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FAQs about Shark Systems: Habitat... Decor, Substrate etc.

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

Related FAQs: Shark Tanks, Shark System Lighting, Shark System Circulation & Aeration, Shark System Filtration, Shark System Maintenance, & Shark Systems 1, Shark Systems 2, Shark Systems 3, Shark Systems 4, Shark Systems 5, Shark Systems 6, Shark Systems 7, & Sharks in General, Shark Compatibility, Shark Behavior, Selection, Feeding, Diseases, Shark, Ray Eggs, Coldwater Sharks, Leopard Sharks, Heterodontus, Blacktip Sharks, Nurse Sharks, Moving Sharks

A good deal of forethought needs to go here... ANYthing placed in a tank with sharks needs to be sturdily arranged... not breakable... and placed to allow easy movement about the perimeter of the tank.

Temperature... social settings/circumstances, are vitally important.

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

Marbled cat shark; sys., hlth.       12/31/17
Hi! My boyfriend recently purchased a shark for me for Christmas. I noticed about a week in that her belly started getting pinkish/red.
<Mmm; indicative of.... what? Some irritation likely... from the substrate? Being moved?>
The lady that sold her to him apparently had no clue what she was doing and sold us this very gravely type live rock.
He had no intentions of going and buying her so not much research was done which obviously wasn’t a smart move but she should have known because he sure didn’t. But we took that sand out and put a fine grain in there of the live and it still had a few shells and such in there that are hurting her belly. It was better for about a day before it got red again. What would you recommend?
<Mmm; how big and what are the dimensions of the tank, shark? Could you send along a well-resolved pic of all?>
Just taking all of the sand out or medicine or what? Your help would be much appreciated thank you!
<Glad to help; just need useful info. Bob Fenner>
Re: Marbled cat shark      12/31/17

I’m definitely thinking it’s irritation from the substrate. We just switched to the fine grain 2 days ago so we’re hoping if it DOES get better it’ll be by tomorrow or the next.
<Mmm; a longer time frame... perhaps a few weeks>
It’s seemed to have lighten up a lot it’s just kind of alarming. But it’s a 150 gallon. Which I know is small for now but we are looking into this 300 gal so it won’t be long before she is moved. She’s only about 6 months so she’s still small. I’m at work right now but I can send you s picture later!
<Real good. BobF>

Re: Marbled cat shark      12/31/17
This is the stuff they first sold to us.
<... inappropriate>
We also took the last be rock out for now. We had about a pound in there but just wanted any type of irritant out

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

Horn Shark and Smooth Hound Compatibility... no reading, mixing tropicals with coldwater sharks that need non-hobbyist settings    8/20/08 Good Afternoon, fellow fish lovers! <Good morrow to you> My boyfriend and I have recently upgraded my shark tank from a 180 to a 240 inset through a wall in my dining room, it has a central overflow and whirlpool current to promote circular swimming. Sadly, in the process we lost our second leopard shark, <Dismal... why haven't you read my posts, articles ahead of writing us here?> the first committing suicide one night. <Inappropriate species for such a small, squarish, likely non-chilled setting> We came across a deal for a 17" California Horn Shark and have a couple of questions. First, how compatible is a Horn Shark with a 16" grey Smooth hound shark? <Mmm, very> Secondly, I have a 5.5" Koran Angel, a 6.5" Vlamingi Tang, a 5" Yellow-bellied Hippo Tang and a 4" hog fish in there as well. <... not compatible with these tropicals. Again, what are you doing writing here? You should be reading, ahead of such purchases> I am very worried about the first three fish, especially the Koran Angel (he was an anniversary present a few years ago) and the Hippo Tang (have had her for almost 5 years). How strong of a possibility is it that they could become shark food? <Not very hard> My Hippo Tang likes to lay in the rocks a lot and I am worried that one day she will choose the wrong cave. We will be setting up a shelf to give the horn shark a "home" to retreat to during the day, any tips on helping her find and settle in that area? <Let's just stop here. Is this Heterodontus francisci? Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/portjacksons.htm and the linked files above.> Finally, she has been at this store for over two months and I have been told that she is eating well. <Leave this animal where it is> It will take me two hours to get her to my house from the shop and am a little worried about the acclimation process (the shop provides almost coffin size boxes for ease of transportation). Do you have any tips on the least stressful way to acclimate her and getting her to eat? How long does it typically take to get a shark like that to eat? I know with my smooth hound it was a couple days, one of my leopards a day and the second took 4 to 5 days ( I was stressing). I love my fish like they are my children <... Not per my definition. IF you love something, you endeavour to know what is good for that/those things... and provide them. You have done neither> and I don't want to do anything to hurt them. As you can tell my boyfriend is the aquarium expert in this relationship, I am no novice but I am nowhere near his expertise. Thank you so much for your time and consideration in this matter, you have no idea what it means to me. Sincerely, Katie S. Samarin <Read Katie... Know, act, this is love. Bob Fenner>

Re: SHARK QUESTIONS!! Sys., Heterodontids  10/2/06 Ah yes. Thanks! I have another question though!! I have a powerhead on this system to add a little movement. Should i remove it? <Possibly> Also I have a titanium ground probe to remove stray voltage from my aquarium but before I added it on i tried it on a tank with no fish (the tank am cycling) and when i touched the water it sort or gave me a little feeling of electricity!! <What? I would have this water/system tested... Make sure all electrified gear goes through a GFCI. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/gfcimarines.htm> Is that supposed to happen or am i not supposed to be able to feel it? <Assuredly not... Deadly dangerous> I removed it immediately and haven't used it since then!! would this harm my shark or help it? <Harm> i don't want to add any voltage or electricity to my water for good reason and concern of my beautiful prized shark!! Also I have a friend who is interested in a Port Jackson! He has a very large tank and can house it!! What information or tips can you give me so I can correctly advise him? Thanks again!! <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/portjacksons.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

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

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

Coral Cat Shark Information - 3/4/05 - del Paulio Hi WWM Crew, I have a few questions regarding coral cat sharks.  <Well, much of the care for these animals has been answered in our sharks area on our website.>  I am planning on buying one in the next week or two, but I want to set my questions straight before I do anything...  <I don't recommend keeping sharks in aquaria.>  ... (so I do not wind up hurting or insufficiently equipping the shark).  <Don't buy one is the best thing you can do for a shark>  First off, I would like to thank you and your site for all of the info you have already given me.  <thanks for being part of it all, Matt>  So my first question is, if I have a 75 gallon tank, how long could I safely hold a coral cat shark?  <Well about a year but look at the information here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/index.htm  it is the first group and look through our FAQs. Do some research.>  I am planning on buying a 180+ gallon tank as soon as needed.  <I recommend a larger tank that is wide and long. the height is secondary>  What is the minimum size tank I would need to hold a full grown CCS?  <Look here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/index.htm  It has been answered many times before>  Secondly, what would you recommend to feed it?
<Again, do your research before asking, Matt. This is definitely covered in our sharks FAQ area. See here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/index.htm >  From what I've read already you can feed it fresh human-quality seafood such as shrimp, but are there any other options?  <Continue reading, it is in the FAQs under sharks, mate>  Would you recommend any live feeder fish?  <This too, is there as well. The short answer is absolutely not.>  Also, are there any aquarium kits to round off the corners of a tank?  <Not that I know of. How about having a custom made aquarium?> (if there aren't, there should be!) I've been researching these sharks for the past 2 weeks, and from what I've read CCS's enjoy dark water lighting, but what exactly does that mean?  <Not necessary to have bright lighting in the tank. Standard fluorescent aquarium lighting, ambient light, etc>  How dark should my tank be/how many watts should I use to light up a 75 gallon tank?  <Depends on the other inhabitants otherwise watts are not a consideration.>  A 180-220 gallon tank? Lastly, I've read that they need/like a place to hide, such as a overhang or cave.  <Absolutely>  Are there any fake rocks I can purchase to do this?  <Sure! Have you done a search on Google? Here are some companies that I have worked with:  Living Color http://livingcolor.com/  (they can make an aquarium with fake rock to your specification or you can just buy the rock).  Rock and Waterscape http://www.rockandwaterscape.com/. ManWarren - http://www.dlmanwarren.com/ CemRock http://www.cemrock.com/rock.html and Larson http://www.larson-usa.com/index2.html >  Can a fake rock be secured to the side of a tank safely?  <I am sure it can be. Depends on the material used and the manufacturers recommendations. I like Living Color design for this. they make the tank to your specifications and add the artificial rockwork and coral work all at once. Hope this helps. Do more reading and research. Almost every question you asked has been answered in our shark FAQs. Thanks for being part of WetWebMedia. ~Paul> 

Eel and Shark, Lava rock  3/11/05 Hello, Can you tell me if Lava Rock would be ok in a tank with a Snowflake eel and bamboo shark? <likely safe... but always some risk/extra algae with terrestrial rocks><<Mmm, too sharp... little help with biofiltration, water chemistry. RMF>> My tank is 65"X25"X25" My filtration has around 100 lb of live rock in my sump 1 canister filter 1 protein skimmer. I can't seem to find anything about Lava rock in fish only salt systems. Can you please help me. Thank you <go to our index page at www.wetwebmedia.com and simply type in "lava rock" in the Google search tool. Enjoy the journey. Anthony> 

Shark Tank Substrate Hi Bob, I very much appreciate your site and the wealth of information you offer, and thank you for all your time and advice. <No problem.. it's what we're here for!> I currently have an existing 40 gallon setup with silica sand that would serve as a temporary quarters for a banded cat shark until the larger tank (125 gallons) is fully cycled and ready to accept such a huge load. A larger tank will be procured/converted as the need will soon arise. I have read over the information on your site and did not see anything pertaining specifically to using silica sand vs. aragonite/crushed coral for shark keeping. I do realize the benefit of the buffering capacity of the latter, but this should not be a concern as the well water I am on has a high PH. I keep a freshwater hystrix ray in a 200 gallon setup using natural sand, and the ray is doing very well.  I have stayed out of the way of silica sand for the ray due to the potential to scratch the belly of the ray and allow for infections.   Is this advised for a shark as well? Thanks for your time and insight! Mike <Mike as you know this shark will require a 200 plus gallon tank in around a year or so.  You might want to try and get the 200+ instead of the 125 so there is less hassle!  Sharks need the finest sand possible so shoot for natural sand instead of crushed coral/silica.  You'll be thankful when the shark doesn't get scratched up.  BTW how big is this shark?  40 gallons even for a baby is way too small.  You need to but the baby in a bigger tank ASAP.  Hope this helps!  Phil>

Titanium Heaters with Sharks Hello, Sorry for bothering you all so much.  In my attempts to provide the best habitat for my bamboo shark, I may have inadvertently made an error.  I have been sparing no expense by purchasing top quality equipment and am using two titanium heaters with remote LCD displays. I am worried that the titanium housings may upset the shark.  I prefer this heater because it appears more durable and will not shatter like its glass counterparts.  On the other hand, if there is a chance of it upsetting my sharks, please let me know and its gone.  Thank you very much. Mike <Good question... I would mount these heaters out of the main system, perhaps in a sump, just in case. Bob Fenner>

Shark Tank Substrate He's a freshly hatched shark... about 6".  The 40 gallon has a 36" x 18" bottom.  I don't want to decommission one of my 200 gallon tanks (1 x Silver Arowana/Stingray tank, 1 x African Cichlid tank) until I know the shark is doing well enough, hence the interim 125 gallon tank.  I will be very mindful of the shark's size and bio-load on the aquarium, and will convert the 125 to a full out reef when the shark is moved. Just to confirm what you mean by natural sand... not aragonite, or any other commercial sand.  Sand such as you'd find at a beach, right? Thanks again! Mike <Sorry for not being clearer.  Sugar sized sand is best.  About the same size as beach sand would be best.  Good luck to you and your shark!! Phil>

Sharky temps  > Hi again! I'm still going after my crazed 900+220=shark tank + tidepool/bait tank. Due to its size, it would have to be outside, and in SoCal, during summer I don't think I could get the tank below 70, even if I bypassed a chiller to servicing only the main tank on its own separate loop, disconnected from the filter system.   <Could be done... with adequate chilling, insulation... but expensive>  > The filter setup goes overflow-floss/pad-carbon-skimmers (built from pre-made skimmer powerheads to avoid airstones with 3' tubes) - fluidized bed filter-wet dry (to reoxygenate) - refugium-chiller-shark[s]. I was thinking of having a rotating box where the output from the wet-dry would fill it up until it dumped its water into the tidepool, where it would be slowly sucked away by the chillers and back into the tank. is this feasible?  <Yes... a few design possibilities here... surge systems, spill-over cammed buckets... but I wouldn't  do this. Not enough to be gained for the trouble, added gear, exposure>  > I am hoping it will simulate waves better, and make the tidepool animals more comfortable.  <Our defunct businesses designed, fabricated and installed such systems... mainly for public  aquariums and zoos... not hard to do, but require careful planning, upkeep>  > In the main tank for substrate I am hoping to have mostly beach sand (NOT silica) with some  refugium mud and rocks at one for a small macro algae forest, also a large cave for the shark[s] to  > hide in, or maybe the removable-panel idea from the archives. in the tidepool, a few large rock slabs as the main substrate, with lots of rock and large gravel in the rest to best simulate the tidepool  substrate. I am looking at 1-2 H. francisci, with something to stir the sand, any recommendations on  what to stir with or sand bed depth would be appreciated. another option in 2 swell and a guitarfish or stingray.  <The Heterodontus will keep the upper substrate moved around themselves>  >Would either of these be sufficient for stirring the sand with the 2 horns, or is the bioload too much?  <I would start with the Horned Sharks, test the water for accumulating metabolites and add other  livestock in a few months>  > (I'm worried about the crowding, the FBF is going to be enough for 1500 with only 1150 to filter (the extra 30 from all the chillers, piping, skimmers, etc.) in the 220, I'm wide open: Nudibranchs,  > cucumbers, anemones, octopi, crabs, snails, I know that I really want a small school of Catalina  > gobies, they are just too cool! what are the regulations on Garibaldi?  <Can't be collected from the U.S. coast, but of all things... can be from Baja... and are... and sold in  foreign countries. Have your dealer contact the L.A. wholesalers (likely Quality Marine) and ask re their purchase>  > Is it illegal to keep them? do you know any legal places to collect (lightly, over a period of 8-10  months) from tidepools? also, what can I keep as a janitorial crew with the sharks? I figure I would  lose crabs, snails, small lobster, etc. quickly. would I just be in for a lot of manual labor?  <The last>  > also, I would be going to college, possibly as far away as Maryland (presently) a couple years after setup of the tank, right now my #1 choice is Humboldt state, in Arcata, CA.  <A very fine school, esp. for fisheries.>  > They have a private aquarium area with a large amount of tanks, so I'm hoping I can overnight the  sharks with a battery air pump running a skimmer (about 5) if not, how can I accomplish the 8+ hour transport?  <Can be shipped in large Styrofoam boxes in a large truck... with airstones, or if sharks are large (a  few feet in length) with 12V fluid-moving pumps... (or if very large sharks with them anesthetized and these pumps recirculating water through their mouths...>  > I am terribly afraid of temperature stress. I also had problems deciphering the transporting sharks  section of the site, any help would be appreciated. Right now I am thinking of using one of the  transformers that turn a car outlet into 110v AC to power a chiller, air pump, and maybe the FBF.  <Not worth trying to run the/a chiller in transit... you can float containers with ice/cubes if there is  very warm weather>  > is current required for transporting large (for aquarium sharks at least) 3'-5' sharks? also,  depending on location, the tank may need to be 8x5x3 instead of 10x4x3 LxWxH which would you say is preferable?  <Either will do for Horn Sharks... Anthony's Brother in law has some in an eight by system... in  Pittsburgh!>  > recommendations for supplements needed, water movement, pump styles/names, brands, etc. would be greatly appreciated. For the water coming out of the tidepool, a "wavemaker"  <Not necessary. Can run unidirectionally, fine>  > which turns the powerheads 3 min on, 3 min off would take it out, with either a regular waterfall  or the swinging box putting it in, so the water level would go up and down, hopefully simulating the  waves as best I can. also, what should the stand be made of?  <Either four bys tied together with carriage bolts (for ease of disassembly) and braced in all  dimensions, or welded steel, powder-coated...>  > I am DIY most of the project, and I can't make a steel stand overlaid with wood, which I just learned after reading the site. can you get me in contact with the guy who has the H. francisci in the 800?    http://www.wetwebmedia.com/coldshkfaqs.htm - fourth and fifth questions from the bottom.  <Will cc Anthony here>  > I would like to learn the specs of his setup, and what kind of plant he has in his "forest" as well as  his maintenance routine, and where he obtained the shark.  Sorry for the essay of Q's!  Robert  <No worries. DO your homework as thoroughly as you have time, patience for. Bob Fenner> Cheers, Robert, Bob Fenner CC'd me your query here regarding the building of a shark pool. Attached is a construction stage photo of the 1000 gall pond we built for a pair of horn sharks. It is simply made of plywood and studs... very sturdy, lined with Styro and a pond liner (the new Tetra super-duper poly/fiber stuff).  Best regards, Anthony

Leopard shark habitat Hey Mr. Fenner! I really enjoy the information you have to give about all species of sharks.  <Wait till you see Scott Michael's new book on the group...> I have a 125 gallon (about 6X2X2 feet) set-up with nothing but live rock and sand. I would like to add a Leopard shark. I live in the basement of a house and the water temp. stays at 65 degrees year round. Would this set-up be alright for a leopard shark? <Only temporarily for a small specimen... and then not very "humane"... A Triakis will be very unhappy in such a size, shape tank, being able to only turn around in one direction in a short while, for a short while... Study this species from afar, visit it in Public Aquariums, perhaps the wild... maybe try a Bamboo or Epaulette Shark or even small Catshark species..., or even hatch one from an egg instead. Bob Fenner>

Brownbanded Bamboo Shark I currently have a newly hatched specimen (not eating yet but it has been less than a week) as well as an egg case waiting to hatch. Is a 125 large enough if I only keep one and trade in the other at the LFS? <For maybe six months to a year or so yes> Should I upgrade tank size?  <Absolutely> What size would you recommend if I kept both?  <At least a "standard" shape 240, 8'X2'X2'... better, bigger> Will the other inhabitants cause trouble in the future? <Perhaps... Large Angels, Triggers, Puffers et al. might bite your sharks... Basses, other eager eaters consume all their foods...> Currently I have minimal decor (I have recently removed some LR to make room for the shark(s) to move freely about) but there are caves and ledges made from LR to make the pup feel secure. <Sounds good> There are also some hard and soft corals.  <Keep these up and away from the bottom... and your eyes on them... would leave some "outside light on" for the shark to navigate at night times> The tank was 2 years old before introducing the egg(s). The other inhabitants are a snowflake moray, a purple tang, a bicolor angel, a flame angel, an ocellaris clown, and a Foxface. All of these except for the clown and the flame have been in the tank since it cycled. The clown and flame were added about 2 months ago. I use an oversize skimmer as well as mechanical filtration. The water parameters are SG 1.024, pH 8.3, cal 450ppm, ammo 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 20ppm, temp 80. Sorry for all the questions but I want to ensure I provide the correct environment for the sharks now and thru maturity. Thank you.  Steve  <Thank you for being concerned enough to seek others opinions. Do keep reading, perhaps writing about your shark experiences for others benefit. A very popular area of interest for hobby magazines, the Net... Bob Fenner>

Shark Tank Substrate Question Dr. Bob, <No doctorate puhlease> Been thinking about changing strategies regarding how I setup my sand bed to best facilitate detritus consumption and general water quality support for a 500 gallon tank whose primary occupant is a Bonnethead shark. <A few ways to go here... as you likely know> Currently, sand is sugar-sized aragonite, from 1² - 2² in depth. General maintenance is provided be two 3² goatfish, 5 sand-sifting stars, 2 small queen conchs, a couple of Mexican turbo snails, about 25 Nassarius (sp?) <Nassarius> snails, a few bristle worms and assorted tiny stuff. I was thinking about increasing sand bed depth and trying to propagate critters to create a live sand bed. Stuff like Mysis shrimp, Gammarus shrimp, miniature brittle stars, more bristle worms, orange spaghetti worms and micro stars.  <Sounds neat> Also, I¹d greatly increase the number of Nassarius (or however you spell it) snails. Of course, if I wanted to propagate these critters in sufficient numbers, I¹d probably have to eliminate the goatfish and reduce the number of sand-sifting stars. What do you think? Which way would you go? Am I O.K. as is, or would the extra expense of creating and seeding a more fully ³live² sand bed pay off? J.D. Hill <I wouldn't spend any money on seeding this substrate... the live rock will do this completely. Bob Fenner>

Re: Shark Tank Substrate Question But would you: 1) Leave the sand depth as is or go deeper? <As is> 2) Pull out some of the rampaging goatfish and sand-sifting stars temporarily to let the critters get better established, or leave everything alone? <Leave as is> Also, are you familiar with a reddish brown shrimp like creature that grows to a length of about 3/8"? Any guesses? <A reddish-brown shrimp-like creature, small. Bob Fenner> J.D. Hill

Re: Shark Tank Substrate Question Not to be confused with the dreaded reddish-brown shrimp-like extra small, I hope?? <You're cracking me up this AM... Can't quite make out what it is from where I'm keying here... but likely a crustacean to be eaten soon. Bob Fenner> J.D. Hill

Re: Shark Tank Substrate Question .and any more responses like this and I WILL be deleting the "Dr." honorific! You're cracking me up!! <Oh, oh... we're starting to use the same expressions... Soon be wearing similar clothes. Hope you don't mind tees and shorts. Bob F> J.D.

Help for the big tank guy <Heterodontus> Hello again Bob, I have written you in the past about my large systems, 800 gallon angelfish, 500 gallon reef. Now that my house has finally finished all of the cleanup and we're fully settled my tanks finally are too. <Must be a relief!> I sold the contents of my 800 gallon angelfish, most of which funded my 400 gallon office show tank filled with Fathead Anthias, about 22 and Green Chromis about 30 or so, really a spectacular tank especially on a reef setting. <Neat... and all the Sunburst/Fatheads get along?> The Boston Aquarium was generous enough to accept my 16 inch emperor. In return I was hooked up with a deal from a neighboring fish farmer with a 1 1/2 foot horn shark. I put him in the 800 in a cold water setting with very little rock work except for a large cave at one end, mostly large beds of kelp-like grasses to provide a san Francisco bay type setting. The shark seems to be thriving and what I thought would be the biggest eye sore is non existent, him laying on the bottom like in the those undersized nurse shark tanks. Obviously being a Horn Shark he still does this but he is a very active swimmer. He eats well and enjoys the occasional urchin which gets very interesting.  <Hmm, yes... I have a pic of a Heterodontus francisci swimming about in Scott Michael's new Shark and Ray book... am quite familiar with this species> What kind of things should I mix into his diet to ensure a long life?  <Most anything will do... the name "hetero" and "don't" point up the fact that these small temperate and tropical sharks can/do eat hard-bodied organisms... like the urchins you mentioned, clams, crustaceans... as well as fish...> He thrives in the cold water but how cold is too cold?  <Below 50 F. or so. But I would keep mine at nearer 70 F. so you don't go broke chilling water, or blind from squinting through condensation, and your shark will move about more at this elevated temperature.> Its been a pleasure to do this project the right way, the fish has lots of swimming room and it really looks great. The 500 is taking on full life, it turns the corner of my living room into the hall and is longer then wider, more so than usual. I have added a lot of water flow on the branched off section that's in the hall (about 100 gallons of room there) to accommodate my final additions, 3 Jewel Tangs, (Acanthurus guttatus), thanks to the Marine Center. <Wow, have rarely seen this species kept... just not offered in the trade... congratulations> Its kinda like a surge zone with only the hardiest of my corals. Its a pretty cool effect. The Semilarvatus B'flys are growing nicely, all three are now about 6 inches. The Sohal has also maxed out at about 9 inches now. Most of the little fish have been removed except for the occasional cleaner wrasse, I think I still have two, and a group of Catalina Gobies that have really done better than expected in their own little territory near the far glass against a rock wall. What other requirements do the Jewel tangs have? <About the same as the Naso lituratus... lots of room, rock, greenery to eat, water movement> They seem to be healthy after a month of quarantine (I was extra cautious be it I never used e-fish purchasing before. They only feed really well on Nori right now though. What else do they eat? <Mostly green, brown, red algae, but will eventually take most all foods> The Majestic Angel was also removed after he suddenly went violent on my corals. Any reason for this? <Just happens at times> Thanks for all the help, you've contributed a good deal to helping my tanks get to the way they are at this point, nice and steady. Kev <Outstanding. Glad to have helped. Bob Fenner>

Re: Shark Question What is the best type of substrate for Coral Catsharks or Brownbanded Bamboos in your opinion? <Please read over the cartilaginous fishes sections on WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

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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