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FAQs about Shark, Ray Disease Treatments

FAQs on: Shark Diseases 1, Shark Disease/Health 2, Shark Health 3, Shark Health 4, Sharks/Rays & Crypt,
Shark Disease FAQs by Type: Environmental, Infectious (Virus, Bacteria, Fungus), Parasitic (see Sharks/Rays & Crypt, Flukes...), Nutritional (Goiter...), Trauma, Social

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FAQs on: Sharks in General, Shark Identification, Shark Compatibility, Shark Behavior, Selection, Systems for Sharks, FeedingShark, Ray Eggs, Coldwater Sharks, Leopard Sharks, Heterodontus, Blacktip Reef Sharks, Nurse Sharks, Nutritional DiseaseMoving Sharks

Cartilaginous fishes are intolerant of metal (copper) and organophosphate exposure.

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

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Shark med.s       10/25/14
I have a 500 gallon fish only tank with two coral cat sharks and several tangs and triggers.
<Mmm; do keep an eye on the last two re picking on your sharks. Happens>
I have read your informative article on treating your tank with Quinine sulfate in the presence of sharks. i have used this in the past for treatment of ick and it was very helpful. Recently I lost a fish and thought it was possibly ick so i treated the tank with quinine for 10 days.
While treating the tank I lost a blue throat trigger and yellow tang. So im possible dealing with something other than ick
<Can only really tell by sampling, using a microscope to confirm>
since I haven't noticed any white cysts on the fish. What else can I use in my tank with the presence of sharks to treat for either a bacteria or fungus problem.
<.... I would use nothing; given the scant information you've supplied here. MUCH more trouble to be had by mis-treating... I'd be looking (on WWM, elsewhere) re bolstering the immune systems via nutrition, improving water quality...>
Thank you
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: re: Prev. hypochondria      10/25/14

Thank you for your quick response. I am going to do a 25% water change to help out water conditions. I attached a picture of my grouper that has some type of disease on him.
<.... this looks more like a physical trauma on this bass>
My trigger stopped eating which I know is a bad sign. He doesn't have any ick on his body.
<Again.... I would NOT be pouring toxic chemicals on these animals. B>

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

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

Parasite treatment of sharks ?  11/21/06 Hello I'm a veterinarian who like to help a new started shark aquarium keeper with his black tipped reef sharks. He got 1 male and 2 females a month ago. The male was eating very well for 2 weeks and did not eat one day and dead next morning. Bleeding in and on testes no obvious parasites. I'm waiting for pathology, bacteriology and parasitology . after this one of the females has started to swim in an different body position and is not resting during shimming. seems to be in a hurry. The question has come about parasites and then my question - How to treat parasites flukes, tapeworm and nematodes in shark I do hope you can help us Tomas Lundgren Veterinarian Dalagarden veterinary clinic Bastad, Sweden <Mmm... need to know at least what phylum this source problem may be from... skin scrapings, microscopic examination. I strongly suggest you get/read Fish Disease, Diagnosis and Treatment by Edward Noga. You may well have another non-pathogenic issue here... environmental... The behavior you list could be due to poor water quality (metabolite accumulation), or electrical potential... Bob Fenner>
Re: Parasite treatment of black tipped reef shark  11/21/06
I wrote to yo a while ago about problem with a new started shark aquarium The sharks are black tipped reef sharks  Carcharhinus melanopterus Can you help us with advise about parasite treatment, water quality levels - what span of water quality measures we have to keep. and of course where to find more know how about keeping those sharks and about diseases and treatment . My best regards Tomas Lundgren Dalagarden veterinary clinic Bastad, Sweden <Yes. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/blacktipshark.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Parasite treatment of sharks ?  11/21/06
Hello I wrote to you about a mail BT reef shark that died and a female that has a behavior that might show that she is in stress. The aquarium has  the following levels of the water. PH:8,2 Densitet (salthalt):1.022 <I would raise, keep the specific gravity near seawater strength here: 1.025> Nitrat:5-10mg/liter Is there anything more to check up and what levels are accepted for this kind of sharks. <Mmm, ammonia and alkalinity> If there is parasites - how do we medicate them to get rid of the parasites - we can manage to put them in a separate 1,5 m wide circular  plastic container with a accepted water level as a treatment container. What do you suggest My best regards Tomas Lundgren veterinarian Dalagarden veterinary clinic Bastad, Sweden <Again, this depends on the phylum of the parasite... protozoans, worms of various sorts, crustaceans and more... I would NOT simply administer a compound w/o microscopic examination/determination. Bob Fenner>
Re: Parasite treatment of sharks ?  11/21/06
Thank you for your answer I will follow your hint and I will write more to you after I have got the post mortem exams Best regards Tomas Lundgren vet Bastad, Sweden <Very good. Bob Fenner>
Re: Blacktipped reef shark disease and treatment    11/29/06
Black tipped reef sharks in Sweden in a private owned public new started display tank of 75000 liter . The sharks 1 male and 2 females around 1 m each, arrived from Holland around 4 weeks ago. One female did not eat but the male did eat very well from start  after 2 weeks he stopped eating and the next day he was found dead. <Coupled with the stress of moving...> Autopsy did show bleeding in the sperm reservoir. <Perhaps artifactual> Bacteriology has shown pseudomonas <Almost always present in culture in these settings> and 2 more bacteria  sensitive to Tetracycline and Gentamycin. Histopathology has given diagnose Orchit with septicemia . as there were kidney damage and muscle damage in hart and body muscles. <Again, very common in moving cartilaginous fishes... Sharks, rays, skates take a beating in being handled, particularly if/when larger... Need to be anesthetized, carefully monitored in transit... perhaps treated (through injection) prophylactically> The female that did not eat is still not eating after 4 weeks More about those Blacktipped reef sharks food and environment Life-support system: Display tank 75 000 liter of water * Protein skimmer (70 000 l/h) * 4 biological sand filters (25 000 l/h each) * 3 UV sterilization units (10 000 l/h each) * Denitrification filter <... Nitrate concentration?> Above this * Extra pumps for circulation (100 000 l/h) Food we have tried -- al fresh food. Herring, mackerel, salmon, anchovies, pike, smelt, squid Saltwaterfish  and fresh fish live ,dead and...stressed Vi have tried  daytime and evenings  on daily basis and 3 times a week Water parameters:2006-11-26 Temp.: 25 C Salinity: 1.022 PH: 8,2 KH: 7,4 Nitrate: 10 mg/l <I see... a bit high> Nitrite: 0 Ammonia: 0 We are thinking know about starting the treatment of the female with antibiotics. <If so... oral or intramuscular...> But as we do not like to catch her more times then necessary we wonder if We could use Tetracycline  twice the ordinary dose and every other day instead. <You could, but I would not... especially not Tetracycline Hydrochloride... the HCl radical is too acidic... If available I would try "the silver bullet"... Chloromycetin/Chloramphenicol succinate... three injections/uses, once every three days...> Then we can minimize the stress and force feed her with a stomacktube and give her antibiotics as well in the same time. Best regards > Sweden <Bob Fenner>
Re: Blacktipped reef shark disease and treatment    11/29/06
Than you bob for your answer about the BT reef sharks After I wrote to you the female that have not been eating for 4 week after arriving to the aquarium she did start eating yesterday evening. I decided to start her treatment with doxycyklin tablets 100 mg each other day with food her weight is around 7-8 Kg. <This is a good choice and concentration>   I did this choose because I wanted to minimize the stress for her as she arrived from Holland 1000Km in a tank and one month without food and the male dieing in a tetracycline sensitive bacterial infection with sepsis after a longoing infection in the testickel?? ( sperm organ) . <Yes> 2006/11/29, FAQ Crew crew@mail.wetwebmedia.com: If she had not been eating I think that Gentamycin 5-6 mg/Kg each 5 day IM could be a good choice in keeping the stress down. <Agreed> If she is getting worse during the treatment period I will try to get a blood sample for antibiotic blood levels.  If so  where do I take blood from a shark to minimize the stress and maximize the goal to get the blood. Regards Tomas <The brachial artery if one is careful... Bob Fenner>

Shark Question, beh.... env. dis.   8/3/07 Hi (yes, again!!!), This is a question on shark behavior, and I'll give you the quick background, though you are probably all too familiar with me. The tank is a 200 gallon, with approximately 100lbs of live rock, sand substrate 2 to 3" deep, filtered by a Fluval FX5 with bio media only and filter pads (cleaned at worst every two weeks), a Magnum Canister hang on for water flow and carbon, a Penn Plax 300 power filter for mechanical, extra carbon and bio filtration, and a large protein skimmer rated for 200 gallon tanks (hang on variety). 0 ppm on both ammonia and nitrites, <10 nitrates. PH is at 8.2. Salinity is at 1.022 right now. <...> The occupants are a banded cat shark at 8", a passer angel at 5", a yellow tang at 4" and a dogface puffer at 5" (oh, and the cleaner wrasse, yes the original cleaner wrasse that I was fussed at for buying by you guys weeks ago, point well taken and won't occur again). We have just completed the ich treatment of quinine sulfate, at which time I did a 25% water change and began running carbon again to remove it. The passer developed Lymphocystis (sp), I'm assuming from the treatment of quinine and the extra duration of no water change during that period. The shark, prior to treatment, acted wonderfully, eating well, usually a cube of shark formula soaked in Zoe, cut into pieces. During the quinine treatment, he did not have much of an appetite, though this may have been due to water quality during the treatment. Now, conditions have returned to above stated. The shark, during the day, spends his time in a cave under the rock, which he has always done. In the evening, he comes out when I feed the other fish, but his behavior is odd. He actively swims up and down the tank glass, often time pushing his head above the water. He eats ok, but not with the aggression he used to have. He will take a piece of the formula and eat it, then rest on the tank floor, then resume this frantic swimming. He will usually eat two pieces or so, then he will mouth the third but not eat it. After, say, ten minutes, we will go through the process again, and he will consume two more, mouth the third, etc. I'm more concerned with this erratic swimming behavior, as it seems frantic at times. It only occurs in the evenings after I've placed the food for the other fish in the tank. This has been going on for about a week now, I suppose. Monday I purchased about two dozen ghost shrimp and put them in the tank after rinsing them with fresh water. I've been doing this ever since the shark has hatched. They get consumed by something over the course of a couple of days, I'm thinking by the shark at night, as the puffer has a hard time catching them in the daytime. I only mention this because when I put them in, the shark came out and was slowly cruising around trying to eat them, and at that time his behavior seems normal. So, to summarize, he sleeps normal during the day, swims frantically up and down the tank walls in the evening when he seems hungry, but seems to eat less shark formula and in smaller pieces, like it's harder to mouth them. If you can make any guesses or have any thoughts, I'd love to hear them. Sincerely, Thomas Roach <Likely the treatment and disease condition, coupled with the present too-low spg and likely nitrogenous material is mal-affecting the shark's appetite/behavior... Correct this animal's world and hopefully its behavior will improve. RMF>

Chrysurus angel sick... Actually sharks, med.s    8/8/07 Hello Mr Fenner I have a very simple question to ask you and could not find a direct answer on your site. Can Metronidazole be used with leopard sharks? <Yes> I have a bad case of ich and hexamita and am currently using quinine sulfate which seems to be working well (ant thoughts?) <I would use the Quinine drug first... the Flagyl later if all did not appear cleared up> Would you combine these 2 drugs? <Serially, not simultaneously. BobF> thank you Kelly tank 400 gallon 60 gallon sump filled with crushed coral g4x skimmer ammonia 0-10 nitrite 0 nitrate 5-10 ph buffered at every water change to 8.3 salinity 1.024 temp 76 Kelly Craven
Re: chrysurus angel sick. Flagyl, Shark Dis. f's  8/10/07
Hello again Bob, I added the Metronidazole to the tank as directed by fish farmacy and noticed that my leopard sharks aren't eating....very unusual, they usually devour everything.....any thoughts. <The Metronidazole could be affecting them in/directly... making the fish anosmotic in terms of their sense of smell...> I just did a 25% water change before I added meds. Tank is 400 gallons, and tested within parameters. I have since moved them to quarantine tank in garage 200 gallon and haven't treated it with anything, still not eating. thank you Kelly <Shouldn't starve (to death) during the treatment interval... I would not be overly concerned here. BobF>

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

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

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

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

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

Bamboo Shark Trouble Bob, <Anthony Calfo in your service while Bob travels Australia... he has been spotted recently in a place of cultural enrichment: the Opera House. He made quite an impression in a formal black Tuxedo and wearing a beer hat while siphoning his nectar continuously>  You helped use out before so I hope you can again. We hatched a little shark back in Dec. and he's been very happy in a 50 gall. tank. Several days ago he began to scrape himself along the bottom, I believe it's called "flashing".  <often a sign of parasites but in this species also nitrate accumulation/general poor water quality> Anyway after a 50% h2o change he was fine,... for a day. Back to flashing again so we're wondering it he has a parasite problem?  <actually the relief by the water change indicates perhaps this is a water quality issue...do test to see if your nitrates are rather high> Can we treat with CopperSafe of MarinOomed?  <either will kill the shark dead.. they are very sensitive to metals and organic dyes. Formalin can be used cautiously if necessary for such fishes> All the levels are fine, nitrites, ammonia etc. Any ideas? Thanks in advance Linettte <yes, again... Nitrates specifically. It would be surprising if you are low in a tank with a shark. The books tell us to keep it under 20ppm actual (5ppm on a test kit times the multiplier 4.4).. but this is tough. I say you could be as high as 60 ppm (15ppm on your test kit) but really not much higher. Sharks are quite sensitive indeed... another symptom of high nitrates is "yawning" if by chance you've spotted it. Best regards, Anthony>

Bamboo shark with weird swimming patterns...what does that mean? - 3/31/04  I have a Brownbanded bamboo shark. He is about 4 months old. I have had him for about two months. He was hatched in captivity at the pet store, and I watched and waited for him to start feeding before II bought him. <A good idea> I have picked up a book copy of Scott w. Michael's sharks and rays. <An excellent book> it is very helpful. I have my young shark in a 20 gallon long aquarium. <A bit small but likely OK for a short while> I know this is small but it says it is fine in the book for a youngster. <for a short while anyway> I am planning to jump up to a 180  gallon sometime this summer. <For the long-term you might want to look at a 1000 gallons or as close to that size as possible. These sharks are fast growers and can attain a size upwards of 4 1/2 feet> On my aquarium now I have a protein skimmer. <good idea. I would also add a UV and a lot of biological filtration> My nitrates are 0 my ph is 8.3 no ammonia salinity at 1.021. <Bring the specific gravity to 1.023-1.024> I noticed about 2 weeks ago he was flashing and recently in the last two days I realized it was not just a swimming pattern, it was a sign of a parasite. <Unfortunate> so I read and read about what he could have through his symptoms. He was swimming upside down, laying on his back, and looks like he is feeble. <Likely parasitic> he seems not to know where is he going when he swims and doesn't have the activity he once had. <Hmmmm...> these symptoms have been going on for about two days. So a day ago I dipped him in freshwater 3 cups fresh 1 cup seawater for five minutes. <Not a good idea. Sharks rarely do well with freshwater dips> that seemed to not do much. <Could have been much worse> after I put him back in the original tank I noticed he had red spots, looks like blood spots on his side and a couple on his belly. <Hmmm> so I read some more and came up  with that he has flukes or a crustacean disease. <not likely. The symptoms don't suggest flukes and crustacean would be seen by you> I read how to treat it and they suggest one method called Dyacide it is made by Aquatronics. So today I began to dip him and gave him a 90 min dip and in the med tank he seemed a little better. After 90 minutes I put him back in original tank and he starts getting worse. My question is how long should I leave him in the medicine tank??? <Not familiar with the product so you will have to rely on manufacturer suggested methods if you are unsure then contact them immediately>  longer than 90 min.s? <Check with the manufacturer of Dyacide. Again, doubtful he has crustaceans as you should be able to see them and from the symptoms you are describing it doesn't sound like the characteristics flukes. Not a good idea to do this but it might be a good to look for an antibacterial treatment used for saltwater fish. May be your only hope in my experience. ~Paul>  matt

Unhappy and not feeding banded bamboo shark - emergency!! Hi there. <Hi, MikeD here> I've found the wealth of information on this site extremely handy, so thanks already! I've now had a brown banded bamboo shark for nearly 3 months (hatched him early June)<Congrats...mine hatched a year ago August and is nearing 3'>, and has been feeding very well since about 5 days after hatching (could see no sign of umbilical cord etc).  He's in a 60x20x20 tank (for another 2 months until we can build a 10ft x 5ft x 2ft high tank) at the moment with a few fish and inverts. He's not touched anything in the tank other than his food that he's given.  The tank has a red sea Prizm pro deluxe skimmer (for 1k litres), UV, carbon, ozone, several canister filters (wet/dry Eheim and standard), small refugium and nitrate reductor, and two powerheads. Anyhow, about 10 days ago I noticed one of the fish had ich, ugh.... So I decided I would try Kent Marine RxP.<Oh, NO!> Yes, I know sharks don't do well with meds, but it was a natural product, and I only half dosed it.<there's no such thing as a "natural product", and my first suggestion is to NEVER treat your main tank proper!> However, the shark stopped eating that day, for the first time ever. He has not eaten since (10 days now)<Can't say that I'm surprised>. He really didn't seem to like it, and tried jumping out of the water at least twice. I've done a 25% water changed (buffered and temp/sal the same etc), put in new carbon etc to get rid of the meds. The water quality is pretty good, the salinity is a little high though (1.024 to 1.025), but I try to keep it from changing.<Your specific gravity is fine, but you need to boost partial water changes ASAP. The jumping is a REALLY bad sign> The only thing I could ever get him to eat is frozen octopus cubes (the Dutch stuff), but haven't found any shark food yet (until today, about to go out and get a load of shark food and vitamins that the local shop just got in).<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  I also started to dose and test iodide, yes a little late maybe. The readings were 0.0 as far as I could see, so it can't have helped. The shark is still moving around a little, however this morning he's laying on his back (wasn't an hour ago when I last checked, but is now). I can't see any external problems, no redness or lumps. What should I do? I presume it's important to keep the iodide (I've heard iodine itself is as toxic as chlorine?)<Very true, but use great care.....a good reef supplement at MINIMUM dosages is all that's needed> levels up (and at what level should they be? the test kit says 0.06 to 0.08ppm). Is it a bad idea to drop a few drops of the iodide booster to the shark's food, or should I just use the shark food alone?<DO NOT put iodine or iodide on the food. This can be immediately FATAL!> Is there anything you can suggest to help to get him eating again? I've literally put a cube of octopus under his mouth with tongs and he's just ignored it, he seems much more docile than normal, and is very worrying seeing him on his back. Is there anything you can suggest? As I write this he's just swam around, "flashed" and turned upside down again on the sand. He's breathing fairly deeply about once every 1.5 seconds, is his breathing normal? Until today, it was just not eating and slightly odd behaviour, but now it's got a little more serious, I've heard isn't not uncommon for them to stop eating, so I ordered in that shark food, I'm going to nip out and get it and try him on it, but I don't see him suddenly wanting to eat. Lastly, I've just put a grounding rod that I made (from titanium bike spokes - cleaned thoroughly first, connected to ground, and sealed so no copper from the cable will touch the tank water) yesterday as there was a shocking (excuse the pun) 50V AC between the tank water and ground. I'm sure this hasn't helped the poor shark, and I think it's been like that for some time (possibly months before I realized it). The voltage difference has dropped to 0.3V AC which seems much more acceptable. Thanks for the help <I held off until here because all of this is vital. Sharks are EXTREMELY sensitive to electricity, and you need to find the source of the problem and eliminate it COMPLETELY! Check for a deteriorating pump, heater or electrical cords against the tank frame, including those of the lights. Any trace current can result in RIP!  I suspect the diet problem and hesitating to feed is actually a symptom of a larger problem. Likewise, NEVER treat your main tank. I'd start doing VERY frequent water changes (don't worry about % but rather watching the reaction of your animals, possibly to the amount of 5 gal/day until they show improvement.) If you improve water quality, remove medication and eliminate electricity you ought to see a MAJOR improvement unless the shark is too far gone!> Regards, Tom Worley
Unhappy and not feeding banded bamboo shark - emergency!!
<MikeD here> Thanks for the reply, Unfortunately the shark was too poorly by the time I got back from the shop. He was swimming in circles and upside down, and I picked him up very gently with my hands and he offered no resistance at all. I held him up at the top of the water (Still under water) and tried to feed him with a syringe of bits of blended frozen food (krill, brine shrimp and shark formula food), however I couldn't get any down him and didn't want to force him. He died shortly after :-( <Truly sorry. It's a feeling I know all too well.> I have eliminated the voltage in the tank with the titanium ground probe, and have increased to 10% water changes weekly. I do hope to get another some time, but I have learnt the hard way (even after much research), I will in the future never put any meds of any sort in the tank.<That may have made the lesson and sacrifice worthwhile all by itself.> I do think that the voltage didn't help, but it was the Kent Marine RxP that stopped him eating. Do you have any tips for feeding them, as I've talked to other banded bamboo shark owners who just drop food in the tank and they eat it, but the tank has a fair bit of clean-up-crew, so it wouldn't last in mine.<I suspect that your shark was pretty far gone when you got it, and possibly nothing that you could have dome would have made a difference.  A healthy shark would DEFINITELY get his/her share, with no clean up crew able to stand in the way.  As with many creatures, IMO a varied diet is the key, and while I've never used the product and may be speaking unfairly, I'd use caution with "special" foods such as the shark diet that you mentioned.  All too often the appeal is directed at the human purchaser and what you end up with is actually an inferior product designed to do one thing and one thing only...garner profits for the manufacturer. "Shark diet", "Betta diet", etc., etc.....research the animal in question's natural diet and come as close as you can and the results will likely be MUCH better.> I was feeding him with tongs, but he wouldn't touch anything but octopus.  I'll wait until we have the big tank setup, and not have any (or less) cleaner shrimp!<don't feel guilty about that, as it was entirely your fault...had you gotten a healthy animal the shrimp would have ended up cleaning from the inside.> Thanks for the help. Tom.

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

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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