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FAQs about Shark, Ray Disease/Health 2

FAQs on: Shark Diseases 1, Shark Health 3, Shark Health 4, Sharks/Rays & Crypt,
Shark Disease FAQs by Type: Environmental, Infectious (Virus, Bacteria, Fungus), Parasitic (see Sharks/Rays & Crypt, Flukes...), Nutritional (Goiter...), Trauma, SocialTreatments 

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Mmmm, something amiss here.

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

Saltwater questions: Epaulette and Snowflake Eel   2/23/06 Hi Bob, <Joseph> I have a few questions to clarify some issues which I have not been able to find an answer to on your website. Firstly, the article on Zebra Moray Eels suggests a simple freshwater dip for new arrivals, instead of the usual 2-3 weeks quarantine. Can this general rule-of-thumb be applied to Snowflake Eels given their close relation with each-other? <Mmm, I wouldn't actually dip either one of these. Muraenids in general don't have difficulties that freshwater dips/baths help with... are generally "too slimy" to have external complaints coming from the wild... I would quarantine unless the specimen/s appeared in perfect health> Secondly, I am considering buying a juvenile Epaulette Shark for my 850 Litre, 8' tank. I was hoping you might shed some light on what quarantine procedure I should use. <Mmm, most sharks I'd skip actual quarantine on in hobbyist settings (different from much larger commercial, public settings)... as the likely damage from such is probably much more than it's worth> I have a 40 litre (10g) quarantine tank however I feel that the stress caused from placing the shark in such a confined tank may outweigh the benefits gained from quarantining. <Agreed> From what I have learned, keeping stress to a minimum may (arguably) be the single most important factor in a successful introduction of livestock. <Most cases, yes>   Am I on the right track??? Perhaps a simple freshwater dip is enough? <I would skip dipping most sharks, most scenarios as well> And how should I handle the shark when placing it into the tank? Should I use a large net, or gently lift with gloved hands? <Yes... this and/or a wet-towel> Thirdly, in regards to my quarantine tank, is it reasonable to expect to be doing small (10%) water changes (with main system water) every few days to manage the water quality (i.e. ammonia/nitrites/nitrates)? <Often, yes... daily...> I understand that small tanks are almost guaranteed to be highly susceptible to a large variation in water chemistry in a short period of time? <Unfortunately, yes.... To be guarded against> Finally (thanks for putting up with so many questions), when carrying out freshwater dips I use a product called Bactonex from Aquasonic and each mL of this solution contains 1.66mg Aminacrine Hydrochloride and 0.025mg of Methylene Blue.. In your opinion, is this a suitable dip? <Is more helpful than none> Thank you immensely for taking the time to answer.. Joe (Sydney, Australia) <And you for writing, and so well. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Shark senses, systems   1/17/06 Hi I have a Banded Bamboo Cat Shark, is it alright to put a titanium heater in the tank with it? Thanks <Mmm, if necessary, yes... though it is far better to remote heating, and all other metal containing gear outside of the main system... for danger to it from the sharks movement and more importantly protecting the shark from the ill-effects of electro-magnetic and ferrous presence (there is some iron inside the heater...). Seek info. on the Ampullae of Lorenzini here. Bob Fenner>

Port Jackson Shark... eye trouble... lack of useful info.  - 1/6/06 My port Jackson seems to have some type of growth on its eye? Any ideas as to what it is or how I can remove it? All the LFS suggest either rubbing it of with a finger or rag, <No> medicating the whole tank (penicillin?), <Negative> to actually putting Neosporin on the eye? None of those seem logical or safe for my shark/ tank mates. Any ideas would be great. <... Is this a Heterodontus francisci? What re its system, tankmates, history of husbandry, water quality, nutrition... Bob Fenner>
Re: important port Jackson questions   1/11/06
Will it hurt a shark if I put Neosporin on its eye? It has a bacteria eye infection? or will to go away by itself? <... I would not apply this material to a sharks eye... If you can discern the root cause/s of the eye opacity/injury... I'd solve them. Have you read re shark systems, heterodontids on WWM? Bob Fenner>
Re: important port Jackson questions  - 01/12/2006
Bob, <Bill> I have read re shark systems, heterodontids on WWM. I am just looking for the solution to my port Jacksons eye. The whole eye appears to be cloudy. The sharks behavior is as follows: he still eats like nothing is wrong, however all he seems to do it just lie there. <Par for these species...> Usually he is swimming about. I rearranged the rocks a few days ago and his eye was messed up the following day. I assume he scraped it on a rock?!? <If unilateral... one-sided... likely so...> Thank you for your time. I just want to get him all fixed up. Bill
Re: important port Jackson questions  - 01/12/2006
Bob, You said that you would not put Neosporin on my sharks eye. Is the because it would not work or would it cause water problems? <Both. Topicals can be applied to chondrichthyous fishes eyes for some maladies... but in this case, providing a good environment, nutrition is about the best/only means I'd advise... Chilled, large quarters, no discernible organics, use of vitamins... Bob Fenner>
Re: important port Jackson questions... learning to use WWM  - 01/12/2006
Bob, <Bill> Thank you for you your reply. So time its self, vitamins and good water quality will be all my shark  needs for his eye to clear up? What type of vitamins and which is the best method to give them? <... this is posted... on WWM... please learn to/use the indices, search tool there> Sorry to keep asking the same question over and over, I just want to make sure I do this right and my shark gets better. Bill <Please. Bob Fenner>

Epaulette Shark caught in net 1/2/05 I purchased an epaulette shark today.  (He is about 8 inches longs, observed him for a month, eats great).  I thought I had prepared for him as well as possible (340 gallon tank, great filter, read up on sharks, etc.) When I got him home, I scooped him out of the bag and put him in the tank (I use quarantine on my fish but with him being a shark i didn't want to expose him to copper, and I really just didn't want him to have any undue stress as he is my centerpiece fish).  In the process of scooping him into the tank his tail got caught in the net.  Somehow it wrapped completely around him.  I did the only thing I could think of and carefully cut him out of the net, however, it left a hunk of net on the fish, and I'm not sure sure how he is going to get it off.  I would just leave it but am sure that eventually it is going to be a problem, and even today he caught it on a rock and began thrashing (I was hoping it would come loose.)  I don't know what to do, as it seems that any attempt to cut the net would result in me cutting the fish.... is there a vet or someone I can call.  Please advise.  For now am just leaving it alone.  He is eating and otherwise seems to be fine. Regards and Happy New Year, Eric Alspaugh <If there is enough net stuck on the fish to allow it to snag, I would suggest removing it.  A couple of small nicks from cutting the net loose are better than the more serious injuries the shark could receive if it gets snagged and thrashes against tank decor.  I am not sure that you will find a friendly (or affordable!) vet to assist you, so I would suggest contacting another local fish geek for assistance.  Your local marine aquarium society is a good way to find someone.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

Bamboo shark in a too-small world, goiter 12/21/05 I had a  10" brown banded bamboo shark in a 55 gallon tank <...> with a hang on remora pro protein skimmer and hang on emperor 400 filter.  I also had a 12" snowflake eel, yellow tang, tomato clown and small goby.  I have had my shark for over a year and a half.  He had eaten very well and been a wonderful shark.  He had grown a lot recently and I just bought a 240 gallon tank with a 65 gallon sump as a new home.  A few days ago, the shark started swimming around a lot and kind of erratically.  He would dive into the sand and turn to rub his body on the soft sand bed.  I thought that he was just enjoying himself <Uh, no> as he first did about a year ago when I first switched substrate to the soft sand.  His breathing was also very fast but thought that it was because of the increase in activity.  Then today, he slowed down his swimming and then his breathing started to slow down.  He then died not even an hour later.  When I took him out to examine him, he has a good sized bump about an inch behind his gills.  It kind of looks like a tumor or a parasite or something. <Actually, very likely a goiter... most due to a lack of nutrient... iodine...> I do know that I never saw any sort of scratch or injury that I noticed and up to two days ago, he was eating very well.  He filled his belly every night or two. I am very sad and just do not know what happened or why he died so rapidly.    Any information would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you for your time.   Respectfully, Dustin LeCave <Please take a read through WWM re Shark, Ray Disease... you can use the words "goiter, sharks" in the Google search tool on the homepage. Bob Fenner>

Shark Problems 10/13/05 Hi Bob, <Nick> I have two leopard sharks that have been doing fine for about three years now. Recently I noticed some small whitish spots on their skin (see attached photos). The sharks are around 22" and the spots are up to 1/8", most are smaller. Most of the spots are on the bottom of the fins. Both sharks are eating and swimming okay, though I have seen them rubbing on the sandy bottom. <I see> I keep the water temperature at 57? in 800 gallons with: protein skimmer (counter current), wet/dry, fluidized bed, UV and large bag filter (300 Microns). <Sounds good... for now... as am sure you realize the size/potential for Triakis> Can you tell me what this problem is and how and what to treat it with. Thanks Nick <I suspect the root of this "problem" is environmental/nutritional rather than pathogenic... I advise the use of "shark vitamins" snuck into foods, and/or their administration (am sure you do this already) of iodine/ate. Do you use natural water? You might want to check your alkalinity if so. Bob Fenner> 


Re: Shark Problems Follow-up 10/13/05 Thanks for the quick reply.  I am using an artificial salt mix, Bio Sea's "Marine Mix", <I'd look for a good deal on a better brand... perhaps the 200 gallon size of Instant Ocean's products... even from etailers if they have a deal on freight> Vita-Zu "Sharks & Rays Vitamins" and Kent Marine's "Tech 1" Iodine Supplement and "Essential Elements" in the water. <Am not a fan of this company's products... too many hokum, no smokum...> Do you think I should be injecting their food with Iodine? If so what kind or brand of Iodine, how much, and how often. <I would use Lugol's Solution... about a half ml. per week, in one dose per shark> Their food is cut up: 2 small anchovies, 2 shrimp, and 2 clams. I feed them once a day. <Good mix, technique. Bob Fenner> 

White spot in shark tank  9/30/05 Hi, I hope you can help me as I am running out of idea's, the problem is white spot / Oodinium in my marine tank. <Mmm, stop! Generally white spot is considered Crypt(ocaryon), not (Amyl)Oodinium...> The tank is a 260 gallon set up with a sump filter, uv and large skimmer, this tank has been running for over a year now and is set up as a shark tank with little live rock. <Where are the spaces between your sentences? Why do you think I/we have time to correct your grammar?> I have a large epaulette shark which is fine,1 x lunar wrasse,1 x bursa trigger and 1 x black trigger, I do have a quarantine tank which is used for any new fish before they go to the main tank, the problem seems to be in the main tank because every fish that is added to the new tank after coming from quarantine seam's to start with white spot, <The main system is infested...> the lunar is the only fish apart from the shark that seam's to be clean. My bursa at the moment is covered and my black has a couple of spot's, due to the size of the tank once any fish are in there I can not get them out alive, the tank has just been treated with Kent marine RxP <Worthless> which seemed ok but I have now lost 1 x red sea banner and a large six bar angle which a lovely fish, can you help me with any idea's on how I can get the main tank clear of this problem as I do not want to lose any more fish. <Time to send you... where you should have gone/been already... to the archived materials on/that are WWM... read... re parasitic systems, these two parasites mentioned here... medications> I have been told today that there could be a chance that my epaulette could have the white spot on it but because it doe's not effect them its just passing it on to any fish in the tank, could this be true <Yes... but, it is obvious that your system "has" the ich/velvet... the fishes have become symptom-less there from long exposure... However, with declining water quality, a loss of nutrition, resistance... they can/will succumb> if yes how could I get it cleared as I can not use any copper treatment on the shark. Thank you for your help Jason. <Keep reading... and learn to/use your spelling and grammar checkers... You don't want to appear/be ignorant, and I don't want to waste my time correcting you. Bob Fenner>

Sick coral banded shark  9/5/05 Hi, <Hello>     I've had my coral banded since he was still in his egg-sac, On April 11th he hatched and has been doing great ever since. No problems eating, swimming around a lot, very alert. I have a 92 gallon corner tank which is basically a little hang out for him until I get a larger one to keep him happy and healthy. <May be too late> I have a protein skimmer, an 8-volt Lifegard UV sterilizer, and an underground wet/dry. As of this morning levels are Ammonia-.50, <... trouble. Should be zero, always> pH, 8.3, Nitrite 0.2, <Also trouble> Nitrate >10. His tank mate is a juvenile snow-flake moray which was also purchased as a baby and is rather small (foot long, less the 2 inches around), they get along just fine.    On August 28th, I was doing a weekly water change when I noticed he had red spots on his belly. I went ahead and did a large water change (about 35-40 gallons), At this point he was still swimming around and eating, he was flashing a bit though. About 2 days after this i saw his behavior start to change, since then he hasn't eaten, is staying in one spot for most of the day, his breathing is slow and deep. I took him to my most knowledgeable LFS and was told that it was probably a parasite infection; <What? Where would this parasite come from?> he gave me something called PraziPro a liquid medication used to treat parasitical infections. <Praziquantel... used to treat certain for worm groups...> (Not sure if you are familiar with this kind). I administered it into the tank last night after doing another water change. He really hasn't moved much but his breathing has gotten a little better. I just want to know what else I can do to help him survive, while I was reading all the FAQ's there was some contradicting advice as to whether or not I should give him a FW bath, also is there any other sort of medications/supplements I should be adding in the tank other than that PraziPro that I bought for him. <... you need to first fix this environment... your fish may be suffering from a nutritional disorder, improper substrate, but is definitely being mal-affected by poor water quality> This little guy is the star of my tank, I would be devastated if there wasn't anything else I would be able to do to help him out, and he was to die. <Uhh, then apply yourself... what is the source of the ammonia, nitrite... how would you fix this?> Any further advice is greatly appreciated.    Thanks,     Heather P.S. Please excuse the redundancy of this question, I know that there are many questions about this sort of thing on the FAQ page but I just couldn't find one the matched up close enough with my situation. <I understand... however, the apparent redundancy is likely what you, others "need"... to understand the principles, possibilities of what might be missing, causal in their problems. Is your substrate fine, rounded? Do you have sufficient biological filtration? Maintenance? Are there avitaminoses issues here? Read on... Bob Fenner>

Hemiscyllium ocellatum not eating, rapid breathing?  9/5/05 Hi, we've been keeping sharks for several years. We have a pair of coral cat sharks and a pair of Epaulette sharks. They were really doing well and eating well when they were in a 150H. <... ridiculously too small a volume, shape...> As they grew we knew we needed to upgrade them. We built 4x8x2 pond for them. <Ah, much better> It had a large pond filter on it (until yesterday when it started leaking, now there are two canister filters on it). <Very large ones I hope/trust... and a big skimmer...> Has live sand and live rock in the tank. Salinity is good, and we checked water quality, which is good (we've been doing this long enough that we truly know what "good" is). When we moved them into the lagoon, their behavior changed. However, we kind of expected this a little bit, as there is always an adjustment period. That was 6 weeks ago. They slowly stopped swimming and eating. Was a gradual decrease in eating and now they're not eating at all. We have tempted them with live hermits living in their lagoon, live night crawlers, live shrimp, live fish, frozen squid, frozen krill, frozen silversides. To no avail. We have been researching ideas for weeks as they slowly deteriorated and we have exhausted the options we came up with. <Something wrong here... what is the "pond" made of? Did you "test it" with other livestock?> Now they are breathing heavier than usual. I cannot see any lesions, discolorations, patches of any kind. other than rapid respiration and lack of energy they seem the same. My husband "thought" that maybe they had goiter, cause they got a little swollen around their necks, so we switched their diet over to heavy squid. <Mmm, not likely... not all the animals at once... Something toxic or missing... I would change out a good deal of the water, add aeration, circulation, activated carbon and Polyfilters in the filter flow path> We had been feeding silversides pretty regularly until we realized that can contribute to it, so we stopped. However, in spite of our efforts, we cannot get them to eat anymore. Do you have any ideas on if there is a disease how to treat, or if not a disease, how to get them to eat? I would be in your debt. Tracey in Mechanicsville <Please read through our "Shark" section: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/index.htm Do the water change, add... Bob Fenner>
Re: Hemiscyllium ocellatum not eating, rapid breathing?  9/5/05
Bob, <Tracey> Thank you very much for taking the time to write us back. The "pond" is made of 4x6 pieces of wood stacked so they could be held together by a wooden dowels. We did not use glue or metal rods to hold it together. We put in a large outdoor pond liner, <Made for pond use... not swimming pool> flattening it out and shaped it to the footprint of the frame. Then we folded the ends over and held them down using a 1x4 piece of wood screwed down onto the 4x6, in effect sandwiching the liner edge in between. In effect no part of the frame is in contact with the water. <Good...> The pond liner is made of vulcanized rubber and "designed" for fish ponds. <Ah, very good.> While initially concerned that this would not be safe because of the vulcanization process (sulphur) we have seen sharks kept by the vendor in ponds made by this liner - two of the same animals for at least a year.   <Yes, am very familiar with this material... safe and tough... enough for sharks et al> It may be important at this point that the sharks we observed over that year were not Epaulettes... Not having seen that they are particularly sensitive to sulphur I ask maybe this is the cause of the problem? <No, not likely... all about the same sensitive> Live sand and live rock were added to the pond from either the tank the sharks had been in and from existing reef tanks.  Water from the existing shark tank was mixed with newly prepared and filtered seawater (from a mix that the sharks had been in).  The sharks were acclimated to the pond water before actual full "release" into the new enclosure. <Sounds good> The pond is heavily filtered and we do have a large protein skimmer in use since the beginning of the set-up.  No mechanized or electrical equipment (such as a heater) is in the pond with the sharks. <Is there detectible ammonia, nitrite? Are you monitoring, bolstering pH, alkalinity?> Will increase water changes and change the carbon in the filter.  Will introduce PolyFilters to the system. <Good> Based on this do you believe the issue could be caused by the liner? <No... not likely directly involved> It has been in the back of our minds recently that this is the only "unknown" quantity that is in contact with the sharks other than the filters we added as we increased the volume of water. Tracey in Mechanicsville <Much more likely the change of systems is the single largest factor at play here... Established sharks do not "like" changes... in their environment, foods... Am hopeful yours will "come around". Thank you for the further input. Bob Fenner>
Re: Hemiscyllium ocellatum not eating, rapid breathing?  9/12/05
Bob, Well, wanted to give you an update. When we got your last email we were kind of at a loss. If it wasn't the liner then what could it be? We noticed some behavior improvement with the water changes, so we followed that trend. Well it turns out once we increased the ph up to 8.2+ they improved dramatically. Our coral cats are not at such a high ph, nor were the Epps in their glass tank, so we didn't think that was the issue. BUT we had tried everything else. So, that combined with water changes combined with tripling the flow in the lagoon seems to have made the difference. Both animals ate frozen squid last night, and both animals have gmm's down under 35 at rest (used to be over 50). They were cruising all over the lagoon hunting the hermits and crabs that have been living with them for weeks. Thank you for your support. Tracey in Mechanicsville <Thank you for this good news, report of your success. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Buoyancy problem with juvenile PJ shark 7/24/05 Hi Bob, Great site! I have a fairly urgent question. I've got a number of port Jackson juveniles (7-10 weeks old). Yesterday one of them began floating upside down, swimming frantically in circles, and he can not stay down. I have tried massaging his belly lightly and straightening him out (as this has worked for PJs I have had in the past) to no avail. I moved him to a shallow tank on his own but even this is not helping. I recently had a crested horn shark baby die after having the same problem for several weeks. What can you suggest and what is causing this? <Frightening... do you know how these animals were collected? There are some enteric problems this might be... so my first, easiest suggestion is to administer Epsom salt to the water (a level teaspoon per ten gallons of system> I can only assume he has gulped air at the surface and can't expel it. <Maybe... but doubtful. Much more likely some sort of food decomposing within the animal... hopeful the magnesium sulfate will "move it". Bob Fenner> Thanks Bob Victoria Brims Department of Biological Sciences Macquarie University Sydney NSW 2109
Re: buoyancy problem with juvenile PJ shark 7/26/05
Thanks Bob. I will give that a try. We had the eggs (laid by captive adults) and hatched them all between 7 and 10 weeks ago. <I see> The only reason I assumed it was swallowed air was that we also have a couple of airlines bubbling in the tank and they sometimes swim through and over those bubbles. To remedy this I have since covered the airlines with pvc pipe so that now they only serve to break the surface tension and the baby PJ can not swim through them. <Good technique> I have moved the PJ that was struggling to a shallower tank where he seems to have settle a bit, but I can see that it is still an effort for him to stay down. <Trouble> Also, in some of our others, they sit with their tails arched upward at times...is this normal? <Can be... that is, I've seen similar instances with the common heterodontid off the Ca. coast... in captive juveniles> Thanks for the advice, I'll give the Epsom salt a go right away. They are kept in natural seawater, that won't make a difference will it? Regards, Victoria <Shouldn't, but there are times when artificially reducing specific gravity a few thousandths apparently acts as a cathartic... Bob Fenner> Victoria

Shark - sigh... another in a mixed community tank :( 6/22/05 hello, I have a question about my banded cat shark. I bought him about a month ago from a local pet store, and he is about 8 weeks old. My tank is 55 gallons with some liverock and I had a few fish. <Please take the time to research your creatures before buying them my friend. Two concerns here for starters: the lack of quarantine and need for quiet isolation to get this hatchling shark started soundly and safely (pathogens). And... the fact that it has inappropriately been placed in a community tank. Few if any sharks really fare well long term this way. Many simply fed die slowly of attrition from the stress of active community fishes in the tank. Some of which will nip or kill the shark in time. Do read more on these points in the archives here at wetwebmedia.com> I have tested the nitrites, ammonia, and the ph. All is in the good range. The other morning I woke up to find all 4 of my fish dead. The previous night, I noticed them swimming slowly at the bottom of the tank (2 tangs and 2 damsels). Now all that I have is my snow flake eel and my shark. I don't really know what happened. <The lack of quarantine for new fishes, snails, LR, etc could have brought in a disease. Were have some fab articles on quarantine in the archives, again. Do take the time... it will go a very long way towards your success in the hobby. And save fishes lives> All were eating well but not being over-fed. I am pumping about 650 gallons per hour with my filtration and I have good current. I am now noticing my shark breathing a bit quicker and taking shorter breaths. <Please do several large partial water changes in the next week and look closely for signs of disease (see disease pages and links)> Before, it had a deep, slow breathing pattern. It does eat well but I am noticing some scratching on the bottom of the tank. <Indeed... if not water quality, then parasites in the gills> I just don't understand what has happened. I'm not convinced that it is a water issue, as I do have one anemone in the tank, and it is doing really well. <Yikes! Another misstep... the shark and anemone long term are poorly suited.> No issues with it. Can you please give me some suggestions.  Thanks so much, Christie <It sounds to me like you need to pause on buying livestock and invest in some good books first my friend. I fear you have not been getting good advice, and you did not educate yourself well enough to take on live saltwater creatures. let me strongly suggest you read Paletta's "New Marine Aquarium" and Fenner's "Conscientious Marine Aquarist." Best regards, Anthony>

Shark with possible goiter or isopod - 6/7/05 I'm dealing with second hand information. <Uh oh>  So my description may not be as specific as needed, but here's the problem: 22 inch Marble shark, in tank for at least 2 yrs, has developed this lump that is visible below mouth. <Hmmmm...sounds like it could be goiter but just a preliminary guess at best>  And maybe poking up in the mouth. <Sounding more like goiter> Sharks feeding is still consistent, and doesn't appear to be in discomfort. My take without viewing it personally is either it's a parasitic isopod attached on the inside of the mouth.  Or a goiter. <I would likely treat for goiter. Try www.mazuri.com and select their Vita Zu - shark and ray tabs either the 5MD8 or 5M24. Whatever works best for the owner. Follow instructions for application from label or from their site> If when viewing one of these guess is right, what is standard treatment for each? <Mazuri tabs are best and for isopods it might need to be treated with Praziquantel. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/shkdisfaq2.htm Thanks so much.  Btw,  I was told that a friends shark has a similar lump, that has gotten larger or decreased in size from time to time. <Sounds like goiter. Thanks for being part of it all. ~Paul>

Epaulet shark tumor? Hello: I have a question about an epaulet shark "tumor". I have had my shark for almost 6 years and he has always been in good health. However, over the last 6 months or so he seems to have a large "tumor" under his head, just behind his mouth. He still gets around and eats fine. He has eaten frozen cube food and nothing live. This condition looks red and painful to me. I have asked a local shark expert and he said it was normal for a male epaulet shark to develop this. But it looks like he swallowed an air hose. I wonder if there is any treatment for this condition. Please help Thanks Joe <Please help yourself. Such goiters in sharks are mentioned, and their simple cure... on WWM... go there, use the search tool, indices... read. Bob Fenner> 
Re: epaulet shark tumor
Thanks for the info, I will give it a try, and send you before and after pictures. Only one question remains - what is the dosage, I ordered the SeaChem product mentioned on your site. The shark is aprox 29 inches long. <Please see here: at the bottom... "Heavy supplementation of susceptible sharks with massive dietary iodine levels (10 mg/kg body weight supplementation of potassium iodide (Sea World, 1985) in the feed once a week) is effective in avoiding the appearance of goiter in brown sharks. However, this level of iodine is not a simple supplementation to balance an iodine deficient diet. In closed systems, the iodine content of the seawater will rise dramatically from the iodine excreted from sharks on this supplementation plan." <Bob Fenner> 
Re: epaulette shark
The goiter seems to be getting smaller but the shark still will not eat. I read on WWM that vitamin B12 can stimulate their appetite. Do you know what dose should be given? The shark is about 2.5 pounds. Also where can I buy vit B12? Thanks for help. <Mmm, the concentration and other useful information re this vitamin is mentioned where you were referred to previously... Such adjuncts can be purchased from companies like Mazuri, or from any source (the compounds are identical for humans) and added, encapsulated and placed in foods. Bob Fenner>

Brownbanded Bamboo Shark with dilated eye Hello, I have a 20" Brownbanded bamboo shark I hatched from egg about a year and half ago. The shark is currently in a 180 gallon tank with a CPR CR3000 wet-dry filter and an Aqua-C EV240 skimmer. Water quality is good with ammonia and nitrite zero and nitrate around 20 mg/L. The shark is about to moved to a new 320 gallon setup in a few weeks. A week ago, I noticed that his left eye was widely dilated under the bright tank lighting while the right eye was normal. The left eye has stayed dilated ever since even though the right eye continues to act normally. The shark doesn't seem bothered by this because his appetite is excellent and he is his normal active self. He shares his tank with a volitans lionfish, a Foxface, and a sailfin tang. Is possible a lionfish or Foxface sting might have caused this? <Possible> Or do you think this a sign of infection? If so, is there any treatment? v/r Dean Carter <Dean... I am most concerned with the possibility that this is a nutritional anomaly, and its remediation. Do you use vitamins, iodine supplements? Have you read over the Shark Health/Disease areas on WWM? Bob Fenner> 
Re: Brownbanded Bamboo Shark with dilated eye
Thanks for the advice. I do iodine supplements but not vitamins. I feed the shark a wide array of foods: shrimp, squid, scallops, smelt, and even live nightcrawlers. But, now I suspect this is not enough. Thanks, again!  <I do hope you have read over where you were sent... Sharks, WWM. Bob Fenner>

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

Epaulette shark with goiter I purchased a female epaulette shark yesterday that has been captive raised from a pup. It is now about 24 inches. I currently have a 34" male and am hoping to breed them. I have a 1500 gallon shark pond that is 10'x10'x3'. The female I just purchased appears to have goiter. It is eating well, and I feed with Mazuri shark and ray vitamins. Will being fed a proper diet with the vitamins correct the problem or is there something else I can do. Also can sharks absorb Iodine from the water or is it only through food? <Not much from the water (but some), but I would definitely be administering iodide/ate through the animal's foods> I currently dose the tank with Kent's Lugol's solution and am wondering if this will help at all. Thanks <I would look to dosages encapsulated, the capsules placed inside hand-fed food items here... and quickly. Bob Fenner> 
Re: Epaulette shark with goiter
Do you have any idea where I can purchase Iodine supplement capsules? The Mazuri shark and ray tabs don't have iodine listed as an ingredient. <Mmm, yes... at GNC or similar food stores... or you can buy the empty capsules from such places and make your own. Bob Fenner> 
Re: Epaulette shark with goiter
Is there a certain dosage I should give? How many mgs would you recommend?  Is it possible to overdose? Thanks <Is possible... please see WWM re dosages, sharks, iodine/ide. Bob Fenner>
Re: Epaulette shark with goiter
I have searched through your website for hours and can not find anything that relates to the amount of Iodine to supplement. I did see on one post that said not to add iodine directly to the sharks food. Is this only liquid forms? The shark is about 4 pounds. Thanks <Perhaps this search:  <<Previous link not good, removed link for space.  Am adding link using "captive shark goiter iodine dosage".>> or one of your own... Unfortunately am out of State, away from references. Bob Fenner> 
Re: Epaulette shark with goiter
I ordered pills from Mazuri that they say are specifically for sharks with goiter, but they have to make it and won't ship until the 9th. I am getting it overnighted but that is still the 10th. The only supplements I have found in any local stores all kelp. I bought one that says it has 400 mcg of iodine, but also has 300 mcg of iron.  Will the iron cause a problem? Is this enough Iodine to get me through till the Mazuri arrives? The capsules are also pretty large and I don't know if she will swallow them or just spit them out while trying to swallow the food. If you know of anywhere I can buy better human Iodine supplements please let me know. She also refused food yesterday for the first time. How long can I let this go before force feeding? Thanks for the help <Am still away... am cc'ing Paul Mansur re your questions. Do you have Scott Michael's shark and ray book? Access to a large library to do a computer search bibliography? BobF>
Re: epaulette shark, force feeding, health
I talked to you about a month ago about an epaulette shark that I purchased form someone that raised it from a pup to ~ 24". When I received it I noticed it had a pretty large goiter and would not eat. I have been tube feeding about 20ccs every 4-5 days since then. I grind 2 Mazuri tabs that were made for me that are supposed to have extra Iodine in them for sharks with goiter. I don't know how much Iodine is in them because Mazuri does not put an ingredient label on them apparently. <Strange... I would write them directly re... and if interested, either test or have their product tested for iodine. I think others have told me Mazuri did not have iodine content> I also for the past 2 weeks have been adding a drop of Lugol's soln to the food. I don't know if this is good or not but I am starting to think the shark is going to die no matter what I do. The question I have now is feeding every 4-5 days about right or should I wait longer to see if she will eat on her own? <Is about right> Is 20 ccs right? <Does the fish seem thin?> When I feed she seems to regurgitate some of the food. It seems like she keeps down about half. Is that normal? <No> I try feeding normal food every day, but she seems to almost be afraid of it and moves away almost immediately. How long should I continue to tube feed before giving up? Thanks for any help. <As long as you have patience, interest. Please read here: Particularly at the bottom. Bob Fenner> Erica Vandegrift

Leopard Shark Diseases Could you please tell me what are two common diseases of the Leopard Shark (symptoms, treatments, and prognosis)?  Thank you <Without a doubt they are both environmental: being kept in too small and non-chilled systems. I take it you've read my bit on Triakis posted on WWM. Bob Fenner> 

Leopard Shark and Lionfish - No Copper, Please, & No Goldfish Hi, <Hi Tim, MacL here with you today.> I just have a few questions that I have been wondering and you guys seem to be the best fitted to answer the question.  I currently have a leopard shark in a 125 gal tank. I have already read many post from your crew not to keep leopard sharks in captivity, but it's too late I already have one. I would not have purchased the shark if I had done more research on them. The shark is in a 125 and the shark is about 24". I was feeding it Shark Formula put out by Ocean Nutrition until I introduced him to prawn from the local grocery store. It has now been eating the prawn now for about 6 months. Out of no where the shark stopped eating.
<So VERY expected...>
He has not eaten but a few glass shrimp from the local pet shop in the past 2 months. I have tried giving it flounder, scallops, shrimp, and the Shark Formula, but it doesn't seem to want it. It will pick the food up and spit it out. <Sounds to me like your tank conditions might be a bit off, in my experiences with Sharks when they stop eating like that they have high nitrates.>  I had thought that it may have been because I was running CopperSafe with it, but I have not had copper in the tank for some time now and still no progress.  <EEEK, Sharks do have adverse reactions to the copper so that might indeed be the root of the problem. I would do several changes of the water to try to get as much copper out as possible. Also you can run PolyFilters in the tank and see if it turns colors to indicate that copper is still there. Or an accurate test kit as well.>  <Editor's note: Sharks and their kin should be considered as invertebrates, no copper!> So my question is what should I be feeding my leopard shark and why might he be not eating. Could it be some sort of hibernation effect since it is winter months? I am currently in the process of purchasing a 300 gallon tank. to keep him for maybe another year until donating him to an aquarium.  <You should check now with the aquarium you plan on talking to a lot of times they need a lot of advance time before taking the shark and /or they might not want them.>  Another question about the leopard shark, is there anyway to sex them?  <Males have claspers.> I also have a 90 gal tank that I have two lionfish in. I purchased the tank with one lion and it was about 10" at the time and is now about 14", and the other I grew up from a little guy and it is about 10" now. The large lion has always had issues with his side fins growing, they curl as they grow and seem to break easily.  <Tank is too small for him I'm sorry to say. Also he probably has a vitamin deficiency if you are feeding freshwater fish to him.>  I was thinking that it may be from poor nutrition.  <Sounds like you are right on track, they need vitamin supplementation if you use freshwater fish like goldfish to feed them. You should try to get them converted over to things like prawn and smelt etc. Also they need a variety in their diet and not just one type of food. This is much easier to do with the younger fish.>  The smaller lion has beautiful side fins and I feed him all live also, but it is fairly young compared to the larger one. I have read recently that lions should not be fed freshwater fish due to some type of toxic chemical that can harm the fish over time. What should I be feeding my lions. Also, is there any way to sex a lion fish?  <Not that I am aware of, although a male and female tend to stay closer in a tank to each other. Also, there's an amazing article about lionfish in one of last years articles of Coral, great info there. Good luck, MacL> 

- Port Jackson Shark Ill - I hope you can help My port Jackson is sick.  <I will do my best.>  He has not eaten in four days, Here is what happened, I can't figure it out. I have had him about three months now. On Sunday night I fed him like usual, then in the morning he was laying on his side and it has been getting worse. Now he swims or more slides in a circle on his side on the bottom of the tank. The water tests fine Ammonia 0, Nitrate 0, Nitrite 0, SG 125, Temp 65, I don't know what to do. Should I force feed him today since its been four days since he last ate? <I would not bother with food at this time... sharks can go a long while without food, and at this point it's more important to deal with whatever is affecting this shark. Do make a quick check for external contaminants as well as any pumps and/or heaters that may be in the tank with the shark - these should be removed to your sump and away from the shark. For the possibility of contaminants, run a PolyFilter in your filtration path and see if it changes to any of the indicative colors... renew as necessary.>  Please help oh and he is still in the 280 I was going to move him this week to the 550 too, what should I do? <I would hold off on the move until the condition is stabilized. Cheers, J -- >

Praziquantel dosing for sharks - 3/11/05 What Would The Average Dose For a 2 ft. shark be?  <The treatment is based on weight. It is important to note that Droncit (Praziquantel) is usually very difficult to come by and usually will need a veterinarian to prescribe. In light of that these are the recommended treatments for when you can get your hands on some. For oral treatments the recommendation is nine milligrams per kilogram of bodyweight once a day for seven days. The recommended treatment for external trematodes is a saltwater bath mixture of 10 milligrams per liter for a three hour bath every third day for three treatments. As an alternative, 20 milligrams per liter for 90 minutes every third day of three treatments is not usually prescribed but can administered. Praziquantel is difficult to dissolve. Using 95% ETOH will help ( 1 g to 10ml ETOH), or it can be pressed through a stocking or other fine mesh net. Adding slowly to the water while stirring may help avoid coagulation. Hope this will help. Good luck. ~Paul> 

Nurse shark cestode infestation - 3/3/05 Hello, This is my first time writing to ya'll, and unfortunately, on bad terms.  <Oh no>  My System is 4,500 Gallons...  <Sounds like you have put some effort into designing this tank but just know that it is extremely important that the tank is wider and longer than it is deep. I am not so sure that 4500 gallons actually sounds like enough for a full grown nurse shark, but I digress.....>  ... solely for my Nurse shark (Raised from egg casing) Which is now 2 ft.(4 years later)  <Not a fast grower but can and usually grow very large>  My Tank Runs on 4 separate Sumps, at an average flow rate of 10,000 gal Per hour. My problem is, Last week (Approx) A massive invasion of free-swimming Parasitic CESTODE larvae swarmed the tank.  <My question is how did this happen and how are you sure they are Cestode?>  My Question is, What kind of medication do I use That is Nurse Shark Safe?  <Praziquantel (Droncit) See Here for more information. You can find it available at online sites and veterinarians. Also, be sure to feed quality foods (noted on the wetwebmedia site many times under the sharks section and be sure to supplement the shark's dietary intake with some sort of supplement (www.mazuri.com shark/ray tabs or something like that)>  My Nurse shark is my baby, as I mentioned above, I have raised her from an inch long egg to a 2 ft. beautiful shark...I just have to say that I really don't feel that nurse sharks and any of the larger growing species are ever suitable for home aquaria. I actually question myself to even help support these animals as sometimes I feel it is rewarding the keeping of such sharks. Also, readers must understand that public aquariums aren't just waiting for shark owners to call with a shark they can no longer care for.  <For many reasons I might add; qualified staff, lack of a holding facility, shark behavior, budgetary and even more) Takes a lot of understanding, constant maintenance, knowledge, money, food, proper environmental surroundings (i.e.. water chemistry, tank size, filtration) Good luck! Let me know how it goes. ~Paul> 

Nurse Shark not eating and stressed (Big Surprise) - 2/10/05 I know a nurse shark is not good for the home aquarist but I couldn't let him stay in the small tank at the fish store. He had been there a week.  <Well, now he can not do well in your tank too.> Anyways, I have had him for 4 months and he has been doing really good. Was full of life and personality. Actually was a great entertainment to watch. Would come to meet you if you walked up to the tank, do push ups with his front fins. Been a great addition to the house. Starting last Tuesday I noticed that salt level was really high due to evaporating water and he wouldn't eat.  <So are you not topping off with freshwater?>  I did a water change and brought it back to normal. Wednesday he ate a lot, my wife said. Not sure the amount she fed him. He is under 2' from nose to tip of tail. We have been feeing him silver sides. He has been really happy with them.  <Not a real good choice of food for a nurse shark. You could feed a kid a Snickers bars for lunch and dinner (and of course he will love it) but does it mean it is a nutritious food for good health and longevity?...... Try human food grade clam and or abalone chunks. Feed variety maybe some squid, anchovies, and maybe fresh sardines. Careful for feeding too much. They will get fat on anchovies and sardines. You could try prawns as well.> I went to feed him Saturday as I feed him every 3 days and he wanted nothing to do with the food. He has been very lethargic the last few days, not really moving. Just sitting where the blower blows on the ground. That is his favorite spot. I did another small water change to help and tested the salt, ammonia and nitrate levels. Everything was fine.  <Not the only water chemistry test that should be done when one keeps a shark.>  He just wouldn't eat or move much. He did have a white looking color to him.  <This sounds like a monogene (flukes) infection. The white film is defense mechanism (mucous coat) The best thing to do is to get a little scrape of the film and look at it under a microscope (you could take the sample to a vet or a college lab) Without treatment the shark is likely to die. This is my best guess based on you description. There could be other issues here but likely the animal is stressed and the flukes are a result of the stress. To treat this (once it has been positively identified) you will need to treat with Droncit or Praziquantel. You use these by weight. You can buy them as de-wormers (used for dogs) and crush the pills up and use them in food. (which might be a problem for you as your shark is not eating) Which brings me to a point, do realize sharks can go for more than three days without eating. Keep water quality high and wait for a few days.> I tried to feed him again Sunday with no results. Hoping to help jump start his feeding I grabbed some live tetras as they looked small enough to feed him. I tossed in 4 of them and they are still around. I fed the tetra's last night and the shark seemed interested in the food. I bought some scallops and cut it up in to small pieces and tossed it in for him. He would suck it in and then spit out. He acted liked he wanted to eat but couldn't type of thing. I also put in a piece of a silverside as well. No luck. He is now showing a pink color mostly by his dorsal fin.  <Hemorrhaging is not a good sign>  He is making me very nervous as he stopped all his playful behavior... <May not have been playful at all......maybe he was always irritated...maybe something was bothering him from the start> ... and is just laying there most of the time. He did more a bit last night when I feed the tetras. He almost ate on but spit it back out.  Any suggestions? I really want to get him back to his normal self.  <You need to act immediately>  Oh, my tank I know is small for him but this is what I got until I can get a custom one built to keep him for a bit longer width. It is a 180 gallons, 6' long, 2' wide, about 3' deep.  <Wider is more important than depth, but over the long haul this is just too small a tank. You need a great amount of surface space (a very large tank), soft sandy bottom, great filtration, and quality foods. Do read more of our FAQs on sharks. You have to keep you water chemistry to high standards with regular water changes, top off with quality freshwater, and regular testing.>  I know he needs a lot bigger tank but that is what I had. He as in a 30 gallon when I saw him.  <I would like you to recommend to the dealer that he should look at our section on sharks, research his offerings before purchasing and treat to his animals better. Let him know if his practices don't change that you are going to not only stop shopping there but you are going to recommend to others not shop there as well. Don't reward this crap! Regardless of your intention, you are ill prepared for the long term care of your shark. So whether it dies in a dealer tank (where he will learn the lesson that a nurse shark is not a good animal to sell) or you take the shark and it dies in your tank thus frustrating you, and rewarding the dealer with business all cause you feel bad for the shark. Don't get me wrong here Peter, I see where your heart lies, and your intentions were noble (if your true intentions was to save the shark and not because you wanted to try one). Thanks for the question and being part of it all ~Paul> 
Nurse shark in distress follow up - 2/10/05
Thanks for the reply.  <My pleasure.> They white has gone away and the red tinge replaced it.  <Not good, my friend>  I know buying him rewarded the fish store but I felt bad having him stuck in there.  < I understand, but now it has become your issue too>  I am planning on getting a better set up for him I know I won't be able to make one big enough but something he can be in for a while anyways.  <Very noble>  Then I am sure to donate him to a local aquarium.  <Don't be so sure your local aquariums are waiting for the public to drop off animal they can no longer care for. They have space allocation issues too. Not to mention they also have the issue of added bandwidth (food, upkeep, staffing, medical issues...etc.....)>  It has been over a week not a few days since he fed.  <Be forewarned, it is possible this shark is doomed. It seems it was stressed out from the start.>  I will definitely get a better source of food for him.  <Excellent>  Hopefully that will help.  <Well, he has to be willing to eat which is one of the issues we are dealing with here>  With regards to not topping off with fresh water, I had been, I don't know why I didn't, which allow the salt level to increase. Stupid me basically!  <Not something you can afford to do unfortunately> I definitely will try those different foods hoping one will work to get him to eat.  <Good idea>  Thanks again for your help.  <No problem. It is what we do>  I will definitely let that shop know to not offer them again until they are prepared to care for them properly.  <Great. Feel free to offer him this site>  I will work on my system as well. Make sure that it is what it should be.  <Be sure to do your research before picking up any animal stressed or not. ~Paulo>
Update on nurse shark - 2/17/05
Update: The white color is gone and the pink/red color is almost gone as well. <GREAT!!!!!> He has now eating again and doing pretty well. <What changed? What did you differently? Please list for me to put on the site for future shark enthusiasts> He did not like the scallops so I tossed in a few silversides. <Good. What about other foods? Are you using supplements?> He liked that. I am picking up some better food today. <Cool. How is that going?> He also has eaten 3 of the 4 tetras I had in there for him. <I wouldn't feed any more tetras for now> So things are up the up and up by the looks. <So great to hear =) > Plans are in the works for a bigger, better tank for him. <That is what I like to hear. Do realize you will need a very large tank in the range of wide and long as opposed to high. Somewhere in the market of 3000 gallons minimum but ideally around 6000 is better. Again long and very wide is the only way to keep this shark in a stress free environment. It must be able to easily swim and turn in the tank. DO research the adult size and requirements of this shark. I stress researching habitats and natural foods, and filtration. OK? Keep the updates coming! Hope to hear from you soon. ~Paul> Thanks again! Peter
<<? Tetras... in saltwater? Not. B>>

Saltwater ich treatment with fish and sharks I have a tank with a 2 foot shark and 20 fish.  I am trying to find a way to treat for an outbreak of saltwater ich. Perhaps Bob Fenner or someone else at Wet Web Media can tell me if, by removing and coppering the fish in an aquarium and leaving the shark in this system which has a significant outbreak of saltwater ich (Cryptocaryon), will the parasite die for lack of a fish host or will the presence of the shark act as a host to sustain the outbreak of parasites.  I already know that I can't copper the main system.  What period of time is recommended without any fish present if the shark remains in this system before the parasites have completed their life cycle (assuming this method will work).  Any treatment remedies would be greatly appreciated. <I responded to another "shark with ich" person just this AM. Perhaps you will benefit from this correspondence:
Ick on my shark - How to treat
First, thank you for taking the time to help us hobbyist.  The wealth of information you guys share is amazing. My situation: I have a 110 gal FOWLR (and fine grain sand) DAS tank/filter/skimmer housing a 4" dogface puffer, 5" antennata lionfish, and a 7" banded cat shark (I know this tank is too small to keep the shark for long, <Do monitor nitrogenous waste content as well (ammonia...) as the Dutch Aquarium Systems filters are puny, inconstant> plans for the near future include a custom 12' 350-400 gallon tank built into my living room wall). My last addition to the tank was a 4" porkfish. My problem: Everything went fine for about 2 months then all of the sudden Ick broke out (the day before I left town for a week I noticed it). When I returned the porkfish was very sick and died a couple days later. My puffer is also ill now. He has taken to swimming directly in front of a powerhead - I guess it is kind of like being rubbed without being scratched by the rock - really a neat behavior but I would rather have never witnessed it. My shark is showing a handful of Ick spots. The lion is fine. I have lowered the SG to just under 1.018 which has helped but not cured the problem. <It won't> It seems like they are not getting worse but they are not getting better.  I assume a lot of the parasites are dying due to the SG but the stronger ones are living to attach to a host.   <A good way to put this> Instead of a massive infection killing my puffer I am afraid of the cumulative impact they are having on his gills.  If I don't get this treated I am going to have a puffer with emphysema.  All parameters (pH, nitrite, nitrate, ammonia....) are good. Whether I move the fish to a treatment "tank" or treat in the main tank - what medication can I use? I am afraid CopperSafe will kill my shark. I have Paragon II but I do not know enough about it to use it just yet. What can I do?  Should I go lower on the SG, around 1.015? Thanks <You might have success with a combination of elevated temperature (to the mid 80's F.) and the administration of Quinine Hydrochloride solution... sold still... and used as an anti-protozoal with some fishes. http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&rls=GGLD,GGLD:2004-27,GGLD:en&q=quinine+hydrochloride+fish+disease&spell=1 This is a treatment I have used with success with juvenile sharks... many years ago... as a consultant to public aquariums. Bob Fenner>

Treating a shark on shark bite - 11/24/04 Hello again,<Hi Amy> while our bamboo shark is relatively under control, our leopard apparently sustained a bite (I assume from the Wobbie) <Sounds like a lot of sharks. How big is your tank?>... it is on the left side of his jaw behind his mouth and before the gill.  He appeared fine the last few days, eating normally etc and the wound seemed to be healing.  Know the wound seems irritated (it is whitish/grayish and kind of stringy looking) and he is breathing VERY rapidly and mostly sitting on the bottom... every once in a while he shoots to the top and then kind of drifts down....<I would start with an injection of Baytril and follow with Baytril in its food if it is eating or continue with Baytril injections. Tough one. Maintain water quality. Are you using any vitamin supplements? ~Paul> Please, if you can give me any information that might help it would be so appreciated!! Amy Tezak

Coral Cat shark with a red puffy gill slit - 11/17/04 Hi <Hey Holly, or should I say Marine Bio Nerd?> I am trying to help a friend with a coral cat shark problem. <OK> He bought the shark about 8 months ago (a female, sold to him with a male). She apparently has no behavior or eating problems, however she does have a very red/puffy first gill slit. It is puffed out to the point where you can see straight into her gill cavity. The male shark is fine, as is the baby bamboo shark in the 215 gallon tank with them. He says she has had it since he got her. I have attached a picture of her. We have found a lot of info relating to belly redness from nitrate sensitivity, but not too much in the way of gill ailments for these sharks. Any info is greatly appreciated, thanks so much! <After some discussion with some of my colleagues in the shark department at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, we feel it may simply be a birth defect. I would suggest looking into the gill cavity and see if there is something that would force her to want to keep the gill slit open.  She may have some sort of parasite attachment in there.  If her appetite is good and there are no obvious signs of problems, a gill prep or just close observations may be in order.  If it were a parasite issue, I'm afraid things would likely have been a bit different by now. Be sure to supplement your sharks diet with vitamin preparations. We use Mazuri's Vita-Zu Sharks/Rays Vitamin Supplement Tablet 5M24 or Vita-Zu Sharks/Rays II 5MD8 (www.mazuri.com ) Do a bit of research or get in contact with them and see which of these choices is better for your shark. I think the 5M24 is what you are looking for, tho'. Thanks Holly, for participating here at WetWebMedia. ~Paul>

Brown banded bamboo shark my 5 year old brown banded bamboo shark recently developed redness on his claspers. is this abnormal and of concern? <Not "normal" as in healthy... generally indicative/caused by mechanical injury (a scrape), poor water quality or both> he's always been very healthy, and lives in a 700 gal aquarium with only a few damsels (still surviving after "cycling" the tank 5 years ago) and a new, small chain link moray. thanks for any assistance!!! pm <I would test your water, and add a vitamin supplement to your shark's foods. Bob Fenner>

Bamboo Shark Tumor Growth, Mixing Wobbies and Leopards... Bob, <Amy> I hope you can help me.  We have a 2,000 gallon aquarium with a puffer, a bamboo shark, a wobbegong (sp?), a leopard shark, an eel, a few tangs and a butterfly...    We had many other small fish but they have succumbed to shark and eel snacks as well as a parasite....   Our bamboo has a large growth on his ventral side right under his mouth.  His coloring has faded and he is now unable to open his mouth to eat. <Likely an iodine/ide deficiency syndrome... please read on WetWebMedia.com re sharks, rays and these tumors. Actually, easily rectified if not gone too far>   He tries and tries to get the pieces of food (we have cut them smaller and smaller) and he just can't seem to get them.  I was reading some of the earlier posts and saw the references to goiter. <Ahh, yes> Could this be what it is, he seemed healthy until about a month and a half ago when the growth appeared.  I am also wondering if the two new sharks (the leopard and the wobbegong) were a smart idea or not. <Mmm, no... the Leopard is coldwater and the Wobbie... is an all out eating machine> The wobbegong has had one of the eels for a snack already and attacked the puffer (I believe it was because puffy did not realize he was covering up a piece of food and the wobbegong was trying to get it). <Mmm, actually... the carpet shark will inhale most anything digestible...>   I am mostly concerned about the bamboo shark though.  Is there anything we can do?  I really don't want to see him suffer, and if we can help him recover I would like to do that. Thank you so much! Amy Tezak <You can force-feed this specimen with a bolus (food capsule) including iodide... or inject/have it injected with same... Likely will have to be done a few times... easier to relocate it in the meanwhile to a smaller system... and do something (choice) between keeping it and the Wobby... as the latter will consume the former in time. Bob Fenner>
Re: Bamboo Shark  Growth
Bob, <Amy> Thanks for your response yesterday.  I spoke to the gentleman who generally takes care of our aquarium and found out that they tried to drain the growth last weekend.  I did not know this.  Apparently he used a syringe and drained it, there was mostly blood but some filmy yellowish fluid (puss I assume) as well.  Would this be consistent with goiter?  He also said that our nitrate levels have been at or under 20ppm (thus I do not think we have had elevated nitrates).  Thank you again for your time and help. Amy Tezak <... I used to "do" necropsies of cartilaginous fishes as an itinerant "fish vet." of sorts... for public aquariums... mostly ones faced with large (numbers) of imminent livestock losses... I don't recall ever seeing, reading, hearing about such a procedure as you describe for evaluation, treatment of tumorous growths in sharks and rays. Would you have the folks involved write me here re this? Twenty ppm. of nitrate might play some role here... but goiter in these fishes is almost always related to thyroid/Chromaffin tissue and iodide insufficiency. Bob Fenner>
Re: Bamboo Shark  Growth
Bob, I can ask if he will contact you.  However, I will say, I do not trust him fully. <... What?> That is why I am researching on my own.  Our wobbegong; which looks like every photo I have ever seen of one, he says he has never seen one that looked like that.  Also, he has said some other things that lead me to believe he does not have a great knowledge of, at least, the cartilaginous fishes. <You should both take a look on fishbase.org and at the very least identify this shark to species... look at their listings for the family Orectolobidae> He mentioned that he believes it will be too stressful to catch the shark to feed it, that it may do more harm than good..... I feel, if he is not eating, how can it be more harm?  Sharks are fairly resilient are they not?   <... If you do not get the food, iodide into the animal it will surely perish> As far as the feeding goes, from what I have been reading we should blend up some of the scallops, shrimp etc and syringe feed him.  As far as the iodide, I have not seen anywhere as to how much to give him.  I assume I would add it to the food. <Yes... READ over the FAQs files archived on WWM, and on to the Net in general. NOW> Thank you again for your time and information. Amy <Amy, help your livestock and yourself. 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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