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FAQs about Shark Systems 4

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 Habitat (Substrates, Decor), Shark System Circulation & Aeration, Shark System Filtration, Shark System Maintenance, & Shark Systems 1, Shark Systems 2, Shark Systems 3, 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


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

Filtration system  11/28/05 I was wondering if you could give me some advice of some filtration systems.  My wife and I are having a 600 gallon tank built for our new house. We are setting it up marine with the intentions of keeping a small shark (Banded Cat Shark) along some other fish. I am not a beginner in the marine aquarium field but am a bit confused as to the different filtration systems I can use. I've heard of wet/dry, fluidized bed filters, skimmers, etc. If I use a wet/dry system, is a fluidized filter an option or is that over kill?  <You can use a wet/dry system which would work well but wet/dries large enough for that tank usually aren't available over the counter. Would probably have to be special ordered.>  What would a good system include?  <For a non-live rock system I would go with a Pentair system (formally Lifeguard). Their triple mechanical and chemical modules can be configured to meet the demands of your system. They also make a fluidized bed module in three different sizes that can be used with the system. If using live rock, I'd go with a wet/dry filter and a 6000 gph pump. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks for the help!  <You're welcome> 

Shark Tank Oasis in a Barn Hello guys :), Ok let me start off by saying that this Question will probably seem totally crazy and a little out there but I keep telling my wife that I think it could be done and had to ask. I have two saltwater aquariums both fish and invertebrate with corals and LOVE the aquariums. We live out in the country and have a Morton Barn next to our house that has heating and air capabilities.  Ok now onto my insane ?'s. Would it ever be possible to have a normal in-ground pool installed into the barn and then insert a high capacity filtration system onto it and create a shark aquarium. <Yes> I know modifications would have to be made but if I had a small waterfall or something put in for water flow and breaking up the stagnation and with high power pumps wouldn't it be possible?  <Yes... expensive to operate... in terms of power...> This way I would have a indoor/ temp controlled tank. With a setup like this wouldn't a pair of nurse sharks be in a suitable environment? <If the system were very large... forty, fifty feet in diameter> I already have the barn here (used to be for grandparents tractors but now since we took over the place and most of the acreage is sold off pretty well is my "play" area wanting to set up a wet bar area in a corner and kinda "trick" the area. We are about to take out a home equity loan on the property so I talked the wife into letting me create my oasis area in the barn. I think if a set-up like this would work then I might be able to create the system for around $25,000 to include the pool and the filtration and a waterfall type set up and enclosing the filtration in a own built in room for it. Would love to know what you think and if you think it is possible. Please don't think I'm nuts :) David <Can be done... I would select other shark species though... Much more to investigate on your part here. Bob Fenner> 

Leopard shark - Metal, Stray Voltage Concerns One more question I neglected to ask, concerning metal and stray voltage in my tank. I removed my powerheads from my tank and I am now using bulkheads to feed current to the tank. This is coming from a Via Aqua 3600 powerhead in my sump (and I wanted to add at least one more). <... stray current will/does easily pass (get conducted if you want) in seawater via continuous water contact...> I've read however you should not even use powerheads in the sump. <Correct!> How can I provide adequate circulation otherwise. Are there any powerheads you can recommend that contain little or no metal that would disrupt my shark? Thanks in advance <... There are direct and coated magnetic drive mechanism pumps... Bob Fenner> 

Epaulette Cat Shark I recently purchased a 240 gallon acrylic tank with built in overflows. The tank is 8ft x 2ft x 2ft. I want to put an Epaulette Cat Shark in this tank. Is this tank big enough for a shark  <Do you mean Hemiscyllium ocellatum? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharks.htm.  If so, no... a two foot long specimen needs a tank at least four feet wide, twelve feet long... Minimum> and what size should I purchase him. Could my other fish lionfish (7inches), spotted grouper (9 inches), yellow tang(4 inches), maroon clown (3 inches), banana wrasse (10 inches) and last but least a 6 inch orange roughy live happy with the Epaulette Shark in a 240 or do I need to get rid of a couple of my fish. By the way my Harlequin died on me I didn't even have a chance to separate him from the bully wrasse. Please respond soon, Thank you very much for all your help. <Back to the drawing board... a shark will not go with this fish list. Bob Fenner> 

Shark Info Needed 4/15/05 Hello, I am currently having a custom home built and am having an aquarium put in the ground, with three cement walls and one very thick acrylic wall. The acrylic wall is butted up to the house and ends up being part of the wall of the entertainment room in the basement. Above the aquarium is a small room for access to the aquarium and plumbing, etc. The tank is 10 feet wide, 10 feet long and allows for water 4 feet deep. The total volume is about 3000 gallons.  <Wow! Every Aquarists Dream! When can I come visit? HA! Seriously though, let me stray from the topic and point out the concerns about humidity with such a large tank. Other aquarists have had to drain similar tanks in order to prevent severe moisture damage to their homes. Be sure to look into the Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV) system. It allows large volumes of fresh air to be brought into your home without sacrificing heat or AC. Another VERY IMPORTANT consideration if you plan on keeping sharks in a concrete tank is rebar. It is standard practice to imbed steel "rebar" in poured concrete for strength. This imbedded steel can wreak havoc with sharks electrical sensory organs. Consult with your concrete contractor about using special grades of concrete that don't require rebar or possibly the use of non-metallic reinforcing materials.> My question is, can I ethically keep Requiem sharks in my tank? I was thinking one of the following: Atlantic Sharpnose Shark (Rhizoprionodon terraenovae), Blacktip Shark (Carcharhinus limbatus), or Blacktip Reef Shark (Carcharhinus melanopterus)? Would I be able to keep maybe 2 or 3 if I got an Atlantic Sharpnose, which grows to a max of three feet? <The Atlantic Sharpnose are iffy at best. If you do choose these, you could keep more than one. Unfortunately the real issue is swimming space, not volume. Blacktips and Blacktip reef sharks are out of the question. At 10 and 6 feet adult length respectively and with free swimming behavior, it would be simply cruel to put them in the tank that you propose. I have seen Blacktip reef sharks in cylindrical tanks as small as about 15' in diameter, but the shape of the tank and swirling water movement allowed them to constantly cruise into the current.> I would suggest that you consider Epaulettes, Port Jackson/horn, and Bamboo sharks as well as a couple of the smaller rays for many reasons. They stay smaller, they are less active and IMO, far more attractive/interesting.  See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharks.htm.   In addition to being generally more suitable for aquarium life, these species are occasionally available as captive bred specimens from Tropicorium as well as some public aquaria (The latter will require some finesse to obtain, since AZA rules limit the practice of participating institutions releasing specimens to the commercial trade.)  On this note... if you keep a healthy pair of sharks, they WILL breed. There is a very limited market for young sharks, and public aquaria WILL NOT accept them. Also, please be aware that both tropical and temperate sharks enter the trade, and their lifespans will be greatly limited if they are kept at inappropriate temps. Maintaining the temperature of such a large volume of water can be a challenge, but if your tank is partially or mostly below grade, it might be easier to maintain temperate temperatures.> Another thing is, if I got sharks, what should I coat the cement with to make it smooth so they won't scratch their stomachs? And is the tank being square a problem? Should I have the construction crew round out the corners?  <I would suggest rounding all of the corners slightly (1-2 ft radius), even those between the walls and bottom. The bottom should be covered with a thin layer some kind of non abrasive calcareous substrate to prevent abrasions. (It should be easy and comfortable to plunge your hands into). The walls should be inspected for any protrusions, but should otherwise be sufficiently smooth. An appropriate coating will have to be applied to keep the water out of the concrete as well as alkalis from the concrete out of the water. (see more on this below)> As far as care, I have no problem in paying someone from the local aquarium to help me. I do have some aquarium knowledge however, and have an extensive organic and inorganic chemistry background. Thanks in advance for your advice. Sincerely, Jovan  <If you can get help from a professional aquarist, I would highly advise it. They will be better informed than us here at WWM when it comes to the commercial sized equipment (pumps, skimmer, filters, ozonizers, heater, chiller, etc.) that you will need as well as large system engineering (considerations like imbedding plumbing into the concrete). They will also be aware of the best/latest technology and local contractors for tank construction, concrete coatings, etc. They may also be of assistance in finding captive bred specimens. Having a good relationship with them will also come in handy in case of disease or illness. One last piece of advise: If you don't already have it, do get a copy of Scott Michael's "Sharks and Rays" book as well as the forthcoming "The Natural Marine Aquarium, Vol 2 Reef Fishes" by Anthony Calfo and Bob Fenner. Best Regards! AdamC.>

Shark info needed part 2 4/15/05 Thanks for your quick response. The aquarium is not actually part of the house, the foundation of the house has a 4 x 10 "slot" where the acrylic wall is. The aquarium room has its own foundation and is not accessible from the house. It has to be entered from the back yard. Should I still worry about humidity?  <I would be sure that your contractor clearly understands what you have in mind. There are special products for damp locations (think locker room shower), including cementous wall board, special paints, etc. If your contractor seems to dismiss your concerns or otherwise doesn't give you a lot of confidence on this issue, I would seek the advice of an architect or engineer.> If I got just one Atlantic Sharpnose, could I keep a bunch of small (2-6 inch) fish in there with it?  <Sure... if you want to feed your shark small (2-6 inch) fish! Even a well fed shark is likely to at least try to eat just about anything that will fit in it's mouth. If you provide some reef type structure, you could probably keep some very small fish that would be too small for the shark to be interested in, and that could quickly duck for cover if the shark did take interest. As I stated in the original response, the issue is swimming space, not the volume of the tank or number of specimens. I will take another opportunity to dissuade you from considering this particular shark. These sharks cruise open flats in distances measured in hundreds of yards if not miles. A 100 square foot aquarium would represent a very cruel existence. The other sharks I listed (Epaulettes, Bamboo, horn) are reef associated sharks that rarely travel more than a few tens of yards at a time and are accustomed to living in and around structure as opposed to open water. They really are the best choices!> One more thing, if I don't get a shark, I want to get a ray. I have read on one website that there is a max. 2 ft. devil ray in Australia called the Mobula diabolus, but I have not been able to find any more information on it. Does it exist? Of all the rays I like the manta/devil rays most, but they are all too big. If this one exists, it would be great. Also, when is the new book coming out approximately? Thanks Jovan  <I am not sure when the book is coming out, but you will hear about it here first! If you have questions about the validity or ID of a fish species, www.fishbase.org is the place to go. According to Fishbase, Mobula diabolus does exist. However, it is not Australian and it grows to about 15 feet!. Also, all of the Mantas are pelagic (open ocean swimmers). You will have to settle for bottom dwellers in addition to small size. Do look here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/rays.htm for some advice on which skates and rays are reasonable choices. Best Regards. AdamC.>

Shark tank aquariums Thank you very much Adam. Don't worry, when it comes to animals & their well being, you can't have too harsh a tone. After having read the FAQs on your site I've reconsidered. I'm a marine biology major, they are much better in the wild.  < Agreed. > Kate < Blundell >

Shark de Mac Hi all,  <Hi Mark, MacL here with you today.>  I am only 15 and I am new in sharks, but not in fish.  <I started very young as well Mark.>  I have 3 aquariums and I love them. My favorite one is a 55 gallon with freshwater barracuda. But anyways I was wondering about the blackbanded shark.  <Are you talking about the blackbanded bamboo shark Chiloscyllium griseum? If so before you buy this fish and or egg I hope you do a lot of research about them. They aren't a very exciting fish, they don't move around a lot and most people that get sharks tend to be disappointed.>  I am very interested in getting an egg. I am planning on making an aquarium, what do you think of that?  <I build tanks myself so I'm a big advocate of it.>  Is it easy and cost not as much money as to buy one?  <Truthfully I think you can get it just as cheaply by watching LFS specials and watching for people selling them used.>  I want to get an egg and watch it hatch, but I only want to have it until it gets about 10 inches then give to my LFS.  <Okay two things here, its great to watch them hatch and absolutely fascinating but you should be aware that a lot of LFS will not take sharks in and in fact will only do special orders on them. They take a lot of time and space to take care of and can be a major pain to work with. Before you get the shark make sure you have an adequate place for it to go. Check to make sure that your fish store will take it back.>  I want to do this because I don't have enough money to buy a 300 gallon tank!  <Perhaps it might be best to wait until you can afford a 200 gallon tank.>  Will this work in a 100 gallon tank?  <It will more than likely outgrow the 100 gallon tank.>  Can I put one other fish in with it like a grouper?  <In my experience it very well might outgrow a 100 gallon tank quickly. Groupers are very fast, voracious eaters and might out compete your shark. Good luck, MacL> 

- Setting up a Shark Tank - Hello I just purchased a 350 gallon tank 10ft Long by 28 inches High 24 inch in depth, by reading about the sharks I want to put a Epaulette Shark in it, is this a good choice?  <Among the many choices for captive sharks, this is one of the better ones.>  Also how long should I run the tank until I add the shark?  <I'd go a month or more... because you probably won't be able to use much live rock, you'll need to cycle this in one of the more tried and true methods, and those take time.>  One more question being only 24 inches in depth is that enough depth for the shark?  <Not really... the tank is nice and long, but width is equally important. Would be much better if it were at least three feet wide with rounded ends.>  Thank you in advance Travis <Cheers, J -- > 

Shark Pond I was reading some of the shark system questions. I was looking to start a shark tank, but I was reading about the shark pond. I live in New Jersey, so its not warm all year around. Is it still possible to even keep a Shark Pond?  Also, if the shark pond is out of the question, what is a good active shark to keep in a tank. I was interested in the Leopard Shark, but I know they are illegal. I'm not into a bottom dwelling shark. Any suggestions?  <Yes, read the link posted here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharks.htm. James (Salty Dog)> 

- $hark Pond - I read the link, and got an idea about the species, but my main concern was being able to build a shark pond in New Jersey. Are sharks capable of making it through the winter?  <Probably not without a substantial investment in redundant heating equipment and it's operation during the winter - much heat would be lost to the atmosphere... almost a losing proposition.>  If not, is it cheaper to build my own tank?  <In your case, probably more so than the cost of running the pond.> Thanks, John <Cheers, J -- > 

Shark Pond or Tank? What do you think the price range is that I'm looking at to build a tank for a shark. Is building a tank cheaper than purchasing a new one?  <For starters shark tanks should have bullnose ends, that is rounded sides, as sharks are continually swimming. Depending on the shark and the rate of growth, I wouldn't think of having a tank much smaller than 500 gallons. The sharks will produce a lot of waste and smaller tank may not be able to cope with the amount of waste that will be produced. My personal opinion...sharks are best left in the ocean. It's a lot of expense to keep a shark. As far as cost difference between building your own and ready built, don't know. I'd do a search on the subject. I've saw several tanks made out of marine plywood and fiberglass coated inside. James (Salty Dog)> 

Eel and Shark 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> 

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> 

Coral Catshark Hi WWM Crew <Hello Justin here> I have a few questions regarding coral cat sharks. I am planning on buying one in the next week or two, but I want to set my questions straight before I do anything (so I do not wind up hurting or insufficiently equipping the shark).  <Sharks are not normally an animal we recommend for anyone to have in an aquarium as they are very specific in their needs>  First off, I would like to thank you and your site for all of the info you have already given me. So my first question is, if I have a 75 gallon tank, how long could I safely hold a coral cat shark? <It really depends on the dimensions of the tank, but probably it will only be comfortable in a 75 till it's 6" or so because of the need to turn around>  I am planning on buying a 180+ gallon tank as soon as needed. What is the minimum size tank I would need to hold a full grown CCS?  <umm a full grown Coral Cat Shark is at least 3ft but probably 4ft. You would need at least a 300 gallon tank that has NO sharp edges but the bigger the tank the better.>  Secondly, what would you recommend to feed it? From what I've read already you can feed it fresh human-quality seafood such as shrimp, but are there any other options? <Not Really it's cheapest and safest to use seafoods that you get in the supermarket uncooked and feed it those, do wash them in Freshwater, then freeze them to kill parasites, then before feeding rinse it off in a bucket of saltwater from the tank to defrost it.>  Would you recommend any live feeder fish?  <No, their health is always unknown and they can lead to having overweight fish that die from fatty liver problems. Stick to the seafood in the supermarkets.>  Also, are there any aquarium kits to round off the corners of a tank? (if there aren't, there should be!)  <Not that I am aware of but the power of the internet is great here use a search engine and check on it. Sharks are not in demand highly enough for something to be available in any LFS.>  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?  <it means to use subdued lighting, because the bottom of the ocean isn't nearly as bright where these sharks hang out, and they are seemingly more active at night.>  How dark should my tank be/how many watts should I use to light up a 75 gallon tank?  <Well I would use a standard lighting system of 80 watts or so and use eggcrate from lighting covers (they sell it at Lowe's and home depot) to cut down on that even more. A 180-220 gallon tank?<Maybe 200 watts or so but very indirect lighting, make it dim lighting so use that eggcrate. and its a huge tank you'll be needing not a 180 or a 220.>  Lastly, I've read that they need/like a place to hide, such as a overhang or cave. Are there any fake rocks I can purchase to do this? Can a fake rock be secured to the side of a tank safely?  <On this note I am not sure, most aquariums that keep these fish have the sides free on rocks and have a pile in the center with a cave or shelf in there.> Thanks A lot ~ Matt <Matt I would highly recommend AGAINST you getting a shark, because you have forgotten the greatest parts of keeping a shark. You need massive filtration with a huge skimmer so that the water quality is near perfect, you cannot even have measurable nitrates. You also cannot have any metal or electrical items in the tank, so you are looking at a very large sump and return system to handle this very large waste producer. Also your tank will need to either be huge 500+ gallons or more or you need a custom made circular tank so that there is no way the shark could get stuck, get cut or get into any trouble. as well as using a very fine substrate (sugar fine). Any course type will scratch the underbelly and it will get infected. Also you will need to invest in a chiller as these fish need VERY controlled temperatures to do well. I highly recommend you find other fish that interest you, as sharks are best suited for the ocean or an aquarium that can handle the full sized adult, with its appetite. and its VERY expensive tank setup and filtration needs.> <Justin (Jager)>  <Editor's note: Substrate is another big problem for baby sharks - fine sand is best to avoid injury and subsequent death.  Do not underestimate this problem.>

Shark keeping in home aquaria and setup advice - 2/28/05 Hi, I live in the UK and I'm thinking of buying a sharks egg which will be a bamboo shark for my new aquarium dimensions are 11 foot.. <awesome>  ..length by 28 inch wide... <should be wider than this>  ... and 24 inch deep for filtration I'm using an AquaMedic Reef 2000 with nitrate reducer and calcium reactor for water flow.  <Uh, these have more to do with water chemistry and less to do with flow>  I'm using Tunze streams...  <not familiar with this to be honest. Probably pretty good. This goes out to all FAQ readers, please don't assume we know every single piece of equipment that exists>  ... which are 12 volt I will also be acquiring an earthing probe.  <a good idea> What would be best fine sand or glass bottom <a super fine oolitic sand. A 0.2-1.2 mm grain size> I've also arranged in advance that when the shark gets too big for the aquarium to go to one of the sea life centres. <Excellent> My idea is to put live rock about 50 kilos at either end of the aquarium and about 20 kilos in the centre  <sounds fine> I currently use ozone through my protein skimmer and use AquaMedic computers to monitor RedOx and pH.  <a good idea> I will only be keeping large fish such as tangs and angels. < I would keep these fish and not get a shark> I would like your advice on the above and if anything should be changed.  < I would add a sump and put more live rock in it as well. My greatest recommendation would be to not have a shark at all. We highly discourage shark keeping in home aquaria. Please read through our FAQs on sharks. For more information on hatching, feeding, maintaining. ~Paul>

Sharks in captivity Hi, In the May 2005 edition of Aquarium Fish Magazine, an article about building a shark pond was published, and it discusses various requirements and suitable species of sharks.  <Saw this piece, by Scott Michael> Species such as black tip reef sharks, nurse sharks, epaulette sharks, and wobbegone sharks are mentioned. Although I am very interested in building a shark pond in my greenhouse, I would never want to do this if it was unethical, so I have researched on the topic and found your web page. Assuming I build this pond, it would measure 12' long, 2-3 feet deep, and 3 feet wide.  What species are suitable for these dimensions. If large species like nurse and black tip reef sharks are not suitable, am I better off making a pond half that long for small sharks? Thanks, James <Mmm, well... ethics are a "personal" matter as well as "group"... to/for me, only the usual bamboo, epaulette sharks would be appropriate for this size, shape, type system... Not the orectolobids, nurse, or any requiem shark species. Bob Fenner> 

- Pacing Port Jackson - I purchased a port Jackson shark from my LFS yesterday and he is swimming up and down the sides of the tank pocking his nose out of the water, He lives in a 280 oceanic with skimmer wet dry and a canister filter. Water is 77f ammonia 0 nitrite 0 nitrate 0 ph 8.2 SG 124 what would cause the shark to do this he just goes up and down until he gets tired then sits on the bottom please help. <This is a cool water shark, and you're keeping it at tropical temperatures. You need to invest in a chiller now or prepare to lose this animal. More reading for you here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/coolh20sharks.htm > Thanks Tony <Cheers, J -- >

Psst: Want to buy a shark? Dear sir            Happy new year  My name is Per from Bangkok Thailand I like keep sharks in aquarium and I want buy Bonnethead shark [ Sphyrna  tiburo ]  please answer me   Where ? and How much ?                                           Thank you <Mmm, I take it you are aware of the size system needed for this Hammerhead Shark? Thirty, forty feet diameter, circular... There are a few folks that still collect this species out of Florida from time to time, principally for the public aquarium industry. Please read here: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/Gallery/Descript/Bonnethead/Bonnethead.html and reconsider. This shark sells for a few hundred dollars apiece, and likely that and more to ship to Thailand. Bob Fenner>

School for marine bio. career and Bamboo Sharks Hello crew!  Just wanted to say that I am a  huge fan and read the site and your books daily.  The service you provide  is invaluable to me and many, many others.  Thank you. <Wowzah!>     Now for the questions:   First, I am going to enroll in college in the coming semester and plan on taking biology, and any chemistry that is required to get into marine  biology.   <Take as much of this field as you can> Basically, I want to work with all sorts of marine life whether  it be feeding, training, or doctoring etc.  My question for you is,   will marine biology credits get me into this type of work? <Mmm, yes... but other factors, experiences are just as important... Your personal attitude, personality/people skills, your practical experience (apply, volunteer often and wide to garner relations, knowledge, breadth... to public aquariums, the pet-fish industry, learning institutions... try to get jobs that are related...)...> If not, what  other education or credentials am I gonna need?  I realize a veterinarian  degree isn't something I can do overnight and I'm already twenty four, but  it's never too late to follow your dreams. <Never. We are them to a large extent.>   Any info or website's  would be cool. Secondly, I have been planning a shark tank for quite some time now, and I am finally gonna have the space and money to do it.  Here are my  plans, Dimensions: 8' long, 4' wide, and 2' tall.  My calculations  make this a 420 gal.?   <Let's see... eight times four times 2 is 64... and there are about 7.5 gallons per cubic foot... this is about right> I believe I am finally settled on the  livestock.  This is going to be a dedicated shark tank with the showcase  being two Brownbanded Bamboo's and probably a school of very small, (but fast)  fish for movement and color.  I haven't decided what species yet.....any  suggestions? <Maybe a grouping of one of the more social tangs... with a hump of live rock in the middle...>   My question is that I know that the maximum size for this  shark is just under four feet, but, in captivity, or rather my system, will  they reach this size? <Eventually at least near three feet> I am wondering because I don't want an empty looking  tank and planned the tank size for their maximum size.     Once again thank you, and I will be talking to you  guys soon!  Mike <Keep dreaming, planning my friend... applying yourself. Bob Fenner>

Sharks and ponds? 12/14/04 Hello again, I was just reading through the article about how temperate shark species are sold to unwitting aquarists as tropical species. This got me thinking about a question you would probably know the answer to.  Would some species of temperate sharks, I have leopards in mind, be able to live in a large saltwater pond?   <besides the fact that leopard sharks are almost wholly inappropriate for private aquarium keeping (they get 6-9 feet long as adults and most people cannot afford the meat to even feed an adult leopard shark, let alone the aquarium and hardware to support it. It costs literally tens of thousands of dollars to keep one of these sharks alive for even the medium term> I live in central Pennsylvania, where we don't have much of a problem with cool water outside :)   <I live in PA too my friend... it is too cold here to even remotely have a chance at keeping these California subtropical species... and then the logistics of combating it otherwise (solarium above the pond, heat/cool issues, etc.) would be enormous. Uncovered as a pond is entirely out of the question as we are one of the rainiest cities in the US and salinity would be a nightmare> Electrical heaters could be used to keep the water temperature stable, but how stable would it have to remain? <good grief, mate... the cost in electricity to heat this pond would be thousands of dollars per month several months per year> would a deep pond be able to house a shark with no heaters, given that temperature changes would be much more gradual? <truly off base... not possible> I'm drawn to leopard sharks because I've read that they are fairly well managed and not in a lot of danger in the wild.   <this is actually mistaken... recent studies have shown that all Elasmobranch species are threatened in the San Francisco Bay.> the body shape of sharks is very conducive to ponds, they share the same general shape as the king of ornamental pond fish, the Koi!   <sigh... I need a drink> A trio of active leopards in a donut shape pond would keep them happily swimming all day long right?   <no> I'll be very interested to know what you think, thanks for your time. Jon <please spare the lives of this fish you admire and do not keep one until you are older and better funded my friend. Get $30K in the bank and then start to think about maybe keeping one of these fishes. ;) Anthony>

Bamboo Shark Tank Hello All!  Well, I have a ton of questions, so please bear with  me.  First, the facts.  I have a 220 gallon aquarium with 2 newly  hatched brown banded bamboo sharks, 7 pajama cardinals, 1 squirrelfish, 1 long  nosed Hawkfish, 1 blue hippo tank, along with several assorted inverts and  corals.  Before adding sharks to my tank I did a lot of research and read  Scott Michael's book several times over.  But, as I surf the web I am  dumbfounded with the multitude of varying advice! <Can be bewildering> I respect your site and  hoped you could answer a few of my questions for me. <Will gladly offer my input>   First, I am wondering  if I have enough filtration.  I have the tank going into an Aqua Clear 300  wet dry trickle filter and am running a Mag Drive 1800 to turn it over.   Off the sump I am running a CPR SR6 protein skimmer.  I also have  installed four Eheim Professional II canister filters and two of them have  inline turbo twist UV sterilizers. There is also at least 300 pounds of  live rock, and live sand.  While this would normally seem like overkill I  thought it necessary given the increased bioload. <Me too... and this will be too little in time, with growth of your sharks>   I just ordered a nitrate  reducer as I am fearful that nitrates may rise. <They will> Anything else that would  lower Nitrates with water changes? <Adding a live sump, macro-algae, a DSB, plenum... please see here: http://wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm and the Related FAQs (linked, in blue, at top)> I have considered adding a fluidized bed  filter and calcium reactor.  Would you suggest either of these?   <Definitely the FB filter. Maybe the calcium reactor if you find a need for same... that is, trouble through other means, maintenance in sustaining alkalinity and biomineral content> Also,  my tank is a steady 78-79 degrees year round which seems to be in-line with what  I read.  Would you suggest adding a chiller to drop it a couple of  degrees? <No. At least I wouldn't>   I add calcium daily right now and use turbo calcium, and strive  for >400 - is this correct? <350-400 is fine... are you satisfied with your coral health, growth, looks?> I also have read varying reports about  Iodine.  I do a 50 gallon water change every week and use good salt (Red  Sea), and have been told by several that the frequency of the water changes  should take care of iodine and no more need be added.  Do you agree?    Should I add more and if so what kind? <Mmm, I don't agree... with the sharks, corals... I might add Lugol's or potassium iodide every water change> Should I be adding anything  else? <I would not> I have read you site and have ordered the Mazuri  vitamins/supplements.  I also feed Ocean Nutrition Shark formula.   Should this suffice? <I would look into other foodstuffs... cheaper, better for your sharks to have variety> Besides the suggestions of Scott Michael, what sort  of fish could reside in this tank? They seem to be quite healthy and want to make sure I do not error.  Any suggestions will be greatly  appreciated. Thank you. William M.  Popich <Please read the sections on our site www.WetWebMedia.com re shark compatibility. Bob Fenner>

Leopard shark Hello,       I was just wondering, specifically, what are the dimensions required for the tank for a leopard shark to grow to its maximum size? <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/leopardsharks.htm> Considering that the largest leopard shark ever caught was 7'9'', I'm not sure about aquarium kept leopard sharks, mine has been doing well for quite a long time in a 7x8 foot enclosure, its 3 feet high and filled to 20 inches. Her fork length is 24-26 inches. I'm wondering what to put her in for her to live her whole life dimension wise. Theory or morals aside, I am more concerned with fact. Can you tell me exactly what size I would need? <Likely about twice these dimensions or better>      Also, how would an Atlantic Sharpnose get along with a leopard shark? <Yes, should>      Lastly, can you recommend anything to minimize water changes? <Chemical filtrants, a large refugium (lighted), ammonia tower/s...> Right now I am changing about 100 gallons of her water a week.  Sometimes more frequently, when necessary.     Please let me know about the dimensions so I can start building it ASAP. Thanks, ~Libby <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Shark questions - 12/9/04 I emailed you a few weeks ago regarding my banded cat shark eggs. Your information was very helpful and one of my eggs (one of three) have hatched. I know that sharks do not excrete ammonias like fish <Sure they do>--my question is what do sharks produce?  I looked it up on your Q&A and could not find any tidbits on it. Please also send me information on what chem.s I need to reduce the shark chem.s in the water.  <Water changes (frequently) will do best. Don't buy into the hype that you need this chemical additive or special filter media. We have lots of information on our site about the proper set up and design for sharks. Good filtration (via sump with live rock) decent water movement, quality water and salt mix with quite a bit of diligence thrown in by the aquarist will go a long in shark survival. Don't forget proper diet, including vitamin supplementation (I like shark/ray tabs from Mazuri www.mazuri.com)> I also wanted to let you guys know that thanks to your suggestions to other question askers on your site, I have looked into volunteering at my local aquarium. <Excellent, not only a great feeling and learning experience, but a great way to keep animals that have no business in your home aquarium =)> I look forward to learning from both you and the aquarium that I will be working with. <Which aquarium are you interested in? Thanks for your inquiries. ~Paul> Thank you again for your time and knowledge! Jennifer  :)

Sharks in aquaria - 12/6/04 Hi there I have a large tank in my living room (I forget how many gallons, but its about 7x2x2ft) the tank is over 2 yrs old and has had many occupants in its time, I am experienced in shark/ray keeping also, I had a brown banded bamboo shark from and egg to a length of 14 inches, when it became ill and died after an illness (which I didn't take well). <this tank still seems too small for a single shark. 210 gallons or 792 liters is likely fine but it is not a very wide tank. I would be happier with 5 ft. long by 5 ft. wide by 2 feet high. Long and wide is much more suitable for shark and ray keeping. Even better would be a rounded interior. In any event you might possibly get away with one shark. There is a chance that it will be detrimental to its health to remain in a tank of this size as full term adult. Again, this is not a personal attack on you or your abilities. I just don't think the casual aquarist have the tools needed to successfully keep sharks long term. (I realize this is a generalized statement, no harm is meant by this)> My tank is specially designed for a shark, it was the reason I first started in terms of shelter, lighting and filtration it is very well suited for young sharks. <Maybe you can expand on my above comments as well as the ones you have just stated.> I have found it very hard to find another shark the same size as the one I lost, its a very unusual size to buy. So I have been thinking of buying 3 juvenile sharks (brown banded, white spot and marble cat sharks) I had the previous shark for 2 yrs and there was still way more space than it needed, so I don't see any problem with this, <Really? Do you think all there is to aquaria is that there is plenty of room (space) for movement? I am sure you don't, Scott. Now, to be honest outside of professional aquariums, I (and I believe most all of us here at WetWebMedia.Com) don't actually condone the keeping of sharks in aquaria because of the lack of expertise and needed knowledge the casual aquarium keeper has access to or the lack of real ability to provide these rather peculiar animals.> the ray is still alive and the sharks are unlikely to bother each other would you agree? <The shark choices you have made above may likely not have a problem with said ray, but you never know as each animal has a different personality based on many things. I just think you are going to be too cramped.> and in terms of size bearing the last sharks growth in mind I don't see a problem, the tank is 99% swimming space with just enough cover needed. <read my above statements. I just don't have all the needed info here to quantify the statement. Filtration will need to be awesome! Proper sand bed as these sharks tend to be less active and remain in a solitary state in one place for some time. The sharks will need the ability to easily turn themselves around (adult size) 2 feet wide just doesn't seem like enough. It will stress the animal out over time to not easily be able to turn around. Three animals will be even more stressful for their turning ability> I really want to get them but only if its a good idea. <I don't really think this is a great idea, personally. There is more to shark keeping than just swimming space. (although this is super important) There is more to shark keeping than just filtration. What about diet? What about disease control and treatment? Environment? Water chemistry stability? This is easy enough with one shark, but three? If you are to get one or God forbid three, please look into the above with vigor and detail, my friend. Also add vitamin supplementation to your diet. The most often overlooked detail in diet. Check with www.mazuri.com. The shark/ray tabs are excellent. For the record, I have never and will never keep a shark in captivity for personal use, but a certain place I work at does (see my bio) and that is where my knowledge originates> Please email me your opinion and publish the question on your sight if poss. <Will do>.... I was going to get the sharks on Monday so an email before then would be great! <I hope I am not too late! Despite my rant, I really want to thank you for coming to WetWebMedia and asking your question. It is a very important one and I appreciate your taking the time to ask it here. ~Paul Mansur> Many thanks in advance. Scott

Tank Size for Leopard Sharks (10/7/04) I just found your web page tonight and was reading many of the shark questions and answers. As of now I have a leopard shark that is about 20" and it is in 125 gallon tank, yeah yeah I know its about time to upgrade. so any way when I bought him he was about 15" and has grown 5" in about 8 months. So my questions to you would be how big can I let him get in a 125 before upgrading? <Not much more than 18"--needs to be able to turn around easily.> Also what size tank would be big enough for him in the future? <4,500 gallons. That's right, Four thousand, five hundred gallons! This per Scott W. Michael's "Aquarium Sharks and Rays." I have read up on them and read that the male can get up to 5 feet and the female can hit 7 feet long!, I'm hoping I have a male but either way I do know that in the future for the sake of the fish I will have to donate him to the local aquarium which would be Baltimore. <Smart. I hope they can take it.> But I would like to hang on to him for a while longer. I am about to be purchasing a 300 gallon to keep him in, hopefully for about another year or two, possibly. <Maybe, but I could not find definitive info on growth rate. Bottom line is it needs to be able to swim about actively, as you note below. It also needs excellent filtration and large  water volume to handle it's heavy metabolic waste production.> At the moment he seems happy and is eating great and very active. <Good> Knowing that the leopard is one of the more active sharks I'm guessing he's prob. going to need about a 15' by 4' tank. That would be sweet but don't know how realistic that is. <It is unrealistic for us regular folks in normal sized houses to keep such animals. Multimillionaires, yes; the rest of us, no.>  Thanks for all the help, Tim <Hope this helps. If your looking for a nice shark you could keep in 300G for a lifetime, consider a Bamboo or Epaulette Shark. You should consider buying Scott Michael's book. Steve Allen.>
Leopard Shark, Part 2 with Pix
Thank you for the info Steve. <You're welcome.> I have attached a few pictures of my shark and one of my lions.  <Very nice looking shark (& the lions too). I can see that this shark need a bigger home soon.> I have not found any pictures of a leopard on your web site, thought you might like one. <Thanks for sharing.> I have actually checked that book out, sharks and rays, it is a very good book. I have not had much of a chance to read into great detail through the book though. <An excellent book.> Thank you for all the help. Tim <May your fish live long and "prosper" due to your caring.>

Building an indoor (shark) Pond Hello Crew, I was wondering if you guys had any reliable online sources for building an indoor pond for marine fish.  I am planning on making an 8' L x 8' W x 3.5' H circular pond in my basement. <Please see these articles by Anthony and I: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/lnrspdabvh2o.htm and the links (in blue, above)... and the Shark Systems FAQs files...>   Would this be adequate for two adult Blacktip reef sharks? <Not even close, no>   If not, would it be adequate for 2 Bonnethead sharks and an Atlantic Sharpnose shark? <No. Adequate systems for these and all other shark species should be a minimum of three times their adult length, and if rectangular, twice their width. MINIMUM>   Oh, by the way, if you have any staff that work at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, congratulations on being the first to have a Great White feed in captivity.  By the way, does she have a name? Thank you for your time, Dan Krumm  <Paul Mansur volunteers there on weekends... but is apparently busy... he bounced this message out of his in-box after the last few days. Bob Fenner>

Permanent home for Bamboo sharks Hey guys (Bob you're like a celebrity to me), <Err, okay>             I have read so many FAQs in the last week or so you wouldn't believe it, I just can't get enough.  Anyways, I have a 300 gallon standard sized aquarium (I know not ideal for sharks), and for my birthday I think it was 4 years ago, my parents bought me 2 twelve in. bamboo sharks.  I had already had a tank filled with an imperator angel, many tangs, niger trigger, puffers, an undulated moray, and a Tesselata moray. <Wow, lot's of pounds of fishes!>   I was young and ignorant and accepted the gift excitedly. <I am middle-aged and ignorant, and would accept this gift excitedly>   My only concern was that the eels might eat the sharks since they were both at the time roughly 4 plus feet.  Fortunately, they seemed uninterested in the new arrivals, and after a week or so both sharks ate and everyone lived happily ever after.  My only addition since then was a UV sterilizer and adding macroalgae to my sump also filled with live rock and live sand, and of course wet dry bio-balls and large Euro reef protein skimmer.  And a warning to anyone else out there, you will need to do some serious water changes with this many large waste producers. <Thanks for this> I do about 25 percent weekly ($$$$$).  Ok, long story short, I have recently noticed (after reading the articles) that the sharks are TOO BIG for the tank.  It never occurred to me because I had just had them so long now (one is about three feet and the other is a couple of inches longer).  They can still turn around and everything and they eat about once or twice a week but still they look a little disproportioned in the tank now. <I'll bet... can think of an equivalent appearance of a human in a relatively tight space>   Finally, my question, what should I do with the sharks?  I have three options I believe.  1) I live in the Florida Keys and my uncle lives in a community that shares an enormous lagoon that actually is connected to the ocean.  I was thinking I could place the sharks there, but I am not sure about crustaceans and other food sources.  Since it is connected to the ocean they can just swim out if the have to anyways. 2) The ocean is about 100 yards away, this seems like the most logical home for the sharks <No my friend. A VERY poor idea. NEVER release non-indigenous species to an area they are not native to... a GIANT mistake> 3) Keep them (I am only proposing this because I like having three options more than two) no actually I wasn't sure if they would survive out in the open ocean having been in a tank their whole lives.  I am just curious about what you think the chances of the sharks learning to hunt on their own. (or scavenge). I cant imagine my cousin getting a job and moving out after mooching off his parents for 30 years. <Hee hee> My plan right now is to hear what you have to say and then just go off that.   I assume that you are going to tell me to try the ocean and take the chance that they eat because even dying in the ocean is probably more excitement they'll get surviving in the tank. Anyways I know that was long but thanks for listening. You guys rule!                                                                                 Mike <Mike, I would either look for a more suitable (larger) home for your sharks, commercial, residential or public, or try making, buying larger quarters yourself. Put an ad in the local papers offering these animals for sale perhaps... but do NOT put them in the Atlantic Ocean! Bob Fenner>

Oh no, more shark questions! ;) Howdy Bob and crew! <Hi there Jeff!> Firstly, let me say THANK YOU for all the hard work you guys have done to put together such an amazingly informative site. I've been reading it and re-reading it for days (the links alone can keep one busy for a while). <Ahh, good> A little bit of history quickly. I've owned a few tanks in my life, though none in the last 10 years or so (changing jobs often, moving to different states, etc., I just ethically couldn't do it). I've largely had freshwater tanks, but I have had one marine tank. I had a small(ish) reef tank (55g) with the typical assortment of live coral/rock, plants, anemones and a few clown fish. When I gave the tank to a friend (prior to moving yet again) everything was alive and happy after about 2 years, so I did something right I guess. :-) <Yes> Although I had a moderately successful small marine tank, I still very much consider myself a novice (hence my email to you guys). I've finally settled down in the Hill Country of Texas. Bought a big house in the country right on a lake. Life is good. :-) So I think it's finally time for another tank! I've been thinking about this and dwelling on it for most of the 6 years I've been here, so it's not a new development. <A great deal of satisfaction in anticipating, planning...> I have a very nice spot allocated for it in the "great" room (one big room instead of separate living/dining rooms; I'm far too casual for formal dining!). I could comfortably fit a 6'x3'x3' (height isn't an issue, I've got gobs of room there as the ceiling is 23', but I also know height isn't necessarily beneficial to sharks) tank which, as far as I know, would be a custom job. <Right on all counts> I've even mused doing a bowfront tank backwards so the bow is to the rear, to give the shark more room to swim about. <These "bull-nose" rounded ends tanks are very appropriate for shark et al. systems.> I am primarily interested in either Atelomycterus marmoratus or Chiloscyllium punctatum. I would primarily like one of these to be the only fish in the tank save for maybe some very small fish for movement and/or color (maybe some Damsel's or something) but other than sand, some live rock and maybe some plants, that would be it. <Okay> For filtration, I have not picked out everything yet as I do not know what the tank's final dimensions/capacity will be. I am, however, planning on a wet/dry setup with maybe two protein skimmers as these guys are messy (one in the sump, one in the tank, maybe with some live rock, or maybe just one really big one in the sump? Recommendations? One of the shark-specific things I'm uncertain about). <I would do a bit more research... and encourage you to look into at least adding a live sump/refugium... with lighting on a reverse daylight photoperiod... to ward off the accumulation, production of nitrates your wet-dry filter will generate, as well as provide more stable water chemistry overall... And do look into the larger size line of EuroReef skimmers... one good-sized one will suit you well... and consider adding some more active fishes like Surgeons/tangs... as they will add a good deal of color and motion (the sharks you list are incredibly sedentary)> Outside of specifics (which I do realize are utterly important) my primary concern is that this animal live a happy life. I love animals, all animals (3 dogs, 2 cats currently :-)) and would treat a fish no different than my best friend (my Akita, Kuma). So I will do whatever it takes to give one of these marvelous creatures a good life. <Outstanding. We share this attitude> I've waited a really long time to do this and have intention of doing it half-hearted or half-assed. <Agreed> I do have one other question, and I feel I already know the answer, but the inquisitive part of me begs it to be asked anyway. With the (proposed) 6'x3'x3' tank, I will be looking at a custom built tank (unless you know of a company that builds these as standard items and offers stands/hoods, I could not find one). <There are none as far as I'm aware... makes sense that the manufacturers make "standard" sizes that fit the broad market... out of "even" cuts from stock size sheets of glass and acrylic... But, there are good fabricators that can bid, build the size system you list... If I may, I encourage you to go with the length (or longer) you list and width, but would decrease the height... to no more than 30 inches... easier to work on, more pleasing relative shape... and tall enough for all livestock.> Oceanic makes (as we all know) a fairly standard 180 in 6'x2'x'2'. This is smaller than I would like assuming either of the two species I'm interested in were to reach full size, but it could save me thousands (literally) in the cost of a tank and having a custom furniture-grade base built (heavily reinforced of course). <Take a longer look... perhaps Tenecor in AZ... or if you will consider acrylic, San Diego Plastics... there are quite a few companies that will bid your job... I would get at least a handful> I suppose my primary hope is with the bottom-dwelling nature of both species that the 180g *might* be acceptable. I'm not sure however, that acceptable would be good enough. <Not really. Two feet width is too little... for the species listed I would go with three feet at a minimum... these sharks can grow to this length in such a size system...> I DO want to give this fish a wonderful life, but if I can still maintain that and save myself a few thousand dollars, that may not be such a bad thing. It's not so much the money, it's more my nature to make sure I'm doing the best I can for the fish and myself. <You must decide... but based on the best available information. Seek other bids> I would appreciate any input available. BTW - My LFS told me I could fit 4-6 of either species in a 180g tank. It got a four-letter-word response from me. ;) <!> Thank you for the WONDERFUL webpage and all the information contained with in. You guys are truly lifesavers to many a fish, that is for certain! -Jeff <A pleasure to serve, share. Bob Fenner>
Re: Oh no, more shark questions! ;)
Thank you so much for the reply, Bob! <You're welcome Jeff> I've got a bit of a dialog going with Steven Pro in the forum as well. You guys rock! :) <And roll!> Slight change of plans, however, since this email (for the better). I've decided on either a 72 x 36 x 30 or 72 x 34 x 30 (depending on whether or not I can get a custom stand made too as I can get a 10,000lb capacity powder-coated steel table with a shelf from one of my suppliers through my work for under $600; hard to pass up for the materials/capacity). <A bargain for sure!> I had actually looked at the bullnose-type acrylic tanks but wondered if the loss of volume was worth it for the rounded ends? Although it may not be a significant loss, I was unsure of this. <It is indeed "worth it"... I ask folks to imagine being a shark... without gas bladders as "hydrostatic mechanisms" (they "float" or stay in the vertical water column by way of an overall low density (no bone...), a large, fatty liver (less dense than seawater), BUT also by means of the shape of their (heterocercal) tail/caudal fins as well as having more surface area on their dorsal surfaces than ventral... akin to the shape of airplane/jet wings... the upshot of this is that they (sharks) are analogous to arrows in their propulsion... they line up and go... mostly in straight lines... and into perpendicular walls if you catch my drift... they have to keep moving (generally) to ventilate their gills, can't make tight turns... so rounded corners are an enormous plus. Sorry for the monstrous elaboration.> I'm looking at a 100g sump/refugium and as close to 10 water changes/hr as I can get. Probably with two 1500gph pumps and two 150g protein skimmers (I think the large capacity ones will not fit in the space I'll have under the tank). <Good> I also plan hatching the shark from an egg casing, I just felt that would be the best for acclimation to the environment. <Possibly, though small specimens of the species listed ship very well> One other thing (before I forget!); what are good sources for quality sand (or is there even such a thing) and how much live sand should I use in ratio to regular sand (or should I even use live sand if I'm planning on ~100lbs of live rock?). <Likely the CaribSea line is what you want to investigate.> Thanks for ALL of your help. As I get closer to this, I will keep you guys posted. :) <Please do. Bob Fenner>

Very small shark Hi, There's a shark at my LFS (black banned shark) only 3in!!! Is it possible for me to keep the shark in my 55gal until February? That's when I could put the shark in the new 180gal tank (all cycled). I appreciate your help. Thank you Ben <Sorry for the delay in getting back with you Ben. I was hoping our "shark person" (PaulM) would respond to you. This is a very small (just hatched) specimen... and so my strong advice (what I would do) is to make sure it is feeding before you purchase it. This fish could live in your 55 for some time, and be transferred to the planned 180, but will very likely outgrow this tank in as little as two-three years. Bob Fenner>

Shark filtration hey bob, <Hey Will, MacL here with you this fine and lovely evening.> you've compiled and put up some great info on wetwebmedia.com ! <Every day I become more amazed at the work that's gone into this site. Bob Fenner and company are fast becoming my idols> I must say that it has been the most comprehensive and informative source that I have come across yet. anyway, lets cut to the chase... I've got a 55 gallon glass tank with a hood, stand etc... I've got about 40 lbs. of live sand, I've mixed some instant ocean salt. as far as equipment, I'm running 2 fluorescent tubes in their own hoods, 2 powerheads (150gph ea. ), and a 30-60 hang on filter that uses carbon/foam cartridges. I've also got an airstone aerating the incoming water. <sharks cannot stand nitrates whatsoever so your tank has to be firmly and completely cycled. And you have to watch the nitrates very closely.>   as far as equipment goes, I will be replacing the filtration unit with a protein skimmer, of course, however I am a little unclear about what else I am going to need... one of my local fish stores that sells sharks told me that I will need to purchase a good protein skimmer and place it inside of a 20 gallon sump filled with live rock. it sounds as though this would be a very good idea, after all biological and mechanical filtrations working in conjunction with one another should be better than just a skimmer. although it may just be overkill... <I don't think with sharks you can have over kill.  They are big waste producers they eat a lot of food.> I don't plan on placing anything inside of the tank other than 1 small juvenile grey Smoothhound shark. no decorations other than live sand either.  <You might need some type of cave for him to feel secure in.> with this said, my main questions are as follows: 1. what do you recommend I go with as far as filtration ? I would like to be as economical as possible, but don't want to get crappy components that will just barely keep my shark alive. my local fish stores wanna sell me all this super pricey equip. so specific product recommendations will DEFINITELY be taken into consideration and appreciated. <Definitely take a look at the best protein skimmer you can get. Aqua C and EuroReef come immediately to mind.> 2. my tank's got a glass support in the top middle, I don't want my Smoothhound to jump up and catch a sharp edge, what should I do ? >is it something that can be sanded? > 3. should I keep my powerheads in the tank when my Smoothhound arrives ? <I would definitely keep them in the tank but make sure the shark can't get into them> 4. anything you could recommend that I may have missed or gotten wrong that will keep my shark as happy as possible until it moves to its bigger home... <Sounds like you are serious about your research and well on the way to keeping him happy.> 5. lastly, how do grey Smoothhounds and leopards compare ? leopards are just so beautiful but my understanding is that they grow larger and possibly faster than Smoothhounds... I don't want a beautiful unhappy shark, so I'm pretty much set on the smallest Smoothhound I can find... unless I can achieve the same results with a baby leopard. thanks so much, I look forward to hearing from you <I think you are definitely going to see very fast growth and lots of movement from both species. Please keep us up to date Will. MacL> -will

Keeping Big Sharks (9/13/04) Hi, <Hello. Steve Allen with you again Alex.> I have a few questions about a shark. I believe that my LFS has a Juv. "white tip reef shark" (not black tip) in an approx. 1000 gal aquarium. <Grrrr.> They are very fascinating, but I do not know of any that have been kept in a home aquarium, although public aquariums do. They aren't huge when full grown (around 5 feet), <Per Scott Michael around 8 feet.> so a tank around 2,000 - 5,000 gal. might be the size? <Per Scott Michael in "Aquarium Sharks and Rays," the minimum size is 8,400 gallons.> I am only 14 and only own a 12 gal. "mini-reef" <Fun, but definitely requires close attention to water quality.> (going strong, but I discovered bristle worms a few hours ago, gotta do some research on them), <Most are generally harmless and actually beneficial.> so a tank that size is not going to happen soon. <Unless you get really rich someday, I'd say never.> Anyways, I want to know if there is anyone currently keeping White Tips in the aquarium, as I can't find anyone by doing searches. <If I did, I'd give hem a piece of my mind, because it would be exceedingly rare to have a large enough tank in a home.> I would love to talk to them! Thanks for the great site, I have been reading it 3 - 4 hours a day for the past week :) <Don't forget to do your schoolwork and have a proper 14 y/o social life!> Alex, California <Where in CA? Perhaps you can go see sharks at one of the excellent public aquaria in the state--Monterey Bay is a great facility.> P.S. - It's too bad for the nurse shark in with the white tip, most definitely suffering. <I think that this is truly heinous abuse on the part of retailers. I gave my LFS an earful recently about selling Nurse Sharks. (For 500 gallon tanks!) These big sharks should not be sold to private individuals. Personally, I hope this becomes law someday.> I don't understand how people can purchase animals without a clue about them. <Ya got me. Go figure.> C'MON! I have never bought an animal without at LEAST a few HOURS a day of research for at least a WEEK! <Smart. This habit will serve you well through the years.> I almost SCREAMED when I read about a lady w/5 sharks in a 55 tank. Have you read that FAQ? <Hmm, I missed that one. Too bad she can't be locked in a closet for a couple of weeks to learn how it feels.> I feed terrible when animals have to suffer because they rely on an uneducated person to take care of them. <About any of us can do is to patiently try to educate folks. We sometime do need to be a bit harsh, but mostly not. Supporting sensible self-regulation of the hobby, with true legal regulation if that fails, is also right. Keep up the good work, and leave the sharks in the sea.>

Blacktip tank size - 9/7/04 Hello, You have a lot of useful information on keeping black tips in captivity, but do you think you can give me some specific information on the size of aquarium they should be housed in. <Sure can. I thought it had been mentioned before but to be more specific we are talking about a wide and long rounded tank and not very high. Somewhere in the vicinity of 4000-6000 gallons per Blacktip. Seems extreme but we (Monterey Bay Aquarium) used to keep two Blacktips (juveniles) in a 1500 gallon tank and they outgrew it in a year!!!>  You mention quite a few times that they need a "large" aquarium, but can you be more specific. <Stated above> I currently have a 1000 gallon aquarium and I would like to order a black tip in the very near future. <I justifiably feel that the Blacktip will outgrow this in a year or less>  I know that I cant keep the shark in this tank forever <I am thinking a year at absolute most> which is why I am making plans to build an extremely large tank in my fish room. <A very conscientious decision that I can appreciate....and so will your shark>  I have been told time and time again that the tank needs to be "large" but I need some specifics.  Wholesalers tell me that my current tank is big enough but I am skeptical. <A wholesaler and retailer will tell you anything within reason to get the animal out of their tanks and money into their pockets. Not in all cases but it seems a frequent trend. Knowledge is power. You are using your abilities of reason wisely, my friend.>   Can you please tell me the recommended size and shape of the aquarium? <As stated above. Also, be sure to supplement your sharks diet with vitamins. We use Mazuri (www.mazuri.com) Vita Zu shark/ray tabs. Thanks for your valuable question -Paul> Thanks

Accommodating sharks for an aquarium Hello: <Hi there> I am planning to have a purpose-made built, marine aquarium sized 1800mmx1000mmx600mm deep (approximately 220gallons).   <Okay> I really love sharks for their power, strength and attitude problem. So I was thinking of having 2 or 3 male Spiny Dogfish Shark, but I was told that they need a lot more space than that..... <Yes> so as I was browsing through several sites, and I found the following species that would live in a 220gallon aquarium:- the Brownbanded Bamboo Shark (Hemiscyllium ocellatum) and the White-Spotted Bamboo Shark (Chiloscyllium hasselti). <Mmm, these sharks will not do well for long in such a small system> I would not bother to have either of these two species, as long as they are comfortable in my aquarium, but if you do not mind, I am asking for your help about that:     1.. Would 3 male sharks of the same species, live together in my aquarium or would it become too crowded when they mature and would they be territorial, or would you suggest that I have less sharks and maybe female too? <Sex of these sharks is not an important consideration for their cohabitation, but your system will be too small for even just one specimen eventually>   2.. When fully matured in their natural habitat, their maximum dimensions are 1010mm for the Brownbanded and 940mm for the White-Spotted, would they grow up to those dimensions when kept in an aquarium?   <No. Will either be stunted for a shorter lifespan or more likely "jump out" or perish>   3.. Due to the shark's strength, weight, and my aquarium's dimensions, would you suggest double glazed glass panels for the aquarium or maybe thick standard glass would be enough? <Mmm, depends on the make of glass, thickness... see your manufacturer re these issues. The thickness of the top is the only real "choice" here... as the structural integrity of the tank itself will vouchsafe guarantee the shark/s will not break it> I would like to thank you for all the help that you give to fish hobbyists and will look forward for your help. Thanks Vanessa Bonnici <Vanessa, please keep looking, investigating your possibilities here... you will not be happy with the present choice of size system and keeping sharks... I assure you. They will not live well or long in the confines you state. Perhaps visiting sharks in a public aquarium, in the wild... studying them will sate your appetite for this experience... or saving up for a much larger system. 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

How long can a Catshark live in a 60 gallon aquarium before an upgrade? - 8/26/04 Hey, this is Steven. I was wondering how long a coral Catshark could live in a 60 gallon aquarium until I upgrade to a 220 gallon. <Steven, I already have issues with people keeping sharks in captivity. That being said, I do know that these particular sharks are established and breeding in aquaria. My recommendation would be to set up your ideal shark tank first then purchase the shark. Will be less stressful on the shark in the long run. So to answer you question- a coral Catshark pup will last 6 months or so. Please read through our shark FAQs as well. Vitamin supplementation is very important and should never be overlooked. More info is located in our Shark FAQs. Thanks for your question. ~Paul>

Banded Shark <Hi, Mike D here> Hi, Could I place a brown banded shark in a 55gal tank?<It depends. An egg could be hatched in a 55> If so, how many months?<About 2-3 unless you starve it, with the real answer being 'NO". I currently have one that's exactly 12 months old (since hatching) and it's over two feet long. It couldn't even move in a 55, not to mention the water quality would be so bad as to be like keeping the animal in it's own urine. I understand your fascination and desire to experience one of these animals, but to even contemplate on keeping one in a 55 is sheer selfish cruelty. Open a tape measure up to the 39" mark and hold it in front of your 48" tank. It would be like making you spend the rest of your life in a small closet. I know it's not what you wanted to hear, but it is the truth.> Thanks Ben

Long and wide tank for a Catshark? - 8/11/04 Hi I stumbled across your site and I noticed you guys are experts. <Hardly so, but we do have a lot of combined experience> So, here are my questions: I'm about to have a custom aquarium built (350 us gallons) to house a BANDED CAT SHARK that I plan to purchase but I have only decided on the length 96 inches but I am in doubt on whether I should go for height or width. <Width is very important for sharks regardless of adult size. Turning and rubbing can be problematic.> I will go for is what is best for the shark <Excellent attitude> and since its most of the time laying on the bottom I think width is better, but let me know if you disagree. <Nope. I totally agree. Width and length are critical for sharks.> I also would like to know what does the filtration that you recommend for this shark consist of. <Sump with live rock, skimmer, UV wouldn't hurt. Use high quality salt and R/O water. Be sure to test both the source water and the salt water before using in any capacity. Be sure to feed quality fresh and frozen foods supplemented with vitamins. We use Mazuri products at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Check 'em out at www.mazuri.com> I almost forgot do you recommend buying it in an egg or after it hatches. <Either is fine. I don't have a preference. Hatched them myself and received them in juvenile states. Good questions. ~Paul> Thanks a million, Octavio.
Cat Shark II
<Hi, MikeD here> Wow I'm amazed on how quickly I got that response.<Thanks. We try> If the Internet had more sites like yours the world would be a better place. On my last e-mail I forgot to ask you if you think purchasing the water from my LFS would be better than mixing it myself.<That would have to be an individual choice, but as long as you have the time and facilities I don't see ant real advantages in store bought vs. home made. Most salt brads on the market are pretty reliable now vs. the physical effort of carrying containers to and from the house> They are a very well know in my area and only carry salt water exotic fishes, its also about 5 min away and I have a pick up truck:)<LOL! The biggest advantage I could conceive of would be guilt insurance in case of a mixing error if THEY do it!> Thanks again<You're very welcome>   Octavio.

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

Banded Bamboo Shark <MikeD here> Well I am sad to say that the shark did not make it.<I'm so very sorry for both of you> In looking back it was totally my ignorance that brought its end. When I first put him in the tank the water was good, PH, nitrite, nitrate, etc, but I had crushed coral for the bottom. Because of this his belly was getting red. The guy at the pet shop said that crushed coral would be fine, well another lesson learned, "don't trust the pet store guy". Anyway I read that fine sand was the way to go, & did not want him to get an infection, so I replaced the crushed coral, forgetting all that I have learned about keeping fish, I replaced it all at once. I didn't think about this until after the fact but I had a nitrite & PH spike that you would not believe.<Oh yes I would. OUCH! One of the deadliest things in the hobby can be a panic reaction, with slow a key word leading to success.> Nevertheless I believe that I am not ready for such a pet.<Actually, I suspect that you are. This very hard lesson could well make you VERY ready if you don't let the depression get in your way. While the substrate IS important, particularly when they are very young, my 24 inched regularly dives headfirst into the LR in a quest for a particular tidbit it really wants and minor scraped heal up with no problem.> I hate that I had to learn this lesson at the expense of an amazing creature. Thank you so much for your response and you web site. I have been going through & learning so much from you and your team. Keep up the good work!!<Thank you. We try, but keep in mind that we also learn(ed) many things the hard way and whether you quit or not determines how well you've done in the end.>

New Bamboo shark and powerheads - 8/9/04 Hello. Fantastic web site!! <Thank you> I have just purchased a baby banded Bamboo shark.<OK> Currently in a 20 gal tank. <Uhhhhhh.......nope> I know WAY too small. <You have a few months before you create a major problem for the shark in terms of growth, water quality issues, general malpractice in terms of keeping an animal such as this>  This is very temporary, until I can get the 220 gal tank set up. <Needs to be soon, Gerry.> I have read that there should be no metal in the tank, because this can mess with the sharks natural senses. <The sense of electrical fields through the ampullae of Lorenzini.> However the protein skimmer that I have is made so that the motor is in the water along with the filter. <What kind of protein skimmer? (I mean what brand?) I think the motor you are talking about is termed a power head. This is not likely to cause any problems.> I am sure that the motor has some metal parts, so will this be a problem. <Not in reality, enough metal. Power heads are epoxy sealed to help in heat exchange and metal emission (galvanizing)> Also today the shark was on its back, still alive, I nudged it with the feeding stick and it rotated for a bit coming back to rest on it belly. <Hmmmm...... this doesn't sound good but it is not likely the powerhead in my opinion> This is why I thought that the metal in the motor might be messing with it. <Not I my opinion> The gravity in the tank is at about 1.022. From what I have read that is a little low & I am slowly increasing that to 1.025. <Excellent> This tank had other fish in it for the past year & did very well. I took those out & placed in another tank so that the shark would be alone. <Perfect!> So the tank is fish ready. Can you offer some info to the metal issue, or why it would be on its back?? <On its back is not good. Not sure why but I would do a water change, check water parameters of not only the make up seawater, but the freshwater top-off, as well as the current tank water. Keep water quality high, feed high quality fresh and frozen seafoods (human consumable is always appreciated, and get a bigger tank for this type of shark (220 is a good start but bigger is better. Wide and long is more valuable to the shark than tank height). Also, be sure to supplement vitamins in your sharks food. We use the Mazuri brand supplements here at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Check 'em out at www.mazuri.com. "Shark tabs" is the product we use.> Thank you so much for your time and assistance!!! <Gerry, please work on a larger tank immediately as a 20-120 gallon is grossly inadequate and in my opinion is bordering on abuse of the animal. Do your best, as your coming here is an important step into learning about these majestic animals. Thanks for coming to WetWebMedia. ~Paul> Gerry Golladay

Shark Pool Under Construction Hello again, <Hi, you've got MikeD here today> I do have one more question for you. I value your input here very much.<Thank you. We'll sincerely try not to steer you wrong> In regards to the shark pool. This pool has a metal " shell", I am going to be using 2 pool liners of 25 mil thickness each, in a sense I am doubling up 2 liners in one pool just to be safe of no leaks.<Good planning and a wise precaution> There will be no metal touching water anywhere. The rim off the pool is resin, but the outer walls are metal, does seem like a problem? will metal leak through 50 mil of vinyl liners?<Metal no, unless salt water is allowed to get underneath the liner, in which case it could eventually conceivably corrode through. What I'd be more concerned about is the potential for electricity bleeding through, as many shark species are sensitive to amounts of stray voltage that are undetectable to the average person.> Or is it as long as no metal is touching water anywhere? Your input would be greatly appreciated. Also, these pool liners, are they safe chemically?<Yes, the pool liners are inert, so at least in that area you are safe> Thanks so much.<You're very welcome, and the very best of luck to you>

Suggested Shark Home Size? Hi, my name is Steven <Hi, MikeD here> and I love your website. I was wondering if a Whitespotted Bamboo shark could live in my 96x24x20 aquarium for its entire life     <I'd suggest the book "Sharks and Rays" by Scott W. Michael as essential, considering your interests. I'm not sure of the adult size attained for this exact species but suspect it would do fine if not overcrowded, as the Bamboo sharks are crepuscular bottom dwellers and not overly active>. If not are there any other sharks available. <There are relatively few pertaining to maintenance in captivity, so just keep in mind that bigger is generally better in regards to shark aquariums and that most WILL achieve the maximum size given over time. IMO none but the smallest bottom dwellers are suitable for the home aquarium>

Shark Pool Calculation Error   12/27/06 I was reading the questions for July 25 and saw that Bob had answered a question about the volume of a pool that measures 12 feet diameter by 3 feet height.  He calculated the volume to be around 421 gallons.  This is incorrect as that size pool would contain nearer 2600 gallons of water.  The formula that I use is one from Martin Moe's book Marine Aquariums, Systems and Invertebrates and is (diameter^2 x 0.8 x height)/231 with all measurements in inches.  Using this formula yields a volume of 2585 gallons to the mentioned pool.  I only point this out as to help the person asking the question as this was how I created my first shark pool before I built the present system.  Thank you for your attention.  Matt Hall <Mmm... am wondering how I could have been so far off... I would take pi R squared for the surface area... and multiply this by the height/depth in feet... and use about 7.5 gallons per cubic foot... to get... 6 times 6 times 3.14 times 3... the number of cubic feet of volume, times 7.5 gallons per cubic foot... equals 2543.3 or so... Will try to find the original email and match it up with yours here. Thank you Matt. BobF> <... after taking about an hour spiffing up the six Shark Systems FAQs files... this is the closest (and undated...) item... RMF>
A pool shark Hi I would like to use my old pool to keep my 2 bamboo sharks they are only 3 months old , the size of the pool is 12 feet round x 3 feet tall, how many gal. is in this pool, <Mmm, let's see... volume for a cylinder... pi R squared times height... 12 feet diameter is 6 feet radius, multiplied times 3.12 or so for pi, this sum multiplied times the 3 feet in depth should give us the volume in cubic feet... and there are about 7.5 gallons per cubic foot. What do you get? Me, about 2,527> I live in new York, so I was thinking on my basement, do you think is a good idea. thank you, for you help, my fish tank is 200 gal. <Worth trying... though I hasten to add a few cautionary remarks. Take care (test) that the materials the pool are made of aren't toxic (the liner, metal supports if any, any circulation gear)... maybe scrub all with water and rock salt, let run for a few weeks, add a few damselfishes and see how they do... Do fashion and keep a cover on the pool, as your sharks can definitely launch themselves out if so inclined... and do rig up proper filtration, aeration and some means of preserving alkalinity, pH in this system. Bob Fenner>

Nurse shark "cruelty" question Hi, I am an Animal Control Officer and I've received a complaint regarding a nurse shark in a pet store aquarium... I am certainly not an expert on Marine life, so I thought I would ask you. IS there a specific size/ratio requirement for the shark, before it becomes "inhumane" and unhealthy for the shark, causing it to suffer? <IMO yes... anything smaller than three times the length and at least the width of an "average maximum size" of a given species is cruel in my estimation... for this species, Ginglymostoma cirrhatum... this would be a very large aquarium indeed...> under 597"l" of the penal code "Pet shop conditions" the owner must "provide adequate space appropriate to the size, weight and species of pet animals" Unless I have some kind of way to measure, or have an expert opinion, I am afraid there is not much I can do. If I don't know what is actually considered "cruel and inhumane" your help would be appreciated thank you! Kathy <A very good question... this species grows very large in the wild (see fishbase.org here)... and at least to five feet (or dies) in captivity... you can do the math as the saying goes. A great shame (of course, my opinion) that this shark is offered for sale for home hobbyists period. We have done, are doing our best to discourage its sale, keeping... should be housed, displayed either only in and by large public institutions or very large private ones. Bob Fenner>

Re: nurse shark thank you for your reply. the pet shop owner supposedly had something lined up with Monterey Bay Aquarium that "fell through" now he has a private party with a VERY large aquarium who is going to take the shark. <Yes... and a FYI... this situation, with folks hoping, counting on public aquariums to take on their too-large sharks is VERY common... and most have no need for more Nurses (the species occurs in the tropical West Atlantic and tropical East Pacific...> I advised him not to sell these sharks, as they will keep ending up in the same situation, hopefully he will take my "advice" thanks again Kathy <The process continues... thank you for the follow-up. Bob Fenner>

-Releasing a leopard shark off the coast of Florida: yay or NAY?- Bob, <Kevin here tonight> Thanks for all of your information. First I would like to say I can't believe that people are even allowed to sell/buy sharks to people without a certain type of license. <Troubling indeed, and I'm sure the vast majority receive inappropriate husbandry (namely too small and poorly shaped aquariums) only to die shortly or lead agonizing lives.> I live on the water in St Pete Beach Florida. I have sandy bottom 240 gallon tank with nothing in it but a lion fish. I want to put a Leopard Shark in it. My dimension are 96X24X24. How big can I keep him till? And when he gets too big can I let him go off my dock? <NOOOOOOO! First off, NEVER EVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES release a fish from your aquarium into the ocean! Have you heard about the problems with lionfish showing up in the Caribbean lately? Firstly, its a very bad idea to introduce non-native species into the ocean because they may end up upsetting the ecological balance. It only takes 2 to tango, and if someone else got the idea to let their leopard shark go off Florida, they just might meet up. Additionally, who knows what diseases and parasites from the pacific are hanging out in and around this shark? Like people, fish can carry many different diseases w/out being effected by them, the last thing you want to do is introduce these pathogens into an ocean of fish that don't carry the same immunity.> What are his chances of survival? <I'd say about the same in the ocean as in your tank since this is not a fish from tropical waters. Leopard sharks are caught near Cali in cooler water, water too cool for your lion to handle. Forcing the shark to tough out tropical waters will severely shorten its lifespan.> I also want to put some live rock in a corner with some corals and some different tropical fish and a snowflake eel. would that be possible? <That would depend on your lighting and filtration setup, but live rock is always welcome. Enjoy and PLEASE don't let anything go into the ocean! :) -Kevin>  Thanks, Michael

Spiny Dogfish Hey Dogfish, <Yowzah, yo!> This one might be right up your alley.  Essentially I would like to house two Dogfish.  I live in Western Washington and they are quite common in our waters.  I have read from what info I can find on dogfish that they can grow up to a max size of just over 5 feet.  Now I have read your site for about the past four hours and the one thing I don't want to do is get sharks and keep them in a tiny tank.  So I am trying to figure out what size of tank would be needed for two full grown (five foot) Spiny Dogfish. <Biiiiig... like at least their twice their length and once their width> I figure if this is too large for what space and finances I have then I shouldn't even try and will just enjoy the sharks when I am scuba diving. <Agreed, indeed> Thanks for your time,   Brian Hoyt <And you for yours. Bob Fenner>

Lost a Banded Cat Shark - 4/28/04 Hi its Jason again. <Hi Jason> Thank you for your reply but I am sorry to say I lost the shark on Monday 26/4/04. <So sorry to hear> Due to the love of these sharks, I want to set up a tank just for a new shark. Before I do I want to make sure I have got every thing right. <Good idea> Could you please guide me on the correct filters, <Large sump with live rock and good turnover. Be sure to use a filter sock to capture particles and rinse/change often, carbon might be a good idea somewhere in the flow path.> sand, <Soft sand (small particle) as the underbelly of your shark is slightly sensitive> skimmers <A quality skimmer rated for your tank size. Might even need two Check our site for recommendations for skimmers.> etc. the tank size I wish to get will be 96"x36"x24", <I would much rather see a tank for this shark somewhere in the range of 4ft to 6ft long X 4ft to 6ft wide x and anywhere from 2ft to 4ft high Rounded corners of interior walls is always a good idea if possible>  the shark will be a new banded cat. <A good choice for aquaria. Other shark offerings are not, in my opinion, but these sharks are readily available, easier to keep, and still beautiful in that shark sort of way!> I have just ordered Scott Michael's shark and ray book as I want to do every the best I can. <Always a good idea to research before you buy and I applaud and appreciate your efforts. ~Paul> Thank you for you help. Jason.

Keeping a Bonnethead shark in captivity - 4/26/04  I'm curious as to what tank size these guys need? I have seen a number of your responses criticizing <Discouraging not criticizing usually. There are few occasions where one needs a more stern response to the their irresponsibility> other people in the FAQs about other shark species being kept in aquaria, but have not encountered one yet about Bonnets, <Hammerhead eh?. Well ideally for this shark a wide and long tank is more ideal than tall. Also rounded edges are almost a necessity. So I think the ideal tank dimensions would be somewhere around 15ftWx10ftLx4ftH. Excellent filtration would be needed. This shark is known to be a messy eater (feeds mostly on crustaceans) and would need some vitamins to help with the lack of nutrition often found in captivity.> even in just 500 gallon aquaria! <unless the shark is very small, I would highly recommend against this unless the owner is definitely going to upgrade to more ideal conditions.> I'm merely curious, as it would take forever before I could consider keeping these guys. <Well, it is good to know what is needed before attempting to keep such a fascinating yet demanding animal. ~Paul>  <Here are some sites that talk about the Bonnethead Hammer shark:  http://www.dto.com/swfishing/species/speciesnostate.jsp?speciesid=424   http://www.floridamarine.org/gallery/image_details.asp?id=14650   http://www.zoomdinosaurs.com/subjects/sharks/species/Bonnethead.shtml>

Of Blacktips and bonnetheads- 4/12/04  Hey guys! first of all, I would like to thank you for all of your helpful material. <Thanks.> Here's my situation, I recently had a 6,000 gallon (22 feet long by 7 feet wide by feet high) built by Living Color <A really cool turnkey tank company. Unfortunately, the width just isn't very wide for most if not all sharks but the smallest of them>...Do I have enough room to keep 2 Blacktips and 2 bonnetheads? <The WIDTH is the limiting factor here. The length is great though!! I would have to say no. Not even one of either species because their turning radius is so very limited. Additionally, the Living Color tanks tend to come with various rock inserts that will limit the overall volume and turning radius even more. The potential for shark injury is great in a tank with this width. Sorry to say, the only sharks I can see surviving to full term in this tank are coral cats and bamboos. To be honest, juveniles will likely be able to survive for a year or two but you will have trouble moving to a proper tank once they start reaching maturity. I want to give you answer for the long term survival of the proper animal for you environment. So to sum up, no to the Blacktip and Bonnethead sharks and yes to coral cats and bamboos.> I may be cutting it close but let me know? <done> Also, are they compatible with one another? <for the record, as long as the sharks of both species (Blacktip and Bonnethead) are the same size (or close to it) then they are absolutely compatible. Otherwise expect predation on the smaller sharks> Just so you know, I have a team of guys that come in twice a week to service the aquarium so the water stays perfect. <no worries, when I hear of a large tank then I assume the owner must have the ability to make for the proper environment for the inhabitants. Be sure to read about supplementation in feeding for all sharks! Thanks for this important question and allowing others to understand that the width is as important as the length when creating/design a shark tank. The height is of less importance. ~Paul> Please help. Thanks---Kevin D.

Building a BIG shark tank - 4/1/04  Bob---I am in the midst of having an aquarium built by LIVING COLOR aquariums...the tank is 22 feet long by 6 feet wide by 6 feet long, with no corners. <Sharks eh? I know where this is going without even reading the whole email> The corners are rounded, therefore the entire aquarium is oval (which is conducive to sharks swimming patterns, or so I was told) <You were told correctly>...I would like to have a couple of black tips, a couple of bonnetheads, and maybe a white tip. What's your thought on this? <Nope! Nope! and Nope! and these are not April's Fool answers. This tank has a good length but the width is indeed too small for the turning and long term development for the sharks you have listed above. You would only be able to keep them for 4-6 years (if received as pups) Not to mention this tank would be quite full. An amazing amount of filtration (mechanical bio, and chemical) would be required. Obviously money doesn't sound like it is going to be a problem for you though. Heheheh. Anyway, I would look to the coral cat, banded, and Epaulette sharks for full term shark keeping. If you decide you are going to get A Blacktip, A bonnet, and/or A Whitetip (I really hope you will consider against this) then have a plan for removing the adults to a better suited home as they outgrow your tank> I know that this 5,000+<Are you sure this 5000 gallons is correct based on your measurements above?> gallon aquarium is HUGE, <Have seen it many times in home aquaria let alone public> but is it big enough for what I wanna do? <Not in my opinion or experience. Again the length is fine but the width just isn't large enough. Our Reef Shark tank exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium is 22Lx15Wx4H Vol approx. 4000 gallons. Basically a kidney shaped aquarium> The system is SUPPOSED to be the top of the line and it's costing me a little over $200,000 to have everything done, including installation. <That is the price for installation and tank what about filtration? Is that included?> I could really use your help and advice. <Don't forget about water changes, (cost and time) amongst other things.> I began this process with Living Color about 4 months ago and they begin installation next week, so I would appreciate a response as soon as possible...Thank you for your time. <Sorry for the delay in the response. Have been very busy on many fronts. Good luck ~Paul> If possible, I would love to speak to you about this... Thanks again----Calvin.

Sharks & Rays -- There Are Better Choices For 125 Gallons (3/23/04) <For future reference, please capitalize the proper noun "I" and the first letter of each sentence. We post all queries and replies on our site permanently an want them as readable as possible. Our volunteer crew will have a lot more time to answer queries if they don't have to proofread them. Thanks.>   Hello there, I have been reading your site for about 2 hours now and I have found some very interesting information about sharks and rays. I have a 125 gallon tank running now and my cycle is almost complete. I would like to put 1 banded Catshark, 1 snowflake eel (but if needed, I wouldn't mind getting rid of the snowflake), 1 blue spotted stingray and either 1 cuttlefish or a spotted snake eel together. Please give me some idea on what species I can put together. thank you very much!!!!!! <I question how thoroughly you read the shark & ray info on the site, for the answer is right there (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharkslvgrm.htm).   No shark should be put in any tank smaller than 220G. To do otherwise is cruel. Most sharks need even bigger (up to thousands of gallons) tanks. 200 is the absolute minimum for the ray as well. 300 is better, but Blue-Spotted Rays have a notoriously high mortality rate. All of this info was already on the site. As for cuttlefish, the shark would likely eat it. Cuttlefish should be kept solitary and need a chiller. Do be a conscientious/caring aquarist and forget the shark, the ray and the cuttlefish. Here's a better idea: The Snowflake Eel would be wonderful as the only Eel in your tank. I'm not certain what species you refer to as "Spotted Snake Eel," but you're better off with only one eel in this size tank. You might consider a Zebra Moray instead of the Snowflake. Start thinking of some other fairly aggressive, moderate-sized fish that would be OK with your Eel without being attacked by it. Look at Zebrasoma-species Tangs, Rhinecanthus-species Triggers, a Harlequin Tuskfish, among others. The point is that there are a lot of better, more responsible choices for your tank than sharks and rays. I doubt you like to hear all of this, but it's the truth. Hope it helps, Steve Allen.>

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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