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FAQs about Better Sharks For Aquarium Use

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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

Re: Coral And Marbled Catsharks; Edible tankmate comp.       9/21/19
Hey Wil, Kasey here again.
<Hey Kasey>
Sharks have been doing well, and consistent.
5 days ago my macleayi ate my clownfish, at night.
<Geez!...and how do you know it was the Macleayi?>
The clownfish was a considerable size for this shark.
<Yes, these sharks have bigger mouths than it seems.>
He has not been swimming much now, I fed them both today, and my macleayi ate, but he did not immediately go after the shrimp. He ended up eating 2 pieces. Just less enthusiastic than normal.
<Bony fishes take a bit longer to be digested than crustaceans, give it time and it will soon eat with gusto.>
The clownfish didn't have any diseases.
<Good, nothing to worry about. Have a nice weekend! Wil.>
Re: Coral And Marbled Catsharks      9/21/19

I know it was the macleayi, because his belly was huge and the marmoratus
(which is 3" smaller) had a normal belly.
<Ah ok, well...better not to introduce "bite size" fish from now on. Cheers. Wil.>
Re: Coral And Marbled Catsharks      9/21/19

I suppose I had underestimated these sharks.
That clown was in there for months, I must've missed a feeding. Well thanks again for the info.
<You're welcome, Kasey. Wil.>

Coral And Marbled Catsharks.      5/17/19
I have a coral and marbled Catshark in a 220-gallon tank, very little rock work and plenty of open swimming room.
<These sharks are adapted to swim among the coral reefs searching for food in very tight places and crevices, in fact, they like and need hiding places, I hope your rock work is not too skimpy.>
I have been feeding every other day, twice a day. First feeding is wild caught shrimp and second feeding is wild caught calamari (squid). Every feeding they eat 1-3 pieces and every piece is soaked in Selcon (is this too much?)
<Feeding them every other day is fine but just once a day. Bottom dwelling sharks like yours have slower metabolic rates than more active sharks, thus feeding them too much, too often, may lead to health problems.>
Also they are frozen and thawed in RODI water. They are both very young, marbled Catshark is 8 inches and coral Catshark is 6 inches. They both get 1 Mazuri vitamin (0.19-gram tablet for pups) a week.
<Mazuri is a very good vitamin supplement>
If you possibly know, will this feeding be enough variation to keep them healthy their whole lives?
<This food is fine for now but as they grow you should add other sea foods to their diet, such as fish, crabs, octopus...>
Thank you for your time and reading.
<You’re welcome. Wil.>
Re: Coral And Marbled Catsharks, sys.      5/18/19

Do you think I can add cured and cycled dry rock (80 pounds sat in aerated saltwater that was dosed with ammonia for 4 weeks) to the tank without stressing the sharks out too much?
<If ammonia and nitrite readings in the tank containing the rock have already dropped to zero, you can add the rock carefully; Atelomycterus are powerful diggers capable of moving really heavy rocks, so be sure to build a steady structure and settle it to the bottom panel of the tank. Cheers. Wil. >
Re: Coral And Marbled Catsharks     5/18/19

I've read that they are powerful diggers, the rock structure I would be adding is 40 pounds, they wouldn't be able to move that?
<Not the whole structure but if the rocks in the lower part are not well secured, they can overthrow all. Wil.>
Re: Coral And Marbled Catsharks; coral in/comp.       5/19/19

Also what is your stance on keeping them with corals (only the low light peaceful)?
< I have kept them with non photosynthetic corals but you have to cement the corals to the rocks, preferably the upper part of your rock structure.>
I've seen it done before, yet a lot of people tell it can't be done, due to the sharks knocking them off the rocks.
<Yes, that's he reason many people avoid pairing sharks and corals. Cheers. Wil.>
Re: Coral And Marbled Catsharks       5/19/19

Is the reason you used the non photosynthetic corals because the less bright lights?
<Yes Kasey, these sharks prefer less illuminated tanks. Wil.>
Re: Coral And Marbled Catsharks; decor, env.        5/19/19

All the rocks will be cemented together will an epoxy.
Re: Coral And Marbled Catsharks       5/22/19

How often can I feed live freshwater ghost shrimp, I breed them.
<I'm not a fan of feeding marine fish with FW foods but if intended as an additional feeding, I think once a week will be fine. Cheers. Wil.>
Re: Coral And Marbled Catsharks       5/22/19

Is there a reason for that? I always thought freshwater food was better to eliminate the threat of parasite.
<Yes, the safety of not transferring parasites is one of the reasons people feed marine fish with freshwater foods but the downside is that FW foods don't have the nutritional value contained in marine foods and that are required by marine fish to be healthy, However if you feed your sharks with ghost shrimp only as a complement, you'll have no problems. Wil.>
Re: Coral And Marbled Catsharks     5/27/19

I've been feeding them once a day (as much as they will eat in 3 minutes) every other day. The days they don't eat they come out and swim a lot more, I'm assuming they're hunting, possibly hungry?
<They typically wander around in search for food and in the case of sharks like Atelomycterus that don’t like bright lights, they could be looking for a darker resting site. If you feed them more they would probably swim less, but they may also become kind of “frustrated” because their purpose in life is to swim and eat, so imagine they have nothing to do cause their needs are already fulfilled...so, for their physical and psychological well-being, I advise you to always keep them a bit hungry, this way they will live longer/healthier lives. Cheers. Wil.>
Re: Coral And Marbled Catsharks     5/27/19

Ah okay I see, I haven't ran lights in the tank since I got them by the way. Also thank you for answering my questions you've been very helpful.
<Glad to help, Kasey. Wil.>
Re: Coral And Marbled Catsharks     5/27/19

Do you recommend any other equipment for sharks? I have a protein skimmer and uv sterilizer (someone recommended to me because of their extended time on the sand bed).
<A good (preferably overrated) protein skimmer is basic for these fish since they produce a lot of waste, regarding the UV sterilizer, it only kills pathogens present in the water column, but not those present in the sand and/or rocks. Another basic aspect on a shark system is the water movement, sharks demand highly oxygenated water which can be provided using wave makers or powerheads. Wil.>
Re: Coral And Marbled Catsharks     5/27/19

Oh yes my skimmer is rated 2x my tanks volume (Bubble Magus Curve 9)
<Very nice units>
and powerhead provides 25x turnover per hour.
My sharks don't have any red/pink on their bellies, I understand its very common in stressed sharks correct?
<Yes, very common. Wil>
Re: Coral And Marbled Catsharks  (and shark fdg. f')    6/5/19

Hey just an update.
<Hey Kasey>
Feeding once every other day, my Maccleay gets 4 mouth sized pieces of food, and my marmoratus gets 2 mouth sized pieces of food.
The food alternates between shrimp and calamari (squid) both wild caught.
Also every other feeding they get half of a Mazuri vitamin (.19 gram for pups) the Maccleay eats his no problem, (he is about 9 inches) the marmoratus always regurgitates his a few hours later (he is about 6
<Once a week is fine>
The food is very small, not sure why he is puking up the vitamin (he only pukes up the vitamin piece never any other food).
<You may have to dissolve- grind the piece of vitamin in RO water and inject it to the squid/shrimp with a syringe.>
I added another 50 pound cave of rock and started light acclimating them to my LEDS.
Started at 6 hours a day and I'm adding 15 minutes every day.
<Sounds good>
The Maccleay is content with hiding in the cave all day while the marmoratus is moving about the tank a lot of the time. He often opens his mouth wide and swims to the top of the tank. No pink on belly and comes out to feed when food hits the water instantly.
<You can tell when a shark is stressed, not only because of the pink flush, but, as a general rule... "Pelagic sharks are stressed if they quit swimming and benthic sharks are stressed if they swim more tan normal", he may be suffering for oxygen deprivation, that is why it is swimming near the surface with the mouth wide open, check your temperature and test the oxygen levels in your tank.>
Sorry for the long message.
<No worries.. have a nice day. Wil.>
Re: Coral And Marbled Catsharks         6/6/19

It is in an open area. I often keep windows open also. Could the behavior
be due to hunger?
<Not likely, no...there must be something in the tank that discomforts him, just keep an eye on it, at times they exhibit strange behaviors that suddenly disappear. Wil.>
Re: Coral And Marbled Catsharks     6/6/19

I am thinking about introducing copepods and amphipods to the tank, can't find any information on how they affect sharks, if at all. I doubt they would affect them, but just want to make sure. Do you know if they will affect the sharks negatively?
<Normally they don’t affect sharks unless they are parasitic pods; the ones infecting Teleost fish and Elasmobranchs are mainly members of the order Siphonostomatoida. The most common pods cultured in aquariums and refugiums are harmless to sharks and rays. Wil.>
Re: Coral And Marbled Catsharks        6/8/19

Okay thank you.
I need to find an alternative to frozen shrimp, my marmoratus regurgitates it every feeding; Mazuri vitamin or not.
<I usually feed these species and other bottom dwellers with frozen squid tentacles, and they love it. If it refuses, leave it fasting for a few days.>
My Maccleay has never regurgitated his food shrimp or squid. The pieces are very tiny I feed him as well, so I doubt size is the problem.
<Me too>
Any ideas on a good alternative?
<Written above>
Thanks again.
<You´re welcome. Kasey. Wil.>
Re: Coral And Marbled Catsharks        6/8/19

Yes I currently feed them squid tentacles on an alternating schedule with
the shrimp. They never fast
<Not voluntarily, you should leave them a few days to a week without food>
and love to eat, but my marmoratus always regurgitates the shrimp. Never any problems with the squid tentacles though.
<Mmm... It may be something else, probably parasitic... Please read the following link and above: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharkdiseasefaqs.htm ...Cheers. Wil.>
Re: Coral And Marbled Catsharks        6/8/19

I read the webpage, didn't find anything about regurgitation and parasites, moving on to sharksanddiseases2,
<Keep reading, there’s plenty of info on the subject>
do you have any clue what parasite it might be?
< Hard to tell, the only way is by taking a sample from the shark’s mouth and viewing it under a microscope, you can do a prophylactic (1hr) dip/bath using Praziquantel, in a separate container.>
They act healthy and look healthy and well fed.
<Then you’re probably feeding them too often, I’d cut down feedings to half and see the Marmoratus reaction after a few days.>
Very active at night, as expected. Thanks again.
<Welcome. Wil.>
Re: Coral And Marbled Catsharks        6/8/19

Would you recommend feeding every 4 days then, or half the amount of food every other day?
<Every 4 days. Wil.>
Re: Coral And Marbled Catsharks        6/8/19

Sorry for the extra email, but I also think it's worth noting that after feeding they both get plump bellies, until the next day.
<It is normal, remember wild sharks feed sparingly. Wil.>
Re: Coral And Marbled Catsharks        6/9/19

Something I'm curious about, at night time their eyes will become like an actual cats, but during the day they seem very different.
<Well, these sharks, as mentioned in previous e-mails, doesn't like very bright lights, that's the reason they search for shade during the day, and they show contracted pupils but at night their pupils dilate to allow the shark to see in complete darkness and search its prey. Their eyes have a membrane called Tapetum Lucidum that other animals (felines, crocodiles...etc.) also have; this membrane allows reflecting back even very small amounts of light during the night and give the shark a perfect view of its surroundings, the dilated pupils give their eyes a "cat look", hence the name Catsharks. Wil.> 
Re: Coral And Marbled Catsharks. More chatting, fdg., comp.         6/13/19

Fed the sharks today (4 days since last feeding) and when the squid hit the water the sharks simultaneously came out of their caves to eat, no seriously the very second the squid hit the water they were out. Also they swimming around the tank significantly faster than normal. Good signs I hope.
<Yep, good signs. The faster swimming is called feeding frenzy.>
Anyway I was reading WetWebMedia sharks/diseases and came across this quote from MikeD on a post (no date on the post): "Mine is a bottomless pit, with its FAVORITE food being well rinsed moist cat food! (seafood
variety**grin**) It also eats raw shrimp, fish and squid." My question is moist cat food, is that actually something you can feed a shark? He was talking about his bamboo shark, but still. I know some of those posts are older, but he said his shark was in good health also.
<There have been plenty of myths re shark feeding, I’ve even heard of a guy that fed boiled eggs to his Zebra shark!... The fact that sharks accept “other” foods is because they’re hungry but that doesn’t mean it is good for their long-term health, I recommend you keep feeding them the accustomed foods, you’re in the right path now.>
Thanks again for your help and time.
<You’re welcome. Wil.>
Re: Coral And Marbled Catsharks        6/13/19

Are there any social fish that should be avoided (Anthias and such?)
<Do you mean as tank mates?...Anthias are fine. Wil.>
Re: Coral And Marbled Catsharks        6/13/19

Sorry, yes as tank mates. I've read they don't do well being introduced into community tanks, but mine were the very first fish in my tank.
< I would leave them, I take it that they coexist peacefully, right?...Wil.>
Re: Coral And Marbled Catsharks        6/13/19

Okay, would it maybe be a bad idea then to feed live ghost shrimp? Do you think it may entice them to hunt more, rather than have them taking their food from a feeding stick?
<You can alternate the two meals but it's okay to feed them with the stick, they're used to it in your tank. Wil.>
Re: Coral And Marbled Catsharks        6/13/19

Yes, often hiding together throughout the day. Just out of curiosity Marmoratus and Macleayi don't have teeth, well sharp teeth capable of tearing correct?
<But they may nip unaware fish tails, especially at night. Wil.>
Re: Coral And Marbled Catsharks       6/14/19

Okay thanks again, I was pondering the thought of adding a giant clam (clams? More research to be done) to my system for the reason being their attractive natural biological filtration. I doubt the sharks could do any damage to it, due to its size and shell obviously, but I'd figure its better to be safe and ask you. Do you think the clam would be safe to add to my system?
<Well Kasey, it can be done but keep in mind that even though clams actually provide some sort of biological filtration, like lowering nitrates, other water parameters should be near perfect to keep the clam thriving and sharks produce a lot of waste. The main drawback I see here, is the zooxanthellae algae, which lives in the clam’s mantle and requires very high lighting to perform optimal photosynthesis, and that light intensity may damage your shark´s eyes.>
Thanks once again.
<Welcome. Wil.>
Re: Coral And Marbled Catsharks       6/14/19

Yeah I also read that they need higher light levels than coral. What are your thoughts on bio pellet reactors?
<Am not a fan, I prefer DSB refugiums with Chaeto; I know many people like bio pellet reactors, and I have even installed many of them by request, but personally, I've always used more natural filtration methods with very good results. Wil.>
Re: Coral And Marbled Catsharks      6/20/19

What are you thoughts on closed lids and oxygen levels in shark tanks? I have a closed lid (heard sharks could jump, actually mine do during feeding) and open sump. Also a decent sized protein skimmer (rated 400+ gallons).
<Shark tanks should be completely covered at all times; with the protein skimmer and open sump you provide the needed oxygenation. Wil.>
Re: Coral And Marbled Catsharks      6/20/19

Also I've read too much supplementation is bad for the sharks (fish in general), I currently soak every meal of theirs in Selcon for ~5 minutes.
Should I lay back on the Selcon to maybe every other feeding?
<Actually I only add supplementation once a week, this way you don't overdose and is efficiently absorbed by sharks metabolism.>
Thank you again.
<Welcome. Wil.> 
Re: Coral And Marbled Catsharks      8/8/19

Hey another update.
<Hey Kasey>
My sharks are still doing well, both grew about 1" since the last time we spoke.
I'm now wondering about how they would be with more fish around them. I will be avoiding wrasse, angels, and puffers (or basically any other carnivore), but I wanted to add some tangs. That rock I added must've leached phosphate and lead to a nasty algae outbreak.
<Was the rock fully cured?>
Phosphate levels rose to .25 ppm, nitrates are ~15ppm. I wanted to add a kole and Tomini tang to combat the algae along with upgrading my sump to 75 gallons. Also adding a refugium, carbon reactor, and a ton of Purigen.
<These will work, ... will your refugium have a DSB to deal with Nitrates?, Chaeto algae would also help to keep phosphates in check.>
Do you know if tangs (or any other fish besides the ones I mentioned) aren't compatible with sharks)?
<You can add the tangs and possibly a few others like: Grunts, Goat fishes, Basses...there are many species that you may mix with sharks; avoid poisonous fishes at all costs, and those that may nip your sharks’ eyes and fins.>
Once again thank you for your time and advice.
<You’re welcome. Wil.>
Re: Coral And Marbled Catsharks      8/8/19

Apparently that rock was not fully cured. I let it cure for 6 weeks, which is about half of what it should've.
<Mmm... could have been the cause of the rise in Nitrates and Phosphates>
I also am on the fence about DSB refugium, I've read the sand can get dirty quick. I was under the
impression that Chaeto would reduce nitrates and phosphates.
<It gets dirty if you don't prefilter the water before the DSB, still you should siphon debris from the top layer frequently. Chaeto reduces both PO4 and NO3 but with a DSB you increase the biological capacity of your filter, not to mention the beneficial micro fauna that grows there. Wil.>
Re: Coral And Marbled Catsharks... Books?        8/17/19

Hey have you ever experienced/heard of tangs nipping sharks?
<Yes I have, some tang species are more likely to nip at sharks eyes and fins than others, please see the following link and related: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharkcompfaqs.htm Cheers. Wil.>

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.>

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.>

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>

Re: Marbled cat shark... Adding a Seastar     3/22/18
Before we make any decisions and since I can’t find any answers online, I figured I’d come back to you guys! We have been looking into maybe adding some starfish. We saw a bigger one at a shop but we were curious as to would it be able to harm our shark?
<Mmm; not harming so much as either one bumping into each other. Is it (the Star) a rock-inhabiting species? DO please read on WWM re practical husbandry of Asteroids... most are very easily lost in captivity>
We’re not worried about her nipping at it. Any advice or information?
<The reading. Bob Fenner>

Cat shark with serpent star       6/27/16
Hello, and thanks for reading my e-mail.
<Thanks for sending it on>
I hatched a banded cat shark 4 weeks ago and he's eating like a pig and growing like a horse.
Today I moved him into a larger tank and am intrigued/concerned about the situation I'm observing: the shark and a
serpent star are sharing the same cave, and since it's a tight cave, they are literally on top of each other.
<Mmm; what species of Ophiuroid is this? Some are piscivorous>
I'm not sure who was there first but I never expected them to both stay - I assumed one of them would have moved by
now. Is there any danger in this?
<Could be; to either one>
I thought they would be decent tank-mates and, if anything, the starfish would eventually get eaten, but now I'm worrying about the shark. The star has a tentacle under him, over him, etc. and the shark isn't moving away. Do I need to remove the starfish from that tank? Thanks in advance. Sue
<Search, read on WWM re. Bob Fenner>
Re: Cat shark with serpent star       6/27/16

Hello, and thanks for reading my e-mail.
<Thanks for sending it on>
I hatched a banded cat shark 4 weeks ago and he's eating like a pig and growing like a horse.
Today I moved him into a larger tank and am intrigued/concerned about the situation I'm observing: the shark and a serpent star are sharing the same cave, and since it's a tight cave, they are literally on top of each other.
<Mmm; what species of Ophiuroid is this? (Ophioderma appressum) Some are piscivorous>
<<Mmm; well this one is generally "just" a scavenger>>
I'm not sure who was there first but I never expected them to both stay - I assumed one of them would have moved by
now. Is there any danger in this?
<Could be; to either one> (The shark has finally moved on and found another cave, at least for now.)

I thought they would be decent tank-mates and, if anything, the starfish would eventually get eaten, but now I'm worrying about the shark. The star has a tentacle under him, over him, etc. and the shark isn't moving away. Do I need to remove the starfish from that tank? Thanks in advance. Sue <Search, read on WWM re. Bob Fenner> (I have tried searching on WWM and other sites, haven't found anything related to compatibility of these two.)
<<I'd keep an eye on the star; if you find marks on the sharks body...


EMERGENCY: Injured Coral Cat Shark    6/5/16
Hello Wet Web Crew-
I have had a Coral Cat Shark and a Tesselata Moray eel
<Mmm... not compatible.>

in my tank together for years, and just tonight, the shark began having trouble swimming. It would end up laying upside down, and would have trouble righting itself. Upon closer inspection, the shark appears to have a puncture along its back... The same size as a moray tooth.
The two of them have coexisted peacefully, without a SINGLE issue for years, and I don't know what is going on now.
<I hate to key it, but inevitability>
Please respond ASAP, as I don't know how much longer the shark will last. I have isolated it from the eel for the time being, but I need help.
<Need to keep separated... and at this point hope>
Gabe Walsh
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

epaulette shark... Reading.... Immediately       4/3/16
I purchased a medium sized epaulette shark that was ordered from a local fish store. I have used them in the past to purchase a coral cat shark. I acclimated the new shark for 70 minutes using a slow drip.
<Stop.... what was the pH of the receiving water vs. the shipped? Was there detectable, measurable ammonia? HAVE YOU READ THE SOP for receiving, acclimating marine fishes on WWM?
Once inside the tank he swam around for awhile and then found a spot under a rock. It is now ending the second day and he still hasn't moved from under the rock and doesn't even show any interest in eating any krill
silversides or mysis.
<? Also read re feeding this species on WWM>

I don't know if this normal or something is not right. Please help me.
<Help yourself. Your answers are all archived on WWM. Bob Fenner>
re: epaulette shark... more rdg.        4/6/16

The ph was the same 8.2
<Ah, good... and no ammonia? See my acclimation SOPs on WWM>
and I was trying to feed the shark what they were giving it before I purchased it. I also went to the fish market and bought some squid but no luck. The shark comes out at night but isn't interested in anything I have, krill, squid, silversides.
<.... See WWM re Thiaminase poisoning, AND foods/feeding/nutrition of sharks.... BobF>

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>

I have a coral cat shark and a epaulette shark. Repro.      6/24/15
I just added the epaulette shark about 10 days ago because the original owner couldn't take care of the shark. This morning the epaulette shark laid an egg. Since they are different sharks I didn't know if the coral cat could reproduce with the epaulette shark.
<Ah, no... the egg was developing months back>

Also if so when would I be able to determine if the egg is fertile and how.
Thank you
<Only time going by; your careful observation... see WWM re. Bob Fenner>

Cryptocaryon irritans risk for cat shark?         3/31/15
Hey guys(and gals)
<Howsit Eileen?>
Long time reader, first time writer, I've been in this hobby going on ten years now and have finally run into my first real "problem" as it can be called. There seems to be a small outbreak of Marine ich in my display tank that has landed all of my fish (excluding two) into the hospital tank. <Aye ya; and you realize the remaining two are very likely reservoir hosts?>
The reasoning behind not putting these last two into QT as well: One is a coral Catshark, and the other a snowflake eel, both of which are far too large to safely be put into the smaller tank. I was wondering what the best course of action for these two would be.
<Mmm; the same choices.... no treatment; treatment.... Treatment w/? Quinine compound... best... Use of cleaner organisms? Not shrimps w/ the Echidna....>
Despite being only three months in my DT the coral Catshark is an active part of the tank despite their normally nature(I guess I got the exception to the generalization). Both are strong and appear to be unaffected by the current happenings in the tank, they are eating well and are generally as active as they have always been. If one (or both) of these animals start to
show signs of infection I plan to take decisive action against the parasite, so this is a preemptive e-mail just in case the worst should happen.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my question -Zee
<Again; a careful consideration of the above options... Maybe just one referral; read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/parasittkfaq2.htm
Bob Fenner> 
Re: Cryptocaryon Irritans risk for cat shark?        4/1/15

Thank you for such a swift response, Bob. I think I'll give the Quinine a shot along with a couple of cleaner gobies (Since I hear too many sad tales about cleaner wrasses falling victim to a highly specialized diet, but gobies seem to have a wider array of accepted meaty foods) to help keep them free until the tank is clear of these pesky Protozoans and get the problem out of the way before it actually becomes a problem.
<Sounds (reads as) very good. Please do keep us informed re your results.
Re: Cryptocaryon Irritans risk for cat shark?           5/17/15

Hello again all;
As asked I am keeping you informed of my results with the use of Quinine Sulfate and cleaner organisms.

We've surpassed the treatment time outlined on CryptoPro's sheet and I am glad to inform you that not only are the treated fish clear of any visible signs of Ich (Even the increased respiration rate) but that the fish that were QT'd all pulled through fine as well.
<Ah, good>
I also have not seen any sign of the pesky protozoan on either of the gleaner gobies that I got to help with management. They've been in there since getting my QS compound and were quite busy for a while, once they were done clearing the tank they were successfully switched over to Mysis and have been an active part of the tank ever since their introduction.
All in all I'd call it a success.
<I concur. Congrats! Bob Fenner>

bamboo shark hatched          3/30/15
I have recently had a bamboo shark egg hatch and the baby looked ok upon arrival. What I have concerns about is that the baby bamboo just lays in one place for days and pants heavily and seems lethargic.
<This is what they do>
I have picked him up
<Don't do this>
in the tank and tried to gently coax him to get active or show signs other then just laying there, I only did this a couple times as I didn't want to overly stress the poor thing. He is in a 55 gallon for now, salt level at 1.022
<Too low... I'd keep the spg at near seawater strength/concentration (1.025-6)>
and temp at 76. I have a skimmer and a power-aerator with good circulation. nitrates and nitrites are good.
<... see WWM re>
I don't know what I should do to help this baby shark and have found nothing on the internet to pin-point this problem if it is one. The shark is now 5 days old and it still hasn't changed in it's condition.....any help would be greatly appreciated, thank you Michael
<Do review all we have archived re young sharks. Bob Fenner>

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>

Brownbanded bamboo shark sick      12/20/14
I got my bamboo shark when he was in a purse, watched him hatch about 4 weeks ago,
<Ah, congrats>
and have taken care of hi m since. I had him in an 80 gallon
<Will need more room>

tank with healthy levels of pH, salinity, etc., he had healthy eating patterns (three times a week- small pieces of shrimp),
<And more than this. See WWM re Thiaminase and feeding small sharks>

and he was very relaxed (pretty much stayed put during the day, moving sometimes). Then, I brought him into another tank where I could take care of him over break with healthy pH, salinity, etc. However, here he got attacked by crabs overnight, and I took him out in the morning when I saw, put him in a bucket with an aerator, and brought him home to my new tank with nothing but a couple of large rocks to hide under and a pipefish. He seemed healthy yesterday, but today he started looking strange. I fed him some shrimp like usual, but he didn't eat, which I just assumed was because he was acclimating to the new environment, but he looks like his brown bands are discoloring a little bit and he is breathing very deeply, very quickly. I know there is enough oxygen because along with the filter, I put an aerator in underneath a rock. His dorsal fin, anal fin, and tail are chewed up on the back and I don't know if he is in pain or what to do.
<Just provide good care; stable and optimized water quality>
He also is swimming very erratically. He will start swimming back and forth and sort of turn on his side briefly while swimming, then turn back over still while swimming. I am very concerned also because my pH dropped significantly over night from 8.4 to 8.0.
<Not good.. pH is a base 10 log... this is a huge swing>

Also today shortly after I put the food in the tank, he did this weird thing where he lifted up his front and looked like he was throwing up some clear fluid that looked like snot, and a lot of it came out. I don't see any red spots on his stomach. Is it possible that he has ich?

He looks like he has about 5 white spots on his nose that aren't sand. I also don't have any sand in my tank as I had to set it up immediately because of the situation with the crabs attacking him. If you have any advice that would be so helpful because I am really scared that he could be sick, and I don't want him to die.
<Reading for now. Bob Fenner>

Compatibility. Volitans and small shark      10/25/14
I have a 5 inch black valotion lion fish and a banded cat shark egg that will be hatching. I've been told that these two are compatible and would like to make sure that when the shark hatches the lionfish will not eat him or sting him.
<Might try the first, accidentally do the latter>
Should these two be separated prior to the hatching or will they be fine.
They are currently in a 125 gallon tank.
Thank You for your time with this
<If practical; I'd be separating. Bob Fenner>
Re: Compatibility      10/25/14

Thank you

Requesting a second opinion    10/11/14
Hello crew,
I hope all is well with every one at WWM. I am in the process of planning and setting up housing for a coral shark.
<Atelomycterus marmoratus; I'll assume>

I wanted to run some equipment past you guys and see if you would change anything around. The main tank is a 375 gallon (96”x36”x25”) with a coast to coast overflow and it is plumbed for closed loop. The loop has two 2” drains at the 2ft and 6ft marks as well as eight 1” returns along the front and back of the tank (bottom drilled). The main return pump is a hammerhead gold and the closed loop will be powered by a pair of darts. I am trying to keep powerheads in the tank obsolete. I am trying to procure a larger sump, but as of right now I have a 40 breeder with refugium.
<Hope this latter is very large>
The refugium has a 3” sand bed, rubble, and 2 types of macro. The did not want to skimp on the skimmer, it is a Deltec AP902. The substrate in the main display is a silica based, fine grain sand (about beach size grain). The lighting will be powered by a handful of 165 watt, full spectrum LED. As for the inside of the tank, I am planning two “mounds” of live rock around the closed loop drains. This will still leave a decent amount of room around the “mounds” for open swimming room. This is all that I can think of at this time. If there is anything else that you might be able to throw in, it will be greatly appreciated.
<I would arrange the rock mounds to have some caves and overhangs... allowing the shark to get out of view and light>
Thank you for all the information that you have provided through others questions.
All the best,
<And you. Thanks for sharing. Bob Fenner>
Re: Requesting a second opinion    10/12/14

Hello Bob,
Thank you for the quick response. My apologies for not specifying in the first email, it would be the Atelomycterus Marmoratus. The rock work would ultimately be set up to provide a safe haven for the shark. The less stress that can be caused, the better in the long run. As for the sump, I am trying to locate either a 125 or a 150 long.
<Ah good>
What are your thoughts on either of these two sizes?
<The bigger the better; for all functions>
I suspect that there were no other comments that were addressed towards the equipment choices, they were all sufficient?
This system has not been “finalized” and I am still reading your site to gain as much knowledge as possible. With the closed loop plumbed from the bottom of the tank, do you think this would benefit or hinder the natural tendencies of the species?
<Either in-tank or outside the tank circulation can/should supply enough circulation for filtration, gas exchange...>
Thank you in advanced. All the best
All the best

Banded Cat Shark not eating; Poor nutrition, no data on system... Mike not reading    6/8/14
Hey, I have an issue with one of my sharks. There are two of them in my tank right now, along with a clown and two tangs. Both are a few months old, one a couple months older than the other, and were eating perfectly fine. I have been feeding them squid.
<...> <A poor solitary diet... part of the issue here>

Recently, for the past few days, the older one stopped eating and will not take any of the food I offer it. The other shark is still continuing to eat. What could have caused the shark to stop? The only thing that has changed was the placement of a couple rocks because the shark was getting too big to fit under it and liked to stay there a lot. Could this have caused it by stressing the shark?
<.... don't write w/o searching, reading first. Start here:
Scroll down to the Cartilaginous Fishes tray... read re foods/feeding/nutrition, systems, more appropriate aquarium species.
Bob Fenner>
Re: Banded Cat Shark not eating     6/8/14

I was researching but could not find anything about stressing the shark with moving the rocks. Also, looking at your article on keeping the sharks, I read down to the feeding. There, you said squid is widely accepted, but messy. However, in the email you stated squid is a poor solitary diet.
According to the article, it's never said to stray away from squid. So I should change the diet?
<.... yes. BobF>

White spotted Bamboo sharks fighting or mating?     4/26/14
Hope all is well. The tank is doing great and all the sharks are as healthy as can be. Largely due to the info on your site. I have two male white spotted bamboo sharks that are 26 and 27 inches. I noticed a few months ago that they began what looked like fighting.
<Might be>
One would grab the others tail and drag it around the aquarium and latch on the pectoral fin and stay locked for 5-10 minutes or so. I was very concerned at first when I saw this but noticed neither of them have any injuries from this at all. It was happening several times per week. (This is where it gets weird). I also have a 26 inch short tailed nurse shark female that I am taking care of for a few months and one of the sharks starting doing the exact same thing with her. Again no injuries and none of the sharks seem stressed out at all. The nurse shark was dragged around the tank a little by her tail and he (white spotted bamboo shark) held on to it for about 15 minutes. I have researched this for months and can't figure what is happening.
<Reproductive behavior>
I am now contacting you because this is the first time it has happened with a different species and sex housed with them. I also noticed my brown banded bamboo male (19inches) was involved somewhat with what was going. He was nosing the female nurse shark in the side while the other male held on the tail but he never bit her at all. After reading everything on the net I can find and the breeding section in Michael Scott's book I am still lost and need your vast knowledge. Are they fighting or is it possible that the two males are not sure of each others sex and is it possible that one of the male white spotted bamboo sharks is trying to breed with a female short tailed nurse shark?
<I think you are right/correct on both counts... playing leading up to repro.>
Thanks for the help.
Shea Bailey
<Welcome. Bob Fenner> 
Re: White spotted Bamboo sharks fighting or mating?

Is it possible that a male white spotted bamboo shark can breed with a female short tailed nurse shark?
<Can do the genetic intromission bit; but not produce young>
From what I have read the Short Tailed Nurse Shark is oviparous but I do not know if it is possible for them to breed with one another and deliver pups.
<Highly unlikely>
P.S. AquaC skimmers are awsome just as stated on your site. I have two EV1000's on my tank and they are great.
<Ahh! BobF>

Banded Cat Shark Feeding     4/2/14
I’ve been reading some posts on your website and can’t really find the answer to my question. We have a 75 gallon saltwater tank,
<Too small for a shark>

started out with live rock and live sand. Toxin levels were all perfect when we got our first fish, 2 damsels and a shark egg (thinking it wouldn’t hatch for another month or longer!) and some snails and hermit crabs.
The shark hatched (we were sad we didn't see it happen, he was just all of a sudden there) after less than 2 weeks in, so we rushed to the store and got some krill and squid
<See WWM re Thiaminase>

to try to start feeding him. The shark has been hungry and eating well from day one. Until now we have given him a half krill or equivalent small amount of squid every day. When we see the other fish stealing a small piece we don't feed them to prevent an ammonia spike (we used to feed the damsels a few flakes every other day before the shark hatch).
Now that the shark is a week old and eating well, we want to know if we’re doing it right. We’re also wondering how often and what amount we’re supposed to feed him. Many sources say ‘just a little bit’ and ‘not too often’, which is not very specific and not helpful at all. Not that we didn't do research about feeding and raising a shark beforehand, we would just appreciate your opinion on this topic.
<The amount and frequency... are best judged by the "fullness" of the specimen. You want it "just full"; not concave nor convex>

Thanks in advance, Nicole
<Welcome. Bob Fenner> 
Re: Banded Cat Shark Feeding      4/2/14

Hi Bob, thank you for your fast reply! Then I believe we're giving him enough to eat, because it seems like he's still waiting to get more when we're done feeding. We know our banded cat shark will outgrow this tank, so we are already planning to get a bigger tank in the future and turn this one into a tank with coral. Kind regards, Nicole
<Do re-read the FAQs on WWM re shark feeding... read what is presented on Mazuri.com; consider borrowing/reading my book on captive sharks on Kindle if you're a member (for free). BobF>

Banded shark being picked on.. by Henis, Naso     3/5/14
Hello WetWebMedia,
I recently purchased a ~15" banded shark (Chiloscyllium punctatum).  After quarantining it for a month, I put her into a 1500 gallon fish only display.  I did my research previously and made sure that the tank would be able to handle this shark and that the tank mates are suitable.  I avoided stocking angels, triggers, puffers etc. and went with some tangs and butterflies instead.  The shark eats enriched squid, shrimp, and fish very well.  The problem is that the shark hides in a piece of PVC pipe because it is being harassed by the 2 Heniochus
<Aye; these can be very "picky"... It may seem strange, but having another one; to make a trio, will very likely lessen their harassment. Instead, small odd numbers of such fishes tend to chase each other about instead. I would try adding another rather than removing the two and/or the shark>
 and the 10" unicorn tang.
<This is odd... Hopefully the Tang will learn to leave the shark alone>
 If the shark swims across the aquarium, these three fish will be closely in tow.  I've even seen the Heniochus pick at the sides of the shark and the tang bite at her tail. 
Is there anything that you could think of that could be done to leave the
shark alone?
<The added Heni (of the same species); time going by... perhaps the addition of some dither fish like a school of Anthias, some Cirrhilabrus...>
 The fish get fed 3x a day and I try to keep Nori on a clip at all times. 
I'm afraid either the shark or the fish will have to be removed and would like to avoid this if you have any ideas. 
<Don't give up quite yet. Bob Fenner>

sharky question; fdg. mostly      1/29/14
Good afternoon all, Bob here as well (if this is Bob). I have been keeping various marine aquariums for the better part of 15 years. I have had reef tanks, and now decided to stick with fowlr. I currently have a 155 bow tank, with minimal rock work. (60 lbs in display, 20 in sump). I have a 50 gallon sump with an MTC protein skimmer rated for 200 gallons. I do weekly
water changes of 25 gallons.(15% roughly) Parameters are 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and between 20-40 nitrates contingent on which test I use.
Salinity 1.23,
<Likely you mean specific gravity; of 1.023>
 and temp 78. Tank has been up and running for about 10 years. Also 2 inches of sugar sand at the bottom (half aragonite, half silica based marine sand)
<I'd double this depth... with more sugary aragonite or fine coral sand>

I have done a lot of research, but still feel it is insufficient, then again, I did research for nearly a year before acquiring my African Grey Parrot. Once my basement is finished, I am eyeing up a 300 gallon fowlr.
Two days ago I acquired a 7 inch marbled cat shark from a local lfs who picked it up for me at one of his distributors. He did not acclimate into his tank, simply picked it up, called me, and in an hour I had it. I drip acclimated him for about 75 minutes, and once PH, Temp and Salinity were matched, I placed him in.
Tank mates are a clown tang, sohal tang (risky I know, but they were placed in same time at same size, and hardly ever fight)
<Will need more room... I'd be getting that 300 up, going>
spiny box puffer (slow swimmer, very docile, doesn't pick at my lion at all), volitans lion fish, rainbow wrasse, Koran angel, and humu trigger (never picks on lion, if he does, he goes).
<... all need more room. Stat!>

The marbled cat has been hiding for the last two days, rarely showing himself under the little rock work I have in there. I know the day the LFS picked him up, the guy said he had him with garden eels, (mistake on someone's part) and the eels were shredded, only fish in the tank was this shark. So I know he was eating something. He was only 100, so I assume he
is not the Australian variety.
It is now day 3 of me having him, and to my knowledge, he has not eaten in my care. Before shutting the lights off the first two days, I placed a few pieces of krill, a silverside, and scallop at bottom of tank which adhered underneath the live rock. I did not wish to spook him the first several days (or any) with a feeding stick.
I have various foods to try via feeding dowel, my question is if he is hiding, without moving rocks to get to him, how long can I let a shark go of this size, hide without spot feeding him?

I was hoping by now when the lights went dim or out, he would show himself, but he hasn't.
<Time... patience... the other fish livestock may well be scaring this little shark>

Also, I am looking into the Mazuri vitamins, I am assuming for this guy these http://www.mazuri.com/mazurivitazusharkraytablets-2.aspx  would be appropriate once he is steadily eating.
Any advice you may have that I could add to my research library, about the aforementioned concerns, or marbled cats in general would be highly appreciated. Thank you, Bob
<Not much more/anything to state that I haven't written/posted on WWM, and a compilation recently published as a ready to print and eBook on sharks and rays in captivity (on Amazon). Bob Fenner> 
follow up, bob... more gen. FOWLR maint.; skimmer f', Lion loss...      1/29/14

Thanks for the response, Bob. Yes I meant to say 1.023 salinity.
 That is with my glass hydrometer that was once used by the company my father worked for, which shipped petroleum products including jet fuel via underground pipelines. It was used in there lab, and needed to be calibrated and accurate in order to properly calculate millions of barrels of oil. I believe it is a good one, but would a 50 60 dollar refractometer
be better in the long run?
<Perhaps... more accurate>
Another thing I wanted to ask is about my protein skimmer. I have read reviews on people skimmers in tanks equivalent to the size of mine, that pull a gallon or so of skimmate out per week. Is my mere cup not cutting it?
<Please search, read re skimmer operation on WWM... the amount of skimmate varies hugely in systems, depending on many factors. Some fab systems produce very little>
 I believe I have it tuned correctly, and when I called MTC about  a week ago, I told them how much I was producing, and they sarcastically (in a funny way) said if you want more skimmate, empty more garbage into tank.
<Valid comment though>
My feeling is it should be getting more, but then again, before the water enters the skimmer, it goes through a filter sock via overflow, and a thick foam pad before entering return pumps to enter protein skimmer. Maybe too much "debris", protein, etc, is getting picked up by those medias, not allowing particles to get to skimmer. Your thoughts?
<Are posted; searchable>
As far as shark feeding goes, I regularly feed my fish 3 total times per day. In morning I throw about 20 pellets in there, which tangs, angel and puffer consume in about 30 seconds. A few hours later I rinse and thaw out a few pieces of krill, PE Mysis, regular Mysis, and clams or squid. I shut one pump off to reduce circulation, and put enough food in there to be gone
in a minute, preferable less. Krill does commonly get stuck to overflow vent, which I then use a net to remove. I then feed one more time in the evening, same drill as the latter. And of course for the sohal and clown tang, I place in a bout a 10 inch by 2 inch piece of Nori, which is gone by night fall. (use a clip to ensure it doesn't get to overflow) But this time, using my dowel, without moving rock, putting a silverside, clam, or scallop, near the vicinity of the shark. If he doesn't take, I will leave a few pieces in for the dark overnight, but if I read correctly, night feeding is not preferred either as well, correct?
<Worth trying>
Last thoughts, is the store bought roasted Nori the same stuff, or equal to the more expensive marine algae in pet stores?
<It's identical... unless you're buying a flavored variety>
Oh, and very last thing (my excitement for this stuff is like an 18 year olds testosterone level). When I pre-wrote the email about the shark, I wrote it yesterday morning. I am sad to say that my lion fish did in fact pass away last night. I neglected to correct that this morning when I sent it. I only had him for about 4 days, he was the last fish I placed in the tank. He was a small black volitans, which I bought last Friday, and he never ate in my care. The store I bought it from told me they never seen him eat frozen, only live guppies. I was trying different frozen items, no live fish, and truly believed I would have had more time then 4 days before he passed. He is the only fish that I have lost in a year, and he was only 4 days. Could it have been starvation?
<Doubtful; most likely "stress"; from the other fishes, being new>
 I did see him eat 4 guppies at store the day I bought him? I know lion fish are hardy, and could go a while without nutrition. Every fish in my tank (other than new shark) are eating strongly, and look terrific.
Parameters are ideal, with nitrate being the one thing not perfect. Any thoughts on this lion? I can also tell you, as I work from home, I spend 8-10 hours a day near the aquarium. I never seen one fish hassle him, or come in to his vicinity. He spent most of his time perched on some live rock or floating about in the water column.
compatibilty... Ongoing lack of reading re stkg. FOWLR, Marble Catshark    2/5/14

Hey bob one last question regarding shark. I removed the humu trigger (killed my grouper), sohal tang and clown tang.
If you remember , I told you the rainbow wrasse was not doing good, <well> laying under rock for days, not eating. Well I took him out to my ten gallon tank just to get him away from the other aggressive fish. Well low <no w> and behold, within a day, the wrasse was back up and swimming and eating in my 10 gallon tank. Now that the sohal tang is gone, who chased him constantly, I believe the sohal also caused the wrasse to act "sick" at bottom.
<Yes; highly likely... IF you had followed our directions, searched and read...>
So my initial thoughts of water quality, or disease, have subsided. The wrasse will go back in my 155 today. So him being ok, the grouper killed by trigger (in front of me) has me feeling better about my tank now that those aggressive fish are gone. Thought it was ich or other disease coming on, but all other fish appear fine and ammonia and nitrite are and have been zero.
So question is, I will wait a few more weeks
to let things further settle, but one fish Id love to have is a Hawaiian black durgeon trigger. I have read they are a safer bet for sharks, especially compared to the humu. Is this possible with the marbled cat? is it worth trying and observing, or are they just as bad as the more aggressive triggers?
<See WWM re. B>
RE: compatibility      2/5/14

but one fish Id love to have is a Hawaiian black durgeon trigger. I have read they are a safer bet for sharks,
especially compared to the humu. Is this possible with the marbled cat? is it worth trying and observing, or are they just as bad as the more aggressive triggers?
<See WWM re. B>
(Looked and did not sea anything specific about durgeon trigger and sharks.
I know some places state no triggers at all, but I have also read certain triggers such as clowns, queens etc, are absolute no no's. Others like the pink tail or blue jaw, are pretty docile. Was lead to believe the durgeon is similar to the latter.)
<I do concur; though no Balistid should be trusted explicitly. B>

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>
re: banded cat shark died of liver cancer... "If you say so"      1/15/14
There was no decomposition I removed the shark within an hour of his death.
But my other fish 7 damsels, a six line wrasse and a pink spot goby all died a week before the shark died.
<... curious>
They were removed before they died they were swimming upside down
so I put them in the freezer to be more humane.
<... I'd have moved them elsewhere... at least just tried changing the water out>
There was no sign of distress prior too. Everyone in the tank was eating breathing and pooping normal. I had the shark for 4 months and the other fish for 1 year and 3 months. They have been in a 180 gallon tank
<Too small>
with a 60 gallon sump a huge bubble magus protein skimmer. The water parameters are pH 8.3 ammonia 0 nitrates 0 nitrites 0 phosphate 0.
<... how are NO3 and HPO4 rendered thus. Search on WWM re... this media is likely the source of mortality here>
 I do a 70 gallon water change every Wednesday I try to keep a very clean tank and closely observe all of my beloved fishies. I just don't understand how there was no warning until it was way to late. If you need anymore info please let me know.
Thank you so much for your time.
<Keep reading. BobF>

No reading, sense in treating a large SW sys.        10/29/13
I have a 500 gallon salt water fish only aquarium with a uv sterilizer and protein skimmer. The tank is about 3 months old and I transferred all my fish from my old 210 gallon into the 500 tank. Of course I went with bigger skimmer and wet dry filter.
<Not a favored mode nowayears; particularly for large/r volumes. Search/read on WWM re... >
I have a combination of bio balls and matrix in sump. I just recently added a tusk and he died after two weeks.
<Search/read on WWM re selection of Choerodon fasciata... many are bunk... from the P.I....>
 I just added a Naso tang and he ate well but now about two weeks later has glossy eyes and frayed fins. I have been dipping him in ParaGuard
<...? For what, reason?>
 but I  need to treat the tank but my problem is I have two bamboo coral cat sharks that are doing real good.

I know I cant use copper
<Actually, Hemiscylliids aren't particularly toxified by copper salts... But, I would treat with quinine compound (QS, CP) if it were me, mine and there was a DEMONSTRATED use here (microscopic confirmation...)... Do you have a Kindle acct.? I've just published an eBk on Sharks, Rays... you can borrow, read for free... otherwise all of this is gone over and over on
WWM... you'd just have to search a bit more>
how about melafix
<... you joking? See WWM re... Done. Bob Fenner>
 in the tank with sharks.
Thank you for your assistance.
Re: re: reading on WWM re Hemiscylliids     10/31/13

What are some medications I can buy at a fish store that I can put in my salt water tank to treat bacteria or parasite probkens that won't harm my bamboo sharks.
<... this is posted, archived on WWM... You would do well to read, study.

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>

Bamboo shark; using WWM  9/21/13
Hi im setting up a new larger tank 6ft long by 2 ft wide by 2 ft high, I want to put a brown banded bamboo shark in
<Really needs something larger... the fish gets to two feet and longer...
Please read on WWM re... Am generating an e-book re cartilaginous fishes in captivity>
 I was also wondering is it safe to put a zebra ell in too.
<... IF the system were larger... big enough to assemble at least one "bommie" of size
(with space around for the shark to pass... and perhaps some piping of size for the eel/ell. See WWM re shark and Gymnomuraena compatibilities>
Out of the two I really would like to keep the shark more, I have done a lot of research but different sites say different things,
<You must (as always) decide for yourself... LOOK how large these animals are likely to grow in your care; what are their likely needs? Are you able to afford the expense and time to keep up with them?>
 I would also like some advice on other fish I can put in to. thank you
<All posted... use the search tools (on every page) or indices on WWM. Bob Fenner> 

baby Indonesia cat shark  8/1/12
Hi. I have read your EXCELLENT  blog for 2 hours now and see that a large portion of questions are repeated. I haven't seen any questions related to my species and therefore had to send you this e-mail. Sorry if I missed any answers and am wasting your time but, We just acquired a baby Indonesian cat shark from a web site for aquatics in Yonkers N.Y. ( Never comfortable doing this! I know. Husbands choice.) And when we had asked about the size given the picture on said site was extremely small, We were told not in specifics of measured length but that the Pict. was an older one and that this shark was a small but decent size larger than that of the Pict. We have 3 others that range from 6 inches to 18 inches all bamboo family types. Which was why we had asked. Well this one arrived very well packaged and seems healthy, but, maybe 2 inches in length! Uh a toothpick in comparison. No sack left and no swollen belly so I want to make sure she eats. She is in a nurse tank inside our regular tank so no one decides to have an extra meal, so feeding her although will be a slight challenge, moving the nurse tank to reach it each time, It will be done until she is large enough to be set free with the others. We were told she was eating from the seller. (But we know how that can go.) However I have never seen a cat hatch so small .
<Me neither>
Now I've never  had this particular breed either so is this a normal size?
<I'd guess so... as the fish appears healthy>
 I know they reach about 2 feet at adulthood.(This egg must have been the size of a walnut. Would have loved to have seen it.) How fast give or take does this species grow?
<Can be quite quick if fed often/daily... an inch or so a month or so for the first year>
Assuming that she is a normal size for this species, She is so small I find it hard to believe that she can eat live shrimp as they seem to big for her.
<Try live brine/Artemia, other small chopped up sea protein>
 Im afraid to try. I don't want her to get discouraged from eating altogether. It will also be a major pick to find them small enough. We do have a recently found place were we can catch live shrimp fresh from the ocean as often as needed due to a failure of 3 pet stores being unable to receive them for purchase at this time. I have no problem catching them right now but soon when the weather changes maybe not so well Im not sure.
Any recommendations? We have Krill, Brine shrimp, Baby Brine(too small), Clams, shark formula, squid, silver sides, (Which I can also catch live), etc. You name it we got it!
<Chop up... small pieces, offered right in front... change water out after>
We have it all. Our fish and sharks eat better than we do. Variety is the success in our home. but I want to know what live feeders are best for something so small. Or suggestions on healthy frozen foods. Do bait shops carry the same frozen quality of silver sides as pet stores?
<Often so; yes>
Lastly, Now maybe a stupid question but, asking you, I don't believe this is true as I've seen male cats in eggs before ( gender noticed easily) but, It was told to me by another aquatic seller that male gender doesn't show until sexually mature.
<Not so>

Now, we have a 5 or so month old black banded and he's definatly a male.
And to young to be active which is why I don't necessarily believe that but, the baby we received today seems to be a female. Is it possible that isn't the case?
<Can be sexed by claspers, or lack thereof at a very  small size.>

Not caring we love it anyway. But curious. Any and all incite will be greatly appreciated. Sorry for the long E-mail. And all the questions.
Thank you,
<Welcome; and thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Re baby Indonesia cat shark    8/1/12
hey Bob
sad to say the baby  Indonesia cat shark  died today around 4:00 am total size was 4'' long female way smaller then my egg hatched banded cat was
<Thank you for this follow-up. DO report back to whomever sold you this animal, and urge them to in turn contact their supplier on back through the line. Sharks this small should NOT be collected. Bob Fenner>

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>

Most suitable shark for a 135G?   11/15/11
Hello, I've been looking to upgrade my tank to a bigger one and kept thinking if there was anything really cool with personality.
<Mmm, okay>
I've come to the decision of a shark or an octopus, but due to octopi/octopuses/octopus being short lived, cold water,
<Not all... there are tropical species galore. Just not often offered in the trade>
and masters at escape I think I'll be trying for a shark.
<Mmm, why I was Mmm'ing above... most sharks have vanishing little "personality"... the sharky ones are too active, get too big for hobbyist size, shaped systems, the not-so-sharky ones sit on the bottom 98-99% of the time. I urge you (even strongly) to keep looking, reading... select more appropriate and interesting livestock>
I've researched for awhile and have read up that even the smaller sharks need 3x body length long. So would the Hasselt's Bamboo Shark (2' max) should be able to live in a 72 x 18 x 25 Tall tank for a decent amount of time (1 year?) if I buy it at about 5-7"?
<Mmm... IF not fed too much... but... would not be happy, of much interesting behavior...>
I would like one however I am perfectly fine not getting one if it would not be happy in the tank for awhile.
The exact tank specs would be 72 x 18 x 25T (135G main tank), 36 x 18 x 16T (40B Seahorse + Pipefish macro tank), 36 x 12 x 16T (35G sump), 2 500GPH power heads (thinking I'll need about 3 more 750GPH power heads), and a PM Bullet II skimmer. I will also have about 100lbs of LR in an island setup in the main tank.
<Better to remove some, maybe half... Needs to be carefully arranged>
Is all that OK to house a smaller shark for awhile? Thanks.
<Again, not really. Do please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/FishInd1.htm
scroll down to the tray on sharks... Esp. re stocking/selection... I REALLY want to see both you and your livestock be happy... Rare, exceedingly, for people and sharks kept in small confines. Bob Fenner>

Parthenogenesis in Whitespotted Bamboo Sharks   11/8/11
I have a female White spotted Bamboo Shark in a 96"x30"x30 360 gallon aquarium. She has been in the tank since November 2010. The only other shark in the system is a female Coral Catshark. She was approximately 16" when purchased and is now around 20". About 6 weeks ago we started seeing
egg cases around the tank, so we gathered them up and hung them in veggie clips on the front of the tank. The first case or purse was empty. I believe they call this a wind egg. Of the three others we have collected, all have yolk sacs. One egg today was found to have a live embryo.
My question is this. How common is this or do we know yet? How would one go about trying to get this certified as a virgin birth? Is it possible for the female to store milt a year or greater for use later?
<I do think the latter is the case here; i.e. this female copulated w/ a male ahead of your acquiring her. However, there are believable accounts of parthenogenesis in sharks, including this species:
and others. Thank you for your query. Bob Fenner>
Re: Parthenogenesis in Whitespotted Bamboo Sharks  12/6/11

Thanks for your reply. Since our last communication, we have collected a total of 14 eggs. 9 of them seem to have healthy looking yolk sacs. The original live embryo is about 1.5 inches long now and many features such as eyes, gill slits, and fins can be seen. This particular egg somehow has managed to get a bubble of air in it. Will this be a major problem and if so is there something I can do to remedy it?
<Mmm, some folks advocate puncturing... making a stent of sorts... I like to "anchor" these by just placing under a stable nook/cave so they don't float out...>
 As for the question of parthenogenesis, the plan is to hatch the sharks and determine their sex. Right now there are four live embryos at different stages of development. If just one turns out to be male the question is answered. All females then I think I have institutions that are interested in further investigation.
<Thank you for this update. Bob Fenner>

Bamboo Shark Baby, sys.    10/29/11
Hi guys,
This website has helped me over the past few months. I have a 400 gal FOWLR Tank and we are currently building a house with a custom 1000 Gal FOWLR Tank. I have to send you pictures when all is done. Earlier tonight my baby bamboo shark hatched and to my surprise was very active. I quickly noticed I had a question that I have yet to find an answer to, can you have to much water flow "current" for a baby bamboo.
<As long as it's not getting tossed around, no>
I noticed that he would get in the path of the circulation pumps and would get tossed for a sec before he would move out of the way. I have moved the direction of the water flow more to the surface so not to bother him.
<The surface, producing a gyre, is best>
Is this normal and something that he will learn to deal with over the next few days?
<Shouldn't be an issue>
thanks for any and all help. Wish me luck getting this little guy to eat.
<See WWM re>
He has no yolk left but does have about 2 cm of cord left and his belly is plump so I didn't even attempt that tonight. Sorry for the rambling just very
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>
Re: Bamboo Shark Baby, sys.  11/1/11

thanks for your response. one last question for you I and ill leave you alone.
<No need but please run your writing through spelling and grammar checkers>
He likes to kind of move sand around and make holes, which I've heard is normal, my only concern is he always has sand on his face and right by his eyes. So will the sand getting in his eyes have a negative effect and if so how in the heck do you fix that? Thanks a lot
<Use suitable substrate mostly... and/or not worry re. Bob Fenner>
Re: Bamboo Shark Baby   11/8/11

Thank you guys so much with everything that you guys do. After nearly 2 weeks of my baby not eating..I witnessed him put down two little ghost shrimp tonight.
<Ah good>
the ghost shrimp were not intended for him but were more of a treat for one of his tankmates but either way...I now know that he has had something to eat. I am fully aware that this is not a everyday diet for him and I am still going offering the shark diet, shrimp, scallops, and squid that I purchased. But if he is at least eating the ghost shrimp intermixed with my attempts with the other foods, will he be ok.
<Hopefully so>
Other than that everything is going great. He is extremely friendly and has become friends with a tang that resides with him, you almost always see them together. While I've got your attention. I love the way trigger fish look, but know that they can NOT be in a tank with sharks, but on a recent trip to my LFS I was told that blue throat triggers are very passive and do well with sharks. Have you ever heard of that???? Again thanks for the help.
<Of Balistids, the genus is about the best... but still no guarantees. Bob Fenner>

Thinking about a shark 11/3/11
Hello crew! I have been thinking about adding a shark to my 220 gallon aquarium. I have it narrowed down to a Black Banded Cat Shark or a Hasselt's Bamboo Shark.
<Mmm, both "better" choices than most sharks...>
Leaning more towards the latter due to it's more manageable size. I currently have a Harlequin Tusk, an Emperor Angel, a Picasso Trigger, a Sohal Tang, and a Volitans Lionfish. So I'm just wondering if this set up would work.
Thanks for your time and input,
<Mmm, well, the Angel or Trigger might well nip at a shark... and getting food to it w/ these other fishes may prove problematical... Things to think about, consider... Plus I should (because I want to, feel compelled) mention that these sharks really don't "do much" other than sit on the bottom. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Epaulette shark space issue -- 10/22/11
Hi guys,
I have been reading through the FAQ�s and articles on your site for a few years now � a fantastic resource, thanks so much for the effort you all put in.
Now for my confession � before I really knew enough about aquaria, I bought an Epaulette shark for our tank. Our tank is only 350L (90G)
<... way too small>
and is a triangular corner tank. When the shark was only 6 inches long, there was plenty of room to swim and move around. 2 years on, and the shark is almost ¾ the length of one side of the tank (say 15 inches). We have had to remove some of the live rock, and the remainder is piled in the middle to allow as much room around the outer edge for the shark to swim and explore. While he still feeds well, and overall seems in excellent health, I can't get this out of my mind now.
�I could stuff you in your closet; if I fed you and provided you with air and light you would live. But would you be happy?���Steven Pro.
<A good question>
Upgrading to a tank of a suitable size is not an option � our house is on floorboards, not a concrete slab, so we could not risk the weight of a tank that size. The cost is also prohibitive.
So, now to my questions. At some stage, we are going to have to part with George; when is that time?
Have we already reached it? Are we being cruel in keeping George in our tank now?
<IME, yes>
In terms of finding a suitable home, Epaulette sharks are �native� to my area (Sydney, Australia) so a release to the wild is possible, but I'm not sure a captive bred and raised shark would do so well in the wild?
<Please do not do this. Not likely to survive, and may introduce pathogen/s>
The other option is to find a store or hobbyist who can take a shark, but I suspect this will be difficult since most hobbyists will prefer to start with a smaller specimen.
<Mmm, not really. Do you have "Craig's List" or such there? This is a possibility as are more local marine/reef hobbyist clubs... most all are on the Net, have a bb...>
I can possibly return him to the store where he came from, but then does that leave him vulnerable to purchase by another misguided hobbyist like me?
<Better than premature death, a diminished quality of life>
Any and all advice will be appreciated
Matt Britton
<And you, Bob Fenner>
Re: Epaulette shark space issue  10/23/11

Wow, you guys are amazing, thanks so much for getting back to me so quickly!
<Welcome Matt>
After writing to you, I felt worse and worse, so rang around. There seems to be a reasonable chance that the Sydney Aquariums (www.sydneyaquarium.com.au/) will take him. Failing that, the shop I got him from will take him back (www.kimsaquaticworld.com.au/).
I appreciate your candor, and will take your advice.
Again, much appreciation.
<And you, BobF>

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>
Re: More re: Bamboo Cat Shark Question   7/22/11

Thanks for the quick response. I have never used vitamins with my shark. I took a look at mazuri.com and am purchasing the shark/ray gel pack. Is this gel pack meant to be the sole diet of the shark or should I continue to vary his diet and use this as a supplement?
<The latter; this is a supplement>
Thanks again, Zach
<Welcome. BobF>
Re: epaulette shark stopped feeding 7/29/11

Hi I thought I would update you on recent developments!
<Ahh, thank you>
The shark has begun eating again, very slowly at first but is now getting back to his old self. It was almost 3 weeks with only one very small meal consumed in that time. Needless to say I was worried! I will not be feeding those shelled crabs again. They do get a very varied diet of marine worms (live farmed ones) squid, fish, shrimp, and occasional soft crabs.
I have not been using vitamins because I assumed the diet was varied enough, but I have decided that I will from now on just in case.
<A good idea>
This leads me to another question. I have just bought Vita-chem marine vitamins and it is full of lumps! Also there is no date on the bottle, is it supposed to be lumpy?
<Not as far as I'm aware, no. I would discard this bottle, notify the maker (Boyd's)>
Lastly I have bought Lugol's solution after reading on your site but it seems stronger than others mentioned as it is 12% solution. do you know how much I should use?
<Posted on the Net... a good idea to use on a punctuated basis if not using purposeful test gear>
Thanks again Andrew
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: epaulette shark stopped feeding 7/29/11
Thank you for the reply I am glad I did not use that bottle just in case!
Cheers, Andrew
<And you, BobF>

epaulette shark stopped feeding   7/18/11
Hi I am hoping you can help with this!
I have a semi adult male epaulette shark (aprox25") that has suddenly stopped feeding. The female is behaving as normal, all water parameters are normal.
I think I know what has happened, amongst other things they love eating crabs which I buy from an angling shop, so about 10 days ago I fed them some but they were not soft shelled so I crushed the shells. I think the male ate more than the female and has only fed once since this, therefore I am thinking he has a compacted gut or blockage from the hard shells. He hasn't fed for a week and my concern is how long this will take to pass if at all? Is there anything I can do?
<I would wait at least another week, do nothing. And I would alter this diet... Do you use vitamins?
Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/sharkfdgfaq2.htm>
I would really hate to lose this fish over such a stupid mistake, so if there is anything you can think of please let me know.
I live in the UK so if drugs are the answer please bare that in mind as regards availability!
Thanks in advance, Andrew
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Drunk Sharks?!   7/4/11
Good Morning Crew!
I am about to overhaul and upgrade my 180 gallon system to a 400 gallon system with a 180 gallon tank, a 100, a 90 refugium, and a 20-30 gallon wet/dry sump (the 400 does not include hang on filters or plumbing naturally). I would like to put a whitespotted bamboo shark in my 180 for about a year or so two at the absolute most.
<Mmm, start w/ a very small specimen... feed very sparingly... not easy for any shark, chondrichthyous fish to "turn around" physically, and even bamboo sharks get excited from time to time... can damage themselves in such small rectangular spaces>
At which point I will be building a 700-900 gallon tank. My issue is that I do something rarely recommended by anyone, vodka dosing. Its been very successful and I'd very much like to continue the dosing but if there will be a problem with the small shark (approximately eight inches at the moment
and still at the store) then I will have to decide.
<Well... I am not a fan of this practice being done on a continuous basis... but IS of value/utility on a punctuated, time to time use>
Idealistically I'd just like to alter the acclimation process accordingly.
I have been reading for days here on sharks and have purchased the book which is on its way. I'm very excited at the potential to have such a beautiful shark that will hopefully have as much personality as the
rest of my fish if not more. Please tell me if it can work out with the vodka dosing.
Thank You
<Can... 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>

Best Shark for 8'x2.5'x2.5' Setup?  12/31/10
<Hi there>
I have read everything I can find regarding sharks on your site. There is a wealth of information and I want to thank you for making it available.
I have a 8' x 2.5' x 2.5' tank with a 125 gallon refugium packed with live rock, a large wet/dry and a very large protein skimmer powered by a 1 hp Iwaki pump. I also have a UV sterilizer. The tank has been established for a couple of years. Base on my research, I feel that this system is sufficient to house a single small shark species by itself. I am trying to decide between Atelomycterus marmoratus and Chiloscyllium punctatum. Can you please tell me which one you feel would be better and why?
<Mmm, likely the spotted>
Also, is it necessary to have any live rock in the tank itself for sharks?
<Not in their system, no; too likely to get badly scratched... though I might be tempted to pile some up in the middle, allowing a clear path all the way about the edges...>
Thanks in advance.
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>
Re: Best Shark for 8'x2.5'x2.5' Setup?
Thank you for that quick reply. I was leaning towards the spotted cat as well. I have a clarification question - sorry I wasn't clearer before.
Can I leave the shark's portion of the system completely bare except for sand?
<Yes you can>
I would prefer that for viewing and maximizing swimming space. Do they require/prefer somewhere to hide during the day?
<Some sharks do appreciate a ledge, even large PVC part, section of pipe...
Easy to provide the last and take out if you don't like it. BobF>
Thanks again.

Epaulette shark breeding and behavior  12/11/10
Hello all!
I am intent on breeding various sub-species of Epaulette sharks. Currently I have 6. From largest to smallest : a 36" male Hemiscyllium ocellatum, a 28" female H. halstromi, a 28" H. ocellatum, a 26" make H. ocellatum, and two 14" female H. halstromi. I have two 550s at 6x4x3 high and another 550 at 8x3x3 high in addition to two 7'x2' H 400g agricultural tanks.
I have too many questions to ask in this format. I've read Scott Michaels' text, obsessed over and contributed to these pages and those at SharkRayCentral, MonsterFishKeepers, and others. I've spoken with the gentlemen at Tropicorium at length (they have successfully bred multiple species of benthic sharks.)
<Likely Dick Perrin... we're well-acquainted, have been to his operation, seen the side business of shark breeding there>
I want to know who is the expert. I imagine someone at a public aquarium in Australia would be a great source (as they are indigenous to their seas.)
Maybe B-Fen (trademarked) has some insight... I understand that these are likely friends, co-workers, and acquaintances or yours
<Mmm, unfortunately no>
and will provide them the greatest in respect. Essentially, I need to know WHO I need to know to pester (used lightly) via email occasionally. I sincerely appreciate the wealth of information here and your time as well. Feel free to call me personally at 205-276-XXXX if you like.
Happy Holidays!
<General husbandry questions, pathology, you're welcome to send our way.
Commercial reproduction? I don't really know anyone else who is in this field. You might want to run down the member list of the ASIH, write them for further referral: http://www.asihcopeiaonline.org/
or the AES: http://elasmo.org/
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>

Shark Compatibility, sys.  8/14/10
Hello WWM,
I have a 120 gallon with a zebra moray, I have had for almost 6 years. He is a great specimen and I want to keep him happy. I have done much research on your site as well as many books. My question is, if I were to purchase a marbled cat shark, or a coral cat shark would they harass each other?
<Both these species get too large to be successful in such a shape/size/volume system>
Many credible sources say the two will be fine together, however, I want to be sure they will coexist "stress free."
Thank you for your time
<Other choices, not sharks here. 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>

Re: Coral Catshark 6/15/10
Hey again,
I kept reading(as do I understand the need for a larger tank and I am currently shopping around, hard to come by here in Dubai, Scott Michaels book advised that a 110 would be fine as long as 3x length and 2x width of the system was maintained.)
<Is so... is your shark then less than half the width of this tank in length?>
from what I read, and notice on the shark, (the black spot that was there has fallen off leaving a white patch, and what looks like some bleeding,
and a few ~50 tiny (around 1-2mm) white spots that are flat to the touch, I suspect flatworms.
<I doubt it/this entirely. Not symptomatic... can be checked with a scraping and a 'scope>
not sure if this is the case or not as she doesn't flash much, spots have been there for a few weeks since I first noticed but I dont know if I just noticed this recently and she has had them all the time, from pictures on the internet they appear to have similar markings, albeit in fewer numbers.
If it is flatworms, any advice re treatment and dosage( preferred treatment
would be Prazi from my readings)
<See WWM re Anthelminthics>
and more importantly, how do I know it actually is flatworm?
<... see WWM...>
is this a threat if the shark is eating, behaving fine?
thanks again crew, dont know what the hobby would be without your site and literature.
<Keep reading. B>
Re: Coral Catshark
yeah, she's in a 1.5 foot long and its 3 foot by 5 foot by 1.5 foot custom acrylic.
<... Okay... let's see... let's lock you in the closet for a few weeks; no, let's make that months... In your prev. corr. you write summat about a 110... this is more like 150-160 gallons...>
will read up on flatworm, etc, one more Q, there was someone who posted on http://www.wetwebmedia.com/shkdisfaq2.htm re Shark Problems 10/13/05
where he comments on his leopard having white spots. answer was that it was environmental, will double up change schedule to 10% instead of 5 per week and add vits, less shrimp and lower thiaminase foods to diet. thanks for
the help.
<Welcome. BobF>

Bamboo Shark and Volitans Lion, comp.   5/18/10
I have a 7 day old Bamboo Shark and about a 6 inch long Volitans Lionfish together in a standard 120.
<Mmm, I do hope the Volitans Lion doesn't poke/sting the Shark, nor the Shark bite the Lion>
(I know I need bigger, but that's at least 6 months down the road.) So far everything is fine with the exception of
some bizarre behavior patterns. 3 times now I find them snuggled up together.
Oddest thing I've ever seen. The first time I thought was a fluke. I find the Lion on the bottom of the tank and the shark with his head propped up on the side of him just relaxing. The next day, I find the Lionfish actually on top of the shark with the sharks head sticking out from under the front of him. Then yesterday the shark had his head propped up in the corner of the tank and the lion was laying on his tail with his fins all spread. The Shark decided to move but couldn't get around the Lion so he went OVER him.
Right over the top of those poisonous dorsal fins.
So here's my question. Obviously the Lion isn't trying to kill him. He could have done that at any time with his anal fins and definitely when the shark crawled over him. But he never deployed them. So I'm assuming he wasn't angry. So, is there evidence of ANY kind of symbiotic bond between these 2 species? I can't find any. Should I be concerned? Should I separate them?
Could the Lionfish just be lonely?
<I don't think this is some form of symbiosis, but Lion species can be/are social to extents, and this one may "recognize" the shark as a conspecific.
I would be concerned, likely put in separate systems>
I'm very confused here. Thanks for your time,
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Fowlr 80 gallon... Mis- and over-stocked    12/31/09
I have an 80 gallon tank. It is about 6 months old and doing pretty good.
I have a red sea protein skimmer, a Rena xp3, a small in tank filter (mainly for water flow and cleaning a corner of tank) and a power head. My fish are a small bamboo shark (just under 1.5 ft),
<Misplaced here. This system is too small... and underfiltered for this animal. Needs to be moved, now>
a lionfish (6-7 in), a new lunar wrasse (12 in), and a small snowflake eel (just big enough to hold his own with the shark).
<And overstocked>
Then cleaning crew: snails, hermit, and some starfish. My question is I want to add another fish,
<Not advised>
with color and one that will move around. My lunar wrasse killed a yellow tang, so I also want something that will be able to get along in the tank. What do you suggest?
<A larger system, by far. Bob Fenner>

Brown Banded Cat Shark not breathing on one side.  9/17/09
Hi, I have a brown banded cat shark who until last week ate really well.
Last week he started sniffing the food but, leaving it. Today I noticed that he is not breathing on the left side. His gills remain still a little puckered looking. I recently did a water change out and there were a few
days I think the tank was a little cold and the salt was low.
<... Spg must be high, stable for keeping sharks>
PH has been fine. The Tank is only 72 gallons and I know he needs to be rehomed soon.
<Too small...>
He is housed with a Cortez stingray and a Zebra Eel.
<The Ray is a coldwater animal... may stick the shark...>
I just recently treated the tank for Cloud eye on a Stingray who ended up passing away.
<... with what?>
That's about all the info I can think of. I'm looking for some possible causes. I really don't want to loose him.
<Or lose... Have you searched, read on WWM re shark health? Bob Fenner>
Thank you.

blue ribbon eel and a bamboo shark, comp...  7/19/09
hi guys,
I've done a fair bit off research about putting a blue ribbon eel in with my bamboo shark.
<And wisely you decided not to buy the Blue Ribbon Eel, right...? Keeping sharks is difficult enough; keeping Blue Ribbon Eels is virtually impossible unless you have access to a safe, constant supply of suitable marine fish it can eat (not Goldfish or minnows!). The problem is that only very rarely adapt to other types of food, and unlike Morays generally, they do extremely poorly in captivity.
These are fish best left in the sea where they can catch the small saltwater fish they want to their heart's content. Do bear in mind shrimp can be part of their diet, but not the whole diet; shrimp contain a lot of thiaminase, and over time, this causes problems, so the majority of meals offered to these and indeed all Morays need to be thiaminase-free foods. Do read Marco's excellent review of this topic, here:
I decided to go for it and get a young eel as I can watch it grow, it was feeding and eating on live shrimp at the shop and is eating now but as I put it into the tank the shark started swimming around a lot and jumped out of the tank (witch is the fist time in the 2 months I've had him for) I got him back in straight away and he's doing ok again,
<How odd.>
but... he is still swimming around erratically, so I got the eel back into a 20lt bucket and the shark is Carl
as he's always been!!!!!
<I see.>
so my questions to you guys is, what should I do? and do they go together??
<Apparently not. Obviously, it depends on the size of the tank, and the temperament of your fish, but in this instance, I suspect the Fish Gods are telling you to return the Blue Ribbon Eel back to the shop, if you can. Bob reckons 99% of them die within a month, so I'd save the money and perhaps buy a really nice bottle of French red wine or a couple of fine Omaha steaks; the money would be a lot better spent thus. It'd still be money gone, but at least you'd have some pleasure out of it; money spent on Blue Ribbon Eels won't usually bring any pleasure at all.>
please can you get back to me asap many thank
<Have done. Please, do us the favour of hitting the Shift key at the start of sentences! We're sticklers for capitalisation around here.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Atelomycterus marmoratus 5/30/09
Hi there, I am contemplating purchasing a marmoratus but I have limited space in my new house and I'm wondering if a 44"x36"x24" would be sufficient for life.
<It could, but not comfortably IMO.>
In Scott Michaels Aquarium sharks & rays book, it says they would be fine in a 110 US gal tank, but I presume that this is a 72"x22"x18"?
<I think your system is just as suitable....the sharks need room to turn around, yours provides more. But at the same time lengths of swim space are appreciated too. It is one of those cases of could vs. should. I would not. BTW, 110 is the barest of minimums here, these really have no business in any less than several hundreds of gallons tanks for long term health/survival.>
I will be systemizing it with a sump to increase the overall water volume as well.
Cheers, Phill
<Scott V.>

Re: Atelomycterus marmoratus 5/30/09
Thanks a lot for the advice, the tank is one I haven't had made yet and there may be a little more room if I have a move around and convince my girlfriend hehe. I think the biggest I could get would be a 60"Lx44"Wx24"D, would this be seen as more suitable?
<Yes, I think that would be fine.>
This isn't something I would like to be bare minimum but at the same time I'm limited, at least whilst I'm at university.
Thanks again,
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Chiloscyllium griseum sys.  4/28/09
Hi Crew
after perusing your threads/FAQs for about a month now and not finding my answer, i figured id write to you after working a week for a spare holding tank at my LFS (top notch place, was really interesting, informative) i came home with a 4x2x1 foot acrylic tank, which has been up for about a month now with sand, rock and some bio material from my 80 reef. my question is would the Chiloscyllium griseum
that has been living in one of the smaller tanks at the LFS for 6 months be able to live in a tank this size? it works to 60 gallons, but the shark wouldn't seem too small, its currently 13", and hasn't grown more than 2 in the last 3 months. i really have fallen in love with this fish and would love it, should it be suitable
thanks in advance
<Mmm, no... this is too small a volume and dimension for this species...
Though it won't grow to the maximum 74 cm. in such a setting... this fish is much too likely to perish from physiological stress here. http://fishbase.org/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=4304&genusname=Chiloscyllium&speciesname=griseum
Bob Fenner>

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

New Print and eBook on Amazon

by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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