White tip sharks always die, why? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 10 Old 09-14-2009, 03:29 PM Thread Starter
White tip sharks always die, why?

My husband occssionally buys a pair of silver tipped sharks but theydon't live long in my tank. Water conditions weren't out of ordinary when they died. My normal water 0 ammonia , o nitrites and never a nitrate, ph in the past 6.8 now 7-7.4 the sharks have died each time i try. What could be going on ?
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post #2 of 10 Old 09-14-2009, 07:22 PM
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I am guessing the white tip shark is the same as the Columbian shark. If so the shark needs brackish salt as it ages. In the wild, they are born in fresh water, but move to more salt water as they age.
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post #3 of 10 Old 09-14-2009, 08:26 PM Thread Starter
Thanx, i remembered after poating. I am ashamed of myself ! i told my hubby no more, no more, no more, no more ! Does'nt it p' you off that the stores don't remind / post this.
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post #4 of 10 Old 09-15-2009, 04:23 AM
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Yes, I have even seen them for sale at Walmart before. I don't think I have ever seen a sign at the stores listing the fish as brackish.
It is upsetting that stores are sometimes just out for a profit. They will live a few weeks or longer in freshwater, then it is to late to make a return.
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post #5 of 10 Old 09-16-2009, 03:16 PM
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I would have to disagree. I have had mine now for a year in fresh water. He is 8 inchs long and not one problem. quarintin is the key thing with them just like clown lochs. They are scallis fish. The water i keep mine in is at ph 8.2 a little high. and the temp is 82 degrees. Yes in the wild they do go to brackish waters. Just like most mollies. But when breed in captivity they ween them to just fresh water. and they dont need the brackish water. Im not going to say it wont efect there long liFe span. But i know they dont need brakish to survive.
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post #6 of 10 Old 09-16-2009, 03:22 PM
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Oh and they are pron to ich. and other diseases. The higher water temp fights off some of the diseases not all. What is youre tank readings and what fish do you have in the tank. what kind of sub an decor for him to hide in or under?
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post #7 of 10 Old 09-16-2009, 07:16 PM
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IMHO, fish not being kept in water to there liking, makes them prone to ick and disease.
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post #8 of 10 Old 09-16-2009, 08:08 PM
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From experience. I have never had them get ich in fresh water. I gues its up to you to decide if you want to try them again.
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post #9 of 10 Old 09-17-2009, 03:58 AM
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0 nitrates! How are you achieving that!? Everyone should listen!
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post #10 of 10 Old 09-17-2009, 01:03 PM
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Assuming the fish in question is Arius jordani, common names Columbia Shark or Silver-Tip Shark, it is a brackish water fish when mature as Twistersmom mentioned. It is also large, growing more than 12 inches, and needs a 4-foot tank at a minimum when young. Smaller tanks (not saying this is a problem with you) will probably cause growth problems internally.

With respect to success in fresh water, mollies, I note that your pH is 8.2 and that probably has something to do with your luck so far. These fish require harder, alkaline water, and that means there are more dissolved minerals and salts of various types in the water than there would be in water with a pH of 7.4, and water with a pH of 6.8 is certainly not acceptable for this fish. Thus, the fish you have may be "OK" in your 8.2 water simply because it has so far managed to make do with the harder mineralized water. The long-term continuance though is not so certain, as I'll come to below.

And catfishtabbi, this is another issue for you, with water that is slightly acidic to slightly basic (alkaline). This fish, when young, requires harder water.

A final comment on Twistersmom's pertinent comment on fish being more prone to disease due to water parameters. This is absolutely true. It is a scientific fact that fish have a certain "preference" for water parameters, and each species has evolved over millions of years to "live" in certain water. Evolution is an on-going thing in nature, and over time fish continue to evolve to adapt to changes. This is one reason why decades of tank-raised fish can adapt to different water parameters than their wild counterparts. But there is a limit to such adaptation short-term, and differing water parameters also takes a high toll on some fish more than others.

A fish has a complex internal metabolism that involves adjusting the ph of its blood to equal that of the water in which it lives, feeding its cells, and maintaining its immune system. When it has to work harder to do any of these things, it causes stress. And just as with humans, stress brings on various diseases. The fish is literally weakened constantly because it is spending considerable effort to match its surroundings, and parasites--which are frankly always present in our aquariums--will take the opportunity to attack and the fish will be unable to fend them off. Salinity and ph play a significant role in this, because they affect the internal workings of the fish.

To sum up, for the long-term health of this fish, it should be in a large aquarium of brackish water. It is also a shoaling fish, and prefers being in a small group--another problem with tank size.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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