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Fish Care

Sharks for the Saltwater Aquarium

When it comes to stocking a saltwater aquarium, your options are nearly limitless. If you want to cultivate a saltwater aquarium that is truly unique, consider stocking it with some unique fish – saltwater sharks. In this article you will read about several species of saltwater shark that make stunning additions to the home aquarium.

Epaulette Shark epaulette shark (Hemiscyllium ocellatum)

Epaulette Shark

The epaulette shark (Hemiscyllium ocellatum) is a type of carpet shark native to the tropical waters of New Guinea and Australia. These sharks are named for the white-bordered black spot that sits behind the pectoral fins which looks like a military epaulette. This species is fairly small for a saltwater shark, growing to reach an average length around 3.3 feet. Epaulette sharks are nocturnal and they tend to prefer shallow waters in coral reefs or tidal pools. This species subsists on a diet of crustaceans, worms and small fish.

Wobbegong

The name wobbegong is given to a group of twelve carpet sharks belonging to the family Orectolobidae. These sharks tend to inhabit the shallow tropical or temperate waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, primarily around Indonesia and Australia. Most species of wobbegong achieve a maximum length of 4 feet, but the largest species – the banded wobbegong (Orectolobus maculatus) – has been recorded at a length of nearly 10 feet. Due to their large size, these sharks are only recommended for very large saltwater aquariums and experienced aquarium hobbyists.

coral catshark coral catshark (Atelomycterus marmoratus)

Catshark

The species belonging to the family Scyliorhinidae is comprised of over 100 species that are collectively referred to as catsharks. The species in this family are some of the most attractive species of saltwater shark but, unfortunately, they are fairly rare in the aquarium hobby. One of the most common catsharks available is the coral catshark (Atelomycterus marmoratus) which typically grows no more than 4 inches long and dwells in the debris of a reef environment. Other catsharks you may encounter include the smallspotted catshark (Scyliorhinus canicula) which grows up to 3 feet long and breeds readily in the home aquarium.

Tips for Keeping Sharks

Unlike traditional aquarium fish, sharks do not have scales so they may be more sensitive to changes in water temperature as well as water chemistry. The key to keeping your saltwater sharks healthy is to maintain stable conditions in your aquarium, including high water quality. A simple way to ensure high water quality in your tank is to install EcoBio-Stones in your tank. These stones are made from porous volcanic rock and infused with live beneficial bacteria as well as the nutrients they need to thrive. When added to your tank, these beneficial bacteria will reproduce to establish and maintain the nitrogen cycle which is the key to keeping your tank water clean and clear. EcoBio-Stone M 2 packs will treat up to 120 gallons of water (under good water conditions, additional 2 packs can be added for poor water conditions and for larger tanks) and will work for up to two years and once you put it in your tank and will keep your water clear and healthy.

Keep in mind that even the smaller species of shark require a very large aquarium in order for the shark to remain healthy. You will need to research the particular species you plan to keep so you can aquascape the aquarium appropriately – many sharks are nocturnal and will require places to hide during the day. As long as you do your research and select a species that is well-suited to the home aquarium, you should be successful in keeping saltwater sharks.

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