Animal Husbandry Tips
from Ken Moran

A private aquarist as well as a public aquarist tackling the challenges of caring for sharks must remember that shark husbandry differs from almost any other aquatic species.  Shark physiology and behavior differ significantly from other types of marine animals.  Shark husbandry should be approached with care and much preparation.  Sharks should not be an aquarist's first marine species nor should they be an experiment for the aquarist.

Inexperienced aquarists or hobbyists that do not have time and resources to invest should stick to species such as nurse sharks, horn sharks, leopard sharks and rays which are durable and do not require the added care and maintenance of other elasmobranchs.  Given the cost of sharks and the cost of a system large enough to handle a shark, it should be obvious that sharks require a level of skill and devotion that goes beyond the novice aquarist.  This should not discourage shark keepers.  It should only point to the need of increasing knowledge and skill in aquatic husbandry. 

Shark keepers should begin with a book.  Books do not contain everything about husbandry.  Shark husbandry is a relatively new science in fish keeping.  Nevertheless, the basics are contained in a book about keeping sharks, Aquarium Sharks and Rays by Michael.  This is a good start.  Also, having the support of a local pet shop, aquarium maintenance specialist or public aquarist is important to the success of a shark keeper starting out....

Tips for starting out

  1. FILTRATION, FILTRATION, FILTRATION (Sharks react adversely to poor water quality rapidly due to their natural tissue ammonia levels.)
  2. Large sharks and certain species are not to be feed daily or even every other day.
  3. Feeding and diet vary with nearly each species kept and age of the particular species.
  4. Immobilization of a shark is death (except for horns, whitetip reefs, nurses, wobegongs, and certain dogfish).
  5. Never stop a shark swimming or pull it backwards in the water!
  6. Don't introduce a new shark to an overly cluttered system.
  7. Remember, sharks bite!

Check back for more tips...


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