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FAQs about Shark Systems: Tanks & Pools

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

Related FAQs: Coldwater Shark Systems, Shark System Lighting, Shark Habitat (Substrates, Decor), Shark System Circulation & Aeration, Shark System Filtration, Shark System Maintenance, & Shark Systems 1, Shark Systems 2, Shark Systems 3, Shark Systems 4, Shark Systems 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

As large as possible... Round-sided if possible. Shallow rather than tall and narrow. With a cover (they jump!)

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

50,000g Shark Pool Questions      2/1/16
I had a quick feasibility question. I have a custom 50'x25' oval indoor pool just sitting empty right now. It's roughly 50-60,000g (as best I can calculate); shallow end is 5', but most of the pool is 8' deep. It was built 5 years ago and was used for 3 years as saltwater only (no chlorine), and empty for two years since. I have over a decade of experience with saltwater systems up to 2500g, and have worked professionally with large fish such as white sturgeon and several species of skates and rays in tanks up to 25,000g. I would like to see if I could retrofit this indoor pool into a shark tank. I have spoken to a crew about retro-ing the fixtures to remove all metal and electrical, and they are very certain it's doable.
<Should be; as long as the plumbing is accessible or currently non-metal>
I have an eye on building a custom sump/fuge/fluidized filtration bed with skimmer and uv sterilizer with automated water change (15% net volume weekly seems reasonable to me if I stock carefully)
<Mmm; or less can be done... using ozone; which is common in commercial, institutional shark systems
all controlled via touch screen, with manual option for redundancy. There is already a separate equipment/filtration room and adequate ventilation to keep the humidity down. As for stocking, I'm more interested in the active swimming sharks- white tips, Bonnetheads (not BTR; they seem extra skittish, even when diving with them in the wild). I was also offered a 1:1
pair of near-adult bowheaded guitarfish, but I feel they mature too large.
If this pool would not be adequate for a free swimming shark or two, I will likely retro it into a dive-able community reef system instead.
Catsharks and such just don't interest me as much, and if I'm going to spend mega dollars on this project I'd rather it be something I am excited about. I'd rather use my scuba gear to watch fish than just swim laps back and forth! Thankfully, cost is not a hurdle I have to overcome. I'm in no hurry; I'd rather do it right than have dead or suffering animals in my
care. Is this a reasonable size for a white tip reef shark, or a Bonnethead shark?
It would be wonderful to have both, but I'd worry about competition for swimming space and the overall bioload: I'd rather have one happy thriving shark than two unhappy "just surviving" sharks. I was thinking of adding a few small snackable ditherfish as well- larger damsels, maybe- for interest sake and to allow the shark(s?) to hunt "naturally" if it desires. What are your opinions?
<Many and diverse... these sharks could co-habit here. I'd stock other fishes, perhaps a turtle or two>
I'm used to housing rays and skates in species-only aquaria, but a single large fish in 60,000g does seem a little empty to me. A school of damsels would not add much to the bioload, and would give the shark something to do. In my experience, skates and rays at least are quite intelligent: we gave them fish-safe "toys" to investigate, as well as occasional live prey items and I would like to offer something similar. Brutal honestly on these ideas would be greatly appreciated: I'm just in the research-and-planning stage, and have no plans to start anything until I am absolutely sure this will work for the animals (even if my construction crew is chomping at the bit!).
Melissa M
<Would like to see schematics, gear and controllers... and be assured that the rebar reinforcing steel will not be an issue here (can be tested for).
Bob Fenner>

Shark Aquarium & black tip problem     4/5/14
I’m Mike Giltzow with the Aquarium in Boise. We are planning to build a new shark tank and I wanted to ask a few questions while we are still in the planning stages. We want to get it right in the beginning. The preliminary plans show a trapezoidal shape apx size is 16’ at the short width end, 24’ at the long width end and apx. 32’ long and will be apx 8’ high. Sorry for all the apx. measurements but we are still very much in the early stages of planning this tank.
<Understood. No worries>
After reading Mr. Fenner’s book I see that we need to rethink a few items starting with the square corners of this trapezoid. So we would be rounding those corners and what I would like to know is what radius on those corners we should be using?
<Mmm... for a system of these dimensions the trapezoid will likely be fine>
Or should we just forget the trapezoid (which by the way fits our building layout – that’s why the shape was chosen) and do an oval? Maybe an oval that tapers a little at one end?
<Ovals/bullnoses are better>
My second question concerns rebar in the tank. I note that in “Sharks and Rays in Aquariums” that Mr. Fenner states “Even metal rebar (reinforcing steel) cast into concrete walls in public aquariums has been indicted as ‘driving these fishes crazy’ , resulting in their deaths.” So if we don’t use metal rebar in the walls what would be an alternative? Could we use a plastic reinforcing or could we coat the rebar? What would you recommend?
<You definitely should (will have to) use re-bar for this height systems... just make sure it is coated/sleeved and that the plaster (cement) coats are done properly... doubled>
Last question is about a black tip we have in our old shark tank. The tank is about 17000 gallons and holds 2 black tips, 1 leopard shark, 1 bonnet head, 2 morays and several other occupants as well. One of the black tips is having a problem. Much of the time he is swimming normal<ly> and appears in good health. Then he will start swimming at apx a 30 degree angle from level (head up). He seems to be struggling to get back to level and sinks to near the bottom of the tank. He does not touch the bottom but struggles back up and then sinks again. Just as quickly as this comes on it stops and he starts swimming normally again. We routinely check the water chemistry and the tank is within normal levels. The black tip is about 3 1/2’ long and is eating normally. Our Veterinarian originally thought it was constipation and treated it as such. But this has been going on for more than a week and so we have asked another vet to take a look this coming week. If you have any ideas or suggestions about this we would greatly appreciate your help. Thanks - Mike
<Do you folks use Mazuri (.com) food supplements for sharks/cartilaginous fishes? Do you have any blood work up data you can send along? Does this animal look physically damaged? Bob Fenner>
Re: Shark Aquarium & black tip problem
Hi Mr. Fenner and thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. The Black Tip does not look physically damaged. In fact when he is swimming normally it is easy to mistake him for the other black tip in the tank. The 'second opinion' vet has indicated that he would like to do blood work; so we will know more when he does that and I will pass the information on to you.
<Real good>
I don't know if we use Mazuri food supplements but will find out and let you know. Have you ever seen a black tip or other species of shark exhibit this type of behavior?
<Yes I have... your Vet.s may want to look through the ASIH' Elasmobranch group (AES) to gather more input>
Thanks again - Mike
Appreciate the information on the tank.
<Glad to assist your efforts. Bob Fenner>

Epaulette shark space issue -- 10/22/11
Hi guys,
I have been reading through the FAQ�s and articles on your site for a few years now � a fantastic resource, thanks so much for the effort you all put in.
Now for my confession  before I really knew enough about aquaria, I bought an Epaulette shark for our tank. Our tank is only 350L (90G)
<... way too small>
and is a triangular corner tank. When the shark was only 6 inches long, there was plenty of room to swim and move around. 2 years on, and the shark is almost ¾ the length of one side of the tank (say 15 inches). We have had to remove some of the live rock, and the remainder is piled in the middle to allow as much room around the outer edge for the shark to swim and explore. While he still feeds well, and overall seems in excellent health, I can't get this out of my mind now.
�I could stuff you in your closet; if I fed you and provided you with air and light you would live. But would you be happy?���Steven Pro.
<A good question>
Upgrading to a tank of a suitable size is not an option � our house is on floorboards, not a concrete slab, so we could not risk the weight of a tank that size. The cost is also prohibitive.
So, now to my questions. At some stage, we are going to have to part with George; when is that time?
Have we already reached it? Are we being cruel in keeping George in our tank now?
<IME, yes>
In terms of finding a suitable home, Epaulette sharks are �native� to my area (Sydney, Australia) so a release to the wild is possible, but I'm not sure a captive bred and raised shark would do so well in the wild?
<Please do not do this. Not likely to survive, and may introduce pathogen/s>
The other option is to find a store or hobbyist who can take a shark, but I suspect this will be difficult since most hobbyists will prefer to start with a smaller specimen.
<Mmm, not really. Do you have "Craig's List" or such there? This is a possibility as are more local marine/reef hobbyist clubs... most all are on the Net, have a bb...>
I can possibly return him to the store where he came from, but then does that leave him vulnerable to purchase by another misguided hobbyist like me?
<Better than premature death, a diminished quality of life>
Any and all advice will be appreciated
Matt Britton
<And you, Bob Fenner>
Re: Epaulette shark space issue
Wow, you guys are amazing, thanks so much for getting back to me so quickly!
<Welcome Matt>
After writing to you, I felt worse and worse, so rang around. There seems to be a reasonable chance that the Sydney Aquariums (www.sydneyaquarium.com.au/) will take him. Failing that, the shop I got him from will take him back (www.kimsaquaticworld.com.au/).
I appreciate your candor, and will take your advice.
Again, much appreciation.
<And you, BobF>

Shark Tank Build
Hey guys,
Thank you for your contributions to aquarists everywhere, you've really done a great job over the years!!!
<Thank you>
I am in the process of setting up a shark pond and would appreciate any advice.  I am planning on an oval for shape and would like to build it 24� X 11� X 48� which would put the volume at around 7100 gallons.  This tank would be installed on a concrete pad and would have an insulated portable building surrounding it. 
The complicated part is that I would like a viewing window(s) in the long side.
<Can be done...>
 The viewing window pretty much rules out any pre-built above-ground pool,
<Actually... it doesn't. There are mainly fiberglass
composites that can be pretty easily cut, reinforced for a panel...>
 plus I have concerns about using a 45mil pond liner since I would be worried that the sharks would bite thru the lining.
<I would not use "just" a liner>
 My plan right now is to lay down plywood for the bottom, then frame the sides onto the plywood flooring with a bottom and top plate similar to regular wall construction.
<Made up of?>
 On the outside wall I intend to use ¾� plywood all around.
<Umm, thicker than this... at least 1"... and supported vertically every two feet or so... with other bracing  around the viewing panel/s area/s>
 Working 8� at a time, I would like to set a plywood frame about 8� inside the outer plywood and then pour fiberglass-strengthened concrete
 into the frame interior to basically build an 8� thick concrete wall.  The floor would just be poured cement.
<A foundation... best to have someone (structural engineer) take a look at these plans... I'd be laying steel in the uprights.
Conduits in the slab...>
 I could incorporate a viewing window by first Siliconing it onto the outer plywood wall, then cementing the edges (incorporating them into the wall).  From there I could do fiberglass on the sides to smooth it out. 
<Mmm, I would go another way/route... make a "race" in the cast concrete on the inside face of the cast wall...
and "Silicone" the viewing panel (Glass) onto this... unless the panel is very large (more than 4' let's say), in which case I'd have a metal (it will be sealed over) support set in to in turn fasten the viewing panel to on the inside>
I'm planning on an ETSS 5000XR downdraft skimmer rated at 10,000gal and
probably at least 5 Sequence Hammerheads (5800gph) for a 4X turnover. 
<Mmm.... well... I'd contact the "Sequence"
folks here... there are bigger pumps they can find you... and RK2 re the skimmer and some other gear you're going to want to use...>
I have a budget of $18,000 which I hope will cover it, if not then its back to the bank.
So far as tank design, do you see any glaring problems that I may have overlooked?
<Mmm... yes. A bunch more looking at this point will solve/save you from many troubles later, and much incurred operational expense>
I plan to move my 2 Horn sharks
<.... Which species? Heterodontus... some are cold water animals>
 from their present 480gal into the new tank, add a trio of epaulettes, an Atlantic smoothhound, and a Blacktip reef shark.  I would like a Bonnethead but am concerned that the tank may not be big enough.  The existing 480 could be used as a grow out tank for any babies if I'm lucky enough to be able to breed them.
Thanks for any guidance you can give,
<Mmm, am wanting to not dissuade you, your efforts, desires here, but would like to know more about your background... Especially personal experience w/ Selachians... Have you been "out" to visit public aquariums much? Let's chat this project up a bit... to great extent if you're interested; as I'm sure the topic is of considerable interest to many of our readers, present and future. Bob Fenner>

Re: Shark Tank Build  1/5/10
Thanks for your quick and helpful reply.
<Glad to chat w/ you>
You asked about background. I started out with mixed freshwater in a 55, then went to a 125, then cichlids only, then 2 125's with frontosa in one and Tropheus in the other. That's when the
saltwater bug hit, so I donated all my fish to our local zoo for their Tanganyika display and got 1 240. Then I got
another 240, then sold both for my present 480.
<Heee! I see a trend here! Pretty soon, Siliconing in a piece of glass in the front door and diving in!>
I have kept California Horn sharks for 2 years now, I have a 24" male and a 15" female. I run the tank around 70 with a 1hp chiller.
<A little high temp. wise. I DO wish the water was this warm off the coast (am in San Diego)... it's currently 52 F. or so... Keeping cool/coldwater animals consistently too warm is hard on them... lessening vitality, life-spans>
I have attempted to keep a few rays, yellow and blue-spot skate (Kuhlii not Lymna),
but have not had much success, so I do not plan on keeping any rays/skates again.
If I moved my existing Horns to the new tank I would probably add some Smoothhounds to keep the temp requirements more in line with each other. If I keep my Horns in their present home I would consider a more tropical requiem species such as a black tip reef or Atlantic Sharpnose.
<Mmm, again, I wouldn't mix cold and tropicals...>
I am leaning more towards a pre-built fiberglass tank rather than building one myself....I would hate to build one and then it spring a leak :)
<I understand, believe me... and there are some really neat units available... in bolt-able units or one-piece (as you don't have the building up presently... Mmm, you do have Scott Michael's shark book as a starting point? Let's keep chatting here... Your curiosity, learning, input here will help many others through time. BobF>

Re: Shark Tank Build   1/5/10
Haha, yes you do see the trend, and yes, that would be a dream come true for me to be able to swim with my sharks. I've had a lifelong love affair with these beautiful creatures, and at 49 yrs old, I would like to check this "dream" off the "Bucket List".
<Ahh! At 57 chronological years of age, am very happy (when I see them first) to dive with, and visit sharks in the wild and captivity>
I have been in contact with Dolphin Aquaculture Tanks in Homestead, FL and just got off the phone with a guy in Houston concerning the tank. I live in Texas, about 180 miles west of Dallas, so Houston would work out a lot better for me if I can find a suitable tank there.
<I see, and agree... many components are "nest-able"... so, not too much to have shipped... and it's been a while since I was really "in the trade"...
So, there may be other fabricators about... even some chance of good-used that you may be able to locate... perhaps through Craig's List...>
I'm still debating the round vs.. oval design for the tank...I would prefer oval as I think it gives the obligate ram ventilator sharks a better glide path, but the round tanks are much less expensive.
<I do like the oval better... for lots of reasons... Aesthetic and functional>
I will let you know what I find so far as tanks go. As always, thanks for your input!
<And you for your sharing. BobF>

Atelomycterus marmoratus 5/30/09
Hi there, I am contemplating purchasing a marmoratus but I have limited space in my new house and I'm wondering if a 44"x36"x24" would be sufficient for life.
<It could, but not comfortably IMO.>
In Scott Michaels Aquarium sharks & rays book, it says they would be fine in a 110 US gal tank, but I presume that this is a 72"x22"x18"?
<I think your system is just as suitable....the sharks need room to turn around, yours provides more. But at the same time lengths of swim space are appreciated too. It is one of those cases of could vs. should. I would not. BTW, 110 is the barest of minimums here, these really have no business in any less than several hundreds of gallons tanks for long term health/survival.>
I will be systemizing it with a sump to increase the overall water volume as well.
Cheers, Phill
<Scott V.>

Re: Atelomycterus marmoratus 5/30/09
Thanks a lot for the advice, the tank is one I haven't had made yet and there may be a little more room if I have a move around and convince my girlfriend hehe. I think the biggest I could get would be a 60"Lx44"Wx24"D, would this be seen as more suitable?
<Yes, I think that would be fine.>
This isn't something I would like to be bare minimum but at the same time I'm limited, at least whilst I'm at university.
Thanks again,
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Shark tank sizes, Cats  1/27/2009 Hello. I've been doing some research on shark tanks. I have gotten to the point were I am wanting to slowly collect supplies while I learn more. <A good, workable approach> From what I'm gathering the best choice for a shark is a single Catshark, correct? <Among a few groups of sharks, some species are amongst the best suited for home aquarium use... Epaulettes, Bamboos also should be mentioned here... as not getting too large, being rather sedentary in their movements, and having more "calm" personalities> Well I have the possibility to purchase a 8x2x2 all glass undrilled. Or a drilled 75" long X 30" tall X 18" deep. I was just curious which of these would be better suited for a single shark with no other tankmates? <The wider a system the better here> Also which shark in that family tends to stay the smallest and best suited for one of these tanks, if any. Please email me back and let me know. Thank you for your time and help. <Please peruse Fishbase.org (under Family, show all species) here... and WWM re Shark Systems. Bob Fenner>

Epaulette, Shark, sys.    7/23/08 Hello Mr. Fenner, I have spent quite a bit of time reading up and really dedicating time to researching them. Next month I will finally have the financial means to do an Epaulette tank project, and I would really like to do this right. <No sense otherwise> Anyways, I'll cut to the chase, I'm going to purchase, with your approval and advice first, a 275 gal aquarium, custom made, 60X48X22, with rounded edges, and a nice heavy canopy. I have researched into it quite a bit, but still far from being a shark expert. Although, I have been an aquarium hobbyist for 7 years and I have worked in two aquarium stores, and hopefully will put in some volunteer time at the Denver Aquarium. This aquarium, with all the essentials in filtration and etc., backed by a substantial budget, I think, will be adequate, in the slightest sense of the word, for 1 Epaulette, Hemiscyllium ocellatum, shark. Hopefully to house it happily for a number of years. If not, I know it is suitable for at least one, if not, a pair of Brownbanded Bamboo Sharks Chiloscyllium punctatum. If this is not acceptable, please, sir, let me know. <Mmm, will be "adequate"... though I'd much rather the long-running side/length were more like eight feet instead of five> I have all the figures worked and this will be a huge project for me and possibly the best one, as far as aquariums go, for me yet. Thanks for all the great information on your website, and brutal honesty, which hopefully keeps some beautiful sharks out of ugly aquariums. Thanks again. Sincerely, Russ Crenshaw P.S. I have such an appreciation for these animals, and I would bet the farm you have a greater appreciation and a vast knowledge, which is why I respect and value your opinion so greatly. <Thank you for sharing Russ. Bob Fenner>

Re: Epaulette shark sys.   7/23/08 Thank you so much Mr. Fenner for your speedy reply. Ok, so I got a new quote on an 84X42X20 305 gallon aquarium with rounded corners, (only two pieces of glass obviously). Anyways, it will cost quite a bit more considering the unusual shape, however, I am ordering through a private distributer, plus, I absolutely do not mind forking out the cash to accommodate this animal. That will be one of the necessities is to have an "emergency" bank account, you know, just in case. So, my question now, is do you feel that along with all the other aspects of this project, the Epaulette can live happily for a number of years within this tank. <Yes... likely for more than a natural life span in the wild> I would just absolutely love to have one, this way I don't have to go far to study this animal up close, and I won't have to spend 35 dollars just to see it eat and do what it does naturally. The task, however, will be to get this specimen to do "what it does naturally" in captivity. Well, thank you for your time, and I do hope to hear from you soon. Thanks again, sir. Russ Crenshaw <Ahh! I do hope we meet, get to dive, observe this and other life underwater someday together. Cheers! Bob Fenner>

Re: Epaulette shark sys.   7/23/08 Well Mr. Fenner, meet at the Denver Aquarium sometime next Spring. I will keep you up to date and send you some pictures when I have everything set up in about 6 months or so. Thanks a million. Russ Crenshaw <Ahh! Real good. Thank you. BobF>

Sharks in a 75 gallon aquarium? - Part sixty-five billion and twenty...    11/4/06 Hi! Chad here again. Just wanted to ask if there is any way possible to keep a Freycinet's Epaulette Shark in a 75 gallon tank. Dimensions: 48in L x 18in W x 24in H. <Chad, haven't we been down this road before? The majority of literature on the Hemiscyllium freycineti advises keeping it in a 180 gal. tank.  I know you claim to have read Scott Michael's articles, but let me point you back in that direction for a refresher: Mr. Michael's writes "A juvenile epaulette shark can easily be kept in a smaller aquarium, even a tank as small as the standard 20-gallon long. But the aquarist must be prepared to provide larger quarters as they grow, and they can grow fast! Juveniles may grow as much as 29 cm (11.4 in.) in a years time. At maximum size, most bamboo or epaulette sharks could be comfortably housed in a 180-gallon tank. The Hemiscyllium spp. are all found in tropical seas and will thrive at water temperatures of 22 to 29 ºC (72 to 84 ºF). Remember, at lower water temperatures your shark will grow more slowly." Taken from: http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/june2004/fish.htm So, yes, initially this shark would be OK in your 75, but you *must* be prepared to upgrade to a 180, probably sooner rather than later.  Additionally, it is worth noting that the IUCN Species Survival Commission has listed this particular species as "near threatened" - do think seriously about wanting to house this creature in potentially less than ideal conditions...> If not, is there ANY shark species that I could keep in this size tank? <In a 75 gallon tank? Let me be very clear: NO.  I know that my boyfriend Chris, who also answers queries for WWM, has already given you this answer. Thanks in advance. <You obviously enjoy these magnificent creatures...why not take up studying them in books, at public aquariums, underwater as a SCUBA diver, etc...you don't have to "own" them to enjoy them... Thanks, Chad <You're welcome.  On a final note, Chad, we don't mind answering queries - that's what we are here for, but if you do ask a question once (or even more than once, in some cases), please respect the response you've been given. Even if you don't agree with the answer itself, by all means, keep researching on your own, but don't keep asking the same folks here to change their answers, as that tends to make us crabby after time:-0  Take care, Jorie>

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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>

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.

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>

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 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 life spans 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 Hi ....Hope you can help us on this query. We are in the process of constructing a shark tank for a public aquarium complex here in Mauritius. <Pete and I and possibly a few others hope to visit your island and maybe Rodriquez (the Mascarenes) in late summer> The tank dimension will be (in meters) 16L x 5W x 1.5D. <I do agree with the height in terms of cost and function> We plan to have 4 viewing panels as follows:-      2 panels of ( in meters)  2.30 x 130 <cm.>                                                                         1 panel            ''           1.90 x 1.15                                                                         1 panel             ''          1. 85 x 1.16 Due to construction error viewing panels are not consistent in size. <This happens, no worries> Our questions are as follows:- 1) Should the panels be in glass or acrylic <Either will work... more dependent on availability and cost for my preference. If possible using the acrylic, I would look into a glass panel in front with a desiccant between (the glass to reduce the public scratching the viewing panel itself, the desiccant to prevent condensation> 2) We only have glass up to a thickness of 19 mm available on the island. Is 19mm thick panels sufficient or should this be laminated....i.e. 2x19mm <IMO laminated> 3) Is laminated glass safe to use and will it begin to blur or discolor with time. <If done properly s/b fine. No blurring or discoloration> 4). Most of our aquariums will made from acrylic and imported....... should we therefore stick with acrylic panels for the shark tank and if so what thickness? <It is the safest. If not too expensive I would go with acrylic... as do most all public aquaria> 5) If we go with acrylic how should this be assembled to the concrete structure...... Is silicon the answer? <Yes, nested in a continuous bead around the inside frame> Your earliest advices would be much appreciated...... my email address is  Thanking you in advance.......we will keep you informed of the progress of the public aquarium project. Mick Ducasse <Be chatting, maybe seeing you. Bob Fenner>

Shark Tank Hi Bob........ Thanks for getting back to me so quickly.....very much appreciated. Look forward to seeing you when you come over....... If it's your first visit I'll be happy to show you around the island. <Outstanding. Will contact you as plans become more solid. A friend (Peter) lived in Swaziland for 15 years... visited your country as a soccer and rugby player... he's doing the planning, leading... will cc him here> This island is a dream come true for ardent marine aquarists like myself. I hope that you don't mind me asking you just a few more questions on the proposed shark tank. <Please> 1) You state that laminated glass " if done properly" should be fine .....what exactly should I be looking for? <Having the glass manufacturing company do this> 2) Would you recommend that the laminated glass be 2x19mm. or can we use 2x12mm.for the tank size quoted? <The 2 by 19 mm at least> 3) If we decide on the acrylic route is there a minimum thickness that we should be using for the tank size. <I encourage you to greatly oversize... 1 1/2"... to allow for future scratch removal (a bane of public aquaria) and safety margin> 4) You mention that a glass panel with a desiccant between is preferred...... can these be siliconed to the acrylic. <Yes... but better to do this "gingerly" (with not much silicone) so it can be removed for future replacement> Finally and please excuse my ignorance what exactly is the desiccant and what is it made of...... I'm not sure we have it here and I may have to import it. <No worries. Some folks use calcium hydrochloride, others silicate type gels...> Thanks again for all your help ..... I'm sure I will be troubling you again from time to time with more queries. Regards, Mick <Am cc'ing a few friends in the business of public aquariums who have put together exhibits recently for their input as well. Be chatting, Bob Fenner> P.S. Do you know of the Mauritian Anemonefish.....it is endemic to this island . I hope to start a breeding program to reproduce this beauty in the near future....will keep you posted. 

Pics of Shark Tanks - 8/20/03 hi,  <Hey!  Phil w/ ya today!>  I was interested in setting up a 300 gallon or so tank for a banded cat shark. <A good size for this shark, please note that a larger tank may be required depending on how larger the shark really gets.>   I was wondering if you guys had any pictures or links to pictures with such set ups. <Hmmm... have you tried a Google search?  Also if you haven't already.  Pick up a copy of "Sharks & Rays" by Scott Michael.  A great book, w/ pics, and tank design ideas.>   I've been looking all over the internet and have not yet found a picture of a small shark tank. <Doesn't surprise me as sharks can't be kept in small tanks.. LOL.  Most people don't have the space/cash/time to setup a shark tank.  It will cost thousands, more likely tens of thousands for a complete tank.  Get that book though, it will help ya out a lot!  Phil>

Catsharks...  8/1/03 Bob<Phil with ya today!  I'll do my best and act like Bob though.  ;)   > Long time no email.  Need some help choosing tank mates. I have 2 female and a male Atelomycterus marmoratus in a 265 gal tank.<Wow... that's a tight fit.  Each shark needs around 180-200 gallons of water.  In this tank each shark has 88 gallons.  Not enough!!>  The sharks are all between 20 and 29 inches. the largest female is laying eggs but the male is not sexually mature) I also had a 9" blue lined snapper in the tank but he was harassed to death by the sharks @ night.<He was probably in "their" space.>  I started noticing his fins were a bit frayed about a week ago but once he got hurt the sharks went on him. Prior to this taking place I was thinking of adding few other blue lined snappers for a small school effect or a large Passer Angel. Now I am not sure. I like Lionfish but don't want to risk the Sharks getting "poked" by the Lion. Any ideas would be most appreciated. I was thinking about a school of something fast and inexpensive. Maybe Blue Chromis?<To be honest Patrick I suggest a tank upgrade.  At least 500 gallons, probably more like 600 for 3 sharks.  The females will begin to fight over time.  They need space.  Scott Michael states that Coral Catsharks are "more voracious then bamboo sharks and will attempt to eat fishes kept with them..."  Mixing other fish with this type of shark isn't a really good idea.  IMO, upgrade the tank and enjoy the wonderful sharks.  One of my all-time favorite aquarium fish.> Patrick Hynes<Best of luck!  Phil>

Stuff The Shark In The Aquarium... NOT - 8/20/03 Can I keep a banded shark in a 55 gal aquarium?  Will it survive but just won't have a lot of room?  <Phil handling the shark q's today.  Sorry bud, but there are no sharks that can live in a 55g aquarium for more then a few months.  A Brown-Banded Bamboo Shark needs at least a 300g tank, more likely a 400-500g tank to live its full life.  Hope this helps... keep reading and saving for a larger tank... then go for a shark!  Phil>

Under No Circumstance - Sharks for a 55 Gallon - 8/13/03 I did a lot of reading on the site and couldn't find an answer <you really need to look a little harder then my friend... there are tons of FAQs on sharks and rays in our archives and all matters pertaining to them. Even recently written articles by crew members. Start at the home page ( http://www.wetwebmedia.com ) and then click your way to wisdom... marines... cartilaginous fishes... sharks and/or rays... articles, FAQs, etc> I have a 55 gallon tank and want a shark. I realize that you need a large tank to house the true sharks but are there any sharks that can house my tank any at all that are even close to the true ones. <the elasmobranches are in a (sub)class of their own. Nothing like them comes close. And 200 gallons would be the smallest tank for an adult of the smallest species (bamboo, cat, epaulette sharks at 24-36" adults)> I just want something exotic and would greatly appreciate your advice. Thank you <there are many exotic fishes available if you have the patience and discipline to make the 55 a species specific tank (only one critter or its kind). Consider a fascinating frogfish... or perhaps a shoal of Footballers or Stripies, maybe a common (vulgaris) octopus if the tank can be chilled. More research bubba. Best regards, Anthony>

The Wanna-be Shark Keeper of the Week - 8/29/03 Would a 12*12*5 tank (just over 5000 gallons) be suitable for a few Blacktips and maybe a leopard and/or nurse shark.   <nope.. and here's why: for starters, you are referring to semi-tropical, temperate and tropical species in the same tank. Pick one and stick with it. Secondly, you will want/need a cylindrical tank for their long-term health. Lets be clear here too... you might keep 2-3 of the first two species mentioned... but nurse sharks get huge... like over 10 feet (14 or so perhaps). There will be no "several" for that species here. Temperature, tank shape and adult sizes are very fundamental bits of information... if you haven't gleaned these bits yet, then you clearly have yet to begin your journey to enlightenment on the subject> Could I get away with a smaller tank?   <oh, good heavens... Ahhh, depends on which species you will pick. The leopard is the smallest by mass... but will be the most expensive to keep for chilling a few thousand gallons of water. The Blacktip will be best kept single or in a pair in this case... and no... not(!) in a smaller tank (the most active swimmers)> I want to properly take care of this fish.  I realize the financial/time commitment is HUGE!   <you have no idea my friend... a couple tens of Gs at this point in the 5 year picture. A college degree would be cheaper and a much better investment for you <G>> Everything I read just says not to keep them unless you have a really large system.  Is this large enough and if so where can I find more info. Eric <your first investment should be into buying Scott Michael's book "Sharks and Rays". A great book... and as a constructive criticism, his tank minimums are too small IMO for optimal long term health. A please be realistic about your ability to keep these and any fishes.. Anthony>

Big sharks redux 9/1/03 This is the response I expected.  I am not entirely discouraged yet by your dollar figure or your tongue thrashing (which I did need for including the leopard, I knew it was a colder water fish but it was late and I wasn't thinking.)  I am aware of that book, and had already planned on purchasing it.   <very good, my friend. You will find excellent detail therein... very specific information on feeding, reproduction, species param.s, etc. Also... be sure to do a good job as a researching consumer and find and read many of the references in the bibliography. A mountain of information there - if you read it all you'd be on your way to being an expert> I have thumbed through it though.  Let me explain one thing; a lot of my ignorance on the subject is because no one (not even that book) properly tells you how to take care of them.   <you are completely mistaken... Michael's book literally spells it out in text. And the bibliography is impressive. Did you honestly even look at the book? There are tank recommendations by species! There are other resources in the index like a reference to the Elasmobranch society which you need to join and get access to even more information.> They all say unless you can commit to a tank this size, then you can't have one, then assumes no one is that stupid.   <Ahhhh... you do realize that "they" nor "I" will condone the inhumane or inadequate housing of any animal regardless of how bad you want to jam it into a smaller or more crowed tank> Well, maybe I am that dumb.   <you said it... not me> Let me narrow this down a little.  I want to keep a black tip.  Even just one.  I want to be able to properly take care of it, or not have one at all.  I really mean that!!! <OK... and I am grateful to hear it. But your last e-mail said quite clearly that you wanted several... and you wanted to know about mixing three different species. I am concerned for your future success if you are so fickle> I will not proceed until a professional like yourself sees fit.  When you say cylindrical, would a tank 20x8widex5high be better than a 12x12 tank.   <cy-lin-dri-cal> I had already planned for rounded corners, as in you faq it explains that sharks may dart, may be better if it is a glancing blow....  If there are any tankmates I can keep with the black tip, please let me know what (groupers, triggers, etc.).  Try not to make too much fun of me!!! :) Eric <Eric... you really need to read and learn much more than our casual e-mails can proffer. Its all just mental masturbation at this point and really very much the typical day-dreaming wishful shark-keepers do. In and of itself, the day-dreaming is not a bad thing at all... quite the contrary, very wonderful. But do respect our time and your chances for success and make at least a half-hearted effort at some research first. Not knowing/recalling that Leopard are temperate... or trying to talk us into blessing your non-cylindrical tank betray your youth in the endeavor, if not years in life literally. I assure you... reading through "Sharks and Rays" honestly will put much of this in perspective for you. And it is written by an enthusiast that is much more empathetic to shark-keeping by private aquarists than I am. There are many considerations for you to ponder... like the several thousand dollars per year in food alone that a 40, 60 or 100+ pound shark will need... not to mention multiplying that for more than one shark. Water changes on a 5-6K gallon tank cost $300-500 per water change (!) assuming you can buy the salt at cost and by the pallet. You really have no concept of what it will take to run this system. Do make road trips to visit at least a few public aquariums with sharks and arrange to chat with one of their aquarists on staff for insight. Peace. Anthony>

Shark Pond Hello, I would like to find out information on how to, or if possible to make a saltwater pond. My idea is to make a 15'x20'x5' pond for a Nurse shark. <I would not do this, even though you live in Florida the temperature changes drastically from the winter months to the summer months...I too live in FL>  This pond will be undercover by the roof over my patio.<ok> I live in Florida and plan to have the pond in the ground. Hoping that the ground temp. would both cool & keep the pond warm depending on the season. I also plan to have extensive water flow through out the pond. <yes, you would need this>  I have 6 -55gallon drums (plastic) in which to pack full of live rock. I'm going to flow the pond water through the barrels. I also plan to have Protein Skimmers in the mix. <yes, this is a must for this potentially large creature>  Live sand and rock will be abundant through out the pond. I also plan to rig up a float, so that as water evaporates the float will trigger my well to pump water into the pond. I plan to keep my salinity on the low side to compensate the evaporation. <I would keep the Specific gravity at 1.025>  How often do you think water changes will be necessary? <At least twice a month>  Or I'm I wasting time and allot of money!!! Any info would greatly be appreciated. Thanks in advance P.S. you people are the shizzzal.  Seth <Honestly, I think this would be a waste of both your time and money. I doubt the fish will survive the extremes (being winter and the summer months). There are also more factors involved. Such as rain water... getting in the pond etc. Pesticides, other chemicals getting into the pond and possibly killing the shark. I advise you to spend the money on something like a 500 gallon aquarium for your home... and keeping an epaulette shark or bamboo shark in the aquarium. Good Luck, IanB>

Housing A Shark... I was wondering if I could ask a question about my Marbled cat shark... I heard that this is one of the smallest cat sharks and only grow to a size of 24". So I'm keeping him in a 220 gallon aquarium 72Lx24Wx30H with very little rock work, just enough for my Goldentail moray to swim in... Now knowing this guy is only going to get as big as the tank is wide I'll have no future problems with him will I? <To be quite honest...I would pass on this or any shark in this tank. To house an animal in a tank that it will ultimately be as long as the tank is wide is bordering on cruel and unusual! You really need a tank of much, much larger size to keep one of these animals humanely. Otherwise, it's like you being condemned to spend the rest of your life in your living room...Comfortable in a way, but intolerable over time...Enjoy these animals in the ocean, or in a public aquarium...Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Coral Catshark System >I was thinking about building an aquarium of 72"L x 48"w x 30"h approx. 450 gal.  Would this be adequate to house two coral Catsharks or a coral Catshark and a bamboo shark when they get to there max size?   >>Coral Catshark yes, JUST adequate, if you can get it deeper (front to back) they'd be a bit more comfortable.  I would add another 6" if possible.  They hit just under 30", but most sharks have a tendency to bump around a lot. >And if not could you please tell me what the appropriate size tank and equipment I would need to achieve this. I appreciate any input you have to offer. >>Treat sharks as invertebrates is my number one recommendation.  Use the softest substrate possible (nice round-grained oolitic sand, or crushed coral that's nicely rounded in the range of 1mm-2mm).  Use NO dead coral skeletons, live rock only, offer lots of caves to swim through.  Filtration is going to be your biggest worry, so skim the bejesus out of this system, lots of flow (10x or better) through it, and if you're using sufficient live rock you'll have your best chance at getting near sea water quality conditions.  I would also consider a refugium, just to be sure you've got nutrient export under control.  Here's a link from fishbase.org: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?genusname=Atelomycterus&speciesname=marmoratus Marina

Sharks in small tanks - 1/27/04 I currently own a small salt water aquarium (75 gallons), <Not exactly small but I guess all things considered.....small> and I know how you talk about small aquariums and large sharks mixing. <Don't even get me started> I am looking for a small shark and I am going to get a 125 within the next year that he could be transferred into but, not any larger than that though. <Nah. Forget it. Some will say there are sharks that will fit in 125 but I am not going to bite. No sharks under 250 gallons for the smallest sharks.> Is there any types of sharks that you can think of that could do well in these tank sizes. <Not going there. I don't believe so, in my opinion> I have read of some types of sharks that stop at about 24" and then read of the same sharks on different web sites reaching 4'. <Exactly. It is better to plan for genetic differences by being open to getting the largest tank possible when dealing with small sharks let alone the largest of 'em> Am I wasting my time looking or is there a shark for me out there? <I would have to say to leave the sharks to the professional public aquarists or the ocean and go for something else. 'Neff said. You could look our site for info on sharks, though. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharks.htm  Sorry for the rant, but it just doesn't bode well for aquarist or shark in the long run. ~Paul> Thanks for any help, Brandon

Nurse Sharks Are Not For Home Aquariums (1/25/04) Hi, my friend offered me his nurse shark and I was wondering if it would do good in my tank. it's about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 ft long, but my tank is only a 55 gallon and he had a 260. so can you help me out and let me know if it would survive in my 55  <Absolutely not.> and if it is good in my tank. can you let me know what else kind of fish would be compatible with it? thanks a lot. <These sharks  grow to 10-14 feet in length and don't even belong in a 260 gallon tank. Recommended size tank per Scott Michael's "Aquarium Sharks & Rays" is 5,000 gallons! Your friend should never have bought this shark in the first place and certainly should not be offering it to you. Sounds like your friend knows almost nothing about nurse sharks. About the only hope for it to avoid a miserable life and death is if he can find a public aquarium that can take it. Let's hope he can. Steve Allen.>

Shark tank -1/23/04 I have recently purchased a new home and would like a shark tank to be the focal point of my living room. <Well, I will be honest, I really don't like the idea of aquarists keeping sharks. Lack of commitment at various levels usually spells doom for the animal. Hopefully you are serious and can commit financially for long term care>  I have discussed this with the builder and he said with the span of the tank being 15 feet I would be safe up to 35,000 pounds.  (home has concrete roof and limestone floors) I have contacted a local company and they advised a 25 foot by 4 foot tank.  I want sharks that resemble the great white. <Whoa, buddy. Then I would suggest looking through various sites to find the specific shark you would like to keep. The I would contact a local aquarium to find out about cost and care. Do plenty of research, by some books, I learn as much as you can.>  The local company will be maintaining and caring for the tank. (local service to many offices, homes and business's) <OK. Still wouldn't hurt for you to know as much as possible.> I would like to just be a little more educated before I spend this type of money. <Awesome! You are on the right track.> I was told plan on 20k. <Or a bit more. Build as big a tank as possible and the best filtration (with shark in mind) that money can buy>  I would like 3 sharks (if possible) are these wants and prices anywhere close to reality or am I being taken for a ride? <Well, depends on the sharks. Everything should be priced around the type of shark, adult length of the sharks in question, feeding and nutrition, maintenance, and  the general needs for the shark environment.> The home is in a nicer neighborhood so I don't want to pay too much just because it appears that I can (which I can not) <Not sure what it is you are saying here> What should I expect to spend on Sharks? <Well, usually somewhere between 40 bucks to somewhere around 5000 a piece or more for a pup depending on what type of shark, of course. It varies greatly as you can see. Obviously the overall cost for keeping a shark will be very expensive as a large tank with superior filtration and food costs will be very financially binding. For me, I like sharks in the ocean. Take up diving and put your money to more enriching things like visiting a new culture and diving with sharks =) Good luck! ~Paul> R. Shane Sherman  

A conscientious approach to shark keeping - 2/14/04 Hey!     I stumbled onto your website while looking for information on shark habitats, and I haven't left my chair in 6 hours! <What a compliment. Thank you> I have read through all of the posted FAQs regarding "Shark Systems" and I found the information very helpful. <Especially the part about not keeping them in general aquaria but I digress> I suspect it will be another couple of months of research before the "groundbreaking" for my new tank, but I have a basic design question for you that will greatly impact the project. <OK. Go for it...lay it on me> Our project is as follows:     We are building an addition to our home immediately adjacent to our family room in a space roughly 22' long x 10' wide and a roof height around 8'. In this space we will house the tank and all of the related equipment. This addition will share a common wall with the family room and it is my intention to create the viewing wall through this common wall. <Can I come live with you??> This will create the "in-wall" tank effect when seated in the family room, but the tank will have it's own separate room in the addition. <Again, can I come live with you?> As you can see, I have plenty of room to work with for both tank and equipment in this 200+ sq ft space. I want to create a balance between tank volume (the bigger the better for sharks) <Sir, yes sir!> and shape (the rounder the better for sharks). <Holy smokes, you have been reading. I applaud you!> I will get the most volume from a square design, so one possible choice is to greatly round the inside corners to form an oval and sacrifice some of the inner volume for the rounded corners. <Depends on the shark> This has the benefit of retaining most of the inner volume but the downside is that it still has four walls all facing each other. My other option is to create a "D" shape, <A great idea and does look unique. Gives the illusion of depth> where the front viewing window is flat but the rest of the tank is a half-circle. This obvious benefit to this is that there is only one flat surface and the rest lends itself well to swimming. <I like this idea but greatly depends on the shark> However, I sacrifice a great deal of volume. So the question is, for a given swimming species, is the arc more important than volume? <Not necessarily. Both are very important>     I'm up for some math if you are. <I am never up for math but do enjoy it> If I keep my viewing window a constant 10' long x 4' tall, here are the numbers I get. For a square tank with a width of 5' the volume would be 1,500 gal. After rounding off the inside corners to make an oval we're closer to 1,300 gal. With the same viewing window and a semi-circle tank with a radius of 5' we get a volume of 1177 gal. This is a lot less volume than the square design but it's a better shape. <I agree> I purposely left out my choice in sharks because I have not yet decided. <OK, but this will change the tank dimension and volume> I am planning to keep a single animal in this tank because I think that will give me the best chance at keeping it content for space through adulthood. <Excellent. You truly are a Conscientious Marine Aquarist. I applaud you again, and the future inhabitant will too.> I take very good care of my animals, and for that reason I want to be sure that I choose a species that will work well in the environment that I am creating. <Excellent attitude> I am considering one of the Heterodontidae family, likely a H. portusjacksoni. <The cat sharks (typically  benthic) are fine in a square volume tank as long as they can turn in the tank> I am also considering a Orectolobus maculatus, but I'm concerned about their adult size in spite of the fact that they are listed on your site as suitable for home aquariums. <Mostly because of their hardiness. The Wobbegongs are very aggressive. I recollect a news story regarding a man in Australia having one attached to his leg for more than an hour> A final consideration would be a Chiloscyllium punctatum. <Excellent choice for any of your tank options.> As you can see, I'm looking for a tropical shark to avoid the need for cooling the water (in Arizona). <Understood. May want to connect a chiller for backup though.> My favorite shark of all time is the Stegostoma fasciatum, <I agree. We are working with these right now. They are almost ready for exhibit.> and since I can't house one of those I'm looking for something that reminds me of them. <I really like your approach. I think you should come out to the "Aquarium" in April and not only will we show you the new "Sharks" exhibit but I will see if I can't you a behind the scenes and put in touch with a our two main shark specialists. How does that sound? SO keep on doing your research. Let me know what else I can do to help you. Here are a few links that we here at the "aquarium" feel are very important: http://www.mazuri.com/main.html (most notably Vita-Zu) http://www.shark.ch/cgi-bin/w3-msql/mSQL/overview.html http://saltaquarium.about.com/cs/sharkcareinfo/ I wasn't sure if the shape of the tank would depend on the animal, so I neglected to mention my choices.     Thanks for any insight you can offer, and thanks for taking the time to create such a fantastic resource at WWM! <It is our pleasure! Keep on keepin on, brother ~Paul> Travis

Re: Question about shark tank design, specifically shapes. The answers are coming, Travis. We are looking over your questions carefully. We are super uber busy at the Monterey Bay Aquarium readying for the new shark exhibit to open in March/April! It is coming together amazingly well and looks fantastic! I just wanted you to know we are looking at your questions and want to give a thoughtful educated answer. Should have an something soon! ~Paul Well, I purposely left out my choice in sharks because I have not yet decided. I am planning to keep a single animal in this tank because I think that will give me the best chance at keeping it content for space through adulthood. I take very good care of my animals, and for that reason I want to be sure that I choose a species that will work well in the environment that I am creating. I am considering one of the Heterodontidae family, likely a H. portusjacksoni. I am also considering a Orectolobus maculatus, but I'm concerned about their adult size in spite of the fact that they are listed on your site as suitable for home aquariums. A final consideration would be a Chiloscyllium punctatum. As you can see, I'm looking for a tropical shark to avoid the need for cooling the water (in Arizona). My favorite shark of all time is the Stegostoma fasciatum, and since I can't house one of those I'm looking for something that reminds me of them. I wasn't sure if the shape of the tank would depend on the animal, so I neglected to mention my choices. Thanks for any help. Travis Re: Question about shark tank design, specifically shapes. I was there until 3 AM Monday to Tuesday acclimating the "dither" fish for the background in the various tropical shark tanks. Fun stuff hard work. Expect a reply in the next few days. ~Paul Take your time with the reply, I'm in no rush. Lots of planning left to do. Glad to hear that the MBA exhibit is coming along. I was just there the end of January and I was sorry to see that I missed the sharks by only 2-3 months. I'm going to have to plan for a return visit soon. I can't wait to see how it turns out! Thanks again, Travis

Re: Question about shark tank design, specifically shapes Paul, Thank you for taking the time to reply to my lengthy question, and thank you for the links. <It's what we do> I have found them very useful and they will be a good future resource. The taxonomy link (the second one) is a real help when it comes to keeping track of species relationships. <I thought you might find interest in it. I could tell by your email that you were not the average shark keeper> From your response it sounds as though I'm considering a tank size sufficient to allow for some loss of volume in exchange for the more ideal shape. <Really depends upon you intended species but from the sounds of it I think you are correct in your statement. You could take a "hit" in the volume for a more ideal shape> As I narrow down the choices (which I guess I'll need to do relatively soon in the design process) I'll spend more time looking up specifics form your site. I'm sure that will generate more questions. <It should> As for the aquarium, it's a shame I was too early for the opening. <Yeah. It is almost complete. We are already putting fish in tanks.> I was there literally three weeks ago for the first time in over 5 years. If you're offering a "behind the scenes" tour, I'll have to go out of my way to take you up on that offer in good time. <Don't wait too long. Email me and let me know when and how many are coming and I think I can prepare something> I better do it after I build the tank, however, or I'm liable to expand my design after seeing yours! <What's wrong with that?? Hehehehe> FYI, you're welcome to come and live with me. <Ahhhh, there was a time when that statement could have been true. Marriage, career, school, volunteer commitments keep me where I am. Don't get me wrong though. My wife and I are well traveled and I have a trip to Egypt approaching very quickly. Three weeks in the Red Sea. I can hardly wait!> There should be plenty of room for a cot in the equipment room ;) <Sure. Put me to work! Seriously though, you must document every step. Send lots of pictures. Maybe make a website dedicated to it? Also, as you learn more maybe even write an article for our new webzine??? Thanks for the follow up ~Paul> Travis

What size tank for a bamboo shark? - 1/30/04 Thanks Paul, Here is a little update. The shark is eating Selcon soaked Mysis and krill. And I have located a 250 Gal. tank for him, 6'L X 4'W 2'H with the corner clipped off. <Excellent.> Do you think this will be a good size for the shark? <Actually I think it might. I still cannot encourage shark keeping for the casual reef keeper but I think you are trying your best and that is all one can ask. Keep me up to date as time allows and maybe some pictures of the new digs? Vary the food stuffs as much as you can to cover the varied nutritional values the shark might come across in the wild. Thanks again. ~Paul> Eric 

Nurse Shark Pool/Pond I have a 19 1/2" Nurse Shark in a 220 Gal Aquarium.  I naively acquired the entire system free from someone who was moving.  I immediately determined that the tank is way too small. <Way, WAY too small> I want to build a salt water pond 12'wx24'lx3'd oval shape. It will have a deep sand bottom at least 12".  What is the best materiel for construction?   Is Gunnite or concrete suitable? <Either can work for the structural shell... You'll have to have a smooth "plaster" (it's actually cement-based) coat put over either as well> Will steel rebar affect the shark adversely? <Good question and YES. A very common source of mortality for captive sharks is the presence of ferrous metal... I used to necropsy sharks for public aquariums and can assure you that even very modern facilities have had REAL problems with iron metal contamination. Whatever coating over the reinforcing steel and/or mesh you use must be sealed from metal influence... again the "plaster coat" should do it> I live in Atlanta, Georgia and plan to build this outside. It gets cold here in winter so I plan on heating with a solar heat system. Basically, I plan on building him a swimming pool using standard methods. <Yikes... do look into a heat-exchanger mechanism... and the possibility of building a thermal insulating structure over the pond... will save you money in just a short while>   Any help on filtration, circulation, anything to help me keep this shark alive and content.  {I have read your articles and notes to people who are about to put themselves in my predicament.  I did not research before I took "him" in.  But now that I have him, he is my responsibility for the rest of his life.  I would like to make that comfortable and long.} <I hope I can convey what I feel compelled to state here in a simple, straight-forward manner that you'll consider/take to heart. I applaud your apparent positive attitude toward your situation, obligation to this animals welfare... But I encourage you to wait a while, think and plan this project all the way through... the costs for building such a system actually pale in comparison to ongoing costs for power (pumps, heating), synthetic seawater... the time commitment. I would look into donating this animal to perhaps the new public aquarium being built in Atlanta... perhaps they have current facilities for housing it till the aquarium is finished/open. To help you with your decision and plans please do read through the archives on sharks and their husbandry posted on WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

Re: Nurse Shark Donation Sir, I would like to donate a Nurse Shark to the Atlanta Aquarium.  It is approximately 19 inches long. He needs a good home to grow and be healthy.  If you are interested please contact me, Scott Geoffrion, at GSGeoffrioXXXX@yahoo.com.  Or you can reach me at Home 678-479-XXXX.  I really want the best for this animal and I think that if there is a place for him at the Aquarium he would be much better off than in a private aquarium which he would eventually outgrow (they can reach 12'-14' ) and live cramped, unhealthy, and unhappy. Sincerely, Scott Geoffrion <Looks good Scott. Do send it in. Bob Fenner>

Re: Nurse Shark Pond Bob, Thanks for your response.  No, I did not get the first reply.  My server said that it was not delivered thus the second Email. <Ah, the wonderful Internet!>   How long can I keep him in a 400 gallon Tank? <If you are VERY careful re feeding a few to several months... most "jump out" (Ginglymostoma will knock an unbelievable amount of weight off a lid on the way out) or die from "unhappiness", pollution before reaching a physiological limit on their tank volume> And I will contact the Atlanta Aquarium.  I was under the impression that most aquariums were "full" from some article or email that I read but I'm sure that I misinterpreted the information.  Again thank you. Scott Geoffrion <Worth trying... think of it, you could go visit "your" shark! For many years to come. Bob Fenner>

Another Shark Question 7/10/05 Hello! <HI! ;)> First of all, let me extend my gratitude for all of your efforts in answering the endless line of questions. Your site has been an excellent resource in my search to better my understanding in this hobby. <Thanks - to me as well> Since I have already read the FAQ's, I realize that keeping a shark is a responsibility best left to professionals or dedicated hobbyists with plenty of time (and even more money). <I wouldn't say "professional" because we all feel like "newbies" at one time or another, but definitely someone with the budget to support their requirements> Although certainly not condoned, but very apparent, is that there are many hobbyists who impulse buy sharks for a small aquarium and this leads to the eventual demise of the shark or the 'closet' analogy I've seen used throughout the FAQ's. <Glad to see you haven't fallen into this entrapment> To get to the point, my interest is in keeping a 'swimming' shark. After much research, I realize that a Blacktip Shark is not a real possibility because of its eventual size. <Correct> There are far better choices for captivity, but they are bottom dwelling and not the 'Mini-Jaws' that many of us dream about keeping. Since I live in Central Florida, I have been fishing out in the Gulf and caught several Sharpnose Sharks - Rhizoprionodon terraenovae (Richardson, 1836) *NOTE* I always catch and release*. <Good to hear> Supposedly, the sharks can attain a maximum length of 43.3 inches but average 31.5 to 33.5 inches as mature adults (most of the ones which I've caught have been little over 2'). Their feeding habits are not particularly special as they are reported to feed on silversides, shrimp (what I caught them on), and many other bony fishes and inverts. <Sharks usually aren't too picky> This shark as well as the Bonnethead - Sphyrna tiburo (Linnaeus 1758), attains approximately the same length but seems to be more inclined to prey on crustaceans than the former but not specifically. According to what I've read on the FAQ's I would need a tank 2x's body width wide by 3x's body length long to be adequate.<<Minimally. RMF>> Since most of the FAQ's are concerned with bottom dwelling, more or less inactive sharks, do these calculations also hold true for these sharks as well? <Not at all.  Most "ground dwelling" sharks are much less active swimmers.  The open water\'swimming' sharks never stop moving, and need much more swimming area> I had amateur engineered a tank 4' wide by 8' long and 2' deep giving me approximately 480 gallons.  I had figured on 4' high walls for avoiding 'leaping carpet' sharks. I've done enough research to provide adequate filtration, but will the tank size provide a adequate home for either of these sharks? It would be good to know before I build! <First of all, no sharks like the typical rectangular aquariums that we are used to seeing.  You should have a cylindrical or oval shaped aquarium custom made for you out of acrylic.  Second of all, you are going to need a very large tank for a ~3' open water shark, most likely too large to be practical.  For an oval\rectangular shape, we're talking 15-20 feet long, 10 feet wide, 3-6 feet high.  A cylindrical tank with a diameter of 15 feet or so would also work>   Also, are there any special husbandry requirements for either of these species which should be considered beyond filtration/supplemental vitamins/corrosive metals/copper medications/chemical water treatments/contoured corners? <Ah, you are aware of the need for contoured corners.  I would also use a grounding probe in the tank, to ground any stray electrical currents as sharks are very sensitive to these.  All in all, I do not recommend attempting to keep  this species in captivity without a tank of 1,500+ gallons> Lastly, if there aren't any other special requirements for these species, it seems rather absurd to purchase a Nurse Shark or Black Tail Reef shark given that there are much better choices for captivity. <Nurse sharks are much less active swimmers than the Atlantic shark you're wanting to keep, and black tip reef sharks are simply absurd for a private individual without a tank in the tens of thousands of gallons> Thanks for the great work, <Hope I was of service> Steven Beckman <M. Maddox>

Pond Liner for Salt tank set up? Bob, First off LOVE THE site!! Just found it and it's a wealth of info. I have a quick question 4 you. I'm considering making a large salt tank and was wondering if the normal pond liners would be ok for constructing a salt tank used for sharks and rays etc..... If pond liner won't work is there any other material other than the Rubbermaid tanks etc...... I want an indoor pond but with sharks I figured the cheapest way to get a 6x12 tank would be to go pond liner. Thanks and keep up the good work. and thanks in advance. <You are welcome. I have built such "shark tanks" (and more) out of pond liners (nominal 20 mil. polyethylene ("water bed") types to 32 mil reinforced, EPDM, Butyl Rubber... with good utility. The large Rubbermaid tm oval "troughs" are also very useful. A note of caution: Do make a complete, secure cover over either, as even apparently sedentary sharks can/will launch themselves out... Bob Fenner> Regards, Robert C. Taggett

Re: Pond Liner for Salt tank set up?  Thanks for your reply! And yes a cover is a must I had a 386 gallon tank 96" l x 36" w x 24 h and yes I encountered not once but twice one of my leopards liked to breath carpet fortunate enough I was able to save him and he lived for many years after that... Keep up the good work.! <Yikes, thanks for the lucid response. Will endeavor to do so. Bob Fenner> Regards, Robert C. Taggett

Shark and ray pond/lagoon at home Hi Bob- I have a question regarding using sharks and rays in an outdoor pond/lagoon. I have a shady courtyard in front of my house where my wife and I would like to put an in-ground small pond. <Good for thermal insulation> I have enjoyed my 80 gallon reef tank for years and would love to find a way to make an outdoor saltwater environment work (not much of a Koi fan), but I'm having trouble gathering good information on this topic. <Have seen a few, and built a couple of largish marine features of this sort...> I live in Southern California - great climate (40 F - 90 F) air temperature year round and about 20 minutes from the ocean. (so obviously pumping in ocean water won't happen!)  <We live in San Diego... more inland than you...> The size of the area is going to be about 10' x 10' and 2-3' feet deep, so I'll have great surface area and room for them to turn. The courtyard is also well protected with 4 walls. So, Is it possible/difficult?? <Possible, not terribly difficult> Would I need a heater/chiller?  <Yes... a heater during the Winter, or chiller during the Summer, depending on what species you are interested in... to keep temperatures "about" steady> What type of pump/skimmer? <Look around for good service factor (operating cost) and no need to be fully-rated (can do fractional RPMs)... There are a few companies that make/use units here... look for Baldor motors... Skimmers... either stock large EuroReef, Sanders unit... or maybe a DIY or RK2 product... see the WetWebMedia.com marine links here> How many/what types would do well? Would my wife divorce me when she sees the bill? Thanks for the help! <Livestock... either cool or tropical... some input posted on WWM under "Shark Selection FAQs"... and references to other sources of info... Re spouse, electrical costs... who can say? Can/should all be calculated in advance of digging... Bob Fenner>

Re: shark and ray pond/lagoon at home Thanks for the quick response, Bob - I really appreciate it. After talking it over with my wife, we are going to start with some fresh water fish.  <A smart approach, trial> I am going to closely monitor the water temp during the hot summer months and see how much/often I would have to run a chiller. If I was to go saltwater down the road, which species would do best? Hornsharks? Bamboo? Cat? Cal. Stingray? Or maybe Tangs and Triggers? Thanks for your assistance. <I'd try local species... perhaps Heterodontus/Horn Sharks (but they're boring, just sit about), many stingrays, non-stingray species off the coast, a dogfish (my Hash House Harriers namesake), other Squalid sharks, maybe a Triakis (Leopard) in time... other common, hardy, near-shore fishes you might catch, study could go as well... I sense an annual pass to the regional and national (many of them "trade" entrance privileges) Public Aquariums in your future. Bob Fenner> Tim

Shark Tank I'm not sure if I've already emailed you or not I can't remember so sorry if this is a repeat.  <Mmm, don't recall seeing this> My family and I are about to build a HUGE aquarium measuring 12 by 5 by 4 (or three haven't decided height yet). We're are most likely going to put an eco-wheel filtration unit on it, with a UV sterilizer if it wouldn't mess with the eco-wheel unit.  <S/b fine together> There's going to be very little to no decoration, only moderately size rock formations on the bottom for the tank mates which will include groupers, eels, rabbit fish, yellow snappers, and Scorpionfishes in general, some other tangs and large angelfish may be added later as well. The lighting will be relatively intense so I can see them of course. What kind of sharks can I keep in this aquarium? I really like Wobbegongs, and the cat sharks listed on this site, but I LOVE black tipped reef sharks, can I keep at least one in this aquarium, and if not what do I need to do to be able to keep one?  <This tank should be able to accommodate one or more of the smaller bottom-dwelling species... and even a Black Tip Reef Shark for a few years if fed sparingly... Do make provision for preventing these animals from jumping out... they do> Thanks for your help and if you notice any other problems with this setup please feel free to point them out, as I'm sure you can tell this is a project of monumental proportions for anyone! Please reply to XXXX Thanks for your time, and sorry if this is a repeat. Tyler Medaris <No worries. Do document, photograph the planning, construction here and submit same as an article in the hobby magazines. Bob Fenner>

Sorry (Epaulette Shark Husbandry) I've already read that page and about every other page on sharks, all I need to know are the dimensions that would be good for an epaulette, and some of those fish I mentioned with possibly an eel or two. <Hundreds of gallons... at least a width of the length of the longest fish, likely an Epaulette Shark, family Hemiscyllidae... by three times its length... of the 11 species, some get about two feet, others to three feet in length...> I know with the more active sharks you need rounded corners but is this so for an Epaulette? <Not necessarily> How active are they?  <Not very. Most of the time "sit" on the bottom> I have found much info on the coral cat shark and the banded bamboo shark but little to none on the Epaulette. I'm very surprised that you replied this quickly to that last email, it's almost 2am!!! <Someone is up here (on the sites) pretty much all the time> Thanks and sorry for the last email I was just a little upset that I had already read most of everything. Where could I find that book you listed?  <The etailers carry it for sure. Di's Aquatics, Custom Aquatic... Sea Challengers...> And about how much would the aquarium and filtration, and lighting cost for an Epaulette alone?  <Some of this you could DIY... but likely at least a thousand dollars to several> I don't have that much money, but I really would easily spend it on this system. Thanks again!  Tyler Medaris <Perhaps you could secure some part time work at a good-sized retail store that deals in these animals, or volunteer some time at a public aquarium that displays them? Bob Fenner>

Shark sensitivity to metal Hi! I am planning a large 300g + FOWLR and I recently have been playing with the idea of a bamboo shark. If I did end up getting one it would probably be ~400g (96 x 36 x28h) I plan to build the tank (plywood). It would have a large ER skimmer as well as 400 lbs of LR and 500 lbs LS (some in the tank, most in ref and sump). Also a 40 gallon refugium with 5 or 6 mangroves. My questions are about sharks and metal. 1 Would an 2" angle iron frame around the aquarium be ok? <As long as it doesn't come in metal contact with the water... coat it with epoxy type paint or other...> 2. Would the stand need to be non metallic? <No, I would make of metal or four by wood elements... just protect from rusting, and metal getting into the water...> Also , I read on WWM that angels may pick at rays and sharks. How big of a problem is this. (daily harassment causing death or infrequent picking causing some stress)  <Both and neither occur at times... quite individualistic... depends on individual temperaments, crowding, feeding/foods availability> I'd like to keep a Queen Angel, a Miniata Grouper, A Harlequin Tusk, A large Naso tang, And possibly a trio of butterflies. Would any of these be problematic? <Perhaps the Queen. Start it smallish, and see. The Shark may grow to consume the Butterflies.> Thanks a lot! Jeff Liechty <Bob Fenner>

Building a Shark Tank Hello WWM Crew! I know that sharks require LARGE tanks in the long run and they are can cost quite a lot of money. <You are correct sir!> After we sold our piano, we were left with two bare walls. We are thinking about a shark tank. I measured the area and this is my tank idea, L shaped. One side of the L will be 84 inches and the other will be 94. It will be four feet tall and at least 42 inches wide. <The four feet tall and 42 inches wide requires awfully heavy duty glass or acrylic, probably 1" thick stuff for either.> I would be building this tank as it would cost a fortune to have "pro-build". <Ok... Have you ever built an aquarium before? Perhaps not the best design to begin with. It is doable, but not easy.> I asked some of my LFS's and they all told me that this type of tank would not work, no reason given. <I have personally seen at least two and several more in catalogs.> BUT they would be HAPPY to sell me one of their 125 gallon tanks and a shark for a good price. Man what are these stores smoking? I know you guys know of Preuss Pets in Michigan, <Zo knows these guys pretty well. I met the owner very briefly at MACNA in Baltimore at an AMDA meeting.> I live no more than a hour from them. They have a Cat Shark that I though would be nice in this tank. Main thing: will this tank design work or is it back to the drawing board? <It can be done. The key/problem is the bottom panel. It is best that this L be one solid piece, no seam. A far easier solution is to have two tanks butt up against one anther in the corner with a common sump.> Thanks as always! Phil <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Shark Tank Follow Up Thanks Steven for the great advice! I plan on building the tank out of Plexiglas, weight should not be a problem as our basement is only underneath half our house the rest is concrete slab. I will have at least 2 or 3 other guys helping me. I found a Plexiglas maker who could (and will) make the tank. He told me that it should be at least one inch thick and I agree. <Me too> The final size will be 84 inches and 96 inches, by 44 inches wide by 45.5 inches tall. Is there a system that I could use to find the number of gallons in this setup? <Break it into two rectangles, multiply the length x width x height (all in inches) and divide that number by 231 to get the gallonage. It should be just under 1200 gallons.> My father owns an electric wholesale company so lighting is no problem. I plan on using F-40's will this light work or do sharks need "special" lights? <Enough light for viewing, that's all.> At night I can use F-40's with red sleeves. Please note that I can NOT find a copy of the Sharks and Rays book. Do you know any where I could find one (Amazon.com has some garbage ones)? <Several of our sponsors on www.WetWebMedia.com carry books as well as aquarium supplies.> Also do you know of anyone in the lower Michigan area with knowledge of sharks? <No, sorry.> Thanks, Phil <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

New Shark Tank Hello Bob, I am currently looking into starting a salt water aquarium. I am looking at a 200 gallon aquarium. The reason I want to start with a bigger one is I would like to keep a pair/trio of bamboo sharks...and possibly breed them, which I would love to do. <You will need a bigger tank. Something at least 3 feet wide, 3 feet deep, and 8-12 feet long. If you crowd them, you will have no shot at breeding them.> How much would the whole set-up cost me...tank, filters, (chiller if needed) and all the other things. <No chiller needed for this species. Definitely shop around and get several different quotes from acrylic manufacturers. The links page, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/general_links_pg.htm, should have several leads as should any trade magazine; TFH, FAMA, Aquarium Fish, etc.> I am newer at this so I am not sure what I would need. So completely set-up what would be a good price estimate? <Thousands of dollars, probably over $10,000 for everything.> Any advice would be great thanks a lot, John <Definitely begin reading as much as you can about sharks. Starting here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharks.htm and going through all of the links and items mentioned in the bibliography. -Steven Pro>

Emerald Crab (Marbled Cat Shark) Greetings Bob and Crew!<<Greetings to you too!>> I just recently bought two small emerald crabs to take care of some algae in my tank. I know that they will grow larger and attack my snails and fish, but I'm hoping not for a while. When they do grow too large, I was thinking about buying a Marbled Cat Shark. I have a 100 gallon and in Scott W. Michael's Sharks and Rays (Bible) said that the Marbled cat shark can be housed in a 70 gallon aquarium. Do you think the shark will be able to take down the two crabs? And if not, how would I go about taking them out? I am not so worried because they are both less than half an inch wide, but still, I want to plan for the future. Could you tell me a good way of getting rid of them? Thanks Bob I really appreciate it!. Thanks and I love the site! <<Catch them and trade them in at your LFS. I would not recommend keeping a marbled cat shark in a 100. Yeah, maybe a 70 for less than a year. Sharks get BIG, are messy, require massive filtration and skimming, streamlined/angled corners, no powerheads or stuff to knock loose, etc. Please read the shark info at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharkfaq.htm  Many letters regarding your interest. Many requirements you are unaware of to learn about here! Please look carefully before you leap! They require BIG systems. Craig>> 

Marbled Cat Shark Hello again! Are you sure that Marbled Cat Sharks can not be kept in a 100 gallon? <They could be kept in a 100 gallon, but not live a full life. Much like you could theoretically live in your closet 24/7. You may survive, but would not live to see 65, that is for sure.> Mr. Michael's book says that 70 gallons is sufficient for an adult and that they only grow to 24 inches. <I do not own his Sharks & Rays book, but do have his Pocket Expert Guide. In that he lists: Chiloscyllium plagiosum at 37.4 inches and  Chiloscyllium punctatum at 40.9 inches Both recommended for a 180 gallon tank. These fish have to be able to turn around and swim a little. Please see our coverage of these animals here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharks.htm and please follow on through the linked FAQ files.> Most websites post 100 gallon as minimum as well. Please send me back a reply! Thanks! <I do not know what else we can tell you. We give an honest, open opinion free of charge for those willing to take them. We collectively work many hours each day to help others provide an appropriate, healthy home for their pets, so they can enjoy them for a long time. -Steven Pro><<Scott Michael's suggested minimum tank sizes are WAY too small IMO. Ridiculously so. BobF>>

Bamboo Shark Hi Bob, <Steven Pro in this afternoon.> I hope you can help me with this. I purchased a juvenile Bamboo Shark that is about 10" long. It was doing great in my tank along with eight other fish. <Not really a great idea, to mix sharks and fish. I have repeatedly advised individuals that if they really want a shark, then they need to dedicate the whole tank to it and it alone. Sharks need the growing and swimming space of an entire large tank to themselves.> I noticed over the last few days that it was doing a lot of swimming in the air bubbles and rarely resting, that I could see. After closer examination I was horrified to discover that both of it's eyes were gone, <Oh God!> no other apparent damage to it. <Is any other damage needed at this point?> I believe that the Lemonpeel Angel it resides with is the culprit. <It really could have been just about anyone large enough.> Last night I removed the shark from the display tank and put it in a large cooler with an airstone, powerhead, and a heater. I added Melafix to the water and am hoping for the best. <Let me save you the trouble, those eyes will not grow back.> My questions are 1.) What are the chances of this shark surviving after this three day treatment and it is put back in the 125 gal system? <I cannot believe you are even considering placing this animal back in the same tank!> 2.) Am I doing the right thing by the shark as far as keeping it alive or do you think its cruel to do this? <This animal needs put down and you need to examine how much research you did on your purchase prior to bringing it home and what is your responsibility in all this.> It hasn't eaten in three days but I don't think I would either if both my eyes were picked out. <I don't know what to say at this point. Was the comment above intended to be humorous? I hope not. You were ill prepared for this animal, placed it into an inappropriate environment, and basically killed it.> Any advice you can give would be GREATLY appreciated. Thanks, Ken Armstrong <Sincerely, Steven Pro>

Re: Bamboo Shark Hi Steve, I wanted to write back and let you know that my comment was not intended to be humorous at all. I am really saddened by what happened to this animal. <As I am.> I did a lot of research before purchasing it and inquired at the fish store (it only caters to saltwater fish) with their staff before purchasing it. They indicated that there might be some harassment by either the shark or its tankmates but I was not prepared for this. I want to do what is right by this shark. Should I freeze it to put it down <Yes> or start another smaller system for it exclusively until I can afford a larger tank (about 180 gallons) in about six months? <We all generally agree that the minimum size tank for any shark is 180 gallons to start, with a larger tank being necessary in the five year picture.> I really love and care about all my fish, to the point of spoiling them. Had I realized that something like this could happen I NEVER would have subjected this animal to this trauma. I had purchased and read Scott Michaels book, "Aquarium Sharks and Rays" prior to this and tried to get advise on the feasibility of this animal in my system. I guess I didn't get enough. Anyway, I just wanted you to know how hurt I am that I caused this animal pain through my ignorance. I plan to keep sharks in the future but will dedicate a large tank to them, solely. <A long term tank for this species would be 2 feet tall by 3-4 feet wide, by 9-12 feet long.> Sincerely, Ken Armstrong Best regards, Steven Pro>

Atlantic shark What is the min. size tank I can put an Atlantic Sharpnose shark in? <I am not familiar with the exact shark species you speak of. In general all sharks even the bamboos and nurse sharks outgrow most home aquariums in a short amount of time> The shark is 16 inches right now an I have him in a 135gallon tank. They told me it would do fine in there because the average is around three feet for females but most stay around 2.7feet for males and its a male the one I have <My friend, think about it...a 135 gallon tank is about 72" long (depending on width and depth). That's 6'. How wide is the tank? If a shark grows to almost 3' or possibly bigger, will the shark have space to turn around? Especially in a rectangular aquarium as opposed to a round tank? If the length of the fish will eventually be almost half the length of the tank, how will this affect a fish that has a swimming range of many miles in the ocean? Could you live comfortably in a house that is twice as tall and twice as wide as you are? Personally, I cringe every time I see sharks for sale. Most will not live to see 3" in a home aquarium. In order to keep most shark species, you need a tank of hundreds if not thousands of gallons and it really needs to be a species tank. Please remember...stores are in business to sell...you must do your own research. There is a new book on the market called Sharks and Rays (TFH) that you may want to purchase. In the mean time, there are thousands of articles and facts at Wetwebmedia.com that detail this type of information. Good luck! David Dowless>   

Pondering a future shark system Hello, <Hello Jesse> I must say that your website provides a ton of information and is very interesting.  Much thanks to the creators.  I'm a senior in college and this is sort of a general "could this ever happen?" question. A fun question for you marine biologists.  Ever since I was a kid, I've wanted a huge aquarium with a shark.  I don't mean a 500 gallon aquarium. I mean a Sea World sized aquarium, the size of a average living room.  After reading your site I think a nurse shark and a Whitetip reef shark would be amazing pets, even with their unpredictable survival.  I plan on being a plastic surgeon, so this might be a possibility someday.  I would hate to keep a shark (one of natures greatest animals) in a tiny space, like some of the people who write to you attempt to do.  Is this even possible?<Yes, with lots of $$$$>  Would I ever be able to get the equipment or someone to build this?<Sure there are aquatic design companies...>  Would my concrete foundation (of my future home) support an aquarium of this magnitude?<This is where the builder comes in... lots of variables>  Lastly, how loud would all the equipment be, especially with the turning over of all that water?<If you put in in it's own "fish room" you may not hear it at all.>  Hope you don't find this too amusing-everyone has their dreams!<I do one day dream of something like this!!> Oh, and how much would something like this cost, a ballpark number?<This tank would be swimming pool size 15,000-20,000 gallons plus!  I can't tell for sure but over $30,000 easy. A custom 1,500 hundred gallon tank is nearly $9,000.  If you have anymore questions please ask... I would love to see a tank this big in a home some day.  If you can't look up a man in Hawaii.  His home was on HGTV, he had a 25,000 saltwater pond.  Half inside and half outside his home.  He didn't have sharks but his tank could have kept them with no problem.  Best wishes and remember... don't jump into the marine hobby with sharks (no pun intended) start with easier fish and work your way up.  A great book for shark aquariums is "Sharks and Ray" By Scott Michael.  Good luck!! Phil> Thanks, Jesse    

Swimming With The Sharks Hello, I realize that this email will probably horrify you.  I had a roommate that moved in with both a banded shark and a nurse shark in a 150 gallon 24" deep aquarium. <Yep. I'm horrified. Scott F. here today> He claimed to know what he was doing, but I see now that he didn't.  He left behind his sharks when he left, and said he would be back to take care of them as they needed it, but they didn't require anything but once a week feedings. <Gasp!> He hasn't been back  in 3-4 months so I started looking into care recently because it seemed unlikely that they required so little.  The nurse shark is about 24-30 inches long, and the banded cat shark is 20-24 inches.  I realize that I can't keep the nurse shark. <Yep...Not a good choice for captive systems, IMO> However, I'm going to have to get a larger tank for the banded shark.  Ideally I'd like 2-3 banded sharks, what size aquarium would you recommend? <Well, for just one of these, I'd avoid any tank less than 200 gallons. For more than one, you're talking hundreds of gallons or more, IMO> Also, after upgrading to that aquarium, and staying with only one banded shark, to what size could I keep the nurse shark happily? <Well, I think it's at the maximum already, IMO. You really need to look for a very large home for this shark; start by contacting some local public aquariums, universities, or a local aquarium society. Unfortunately, most public aquariums will not take in fishes from hobbyists, so you may have a difficult time finding a suitable home for this fish...But do keep trying, ok?> Thanks for all the useful information, Jeff <Our pleasure, Jeff. I respect your efforts to help out these animals in a difficult situation such as this. You should try to locate a copy of "Sharks and Rays" by Scott Michael, which will provide a lot of good information on the husbandry of these animals...Good luck. Regards, Scott F.>

Shark tank Hello Bob,<Hey there! Phil here!> I am interested in purchasing a shark and would like to know what the biggest species available is as a pet, want what size tank would be needed in order to house it? I would also like to know if you recommend any stockists that I can contact for further information and purchasing? Thanks James <James keeping a small shark like the Banded Bamboo Shark requires a tank of at least 250 gallons!  This tank must cycle and as it is so big it take much time.  Before you go out and buy a tank like this please try and locate a copy of Scott Michael's "Sharks and Rays".  It's a shark keepers bible.  Hope this helps!  Phil>  

Large shark systems Hello Bob, <Hello> I operate a small business named, Sharks-N-Such here in NJ, and I sell exotic species of sharks from distributors, and wholesalers.   I use a professional marine aquarium installer to suit my clients with their needs. I am now turning a corner because now I have some clientele that is a bit more financially suited to purchase reef tanks to accommodate black tips and other species similar to the reef shark. <A nice place to be passing into>   I am curious about your opinion on housing blacks even with a 3,500 gallon system that is fully equipped with proper lighting and filtration. Do you still feel it is not suitable for pups that are approximately 15-18 inches and adapted to grow into an artificial environment? <Mmm, a tough question. On the one hand, the system's themselves are adequate for a "long enough time" to warrant the keeping of such species... though certainly not at full size (most are consumed by other sharks when small). OTOH, is it better for those individuals to be sacrificed for the good of exposure of humans to their being, merits? I would bet/consider/vote so... as long as not "too many" folks had a "Sharks and Such" business... the overall impact of a few to a few hundred such installs is "worth it" IMO>   I have worked with my clientele for 6 months trying to educate them with all the literature available that there is on these types of reef tanks and sharks. They feel they are ready and I concur with their feelings.   I am not in a hurry to take their money because it is more important to me that the fish thrive than die. <Our values are confluent> If you would at your earliest convenience please reply with your input.                                                 Thank you,                                                                 Sincerely,                                                                      TJ <Hope to visit your business on a trip to NJ in future (my in-laws live in various towns, Belmar, Kennelon, Garfield... to the north). Bob Fenner> Re: Large shark systems I look forward to hearing from you. I don't have a store front because I deal through an outfit in Canada and my installers are in Long Branch. However, I will be glad to show you the cliental I have set up with these elaborate reefs aquariums.   Thank you,                                    TJ <Very well. Do you have a website? I strongly encourage you to develop one. Bob Fenner>

Re: Large shark systems > <Very well. Do you have a website? I strongly encourage you to develop one. > Bob Fenner> I will eventually developed one but I don't want to make the shark tank a common item even to those who can afford them. It will become a novelty even more so I would keep that aspect of it to a minimum <You are wise here, but I would feature your other work. No bigger "bang for the buck" for custom installs than web exposure. Bob Fenner>

Is it true that sharks remain small if placed in a confined space? Unfortunately no. This "old wives tale" mainly applies to crowded, dirty freshwater set-ups where the waste products and some other chemicals produced by fishes, have a negative feed-back loop, more or less poisoning and cluing them in to their situation of limited resources... and thereby stunting their growth. In some experiments, by changing the water constantly (or using chemical filtrants) you can grow the fishes to where they occupy 90% plus of the space available (bizarre)... But sharks will/do keep growing, most becoming too large and unhappy with their surroundings that they perish directly or manage to knock the top off and jump out. I have a feature article on sharks in captivity and a list of references you're welcome to posted on my website www.wetwebmedia.com Bob Fenner>

Brown banded bamboo shark I am concerned about the size of my tank to accommodate my Brown banded bamboo shark. He's in a 75 gallon tank, by himself, and it has been 9 months since he's hatched. Right now he is 15.76" long. I have a possibility to move him to a 300 gallon tank but I'm afraid how the shark and blue king angel fish and porcupine fish will act to the shark. How big will he get in the 75 gal.?  <Too big> Is it enough if he's by himself?  <No> Is it safe to move him to the 300 gal. with those other 2 big fish?  <Likely yes... best of all choices offered.> Thanks....I hope I didn't overwhelm you with questions (and I hope this is the right address) Thanks again. <No worries... And this fish will still exceed three feet in a year or so. Bob Fenner>

Pond liner to make a shark tank/pond I am planning to make my own shark tank/pond in my office, and I was wondering if this design is good. I am planning to make it in a hexagon shape with a very sturdy wooden framework. Each side 4.5 feet long. The tank/pond will be 3 feet deep. I am sure this design will hold, but the pond liner connected to the frame to make the tank is what I'm afraid of. Being connected at the top of tank then 3 feet to the floor with about 1000 gallons of water in it, I'm afraid the pond liner won't be able to hold all of that. Will it? I hope I explained this enough. I just want to make sure everything will hold. Thanks. <Thank you for writing... And yes to the liner "working"... have extensive experience with simple 20 some mil nominal PVC liners, EPDM, "rubber", composite ones like Tetra's excellent 32 mil product... and they will definitely work... Of course, stipulated that your wood structure (four by fours minimum for the uprights and bottom and top crosses please...) and "carriage bolts" or such... is secure... do get an oversize piece of liner material and practice folding techniques way ahead of actual cutting... And look into the wide array of "through hulls", "skimmer" fittings available in the swimming pool, spa industries for vinyl liner pools... And remind me to place some graphics on the parts of the pond index on the site: www.wetwebmedia.com for your perusal. We used to fabricate many 8 by 4 by 2 foot tanks of this sort for sumps, holding ponds... Bob Fenner>

Shark aquarium setup advice... Dear Mr. Fenner, Sometime in the near future I plan on purchasing a saltwater aquarium setup. I want to setup up a community fish tank, but I am also interested in purchasing a shark. I have read that keeping a shark is a truly difficult task <Pardon the interruption... Not difficult, though all things seem difficult at first... but keeping cartilaginous fishes requires study and dedication... large systems that are well circulated, filtered, maintained... Many people seem to have the desire to house such wondrous creatures, but lack the concomitant commitment to provide their necessary care.> and I don't plan on raising one until I get enough knowledge on the shark and enough experience with aquariums. I was hoping if I could get some input from you about the setup I plan on purchasing. <Certainly my friend> I plan on purchasing an acrylic aquarium with dimensions of 84"x24"x24". First off, is this large enough? <For very small species for a "couple" of years, yes> The filtration system I plan on purchasing is going to be a combination of a couple of different systems. First the water will leave the tank via an over-flow  <Make sure and provide some surface skimming, and mid-water intake as well> and then go to a wet/dry trickle filter. The water will then be pumped into a separate modular filter system where it will be mechanically filtered, chemically filtered, heated, and U/V sterilized. The final step before going back into the aquarium will be a trip through a fluidized bed filter. I wanted to know if this setup was too much or too little. <As standard components/elements it should be fine... What will you do with metabolite build up? Perhaps a large transit sump with a deep sand bed, perhaps a hypoxic plenum... with compact fluorescent lighting, Caulerpa algae under continuous culture... Look at the very large Rubbermaid "troughs" or the poly "totes" used in the trade for sumps/stands for a suitable container here> My final question on the tank setup is about the actual water pump. Aquariums that house sharks cannot have any metal in it because the electro-magnetic field drives the shark crazy.  <Yes, very often a problem... with metal anywhere in contact with their system water... even in National Public Aquariums...> The water pump has metal parts in it; will this cause a problem with the shark? <Not all do... ask your dealers to show you your choices in pumps with thermoplastic volutes, ceramic or plastic impellers... There are several makes, models to choose from. I would shy away from magnetic drives here... much better efficiency and you can use the flow of a fractional horsepower direct drive type.> The shark that I was looking to get was the Brown Banded Bamboo shark (Chiloscyllium punctatum). The reasons I choose this shark were its size and its availability in its egg stage. Different sources state that it grows up to three feet and others say five feet. Could you please tell me what its maximum length is?  <About thirty nine inches... according to FishBase... in the wild... about two feet maximum in captivity> The reason I plan on purchasing it as an egg is because I don't want a shark taken from the ocean and then be put into an aquarium. <This is a shark taken from the wild... a pre-hatched juvenile shark> Another question on the shark is its behavior. I have read that it is a bottom-feeding shark and that it spends most of its time resting on the bottom of the aquarium like the horn shark. Is this information true? <Yes, the predominant pose is "just lying there"... most of the time> I know the water salinity has to be relatively high, at 1.025.  <And consistent... good idea to get another of those totes I mentioned and pre-mix and store new water> What other water parameters have to be met, such as Ph and temperature. Also, what type of lighting should I have and how powerful should it be? <Lighting more for your preference... lower intensity than most folks use... a couple of watts per gallon of CF should be fine. pH 8.2-8.3... keep your eye on this, easy to slip with keeping large, messy eaters. Temperature, mid to high seventies F> This is my final question; it is on caring for the egg. When I purchase the egg, should it be given a fresh water bath and then be transferred to a quarantine tank. Will this damage the egg in anyway? <No dip necessary, but not damaging> Any advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time. Robert Miele <Do look for the references listed on the www.WetWebMedia.com site for cartilaginous fishes, and more recent works. Bob Fenner>

Sharks of course! Quick Shark Question: Is there any shark that could thrive in a tall hex tank 75 gallons?  <Thrive? No... these systems are generally two feet panel to panel in width... and the sharks sold in the aquarium interest more than two feet in length ultimately...> or is this a futile thought that would force me to have to place the shark elsewhere?  <Yes... the animal would be unhappy, unhealthy in such a system.> I haven't the energy, funds, etc for a larger system and was just curious? <Visit them in aquariums, books, the occasional dive adventure vacation... > Thank you for your time! Marie <Please read over our site: www.WetWebMedia.com on cartilaginous fishes, particularly the "Shark" section and FAQs... Scott Michael's new Shark and Ray book will be out soon... be looking for it. Bob Fenner>

55 gallon shark aquarium? I was wondering if a 55 gallon aquarium would be large enough for a Hornshark or a banded shark, possibly if raised from an egg to try and keep its size down?  <Only for a very small individual for a few months> Or would they really need a bigger aquarium for when they mature in size? -Evan Glisson <You are correct... a much larger system as it would grow... along with sufficient filtration/aeration/circulation. Please read through the "Shark" and "Cartilaginous Fishes" sections, FAQs posted on our website: www.WetWebMedia.com for more. Bob Fenner>

Humongous facilities and mucho care (Shark system) I've read everything I can find online on the topic of keeping sharks in a home aquarium. Virtually all of the material recommends bamboo sharks, epaulettes, and true Catsharks. I'm aware that these recommendations are made for a reason. Several reasons, actually. One key reason being that since they spend a lot of time sitting around, the aquarium space requirements are lessened. <Yes> Ah, but I want a swimmer... a black tip reef shark in particular. I've seen several photos and read about stores and homes with 750 to 1000 gallon rectangular systems housing one or two reefs. That's not to say that what they're doing is right, and that's why I'm asking you. Is a 1000 gallon system (octo- or hexagonal and emphasis on width and depth rather than height) adequate for a black tip reef shark?  <For a period of time when/while it is small... more oval, larger volume is better, longer lasting functionally> I'm guessing that by the time the shark got to be around 3 feet in length (how long might that take?), <A year or so> it would start getting tight as he would be "constantly turning". I'll spin the question around another way: what size tank would keep a Blacktip happy? <Very large... swimming pool size> Depending on how the answer to that question goes, I'll have a series of follow-up questions. I'll go ahead and ask them now. :) <Ah, good> Assuming a black tip is a possibility: - What would the ideal tank setup be? In their natural setting, their favorite activity is swimming around the reef shallows and picking up dead injured fish from the reef corals. Every time I've seen black tips in public aquariums, they've been in the "reef environment" tank rather than the plain-bottomed, featureless "big shark" tank. Putting a reef environment in a relatively small 1000 gallon tank seems like a waste of space, though. Would a plain sandy-bottom approach be best, or does this shark require a reef environment to be happy? <Hmm, Carcharhinus melanopterus are found over both bottoms... was just swimming with a very nice/affable group of juveniles this last week off the shore of Pulau Redang, Malaysia> - If the shark will require more than 1000 gallons, I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to investigate alternate aquarium construction than 100% acrylic to keep in budget. I've read on your FAQ page that some people keep a pond-like rubber/plastic liner setup with a sturdy frame.  <Yes, very workable... reasonably priced.>  Perhaps some structure in which one or two walls could be transparent (expensive), and the rest could be opaque (cheap) could prove to cust costs enough. Do you have any recommendations for such "alternative" aquarium construction methods and materials? I'm aware that metal (including rebar in cement) is not an option. <Acrylic (even glass) viewing panels can be worked into liner (and other structural components outside) and fiberglass/resin tanks (Got to find Ed Rewald's e-address... use your search engine here)> - What water temperature is best for black tips? The only information I've been able to find is people's scuba diving reports, a-la "The water was about 80 degrees, and there were black tips everywhere". That seems like a way-too-hot temperature measure to me. What's the optimal temp? <IMO mid seventies to keep their metabolism in check, increase gas solubility... though this species can/does live in water to the mid eighties F.> - For variety, should I throw 2 or 3 fish in there? What type of fish would be best for leaving the shark alone but also not being eaten? I have my ideas, but I'll shut up and let you answer the question this time. :) <Too big a list here... I would look into "cleaner uppers" that are on to what sharks are, fast enough to avoid becoming easy meals... and interesting co-schoolers... Maybe Rabbitfishes, some damsels... look into "biotopic" possibilities... species that live in the same habitats, geographies. Easy to do with "coffee table" type travelogue books> - To supplement the "bonsai" method of feeding, would it be wise to deliberately start with a smaller tank? <Not really> Assuming a black tip is plain out-of-the-question: - Are there any other "swimmers" that might work? If so, all of the questions I asked about setup and companionship for a black tip would apply for this other shark species. <The Blacktip is about the best choice here... one of the few regularly collected species that might fit the bill> Sorry to ask such a huge set of questions. Thank you very much for your time! <Good to ask as many, and for as much detail as you can use. No worries. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Re: humongous facilities and mucho care and ad: http://www.redewald.com/industrial.html to links> First of all, thanks for the reply! I really appreciate the info, and the fact that you took my inquiry seriously. I want to do this thing right, or not at all. <I appreciate your interest and sincerity> > I'll spin the question around another way: what size tank would keep a Blacktip happy? > <Very large... swimming pool size> Very interesting... this brings up all kinds of new questions. Pools vary in size quite dramatically, so I'll ask you to be more specific. Would a 15x24 or 15x30 foot oval "tank" be adequate or overkill?  <About right... 20-30k gallons...> How deep should this tank be? At 4 feet deep, I guess we'd be talking around 12000 gallons, and 24000 for 8 feet. That's quite a lot of boxes of "Instant Ocean" sea salt! :) <Yes> My next question is probably better suited for a general contractor: can a typical slab foundation support this kind of weight? <A Class II of sufficient depth yes... a good 4" slab over sand/gravel...> This has gone from the kind of tank where you "reach in" to the kind of tank where you "dive in" for maintenance. This seems like the biggest problem to me. When I kept marine tanks, I had to mess with stuff in the water quite frequently, and yank out uneaten food before it fouled the water, etc. I guess with well-designed filtration and drainage systems, this would be minimized. But I wonder if I should buy a chain mail wetsuit just in case. Yikes. <A good question, but I wouldn't be that concerned... just keep your eye on the sharks, allow them space when working in the system> > <Hmm, Carcharhinus melanopterus are found over both bottoms... was just swimming with a very nice/affable group of juveniles this last week off the shore of Pulau Redang, Malaysia> How cool! I'd love the opportunity to swim with 'em in the wild one day. <Easily done... commonly encountered in many places in the Pacific and Indian Oceans> > - If the shark will require more than 1000 gallons, I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to investigate alternate aquarium construction than 100% acrylic to keep in budget. I've read on your FAQ page that some people keep a pond-like rubber/plastic liner setup with a sturdy frame. > <Yes, very workable... reasonably priced.> Sounds very interesting. Upon your mention of "pool-sized", I did some research. :) Above-ground pool construction looks like it might be very cost effective as well, assuming that the supports are made from something other than metal. And they even come in shark-pleasing oval and circle shapes. <Yes> > <Acrylic (even glass) viewing panels can be worked into liner (and other structural components outside) and fiberglass/resin tanks (Got to find Ed  Red Ewald's e-address... use your search engine here)> I was unable to find his name with Google or people.yahoo.com. I'll try more searching later. <http://www.redewald.com/industrial.html, sorry for not looking for myself the first time> > <IMO mid seventies to keep their metabolism in check, increase gas solubility... though this species can/does live in water to the mid eighties  F.> Perfect! > <Too big a list here... I would look into "cleaner uppers" that are on to > what sharks are, fast enough to avoid becoming easy meals... and interesting co-schoolers... Maybe Rabbitfishes, some damsels... look into "biotopic"  possibilities... species that live in the same habitats, geographies. Easy to do with "coffee table" type travelogue books> With such a large tank, doing a "biotopic" would be incredibly cool. Perfect idea... thanks! Once again, I really appreciate the information! Thanks, Jeff <Anytime my friend. Bob Fenner>

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

Stegostoma fasciatum Hi, What are the ideal aquarium conditions for Stegostoma fasciatum?  <Hmm, very large quarters... thousands of gallons...> By this I mean tank size, shape, filtration, food, temperature etc. I do not wish to keep this type of shark, not until I have learned more about it anyway. <Roundish shape... eats well in captivity... a darling of many public aquariums...> I am studying to be an elasmobranchologist and I want this information as I am curious to why more are not kept in public aquaria and for a project I am doing. Also is a specific license required to provide homes for sharks in the UK? <Don't know... would contact the public aquariums there and TMC: http://wetwebmedia.com/tmcpropc.htm  Also, please peruse the pieces on the WWM site re doing bibliographic work: http://wetwebmedia.com/litsrchart.htm Be chatting for sure. Bob Fenner> Thank you M. Shepherd

Shark tank Dr. Bob, For some reason, I didn¹t get your response directly regarding the lobster, but I DID see it on WetWeb, so I wanted to follow-up as you raised some concerns. First, the lobster is going back to the store. Thanks. <Really? About the msg... very strange... As you might assume, I send them back to the addr. which they came> Yes, he¹s a 2-yr. old male Bonnethead. About 18² long. Hand (e.g. tongs) fed. Much better behaved than the blue Fijians or yellow tang. Photo attached. <Hmm... and a good looking gal to boot! For size comparison only> Tank was newly built specifically to house the Bonnethead. Total capacity is actually around 600 gallons, but I built the overflow low to accommodate the shark¹s dorsal fin. Therefore, net water volume is closer to 500 gallons (at least it took 10 50-gallon boxes of salt to get the specific gravity to 1.022. <I'll bet... nice tank> In lieu of Scott Michael¹s book (which still is unavailable by the way), <I have my copy... and can/will send you the draft copy if you'd like... this work should hit the markets like now!> I researched everything I could find (you will see several of your past suggestions from different sources following) to make this home ideal until such a time as his size would necessitate moving him into a pond. Here¹s everything I¹ve done. Please comment on any ways you can see to improve. <Okay> 500 gallons (net) of water, and the tank has rounded (bull nose) ends '¹ like an oval racetrack. Since the shark usually swims the perimeter, the overflow is dead center. Again, the overflow is set low, so there is 3.5² to 4² of airspace between the water¹s surface and the tank¹s top cross-members. Substrate is 1.5² - 2² deep sugar-sized aragonite sand. Just enough live rock for the fish to hang out in. There are two filtration paths. In filtration path #1, the overflow drains through enough bio-ball type media as is rated for 1,000 gallons. Next the water passes into an ³Eco-wheel² (www.aquaticengineers.com) which is basically an industrial grade skimmer/turf scrubber that uses macro algae on a rotating wheel, continually lit from above. <Know of them... nice units, though pricey> So far, it has maintained both nitrates and phosphates at 0 or barely detectable levels. From here, the water is pumped through a chiller at 400gph (just over optimal water speed for the chiller) and back into the tank. The cool water sprays back across the surface of the water (My idea was that convection would cause the cool water to sink. But more significantly, the cool top layer of water would mediate the heat generated by the tank lights, maintaining an overall more consistent tank temperature). Tank stays at 73 degrees, plus/minus a degree or two. Filtration path #2 pulls from two mid-water drains into a 1600gph pump. From here the water splits, each path going through a 25-micron pleated cartridge, a liter of activated carbon, and a canister of ceramic bio media (basically 2 of the systems pictured) before recombining to go through a 45-watt UV. From there, the water is returned to the tank via 2 oscillating spray nozzles. The current from the 2 oscillating returns is strong enough to hit the side walls, flow to the bottom, and build ³sand dunes² on the tank floor. So in addition to keeping the floor maintained, it would be nice to find something that would help flatten the sand. I rake it weekly, but the granules are so fine that they get suspended in the water, slurped into the canisters and trapped by the 25-micron cartridges. So do I have ample filtration but need more circulation, or do I need more of both? I feel that if I increase the circulation much more, I¹ll have aragonite soup! <I would raise the amount of circulation here... by a few times... discharged as to cause a vortex for the shark to swim against> Lighting is 2 175W halides, 2 65W actinics, and 2 65W Custom Sealife Smartlamps. <These are fine... a bit bright for the shark, but will do> Other than ideas on how I can improve this setup, answering the flow-rate questions, and heckling me about the irresponsibility of spending more on my shark¹s home than my car... <Yikes. But am not a fan of auto-expense> Any additional suggestions for keeping the sand groomed and cleaned up of debris? Will the goatfish work all by himself? <Yes, get a small group> I have two small queen conchs and about a dozen itty bitty narcissus (sp?) snails in there now. No crabs. How about sand sifting stars or an orange Fromia star to help flatten out the dunes? <Some Archaster would be nice. Be chatting, Bob Fenner> J.D. Hill

Shark Pool Hello bob, Hope all is well for you I just got my 500 gallon swimming pool and I am going to use my 125 gallon for the sump do you know of a protein skimmer that is efficient for this tank? <Yes... either the EuroReef, or ETSS lines... large> How many watts of U.V. sterilizer would be sufficient because I only have a 15 watt Aquanetics but I know this is way to small. <Depends on flow rate, stock/ing, what you want it to do... a few hundred watts to be much in the way of effective...> The sump is going to be setup like the ecosystem style filtration because I know the ones you buy already made from ecosystem are very expensive so I am going to make my own. Now for my stocking plan I was thinking the fish that are already in my 125 stars and stripes puffer, honeycomb grouper and leopard shark but I am trading that for the epaulette shark I would like to add a blue line angel fish Chaetodontoplus septin... a clarion or Chrysurus angel what ever my LFS has first and probably one more epaulette and marbled cat shark and I think that would be all does this sound like to much or just about because most fish will be started small under 6 inches besides the ones I already have and the sharks will be about 12" if anything doesn't sound right here please let me know because I will be setting it up in about 2 months or so and thanks for all your help and time you have given me Pam Reinsmith <Will you have a viewing panel built into the side? Do place, keep a net/screen on top to keep the sharks from jumping out (this does happen). Bob Fenner>

Big Small Shark Stocking Plans Hello, I was wandering can you have an epaulette and port Jackson shark in a 500 gallon? <Likely so.> and are Portjacksons fish eaters <Like all members of their family, Heterodontidae ("different teeth"), they eat both fishes and hard-shelled invertebrates...> if so how big would the fish have to be for them to be not interested in eating? <Small, slow, unaware enough to either fit in their mouths or a good piece therein> How big would the Portjacksons get in a setup like this with the epaulette and 4 other big fish that would include a honeycomb grouper stars and stripes puffer, queen angel and other big angel? <About thirty inches> Do you see any problems in this stocking list? <Hmm, just a need for big filtration, aeration, circulation. Bob Fenner>

Wobbegongs I wish to get a Wobbegong in a few years. How big of a tank would be good for a Wobbegong forever, I was thinking 800 g. <A good size> Are there any other fish/sharks I could put in with the Wobbegong it wouldn't eat (triggers, lions, large angels, etc.).  <Carpet sharks will try to eat most any/all fishes given hunger... faster, smarter species would be worth trying (not Lionfishes)> Wobbegongs are also found in tropical waters, correct? 75-80 a good temperature range for them?  <Most species are tropical> What kind of fish would they prefer to eat? <Mmm, cut fish, or small, softer-boned (like silversides) fishes whole are fine... Do read through the Shark materials posted on our site, starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharks.htm and the FAQs files linked beyond, and get, read Scott Michael's latest re-doing of his shark and ray book (for aquariums). Bob Fenner>

Shark Tank Construction Hello, Do you know where you can purchase glass for building fish tanks? <Yes... your local suppliers, cutters> Do they have any web sites? Do you think a place like Lowe's or something like that would have it? <Mmm, look at the Yellow Pages, directories in your town... inspect real aquarium manufacturers websites... how big a tank are you considering? Is just normal glass okay? Let's get specific. Bob Fenner> Re: Shark Tank Construction Hello, Yes this glass is going to build a tank that will sit on the ground almost like a glass pool for sharks and big fish would this be possible? <Mmm, yes... make sure and do what you can to assure the base is level and flat/planar... and place plywood and foam between the ground and glass...> I was thinking about just getting some glass to build a smaller tank as my sump and make sure that it doesn't leak then try to build the big one what do you say? <A good idea. The Shark "Pool" though... I would look into other materials... gel-coated fiberglass (there are containers pre-made by a few folks here... some with ready "viewing panels"), even the larger polyethylene "troughs" made by Rubbermaid (these are really neat, inexpensive, easy to retrofit with plumbing...) or substantial "kiddie wading pools" of various makes...> Also I got a question about my queen angel its only using one of its gills and really fast on the one and the other one is not being used at all have you ever seen this before or is this just normal? <This happens... may be nothing. I would not over-react> What is lymphocytes that you state on the queen angel FAQs? <Please use the Google Search tool there. This is a viral complication: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lymphfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Re: Shark Tank Construction Thanks for the quick reply I was thinking about the Rubbermaid idea but I wouldn't be able to get it into my basement that's why I was thinking about the glass. If I did the glass how thick would it need to be?  <At least three quarter inch... and you'll need a frame/bracing...> The dimensions will be 42 inches tall about 10 feet long and 4 feet deep. What is a good brand of caulk or sealant for this that actually has a long hold? <100% silicone/Silastic is what public aquariums, large tank manufacturers use... I would make this system out of block instead... much cheaper, less likely to have problems with leaking... Bob Fenner>

Shark Question Hi, I'm a 16 year old who has been bitten by the "shark bug" and I'm now looking into purchasing one. I already have a beautiful 55 gallon reef setup and that has been going strong now for about a year and a half. I'm now looking into sharks as I've always been intrigued by them. I have a few questions for you. I would like to get either a Brown Banded Bamboo Shark or the Coral Catshark (Atelomycterus marmoratus). I've heard that the Coral Catshark stays about a foot or two smaller than the Brownbanded Bamboo Shark and reaches an adult size of about 24-28 inches which seems like a better choice to me since I'm going to be raising it in a 75 gallon tank, which brings me to my next question. How long can I keep a Coral Catshark in a 75 until it needs larger? <Mmm, well... depends on the starting size, careful (low) feeding, appropriate temperature... maybe a year> I plan on getting a 200 gallon tank sometime in the future to move the shark into if necessary. Or is a 75 ok for one Coral Catshark?  <Only for short term> Also, do you know if Coral Catshark eggs are ever available? <Some are sold as such... some species of Scyliorhinids are ovoviviparous...> I could get my LFS to special order me one if they are available. If you could help me by answering these questions I would greatly appreciate it, I've e-mailed several other people and have gotten no responses. Thank you <Please do read over the articles, FAQs files on WWM re cartilaginous fishes, here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/MarInd6of6.htm and avail yourself of Scott Michael's latest work on these fishes. Bob Fenner>

Re: Shark Question Ok, so I will need to get something bigger than a 75 as I was expecting. But, is the 200 gallon that I was thinking about getting for one Coral Catshark not necessary for this one fish as it will be the only inhabitant of the tank? Could I go with something smaller and still have a healthy thriving fish? It's always nice to save money and if I could go smaller than a 200 it would save money. So, what do you think is the best sized tank for one Coral Catshark? <This is about the smallest size, shape system I would have this (up to 70cm. species in... less than three times, or one width of this species maximum size... How large a physical system would you be happy in? Bob Fenner>

Little Tank of Horror (sharks?!?) What's up guys, I have a question to add to your list. I am currently upgrading from a 55 gal. tank ( 48 x 12 x 24 ) to a 125 gal. tank ( 72 x 18 x 22 ) with two prefilters drilled, a Rio 4100 pump, a 150 gal. wet/dry, a protein skimmer rated for 150 gal. ( I saw one in my LFS but can't remember the brand ) & two 72 inch VHO lamps. I plan to have 80 lbs. of live sand & a few live rocks in the center - but otherwise pretty barren so the sharks can have as much room as possible. I was contemplating on getting 2 Sleeper Gobies (Valenciennea strigata ), or 2 Yellow Head Jawfish ( Opistognathus aurifrons ) & a Reef Lobster (Enoplometopus daumi ). I want to know what's the best tankmates for sharks? I currently have 2 Leopard sharks, a Horn shark (Heterodontus francisci ), a Whitespotted Bamboo shark, & a Brownbanded Bamboo shark all about 1 foot in length. I figure the lobster would have to be 1/3 the length of my sharks. What's your opinion on worthy tankmates & some cleaner - uppers? By the way Love the site!! <Adrian...let me first say that I appreciate the fact that you made contact in search of information at all. And that any imperative tone in my reply that follows is in no way disrespectful, but rather disbelief. Indeed. When I read the query... I thought at first it was joke. But is seems that the questions and reality of the tank are quite serious. Frankly... I am horrified that someone sold you any ONE of the above mentioned sharks let alone five for 55 gallon tank (or a three hundred gallon for that matter)!!! I'm disappointed that you didn't have the slightest inclination at any point that putting five one foot sharks into your tank was not even possible let alone ethical. You do need help with your tank, my friend, and your charges that you admire so well are in very grave danger even in the soon to be upgraded 125 gallon tank. To answer your question... none of the fish or lobster will be compatible with these sharks in any sized tank short of a swimming pool. The smallest shark species you have mentioned (the bamboos) still attain a feet of 3 feet in length. The leopards are recorded at nine(!) feet in length and are sure to reach at least six. Keeping any one of these sharks in a 55 gallon tank is cruel. You need to find aquaria to donate or sell these fish to or build an extraordinary pool. Else, they will all be dead in your 125 gallon tank within a year for various reasons if not months... you can be as sure of that as the sun will rise. Please forgive me if I sound accusatory or at least critical. But I am very upset. You have been poorly advised and to some extent let yourself be so. As aquarists we must properly research an animal before we take it into our care to give the miracle of life its proper respect. You clearly need more information about shark husbandry. If we as aquarists do not manage our resources responsibly... we run the risk of having the privilege to do so legislated away from us. Your sharks suffering and dying in a cramped tank serves no purpose. Please, my friend...take heed. Anthony Calfo>

Coral Catshark... intelligent Q's hi there, <greetings...Anthony Calfo in your service> I came across your website this evening while doing a little research into shark and ray keeping. I recently bought a one hundred gallon long Plexi tank from a friend who had kept it as a shark and ray tank...  <Really a tank only suited for one specimen of either and limited by species small enough> but the more vie read the more it seems that NO shark species seen in the pet trade would be happy in a hundred gallon tank. is this true?  <very true if you are a responsible aquarist planning for the long term> could I keep a coral Catshark in a hundred gallon long if it were the only shark in the tank?  <for a good while if bought small and it was the only FISH in the tank... grow to 3 feet long... will eventually outgrow the tank> if I could, are there other types of fish that can be kept with it, or would it just eat them? <nope... more into eating crustaceans...but the tank would still be heading down a bad path if you put anything beyond the shark in it... just not kind or responsible. If you admire sharks...please treat it with respect. A six foot tall person would not want to live his whole life in a 10 ' X 4' wide room. And sharks have larger natural wild home ranged than most people do <wink>> also, are there any ray species that can be kept in a hundred gallon tank? when I ask that, I mean for their whole lives.  <thank you for the intelligent and long-sighted answer. I say no...there are not> I work in a pet store and I see a lot of people who come in wanting to trade fish when they outgrow the tank- my thoughts are, why get the fish if you know you aren't going to be able to keep it?  <agreed...lacks respect for the sea life that they claim to admire!> I would like to ensure that whatever species I get set up in this system are going to be happy there for the rest of their lives. I live in a smallish pad so I probably don't have room to upgrade to a larger tank. >honestly... cat sharks are mostly tail and rather lazy... just the shark in the 100 gallon would fly for a very long time> thanks for your time, ~Mixie <with kind regards, Anthony>

Block and other construction methods for basement shark system Hello Bob, I was thinking about building a block pond in my basement I just have a few questions about it. If its already on a concrete base in my basement do I need any thing under it or do I just need to make sure that its all even? <It is very likely even (planar) enough... and strong> Do I need a liner inside or no I'm not really sure because I can't get this part of your site to open but I have crappy internet service. <Please tell which "part" (name of file) this is... so I can check to see if there is a difficulty on this end)> Well the size pond I am planning is only going to be 7 ft by 7ft on each side and only 3 ft deep. <Three feet... not likely all the way of water... maybe more like up to thirty inches in water depth. If your ground doesn't shake much (unlike ours here in Southern California) you can get by w/o a liner.> Do you think this filtration would work a 75 gallon sump and a euro reef protein skimmer plus some other pumps and power heads inside for more circulation. The only fish I want are 2 cat sharks probably 1 epaulette and 1 coral cat shark also would a port Jackson shark work with these smaller ones or would they be eaten. <Could all be housed together... given being about the same size... and stipulated the Port Jackson was a tropical species (not the Southern California Heterodontus francisci... a cool/coldwater animal). There is a need for good biological and mechanical filtration with these animals... And you might want to instead (if you can get it down there in the basement) a possibility of buying a gel-coated fiberglass tank of size (that you could retrofit a viewing panel, or buy one with... or even assemble a wood, fiberglass and resin tank of about this size (I'd size it to fit back out an opening to the basement...) instead of block and mortar.> Then I would just have one adult Angel fish and 3 or 4 other misc. fish that wouldn't be no bigger than a foot or a foot and a half? Last Question is my porcupine puffer has been having problems eating he looks hungry and even goes forward trying to bite the food but cant get his mouth on it just cant really tell because he is only around 2-3 inches.  <Please read through the puffer FAQs pages on our WetWebMedia.com site here. This is a serious condition that is quite common.> Sorry for so many questions but there's a lot of info I cant find Thanks for all the help you have given me in the past. <Be chatting, planning and building my friend. Bob Fenner>

Thinking about a shark tank 8/6/05 I am going to be moving soon, and my parents agreed to let me put in a half way built into the wall L-shaped tank in my new room (that I'm building with the help of my dad, whose an engineer).  The dimension will roughly be 6' long on the built into the wall part and around 8' long on the part not built into the wall, 1' wide throughout the hole aquarium and 3-4' tall.  Its still being worked out so the #'s aren't exact, but that puts it at around 290-390 gallons, if I calculated it correctly.  It's always kinda been a dream of mine to have a shark, and this seems like it would be enough room to house a coral Catshark.  Now I know that they spend most of there time on the bottom, so a shorter-wider tank would suite it better, but I just don't have the space.  I might be able to make it close to a foot wider, but I'm not sure. < Well the difference between 12 inches wide and even 18 inches wide is a lot.  I'd consider as wide as possible. > What I plan to do is build up the back wall with live and non-live rock, and make several ledges large ledges for the shark to go on.  I will secure the rock with fishing string and aquarium safe epoxy so as to make sure the shark doesn't knock anything over. < This would still worry me.  I think the rocks will always tumble no matter what you do. > The biggest problem, however, is the fact that my father doesn't want me to get a shark.  < Okay, well that is something I can't really advise on, but makes a huge difference. > So I plan to put several other fish in it until I can convince him to let me have a shark.  When I get the shark though, I still want to keep the same fish in the aquarium, but I've had some poor luck in finding out what fish I can keep with my shark. < Larger fish; tangs, angelfish, wrasse. > If you could tell me some fish that I could keep with my shark it would be deeply appreciated.  Also if you know of any other sharks that might be well suited for this set-up, please let me know. < Please read through Scott Michael's Sharks and Rays book.  That has far more info than I can provide. > Thanks for the help. -Ryan Olsen <  Blundell  >

Sharks and Rays in Aquariums
Gaining an understanding of how to keep these fishes in captive saltwater systems   

New Print and eBook on Amazon

by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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