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FAQs about Shark, Ray Disease/Health 1

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, SocialTreatments 

Related Articles: Sharks, Sharks In My Living Room?, Cartilaginous Fishes, Coldwater Sharks, Leopard Sharks, Port Jackson Sharks, Blacktip Reef SharkNurse Sharks, Moving Sharks

Related FAQs: 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

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

Bamboo Sharks Thank you so much for the great help. I guess I am kind of wondering what  are some signs of a healthy bamboo shark?< The single most important is probably the presence of a healthy appetite, for, like most of the moray eels, they have an extremely acute sense of smell.  Physically, you should probably look for a lack of red areas on the abdomen or other signs of inflammation.>   I know they are pretty mellow  sharks, so I was just wondering if there is any way to tell that they are happy  and doing ok? <Again, as with many other marine animals, a healthy appetite is always one of the best indicators.  Even though they are primarily nocturnal by nature, the scent of food in the water should at least bring their nose out of the LR in a fairly short time, and the longer the shark is with you, the more this becomes evident.....after a year, mine has no hesitation about feeding from my fingers at the surface of the water, even in broad daylight and has moved well into the "bottomless pit" category. The best of luck with your new baby and don't hesitate to spoil it at every opportunity.>     Thanks a lot John & Tiff  Proud parents of  a new bamboo shark

Biological Control for External Shark Parasites Mr. Fenner,    First I wanted to thank you and the crew for the help you give and to give you the credit for what all of you do for our hobby.  I have just recently caught two smooth dogfish (Mustelus canis) that are to be added to my shark pool.  Presently they are in a smaller (450 gallon) quarantine tub and I have noticed that, as is the case with sharks in colder weather, both have parasitic copepods attached to their dorsal fins. <Yes, common> I have the Scott Michaels' book and can remove them manually, but will a cleaner wrasse also serve the same purpose? <Can be tried... were you thinking of juvenile Bodianus? Other species? Tropical obligate cleaners can be tried... but physical removal of adults is recommended over either course of action... and if necessary a formalin "wash" (bath/dip) to eradicate intermediates. Am sure you're aware that organophosphates and copper compounds are contraindicated.> I want to avoid as much handling as I can but would appreciate your advice and experience.  Just FYI the sharks will be going into an 18000 gallon shark pool that already houses a few other sharks and has been running for over four years.  Again thank you for your help and dedication. Matt Hall <Bob Fenner>
Follow Up to External Shark Parasites, advice to others re juvenile sharks
Mr. Fenner,   I just wanted to drop a note and thank you again for the advice.  I manually removed the copepods and treated with a formalin bath to prevent secondary infections.  Both animals seem to be doing fine thus far and are showing strong appetites. <Outstanding.>    I have one comment to make about a question that was answered on today's list.  Someone had written to ask about their yellow tang and a bamboo shark that just recently hatched.  I noticed that the person was feeding the shark freshwater feeders, white clouds and rosy reds.  The crew did give some good advice but failed to point out the inappropriate diet being fed.  I would suggest either silversides or squid strips.  I would also recommend to other potential shark egg buyers that it is not always an easy task to get juvenile sharks feeding if they do not have much prior experience.  I only point this out to help others who might consider purchasing unhatched sharks.  Thank you. <I do agree and thank you, Bob Fenner> Matt Hall

Port Jackson - Fin Rot ? Hi, don't know who I'm talking with today, but I love your website and the information it has. <Hey Larry, MacL here with you today. Hope you are well.> Couldn't find anything on it or with my sharks & rays book to answer this question though. Yesterday I received a port Jackson shark from Jeff's exotic fish. <Lovely kind of shark.>  He had a batch of 8 of them on sale (baby 8 inchers) and so I got the last one available.  He shipped fine (very good job by them) and after acclimation (about 90 min.s) he was in the tank and he actually ate about 10 min.s later, which was good. <They are hearty eaters when healthy.> The problem I noticed this evening was the top of his fin behind his head and the top of his tail fin looks like it's rotting or shredding a bit. <Not good at all, is it potentially some type of ph burn or ammonia burn from the shipment in? or does it look more like a bacterial infection?> He even ate very well today, a full cube of ocean nutrition shark formula diced up with Vita Chem drops I add, as well as Garlic guard. I added 1.5 capfuls of Kent Marine Tech-I, trace elements, and a calcium dose as well tonight.  He's temporary in a 40 breeder mini reef tank I have setup (about a year running) until I get that 330lb monster Oceanic 210 gal (7x2x2) out of my garage and into the basement in a couple of months.  I have to clear out a monster size G-scale train layout down there which will take some time...but at least I have the tank in my possession anyway. <Sounds like a good plan, in the meantime this tank can serve as a good quarantine tank.> I rearranged the tank a day before he was shipped in to give him a 4  inch perimeter "swim way" around the rocks on all corners.  The part that bugs me though, is he is nothing like my 1 year-old banded shark in my 75gal reef tank (will be moving to the 200 as well with a Gigas clam getting to big in there, lol) in that he doesn't hide in a rock cave I built for him, like the banded does during the day.  He just sits on the bottom in a corner day or night...total bummer.  Is this just because he is new to another environment?  I know it's not a fish doing this, because the only critters I have in this setup is a coral beauty, clown, red reef lobster, Nassarius snails, and reef hermits.  <Just a note sharks are very intolerant of any type of nitrates whatsoever in my experience.  I would really really get your nitrates to 0> LPS typical setup in here... Tank params: SG: 1.024 NH3/NO2: 0 NO3: 5 PH: 8.3 CA: 420 Alk: 4.5m/L Skimmer: Prizm on this smaller tank, emptied about every 4 days. Emperor 400 polishes the water. (2) penguin 1140 powerheads Weekly water changes of 1.5 buckets, and weekly additions of Trace, Coral Vite, Stront/Moly, Tech-I, and Calcium Tech A+B. I was thinking maybe it was still the tank size and was thinking of moving him in the 75 gal which I really didn't want to do since that Gigas moves around to the front.  Charlie, my banded shark, knows him all too well for a year and knows just to swim over him at night, but this port Jackson seems a LOT more clumsy!  <I'm a lot worried about this new shark, his behavior is not typical. Please take a look at this article about shark health and see if his movements fit any of these descriptions.> Well hopefully there is an easy fix for this, something that an LFS has  in stock, or maybe it will just get better since I'm feeding him well every day.   Really pretty shark, and seems healthy other than the very top of the fins, and an absolute PIG that loves to eat.  Let me know if you have heard of this on the specie before. <The problem with treating him in a tank with corals is that you can damage your corals with the antibiotic treatment as well or your bacterial bed. But at a guess I think your shark isn't quite as he should be.  Good luck, MacL and let me know what you think after looking at that article.> Thanks, Larry
Shark Death
Thanks for your reply.  I was so bummed when I got home from work the next morning he was dead.   Never seen that one coming that quick, he probably had a major disease of some kind I still can't find. <Soooo sorry to hear that.  Please accept my condolences, I know how hard it is to lose them. MacL> Charlie will have to do for now, and he gets usual cleanings from a shrimp that rests over him all the time. Thanks anyway.

Marbled Cat Sharks Good afternoon. I am new to this forum and unsure where to retrieve answers from questions. I apologize in advance for my ignorance on the following. I have inherited (2) Marbled Cat Sharks from someone who could not care for them. They are currently in a 75G which I know is too small. They are 9" at the most right now. I am planning on a custom 350-400 tank for these guys with rounded sides. My question is this...they have some pinkish/red coloring on there bellies right now...it seems to come and go. <Not so much danger, a problem if transient. To be expected with such small shark specimens> It was not there yesterday but was the day before and is back again. I have live sand as substrate which I read was fine. I have kept the temp at 77.7-77..2... best I can get it currently. Ammonia is 0, nitrites 0, nitrates 0, ph 8.2, alkalinity 3. They ate once for me but have not eaten in 2 days and the pink coloring has me worried a bit. I am using a 125G wet/dry for filtration with no skimmer until I have the new tank set up and done for them. <All sounds good to okay. Feeding strikes of a week or less would not worry me> I have searched the site and have not seen much on the marbles cat as far as bacterial infections which I thought the pink color was from. Any advice on this and the proper care of these animals? <The physical and chemical parameters, size, gear of the present system and the fact that you're planning on upgrading to a larger system all sound fine. There are some antibiotics you might consider "sneaking" into these animals feed if they re-start feeding... or the possibility of having to force feed them if they persist in their hunger strike. If this time is getting close, and the animals appear emaciated, I would at least execute a large water change (25%) and add a vitamin admixture directly to their water (like Selcon). Bob Fenner> I want them to survive and give them the best chance possible. Money is not an issue. I apologize if that sounds arrogant. Just wanting to make sure they have what they need. Please advise on your suggestions and how to follow the replies to this email on the boards. Thank you for your time. Todd Hornsby
Re: Marbled Cat Sharks
Thank you for the response Bob. It is really appreciated. The sharks are feeding again as of tonight. They each ate 2 silversides a piece and would not take anymore. <This is a considerable amount of food for these animals> I did not push the issue either. I feed them with a pair of plastic tongs. The pinkish/red still comes and goes, but looks to be less severe each time I do see it. So whatever the issue is with that, it appears to be clearing itself up on it's own. I did add some Zoe to the food for vitamins as they did not eat for awhile. I will keep you posted on the status. <Real good> I am trying to land a deal on a nice custom tank for these guys. Any recommendations on a vendor for this? <Which part of the U.S. (or world) are you in? Have you tried the "classified ads" yet? A small weekend ad often finds a wanting system of size> Thanks again for your time Bob. Very appreciated. Todd Hornsby <A pleasure to serve. Bob Fenner>

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.

Bamboo shark with Crypt - 8/26/04 Hi, I have a problem, my banded bamboo shark has ick, <Sharks usually are not affected by Cryptocaryon.  How does this person know that it is Cryptocaryon? Need more information.> I have looked at many article about dealing with ick, I have used these methods on others saltwater and fresh water fish but I'm not sure that medication will be safe for a shark.  From all that I found the only medication that might be okay is quick cure from aquarium products, because it doesn't contain copper. <You definitely do not want to use any meds that contain Copper with sharks>  Do you think it would be safe to try this medication? <Again, sharks are not usually affected by crypt as far as I know. Before using this medication increase water changes and either send pictures or a better description of what you are seeing for shark behavior and infection sites would be very helpful.> If not, do you know any way that could get rid of my problem? <See above comments. Also note how long the shark has been suffering with this issue. ~Paul> Thank you, Alexandre Boudreau

Coral Cat Sharks 5 Aug 2004 Hi, <Hello Adam, MacL here with you this fine day.> Today I got my Coral Catsharks in the mail, <Congratulations, they are great aren't they!> since the only place I could find them was on the internet.  Pretty good quality except for one thing, they have red blotches on their stomachs. <Hmmm that doesn't sound so good. Tell me were they shipped separately?>  I have medium fine live sand topped with fine live sand but some of the medium is on the top, is this going be a problem? <I don't think that medium sand is large enough to be a huge problem.> Also is their any way to get rid of the red blotches or will they go away since I have sand? <The blotches could be indications of various things. Are they eating, swimming fine? Did the water they came in seem to be highly polluted? Are they hanging out together and swimming quite a bit. I have to tell you that these guys are notorious for getting sick and the signs that show up first are a reddened belly.  Please make sure your water conditions stay ideal, keep it to 0 Nitrates because they are very sensitive to nitrates.> One last question is do the cloacas stick out at all, because I didn't think so and I think they are both males but wasn't sure? <Yes they do, generally its pretty obvious if they are male or female because of that.> Thanks Adam Siders

New sharks - 8/9/04 Hi, Today I got my two coral catsharks, I had to get them off the internet because they were the only place that had them. <Good choice most times> My first question is, they have red blotches on their stomachs probably because they might have had gravel. <Might have had gravel? You mean from where they came from?>  I have one layer of medium fine gravel and one layer of sand, some of the gravel is at the top though will this be a problem? <Possibly. They need a really soft sand bed or fine mud. Gravel does tend to irritate their sensitive underbelly.>  Also will the blotches go away? <Absolutely, upon fixing the irritation/issue.> Also one of them is breathing pretty heavily still, is this ok and how long will it last because the other seems to be doing better? <Keep an eye on this. This could be a sign of trouble. Of what I really couldn't say at this point. Check water parameters, keep up on water changes with good quality water.> I got them around noon today. <Likely just shipping stress. Keep the water quality high> The same one that is breathing pretty heavily is also opening and closing it's mouth for about every breath is this ok?  It is also laying on top of some of the live rock with it's head in one of the corners, my mom doesn't think he looks too good but from what I describe does he sound ok to you? <they do hide under coral overhangs, or under rocks, so this is not necessarily unheard of behavior, but combined with shipping stress, and other possible ambient issues this could be the signs of trouble. Keep an eye on it> The other one has a few cracks in his skin are these ok because I've never read about them in the Aquarium Sharks and Rays book? <Hmmm......not sure about the cracks either. Bleeding? Any more detail you can offer?> Lastly how long do you think it will take them to start eating? <Can take some time but they should start eating within the next few days to up to a week or sometimes even more. More likely to be a few days to a week. Be sure to supplement the sharks diet with vitamins. We use Mazuri products. Check 'em out at www.mazuri.com> I tried feeding them today and just got back from buying a few ghost shrimp to add in. <Good start. Any human consumable seafoods in small sizes will also be fine including frozen varieties. Try some Mysid shrimp as well.> Sorry for the long list of questions but if you could respond that would be great. <No problem. Your questions help the many others that will inevitably come after you. Thanks for being part of it all. Paul> Thanks Adam Siders
Coral Catsharks
<Hi, Mike D here> The cracks look like cracks in your skin when you get sun burnt pretty bad.  The skin isn't pealing it just has the cracks in them and they are only on the back<That's definitely not good and something I'd be very concerned about, as it's obviously not related to poor substrate>.  Also today both of them bit on to the piece of squid I tried to feed them but didn't eat any of it<You're right, that IS a good sign. Try using smaller pieces of squid, and if worse comes to worse, try a pouch of moist cat food, well rinsed, of course.>.  It looks like a good sign to me but then again I could have just provoked them.  Also last night one of them bit onto the food but my stupid eel came along and grabbed the other end and ate it.<This you'll get used to. These are all gluttons and have nearly identical food preferences and habits, so have plenty of food on hand when you start and be prepared to break up fights> Thanks Adam Jonathan -

Marbled Cat Shark The last week or two the shark (Atelomycterus marmoratus) may also known Marbled Cat Shark started with full stomach and would float, and turn into an arch on the back. Today we found it struggling, breathing fast and very weak that it cant hold its self down from floating. It doesn't have any red spots on it stomach but got light pink all around. Also it never had problems eating, it would came out right away when it smelled food, now today it wouldn't eat. The temp. was 82 when we came home but it drop to 80. A complete four hours went by and now found the sharks arch move to its stomach, it feels very soft and she is still breathing little fast. Its colors are normal now. Please HELP <<Hello. Can you give us some more information? What do your ammonia, nitrites, AND nitrates test at? PH? Alkalinity? How long have you had this shark, how large is the tank, how long has the tank been set-up, and what other fish or inverts are in with him? Do you do water changes? Skimmer? What type of filtration are you using? Is there live rock, and if so, how many pounds? You mention that he has no red spots, so I assume you realize that sharp crushed coral substrates are a no-no with sharks. What is your salinity level? Sharks require a decent level, around 1.026 specific gravity in order to do best. What do you normally feed him? Also, why does your temperature fluctuate? Temperature MUST be stable in a saltwater tank! all parameters must be relatively stable. Do you use a hydrometer to test your specific gravity? If you do, it must be difficult to accurately gauge that when the temp is moving around...Please get back to us with ALL the above information that I have requested. Thank you. -Gwen>>

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

Blacktips with issues - 3/30/04  hi there  I have three Blacktip sharks in aquarium, I have 3000 litre (750 US gal) aquarium. One of them (sharks) has a very thin white layer on his right eye <Besides the obvious here...that your tank is entirely too small for a Blacktip let alone three I would need more information on your setup, water chemistry, pictures would be a great help>.... what to do? <not really ringing a bell> How to treat? <Need to know more about the symptoms and environment first> the others have a white scratch on there bodies. <Picture would be a big help here. Again, this is too ambiguous a description for me to be of any help> pls help. <More info on the environment, pictures will really help. From what you describe it could be physical damage. Other than that, I really can't offer any more help, sorry to say ~Paul>

Sharks in stingrays in a small tank - 3/15/04 I have an 80 gallon saltwater tank; it has been set up for about 2 years. I had a Blue spotted sting ray, and a black banded cat shark. <Much too big in the long run> The sting ray we have had for about a year. I don't know how old he was. The shark was about 2 months old; he was born into our tank from an egg. All of a sudden the sting ray just died no signs of foul play, only a small green mark on his belly. The shark died 2 days later. <Sorry to hear. Your description does nothing to implicate anything concrete> I could tell something was wrong with the shark a couple of days before he died, he was swimming erratically, and bumping into things, as if he couldn't tell which way was up or down. <Electrical current or magnetic field, metal poisonings, inadequate water chemistry, many things could be the issue here or a combination of them> The water tested fine. <Means nothing to me> The only thing I could think of is, it has been a while since I changed the filter in the wet dry, (about 2 months) apparently the filter needs to be changed every 3 weeks, I did not know that. <Hmmm.....maybe but not entirely convinced> If that is the reason why then why didn't my blue damsel die or my maroon clown fish? <That is easy. These are typically very hardy fish. Cartilaginous fish are very sensitive to water quality.> Looking forward to hearing from you. <Not sure what I can tell you here. Please read through our ever expanding section on sharks and rays for more information on nutrition, water quality needs, tank sizes, etc. Sorry I couldn't be of more help ~Paul> Cindy & George

Shark not eating follow-up - 3/15/04 Paul , you said to flip him over when we do this, with his head out of the water . How long is he safe this way? <Probably for some time......Uhm...we place the shark on a wet towel (seawater wet) upside down. We use a vet trach tube to spooge food into its gut.> Since I'm sure the process is going to seem interminable. I think I'm going to see if I can convince my vet to come help. <If you can get a vet's help, then I would ask him to bring a syringe of Vitamin B12. We use this as a vitamin appetite enhancer and shoot it into the shark intravenously. Usually helps! Do not feed anymore silversides =) ~Paul>                                               T
Re: Force feeding
Hey Paul, I would have to figure that any of the other problems you mentioned like metal poisoning or electric current type stuff would also be affecting the Whitespotted bamboo that shares the tank with him. <I agree. I forgot about that. I am grasping at shark tails here, though. I really think goiter is the likely culprit. (as well as my colleagues at the Aquarium) Do take care going forward, though, as I am sure you have read by now, some sharks (like people) are more susceptible to goiter than others. Take care of your other shark now that you are informed> Morty's almost 9 yrs old and seems perfectly happy and healthy still :) <See above statement.> And I do have a grounding probe <Excellent> in there too. <What else can I tell ya?? Trying to go over everything I can think of. Let me know how things go. I want to remind you though, there is high probability that you could lose the shark. Let me know. ~Paul >
Shooting a shark with B12 - 3/16/04
Paul, Hi, where intravenously? <Intramuscular injection Shoot into the muscles in the back.> My vet is coming tomorrow evening to help. <excellent> Not sure she'll have a clue how to shoot up a shark. <Understandable> And it's not that he doesn't have an appetite, he definitely wants food. <OK> Do you think the vitamin B12 would be necessary in that case. <Worth a try> Also any idea why I don't really see a lump? <what about some sort of swelling? Not sure why you don't see the lump but I still feel this shark suffers from goiter. I am not a vet or even a shark hobbyist. I do work with them at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and have access to a crack staff of Marine Biologists who do specialize in shark husbandry. if its not goiter there are other things to look at: possible magnetic fields, stray electrical current, or maybe even metal poisoning??? Anything change around or in the tank lately??? Otherwise I couldn't tell you why your shark has stopped eating other than the fact that not long ago, you stated to me that you had seen a lump in the throat area of your shark. Also, you were feeding silversides (not a great shark food as it tends to bind needed iodine molecules). These are all signs that could lead to goiter. Hard to say though.> I know I'm a pain in the arse. <Not at all. Just a worried aquarist.> And I doubt I'm done being one yet. <No worries. I want to help! ~Paul>;T
Goiter in epaulette - 3/16/04
And so you shall hear from me soon, hehe. Hiya, <Heya> did I make it clear that I don't really see the lump anymore? <You did. Sometimes it turns into more of a general swelling of the area. Do look at the links (articles) I posted in past correspondences> Once we took out the substrate the lump seemed to pretty much go away near as I could tell. <I understand but I still believe this is goiter> That's why I thought his behavior so odd. And its been a while since all that. <6 months or so??> A time during which he was fine. And he was fine and eating when the damn thing looked like it was gonna burst out of him. <I understand this to be perplexing as well, but myself and others here, still feel that this is likely an issue resulting from goiter> Now when he looks good, or at least did look good, he starts having this problem. But I do not see a lump. <Swelling?> If anything there may be a slight swelling. <Ahhhhh> And about the gel food, I had no idea it took that long to prep. <You can read about the food on the Mazuri site> But I cannot get either that or the vitamin for two more days. <I figured as much> I had to order it through Purina test Diet place. <Couldn't order from the Mazuri site and have it overnighted?> They are shipping it out tomorrow overnight delivery. <Oh.....helps to read ahead> So I assume I should have it on Wednesday. Sounds like I'll need to make a trip to the vet also. Geez Paul, you're awful close to me, hint hint, heheh. <I guess this is the part I am supposed to say, "Haha! Yeah, I will be there is a few hours to help".....right? Nah, too busy to do other people's aquarist/computer work anymore. As it is I never have time for much of a social life.> Anyway my friend will be here later and I'll have her read through your emails also. <Good 'nuff> And I look forward to your next reply. <Here it is! Till the next one ~Paul>                                                          thanks , always thanks :)                                                                            Terri
Re: Epaulette shark
Ok ok , I know , quit talkin about it and do it already! <I thought you did it yesterday?> Waitin on the vet who will be here this evening. <Ooh let me know how it goes> Did you see my question bout the Vitamin B shot? <Yup, did you get my reply?> And about seeing no lump?  <I replied to that in the same email.> You're probably bout ready to smack me. <Never! I would detail as much of this into a journal if you can. Take pictures of the step, and hopefully the result will be a success, and then you can write an article and have us help you submit it around the hobby. Make a little money.                        Thank you Paul, for all your time and patience, <My pleasure, come visit the Aquarium one weekend and say "hi!". See the new shark exhibit. It looks fantastic!>                              Hannibal's stressed out mother,                                                               Terri
Working with large epaulette shark - 3/16/04
Hey Paul , and the rest of the crew ,             What if when we try to do this, we put him in a shallow tub, rather than on a towel. <Whatever is easier for you.> Would that make it less stressful for him do you think?  <Maybe, but eating will be less stressful than not. Do what it takes to make your goal happen ~Paul>                                thanks as always,                                                  T
More on shark saving - 3/17/04
Unfortunately I saw no other clues to what this might be in what I have read so far. <I agree> I would have to agree that this is goiter tho' anyway I think. <Kinda what I am going with (Monterey Bay Aquarium consortium> He definitely has a swelling there. <Exactly> Even the articles you linked me to did not speak about the behavior displayed by the animal, only the probable cause and the lump or swelling. <As a result of goiter.> And I would have to assume from what I've read so far that we can only hope to get food into him with this supplement. <Agreed> Therefore getting iodine back into his system and perhaps fending off this condition? <Hopefully> Swelling goes down, sharky is able to eat on his own? <Again, hopeful> And then of course continued supplements. <Yup> At first I was thinking that I would not give Morty the supplements. <Can only benefit him. Won't hurt him> Because he is basically perfect, <Never know when goiter will strike. Not enough study on the traits and likelihood for the affliction.> and I would hesitate to alter anything for him. <Won't hurt to add this to your regime> But of course now I'm thinking that there obviously can be unforeseen benefits to giving it to him. <Right!!> Would you agree? <I agree> Or would you leave him be? <add the supplement> He being the healthy bamboo shark. <I understand, but add it> We are on again with the vet for this evening btw. <Excellent> Hopefully all will go as planned. <Likely will> I haven't decided yet if I'm going to try it in a shallow tub or just the wet towel ( yes dear, seawater wet ). <Whatever way is easiest for you to reach your goal of feeding this shark> We definitely have to take him out of the tank though. I have to stand on a chair just to feed. I don't think I want to attempt this in that manner. <I understand. Good luck> Will talk to you soon. Clearly you're stuck with me now. <No worries. ~Paul>                                                           T
Trying to save an epaulette - 3/17/04
And I must admit that probability is getting higher as we speak, since now the help I need, my friend and the vet are unable to come tonight. <Sorry to hear, Terri. I wish there was more I can do> My friend is in aquarium maintenance and had an emergency and the vet had an emergency surgery :(  Damn this sucks, <I agree> because I definitely can't do it alone. <May have to. Wait another day or two see if they can't help> I guess I got your replies in a reversed order or something, sorry for what seemed like repeated questions. <Not a problem at all. I summarized your emails and answered them as fast as possible. Starting with the shorter of them>I did read the links you sent, immediately upon getting them that day. <Excellent> And I am learning something every time I talk with you. <Great> And more and more from the site and its links. <Any other ideas from your readings?> You have become an invaluable source of information. I unfortunately work nights, <Ouch!> so my sleep pattern is screwy, and I'm almost always tired. So I haven't read as much as I could have. <As you can, my friend.> And ok, no more silversides at all ever, yes dear :) <Heheheh> And of course I will keep and even closer eye on Morty the Bamboo. <You both will be glad you are doing such. Hang in there and keep me posted on everything ~Paul>   Talk to you soon ,                                  Terri
Oh no - The end of an Epaulette
Paul, when I got home this morning Hannibal was dead. <What?!!> Clearly we did something wrong. <I don't think so.> Or the whole thing was too much for him. <How about too much too late?> As far as I could tell, we had the tube in the right place , and we gave him about 20cc s of food. <Not too much> He seemed ok when I put him back in, <Hmmmm> and we didn't have him out for more than five minutes. <These sharks have been said to be out of water for hours> It seemed to go so well. <Cause it did> Have any idea where I screwed up? <Dunno. Doesn't sound like you did anything wrong at all> I was sure he would be good today. <From your email last night, I was too!> Instead he's dead. <I am very sorry to hear> And what did I learn? I don't know if I did the feeding correctly, <I think you did> or if I possibly killed him. <I don't think so> Damn and I was so proud of us. <I am proud of you. You did more than any aquarist I have ever met.> Feel like absolute crap now. <Don't!> I'm going to freeze him, if you think there's some way to figure out what happened. <There is a chance. If you want to either bring him to me or to the Monterey Aquarium on Saturday the 27th my supervisor and I could do a necropsy on him for you if you would like? We would be willing to do this for you. Look, I very sorry fro your loss and want to help. Let me know what I can do. ~Paul 408-970-XXXX>                                                               T
A sad day! A lost Epaulette
I'm wondering though if we didn't damage him and cause internal bleeding. <Always a possibility in intubation. A risk of sorts but I think too little too late> The tube we used is the type they use to feed baby birds and such. <Soft and supple. I think it was fine> Thin plastic though , soft , but not like rubber soft. <I think fine> And Sara ( the vet ) had to cut it so it wasn't so long. <Sounds right> Maybe it was too hard after she cut the rounded tip off it, and not perfectly smooth. <You're overthinking it> But I only realize this looking at it now. <I think you did a lot and more than most.> Damn I couldn't feel much worse. I know we were trying to do the right thing but... <A coincidence for sure.> Id like to take you up on your offer. <Very well> I'm going to see if I can change my schedule so I can be there on the 27th. <Great!> Shouldn't be a problem though. <Excellent> And I do want to call and talk to you. But I'm kind of a basket case at the moment. <No worries. Again, I am very sorry for your loss.> Will it be ok if I call tomorrow? <Of course. I will give you the run down on what will be needed of you.> I can't thank you enough for all your help and support. <What we do. I feel very badly as well. We will soon be able to tell you what was going on soon> It means a lot. <No worries. I only wish I could have been more help> I can be reached at 707 206 XXXX should you so desire . <Duly noted. Talk to you tomorrow. Take it easy. Try not to think much on it. Think of everything you did right. Firstly, your ability to keep sharks as long as you have in private aquaria is nothing short of amazing. You must be doing something right. You researched an issue, you asked questions, you spent hard time on it. You actually did help your shark. Trust me. Also, you will be helping your other shark with all of your new found knowledge. A sad day indeed, but the long term effects are to be victorious. You will bask in the glory of your abilities and healthiness of your next animals. Trust me. ~Paul>                                                           T
Shark loneliness - 3/23/04
I'm telling ya Paulie, he's actin' different since Hannibal died. <I suppose so> He has not stopped moving since. And no, wise ass <hey, this is a family show> I don't think its cause there's more room in the tank. <There is more room in the tank though> They both just laid around together unless they were hungry. <Well, these sharks are known to congregate at times, but I think you are better off with one shark> I seriously doubt Hannibal was hampering Morty's swimming ability :) <You would be surprised> Anyway the vitamins finally came so either today or tomorrow he will get his first. <Excellent> Hopefully he'll eat the piece with the pill. <Shouldn't be much of an issue>  Or half the pill I think is what would be better for him. <Go by the recommendations of the product> Since it's one pill per half lb. of food. <OK> I don't feed him that much. Talk to you soon.  Terri <Saturday! ~Paul>
Shark loneliness - 3/22/04
Hey Paul, do ya think I need to worry bout Morty being alone now? <Not likely> I mean I know, probably not. <right> But he had a companion for a few years and I wonder if it will affect him. <I am not a shark behavioralist but I doubt it will matter.> He does seem a little perplexed. He s been very active since Hannibal's death. <More room to move> And he shouldn't be that hungry. <Maybe> I think he's lookin for him :( <Again, unlikely. I am not sure how long the shark brain can even hang on to information/memories. Have to look around for information. ~Paul>                                                                               T
Thanks for wetwebmedia - 3/29/04
Paul, please tell Bob and everyone thank you for all the input. <I will relate the message> I know that through you all I will be able to learn so much. <I think you have already> I'm sorry to have perhaps learned the hard way this time. <knowledge is power. Life equals lessons, some harder than others> Hopefully this experience will serve to benefit any future animals we may have.  <Guaranteed it will> Paul, you were a major source not only of information, but of support during this whole thing. <My pleasure> I will be forever in your debt. <Not at all. It is what we do or at least should do!> Your obvious care and concern for us and Hannibal truly touched me. <I'm blushing> I consider you a friend :) <See you at the Aquarium soon>                                                                  talk to you soon, thanks again to all                                                                                                 Terri
A nice update - No need to post
Hey folks , hope all is well with the crew :) <Busy as usual but yeah....everyone is cool.>  Just wanted to say hey, and let ya know Morty ( the white spot bamboo ) is still going strong. <Awesome> Although I'm still convinced he would prefer some company after losing his tank mate :(  I know Pauly is rolling his eyes!  <Not rolling but sighing> And that's the other reason I'm writing. Are ya still there Paul? <Alive and kicking> Let me know. I was gonna call the cell number, just wasn't sure it was cool. <Sure> Sarah (the vet ) wants to get in touch too. <No worries> Hope everything is going good for you all. <As good as can be> As always, thanks for the info :) <Our pleasure ~Paul>                                                                                    Terri

Shark Sick - 2/28/04 hi, my shark has this small white spot above his left pectoral fin. It just appeared like 3 days ago. I was wondering if you could tell me what it was. <Need more info. What kind of shark are we talking about? What kind of tank? Feeding? Vitamins? Current size of the shark? Filtration? Water Chemistry? Pictures of the infected area?> also, he has a light pink kind of rash looking spots on his stomach and I was wondering how to get rid of those too. <Need more info, please. Once you provide me that info we (= me and some of the staff at the Monterey Bay Aquarium) will see what we can offer in the way of identity and remedy. Thanks ~Paul> any help is appreciated.

6 Week old Banded Bamboo Shark Accident Hi, <hello> I hope you can help I do not know what to do? Last night my Zebra moray eel mistook my shark for a peace of squid at feeding time (they have never acted aggressively towards each other before) the eel grabbed the sharks by the head and pulled him into his cave. I think he let go of him straight away and I managed to recover the shark about 1 minute later. The shark appears to have been injured quite badly, one of his eyes is slightly out of socket and although he is moving round the tank he is always on his side and cannot bottom himself, his breathing is about twice as fast as normal and he has a small cut to his head, when the lights are off he tries to swim around as he would of before, Also the eye shutters still open up at night. Please help! What should I do, I do not think I could bring myself to put him out of his misery! <this is what is best for the animal.> In your opinion will he ever recover from this ? <the injuries sound bad. there is nothing you can do.> Should I try to keep feeding him? <you can try, but I do not think he will eat.> Your prompt help would be much appreciated I have reared this shark from its egg and grown quite attached to it. <Give him a little time and see what happens. MikeH> Regards Darren
6 Week old Banded Bamboo Shark Accident
Hi, I hope you can help I do not know what to do? Last night my Zebra moray eel mistook my shark for a peace of squid at feeding time (they have never acted aggressively towards each other before) the eel grabbed the sharks by the head and pulled him into his cave. I think he let go of him straight away and I managed to recover the shark about 1 minute later. The shark appears to have been injured quite badly, one of his eyes is slightly out of socket and although he is moving round the tank he is always on his side and cannot bottom himself, his breathing is about twice as fast as normal and he has a small cut to his head, when the lights are off he tries to swim around as he would of before, Also the eye shutters still open up at night. Please help! <Well I am sorry to say there is really nothing that you can do to save this fish. First of all I believe its a mistake to house bamboo sharks with eels which have very poor vision and usually mistake their tankmates for food> What should I do, I do not think I could bring myself to put him out of his misery!<If it gets worse I would remove the shark from the aquarium and place him in a Ziploc bag and freeze him...a fast and painless death. Its the humane thing to do. :( > In your opinion will he ever recover from this ?<I highly doubt it> Should I try to keep feeding him?<I wouldn't even bother...From what you tell me he seems like he is in very bad shape> Your prompt help would be much appreciated I have reared this shark from its egg and grown quite attached to it. Regards Darren<I am very sorry this occurred...but life is about lessons. and this one was a bad one. "Don't kick yourself, everyone makes mistakes. But I do advise you to either keep the eel or shark. and NOT BOTH. Good luck, IanB>

Another Shark Problem >Hi Hello.  (Edited for punctuation) >I was wondering if you could help me.  My Brownbanded cat shark has a small ditch >>??  A what?  A ditch, maybe? >..on its head.  It's only a baby it hatched bout 2 weeks ago. >>Oh lord.  Wondering who sold you this shark, and whether or not they cared enough to tell you ANYTHING about the care requirements for these animals. >I won't feed it till next week.  It looks a bit thin, what should I do?  Many thanks - James >>If it's thin, WHY in the world would you withhold food? (Great dismay at reading this, my friend.)  There's not much I can tell you (assuming it's still alive, I only JUST got this query), other than to FEED IT!  Hand feed it krill (restaurant quality, whole), make sure it's got pristine water quality (water changes using real ocean water sold for salt tanks is your BEST bet), and for God's sake, DON'T house it on crushed coral!  If it doesn't make it, I implore you to please NOT replace it with another, at least not without doing MUCH more reading and research on these animals.  Marina

Injured Leopard Shark - If You're Gonna, This is The Way! >I have Two leopard Sharks in an 1800Gal oval shaped custom built aquarium. The aquarium is located in my home Gym. The aquarium was custom built out of solid concrete with fiberglass reinforcements. The filtration on the tank consist of three independent system the first system is a 4,000gph Biotech 10 pond filter, the second filtration is a little more complicated. The water leaves the tank fed by gravity into a modified Ocean clear canister filter, then through an in-line heater before it goes into a 200gal aquarium filled up with live rock and Two 3" homemade Protein Skimmers >>I think you mean 3' skimmers, yeah? >..copied from a Red Sea Berlin Turbo. The water leaves the 200gal tank and goes into a large 30W UV Bio Pond Filter before it is pumped back into the tank. The third simulates wave motion [set up on timer] the water just leaves the tank goes thru a 500gph EHEIM Canister filter and is pumped back into the tank with a 3600gph pump. The aquarium is in an air-conditioned room and the water during the summer stays around 71 degrees but during the winter it gets around 68 degrees. >>Great description of setup (though I've taken the liberty of shortening some passages). >In the center of the 1800Gal aquarium is a combination of live Rock and Hard coral, approximately 150-200lbs. The substrate is about 450lbs of Florida Crushed Coral. For The sunlight simulation I have 4 streetlights. For moonlight simulation I have two 48" blue moon fluorescent lights. All the lights are on timers. >>And now to the real issue at hand (send pics, please, as we have MANY queries on how to set up for sharks, and though you didn't give exact dimensions you've got other issues covered quite well). >The Leopard Sharks are around 28" and I had them for around three years now.  They have never had any health problems, neither have any of their tank mates. The tank mates are two 18" Panther Groupers, Two 12" Naso Tangs and one 9" blue tang. Now the problem that I have is that my female Leopard Shark sustained an eye injury last week. How I really don't know but I suspect she cut it on some hard coral while feeding because they get very destructive. >>Indeed. >I can't find any information on how to treat the injury nor can I find a person experience with this.   >>Likely you won't outside of public aquarium staff and most likely the staff vets (that vet the animals, not the staff). >I don't won't her to lose her eye and it's not looking good. At first a blood-filled blister appeared at the top of the eye I think where the cut was. After that a film covered the eye now the eye is filled with blood and has a white film.  I've used Garlic Xtreme, Stress Guard, and made sure the water parameters are next to perfect. >>I would expect the first two courses of action to do very little, but the last course is positively your best course.  Injuries are commonplace for sharks in the wild, and they appear to have excellent repair and recovery systems.  Along with near seawater parameters, I would strongly suggest (if possible) separating her physically from the other animals, and feeding her food soaked in a good supplement, I very much like Selcon.  You haven't mentioned what you feed, though I suspect/hope it would be something akin to what she would feed on in the wild. >Her swimming behavior has changed, she hardly swims anymore, only when feeding and when she feeds she appears to be herself. >>She is conserving her energy and "removing" herself from "the herd", so to speak.  She knows she's injured is basically hospitalizing herself.  If you can erect a physical barrier this will be helpful. >I need help please.  I've removed the hard coral from the Aquarium but will she ever see from her eye again? >>I cannot, nor can anyone from our crew, predict whether or not she'll see again.  She would have to be examined by a vet to make that determination.  However, you can certainly continue with the high water quality, section her off from the others, soak the food for best nutrition (which WILL help her help herself), and give her time.  You have described no signs of infection, so I would not recommend treating her with any antibiotics, especially because this would necessitate her removal from the main display--may be more traumatic than it's worth.  I expect her to heal, barring any other interference.  I do hope this helps, and if you can send up webpage sized jpegs (no bmps, please) of anything and everything it would be quite helpful, plus it would allow us to share with others how sharks should be housed (sans that coral though, yeah?).  If you are in need of good quality, SAFE, attractive decorations for the system now, I strongly suggest you look up Walt Smith, in Los Angeles area, as his company makes some AMAZING models of living coral reef specimens that are quite safe for the animals housed with them.  If I recollect, the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific used much of his wares to stock their systems.  Marina

- Banded Cat Shark Problems - Hello again. <Hello to you, JasonC here...> I have another question for you. I have two banded cat sharks in a 125 gallon fish only tank w/ some live rock. I already know that the tank size is too small for even one of these guys, there is a local fish store that has tanks that can accommodate fully grown sharks (some species) and trades them in, that's why I got them... while they are small. <Not entirely a good strategy.> The one I hatched from an egg and that was one of the coolest things I have ever seen or done, amazing. The second I bought from a local pet store. He appeared to be fine when I bought him, active, nice breathing, nice texture, no visible signs of stress. Well 3 days have gone by and I noticed he has red spots on his belly. <Could be irritation from the substrate, or something in the area of the tank that it frequents... is the most common problem is inappropriate surroundings.> He eats after a second or two of holding the food in front of him (smelling it I imagine). However he is always breathing really heavy. My other shark that I hatched is fine, nothing wrong with him at all, eats, breaths, looks fine. <Perhaps more used to the conditions as it was 'born into' them.> I usually do a water change once a week (10 to 15 percent). If not once a week no longer than 3 weeks. But every two for the past three months. For filtration I have a wet/dry, two 250 hot magnums, 10 gallon under gravel filters (2) in the corners (one in each corner). <You should really have a protein skimmer on this system... even though your filtration system 'works' it's not really appropriate for a shark system. I'd bail on just about everything except the wet/dry and get the skimmer on there.> The heat is set at 78, the nitrates 0, ammonia 0, salinity 24, ph 8.3, nitrites 0. Since it is late at night and you are obviously not going to be able to answer I am going to do a 30% water change. Any help you can give me would be appreciative. I have a 10 gallon tank with a small piece of live rock, a 170 penguin filter w/ a BioWheel (which I just took off), the temp is at 80, but I have not put anything in there yet. Would you recommend I put the shark in there? <Probably not... I doubt it would even be able to turn around.> Since he is eating I am confused as to what to do? <I would continue on as you were... I think stepping up the water changes to 10% once a week would help.> Couldn't tell you if he is getting better or worse. Don't want this little fellow to die or suffer. Can you help. <Again, most likely suspects are water quality issues along with [potentially] the substrate, or some other item the animal is scratching itself on. Do address these issues first, and then see how things develop.> Thanks
<Cheers, J -- >

Does my Smoothhound Shark have back and stomach problems? Hi, I just bought a gray Smoothhound a few days ago. I then bought a copy of the Shark & Rays book that you are always recommending. <A bit out of order> I read in the book that I shouldn't pick a shark with parasites or a curved back. I now have noticed that my shark's back seems curved and not straight as I have seen in pictures. <It does appeared to be significantly curved> Also on one side, it seems like he gets these ripples on his stomach that show up occasionally when he is swimming. What are these symptoms indicating and is he able to recover? <Am not so concerned re the stomach markings, but the back may be indicative of developmental disorder... perhaps due to lack of nutrition> And would he have been able to develop this kind of problem in just a couple of days? <Not likely> I suspect that he was like this when I got him but I am not 100% sure. I also noticed that the shark seemed to have a parasite that was attached near his rear fin when I saw him at the store (the parasite looked like lint and was small and somewhat white and clear). The owner took it off of the shark and told me that it would not affect the shark's health. Could this be the cause of his abnormalities? <Highly unlikely> I have included pictures to show you what I mean. Thanks for any help you can provide. Sincerely, Steve <At this point I would try augmenting this fish's diet (with iodine, HUFA's and a general vitamin mix added to its foods). Bob Fenner>

Sick Shark   7/25/03 Hey Guys,<Crew member Phil with you tonight!!> I was wondering if you could help me out with this problem I'm having with my Brown Banded Bamboo shark.<I'll give it my best shot!> Looks like he's been stricken with one of those parasitic invasions.<Oh no!> I've had him for close to 6 months and never had a problem. Water parameters are fine and I'm not sure how to deal with this. He's been thrashing and rubbing against the substrate for two days now.<Not a good sign.> Unfortunately I'm in China and I highly doubt that I can buy good medicine here. Should I bathe him in fresh water?<This is a strong shark, according to "Sharks & Rays" your little guy can stand a 5 minute FW dip.  But be sure to watch the shark for any signs of stress.  My first choice would be to lower the SG a little bit.  Maybe to around 1.020-1.021.  This should help some, if the shark is still sick try the FW dip.  Do only for 5 minutes once a week, anymore could stress the shark out too much.> Any comments or suggestions would be highly appreciated.<I really hope this helps!!  Please update me to any changes... good or bad.> Thanks so much,<Good luck!> MZ<Phil>

Shark disease reference I am currently in the process of creating and evidence folder for school. This is an important portion of my grade (50%) I would like to include a write-up about shark diseases, however I haven't found anything online after extensive searching. If you could give me a step in the right direction, it would be GREATLY appreciated Mahalo Jillian <Try to locate a recent copy (the Microcosm/TFH version) of Scott Michael's "Aquarium Sharks and Rays" book. There is a brief description of shark health issues there. Bob Fenner>

Shark Problems... 4/17/03 I have a banded shark just got him about five days ago two of them both are already eating not much but small amounts.<You have two sharks in a tank how big?  Any water info?  How big are the sharks?  If they are newly hatched and you fed them they are in big trouble.  Please start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharks.htm  & here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharkslvgrm.htm  >  belly looks normal no red on there belly what worries me is the sometimes not a lot they swim on there side doesn't repeat a lot just sometime is it normal for them to swim like that or not I think I would be parasite but not sure because they don't do it a lot<This is a shark that will spend more time laying on the sand then swimming around.>                      thank you Juan morel p.s. if it is parasite what can I treated him with will a cleaner wrasse be the solution<Please DON'T add a cleaner wrasse.  Most won't last more then a month in a home aquarium.  Please get back with me on the info I need so I can help you!  Thanks!  Phil>
Re: Shark Problems...  4/19/03
hello again<Hey there Juan!  Phil with you again.>ok both sharks are 8 inches my water levels are fine my ammonia is zero ph 8.2 nitrite 0 nitrate 20ppm<For sharks this can be toxic!  Get it down to zero!!> ..they started to eat better they haven't been rejecting the food in the past two days .but one is red on the belly but seems to be acting normal but belly really worrying me don't want them to die... what do you think I should do.<Well... you have a lot of questions left to answer!!  One how big is this tank?  I hope it's at least 300-400 gallons.  What kind of sand are you using?  Filter?  Lighting?  Temp of water?  The more you give me the better.  I can't quite figure out what's wrong yet.  I have an idea but would like more info first.  In the mean time pick up a copy of "Sharks and Rays" by Scott Michael.  It will help a lot with any other questions you have.  Keep in touch!... Phil>  

Re: epaulet shark Hi, Have an epaulet shark my son and I have owned for nine years and he has always been healthy and active.  Recently moved to new 300 gal tank, all measurements excellent.  All other fish fine.  His old mates, grouper and Naso tang, excellent.  Two days ago shark developed circular, white-to-pink very small wound on the top of his "snout" (picture attached).   <Good picture> Is this hole-in-head?  I would guess it is a wound from digging around int he rocks -- which he loves to do, but it is perfectly circular.  He gets Fresh shrimp, small live crabs which he loves to dig for, etc. <Does look like a gouge... maybe from a rock or sharp substrate as you state. I would not be overly concerned here, or try to "treat" the spot or water... Your long-standing captive shark will very likely heal by itself. Congrats on its husbandry. Bob Fenner> Thanks  
David & Hudson

- Removal of Infected Fish vs. Medication - Dear Bob. <Actually, it's JasonC today...> I recently discovered the web site you and your other experts are involved in. I have been involved in the marine aquarium hobby for 12yrs. I have a recent complicated scenario which could use some expertise advice. So many of the owners in the local aquarium trade, where I live now have limited knowledge of Elasmobranch health and basic knowledge. Up to this point I have relied mostly on my previous experience and from several books. However I should point out that I have relied heavily on Scott W. Michaels book and of Martin Moe in the past.   I have 2 Leopard sharks which from behavior and visual inspection appear to be in good health. They are 18" and I purchased them from a friend who had much to small of an aquarium. My aquarium is 120"L X 42"W X 36" H aprox 800 gal. <Well... if you've been using Scott Michael's book, then you know this tank is too small for these sharks.> Temperature is 72 with the chiller keeping it within 1 degree fluctuation. <That's still too warm - should be in the 60-65 degree range, no higher than 70. If you've ever been diving where these sharks live, then you know the water there only gets to 70 in the dead of summer, and the rest of the time is rarely warmer than 65 degrees. Please consider lowering the temperature.> The wet/dry was made for a 1200 gal tank so ample biological filtration and large down draft. ph 8.2, density 1.020. The plan for a salt water pond is under way so as they grow larger they will have a permanent and healthy life. <How are you going to chill an outdoor pond in Florida?> My main urgent concern is with another tank mate a Vlamingi Naso tang that appears to have a serious case of Cryptocaryon or Marine Ich? I have begun treating the tank with Metronidazole, but have come to the understanding that this may not cure the tang, and the tank itself along with the other fish are probably already hosts. <Correct on both accounts.> If by removing the tang could this help prevent infection of the other tankmates? <Well... as you mentioned, it is probably to late to prevent infestation, but... you need to treat Ich with copper, and that MUST be done in a separate tank - the sharks won't do well with this compound around at all.> I have also begun feeding the sharks shrimp permeated with the Hex-A-Mit. There are a total of 5 fish including the tang. The others are a Panther grouper & Mangrove snapper. <My friend, this livestock mix is inappropriate. As I mentioned before, this tank should really be kept somewhere near 60F - and the other fish you have in here will not do well at that temperature. Likewise, the sharks will not do well at the upper end of their tolerant range. You really need to reconsider this mix.> At this point they show no signs of infection. I know there has been studies that show Tangs are more prone to Marine ick. Would you recommend to continue with the current medication? <No, you need to remove the tang and begin treatment with copper and freshwater dips.> Is there any other recommendations you could advise me of? I know most sharks cannot tolerate a Hyposalinity treatment, but can Leopard sharks tolerate it? <No, they can't - sharks need the salt to regulate their internal systems, and will quickly perish in hypersaline water.> Thank You, for your expertise on this serious situation, Scott Mc Kirgan Naples, FL <J -- >

- Cloudy Eye on Leopard shark - <Greetings, JasonC here...> I have a 14 inch Leopard shark that I have owned for about 6 months. Last week I noticed her left eye was beginning to build up a white mucous near the inside corner of the eye. The LFS recommended Mela-Fix, so I tried adding it to the tank as directed. Since, I have noticed that the build up is getting worse. It now covers about half of the eye and has developed a bit of a lump shape. It looks as if it could be wiped off, but I am not sure that would solve the problem. So, I thought I would check with the experts first to see what you would recommend. Thank you, your site has contributed greatly to the aquarium industry, Gene Hart <Well... you don't reveal much about the system this animal is being kept in, and 9.999 times out of 10 the systems people choose for these sharks are completely inappropriate. Additionally, at a size of 14", it sounds like you've obtained a juvenile which would not be in your advantage or the fish's. Sadly, these are often harvested from a live shark by slicing it open, and the pups released and the mother shark disposed of. It's a gruesome harvest that does no one any good... additionally, these sharks are cool water sharks - if you don't have a chiller, it will die. Most often the symptoms you describe are brought on by the environment so I would start by looking there. I can't state strongly enough that these sharks are inappropriate for anything but a public aquarium, and unless that's who you represent, you've done everyone in the chain of obtaining this fish a great disservice. By purchasing it and taking it home, you've encouraged people to continue the forced and sometimes premature birth of these fish - the destruction of the mother - and your local dealer purchasing the fish. These fish should be left in the ocean. Please read this link: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/coolh20sharks.htm Quite sincerely, J -- >

Stiffness of bamboo shark Dear Mr. Fenner,   Last week I got 2 baby brown-banded bamboo sharks and they have not ate.  One just died today (had red rashes on the bottom of him, not present when alive) and the other one remains really "stiff" as he seems to be tensing his muscles for no reason (he has no rashes).  I searched your website and could not find a solution to these problems.  They both showed no signs of distress:  no flashing, rapid respiration, or any rashes/blotches/etc..  Please help me out.  Thank you for your time. Sincerely, Bryan <... where is information re your system? It's components, history? Do you have water quality test data to relate? Please read (or re-read) through the "shark" materials (articles and FAQs files) stored on WWM, starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharks.htm and over the linked (in blue, at top) pages beyond. Bob Fenner>

I found out what was wrong with the California ray Bob, After seeking your help about what might be wrong with the California ray, I took your advice and attempted to find someone here who could help identify the problem. No one could give me a definitive answer, which is probably due to the fact that I live in Oklahoma, and we just don't have a lot of marine experts here. So, I looked through books and websites, and finally came across what her problem is. She has goiter.  <Ahhh, not atypical...> Purina, test diet division, has a multivitamin that I'm going to try to use. <If it doesn't include iodide, do add this... through the food> I just wanted to thank you for trying to help and let you know what I found out in case it might be of some use to someone else. Rochelle <Thank you for the follow-up... Will post your findings, intentions on WetWebMedia.com... Over time, you will have saved many losses, other trouble for folks. Bob Fenner>

Sting ray goiter picture WWM crew, A while back I wrote to you about our California Ray's goiter problem.  It's getting a lot better with the addition of Seachem's Iodide treatment just over the last few weeks.  Anyway, I thought your readers might be interested in seeing what goiter looks like, since it seems to be such a common problem with elasmobranches.  This picture is of Norma the Ray at the height of her goiter problem. <Thank you for this pic and progress report Sherry. Good to hear of the improvement. Bob Fenner>

Sharks (disease, implications) <<Hi!!> can a banded cat shark get ick I looked though your old posts and didn't see an answer just that they wouldn't get it through the egg and if they will how can you cure it thank you for your help again <<Yes, they can. You don't describe any symptoms, (flashing/rubbing, visible ich, etc. but you can find much more at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharkdiseasefaqs.htm   If after reading the above you think you have ick, or if you need more info, then go to this page and read all the info and links to the ick and treatment pages. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm   Do first check your water thoroughly before wholesale treatment. This is likely environmental. Craig>>

Emergency (shark in a bad way, small space) Dear Bob, Please help. I have a four month old banded cat shark that is in a 55 gallon tank. The water temperature is 80 degrees and the ammonia and nitrate levels seem to be correct. He lives with two yellow tailed damsels, a clownfish, a starfish and a snail. We came home today and found him floating in the tank but he is still breathing. He was rubbing himself on the bottom of the tank and swimming upside down. Is there any way to save him. Thank You, Melanie <<Hi Melanie, You say your Nitrate levels seem to be correct without stating what they are. Sharks are messy to begin with but this one is IMO overcrowded in a 55 with all the other fish. The symptoms you describe could be parasites or more likely nitrate poisoning/sensitivity in this species. Please perform a water change and see if this doesn't help him improve. Please check the WWM shark FAQ's at: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharkdiseasefaqs.htm  There are several posts which will help you with treating the problem.  Hope this helps him, Craig>> 
Shark Scratching - emergency
Thank You so much for the help with our shark.  <Hi Melanie, You are quite welcome, anytime!> We did a partial water change and he does seem to be better although we saw a inch long white worm like thing on the side of the tank. Is this a parasite?  <Doubtful. Probably a harmless worm unless you notice him latched onto your shark!> We saw it at feeding time. <Coming out for dinner perhaps?> One more question. Until we can find a larger tank will more frequent water changes help to keep the shark healthy and the nitrate levels down? Thank You so very much again, Melanie <Absolutely! Do invest in a good quality nitrate test kit and use it to monitor your water in the meantime. Hope he's doing better! Craig>

My Shark (tumorous growth) Howdy: I hope that you can help. I have a five year old, 32 inch Bamboo Shark. About six months ago he developed a lump on his ventral side: under the head and behind the jaw. It has slowly but steadily grown larger. Other than this he is acting fine. I have tried water changes. I keep the 150 gallon tank at 78 degrees F, feed him shrimp, squid, and gold fish, and check the water regularly. Help?! Sincerely, Curtis <Mmm, much to discuss/state here... do you supplement this animals foods with vitamins (plus HUFAs) by adding to its foods? Have you tried supplementing iodide/iodate either in foods or directly to the water. Tumors, growths of these sorts can have a few make-ups... and some prove harmless through time. I would try adding the supplements to the foods (perhaps in gel capsules slipped into the larger food items) for now (this is what is done in Public Aquariums and research centers with sharks)... and see if this produces visible results over the next month or two. If not, I strongly suggest a trip to a college library to do a literature search (not hard to do, and there are reference librarians there to help), re shark biology, medicine. I am sending this note to friend Scott Michael who has a long-standing keen interest in Elasmobranchs. Hopefully he will have more input to offer you. Bob Fenner>

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>

Sick Epaulette shark? Please Help Hi Bob: <Anthony Calfo in your service> I have a epaulette shark (about 18") that has been with me for 2 years in a 125 tank. I introduced a clown tang and grouper on Friday and some of the other had been fighting with the clown tang. Other tank mates that have been with the shark are a Niger trigger (4") bi-colored angel (4") brown tang (5") lunar wrasse (5"). All had lived tougher with no problem. The Shark was always a good eater and he ate on Friday and sat, I am not sure if he ate Sunday (shark food, the food fell off the stick and was near him he may have got it) Since the introduction of the new fish the shark seems sluggish.  <may be unrelated> I tried to be careful not to get the pet shop water in my tank, but may have failed.  <always a good move, but please be certain to quarantine such new fish first away from the main display when you have such a great investment in money and lives in the tank proper> Do sharks go through sluggish periods?  <not likely> I checked the ph last night and it seemed a little low 7.7 and salt at 1.021 could that make the difference?  <holy cow!!! 7.7 pH if tested with lights on means that it could have been 7.4 or lower in the middle of the night (tank respiration)... and that is assuming your test kit is accurate and not reading high!?! The pH is a problem but do not bring it up too fast. A water change (dilution) and then gradual daily supplementation with a Seabuffer is in order. Your 2 week goal should be 8.3 or higher. The salinity is also indeed low for sharks. Most Elasmobranchs suffer a bit on the low end of the SG scale. Have you noticed very deliberate and or labored breathing? Aim for 1.024-1.026> What are the ideal conditions for the shark- temp, ph, salt, etc.. and if it is cooper poising can I make him well.  <not sure why you mentioned copper... but it is scary toxic to sharks, rays... use a PolyFilter routinely for such species and never dose metals like copper deliberately. Best regards, Anthony> Thanks for any help you may be able to give me. Joe

Reply (more input re reddish bamboo shark) Hello Bob sorry I didn't give you all in the info on my system. The tank is a 375 24 by 36 by 96.The filter is a large trickle with a 500 gallon aero foamer skimmer. Circulation is provided by 2 Genex pumps, 1 for skimmer and the other for return from sump. These pumps are rated 1190 at 4 ft head perfect for the tank. I started treating with tetracycline dissolved and injected into squid. The shark is still feeding aggressively. There is only 1 other banded in the tank and he is not affected as the larger one is. The sand is oolitic, not crushed coral. The sizes of the sharks are 14 in and 10 in. The larger one is affected. Do you think this treatment will work? Thanks for your help. Ernie <Mmm... glad to have more information... and this input grants many more insights, and concurrently raises more questions/concerns... Good to read there is more than one specimen, that the other is not affected, that the system is large, with fine substrate. It would be beneficial to have a culture of the "redness" ahead of using antibiotics... though tetracycline is a good choice for broad spectrum, gram-negatives... I would only utilize it orally administered for nine days or so... possibly switching to just one more "general" choice (Chloromycetin if you can find same, check with a veterinarian...), and emphasize environmental and nutritional aspects of husbandry to improve this animal's health. Do you monitor alkalinity, pH, redox? Consider using an ozonizer? Do you slip vitamins into these sharks foods? I would do all of these... the redness hopefully clearing up in time (weeks). Bob Fenner>

Shark problem Dear Mr. Fenner, My name Ernie and I have a problem with my bamboo shark. The shark is feeding well on squid and krill every 2 days. The temp is 78f no ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, pH is at 8.2. The problem is it is scratching itself on the sand on its side, only by the gill slits. Also it looks like its skin is turning red or pink. There are no spots or parasites present. Could this be flukes or some other gill infestation. Please help if you could. Thanks for your time. Ernie <Thank you for writing Ernie. The red markings are not a good sign. Likely indicative of bacterial infection... this as a result generally of abrasion (from substrate mainly) or some aspect/s of "poor water quality"... other than what you list. You don't mention size of system, other livestock and how they are faring (good clues) or mechanicals/controllers... Please read through the shark sections and associated FAQs on our principal site... starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharks.htm  and on to the disease areas for marines...  and then let's chat further. Bob Fenner>

Death of banded cat shark... My 1 month old banded cat shark died today and I think I know why, but I want to make sure. She hit her head about a week and a half ago on some coral (scratches on her head) and she shook her head pretty violently ever now and then. She wouldn't eat as much, but probably enough to sustain her. Is it possible she died because of the hit on the head? Thanks for your time. <Sorry to learn of your loss. Yes, the injury might account for her demise. Bob Fenner>

Horn shark Help. My nephew's horn shark developed a small spot which looked like it was crystallized skin and quickly died. We have contacted several aquarium stores but they have not been of any help. Can you direct us to a source where we might be able to get information on this species? <Mmm, yes. Scott Michael's new book, Michael, Scott. 2001. Aquarium Sharks & Rays. An Essential Guide to Their Selection, Keeping and Natural History. Microcosm/TFH New Jersey. 256pp, and the short survey piece on our site here: http://wetwebmedia.com/sharks.htm ... I've collected the one cool water species Heterodontus francisci and necropsies (for institutions, science) many sharks... the coldwater ones aren't easily kept in tropical aquariums... Bob Fenner>

Banded cat shark Dear Mr. Fenner, I don't know how often you check your e-mail, but I have an emergency.  <Almost daily... except if/when on a live-aboard, other no-access site...> My banded cat shark is barely breathing. This morning he was swimming upside-down and doing nose-dives. I have had him for about a month, and he's been doing great. Water chemistry: Ammonia-0, Nitrite-trace, Nitrate-10mg/L,pH-8.4, Temp-77, Salinity-1.021, Cu-0. He looks worse every second. Do you have any clue what could be wrong with him? Is there anything I can do? Thanks for your help! <Not exactly, but do know what I would do... a massive water change at least, and increase aeration (as much powerhead, small pump, airstone movement as you can muster)... if not move this specimen to a different system (if you have one of adequate size)... perhaps an internal disorder is at fault here, maybe some sort of poisoning, even an ingested snail, hermit... other life/non-life in your system... but do the above... NOW> Tracy  <Bob Fenner>
Re: banded cat shark
Mr. Fenner, Thanks for the prompt response. I moved him to our 55 shortly before receiving your e-mail. Unfortunately, he didn't last very long. But thanks anyways, Tracy <Arghh, sorry to learn of your loss. Bob Fenner>

Ick Problem and shark egg I have an Ick problem in my main tank and am going to move my fish livestock over to my quarantine tank for treatment with a copper based solution and leave my main tank fish free for at least a month to let the parasites die off. My main question is that I have a shark egg very close to being fully developed. Will the copper treatment hurt this shark or should I leave it in the main tank?  <It will hurt it... do move it with your other fish livestock. Bob Fenner> If I do leave it in the main tank will it become a host for the ick as well? T.J. Sylvester
Re: Ick Problem
Actually what I am planning to do is remove my fish from my main tank and place them in my quarantine tank and treat them with copper. This way I can leave the main tank empty of fish to allow time for the ick to die off. I cannot treat in the main tank due to liverock and invertebrates. If I move all the fish for treatment in the quarantine tank, can I also move the shark egg and treat it as well or will it harm it. From your previous mail it seems that it will harm the shark egg to treat it with copper but if I leave it in the main tank, won't the ick begin to use it as a host and cancel my solution of letting the ick die out. <Ah, now I understand your modus operandi... leave the shark egg in the non-coppered water... it will not host the intermediate or feeding stages of Cryptocaryon. Bob Fenner> Thanks
Re: Ick Problem
What about after it hatches? Can I then move it to the copper treated tank to allow the ick to die off or will sharks not host ick at all. Thanks once again for your help. <Please read over the "Shark", "Cartilaginous Fishes" section of our site: www.WetWebMedia.com... I would not copper a selachian. Bob Fenner>

Health alert over shark's fin soup This message was forwarded to you from Straits Times Interactive (http://straitstimes.asia1.com.sg )  Comments from sender: Shark fin soup danger Health alert over shark's fin soup by James East <Yowzah up to 45 times accepted levels!? On the positive side, perhaps this news will serve to curtail the wanton mass destruction of selachians. Bob Fenner> BANGKOK - Shark's fin soup should come with a public-health warning, say wildlife experts who have found dangerously high levels of mercury in samples taken in Thailand. The tests, carried out by a state-run laboratory and commissioned by international environmental group Wild Aid, showed mercury present in all fins. Very high levels were found in 70 per cent of them. Following the report, Thai authorities yesterday urged people to stay clear of shark's fin soup until it had completed checks to ensure that the delicacy was safe. Deputy Public Health Minister Surapong Suebwonglee told a television show yesterday that his ministry was collecting samples of the soup from various restaurants. 'Shark's fin soup consumers should hold on... until the ministry can find out whether the fins are contaminated,' he said. The samples used for WildAid's report were from Bangkok's Chinatown. They had mostly been imported from Hongkong, the international distribution centre for the trade. Wild Aid co-director Steven Galster urged all Asian governments to conduct shark's fin tests and issue public health warnings. High mercury levels are particularly dangerous to pregnant women, slowing the formation of foetal nerve cells in the brain and damaging the immune system and heart in adults. One of the 10 samples tested by the Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research showed a mercury level 42 times the acceptable international norm of .5 mg/kg. Wild Aid will now launch an Asia-wide series of newspaper advertisements in Chinese, Thai and English warning shark's fin soup consumers of the dangers. The advertisements, put together with help from the Singaporean branch of J. Walter Thompson Advertising, aim to show that sharks may be more dangerous dead than alive. It is the watchdog's latest drive to save rapidly declining shark populations. The Chinese-language advertisement depicts an upturned soup bowl designed to look like a Chinese cemetery. Wild Aid plans to run the advertisement in Singapore. Mr. Galster said he was encouraged by the support shown by Singaporean Chinese celebrities who had publicly stated their opposition to eating shark's fin - suggesting that it was not an East-versus-West issue, but was about saving the shark and looking after human health. Shark's fin soup, famed as a symbol of wealth and extravagance, as well as for its alleged medicinal properties, in fact, has little nutritional value. Shark's fins are typically sliced off and the shark thrown back into the sea to a slow death. Undercover Wild Aid researchers had also found that Thai shark's fin dealers sometimes added a chemical to their goods. IP Address:

Leopard Shark Info I have three Leopard Sharks pups in a 375-gallon in wall aquarium (L96 x 30W x 30H) with two 10? Naso Tangs, One 9 Atlantic Blue Tang, and some live rock. I've been feeding them frozen Krill and Silversides. One is 10?#8364;?, one is 12?#8364;?, and one is 15?#8364;? in length. I'm getting a 900-gallon (96L x 36W x 60H) reef ready aquarium system with chiller custom built for them soon. <Wowzah, can you adopt me?> But just recently they have developed dark spots on their bottom side just behind the throat and under the gills. The spots look like bruises that someone's risk or arm would get if it were griped to tight. The tank has been set up for seven months now and I am running two wet/dry filtration systems one is a Bio-Ball system the Aqua Clear Pro 300 with protein skimmer and I'm using a 1200 GPH return pump, and the other is the Marine l and Bio wheel Tide Pool-II with a 900 GPH return pump. I think the tank has good circulation and the water quality looks good the AmmoniaNH3/NH+4) is 0ppm(mg/L), the high range pH is 8.2, the Nitrate (NO-3) is 0ppm(mg/L), and the Nitrite (No-a2) is 0ppm (mg/L).  <Wow... commendable... no nitrate?> But the temp is about 76 degrees F. About two month ago the sharks were scratching on the sand surface, yawning frequently, and in mid swim would turn and bite their tails like a bog with fleas would bite its rear end that was a site to see. I treated them with some Life Bearer that was recommended by someone that has Sand Tiger sharks the symptoms cleared up. I thank they got the infection from some panther groupers that may have been infected I moved the groupers to a 125-gallon aquarium with a two flames, two coral beauties, and a Lemonpeel. <Watch these Chromileptis... they will eventually inhale your Dwarf Angels> But I notice the spots on the 15?#8364;? Leopard shark pup before the scratching started and though nothing of it, but now the 10?#8364;? and 12?#8364;? leopard shark pup is starting to get the same spots. Is this a sign of improper food or vitamin deficiency or not enough dissolved oxygen in the water, or could this be from the temperature being to hot? <Most likely a mix of all... penalization around the throat area isn't necessarily a danger sign... If you have occasion to have one of these specimens out, I would run a "skin scraping" (a microscope slide) across this area (from head to tail direction) and take a look under magnification. Don't think that you have body flukes going here, but...> Is this something that is normal the leopard sharks? <Not uncommon as I state> I am in the process of making a home made chiller out of a 1-1/2 cubic feet dorm size refrigerator and 100ft 3/8 tubing hose to get the temp down to 68 degrees F. <For this size system, it will take more than this refrigeration to make a difference. Take a look at the manufacturers on our sites Links pages (www.WetWebMedia.com), in particular Aquanetics Net Pages on calculating horsepower necessary for a given volume and draw down temperature... don't waste your time, money on the dorm fridge> I don't know how well this will work I got the plans of line if it don't't work I'm'm just out $175.00, But my main concerned are the spots on the sharks should I be alarmed about the spots? <IMO/E no, not alarmed> Also if it is possible could someone recommend a good book or web site to get good information on the care of Leopard Sharks or just Aquarium Sharks? <The new one by Scott Michael is about out... I do have a review/edit copy... very worthwhile> I'm'd like to know Minimal circulation or current requirements per gallon, the best type of filtration, Medications, and correct temp I've herd that it was about 65 degrees. <Vigorous, over-sized and yes, right about on the temperature... or even lower. Bob Fenner> Sincerely, Michael Hunter. PS'? I am inclosing some photos of one of the leopard sharks so that maybe you can help me find out what is the problem.

Dead Shark? When the leopard sharks die is their any sign of it? and thanks for the quick reply <Signs of death... no movement, lack of gill movement... you can access this by lifting the animal by its side... if you can pull it up to the surface w/o its resisting, moving, it has likely perished. Bob Fenner>

URGENT shark Question Mr. Fenner I have a bamboo shark that I hatched about 8 weeks ago. He was doing very well up until about a week ago. The first couple of weeks he wasn't very active, then for about 3 weeks he became very active in the evening, well very active for a lazy bamboo shark. About a week or so ago I noticed he had some red rash on his bottom side. It has gotten worse and he hasn't been very active for the last couple days, in fact I haven't seen him around at all (except breathing and small fin movements). I have crushed coral as substrate and am taking my water down to have it tested for quality tomorrow morning. <This "rash" is trouble... and perhaps the substrate is at least a factor... should be on  smooth material... I would move the specimen... remove the substrate... and we might want to  talk about adding an antibiotic to this animal's food, or force feeding it same...> I have never had a problem with water quality. He also doesn't seem to be eating in the last week, his stomach area seems to be shrinking down, but he still seems to be breathing healthily. I read on the site about what the possibilities may be and what to do ... but I'm not sure about the solutions ... can you please give me some more in depth explanation of what to do. Like I said I'm going to have the water quality tested tomorrow morning so hopefully, I can rule that out. I think that the substrate may actually be scratching his bottom. Can I put sand in now ... even though the tank has been set up for almost 4 months now. Any help would be much appreciated. <Yes to the last three sentences... Do change out the substrate for now... and keep me  informed... I will tell you how to get the antimicrobial into the specimen. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Chris
Re: URGENT shark Question
Thanks for the info. Its great to have a resource that knows a lot and responds promptly. Is it possible that he hasn't actually eaten in the last 8 weeks and he is just now actually starting to starve? I've never actually seen him eat, the food is generally gone when I get up in the morning and he has been healthy up till now. <Not eight weeks... too long for even a sedentary, juvenile shark species> How should I "force" feed him? <Difficult to describe... but a blend of chunky food is forced (best via a plastic turkey baster of not too large diameter... into the throat and into the near gullet of the animal while it is restrained in a damp/wet soap-free towel... Bob Fenner> thanks again Chris Peterman
Re: URGENT shark Question
Bob, Well I think time may be running short. I had the water tested it was good. I took him out and put in sand, and I also added Melafix which is a Tea Tree Oil Extract that is for bacterial infections. I let the sand settle and then put him back in the tank but he is now flopping around and laying on his side, he is still alive but I'm not sure for how much longer. Is there anything else I can do ... or do I just wait and hope for the best? <Not much else... and the "flopping around" is a very poor sign... if there was more time, I would lower the water level to just a few inches above the specimen (this helps to steady it...) and try the force feeding. Bob Fenner> Thanks. Chris
Re: URGENT shark Question
Bob, My shark didn't make, It was a sad day for me. I was wondering if you could give me an explanation of some of the bacterial infections that the shark may have contracted and why?  <Several gram negatives... mainly due to "cumulative overall stress"... small containers/aquariums, scratches, high total bacteria counts... the vagaries of current captive care> ... as well as what I could do if the same occurred again, if I some day muster up the courage to try raising a shark again. For now I think I'm going to try some smaller fish that require less tank space. <The last an excellent suggestion... Do keep your eyes open for Scott Michael's new Shark and Ray book... coming out soon... and very useful, inspirational for you. Bob Fenner in Indonesia> Thanks for your help. Chris

Shark Bob,  I recently got a banded cat shark (also called a bamboo shark?)  <Yes, in places> I've had him almost a week, and was told he hatched only a few weeks before that. However, he is about 8 inches long. He has developed a stomach rash. I know I have read about it in your Q/A before, but I cannot remember if you supplied a solution to the problem. It is a 125 gallon, with crushed coral for the substrate.  <This may be the cause of the rash (petecchia)... the rough substrate... or perhaps rough handling, netting moving the specimen> Filtration: Aquaclear 150 Pro series wet/dry (protein skimmer included) + 2 emperors, and a UV sterilizer. The shark is eating frozen squid voraciously and seems very active and healthy, but I'm very worried about the rash. I hope you can help! Thanks, Tracy <I would leave the specimen alone at this point and hope for a self cure... if it is eating. No manipulation, treatment, addition of substances to its food are advised. Do keep an eye on metabolites like nitrates and phosphates. Bob Fenner>
Re: shark
Hi, I came up with another question. When you talk about blood streaking, what exactly do you mean by that?  <General petecchia... evidence of weak, broken blood vessels in the skin's surface... sometimes indicative of infection (princ... bacterial), other times surface damage, agitation, perhaps from physical trauma (handling, scraping...) or toxic reaction to water quality...> My little shark has what looks like red threads coming out of his sides, or attached to his sides. He is moving well and looks healthy. Are those blood streaks? If they are, I need to return the egg ASAP. Thanks, Sean Viohl <Perhaps... if reddish in color... But don't return at this point, likely nothing life-threatening, but moving the specimen again... maybe so. Bob Fenner>

Bamboo cat shark Bob, I bought a bamboo cat shark egg from the pet store. was a very healthy specimen, I kept it in my reef tank until it hatched about 4 months later. I watched that shark develop from a tiny pin head to a respectable 6 inches in length when it hatched out on Sunday. I transferred the young shark to its new 180 gallon home, complete with a 7 foot downdraft protein skimmer, ocean clear canister filter, wet dry sump and Iwaki md70 magnetic drive pump. the water in the tank is circulated by two mag drive 700 gph pumps that I converted to powerheads. The next morning when I woke up the shark was curled up to the sky and stiff. but he is still breathing. I don't know what could have happened so fast but it looks like my shark keeping days are over in only 17 hours. >> <Very bizarre and frightening... Sorry to be getting back to you so late, have been traveling in the Cooks the last few weeks... do hope/trust that this specimen did recover... Sharks are tough animals... and I suspect yours actually did not suffer from some sort of trauma per se, but just general shock in being transferred to its new surroundings... Do just leave it be... even if it looks bad, it may well rally. Bob Fenner>
Re: bamboo cat shark
Sorry too late bob. He died about 24 hours later. I don't think I'll be getting any more sharks.  >> <Sorry to hear of your loss... but very glad to hear your commitment.  Be chatting my friend, Bob Fenner>

Mystery Death Bob, Thanks for your advice on my epaulette shark, which is going great by the way, but I lost a harlequin tusk yesterday which went in at the same time as the shark. Also my black Volitans lion is acting strange, not eating for the past 5 days. He doesn't look sick and he and the shark don't fight but the shark does tend to get in all the lions favorite caves and push him into the open. Tank specs seem fine-155gallon,0 ammonia,0 nitrite,20 nitrates,ph8.2.Only thing I can think of is the shark has overloaded the tank, other fish are-2 Chromis, tomato clown, blue tang, sailfin tang, coral beauty, Foxface, Picasso trigger, Heniochus, blue damsel. All ideas welcome, Cheers, Scott.  >> Agree with your assessment of "shark relatedness" of the losses... paralleled by nitrate accumulation and detailed behaviors... More water changes, more specialized surface feedings, more use of chemical filtrants... bigger skimmer... Bigger system!

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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