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Related FAQs: Shark Tanks, Shark System Lighting, Shark Habitat (Substrates, Decor), Shark System Circulation & Aeration, Shark System Filtration, Shark System Maintenance, & Shark Systems 1, Shark Systems 2, Shark Systems 3, Shark Systems 4, Shark Systems 6, Shark Systems 7, & Sharks in General, Shark Compatibility, Shark Behavior, Selection, Feeding, Diseases, Shark, Ray Eggs, Coldwater Sharks, Leopard Sharks, Heterodontus, Blacktip Sharks, Nurse Sharks, Moving Sharks

A very large system/refugium tied in with the shark tank... lots of lighted (RDP) macro-algae...

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

Info about the Atlantic Sharpnose Shark   9/19/06   The Atlantic Sharpnose Shark (Rhizoprionodon terraenovae) is my dream shark that I would like to keep - if I ever had to money & space to do so). <Here on Fishbase: http://fishbase.sinica.edu.tw/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=905&genusname=Rhizoprionodon&speciesname=terraenovae>   The Atlantic Sharpnose is a small coastal requiem shark, that is native year round) to the southeastern (From the Carolinas to Florida) & entire gulf coast of the U.S. And has been found in New England waters during the summer months.   It also grows to between 3-4 ft. And is a highly active species.   I've also heard that it adapts fairly well to captivity (similar to a Blacktip reef) at least according to the people I talked emailed) who have kept both sharks. They also say that it's about as hardy as a Blacktip reef. A few keepers - even go as far as to say that it's a better alternative to the Blacktip reef - due to it's smaller adult size.       Any thoughts?    <Is better than C. melanopterus... though still has about the same space, environmental needs>   While I done some research on this shark - I still have a few questions.      Due to it home range I would tend to classify it as a warm water shark. Because I know from personal experience that this shark appears to very common off the NC & SC coasts) From early May - mid September when the water temps are between 75-84F.   So do you think that it fair to call it a warm water shark, or that just wishful thinking on my part?    <I'd say tropical to sub-tropical... can live in warm water for sure>   The confusing part sort of), comes from when I was talking to an online dealer who cares sharks) -just to inquire (no actual plans to buy) about this shark. I emailed him, because I wanted to get a feel of this guy as I was considering buying other more "aquarium friendly" sharks - like Catsharks, bamboos or horns.      Here's a few things that he told me about the Sharpnose.   - They required water temps of less than 76F. <Interesting. The water is assuredly warmer in this fish's distribution range... though lower captive temperature is advised certainly... to allow for enhanced gas solubility, depressed metabolism>   - They are only as hardy as bonnetheads. <Agreed>   - That they require a pool at least 16ft in diameter(4500-6000 gallons) - which I consider a good idea. <Me too>   - They should be watched daily - since they don't adapt to captivity well.   <Okay>   Also I got the feeling he was down playing the Sharpnose, because he wanted to sale me a couple of smooth hounds.    <Mmm, doubtful... The industry is made up (as is the larger human population) of makers, takers and fakers... these last two categories are not folks who last long... I suspect this dealer is "the real thing"... a maker. As am I>   Saying things like talking about the smooth hounds) -   -they are warm water sharks,   -require smaller tanks,   -and get to be about the same size,   -and a hardier shark.      What's your thoughts on this. <They are, I agree. Bob Fenner>

Bamboo shark won't eat... Nutritional deficiency most likely  9/18/06 Crew at WWM, <HC> I have a Bamboo shark I hatched from an egg about 2 years ago. The shark is about 23" in length which most of the growth occurred over the past year. I do water changes every week to every other week no less than 10% of the tank which is a 125 gal. The water is from tap which goes through a R.O. filtration unit plus a D.I. unit. Where I live the city water is pretty bad with copper and other minerals. Up to about a week to 10 days ago my shark had been eating every day (silversides) and some Brine shrimp which falls to the bottom that is fed to the fellow tank mates. The tank mates include: 1-Regal tang, 1- Niger Trigger, 4-small yellow tail blue Damsel, 2-large black Damsel, 2-Pencil Urchins a few small hermit crabs & sand sifter stars. When I feed and allow the Silversides to fall to the bottom my shark is not interested nor acknowledges the food. I have tried Mysid shrimp which was the sharks staple up to about a length of 12" along with Krill. I had noticed about 4 days ago the shark had twitched and rubbed on some of the live rocks in the tank. (no ich is present) when I cleaned a pre-filter to the wet/dry filter  there was a lot of Amphipods and the sump filters have a lot of very small Feather duster babies, not sure if these critters larva are causing the eating problem. <Highly unlikely> The water condition in the tank is as follows: Temp. 78 degrees Ammonia- 0.1 Nitrate-30 <A bit high... would keep under ten ppm> Nitrite-0 Calcium-540 <Way too high... would keep under 450 ppm> Phosphate-4.5 <Again... should be less than 1.0 ppm> Iron-0 Alkalinity-70 P.H.-7.9-8.0 <A bit low...> Salinity-1.023-1.024 I have attached a couple of photo's of the shark, I have not noticed any weight loss but the not eating is concerning me. If you have some advise please help. <I do... you don't mention the use of vitamins, supplementation including iodine/ide... This is likely the primary problem here... Deficiency syndrome. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharkfeedingfaqs.htm and the linked files above... At this point, you may have to force feed this specimen, or have someone inject it... to have it resume feeding behavior on its own. Bob Fenner>

More on Sharks - 09/14/06 Hello Eric! <<Hi Chad!>> Chad again asking a few questions for a friend (doesn't have internet). <<Uh-huh  (just kidding matey <grin>)>> His name is Nathan, I just recently got him interested in keeping one of the many beautiful Elasmobranchs. <<Indeed>> I showed him pictures of the Brownbanded Bamboo, Epaulette, Cat sharks, etc.  But he saw a picture of a Bonnethead and a Blacktip Reef Shark. <<Uh-oh...(sigh)>> He wanted me to ask you guys if he could keep a Bonnethead or a Blacktip Reef Shark in a 1000 - 1500 gallon system who's dimensions are 12ft L x 4ft W x 3ft H? <<Mmm, no...These are heavier, more active and much larger sharks...the Bonnethead grows to more than 5', and the Blacktip to more than 7'...would need a tank more than twice this size for either, in my opinion>> I told him that he probably couldn't keep them in there for more than about 8 - 12 months or so, but he wanted to know exactly how long and he wanted to hear that from experts, so I asked you guys. <<Well...I'm hardly an expert, but I have been around the block (or maybe around the bend!).  I don't recommend keeping these sharks at all unless they are "started" in a system suitable to hold them at maturity.  Often the "bigger tank down the line" never materializes...and rarely if ever can you just "bag up" the shark and take it to your local public aquarium or zoo, due either to local protocol or just the fact that they can't handle/don't have the facilities for the addition.  There's also the matter of developmental retardation from keeping and growing an animal under improper conditions and/or in "too small" an environment.  I can't point you to any studies, but my colleagues and I deal with this on a daily basis.  Mostly in the form of health and behavior issues associated with folks keeping "Tangs" in too small/crowded systems..."but only until they get too big for the tank" or "only until they can get a bigger tank"...get the picture?  Few hobbyists have the money/time/capacity for keeping these magnificent creatures...maybe you (and your friend) are the exception, just be sure to match the species to the environment...and vise versa>> Thanks for your help, Chad <<Happy to share my opinions.  Eric Russell>>

Tanks with rounded corners, avail. , shark sys.   9/4/06 Thanks for your info on this subject. I've decided on the Brownbanded Bamboo Shark. Do you know of anyone or any website that sells circular or oval-shaped tanks? Chad Howell <Mmm, yes... a few fabricators... that will ship most everywhere. CASCO/Tradewind/SeaClear, San Diego Plastics, Tenecor... could use the Net to search, look at the back of hobby mag.s for listings. Bob Fenner>

Electro magnetic air pump/ Sharks   8/31/06 Hi Bob, <Joe> Was hoping you could shed some light on the myth that sharks are sensitive to electro magnetic fields? <Mmm, not a myth. Established fact> I am thinking of purchasing a new air pump for my tank, although it is described as operating via an electro-magnetic motor. I have a port Jackson shark in my tank, and was wondering if this would affect him, or any shark in general. <Not likely... through the air... or even if this pump is placed near the tank> Also, could you please tell me what a sufficient air output in an 8ft tank should be (if there is a suggested air volume at all)? The air pump I have selected distributes 70 litres per minute. <... At what pressure? Depends on the depth, number of discharges... what mechanical diffuser devices, other outputs are employed. 70 LPM is a bunch of volume> Thanks Joe. <Bob Fenner>

Re: Epaulette sharks/Pink Bellies/New tank on the way... sys.   8/23/06 The substrate is live sand, <How coarse?> 2-3 inches with a few scallop shells from the ocean. <... could be trouble> I will most likely remove them as my wife says she does not like them in there. <... Please read re Shark Systems... again... BobF>
Re: Epaulette sharks/Pink Bellies/New tank on the way, sys. Pump sel.   8/23/06
Bob,   I have read though the linked page and now I am more confused than before.     <Let's see if we can clear this up>   Sometimes you <That is as in "you, plural?"> say Iwaki are better )except the 400 series), <Sometimes this line is> other times Eheim, other times a reference to a German pump, (assuming GRI??) <Don't know what this acronym refers to>   I have a 150 gallon tank with an overflow and a glass refugium for this tank. Everyone seems to say you prefer Eheim pumps. Would this be a good pump for a shark tank? <Yes> I am wanting to rule out the MagDrive for now in case your theory of the magnetic and electrical pumps are the source of my sharks pink bellies. <Stray current, dipole moment does adversely effect Elasmobranch fishes...> (Right now they have a submerged Mag 9.5 running their tank). If so would the Eheim 1260 or 1262 be best for this 150 tank with about 4' head? <The bigger the better> I was thinking on putting a SCWD and spitting the water so it would rotate from one end of the tank to the other. <I would not use such a device here... Better for shark species in small volumes (tens of thousands of gallons or less) to have continuous "high" water movement that is unidirectional... to "swim against", provide for "ram jet ventilation" in addition to their buccal suction efforts at respiration... Is this understood?> Would this affect the backpressure of the pump? <Yes... drops off to zip during the changes in direction> My overall concern is for the sharks longevity and to have a quiet quality pump. <Understood, and agreed>      The current and new tank both have sand as substrate. <Smooth sand... carbonaceous in composition... Not siliceous>      Thank you in advance   -Michael <Keep reading. Bob Fenner>
Re: Epaulette sharks/Pink Bellies/New tank on the way, pump sel.   8/24/06
Thank you so very much for your response and time!   I will go with the larger Eheim then. The sand was originally Caribbean sea live sand. The kind they sell in the bag with water. It is fine sand and nothing like crushed coral or aragonite was ever mixed with it. I was going to have 2 returns, one  on either end of the tank but from your message it sounds like 1 return on one end is a better idea.    <... is it siliceous? Is it two dimensional, sharp... Read on WWM re>   I have a turbo twist UV that was on the current tank that I wanted to incorporate into the new tank. It was running off a small MaxiJet powerhead but since i removed all powerheads based on your previous responses I am not afraid to run it that way. I also assume a Y split on the main retune line to go thought he UV would be recommended either. Would the return volume from the Eheim going through the UV be too much/too fast?    <I would divert just some of the flow to/here>   I'm off to price compare the Eheims . . . .       -Michael <BobF>

Epaulette sharks moving to new tank. Still too crowded... Moray incomp.   8/29/06 Ok, First I want to thank you for all your help. I am getting the new tank ready and I will be staining the stand this week to get it ready for the move. The new tank will be a 150 driven by an Eheim 1262 external pump. Return to be split so part goes through a Turbo Twist 15watt UV. No power heads in the tank except the RedSea Pump in the refugium to run the Red Sea Berlin Protein Skimmer. Titanium Grounding probe in the sump. None of the existing sand or live rock will be moved to the new tank. Lights that came with the tank are (6) 96W PC's. I may not light them all as it will heat the tank too much. Two 4" fans are installed in the hood. The liverock and sand that came with the new tank will be used. That tank was running for over 6 years and has great star polyp rocks in it. Some as big as 14 wide covered with polyps. I only plan enough liverock to make some caves on one end and have the rest open for swimming.   Other tank mates: 1 Golden Moray Eel, Miniatus Grouper, 1 Golden Dwarf Moray (not introduced yet, In an isolation container), Vlamingi Tang (Currently in Hospital Tank)    <The morays will likely be consumed... and... all need more room than this...>   My questions today are: What is the best way to move the sharks from one tank to another? <In large, clear "fish bags"... ask your LFS if they have some... scoop up each one at a time, moving slowly... lift edge of bag, dump most of the water back into the tank, lift (watch the strain on your back)...> I plan on using a drip line once I catch them. Should  a freshwater dip be used in the process somewhere since the sharks have been scratching a lot lately in the current setup. (Cause still unknown why.)    <... I'd use this opportunity to made a wet-slide mount (skin mucus) and look for trematodes, other worm parasites...>   Secondly,   I had one other Golden Moray disappear from the tank with a different Banded Cat Shark who eventually ended up on the carpet. We never found a body anywhere. Is it likely that the shark actually ate the eel? <Yes> Will epaulette sharks eat eels? <Oh yes> They seem to do well with Krill and clams on the half shell so far.      I had a large 6"-7" Sailfin blenny get loose into the current Epaulette shark tank. They seems to want to find out what this new fish was very badly. He was big enough to not fit in their mouths but I was not sure if they were trying to eat him or just check out the new fish. They were very persistent on finding him in the rocks. I luckily caught him before I knew what the end result might have been. I am assuming they would have tries to eat him if they had caught him.   -Mike <Will consume. Bob Fenner>

Bonnethead sharks... sys., sel.,   8/11/06 Hi there I just found out about the bonnetheads and so far they seem okay as pets (size) but I need some more info on them. First of all what is the minimum size for their tank? <About three times their adult length, twice in width...> Also, what is an average price for them? <A few hundred dollars> And last of all where could I get them for <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharkselfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Port Jackson Shark...Substrate...Lack Of Research  - 07/27/06 Hi guys, <And gals.> Great site, <Thank you.> I have a 4x2x2 saltwater tank, how much reef sand (CaribSea aragonite) should I have in it? is 40lbs (1" evenly spread) enough? Keeping in mind I will be putting a Port Jackson in the tank. <Really doesn't matter how much aragonite you put in the tank as this shark isn't going to be spending much time there anyway.  In my opinion, a minimum tank size of 1000 gallons is required along with an excellent filtration system. Do not believe you have researched this fish, but it does grow to a length of five feet and is recommended for expert care level only.  I don't believe you fall into this category, wanting to put this fish in a 120 gallon tank. > Regards <And to you.  James (Salty Dog)> Adam

<Not> Keeping an Epaulette Shark, (Hemiscyllium ocellatum)   7/22/06 Hello <Morning> I am currently setting up a 90 gallon tank to house an Epaulette Shark. <Too small...> I know it is too small to house him long term but I plan on getting a small one and when needed I will upgrade to a bigger tank. <Not advised... human nature "dictates" that this doesn't/will not happen soon enough...> I work part time in a very good Aquarium store in NJ (Absolutely Fish). <Oh yes! Have been there... am coming out to NJ in August to give a pitch to the reef club there> I have a wet dry, 25 watt UV, and a Precision Marine Bullet Two Skimmer and I plan on putting 50 pounds of live rock in the tank. Is that to much or not enough rock? <Just not appropriate for this species in this size system... Need room all the way around or in front of a system that has large enough base dimensions to accommodate movement... at least twice the width, three times the length of this species... a ninety won't do this... even with no LR> Also I saw in your other posts I vitamin for sharks/rays from (www.mazuri.com < http://www.mazuri.com/> ), would you recommend using this? <Yes, or similar> Is it ok to feed him frozen food made for aquarium fish or do you recommend something else? <Posted> Last I have two lights a 48" standard Twin strip light 80watts total and a 2x55watt compact fluorescent strip will either be ok? <Yes... lighting not important as long as it is not too intense/bright> Do you recommend one over the other? <In this particular case, no> I was planning on using the compact one but I remember reading that they don't like to much light, will it be too much? Thank you Chet <Again, this size, shape world is inappropriate. I encourage you to not proceed here. This species will not do well in such a habitat... and die, unhappily in too short a span... Bob Fenner>

Re: Keeping an Epaulette Shark, (Hemiscyllium ocellatum)   7/24/06 Thank you for the info I am reconsidering now and might do a small Atelomycterus marmoratus instead. <Mmm, will "cut to the proverbial chase" here and state that there are no Elasmobranchs... Sharks that can be kept in a ninety gallon system for any real length of time in good health. Enjoy them at the store, in the wild... on recorded shows. Hope to meet up with you in NJ in August. Bob Fenner>

Sharks and Corals  7/19/06 Hello. <Hi there> I have a 300 gallon shark tank with 2 young banded bamboo shark in it that hatched at my home. <Neat>   I have a very large cave structure that is cemented together in the center of the tank that they sleep in and prowl around. <Good layout> The rest of the tank is open water. I was wondering since my rock work is so stable and I can't even topple it over if that I could keep some SPS corals on the top of the cave close to the surface to dress the tank up a bit. <Mmm, maybe...> I would choose corals that don't sting of course. <Not really much of an issue...> Would this be a problem?   <Likely will have problems with water quality for the SPS (need high biomineral, alkalinity content), perhaps easily knocked off the rock at night...> In the wild they live around the stuff so I figured it would be ok. Any input would be much appreciated. Thanks. Justin. <Worth trying. Bob Fenner>

Port Jackson Shark 7/16/06 Hey guys great site. <Thanks, but next time please use proper capitalization/grammar, makes our job much easier.> First of all I have a custom corner tank 5x4x4 I built my self at the moment it has a big blue tang an a yellow one (3"), lionfish(4"), a small clown trigger (2"), 2 big tomato clown fish(3") , and a emperor angel(3"). All is good at the moment there are a couple pieces of coral and about 20kgs of live rock but there is a fair bit of open "lay about" area. I really want to get myself a baby port Jackson, 1st of all I have heard ports don't like power heads in the tank, this true? <The electrical current will wreak havoc with their ability to move around the tank.> Will it eat the other fish (even the clowns)? <Probably, if it can catch it and fit it in its mouth it will probably eat it.> Will the clown trigger once it gets big be my biggest problem, will it hurt the shark? <Has happened before.> Can the port and the other fish all live in the same temp. water? <No><<Mmm, maybe so... which species of Heterodontid are we talking about here? RMF>> What else should I know? <Lots, too much to list here.  Please read the listings on WetWeb and pick up Scott Michaels "Sharks and Rays" for more.  Keeping sharks is not to be taken lightly.> Help please I really want this shark but I also want to keep my tank the way it is. <Not possible.> Thanks for your help keep up the good work. Regards Adam, Sydney Australia <Welcome> <Chris>

Gray banded bamboo shark   7/8/06 hey guys just need some info about the gray banded bamboo shark (Chiloscyllium griseum).  first I have 180 gallon tank, <Too small... this fish can grow to about twice the width of this...> all ready for a shark I have 5 damsels that I used to start the cycle <Not a good idea... may well have introduced pathogens> and now I want to get the gray banded bamboo shark but I cant find much info. I read the book sharks and rays and the conscientious marine aquarist, and multiple internet articles including your site and fish base. maybe you could send me some info on this shark. thanks so much, Joe <Please read/glean what you can from reading here: http://fishbase.sinica.edu.tw/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=4304&genusname=Chiloscyllium&speciesname=griseum and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/index.htm and learn capitalization through use of your Grammar Checker... Bob Fenner>

Mag-Floats and sharks  7/4/06 Hey Crew, <Ben>     I'm thinking about buying a mag-float for my tank. I have a banded cat shark that hatched about 3 weeks ago and is very healthy. Will the magnetic fields on the mag-float have any effect on the shark?   Thanks,   Ben <All ferrous material, magnets are sources of troubles in and around shark systems. I would keep these stored outside your Catsharks tank when not in actual use. Good question. Bob Fenner>
Re: Mag-Floats and sharks
 7/5/06 Thanks Bob! I might as well use the old fashioned way....algae scrubber. <Is a good idea. Many stories/anecdotes might be related re sharks' Ampullae of Lorenzini... losses due to errant magnetic fields... BobF>

- 220 Gallon Reef Tank questions 6/27/06 - Hello Crew, I recently discussed with my LFS about starting a shark tank. While looking for shark tanks I came across a 220 gallon DAS tank. My LFS store said this would be the perfect tank for a couple sting rays and one shark. Well, I did my research and found that this was far too small to house even one shark, let alone a couple sting rays. <Quite true.>  But I decided to get the DAS tank anyway and turn it into a reef system. I have researched some about different fish but am questioning how many fish and what types of fish can be put into a 220 gallon reef tank. I love tangs including Powder Blues and Yellow Tangs but also like a few angels including the Emperor Angel. Can you mix in different tangs together? <Yes, but best to make sure they are different genera - basic rule of thumb is do not mix same-shape tangs.> Could I later put an Emperor Angel in? <Sure.> Thanks for your help, Jeff <Cheers, J -- >

- Shark Questions!  LFS advised to change my ways -   6/14/06 Currently I have a 2000 gallon tank with a 16" bamboo shark, 18" black tip reef shark, assorted damsels and tangs. I have a huge Wet/Dry, a large power head pumping the water in a counter-clockwise direction. <Too bad the black tip will out-grow even this tank.> Question 1 I have been advised to add a second power head pumping in a clockwise direction and put them on a timer so they rotate X amount of time one way and then the other (to simulate its natural environment). Didn't sound like a bad idea but is it necessary? <Well... an opposing current would help create turbulence in the water which would help deal with some of the issues you list below. A singular source of water flow always creates a laminar flow - these do you no favors. On the other hand, electromagnetic devices in the same container as sharks is ill-advised. Even simple pieces of metal will interfere with their electromagnetic senses which they use to locate prey. Best to offer such enhanced circulation in a closed loop with the pumps outside of the tank.> Question 2 Currently I am feeding them daily and a set time/place/amount and have had no problems. I get fish from a local market, carve it, freeze what I won't use within 2 days, and refrigerate the next days food overnight in a Vitamin solution. Now I am being advised to feed only every other day instead, at what ever time, only fresh fish. <Well... every other day is probably better for a couple of reasons: one, you don't want them growing too quickly and secondly, this will tax your filtration system. But more importantly, sharks generally have a very slow digestive system and just don't need constant feedings to stay healthy. On the fresh vs. frozen debate, as long as you are going through the frozen stuff pretty quickly (isn't becoming freezer burned), then I don't see any real difference nutritionally - just make sure you thaw the food before offering it.> Question 3 The tank has a sand bottom that tends to get dark over the week from algae growth, before the black tip arrived we used a rake and stirred it a little to clear it up, but in doing so made the water cloudy for hours. <More circulation in the tank would help this.>  Since the Black tips arrival we have been limiting the stirring to 1/8th at a time to keep the water from being cloudy.  My thoughts being the shark could become disoriented smack into the walls.  LFS says its ok to just stir it all at once. <Would think more regular stirs would be fine. Sharks don't have particularly great eyesight and rely on other mechanisms to locate prey, etc... should do fine in a sandstorm.> Thanks for the help ahead of time! <Cheers, J -- >

Shark and Hot tank 5/28/06 My Chiloscyllium punctatum has recently started to swim upside down. I noticed that my tanks temperature jumped from 79 to 86 degrees because of the hot weather we've been having. I took him out and put him in a sick tank with a airstone and heater. My LFS said he might of got deprived of oxygen. WHAT SHOULD I DO?????? <Does sound like oxygen deprivation along with temperature shock.  All that can be done is to slowly lower the temp along with good circulation to increase the oxygen in the water.  Also be especially observant of water quality.> <Chris>
Hot Tank Part II 5/29/06
It is too late, he died last night. My water quality was good just the temperature raised. <Sorry to hear that.  The shock was probably too much for it.>
Hot tank Part III 5/29/06
Since there wasn't any disease in the tank can I get another egg this week. The temperature is down to 75 degrees now and the water quality is great. The shark died in a quarantine tank. <Sorry, I cannot advise anyone to get a shark.  I just don't think they belong in captivity.> <Chris>

Outdoor Shark Pool... Heat Has Gotten To Querior   5/27/06 Hello, <Hi> Thank for all the great info on your website, its really appreciated.   <Glad you enjoy it.>  I have a question on having a outdoor shark pond/pool.  I was thinking of building an above ground pond (roughly 500 gal.) for a small shark (thinking banded bamboo shark) outside my house since an aquarium that size will be difficult to fit in my house.  I was wondering if the temperature of the Arizona heat will be difficult to keep the adequate temperature in the pond, not to mention evaporation.  I'm also wondering what kind of materials to build the pond out of and/or how big of a filtration system  will need.   Would this be a good home for a shark or am  crazy?? <You're crazy:)  You would have to have a very large chiller to accomplish this, and your electric bill would be as high as the Arizona heat.  Summer temps average in the nineties, often exceeding 100+ degrees as you well know, and to chill a tank down 20-25 degrees from ambient...Yowsie Wowsie.> Thanks. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

1300 gallon tank... shark system?  - 5/8/2006 Someone is selling a 1300 gallon setup locally. <Oomph!> I was wondering if there was an "active" shark that would fit that size. He has had a Blacktip in it before. Maybe a smooth hound? A Blacktip seems too large. Thanks for the help. Nate <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/sharks.htm and the linked files above... particularly the Shark Systems FAQs f's... Much more to consider here... Bob Fenner>
Re: 1300 gallon tank... a jokester  - 5/8/2006
So you are saying that I can get 4 nurse sharks?! Sweet! Haha joke. I've read your website 36.5 times. Just wanted to talk directly to one of you, but I see that's not an option. Thanks anyways <Uhh... okay. BobF>

Re: Coral Catsharks... electrical, ray comp.    5/4/06 Hi again. This is the last time i will bother you I swear. <Heee! Be careful what you promise...> I was just wondering if a grounding probe would be a good idea for a shark tank. <Mmm, no... as stated, this is more likely to induce electrical potential than solve such issues in an otherwise properly equipped, set-up system> As I stated before I have 3 pumps and a heater along with the lights and the 2 Emperor filters. <These are hopefully grounded, wired through GFI's> I have read that these things can cause some electric current in the water and this will of course disturb the sharks senses. <Would if not...> I'm not sure if there is any current in the tank, and not sure how to test for it. <... then study> From my understanding the grounding probe will take away all the electric current in the tank they may be harmful to the sharks. I just want to make my aquarium as pleasing as possible for my sharks so they have a long life and hopefully breed. In your opinion what is the best food to feed them? <Isn't this how we started? This is posted (to the extent of my knowledge at least) on WWM> How often should I feed these particular sharks and how much? Thank you so much for the replies. You have helped me out tremendously with your responses. I do believe this will be the last help I need. <No...> Oh one last thing, if my goal is to breed these sharks, should I have them in the tank be themselves. Would it be possible to put a yellow stingray in the tank with them, and still have the sharks breed. Thank you. <This system is not large enough for a jamaicensis... Bob Fenner>

Sharks/Systems    5/4/06 G'day to the crew. <And to you.> I have a question regarding the temporary storage of an Epaulette Shark. My friend has a 500 gallon saltwater tank he is pulling down and moving to his new place. The tank will be out of operation for roughly a year. He has asked me if I could keep it in my tank for the time being. Unfortunately no aquariums near us want to take it. <Not surprising to me.> I need to know if it would survive in my tank for that period of time. The shark is 18 inches long and, My tank is 96 inches long by 21 inches high although I have a 5 inch sand bed so I am left with 16 inches and 18 inches wide. I currently house a 7 and a half inch bird wrasse. I use live rock for filtration some of which is in the sump. Most of the tank is open with a small cave set up on either side of the tank and a little rock formation in the middle about 5 inches high. I have a Aquamedic Multi SL Turboflotor skimmer. so your opinion would be appreciated. <I believe in taking in the shark you will be asking for problems in your tank.  The skimmer you are using isn't nearly efficient enough for a tank that large, especially with the waste load it may encounter. Since the shark is a very efficient waste producer, you will be faced with water quality issues.  I'm guessing your tank is somewhere in the 200 gallon range which isn't large enough to keep this guy for an extended stay.  Do yourself a favor and forget the house guest.> Thank you in advance. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Shark Systems  - 03/22/06 Is the white spotted bamboo shark the smallest shark species appropriate for a home aquarium?   <Yes, most people go with these.> If I am building a 5 1/2 ft long, 2.5ft wide, 2ft high tank... would this be sufficient? (205 gallons).  I would have the width necessary I think... would pile liverock in the middle so that the shark would have an oval swim lane...   thoughts?  I do have the capability to go 3ft wide, but would prefer not to as it would be even harder to maintain the front of the tank (as it is built into a basement wall).   <Dave, do read FAQ's on subject and related links here.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharksystems.htm James (Salty Dog)> Regards, Dave Brynlund

Shark Systems  - 03/22/06 Hi,  <Hello Jeff> Me again. Sorry to bother you. I am looking at investing in a larger beginner tank (30-40gallons). Are there any Saltwater tank kits that come with the necessary filtration, lighting etc.? <Have seen.> What is the smallest species of shark and what size of tank would you need?  <If you are thinking about putting a shark in a 30/40 gallon tank, it will be much too small.  Read here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharksystems.htm Thanks, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog) Jeff

Saltwater questions.. Shark sel., systems   3/4/06 Hi Bob, <Joe> I have a few more queries which I'd like your help for. <Will do my best> Firstly, I have a chance to purchase a Colclough's Shark, and knowing how rare these are, would like your opinion on whether these sharks might live well in my tank. <The genus does about as well as any captive shark species. Have never seen this fish in the trade in the U.S., but sometimes sold in areas closer to its Australian origin: http://filaman.ifm-geomar.de/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=5893> My area of concern is the temperature range to which they are accustomed. Scott Michael's book states this range as being between 18 and 24 degrees Celsius. We have just come out of Summer in Australia and I have noted that the tank maintains an average temperature of about 28 -30 degrees Celsius. <Mmm, yes... I would employ a chilling mechanism here for sure> While I am certain that this will drop a few degrees during the winter, I do not want to purchase this shark only to let it suffer next summer. Do you think the shark will be comfortable given this temperature? <Not likely. We have a similar "challenge" here in S. California with folks trying to keep Leopard (Triakis semifasciata, now banned I'm given to understand), and our local Port Jackson (Heterodontus francisci)... some success during the winter months, almost none w/o chilled systems during the summer> If not, I would prefer getting an Epaulette which has a warmer range. <A better choice w/o the chiller...> Secondly, I am aware of a certain product on the market ("Deniballs T by Aquamedic) which claim to reduce nitrate by slowly dissolving over a period of a year or so. Is this product essential to a successful marine aquarium or is it simply a money burner? <Mmm... a worthwhile expedient for some... Nitrates can be a "menace"... but given other means, not necessary. You do want to keep these at a minimum in shark systems... less than 10 ppm.> Are water changes enough to control nitrate? <Well... not unless you're super-wealthy, to afford bunches of salt mix, or have a hose pipe from the sea to maintain an open system... Other means are detailed on WWM... Should be reviewed> Since I will be keeping a shark and ray, among other fish, do they have a specific low-tolerance to nitrate?? <Yes! Any is of trouble really...> Finally, are cooked shrimp better/worse than raw shrimp to feed to my fish? (In regards to nutrient value and disease carrying potential). <Worse nutritionally> Thank you very much for your time and effort, Joe <Thank you for helping us all by asking, sharing. Bob Fenner>

Skimmer and Refugium Combo  - 01/24/06 Hi, I hope you are well. <I am, thank you.> I am setting up a new system, I have ordered a 60x24x30 tank drilled with a weir and a 3ft Miracle mud ecosystem sump which holds 15kg of mud. <Sounds good.> I also hope to have 10+KG of live rock in the main tank. I am hoping to house 1 or 2 Bamboo sharks, my local Public Aquarium has already agreed to give them a home when they are too large to keep at home. <Make sure they do indeed intend to take the animals.> Firstly I wondered what experience you have had with the eco mud system and if you feel the bio load would be enough to keep these 2 sharks. <Along with a very large protein skimmer, it should be fine.> My LFS sold me a Turboflotor 1000 to go in the sump but I have since read that using a protein skimmer with the eco system can remove important minerals from the mud, do you know if this is correct. <May remove some desired elements but more importantly a skimmer remove many undesired nutrients, I would get the largest most efficient skimmer you can house/afford. Something along the lines of a large ASM, Euro-Reef Model or the like. Im not a fan of the TurboFlotor, and with such a large bio-load/tank youll want something that works hard.> One last question are Bamboo sharks ok to keep with corals. <No; far too destructive.> Your help would be much appreciated. <Anytime.> Many Thanks Darren <Adam J.>

Coral Catshark... selection, systems   1/17/06 Hello, <Greetings> I was interested in getting a coral Catshark, and was wondering if you could recommend any vendors that can ship or are located near  Philadelphia.  That Fish Place in Lancaster stocks banded  cat sharks and they currently have a Wobby (nothing I have any desire to keep  really).  The little Orectolobus they have is maybe 12 inches long,  hopefully it won't end up jammed into a 55 gallon tank!  In any event that  is a species that grows far too large for my keeping. <Mmm, TFP would be my first choice... they can order if they're available at the time... as the folks know what they're doing there, and this would be the shortest (further distance) for the specimen to travel. Marine Center, Marine Depot can likewise order/receive/re-ship such an animal to you> The two species I had interest in were Atelomycterus marmoratus, and Atelomycterus macleayi.  I have not been able to find them very easily for  sale though.  Do you know the basic differences between the species? <We've been over this. I encourage you to buy Scott Michael's excellent work on the captive husbandry of these animals... and read it thoroughly>   I was leaning towards getting the marmoratus if possible, but the macleayi is  the only species I could find in the trade. <Both are offered from time to time... they are wild-collected... and folks "get around" to them if/when they can...> The enclosure I have setup for the shark has been running for a while now   and is cycled, currently the tank is empty of fish.  The tank is a 125 with  a sand substrate and that's it.  There is no rock, and a hiding spot would  more than likely just end up being a chunk of large PVC pipe. <Mmm, I do advise you to make some sort of larger, heavier structure, with space behind it... to allow your shark to get out of view...>   I would like  to add a large tang to the tank to go with the shark, but that will come  later.  I do have a spare 200 gallon tank in the basement, and if need  be I will eventually set that one up for the shark and any companions (currently  I can't justify such a large tank when the shark I am buying may come to me  at under 10 inches in length! Do you have any species specific care advice? Thanks, Steve <A great deal... unfortunately, am farther behind on other projects... rather than writing about even the more suitable shark species for aquarium use. Perhaps you would compile this information, write it up in an article format... I will gladly help you sell/place it in the e- and paper 'zine mag.s. Bob Fenner>

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

Water Conditions... Shark Systems - 01/15/2006 Hello, my question is can or should i <I> use bio balls? I know in a reef tank the answer is no because they cause nitrates to multiply and I'm not sure if that will effect a shark or not? <Sharks in a reef tank? Not a good plan. Sharks need very high water quality, so yes nitrates are bad.> Also if I was to purchase a shark should my tank be set up in a non traffic area like most books say for m. <?> fish, so they don't get spooked? <Best for all tanks IMO. At least not directly in the path of heavy activity.> Last? <Uh...> Is it better to start off with a bigger tank rather than let it grow up in my 120 and than buy a 220 or 265 before he or she out grows the tank or let it grow up and get use to the bigger tank from the door? <What kind of shark are we talking about here? Best to start with the biggest possible, so long as it is appropriately sized of course. Do take a tour through the FAQ's on shark systems, compatibility, filtration, Etc.> Thank you for your time, great site and sharing your knowledge with us. Chris <Chris, in the future please capitalize and skip on the net speak. I trust you've heard the editing speech before? Be sure you research the specific shark you want and plan big. - Josh> Temporary Shark System (AdamJ's go) - 01/12/2006 Hi Bob, <Actually Adam J with you tonight.> I am setting up a new system, I have ordered a 60x24x30 tank drilled with a weir and a 3ft Miracle mud ecosystem sump which holds 15kg of mud. I also hope to have 10+KG of live rock in the main tank. <Sounds good.> I am hoping to house 1 or 2 Bamboo sharks, my local Public Aquarium has already agreed to give them a home when they are too large to keep at home. <Very lucky, most organizations of said type usually refuse. To be on the safe side I would go with one shark for a tank of this size.> Firstly I wondered what experience you have had with the eco mud system and if you feel the bio load would be enough to keep these 2 sharks. <I personally would not.> My LFS sold me a Turboflotor 1000 to go in the sump but I have since read that using a protein skimmer with the eco system can remove important minerals from the mud, do you know if this is correct. <The advantages of a skimmer far outweigh the cons, in fact I would go with something much more efficient than the above mentioned Red Sea product, I would go with something large and efficient (especially in a shark tank), look into brands like: ASM, Euro-Reef, MRC, Aqua-C and Deltec.> One last question are Bamboo sharks ok to keep with corals. <No to "messy" and active to be kept with inverts of any kind in a closed system of this size.> Your help would be much appreciated. <Hope it helps.> Many Thanks Darren <Adam J.>

New Shark System   1/11/06 Hi I am setting up a new system, I have ordered a 60x24x30 tank drilled with a weir and a 3ft Miracle mud ecosystem sump which holds 15kg of mud. I also hope to have 10+KG of live rock in the main tank. I am hoping to house 1 or 2 Bamboo sharks, my local Public Aquarium has already agreed to give them a home when they are too large to keep at home. Firstly I wondered what experience you have had with the eco mud system <None personally. But, I have been on a few dive trips with the originator, owner, Leng Sy (we're friends) where we chatted re, and seen many such systems around the world... They are, to use the modern parlance, "the real thing"> and if you feel the bio load would be enough to keep these 2 sharks. My LFS sold me a Turboflotor 1000 to go in the sump but I have since read that using a protein skimmer with the eco system can remove important minerals from the mud, do you know if this is correct. <For this size, type system I definitely would use a skimmer... and a "beefier" one than the Red Sea product... Likely a good-sized Euro-Reef model...> One last question are Bamboo sharks ok to keep with corals. <Not really... the sharks are too rambunctious, messy to keep with most all cnidarians> Your help would be much appreciated. Many Thanks Darren <Bob Fenner>

Re: Can I add "X" and "Y" to "ABC"? - potential eel and shark additions Thanks for the info...  I've had a tough time getting good advice on this. <No worries, that's what I'm here for.> I'm not willing to give up any of the current inhabitants, so I'll do without a shark or eel. <I understand, good decision.> For my future reference, what would you recommend as a good tank size to house one of the small sharks? <For less active sharks, tank width should be at least double that of the adult length of the specimen and the length of the tank should be at least five times that of the adult size of the specimen.> Thanks again! <No trouble, Adam J.>

Cat Shark Care  12/17/05 Hi, <Hello.> thanks for all your info it is very useful... <Quite welcome.> I am purchasing a 250 gallon tank to house a baby band cat shark, hope to be an adult cat shark some day...  That is the only fish I plan on having...   <Good; sharks should be kept in species only tanks.> What kind of filtration system do you recommend? <A VERY large protein skimmer, perhaps some type of bio-media (since you wont be able to keep copious amounts of Live Rock in the display) or better yet a live rock/macro-algae refugium and of course LOTS of water flow.>   Is this size tank big enough?   <Its hard to say there are a few sharks labeled with the common name cat-shark (Including Atelomycterus marmoratus and Chiloscyllium punctatum, the first stays under 30 while the second grows to over 40 big difference), and while the volume of the tank (250-gallons) sounds good on paper, it would help to know the exact dimensions of the tank. Surface area is very important with these animals.> How is the maintenance for this fish? <Sharks are not for casual aquarists, be sure to research the needs thoroughly, re: disease, diet and so on., read the FAQs here on WWM and check out Scott Michaels, Sharks and Rays.>   Thanks for your help...  I have also donated to Amazon Honor System... <Thank you for this, Adam J.>

Banded Cat Shark  12/16/05 Greetings crew, <Maria> I own a 220 gallon salt water tank, that contains about 50 lbs of live rocks, all which are on one side of the tank in order to maintain open space on the other side. <Good idea with sharks>   On September I purchased a Shark egg, and was born on November 23rd.  Since then, I have not witnessed the shark eating food, but I am guessing he eats what I put out for him, which is shark formula, ghost shrimp and brine shrimp, since he is still alive. <Mmm... best to observe first hand... use a "feeding stick" to place the food right in front... don't leave items not taken...> Also, we believe that he could be blind because he tends to run straight into the rocks and when he tries to catch his food he does not succeed. <... are you supplementing the food? Vitamins, iodine are important... Covered on WWM> 90 percent of the time the shark likes to hide inside the rocks even though there is plenty of room on the other side of the tank.  Is his behavior normal or do I need to take out the rocks? <Not normal/healthy... rocks present are not the real issue/problem...> Another concern is when one time the pH in tank was low and I had to use a pH  buffer, and I believe that the shark did not like this because  he got out of the rocks and started swimming uncontrollably. <A bad reaction> If the pH buffer is bad for the shark, what are my other options, what can I use instead of the buffer? <This and all other water quality modifiers should be mixed up in new water outside the system, introduced slowly, as during changes...> Thank you, let me know. Sincerely Diego Arboleda <Do read through here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharkeggfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Coral Cat Shark Tank Size  12/16/05 Dear Bob, <Actually Adam J filling in for Bob tonight, hello.> The other day I purchased a Coral Cat Shark. It was bread in captivity at Tropicorium in Detroit Michigan. <Okay.> The parents laid the eggs at Tropicorium and then they hatched months later. The shark is about 8 months or so old and it is around 14 inches long. It feeds on everything including frozen squid. <Be sure to research the dietary needs of this species.> I was planning on picking it up on Saturday and placing it in my 250 gallon tank. My tank is 8x2x2. Will this shark work out in my size tank? <Alone, this is probably acceptablewith other specimens I think not.> I have read somewhere that it only gets 24 inches long. Is that true. <That estimate is in the ballpark yes, which is why I would generally prefer a slightly wider tank (like 36) these sharks are quite active compared to its cousins of similar size and they are much more active in predation than say a Bamboo Shark. This is why I would keep it alone in a species only tank, I have seen this specimen catch and eat fish that appeared faster and larger than itself.> The shark is super healthy and look so cool. Should I go through with it on Saturday? <Depends on your other tank mates, other wise I believe this animal will be fine in this tank size for now, as for long-term it is of my opinion that it should be placed in a larger tank or at least one with more surface area. Also please research the needs of Elasmobranchs thoroughly, they are not for casual aquarists. Adam J.>

Pre-testing a Shark Tank  12/8/05 Couple questions on a 60x60 tank for a shark. First of all, for making sure that the skimmers/filter are capable of handling a large bioload prior to getting the shark/sharks, is it possible to use fish from the ocean or is it risky to introduce a non-native (to the shark) species? Is there a way to minimize potential biological impact on the system of a fish from the pacific northwest? Do you know of a better way to test the bio-capacity of the system and help establish it? And how long before introducing a shark (< 6 months I was hoping for)?  <You can perform this test with any large fish, but you must meet it's other needs. Any fish from the Pacific Northwest will require very cold water to thrive or even survive. Even temperate temperatures will be harmful. If you establish the tank properly, you could introduce a shark in a month or so. Beware that 60x60 provides bare minimum space even for the smallest and best sharks for captivity (see WWM articles on Epaulettes and similar sharks).> Circulation... I don't have a ton of experience with sharks, from the reading I've done on your site and in the drum-croaker literature, I was thinking of running a Dolphin aqua sea 5600 from with about 4' of head and a two returns out of the a center return facing in the same direction to achieve higher laminar flow. Does this sound ideal for the size tank?  <At 30" deep, this tank will be about 450 gallons. I would suggest around 10x turnover after accounting for head losses.> Lighting... Do the sharks have any preference? The tank is 30" deep. I was planning on 8 48" VHO, but if they would prefer less or more light, or if in your experience there might be an aesthetic advantage to a different option I would appreciate any insight.  <There is no need for VHO's unless you want the intensity. 8 Normal output lamps will provide plenty of viewing light.> The tank is square in the corners, I understand that a bullnose shape is better, and have researched the option of inserting rounded corners, this however, would affect the aesthetic quality strongly... The tank will be viewed from all angles, and is in a dentist's office. IYHO is the benefit to the shark worth uglifying the tank. Thanks in advance for any advice, Matt  <I would be less concerned about the square corners if the tank was larger. Unfortunately, the lack of at least one longer dimension increases the likelihood of sharks "crashing" into corners. You may want to consider keeping fish other than sharks. I understand the allure of sharks, but aside from the fact that the tank you describe is barely suitable, IMO, those sharks that are suitable for captivity are kind of boring since they are small and pretty sedentary. Other fish will live longer, happier lives in this tank and added movement and diversity will make it more interesting to the patients. Hope this helps! Best Regards, AdamC.>

Bamboo Shark Purchase 10/11/05 Hi Bob, <Actually Adam J with you today.> Firstly just want to say thank you for spending your time answering everyone's questions on here! Personally I've learnt a lot just reading through old FAQs more so than articles. <The FAQs are indeed fun to read through.> I'm about to set up a tank to house a Brownbanded bamboo shark. It will be 6' x 4' x 2' as I believe this is the required tank size to house one for its lifespan.  <As Im sure you know the bigger the better, but yes this tank sounds acceptable. Good surface area.>  My question is about a specimen I've come across for sale and would like to know whether you think it is worth "rescuing" this shark from an overcrowded tank, or whether you think he will be in poor health and I'd be better off buying a "new" shark.  "Yes he is still for sale only just I really need to let him go now as his getting a bit big!! I have had loads of interest but no one has made me an offer on him yet!! He's about 9 inches now and he/she (not sure!!) a brown banded shark, very happy at the minute but I'm sure he will have fish for dinner soon : ) <These sharks dont really have the weaponry to catch a fast moving fish. They are in large part crustacean eaters though sedentary fish like gobies or wrasses may be at risk when housed with larger specimens.> I have him in my reef system at the minute with loads of different fish the tank is 4ft x 2 1/2ft x 2ft and its plenty big enough for him but obviously he will get to about 3ft over the years so he would need either a tank on its own or a very big tank. <So sad, I see many of these sharks die in this type of setting, at least she is attempting to find it a home.> The salinity of the tank is 0.023 and the temperature is always kept at 25 degrees Celsius by a water cooler.  He is in perfect health and feeding v well and has been for a fair few weeks now. <Well she does say it's feeding, make sure it is before you purchase it.> Make me an offer on it or any more questions you may have email me.  Please advise me as soon as possible. What worries me is the amount of tank mates he's had  <Some tank-mates can are inappropriate for sharks such as larger angels and triggers, though at the sharks small size peaceful tank mates usually leave the shark alone and the shark usually leaves them alone. However you are correct in that sharks are best kept in a species only tank.>  as from reading your website I've seen that not many fish make suitable tank mates. Thanks in advance <If the shark is eating and alert I would not be opposed to purchasing him. Though from the e-mail I gather that this shark would have to be shipped. When purchasing an animal such as a shark I would much rather view him myself (yourself) and check the underside for bacterial infections, witness feeding and look them over for parasites/obvious signs of trauma.> Ermis <Adam J.>

Another Shark Story 10/10/05 Bob,  <James today> I have been keeping marine fish over 20 years. I basically have not changed my set-up since then. I am using the same undergravel filter, an AquaClear 500 type filter ever since. I have added a protein skimmer. I only keep a few fish and have had good success. I have an Oceanic 75g tank.  Currently I have a Tomato Clown I have had for 17 years, a Niger Trigger about 4 years and a Clown Trigger about 1 1/2 years. Last week while making my monthly trip to the fish store for supplies I browsed the tanks.  They had about a 10 in Bamboo Shark which I had never seen before. $99 later it was in my tank. So far it is eating well and no compatibility problems.  But I have stumbled upon your site seeking info and appear I may have bitten off more than I can chew at least with my current system. Please don't chastise me for making the purchase as it was an impulse buy and we all make them.  <That is the problem with many aquarists, impulse buying without researching the animal in question. That shark will soon outgrow the tank. You will also have a rise in dissolved nutrients that will/could lead to a nuisance algae plague.> Rather than return the fish I would rather attempt to build him a suitable environment. The place where my tank resides could easily accommodate up to a 150g, 200 would be pushing it.  I have read about the advantages of live rock. Would a system of live rock and protein skimmer with a larger tank work well with the fish I have described? Would another alternative work better?  <Dale, that shark needs a minimum of 180 gallons with a sand substrate as their abdomens are easily scratched. And, live rock to properly fill a 180 would be rather expensive just to keep the shark. You have to ask yourself if it is worth it. If it were me, forget the novelty and see if you can return him to your dealer.  Most dealers just want to sell, they could care less if you have a large enough and equipped tank for its survival. They kind of figure you must know what you are doing if you are going to buy this. I'm an advocate of leaving sharks in the ocean where they belong and will do more good than in a marine tank. Public aquariums are exempt as they have the facilities and know how to keep these creatures. James (Salty Dog)> <<Mmm, the writer said they intended a system of about this size... should work. RMF>>

-Another shark- 10/9/05 Justin, <Pat, I apologize for the extended wait on the reply, I have been under the weather.> Nice to meet you, and many thanks to you and the rest of the WWM for all your help. On your advice I did some research in your anemones FAQ's. I was not able to positively ID the organisms living in my tank, but my chosen livestock comes first so I will rid my tank of the offending anemones no matter what they are (the feeling I got reading your pages seems to be that all accidentally acquired anemones are parasitic).  <<Mmm, not "parasitic"... don't live in or on other species... RMF>> My tank contains three small sharks (an epaulette, a bamboo, and a coral cat, 400 gallon is in the works for January, two 29 gallon sumps/ wet-dry trickles with bio-balls are currently cycling with my current 150 so they are ready for the new tank) as well as one large tesselata moray.  As such I am always wary of medications, sharks seem to react negatively to such things. Your FAQ left me with two alternatives I am interested in trying: One was peppermint shrimp. I understand that a few of these will dispatch the offending organisms, but in your opinion would they have a chance to do such before they themselves fell to the bigger predators in the tank? <<No, they'll be eaten. RMF>> I also saw that I could remove the rock the anemones are growing on and boil them to kill all the organisms on it (recall that it is established volcanic rock and not live rock from the sea), or failing that I could just toss it and replace it with new rock. Your wisdom is greatly appreciated.  <I really think you best bet is to put the rock into your sump and let the peppermint shrimp reside there and see if they will clean it off. Otherwise ask your LFS to see if you can bring the rock to them for their shrimp to clean then pick it up when its done. Otherwise boiling works or does hypersalinity in the 1.60 range in a container and put the LR in that, It will kill everything or most everything as well. Third idea is to use Kalkwasser to inject the anemones full of and that kills them that works very well.> Also: I have a few questions regarding sharks. As I said I already have three, but in a four hundred gallon with ridiculous filtration (the two sumps I mentioned, 1200 GPH protein skimmer, six foot home made suspended gravel filter in addition to heavy mechanical/carbon filtration) I would be comfortable adding one more. < Unfortunately I would not as you are already overcrowding a shark tank. Each requires quite a lot of water and space and may kill another shark if not enough space is available. Also if you really want to keep a shark for its lifespan or the three you have, I would look into making a Saltwater pond of several thousand gallons. MattieJ on Aquaticpreadators.com has the most expertise on such things and keeps an 18,000gallon tank in his basement, and a 35,000 gallon 55ft by 35ft pool for 5 sharks. one or two being Blacktip reef sharks.>  My totally unrealistic dream is a black tip reef shark (LOL, some day), and your FAQ's/information sheets turned me off to leopard sharks. I was wondering about the Freycinet's epaulette shark (Hemiscyllium freycineti) and the hooded carpet shark (Hemiscyllium strahani). I searched you site and got a hit with no information on the latter and nothing at all on the former. I've also searched on-line dealer inventories exhaustively and found nothing.  <<Ever hear of fishbase.org?  A listing of species, with as much information as they have is packed into a huge database.  There are no assessments of availability within the ornamental trade.  Marina>><<<Actually Marina, if you look at the "Use..." per species, you'll find there is a description "Aquarium" for species. RMF>>> You can see pictures of them here: http://www.seapics.com/spsearchLynx/cgi.pan$188140x1x10?spsearchLynx  and here: http://www.seapics.com/spsearchLynx/cgi.pan$qs+&hemiscyllium&strahani?spsearchLynx  respectively. My question is do you know if these species exist in the trade, or are they entirely unattainable? I realize the scope of this question is massive and any help would be appreciated. <Hmm well I do not know about either of those sharks in the trade, however as for the Blacktip shark I DO NOT recommend it for any aquarium less than several thousand gallons as it is a constant swimmer and requires space and a lot of it to survive. The only ones outside of public aquariums that are thriving belong to MattieJ at AP (see above). If anyone knows about those particular sharks you are searching for he would, He also goes on shark collecting expeditions at times and has the licenses etc to do so. I highly recommend you get in touch with him.> <Justin (Jager)>  Thanks!! Pat 

Bonnetheads?  09/13/2005 Hi I was wondering what a good size for a Bonnethead would be? I've heard 500, I've heard 1,500 and then I've heard 3,000+ 1,500 would be perfect for the space I have, however if its inadequate I simply won't get the animal. <These small volumes won't work for long...> Do they  need the rounded corners like black tips? <Yes, much better> Also, there isn't any real good information as to ultimate size, or even general care? Is there a good  source? Thanks!   John <Likely the best is Scott Michael's re-do on Sharks and Rays for Aquariums. See fishbase.org re size... Bob Fenner>

Re: Call him, them Ray/s, or Sharky but don't crowd them  8/30/05   Only one ray not two if not do I stand a chance in a 265? If not could I get a coral Catshark (Atelomycterus marmoratus) in place of a ray since they don't grow past 27 inches And possibly the same tankmates as long as they are large and thanks for a quick reply. <... for cartilaginous fishes, their tanks need to be at least twice their width at adult size and three times their length... Bob Fenner>

Brown banded bamboo shark and a lionfish 8/19/05 Hi there! I will be setting up a 180g fish only saltwater tank and would like to have 1 brown banded bamboo shark and 1 lionfish, that's it (no other fishes). Do you think the two would get along alright?? <Mmm, this tank is too small, and there is too much chance the shark will eat the lionfish> I have read all the Shark Compatibility FAQ's and some of the questions are similar but not exact. Thanks very much for your prompt response, Karen S. <This shark grows to twice the length that this tank is wide... Bob Fenner>

Need help!!! Black tip reef sharks & incorrect tank sold &  purchased 7/24/05 Dear Bob, <Darren> I purchased a 96" long x 30" wide x 30" tall tank in my office from a local pet store and was convinced by the store owners that two Black tip reef sharks would be right for this tank. <....> They sold me the idea, tank & sharks!! <How much money invested? ... and you didn't investigate...> After having these beautiful fish for a few months and being extremely challenged in dealing with the "thieves" from this pet store who were only concerned with making the sale and then running not walking from their responsibility, I have done some research and after coming across your site and reading the Q&A sections I know that the set-up I was sold is incorrect. I have two Black-tip reef sharks nearing 20-22" in this tank, they often get red bruises on their noses, they heal pretty fast but I am sure this is not good for them. Also the fins rub the sides of the tank when they swim and I fear that this will deform them over time. <... they won't live that long> Now that I know this set-up is incorrect, are there any tank manufacturers/suppliers that you would recommend?? <Quite a few... but let's "cut to the proverbial chase"... how much space do you have? For how long do you want to keep these animals... healthy> I feed them twice per week fresh squid, shrimp & clams as instructed by the store and they are growing!!. <Oh yes> I am determined to keep guys and I want to do what is right for them...new tank etc...   They swim very calm, feed like clockwork, water is kept immaculate, tested everyday etc, recently now that summer arrived the tank temperature has risen to 83 degrees F even in an air conditioned office 24/7 and after asking around I find out that a chiller should have been installed??? <Maybe... if the temperature gets above 85 or so F....> ...is my situation immediate fix as I think, or do I have some time to make the changes?? <Time is "of the essence" or the essence itself> This is my first entry into aquariums and I could use some guidance. All the local stores/aquarium service companies have such conflicting opinions that I really could use your thoughts and a good tank supplier contact. <... you will need a "bull-nose tank" or such of about twelve feet length for now... three times that in time...> I am upset with myself, as business man I should have done more research and not put my faith in a Local pet store owner... who I might add after doing research on him after the fact I find out he has one of the worst reputations in his industry of steering people wrong and just making the sale. <Shameful...> I am here now and the mission is to right the wrong. Looking forward to your responses. Thanks, Darren <You can likely save money by doing a bit of investigating, shopping, haggling here... There are good companies... Tenecor in AZ, San Diego Plastics in CA... and many more that can/will fabricate a suitable (short term) habitat... but shipping... I would also look at your (metropolitan cities) "Yellow Pages" under "plastics, fabricators" and see if there are folks who make acrylic tanks locally... Bob Fenner>

FAQ from Darren 7/24/05 re BTR Sharks 7/31/05 Dear Bob, <Nic> Greetings!  My name is Nic Tiemens and I write to you out of concern for one of your shark enthusiasts and information seekers.  On July 24, a man by the name of Darren wrote to you with the unfortunate news of being misinformed by the local pet shop regarding the proper keeping of BTR sharks in a home aquarium.  As the co-owner of Infinity Aquarium Design in Manhattan Beach, CA, I come across these situations from time to time as I sporadically get requests for shark tanks from prospective clients that all too often have neither the necessary space nor the budget. <I see> It sounds to me like Darren's disappointment lies not only in the fact that the pet shop made a significant profit as a result if his lack of knowledge, but also that his vision of a "proper" shark tank was not done right the first time.  Because there is a handful of custom aquarium design companies here in Los Angeles, it is not surprising that people are literally shocked by hearing the parameters for proper shark keeping when they call my business for a consultation, and run as fast as they can to the nearest....I hate to say it....local pet shop where they are met with a much less expensive system and a handful of false information. <Chock much of this up to "human nature"... still, disappointing... We have folks who have written in repeatedly, pretty much with the same query... I guess hoping for the response they want to "hear"/read.> My knowledge and experience when it comes to keeping black-tips has taught me something that is very important and obvious to the educated aquarist: there is the right way and the many wrong ways to create an environment for sharks.  If sharks are what you want, be prepared to spend the money, dedicate the space for a very sizeable aquarium, and want to gain knowledge of this incredible species; it will only bring longevity to your livestock's health. <Agreed> With that being said, I would like to extend an offer to Darren to give us a call and discuss the revision of his shark tank.  I can offer some of the most creative, thorough, and correct ideas that the aquarium trade has to offer.  All consultations are free and if after meeting us and seeing what our company can provide he wishes to gather opinions elsewhere- we will understand. My work is my life and I hope that Darren will not give up on this hobby! My Best, Nic Tiemens Infinity Aquarium Design, Los Angeles 310.625.FISH PS.  I really enjoyed your site.  It's always good to find a well-built and thorough information source. <Ah, thank you all the way around. I will post your material in the hopes that Darren and others will contact you. Bob Fenner> Shark Question 7/21/05 Mr. Fenner - <Barry> Are you the author of the Shark article and if so have you heard of anyone having experience keeping smooth dogfish? <Yes and yes> My thought is to build about a 500 gallon tank in my private outdoor Tiki bar in Ocean City, Maryland.  I am not on the water so I plan to use a closed system with 100 gallon bio-ball filter I am building, a d.-earth filter, and a large protein skimmer.  We can catch about 18" specimens in the surf, put them in a cooler with salt water and have them in the tank in no more than 5 minutes. <Mmm, do look into the Jungle Brands product "Hypno" for a useful anesthetic... and/or perhaps a twelve volt (car and boat battery) water moving pump (of small amperage... to save "juice") and a bit of flexible tubing to "ventilate the gills" of captured, shipped animals... (pump water through their mouths enroute)> We'll catch them in spring and release them in fall.  I plan to use live bull minnows, live grass shrimp, and live clams for food. I heard that these sharks don't do well in rectangular tanks and should have oval or round tanks. Is this true? <In general, yes... the more active sharks, more crowded, tend to become foreshortened, swimming into the sides... not so much a problem with more sedentary species of reasonable size as here. Bob Fenner> Any insight will be appreciated. Thanks, Barry DeBald <Sounds like a great project>
Re: Shark Question 7/21/05
Bob - <Barry> Thanks for the info.  A few more questions if I may. Are the dogfish reasonably hardy in a big tank? <Yes, very> Since you say the dogfish are relatively sedentary; will a rectangular tank work? <Very likely so if it is overall large enough> I just happen to have a significant amount of 1-1/4" thick LEXAN that I can build a tank of 5-1/2 feet long by 42" wide by 42" deep.  Will this work? How many fish in this size tank? <Two, three> Temperatures that the dogfish can tolerate?  Will I need a chiller? <Mmm, likely no chiller needed for fish collected during the warm months. Please see fishbase.org re natural temperature range for the species.> Thanks so much! Barry   <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

System for (lemon?) sharks 6/15/05 Regardless of what you think at my capabilities for actually succeeding could you seriously answer the question. If I wanted to own a shark...perhaps a lemon shark. What would be the best size tank for it, and roughly what do you estimate the cost yearly for keeping him. I don't mean for a few years until he is too big, I mean if I wanted to keep him forever, how big would the tank have to be?  Thanks for your help.  Jennifer <Sorry if this is a duplicate reply.  We try to take every request seriously and respond respectfully, but you will find that we generally sternly admonish keeping of most sharks.  That said, the "lemon shark" is way out of the league of any hobbyist.  Topping out at well over 10ft and 400lbs, a single specimen of this shark would require at least a swimming pool!  Filtration would involve swimming pool type sand filters and a protein skimmer large enough for a person to stand inside.  I can only guess feeding costs to be in the several hundred dollars per month range.  This is truly an animal best left to public aquaria or in the wild.  I hope this helps.  I am sorry that I can't be more encouraging, but this is the reality of keeping such a large animal.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

Chiloscyllium punctatum egg 6/13/05 If I were to consider raising a Chiloscyllium punctatum egg and would like to provide it with the best food possible, what live foods could I consider culturing ahead of time?  I had considered trying Poecilia reticulata and feeding them live brine shrimp fed on cultured phytoplankton and copepods. I had read though they like shrimp a lot as well.  Is there a species of shrimp that is not impossible to breed and that would be a healthy died for a small shark of this species? <I commend your willingness to culture live foods, but it is impractical and unnecessary.  Quality frozen foods are available or can be made at home.  Mysis and chopped squid are high in HUFAs which are necessary for early development larger sharks will do fine on a diet of just about any meaty marine foods as long as you provide variety.  Occasional supplements of vitamins and iodine (hidden or injected into food) are a good idea.> I am months away from purchasing an egg, and trying to learn as much as possible.  Do you think a 96 gallon corner tank would be sufficient for a single shark of this species and nothing else? <Not even close.  A standard 180 is a bare minimum.  The shark should be able to comfortably turn around in it's home, and at adult size, this would be tight even in a 180.  At it's full size of about 36", it might be able to turn around in the corner tank, but it would be able to do little else but chase it's own tail.> I have read your article at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharks.htm as well as a great deal of http://www.colszoo.org/internal/drum_croaker/pdf/2004SS2.pdf are there any text you would suggest buying or pulling out of the library that could help me to further understand this species.  I also want to find out if it would hurt to have computer speakers in the same room as the animal, or if music or television noise in the same room would bother a Chiloscyllium punctatum.  Any and all information greatly appreciated.  Jon Gordon.  <There aren't any sharks that should be kept in any smaller than a 180, and we generally discourage the notion of keeping one in a smaller tank with the intention of upgrading later.  It seems that no matter how well intentioned we are, such upgrades rarely come.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

Nurse Shark Questions 6/13/05 I just put a 2.5 foot nurse shark on layaway while I get the enclosure prepared.  my plans are to use a 1500+ gallon spa and later move him to a pool (not prepared to spend the money on salt for a pool size at this time).  He/she has been at the LFS for 2 years NFS in a 200 gal. <Keeping this shark in a 1500 gal spa is marginal.  A 200 gallon aquarium is flat out cruel.  If you aren't prepared for the expense of the salt for a larger pool, have you considered the ongoing cost of food and water changes for this animal?  Also, these animals can be difficult to maintain in well designed technologically advanced systems.  Trying to do so in a make-shift situation can be a real challenge.  I am not trying to be harsh or pessimistic, but these are demanding animals!> We will need to be moving him across Houston (50 miles at least).  Any tips on this to keep it calm, acclimating once it arrives, etc?  I was going to move it in a large tote with a powerhead but I didn't see much about this on the FAQ. <The tote is probably the best idea, but I would plumb it with an external pump that would draw water from behind the shark and return it toward the head.  You will also need a vessel that is both deep enough and has a tight enough lid to prevent excessive water loss.  I would not attempt any kind of sedation without the assistance of a marine vet.> what kinda of vitamins will need to be added to his diet and where can i get them if any are needed?  I currently make food for my triggers by blending squid, smelt, frozen trigger food, shrimp, scallops, and anything cool that the bait shops are selling cheap and freezing it in ice trays.  I was planning to do the same thing for this little guy so that I could add anything he might need.   <Your food recipe sounds fine, but considering the meal sizes that this shark will require, it may be tedious to prepare and make too small pieces.  Frozen squid is cheap, easy to come by and nutritious.  Try to find other whole foods (guts, heads, etc. intact) at your local sea food market.  No specific vitamins should be necessary if you use these good foods, especially since this shark is no longer a juvenile, but small amounts of a general fish vitamin can be injected into meaty foods.  You can also stuff whole small fish with Nori or dulce for added nutrition (especially iodine which is important).> The guy says he eats goldfish which seems overly stupid to me as there is no way he would ever encounter them in the wild, so I kinda figured a trigger-like diet would be better but larger.  I was planning on freezing it in plastic cups.  I was also curious about piggy perch and things like that which I could put in there live and he could eat them whenever he wanted and have something to make him work for his food so to speak.  a meal with mental enrichment.  I don't know if this is important for sharks but I have several exotic animals and it is very important for them.  what kinds of live food from the Galveston bait stores would be good/safe. <Indeed, goldfish are among the worst food choices for marine predators.  In fact, I would question the current owner for further info on what the staples of this fish's diet have been.  If it has been goldfish, I would pass on it for fear of poor nutrition.  Any kind of live marine fish that isn't obviously dangerous (stonefish, etc.) if fine and will indeed provide much needed stimulation, but it will also come with a risk of disease.  Also, to reiterate.... be sure to keep the pieces of your shark food preparation large enough that bits won't be lost to rot in the tank.> I saw something on the faq for shark moving where the guy stressed that he was not using playground sand.  Is this bad for the shark?  The shark and a remora (if I have the extra money when I'm ready to buy him) would be the only things in the tank. <Aragonite sand is a better choice than silica sand, but silica is acceptable.  Fine grain substrates reduce the risk of abrasion.> I plan to build a wall that would go around the spa so if it jumped out (I hear they are jumpers) it would fall back in.  good idea/bad idea? <A very good idea, probably a requirement.> basically my idea is to put the spa into my deck and cover the deck.  from there I would install fans in the walls to keep good air circulation and I have 2 pool pumps to circulate water into 2 bathtubs for filtration.  I wanted to run this all by the experts for a professional opinion as I do not trust LFS guys very much.  Thanks for your time, Michelle Walton <Please be sure that all of the components of this system are saltwater safe.  Sharks are very sensitive to metals, so any corroding fittings, drains, pump parts, etc could be dangerous to the shark as well as to you and your family.  You will need some serious filtration, both mechanical and biological for this system.  Sand filters work well, and backwashing can be combined with water changes.  Simply using the tubs as large sumps with conventional filtration techniques may be difficult, but a few gallons of bioballs prefiltered with frequently changed filter pads should do nicely.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

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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