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Aquarium compatible sharks

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Deluxe247 View Drop Down
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    Posted: August 05 2017 at 3:15am
Has anyone here ever kept any shark or ray species in their tank? I'm beginning to research the possibility of a large new tank project (still a couple of years away), and it may be awesome to have a bamboo shark or catshark or epaulette or something. Please tell me about your experience, pros and cons, type and size of shark, tank size and type, reef or no, support systems, etc. Also if you want to recommend any good reading on the topic that would be great. Thanks in advance!
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Mark Peterson View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 05 2017 at 6:27pm
Have you done a search here on this forum for "shark" and for "ray"? There are several WMAS hobbyists over the years that have kept elasmobranchs, have posted pics and have described their setups to some extent.

Of all the reef aquariums I've had over the years, my favorite of all time was the one where I built a suspended reef that housed a Blue Spotted Ribbontail Ray, a Batfish and some common small reef fish. It's pictured here:

Pictures of just a few of my Reef Aquariums:

That's copied from the Reefkeeping Tips, linked below in my signature line, which, if you've been here since 2009, you've probably seen and hopefully found useful. Smile

Because that suspended reef tank was so popular, later on I responded to requests to tell how I built it. The write up is here on the forum somewhere, if I can find it.

Aloha,
Mark  Hug



I have many more pics of Ms. Ray and Mr. Bat and would be happy to show them off if you want to see them. Smile
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Mark Peterson View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 05 2017 at 7:24pm
I found a couple threads where I wrote some:
but they don't say much about how I cared for the Ray. Let me know and I'd be happy to post more pics and add a description of the entire setup including acclimation, care and feeding. What I did there for that Ray in the 120 will work just as well for any of the family of Carpet Sharks.

The tank size recommendations found everywhere online logically assume that the tank will have a pile of LR sitting on the bottom. That's why they don't recommend a 120 gal tank, but I found that the Ray did just fine because the entire bottom of the tank was open swimming space, over soft Utah Oolitic Sand, with plenty of cover under the suspended reef. 
Sand is very important. The deep bed of Oolitic Sand that I used there, and still today provide for local hobbyists, is perfect for these "bottom sliders" and it did an awesome job of biofiltration, so good in fact that no filtration "equipment" was needed, not even a skimmer. 
Cover is very important. All marine fishes do a lot better when they have plenty of hiding spaces.

Aloha,
Mark  Hug

P.S.
Found this memorial to our wonderful Ms. Ray (unlike the teacher in Finding Nemo, who was also a Blue Spotted Ribbontail Ray, ours was female), which helps explain why these fish are so cool to keep as pets.
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phys View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote phys Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 20 2017 at 3:48am
You'll need a large tank as those sharks will get to 2' or more in length and need a good area to play around in. They stay mostly in the sand so have a lot of sandy area. You'll also want some kind of cave area for them to hang out in. They can be difficult to get eating in tank so you may have to try half a dozen or more types of food until they start taking the type the like. Having at least a 6 foot long tank is probably required for them as they get larger so they don't have to turn around constantly. Something like a 300DD would be good for them. The extra food and the type of food they eat (carnivores) make for a dirtier tank than normal so plan filtration for a larger tank than you get. They can be reef safe but most likely they'll eat smaller fish and inverts. They are also more sensitive to poor water conditions so keep that in mind. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jesterrace Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 23 2018 at 9:34am
Sharks and Rays are listed as Expert for a good reason.  They are very messy eaters/waste producers and very sensitive to nitrates.  If you are looking for the easiest to keep (relatively speaking of course) at the lowest cost then the 3 would be a California Ray (150 gallon minimum for a single specimen), a Coral Catshark or Australian Marbled Catshark (180 gallon minimum for a single specimen).  The Ray reaches 10 inches and the sharks get just over 2 feet max.  The Bamboo shark is the cheapest to buy initially but gets over 3 feet and requires between 350 and 400 gallons minimum to keep a single specimen long term.  The Epaullette gets over 4 feet long and requires between 450-500 gallons minimum for a single specimen.  The Coral Catshark would be my preference since they stay small and during the day are pretty sedentary but at night they will stalk the tank like a requiem shark and are voracious feeders.  Sharks and Rays will basically require you to have a plumbed water change system in order to keep up, especially if you want more than one as you will be changing out significant amounts of water each week.  To keep costs down it might be best to go with a pond setup rather than a traditional tank as it is much cheaper.   You can use live rock as well, but it won't be in the main tank/pond, it will need to basically all be in a huge sump.  

Something like this would work for a pond:





Edited by Jesterrace - April 23 2018 at 9:36am
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