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FAQs about Sharks in General 1

Related Articles: Sharks for Aquariums?, Sharks In My Living Room?, Blacktip Reef Shark, Nurse Sharks, Cartilaginous FishesColdwater Sharks Leopard Sharks, Port Jackson Sharks, Moving Sharks

Related FAQs: Sharks 2, Sharks 3, Shark Identification, Shark Compatibility, Shark Behavior, Selection, Systems for Sharks, Feeding, Diseases, Shark, Ray Eggs,  Coldwater Sharks Leopard Sharks, Port Jackson Sharks, Blacktip Reef Sharks, Nurse Sharks, RemorasMoving Sharks

Hemiscyllium ocellatum in captivity

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

Banded cat shark help! Hello, I hope you can help me. My sister has an 150 gallon salt tank, & we've had it about a year. She has a small damsel, a blue headed rash, a star fish, & a horseshoe crab in it. A week ago we got a 9 or 10 inch long banded cat shark. He will not eat, but after reading your sight, I think the people at the fish store directed us the wrong way (cut up dead gold fish, & some frozen premixed shark & eel formula). <I would begin with live grass/ghost shrimp acclimated to full strength seawater and then progress to frozen krill, shrimp, silversides, clams, and the formula foods.> The problem is that he is getting reddish blotches all over. Someone at the fish store said he was hemorrhaging, but is that possible? <Yes, check your water quality. A low pH (below 8.2) or high levels of nitrate (over 40 ppm) would indicate high levels of dissolved organics that could be effecting your shark.> From what I've read on your web board, it sounds like an infection. <Kind of the same thing, a reaction to water quality has opened the door to infection.> I feel at this point, we were not ready for a shark, & it isn't nearly as simple as the people who sold it to us made it out to be. So, these are my questions: What should we feed it? <See above> What vitamins do we get, & where? <I like Boyd's Vita-Chem and American Marine Selcon, but other are available at any fish store or online e-tailer.> What do I do about these red blotches? <Improve water quality> What kind of filtration is best? <To broad of a topic to answer in a short email. Please see our extensive coverage on www.WetWebMedia.com for details. For a shark tank, I would lean towards massive protein skimming, regular cleaning of mechanical filtration (daily), and some biological filtration.> How am I sure what caused these blotches, so I can treat, & prevent them in the future? <A quick inspection of water quality parameters will more than likely show you.> If I have to force feed him, but can't use my hands, what do I do? <I would not worry about that yet.> Where would I get an antibiotic for stress/infection, & what kind? <Again, no need at this point.> I hope you can help us, I'm pretty scared. I just want to insure the best possible life for this little guy, & I thought my sister knew a lot more about them before we bought him. Thank you in advance for any help you can give, Sarah <Good luck to you and your shark! Please make use of our writings to educate yourself. -Steven Pro>

Remora w/ shark? Sorry to bother you again but I was just wondering if you could tell me how big remoras get. I am planning on a 400g tank for a bamboo shark and it would be very cool if I could have one of these. What can you tell me about them? Thanks a lot Jeff Liechty <Depends on the species. Most get at least two feet in length, some more than three... and surprisingly quickly! These fishes (family Echeneidae) are very aggressive feeders... may be a problem with trying to get food to your sharks... really. Please see the few notes re their husbandry posted on WetWebMedia.com by using the Google search tool on the homepage or indices. Bob Fenner>

FYI Sharks and Rays by Scott V. Michaels FYI www.half.com has Scott V. Michaels, Sharks and Rays, for about $34.00 delivered. That's a great price compared to the 49.99 at my LFS. <Thank you for this notice. Will post on WWM (daily FAQs then on to Sharks sections...) Bob F>

Bamboo Shark I am currently setting up a tank to house a Bamboo shark and am learning a lot from your sight, Thanks. My question is, Is it ok to put powerheads in the tank? I imagine they have metal parts... <I appreciate your thoughtfulness with consideration for sharks sensitivity to metals in the water. Most powerheads with stainless steel shafts are safe and slow to corrode. Units with ceramic shafts are available but expensive. On this point the powerheads are OK, however there is some concern about stray voltage from these dreadful little devices (most are so poorly made! And still 2-prong!). Since sharks are keen on electrical impulses for signaling/sensing prey... it stands to reason that the stray voltage from powerheads sitting as floating grounds is at least somewhat disruptive if not outright stressful. For this and so many other reasons why powerheads are junk <G> let me suggest that you set it up proper from go: a sump with one large external pump to take care of all circulation needs. Best regards in your continued research and enjoyment of this species. Anthony>

Shark compatibility Dear WWM crew, hope you all are doing well. I truly believe in supporting local fish stores,  <agreed> but sometimes I feel they will tell you anything to make a sale, even if it means making it up off the top of their head.  <alas it happens> My friend went to the store and purchased a sea urchin to go with her bamboo shark, so the urchin would eat the algae, correct me if I'm wrong, won't the shark eat the urchin?  <you are correct that many such sharks feed with delight on Echinoderms. Especially brittle stars> Then she thought she would get a pacific blue tang, they told her the pacific blue tang is a bottom dweller, often laying in the sand and the shark would eat it.  <what are these people smoking?!?!> I was not with her or I would have told her to go home and do some research before buying these animals.  <Amen and pass the ammunition!> Am I losing it!!  <nope... this LFS is officially on crack> I did search the WWM site, and the one thing I found was a guy with a horn shark, and he purchased urchins to feed to his shark. Maybe she found a new diet for her shark. I cannot thank you enough for producing this web-site with truthful information, where a hobbyist can go and actually do their own research and learn for themselves, rather than always taking a store clerk at their word. Thank You!! Jen Marshall <thank you my friend. You have a great hobbyist attitude: always support your LFS whenever possible... and do everybody a favor by being an informed and educated consumer. Best regards, Anthony>

Aquarium Visitors Fall Into Shark Tank Aquarium Visitors Fall Into Shark Tank Fri Aug 9,11:32 AM ET <Yeah, saw some coverage of this on TV... No one hurt thank goodness> NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Ten people found themselves swimming with the sharks after a catwalk over an aquarium tank collapsed unexpectedly and dumped them into the water. Although no one was seriously injured, an investigation is under way into why the platform fell, plunging the group -- including small children -- into the water alongside sand tiger and nurse sharks, Aquarium of the Americas spokeswoman Melissa Lee said on Thursday. Aquarium staff quickly helped the visitors out of the water after the incident on Wednesday night. The ruckus apparently scared the sharks, which are about 8 feet to 10 feet long, away from the frightened swimmers. "They weren't in any danger of being bitten by sharks," said Lee. "The second it happened, those sharks took off." The sharks are well-fed and are accustomed to people being in their 400,000 gallon tank, because divers are frequently in there, she said. Two people were treated for scratches and bruises after bumping into artificial barnacles in the tank. The group was taking part in a special behind-the-scenes tour held for aquarium donors. Usually only staff members are allowed onto the catwalk

Black-banded Cat Shark I was thinking of getting a black banded cat shark egg and having it grow up in a 65 gallon tank that would house him and maybe one other fish. <You are going to need a much larger tank.> My first question is, how big should I let him get before I get rid of him? <Get rid of him? What are you planning on doing with it? Public aquariums do not want them and neither do most stores.> I know I am not going to be able to keep him for his whole life since I don't have a bigger tank to put him in. <If you are not planning on purchasing another substantially larger tank in the next two years or less, I would strongly urge you to refrain from buying the shark egg.> Second question is, what should I feed him when he first comes out? I have heard ghost shrimp are good and I also heard that cleaned squid is good. <Please see here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharkfeedingfaqs.htm> I know this would be a big step from my current 20 gallon mini-reef that has been set up for 3 years and is thriving, and also a step up from the Volitans lion, yellow tang, flame angel, and lunar wrasse that used to be in the 65, but I feel I am ready. Your input is greatly appreciated, Ryan L. <Sincerely, Steven Pro>

Re: Black-banded Cat Shark Would you say 100 gallon minimum then. <I have said and will say again, a standard 180 (2' x 2' x 6') is my recommended minimum.> My LFS takes sharks on occasion. They said they would take one from a customer if given about 1 months warning. I wasn't planning on giving it to a public aquarium since the only one near me is The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and they only have one big tank and maybe 6 smaller ones. One of the last resorts would be to sell it over the internet. If worse comes to worse I could sell it to the local fish market since I know they take shark meat. If not a shark, how about a small sting ray. I know people that keep 3-4 freshwater stingrays in a 65 gallon along with 1 or 2 other fish. <Please see the linked files from the previous email.> Also, are there any smaller sharks that could be kept in either a 65 or a 100. <No shark I am aware of in the trade could be properly housed in a tank that small. All the smaller sharks you find in LFS's grow to about 3 feet long.> The thought of purchasing a 100 has crossed my mind many many times. Thanks, Ryan <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Various Questions Question: Since I was little I was fascinated by the ocean. Would it be possible for me to keep a bamboo shark in my 125 gallon?  <if it is essentially the only fish in the tank... yes, for some years before needing a more room> I would like to upgrade to an indoor salt pond anyway. I go to AOL's Fish Chat, and everyone there says they should be left in the ocean.  <true of almost all sharks, skates and rays IMO too> I have done some research on them and they sound very easy. How are they when it comes to shipping? <some bamboo are small as adults (36" and can live in ponds and aquaria just a few hundred gallons nicely. I would feel comfortable seeing you get one AFTER you actually set up the big saltwater pond. Let the shark grow into it or plumb the 125 gallon into it like a large refugium for the shark while small and then let use the tank to hold prey inline when the shark gets bigger (living in the pond)> Thank In Advance.. Chris Noonan <best regards, Anthony>

Brown-banded Bamboo Shark Before I buy my equipment I would like to know what other fish I can keep with it in a 220 gallon thank and that way I can work my equip around all of these and what kind of setup these would require thanks Chris <<Well, Chris, the problem is... despite the best of intentions, your shark really isn't hip to your plans. In a system of this size, it would be unusual for this shark to not sample just about anything you put in the tank. In the wild they stick to inverts and crustaceans, but in a closed system, all bets are off. Anything mouth sized and slow is doomed, and likewise, anything that might seem durable, a large angel, triggerfish, puffers will likely pick on the shark. You might want to look for something very fast... that would outrun rather than be eaten. Perhaps some goatfish or something similar. In any case, make sure you have plenty of cover for the non-sharky fish that you choose. Cheers, J -- >>

Sharks I e-mailed you some months ago about sharks. Our zoo has just upgraded its aquarium and one of the 25 foot, 4000 gallon, tanks is marine. The manager promised the owner sharks and the school of scatties and monos I introduced from a small tank to prove the system were blissfully happy, grew like crazy and did their best to fill all the space. Two days ago 5 baby batfish and two baby Triakis arrived and I found them well adjusted and easy to start feeding. BUT the baby sharks are breathing noticeably fast and I found when I read your column they are cool water sharks. our tank is running at 84 at the moment even with heater off due to very warm weather. how detrimental is this to the sharks? <It will kill them in time.> They are real babies, about 9 inches long. <A bad size anyways. They should be at least 12" or more. At that size, it is a very good chance they are not fully developed yet. There is a terrible practice is fishing with a rod and reel for pregnant sharks prior to them having their babies. The mothers are then cut open and the babies removed. It is a lazy and abhorrent practice.> In other ways they seem happy but how long can they handle this? My thanks for your attention! Jackie P.S. I am booked in to learn a dive qualification. Its wonderful! <Yes, I too just got certified. It is very exciting. -Steven Pro>

Shark Tank Hello from Denver, CO! Sound familiar? I emailed you a while ago but had some problems with my computer and I don't think it sent. Anywho, I have a 120 gal. that is being filtered by a Rena Filstar XP2 canister, filled with coarse and fine foam, activated carbon and ceramic tiles, a Magnum 220 canister that is filled with activated carbon and coarse foam, a UGF (which I've been told to get rid of) and a mere 35 lbs. of Fiji live rock. I have recently been told by the staff of a well respected marine store that my tank is "grossly under-filtered). Say it isn't so! Also, my girlfriend fell in love with the marble cat shark. I've read a handful of sites that say a single specimen will live well in a 120 with live rock used sparingly. I say no, but I don't have my own web site either. Thank you.****Kyle <This might be an absolutely smallest size tank to start a very small specimen in... but would you like to live in the smallest space you could survive in? You will need much more robust filtration, circulation, aeration than listed above... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharks.htm and on to the many related FAQs files on shark systems... I would take your significant other to public aquariums to visit sharks, or better on a trip to go snorkeling where you might see them in the wild... and keep more appropriate, colorful, kinetically exciting (the marbled shark mainly "sits" on the bottom) livestock in your 120. Bob Fenner>

Black tip reef sharks  <<Greetings...>>  I was wording how long a black tip reef shark would live in a 2700 gallon raceway tank 12.5 feet long. <<There is no way to predict how long anything will live in captivity, even in so-called perfect conditions. By raceway I'm guessing you mean skinny - long and skinny? A skinny tank would not work well at all, these fish need to be able to turn around. Oval and circular tanks are what is recommended. How wide is your system? Rounded corners? Even though you've got plenty of water, there may be some other issues which make this less than optimal, especially if you go to the expense of procuring a black tip shark. Speaking of which, I saw one in Egypt which would take up half of that tank... perhaps your energy/money would be better spent pursuing this species where they live, learn to dive.>> please email back. Thank you Sean Stalter <<Cheers, J -- >>

Hey (Sphyrna tiburo) Hey Bob, how's the family? <Fine> Hope well, anyway, have you ever been to the Mandalay Bay Aquarium in Las Vegas?  <Yes> I was just there and I was impressed with their collection of bonnetheads, juvenile zebras, and Portjacksons. But, I really feel in love with their Sandbar sharks; they were darting around in the tank in groups. They have a massive tank, as I recall about 1.3 million gallons. It was like the size of my house. I looked in and their nurse sharks were of great size and the sand tigers were very active. I think it was because they were just fed. I really liked it. I say on this bench there for about an hour just looking in to the tank and enjoyed the air conditioning considering that its Las Vegas; in the summer time; in a hundred and twenty degree weather. Actually for that kind of heat, it wasn't really that hot. Maybe its because I live in southern California, where I'm used to heat like that. Ok maybe not heat like that but, ya know. Anyway, I always thought that Portjacksons have the horn on their fins too, but I didn't see one on the specimen they had there <Might have been cut off. Sometimes done to prevent injury, puncture of shipping container...> The only problem with that aquarium is that they didn't give any info, enough info on the sharks. I was quite irate with the hearing device. They had these things that would tell you about the shark. All it said were things like "oh this frightening shark may look like a hammer, but its not, its a Bonnethead. Isn't it scary, really really scary! Fear them, if you put your hand in the tank if will be GONE!!! Grrr, Grrrr" I look up, suddenly someone put their hand in the tank and a Bonnethead ran away. Why do aquariums sometimes want people to be afraid of sharks? <Fear sells it seems> I thought that many people protest against the fear of sharks in the local population. I always thought that Sharks were just misunderstood. hmmm..... I don't know what to think. Anyway, it is possible to keep a Bonnethead in a five hundred right? <For a period of time> I always read these articles about bonnetheads and it sounds like they only grow up to 18" although on the internet they say 3.3 feet and in the aquarium they seemed bigger! Help me out please!. I'm confused and I don't like to be confused ^_^ To repay you for all the help you've given, here is some entertainment. <( ^ ^ )> <( ^ ^<) (>^ ^ )> ^( ^ ^ )^ That was my Kirby dance! :) actually someone else came up with it but.... I improved it. No not really, but whatever. Thanks Bob, maybe you could tell me a little about the Bonnethead cuz its not on your pages. Plus, I want to buy a shark book and I hope to get one soon. Thanks Bob, keep in touch. Sincerely and Gratefully Alvin Chan <Please go to fishbase.org and put the common name in their search tool. Bob Fenner>

Shark Questions Is it legal to buy and sell sharks? <Yes> If so, what kind of license do you need? <Check with your state agencies for whatever business licenses you would need.> Where can I find a pet store that sell sharks? <Try the phone book.> Thank you, Dan Shadd <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Shark Reproduction I have a few questions about the reproduction of sharks in the home aquarium. With juveniles (Heterodontus francisci, Triakis semifasciata, & Chiloscyllium plagiosum for example) do the claspers form later as male sharks mature & become ready for reproduction or are they always present? <Always present; though develop/lengthen with age, growth.> I have never seen a male shark in any LFS. At about what age or size does a captive shark reproduce?  <Depends on species... in all cases years. For smaller sharks a few, for larger ones several> Have any been known to cross-breed with other shark species? <Not as far as I'm aware.> I have Scott Michael's book "Aquarium Sharks & Rays. An Essential Guide to Their Selection, Keeping and Natural History" but couldn't find answers to these questions. Thanks in advance. <Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Shark has died hello I have a shark that just died I had had him for four days when I hooked up a protein skimmer a guy at the LFS said I could barrow it since it skimmed his tank for two years and he is the only LFS that I trust, will I went to another store that I some what trust and bought a shark for my tank that has been cycled for about 5 it has green and brown algae months I turned the heater down to 76 degrees after a doing a lot of research <... you went to "another store" when you state in the previous sentence that the one you bought the first shark at is "the only LFS you trust?> I learned sharks put out a lot of ammonia <Yes... you should've known this from the "lot of research you'd done on sharks"> so I put in two Halimeda plants and some BioChem zorb my Ph was at 8.1 no ammonia very low nitrates made cave and had the light off most f the time then I hooked up the skimmer that sat for a couple days and it blew detritus everywhere will I have great filtration so after about 3 minutes it was all gone but the store had it and I know that they fed it a lot of live goldfish not good for the shark kills kidneys right so I tried changing his diet to some blended up shrimp drained the juice and some squid and octopi could you tell me what you think went wrong goldfish killed it or the detritus the only other things that he did eat a harlequin shrimp the shark was about 1 1/2 feet and was black with some white spots and some white lines that were made out of spots a white on the tip of the top dorsal fin do you know what kind of shark this could be for sure it is somewhere in the catshark family I want to get another one thank you Shark Killer <Please read through the articles and FAQs files on sharks, their husbandry archived here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharks.htm (see the blue names above... they're links). We need to start further back with each other... you have neither supplied enough information to give definitive answers to, or substantive guidance... Please read all's opinions, facts on WWM and we'll start again with specific questions. In the meanwhile, hold off on purchasing another shark. Bob Fenner>

Ok more information (shark has died) thank you for the website I found the shark it was a Atelomycterus marmoratus coral catshark he was about a foot and 4 inches in a 75 gallon tank there was five domino damsels in the tank with him he swam around a lot enough room to turn around at the smallest point in the tank there was forty-five pounds of live rock and caves to swim in he didn't eat for the first three days then I decided to feed him something I knew he would eat is a goldfish he did even though he did he would not eat any squid the next day he was fine I hook up the skimmer it blew stuff everywhere I then went to clean it an hour later he was laying on his side I flipped him over his gills started moving rapidly then they stopped thank you for the site <Do keep studying my friend. Invest in Scott Michael's re-do of his Shark and Ray book cited on WWM... and of course, avoid feeding sharks goldfish in the future. Bob Fenner>

Shark/invert question's Dear Bob: <Anthony Calfo in your service> First of all I would like to thank you very sincerely for all the help you have given me, and countless others.  <agreed... a very gracious chap to which we all take our caps off to> My first of several questions is this: I am in the process of setting up a 230 with an old 33 gallon tank as a sump. I will be attaching a custom built 54 gallon into the system as a second show tank/refugium (housing clowns and several shrimp, with live rock/Macroalgae) The system will house a large Volitans lionfish, and a soon to be hatched bamboo Catshark.  <sounds very fine> When the little guy is finally out, will he get along with my snails, hermits, and brittle star? Or will they become a quick meal?  <indeed... most or all are natural food. Any crustacea are goners... the mollusk might make to for a while> If so, what other natural (read: easy) means of keeping glass/rock/sand clean is "shark proof?" <abalone are great herbivores and tough for anything to pry from the rocks. They can be a little expensive (Fiji/Tonga) but you need very few. Just 2 or 3 for this tank might do the trick nicely. And for sand stirring... a big sturdy goatfish would be just fine!> Also, I have several large pieces of lava and Tufa that I bought at a garden supply centre several months ago. To test their compatibility, I have housed several Chromis in with the rock, with no sign of distress. Does this necessarily mean the rock is safe for a shark/invert tank? <no sir... volcanic rock commonly has metal/iron deposits in it to which the scaled fishes like your test Chromis are tolerant but metal sensitive invertebrates and Elasmobranchs (sharky) may be quite sensitive to. I simply would not use volcanic rock at all. Even the scaleless lion may be at risk although doubtful for their great hardiness. More often than not... lava will be fine but may lend to ferocious algae blooms from the mineral content. Yes... still, I would not recommend it!> I appreciate your reply, and thanks again. <best regards, Anthony Calfo>

Shark Outdoors? Hi Bob, I just discovered your excellent website! I am very impressed with the knowledge written and the ability to index it so well. <Thank you> Here is my strange question: I live in central Florida, and my background is in reef tanks and ponds. I always wanted a shark, but knew the extreme tank requirements for the "true shark" looking species. I was wondering if a salt water pond would be feasible and if you have heard of anyone doing it before?  <Several times... have you been to Key West for instance? Robert P.L. Straughan built quite a few shark ponds, and a public aquarium with them there> I plan on a 12 ft. x 8 ft. about 24 -30 inches deep made with a tetra flexible pond liner. I have fashioned large Venturi protein skimmers that were described in an old FAMA article made out of spa Venturi jets and PVC that work very well. I would make a large wet-dry with plastic storage containers and drip plates over foam media. I have heated ponds in this climate for Oscars in the past, and I thought that Black-tip sharks would be even more tolerant.  <Actually less, but this should work> Currently Black tips are being caught by fisherman by the truckload this time of year out of Yankeetown and Cedarkey. A special trip would lessen stress on the fish. Any ideas or problems would be appreciated. <A rounder shape is advised... redundancy in pumping, a circular water current pattern, additional filtration (likely fluidized bed)...> Mike Opitz <Do start on this project and we'll go over parts of concern, controversy as they come up. I encourage you to document (words and images) your efforts, and to have them published in a national hobby magazine (TFH, FAMA, AFM), and on our site for others inspiration, edification. Bob Fenner>

Banded Cat Shark (Elasmobranch: Elsasmobroke-out) Hi my name is Cassandra <Cheers, dear> I have just released my Banded Cat shark from its egg as we have had it more than 4 month and we could not see it moving very much.  <quite frankly you most likely released it prematurely. I'm almost certain of it having seen a great many bamboo/epaulette and horn sharks hatch through the years. It is natural and common for the juvenile to be quite still for the last 2-4 weeks prior to hatching. Imagine, if you will, that they have become so well developed nearing the end that they cannot move but are still growing. They need to grow squeaky snug in the egg so that they can eventually flex their muscles to spring the case open. I assure you that it is rare for a juvenile to get that far developed and then die in the case... mother nature didn't design them that way <wink>. And if it were going to die so, then the specimen would not be likely to survive much beyond your assistance anyway. Still... your fear was very natural and understandable... a lack of experience that should bring little harm to the shark> it hatched with no egg sack  <not quite true... it has been hatched with no visible egg sack left... but still is unlikely to need fed for at least a week... perhaps closer to three. Notice a little pot belly on it? PLEASE be sure to keep the tank dim and lights off for a healthy 12-16 hours daily. Also, make no attempt to feed with the lights on for the first month... it is unlikely to eat then. Do wait at least one week before trying anything> and he seems to be dragging his body along the floor and breathing quite deeply.  <fairly normal...although a low salinity can stress sharks. Elasmobranchs tend to favor normal to high salinity. Under no circumstance IMO should you be under 1.022... and preferably aim for 1.024-1.026> I want to give him the best chance he has got please please please can you help. <I trust that it is being kept by itself? It really would be best and despite it being a smaller shark species... they will still approach three foot in length. A six foot (150-200 gallon) aquarium should be in your 2-3 year plan. You may need a bigger tank later or if you want to add other fish. I know that I wouldn't want to live my life in a room only twice as big as my height or not even for my life. Please do read through the MANY FAQs on this site regarding bamboo and cat sharks. I wish you the best of luck. Anthony>

Zoo Baffled By Shark 'Virgin Birth' OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- A Bonnethead shark was recently born at the Henry Doorly Zoo, but something seems to have been missing from the process -- a male shark. The shark was born in a tank that only contained females, leaving zoo officials scratching their heads as to how one of them became pregnant. "If we solve this mystery, it's going to make one of the most interesting scientific papers in a long time," zoo director Dr. Lee Simmons said. The offspring died within five hours of birth. Veterinarians conducted DNA tests on all the Bonnethead sharks, but results may not be known for weeks. "With DNA fingerprinting, we can use it to trace the paternity of the dead shark," Simmons said. "We'll know for sure who the animal is related to." The zoo consulted shark experts across the world, but Simmons said they also are baffled. Some have theorized the mother shark had retained sperm cells from an earlier impregnation, but Simmons doesn't buy it. The 3 1/2-year-old female who gave birth came to the zoo as a baby herself and would have been too young to carry sperm cells, he said. "Unless it's some kind of virgin birth, I don't know," Simmons said. "Without a male, you can't have a birth. But Mother Nature doesn't necessarily abide by the rules." <Thanks for this Miguel. Will post on WWM. Bob F.>

Baby Shark Bob, We e-mailed you for some help about a month ago and you replied so quickly I was amazed. Now I have another dilemma. The baby banded bamboo shark that my husband came home with has managed to survive in his egg case in spite of us. He is breathing slower than he was and not wiggling as much but the thing I'm worried about is the yolk sac is about half the size of a pea and he doesn't seem to be making any effort to want to get out of the egg case. I don't want to mess with Mother Nature but sometime she needs a nudge...Any ideas? Thank you in advance. Linette <Activity should speed up soon... and the shark break itself free in time... just about the time the yolk sac is completely gone. Some folks do try to render assistance near these times, cutting the egg case. I don't advise this. Bob Fenner>

Sharks and genus, species (references for an eager young mind) Dear Mr. Fenner: <Hello> My grandson, age 10 has shown unusual interest in sharks, modern and prehistoric. I've been to Amazon books and videos and got him all the video they show on sharks. How or rather where can I locate a bibliography on sharks "old and new." I'd like to start a library on these fine animals for my grandson . I'm an old, old , old, bio major and I can't seem to find my books on the naming of animals. Your brief essay was enlightening but is there a book that is easily available that describes the order of identification of species, et al, in a more complete manner? I'd really appreciate your help in finding a book such as this. <Mmm, a complete treatise on taxonomy, systematics... There are a few works I can think of that offer a rundown of such at the interest and ability level of a ten year old. I will mention what I would offer. Thomas Nielsen's "Marine Life Coloring Book", a text I've used to teach Community College, U.C. Extension courses in near shore marine biology (the 2000 edition), Scott Michael's recent "Sharks and Rays for the Marine Aquarium" which I suspect you probably have already procured... Though the boy is young, I would subscribe him to The American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, and their quarterly journal "Copeia", which has an "Elasmobranch Division", the group of cartilaginous fishes including sharks. His interest will drive him to look up, understand the terminology.  A couple more suggestions for you, and others if you don't mind. The excellent "National Geographic World" should be a part of all children's monthly exposure to the world... and the Intel/Mattel QX3 microscope that hooks up to a computer is a sure winner for mind/senses extension. respectfully Vince Juliano By the way he has two fish in his aquarium that were sold to him as a type of small shark. I've never seen them but supposedly they look a lot like sharks. I can't imagine the size of these fish but they are in five gallon tank. Do you have any suggestions as to what their " ordinary names" might be and their genus and species? I'd kinda like to look smart to my grandson. <Likely some member/s of the minnow family referred to as "sharks". Please refer him to this part of our site: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/minnowsharks.htm> Thanks Vince <Make it known if you have difficulties locating the above. Most can be sourced by way of the search feature on the WetWebMedia site; from reviews I've penned. Bob Fenner>

Shark Emergency I got a bamboo shark egg at a local pet store. The person there said that when the yoke is almost gone I should cut the shark out of the egg. <What? No...> Well, I did. But, I made the mistake of cutting it too early...the yoke is about the size of a marble. It was white yesterday with a vein or two that I could see were red, but tonight part of the yoke turned a light red. Is the shark going to survive? <Only time will tell... Do read through our shark materials: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharks.htm the materials beyond... and look into Scott Michael's latest shark book... Bob Fenner> Ryan
Re: Shark Emergency
How long should it take for the yoke to fall off or go away? <Null formula. Not able to tell how long into process. Please read where you were sent. Bob Fenner>

Baby shark Bob, <<JasonC here, filling in for Bob as he heads to a tropical paradise to go diving>> I've read all the FAQs and info in about every web site I can find ( this one is by far the most informative...) but I still have a few questions. I was given a Banded Bamboo shark egg case and the little guy is breathing swimming around with an egg sac attached, all inside the case. He's in a 10 gall. tank right now (obviously not large enough) but what size should I go to and when... before he hatches? Right after? <<if you've done your homework, then you know that even if they pop out of the egg small, they won't stay small - so... get whatever you can afford. As an aside, I would try to make one large investment rather than several small ones as this will get you close to the system you need rather than a system that is "good enough" today and not tomorrow.>> Do I feed him frozen shrimp right after he hatches or wait until the sac is gone? <<wait>> And does he need help getting out of the sac? <<probably not, has been going on for centuries without human intervention - if they don't make it out in the wild, there's a reason>> I'd appreciate any help you can give me. If you have previously answered these questions, let me know when and I'll do my homework and try to find them. Thank you in advance Jerry <<there is a new book out, which if you are serious about your shark husbandry, you should get a copy. It's beautiful book and quite detailed, and also the only one of its kind. The book is "Sharks and Rays", by Scott W. Michael and can be had through normal channels. I'm sure you'll find it invaluable. Cheers, J -- >>

Questions from the BBC (re shark biology) Dear sir/madam, I am writing on behalf of the natural history unit at the BBC in Bristol, England. We are currently making a programme on sharks. We require some information about certain aspects of sharks and their environment that you may be able to help us with due to your area of expertise. I would be very much obliged if you could read the questions below and if you feel like you would like to help, reply with some answers or contact details of anyone you think might be able to help us. We thank you for taking the time to read the email and look forward to hearing from you soon. * We have heard that the protective mucus layer secreted by sharks denticles may have immunological properties, in your experience do you believe this mucus has antiseptic properties ? <Of a certainty yes. This is a matter of scientific fact, experiment> * In your experience, or knowledge from others, does anything like water temperature fluctuations or any other environmental factor increase the levels of mucus secretions from sharks ? <Yes, as do other factors, like the concentration of metals in their water> * We have footage of Hammerhead sharks at Cocos covered with fungal infections - <Likely not fungal, but bacterial> do you know of any circumstances which might have led to the infection in terms of environmental factors, it ahs been suggested than increased infection may be linked to the temperature rise from El Nino ? <Don't know, perhaps an influence> * We are also interested about normal levels of fungi and bacteria found in sea water, or what high levels are that would cause these sorts of infections (ppm or conc.). <A highly variable question... certainly there are saprophytes, decomposers in all aquatic environments... some known to be more/less pathogenic... A generalization: less (cells per volume) is better in captive husbandry.> Thank you once again Yours sincerely Rachel Green Trainee researcher, Shark City BBC Natural History unit <You're welcome. Bob Fenner, WetWebMedia.com>

Does anyone have this book in stock!! Bob, Hope all is well with you. I've been trying to purchase Scott Michael's: "Aquarium Sharks & Rays : An Essential Guide to Their Selection, Keeping, and Natural History" and no one seems to have it in stock. Borders, see books.com Lycos books. Basically my search on the web and in my area has come up fruitless. Do you know of anyone that has it in stock or do I absolutely have order and wait. Any info would be much appreciated. Keep up the great work! <Thank you for your inquiry. The publisher is also the printer, distributor... and does offer this volume direct to the public... and it is out. Please contact Microcosm: http://www.microcosm-books.com/html/Sharks.htm > Patrick Hynes

Scott Michael, Sharks and rays Hey Bob, this is the first day I have come across your site, I find it a very helpful site. <Ah, great> I am like those others on your shark faq pages. I have been waiting for the book to come out and I have even emailed Scott Michael , of course no answer though. <Hmm, unusual... Scott may well be out of the country... not easily w/in Net svc.> I was wondering if you could email me at at X com I was wondering if you still have a black and white copy of this book or anything for keeping sharks, if you need my address please just tell me in your reply and I'll gladly send it. Thanks Jeff <Sent out the editing copy... but have two bound ones... it should be shipping now... have you contacted T.F.H.? I would. Bob Fenner> Lobster addition? Dr. Bob, <Howdy> The manager at my local fish dealer suggested a Spiny Blue Lobster as a colorful scavenger for a large, moderately aggressive fish tank (500 gallons, Bonnethead, yellow tang, 2… Fijian Blue Devils, angel fish) with a fine sand substrate. From what I've read in a variety of sources, opinions regarding this species run from Reef Friendly? to killer. <More toward the latter... in your list, do you mean "Bonnethead" as in a shark?> Your descriptions on species that I'm familiar with tend to be completely accurate with behaviors I observe, so I trust your opinion more. As an omnivore, will this creature eat detritus as readily as meaty foods? <No to the detritus... an eater upper of meaty food items, including slow tankmates> His central body mass is approx. 5… now and he's housed with a number of small fish, but when he's 8… - 10… will he put the omni? in omnivore? <Indeed, even sooner> Even if he's totally safe with my current inhabitants, if I buy him and have to supplement his diet with additional meaty foods will the net result be more bio load? What's the recommended feeding regimen? <Great excreters of ammonia, other wastes... Feed two, three times a week... with a tool down to its area toward "lights out"...> My current filtration system is overkill for the tank (wet/dry rated for a 1,000+ gallons, canister filters rated for 300 gallons, skimmer/turf scrubber rated for 300 gallons) and I have respectable water turnover 3.8 times/hour. <I wouldn't call this "overkill" for a 500 gallon system with what you list in it... e.g., I would increase the circulation by two, three times.> But I would like to keep the sand surface maintained, and a lobster would be more interesting than a host of hermits. Also read your scavenger section on found a supplier for farm raised queen conchs. Would the lobster and conchs work well in tandem? Any other suggestions for general grounds maintenance? <No... the Lobster will/would eat the shellfish. Look into Goatfish here... Bob Fenner> As always, thanks for your advise! J.D. Hill

Angels and Sharks Dr. Fenner, <Just Bob please, no doctorate> I have read that large angelfish make dangerous tankmates for Catsharks as they have a tendency to nip at the shark?s eyes. Does this also hold true for perpetual motion sharks like Blacktip reef sharks, etc. <Not usually> Also, is it true that Scott Michael?s Aquarium Sharks & Rays has FINALLY gone to press?  <Yes, thank goodness. I had a go at the text a month or so back and supplied a few pix... can't wait, it's a fine effort. Bob Fenner> I?ve been looking everywhere!! J.D. Hill

Shark finning Bob, What is shark finning? Is it where they kill the sharks just for their fins? I remember seeing a show on this and how wasteful I thought it was. <Yes, this is what the name implies... and yes, often the rest of the shark is discarded... a bad idea all the way around... to kill control organisms wholesale... and unethical to waste the rest of the animal. Bob Fenner> Mike

Banded cat shark Hi! I am new to the saltwater aquarium hobby but I feel I am fairly knowledgeable on the subject.  <Ah, good, I have many questions.> Now I have a 55 gallon aquarium with a few young fish and I just bought a banded cat shark egg. Now I know that the tank will NOT be sufficient for this animal but he will only be in it for about 3 months. He also probably won't hatch for another month or so. Will he be ok in there? <Hmm, should be...> I have researched enough to know the other fish will not be of any harm to him or vice versa, but how big will he get in 2-2.5 months that he will be in the tank?  At hatching... after hatching... about ten to twelve inches in three months> Also, I wanted to verify how far along in the development cycle the shark is. He is about 2.5 inches long in the egg and is swimming around in there. How long are they when they hatch?  <Please see the site: www.WetWebMedia.com about Sharks, and the associated FAQs pages> And finally, I graduate college in May and will be purchasing a new tank.  <So soon!? Must be something other than life science, liberal arts... major. Am still saving up after some twenty five years post-graduating myself!> How big of a tank should I buy to ensure comfort for the shark? Thanks, Sean Viohl <For a year? About a hundred twenty five gallons... for two-three years... maybe a 240 regular ( 8X2X2'), forever? Twice plus that. Be chatting my matriculating friend. Bob Fenner>
Re: banded cat shark
I was lucky to get myself into Information Technology and will make quite a bit of money right out of school.  <Ah quite fortunate, monetarily> Also, I am Pretty serious about the hobby. I really enjoy it. Other questions I have for you..... 1. I have looked on your website but I haven't come across any information regarding shark egg development. Maybe you could point me in the right direction? <What little I know is there in the Cartilaginous fishes section and related FAQs files... but much more can be had on the Net> 2. Ballpark, what would a 240 gallon aquarium run me (total setup)?  <Hmmm 2-5k> Also, what filtration would be sufficient for that size tank? <Many choices here... back to the WWM site> 3. What will this shark eat when he first hatches? Just normal frozen food? <Meaty foods in a few days when egg sac absorbs... in sizes to swallow, placed near it> I feed my fish a variety of krill, brine, and squid. 4. Would I have to special order a tank of that size? I have only seen 125's in stores. <Stock sizes, ready-made tanks are less money... can be ordered locally or through the hobby zines... see the Links pages of the WWM site... some fabricators listed there> I was glad that I ran across you site because I found it very informative, but I must warn you. I tend to generate questions better than anyone I know. <And, you are able to be still?> I hope I don't annoy you. Thanks, and I hope you will be able to offer a little guidance in this incredibly complex hobby. <Not easily annoyed, and help is available> I think saltwater is much more difficult to successfully keep up over freshwater for the fish are much more aggressive. Regards, Sean Viohl <Yes, by and large. Be seeing you. Bob Fenner>

Q&A about sharks Hi Bob: Just recently I visit the Wet Web website. I read the you shouldn't put  Sharks and Puffers in the same tank. I have a 75 gallon tank with a  Porcupine puffer, Spiny box puffer, Bamboo shark, and a Leopard shark. My  question is, are my Sharks in any danger? I have had them now for about a  month. People at the local store said that they will be find together. But I  thought I would ask an expert for their opinion. A True Shark Lover, Allen <If your puffers haven't tried to take bites out of your sharks, things look good... keep up those water changes and checking water quality! Bob Fenner>

I was interested in getting an epaulette shark from ff express and was wondering what they eat, how big they get and what you think the minimal size tank for this marvelous animal would be.  THANKS <Depends on species... but a couple to a few feet in length... eat most everything meaty... and a couple of hundred gallon "standard" shape system minimum... more on my take on sharks posted on the site: www.wetwebmedia.com Bob Fenner> I am interested in getting an epaulette shark and was wondering their requirements and how big they get. Also I was wondering if they are safe with 2-3 inch fish. Your response is greatly appreciated. >> Thank you for writing. Epaulette Shark species range between a few to several feet in length... and will gladly consume any/all small fishes. Bob Fenner

Shark question Regarding "Galeus saluteri" (shark) is recommended to live in 500L (min.) of  water, do you have any info on this species? We really want a shark-looking  shark, and this is the only species we've found (though in a book, we don't  even know if they're avail.). Any suggestions if this shark is not avail? Thanks (again), Mark & Shelly <The Blacktip Catshark?... This bit of info. from fishbase: Galeus saluteri (Jordan & Richardson, 1909)  Family: Scyliorhinidae (Cat sharks)  Order: Carchariniformes (ground sharks)  Class: Elasmobranchii (sharks and rays)  English name: Blacktip sawtail catshark  Distribution: Western Pacific: Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines.  Biology: A little-known bottom-dwelling shark found on the continental shelves (Ref. 11146). Possibly at depths greater than 90 m (Ref. 244).  Max. size: 38.0 cm TL; 45.0 cm TL (female)  Environment: demersal, marine  Climate Zone: deep-water; 25?N - 21?N  Importance: fisheries: minor commercial  Status of threat: Not in IUCN Red List  Dangerous: harmless  Never seen this little shark in the trade...  Bob Fenner>

Nurse shark Dear Mr. Fenner,  I am writing on behalf of a 36-inch nurse shark who outgrew  his tank some time ago. His owners currently keep him in an aquarium  that is 20 X 20 X 96 inches. The poor shark is unable to even turn  around in his tank! I have been contacting public aquariums to try to find a home for him, but I've  been unsuccessful so far. Do you have any suggestions as to who else I might  try? Any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated.  Sincerely, Sheila Ferneyhough <Thank you so much for writing... I am hopeful that this message will help other sharks and people avoid similar situations...  A few calls might lead to a solution... It may well be that a public institution within driving distance could/would accept this animal. I would contact any close College and ask the people in the zoology/biology departments who further to contact... As well as the local fish stores, and Aquarium Service Companies (check your phone directories)... it may well be that they know of a "service account" that has a very large system that would accommodate this animal (for a while... it will get much larger still). Thank you for your consideration. Bob Fenner

Sharks and Rays in Aquariums

Gaining an understanding of how to keep these fishes in captive saltwater systems   

            New Print and eBook on Amazon

 by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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