlets say change it every couple of weeks. but some say the most effective use of new carbon is in the first couple of days. being that this canister filter isn't large to begin with, do you think that it was not effective at removing all of this quinine, and the lingering presence of this medicine caused the shark's demise? <I do not> Water parameters were the same then as now, salinity was 1.025, PH was 8.2, 0ppm of both ammonia and nitrites, nitrates less than 10 - 20 ppm at all times. Again, no problems to resolve now, but something that bugs me and as I think about it often, I might have new questions about it. The tank now houses a 5" Passer angel, a 6" Lunare wrasse, a 5" yellow tang, a Maroon Clown, and a Snowflake Moray. All have been problem free nearly all of 2008. Thanks so much. Thomas Roach <Sharks are not, by and large, little aquarium fish... and most tanks to them... are little. BobF>

Coral Catshark breathing a little fast and keeps swimming to top of tank... Reading... 2/27/08 Hi, I just purchased a 18 inches coral Catshark today. While I was acclimating him he kept swimming around the foam bucket. <I hope you had "heavy" aeration going on during...> After an hour I put him in the tank 150 gallon tank. <... too small a volume> After about 10 minutes he starts swimming around like crazy going up to the top of tank. He would do this and then go back down for a while. I checked the water before I bought him and everything was at 0 and the salinity was .025. <... no> The store owner did tell me his water salinity is .016. <!? Much too different...> He also said the only thing he fed him was silversides. <... a very poor diet> Do you think that's the reason. <Reason for?> He fed him before I bought him so I can see he eats. He said he had him for about 5 months. Oh I have a vtail grouper 5 inches and a Miniatus grouper 4 inches. I unplugged the heater out of the sump and took the glass cleaner out of the tank and the thermometer out. I have some live shrimp in the tank but he doesn't try to eat them. I have a uv, protein skimmer, wet dry/sump. Should I buy a pump for more air. I don't want him to die, what can I do to save him. Did I do something wrong ? Please help <... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/index.htm  The second tray... the Articles and FAQs files on Sharks... You should have done this ahead of this purchase. I would return this fish, pronto... it won't live for long in the circumstances you describe. Bob Fenner>

Bamboo shark swimming in circles HELP 12/5/07 My baby bamboo shark has been in my 180 gallon tank for about two weeks now. <Mmm, how large is this specimen? How was it acclimated? Was it treated in some way enroute?> She has successfully eaten many times and seems to have a big appetite. <How often of what foods?> I recently noticed that she was breathing rather hard about 68gmm. That is almost three times there normal rate. I also noticed her face was a little blotchy. <Good observations, bad signs> I researched it and came to the conclusion that there must not be enough dissolved oxygen. <Mmm, one possibility... what else re standard/common water quality measures?> This all made since considering I have no aeration, other then power heads, So I directed my major sump output towards the surface and have some massive surface current and bubbles. <Okay> I checked on her again today (24hours since increased aeration) things seem to be more serious. She is swimming in circles all around the tank. <...? Bad> The blotchy patterns are now more intense and seem to have increased a lot. Do I need more air or is this something else. <Likely the latter...> I have not treated her with any medication. Do I need to. What do you recommend. She is my baby girl. I do not want to lose her. Please help. -Britany <What other life is present? This may give good clues... Is the other life fine? What re nitrate, any detectable ammonia or nitrite? Bob Fenner>
Re: bamboo shark swimming in circles HELP 12/5/07
Unfortunately she didn't make it through the night. However I still want to try to discover what killed her. <Ahhh, very sorry to realize this loss> She was about 10 inches. I drip acclimated her along with three green Chromis for about 1.5 hours. <Good> There is one thing that I did about three days after I got her that may have been a problem but I don't think so. I transferred her in a critter keeper from my 12 gallon Nano with just Sand and 1 piece of Live Rock covered in Coralline Algae, to the 180. I floated the keeper then added about 1/2 cup of water to it every 15 minutes. Could this have done it? <Mmm, perhaps the stress... of being in the small tank, whatever water quality changes there... to some degree the move> She showed no signs after this. She ate every day about (I now know this was too much) <Yes> about 5 pieces of tube squid cut in about 1cmX1cm. Is this too much? <Yes, and inappropriate as a strict diet... Plus, all sharks should have their foods supplemented... Are you familiar with Mazuri.com vitamins? Have you read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/index.htm  the second tray... on Sharks, Nutrition?> The water tested great. I test with very accurate tests and use a colorimeter so I don't think this was it. Now as for the life. I do have quite a unique tank. I have a sail fin tang, a school of 5 green Chromis, a flasher wrasse, , 2 filefish, 2 maroon clowns (passive), 3 pajama cardinals, and some corals; a hammer, a toadstool leather, Montipora, acropora, zooanthids, button polyps, colt coral, three feather dusters, Christmas tree worms, an open brain, a Lobophyllia brain, Pulsing Xenia, a Kenya tree, a finger leather and a small mushroom coral. Okay, quite a few corals. The reef is on two plastic milk crates and all of the rock is Zip tied to the crates. We cut the sides off of the crates to give the shark ample swimming room. <Good> Could the corals kill her? <Mmm, could mal-affect health, yes> Are there specific ones I should stay away from? <... please read on WWM re the species, genera, families of Cnidarians you list/keep... their "Compatibility" SubFAQs files...> I have been feeding any of the filter feeders with Plankton, and adding Two-little-fishies A&B calcium and Seachem Reef Plus. <With testing I hope/trust> I have checked the ingredients of both and the reef plus does contain copper, yet it is undetectable when I test. Please let me know what I can do to insure a healthy happy shark for next time. Or should there be a next time? Thanks Bob- <I would not place a shark of any species in this setting... too likely to consume the other fishes listed, knock over the stinging-celled colonies... I would look to other fish groups, or arrange a more-dedicated system of size for cartilaginous fish/es. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Bamboo cat shark... hlth., fdg. ... following directions in writing us... 10/24/07 Hi all my female bamboo cat shark has developed a lump behind her mouth all water tests have proved water quality good and she feeds well however this lump has started to restrict her feeding slightly any ideas greatly received thanks Ian <... Do you administer vitamins? I2? Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/question_page.htm  The Google search tool: With the terms: Shark Goiter... and read. Bob Fenner>

Re: bamboo cat shark 10/25/07 Thanks for the help iodine supplement seems to be the answer as I was not aware about the problems with using silversides as main food. Will let you know how I , sorry we, get on. <Please do. BobF>

Brown Banded Bamboo Shark, injured, ???, no useful info. 8/16/07 Hi, ?My name is Brendan and I have had a Brown Banded Bamboo Shark for a little over 2 years and it is about 15 or 16 inches now. It? <?> is in a 125 gallon tank.? I have found your sight more useful than any other web sight or pet shop? about some of the shark problems I've had. About 1 month ago my shark stopped eating for about 3 weeks when it stopped eating I tried everything I could think of to get it to eat again doing water change after water change then emailed you, you said to give it a shot of vitamin B 12 the only problem was I was leaving for the Bahamas for 2 weeks and couldn't get in to the vet. I left my mom to watch it for me and to try to feed it and she was also worried about the shark so she changed the lights and instead of 2 normal 40 watt lights she put one 40 watt actinic coral night light and the shark started to eat again but less than a week after it started to eat again (and I turned the 40 watt coral life 10,000K light on? and still? kept the Actinic light on) a bump showed up on its head and I cant find anything touching on that subject anywhere. There are pictures above. It also got bit by an angle fish I had? in there and I took it? out but there is a mark where it got bit, Is? there anything I can do to make sure it doesn't get infected? the nitrates are 20ppm, <Too high> nitrites are 0ppm, ammonia is 0ppm, and the Ph is 8.1 ppm.? I am also buying a new stand so? when its time? for me? to put the tank on the new stand I will do almost a? complete, if not complete, water change to lower the nitrates.?? Thanks for All the help you've given me, Brendan P.S. Would a Pink Tail Trigger Fish be safe to add to my tank? <... likely not. Please re/read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/index.htm  the second tray. Bob Fenner>

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

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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