Shark Fish Pet
Freshwater tropical aquariums sharks are not from the shark family but are closely related to barbs from the cyprinidae family. They are very popular especially the Red Tailed Black Shark, which I believe almost everyone has treasured one in their fish tank at some time.
The sharks are all bred in Asia, where most are originally from. They are bottom dwelling fish who scavenge for food and will eat just about anything. As usual, a balanced diet of flake, sinking pellets, and frozen foods keep them in perfect health.
Sharks are quite active and will chase other long fish who share the same areas, so it’s not a good idea to keep too many in a small aquarium. I would recomend only one in a tank under 90 liters. I would also provide them with plenty of wood or rocks to form their territories. They can then chase each other around but hide away if it all gets too boisterous.
Silver sharks are on of the only sharks that will shoal and can be kept in large groups, but they will grow quite large.
Again the golden rule applies that fish will eat others if they are small enough to fit in their mouths, so no neon sized fish with adult sharks.
How to Setup a Shark Aquarium
The Shark Aquarium Essentials List
Filter/Protein Skimmer – To clean and filter the water, simply put. The “filter” will actually be the live rock, for the most part, put it in the tank and sump, the rock in the tank should be smooth if possible. Using jagged or sharp rock inside the tank itself can injure the shark if it darts across the tank quickly and hits the rock. For a Shark tank, I suggest as big of a sump as you can possibly fit this way you can cram it full of live rock. You’ll also want a big skimmer, rated for well over the actual gallons of your tank since your bio load will be large. You’ll empty the skimmer every other day or so, depending how much skimmate it produces. This stuff will smell like death and garbage, all rolled up into one.
Pumps/Powerheads – To move the water inside the tank as well as lift it back up to the tank from the sump, a lot of turnovers is suggested. Now, I don’t think the bottom dwelling sharks will appreciate living in a rapid so be reasonable but you do want good water movement.
Salt – A crap load of it. You’ll need a few buckets to start with, then more each time you do water changes. The 5-gallon bucket of salt sitting in my garage makes 150g of Saltwater if I recall correctly and was around $75. This isn’t your average table salt here folks.
RODI System – You’ll need this to make new freshwater unless your tap water is PERFECT and trust me, it isn’t. You’ll add the salt to this water to make new, perfect saltwater. These systems can be built or bought and come in very basic forms and very advanced forms, much like anything. RODI = Reverse Osmosis De-Ionization
Lights – Nothing really special needed for a Shark only tank but you gotta be able to see it, right? Any standard Saltwater type bulbs will give you that “blue” look as most are 50/50 style bulbs with a 10k element and an Actinic element. The Actinic portion of the bulb is what gives off the “blue” color. I highly suggest checking out the new LED systems offered by some companies. They use way less power and the LED’s can last much longer. The Shimmer effect from the LED’s is also extremely appealing.
Sand/Rock – You need the live rock in a Saltwater tank, it helps filter the water and keep everything balanced. You also need some sand for the bottom of the tank. Some people argue it benefits but at the end of the day, the ocean is a sandy bottom and we try to recreate nature as best as possible for our finned friends. Some will say you don’t need live rock either, and well, there are ways around it but to me, why bother. It is more natural and looks good.
A lot of good, fresh food – Sharks don’t eat goldfish flakes OR GOLDFISH FOR THAT MATTER. They need Shrimp (not cooked, well it can be but it may lose some nutritional value so I stick with raw if possible), Squid, Smelt, Crabs, Scallops, Fish pieces (or whole small fish) and so on. Any natural live (or dead) prey item is great. Keep it varied and keep it fresh. Do not feed your Shark live Goldfish or Rosy Red Minnows, neither are a natural item and not really beneficial to them and can possibly be detrimental to their health. If you want to feed them live to watch the show just buy some live Shrimp. As you can see, your Shark will be eating better than you.
Heater/Chiller – The tank needs to maintain proper temperatures, depending on your home you may need a heater or chiller or in some cases, both. These items will both draw a ton of power, so try to insulate the tank if possible or put in a room with steady temperature to keep costs lower.
Water monitoring and Testing equipment – From the basic thermometer, water testing kit, and salinity meter (get a refractometer, not a cheap in tank type) to a full blown PC based system that monitors all water parameters via sensors and probes. Obviously the more advanced the better here, but the basics can still get the job done.
Water changing and mixing equipment – With a large tank, it requires large water changes. So you’ll need other tanks (Rubbermaid Stock Tanks work great) to store your RODI water in. You’ll need a pump in this to keep the water moving as well as mix the salt in thoroughly along with a heater to match the tanks temp.
Auto Top off System – When water evaporates from your tank the salt does NOT go with it. So the salinity rises as the water evaporates, you do not want this. Therefore you can either buy or build a system that tops off with FRESHWATER (Not Saltwater) to replace the freshwater that evaporates. This is usually done with a float and pump, when the float lowers, it triggers the pump. Once full, the float lifts and the pump shuts off. You can place the auto top off the pump in your RODI storage tank, as this is the water you’ll want to top off with. But make sure it’s only freshwater, topping off with saltwater will only raise the salinity even more.
Backup Generator – This is optional but highly recommended. If the power is out for an extended time, you can lose everything. Simple as that.
Feeding Aquarium Sharks
The shark’s species I mentioned earlier are easy to feed and will accept most meaty food after training. Sharks can, however, go on food strikes and then you have to try to offer them something especially taste and try to feed them at other times such as during the night. A healthy well-nourished shark can go a few weeks without food. Sharks should not be fed more than 2-3 times a week. Feeding more will put stress on the water quality. If you want to grow out your sharks quickly you can feed them more often but then you need to keep a close eye on the water quality.
Aquarium Shark Eggs
Aquarium sharks can often be quite expensive and not everyone can afford them. If you want to keep a shark but think that sharks are too expensive you might consider buying a shark egg and raise the shark yourself. Shark eggs are available from several small shark species and are generally much cheaper than live sharks as they are easier to handle and transport. The eggs viability can be checked in front of a strong light. You can also follow the development of the shark this way. The eggs hatch in 3- 6 months depending on which species of shark you bought an egg from and the temperature in the tank. The species I listed as suitable as aquarium sharks above can all be found and bought as eggs.
Types of Shark
Red-Tailed Black Shark
The red-tailed black shark, also known as the redtail shark and redtail sharkminnow, is a species of freshwater fish in the carp family, Cyprinidae.
Scientific name: Epalzeorhynchos bicolor
Higher classification: Epalzeorhynchos
The bala shark, Balantiocheilos melanopterus, also known as the tricolor shark, silver shark, or shark minnow, is a fish species of the family Cyprinidae, and is one of the two species in the genus Balantiocheilos.
Scientific name: Balantiocheilos melanophores
Higher classification: Balantiocheilos
Whitespotted Bamboo Shark
The whitespotted bamboo shark, Chiloscyllium plagiosum, is a carpet shark with an adult size that approaches one metre in length This small, mostly nocturnal species is harmless to humans.
Scientific name: Chiloscyllium plagiosum
Higher classification: Lip sharks
The rainbow shark is a species of Southeast Asian freshwater fish from the family Cyprinidae. It is also variously known as the ruby shark, red-fin shark, red-finned shark, rainbow sharkminnow, green.
Scientific name: Epalzeorhynchos frenatum
Higher classification: Epalzeorhynchos
The coral catshark is a species of catshark, and part of the family Scyliorhinidae. It is common on shallow coral reefs across the Indo-West Pacific, from Pakistan to New Guinea.
Scientific name: Atelomycterus marmoratus
Higher classification: Atelomycterus
Chinese high finn banded shark
The Chinese high-fin banded shark is a popular freshwater aquarium fish that belongs to the Catostomidae family. It grows to about 1.35 m long and is unsuitable for most home aquariums.
Scientific name: Myxocyprinus asiaticus
Higher classification: Myxocyprinus
The chain catshark or chain dogfish is a small, reticulated catshark that is biofluorescent. The species is common in the West Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico from George’s Bank in Massachusetts, to Nicaragua.
Scientific name: Scyliorhinus retifer
Higher classification: Scyliorhinus
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