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Keeping sharks in a home aquarium

 
 
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2008 11:28 am
Mr. B and I used to keep aquariums with exotic species of salt water life so I'm not a complete novice.

My son, Mo, loves sharks, adores sharks, is fascinated by sharks, brings home stacks of library books about sharks, and talks about sharks so I'm thinking a nice gift for him would be a largish aquarium with a smallish shark.

Some early research shows that most aquarium sharks don't look very shark like and I know he would prefer something that looks very shark like.

I would love any help you could provide about keeping sharks as pets.

Thanks!
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Type: Question • Score: 10 • Views: 68,660 • Replies: 36
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Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2008 11:51 am
@boomerang,
The other fish in the tank will probably not be as fond of the shark as Mo...
mismi
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2008 11:52 am
@Rockhead,
Will there be other fish in the tank if there is a shark?
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2008 12:11 pm
This here ...

http://i36.tinypic.com/35m1abn.jpg

... is a 1,000-gallon shark aquarium. The $23,000 tank weighs about eight tons, for one shark (a $2,000 blacktip reef shark [which are the cheapest, according to Sea Life] and some smaller fish.


Source
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2008 12:27 pm
@boomerang,
Well if you want to keep a big "shark-looking shark" be prepared to spend thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars.

Here is an example of a do it yourself type: Building a 1700 gallon Shark Tank

Even for smaller sharks, the cost and difficulty of maintenance is very steep.

Want my recommendation? Go with a fresh water fish that looks a bit like a shark. For example the "Bala Shark" is a very easy fish to keep (even in a community tank) and I've always loved it for it's shark-like looks.

I don't have one of those now so here's a google search for pictures:

http://images.google.com/images?q=bala%20shark
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2008 12:32 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I know you asked about small sharks, but the thing is he's likely fascinated by big ones, and there's no small one I know of that looks much like them.

Even if it's only a foot long you are talking a big aquarium, and there aren't any "shark looking sharks" I know of that are under a foot long. A very rough rule of thumb is that you need a gallon an inch (of fish) but in reality this doesn't work out with big fish and a 12-inch fish would not be well suited with a 12 gallon tank.

I have a 50-gallon tank and I wouldn't be comfortable with a 12-inch fish in there. So you'd really be looking at a pretty big tank to get a respectable shark.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  0  
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2008 12:35 pm
Just don't make the same mistake as this sap:

0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2008 12:46 pm
@boomerang,
More info here: http://animal-world.com/encyclo/marine/sharks_rays/sharks_rays.php

Quote:
Most Sharks and Rays are large meat eaters that require large aquariums. Most grow to a minimum of 36 inches and require a minimum 180 gallon aquarium. Many sharks, like the leopard shark, shown above, can grow up to 6.5 ft. long and require a minimum 400 gallon tank.

You would think that the adult size of these fish would keep them out of the general aquarium hobby industry, but young, small sharks are still offered for sale to people who may not realize how big they can get.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2008 01:15 pm
Here is a great link that has many articles about aquarium sharks and fresh water fish that look like sharks.

http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/sharkfish/
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2008 01:16 pm
And may I recommend the movie "The Great Mr. Limpet" - maybe after meeting me - he may prefer a regular guy fish.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2008 01:24 pm
Thanks all!

Mr. B and I kept tanks in the 200-400 gallon range with several exotic and finiky species so I'm pretty well versed in the expense and upkeep required. I was thinking of a tank in the 100-200 gallon range.

He usually only gets one fairly extravagant gift for his birthday, something he is really interested in so it has a high use to cost ratio.

I wonder if something that looks shark like, like Robert's suggestion, something that behaves shark like, like trigger fish (which are very beautiful and I have some experience with), or an actual shark that doesn't look much like a shark would be the best choice.

The really cool little sharks, like the pygmy, live so deep in the ocean that I doubt they would be aquarium fish......
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2008 01:44 pm
@boomerang,
I didn't know you had large tank experience, so you obviously know the costs involved and all. Personally, I get bored of those huge one-fish tanks but Mo might just love sharks enough.

But if you go the freshwater community tank route I can recommend these "Red finned sharks":

http://www.funfishtank.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/09/rainbow-shark.jpg

They are very territorial, and will chase the other fish around and harass them. They aren't good community tank members because of this but the kids who saw my tank loved "watching the shark hunt".
mismi
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2008 01:47 pm
@boomerang,
http://www.fishlore.com/Profiles-RedTailShark.htm
This one is pretty - and it kind of looks like a shark to me
0 Replies
 
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2008 01:48 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I've had those guys as well.

They do keep the other fish on the move a bit.

(not a shark, but I have a ropefish that is very "eel-like", aggressive, and fun to watch, but with a small mouth) (he's about 12" long now, but happy in a 30 gal)
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2008 02:32 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Oh that red finned shark is pretty!

We had a tank bully once - this coral banded shrimp, so pretty but man he was mean. He went into the passive tank and immediately killed a seahorse before starting to pick on everything else. He went back to the fish shop right away.

The most interesting fish we ever had was a picasso trigger. You can't see it in this photo but they have a little dorsal fin that pops up when they're hunting. They're predators (I think we fed ours on brine shrip and frozen worms though) so you have to keep them alone but if I recall we kept urchins and anenomes in with it.

Maybe what I need to do is stumble Mo into a good aquarium shop and see what catches his fancy. I'm going to start hunting down a good local shop.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2008 02:50 pm
@boomerang,
I've not started up on reef aquariums yet, and have been resisting the urge to buy a 200 gallon tank (no space for it, and I already have several tanks) but here you go talking about sea horses and making me interested again....

I'm blaming you if I start spending thousands on salt water aquariums!
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2008 03:04 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Haha! Gotcha!

I haven't stepped into a saltwater shop in years because I know how addictive it is once you get started. Its like making a whole tiny planet; it's a little, living work of art.

Lot's of work but so lovely and relaxing to watch.

I still have a big box of corals so I could probably build a nice tank.

Seahorses are amazing but very delicate.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2008 03:06 pm
@boomerang,
Ooops. Forgot to post the picasso....

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3254/2289962813_193705b1d8.jpg?v=1217545555
0 Replies
 
shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2008 03:15 pm
I used to keep big tanks too .
I love, love love fish tanks. I cant live with out one in my presence. ..

My suggestion.. if you are looking for an aggressive, live fish eating type 'fish' and not worried about it LOOKING like a shark?
Oscars.
You need a 100 gallon tank to house one well enough.
Fresh water, very aggressive, WILL bite you if it can...... Oscars eat live fish, raw meat.. and are pretty mean looking. Though.. look nothing like a shark.

http://www.aqua-fish.net/imgs/fish/oscar-fish.jpg

You can find them in solid colors, patterns, and albino.
very easy to keep. In fact thrive on a semi 'dirty' tank. Meaning.. you dont have to keep it spotless, vacuum it once a week or do a water change more then once a month.. less often if you have a good filter.
0 Replies
 
shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2008 03:17 pm
There is also a small fresh water community fish that looks like a silver shark.
They dont get any bigger then 4 inches, but are aggressive, tear into guppies like candy..

I do not remember what they are called, but I am going back and forth to the fish store this week starting my own natural tank.
Next time I go, I will bring my camera and snap a few photos of them/
They look just like a little shark, but they may not be as big as you are hoping for
 

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