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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Pet Care Library > Articles > Shark

Shark

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Traits & behavior

Omnivores
This means they eat both plant and animal matter, including prepared foods, small live foods and certain vegetables.

All-level swimmers
While most fish tend to stay at a certain level of the aquarium, you will see your shark swimming at the bottom, middle and top of your tank.

Non-aggressive
These fish are extremely peaceful (except for red-tailed sharks) and live best in a community aquarium with fish of the same disposition.

Minnows
These fish are not really sharks and actually belong to the minnow family. It is their upright dorsal fin that gives them a shark-like appearance.

Things to remember

Adding fish
Whether you're just starting your aquarium or introducing new fish into your tank, don't forget to add only 1-3 at a time.

Jumpers
Keep in mind that bala sharks are accomplished jumpers and a tight-fitting cover is a must.

Safety & cleanliness
Please remember that all pets may bite or scratch, and may transmit disease to humans. Keep your pet's home clean and wash your hands before and after handling your pet or cleaning his home. Infants, young children, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems, and the infirm or elderly are at greater risk of infections and should use caution when in contact with the pet or its habitat. Consult your doctor for more information.
 

Nutrition

Staple diet
Sharks will eat a wide variety of flake, frozen and freeze-dried foods as well as small, live foods, including tubifex worms, daphnia, mosquito larvae, bloodworms and brine shrimp. Feed according to the directions on the packaging.

Supplements
To boost your sharks' overall health, supplement their diet with vegetable matter, such as fresh, sliced zucchini, romaine lettuce as well as canned or frozen peas.

Frequent feedings
For optimum health, feed your sharks as much food as they will consume in 1-3 minutes, twice a day. You can alternate between regular staple diet feedings and 2-4 meals per week of supplementary foods.

Health

Signs your sharks are healthy:

  • Eating vigorously and swimming at all levels of the tank
  • Clear eyes, smooth, clean skin and fins free from any lesions or inconsistent colorations
  • Calm, steady gill movements

Things to watch for:

  • Lying on bottom of aquarium
  • Poor growth or weight loss
  • Inflamed gills, skin or fins
  • Fins clamped to sides
  • Scraping body on rocks

If you notice any of the signs described above, check your aquarium water quality and consult a PetSmart Aquatics Specialist.
 

Environment

Aquarium
Sharks are active swimmers and need a large tank that is long rather than tall. A good rule of thumb is one gallon of water for every one inch of full-grown fish.

Décor
Decorate their tank with plastic plants (they'll destroy live plants), but be sure to place them on the sides and back of the aquarium so they'll have enough space to swim in the center. Labeo sharks require plenty of hiding places in the form of rocks, driftwood or roots.

Fish compatibility
Sharks can share their aquarium with fish of the same size and temperament. Keep in mind that bala sharks can grow quite large. Also, red-tailed sharks are territorial loners that are intolerant of members of their own species.

Water changes
Test water weekly to assess water quality. It is recommended that 10% of your aquarium water be changed per week. At the very least, 25% of your aquarium water should be changed per month.

Water temperature
Water temperatures should range between 72-82° F. Use an aquarium heater to maintain water temperature.

Aquarium placement
Place your aquarium in a low-traffic area, away from direct sunlight and drafts.

Aquarium stand
An aquarium stand will safely support the weight of your filled aquarium.

 

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