Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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bvereschagin09 02-19-2010 02:03 PM

Brownbanded Bamboo Shark
Hey guys, just registered!

I've decided recently that I would like to set up an aquarium in my new house that I will be moving into next August. I am just getting into the idea of this, but I plan on reading A TON and doing much research before making any costly mistakes. While looking on the internet for potential fish to have, I came across the blackbanded bamboo shark and I want to build my aquarium around one of these guys. I am planning on getting something in the 200 gallon range, is this feasible? I've read a lot that a new guy should never make this one of his first fish but I plan on doing significant research before purchasing and I am ABSOLUTELY prepared to devote PLENTY of time to keeping my tank clean, healthy, and in ideal conditions for this guy to live. So let's hear it, am I out of my mind or with some reading and research can I make this happen? Thanks!

Pasfur 02-19-2010 04:48 PM

Hi and welcome to the forum! I always hesitate to respond to posts like this, because this is your first experience here on, and you do not yet know the personality of this community. We are an extremely friendly group, and you will almost never see any type of attack threads here. It is very family oriented, and our only goal is to help you be successful. I think if you spend some time reading the threads, you will probably see this.

Anyhow, someone has to answer this question, so here goes. There are so many problems with the situation you have described. The most important is the species selection. Blackbanded bamboo sharks grow to an adult size of over 3 feet in length. A 200 gallon tank is barely large enough to keep most species of Holacanthus angelfish, and is not even close to large enough for this shark. You would need a tank that approaches 12 feet in length to make this species comfortable.

This is why saltwater is so difficult for most newcomers. It has nothing to do with the difficulty of the tasks. Everyone can learn how to mix salt, do tests, add chemicals, etc. The hard part is self discipline. Most people find out the hard way that keeping freshwater fish does not provide any experience that is useful in keeping marine fish species. In fact, for most people the freshwater experience makes saltwater more difficult, because in most freshwater species you can break all the rules and still keep the fish alive. In saltwater, this just doesn't happen. Fish quickly succumb to disease when kept in surroundings that do not replicate their natural habitat, and this includes swimming space.

Now, on the bright side. There are a TON of exotic saltwater fish that you can keep in a 200 gallon tank!!! And it sounds like you have the patience and willingness to do this the right way! Or, the other option is to go with a larger tank and we can start discussing/researching what it will take to keep that blackbanded bamboo shark thriving in captivity!

bvereschagin09 02-19-2010 06:12 PM

ahhh really? I read many sites that said 150-180 gallon is the minimum tank size for one of those. Well, if thats not the case then what is a good size fish I could build this tank around? I want to select one that I love and then find compatibility matches from there and add more. I guess what I'm saying is I want a "king of the tank" haha. Any suggestions?

bvereschagin09 02-19-2010 07:01 PM

Sharks and Rays, saltwater fish aquarium - Aquatic Connection

This site has some bamboos that say adults can live in a 180 gallon tank. Now, understandably, Im a noob and I'm just repeating what I read. So, is this not true?

wake49 02-20-2010 10:34 AM


Originally Posted by Aquatic Connection
Sharks and Rays can both be fun additions to an aquarium that is large enough to suit the particular species (minimum size 180 gallons for the smaller or less active species), and that provides the right environment.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.

180 gallon tanks are generally 24" wide x 24" high x 72" in length (Pasfur correct me if I'm wrong about the height or width). That means that Aquatic Connection thinks it is completely suitable for an animal to live in quarters that are only TWICE the length of the animal, and 2/3 the width of the animal's length. That would be like a person living in a room that is 4' wide by 2' wide (even prisoners are treated better than that).

An animal should have enough room to turn around, and do some moderate swimming. I think that gallons tend to throw people off as a 150 gallon tank, for example, has two or three different sizes. One is 72" long x 18" wide x 27" tall. The other is 48" long x 24" wide x 30" tall. The first obviously offers more swimming space, along with better surface area for oxygen exchange, than the second. I would put fish in the 6 foot aquarium that I wouldn't put in the 4 footer.

I think that for a shark to be happy, it should have about 6 times its length for swimming. I would say that an 800 gallon tank (216" long x 36" wide x 24" high) would be more appropriate for an animal that gets MAX 36" in length. And this would be something that you would start the shark in as opposed to transfering it upon growth.

Sharks are also a very sensitive species of animal and need optimum living conditions.

I think that the "Expert/Advanced Aquarist Only" means: people with enough experience and knowledge in this hobby know the restrictions of the tank size recommended is not suitable. Please house this specimen in a tank large enough to keep him healthy.

bvereschagin09 02-20-2010 03:34 PM

Ok so I guess the shark is not happening, who has some suggestions for my main fish?

bettababy 02-20-2010 04:47 PM

I think some wonderful advice has been shared here... hats off to you guys!!

When you ask someone else to select a fish species for you, please remember that we don't have any clue to what you are seeking in a pet. That is like telling us you want a puppy, and asking us to suggest the breed for you... yet we know nothing about you or your lifestyle. You could be a St Bernard person and others would be suggesting a toy poodle. Can you give us something to go on besides a 200 gallon tank?

Are you seeking something predatory? You say large, but how large do you mean? Even in 200 gallons there will be some limits to the animals you can keep. How many other fish do you wish to keep with your "main selection"? Is this to be a reef tank, fowl, or somewhere in between? Do you desire inverts? What type of lighting will you be working with? What kind of filtration are you planning to use? All these things make a difference.

My first suggestion to you would be to study the various options of environment and decide which appeals to you most or go to some of the online marine places and start browsing marine fish species at random until you see something that appeals to you. Once you find a list of species that appeal to you, it is then easier for us to get a feel for what you like, and suggest other options in the same category of animals, or other options with the same traits/habits/etc of the things on your list. You may find 3 fish you like but only 1 of them can have tank mates in a 200 gallon tank... what is it you liked about the bamboo shark that inspired you to want one so badly? Is it because it is a shark? There are a few options of shark that could live in a 200 gallon tank, but you won't get much if anything else in there with it, if anything at all.

Try looking up these species and see if any of them appeals to you...
Marbled catshark (Atelomycterus macleayi)

Coral catshark (Atelomycterus marmoratus)

Bali catshark (Atelomycterus baliensis) (We kept one of the bali catsharks at our store in the display for many yrs. This is a great species for anyone who wants a "shark" in captivity. They have the elongated body, beautiful markings, and tend to have a more docile nature vs some of the other catshark species. This is a reef shark species, and very flexible... which is why it can handle a 200 gallon tank where others cannot. Ours was strictly a hand feeder, although some of our staff had to use a feeding stick to avoid being bitten. If you take the time and work with the shark every day, hand feeding with one of these is usually pretty easy and somewhat safe. I never used a feeding stick and never had a problem.)

I must warn you now, before you go any further... Each of these species of shark that I named can be quite difficult to find, and they each have very specialized needs. This is not something that will be inexpensive or easy to keep, but it sounds as if you are willing to commit yourself to whatever care requirements you come up with.

Before you purchase any marine animal for your tank, there are a few things you will need to know up front.

1. Be sure the animal is eating before you take it home, and this is most especially true of any shark species. Don't just take someone's word for it, insist on seeing it eat or walk away. It is very common for stores to bring in marine animals who never eat while there, and when they get to the home aquarium they starve to death. Stress is a huge factor in feeding marine animals, as is the food selections. Many marine animals are still being wild caught (the majority of them), unlike freshwater where the majority is now being captive bred for the hobby. Getting a wild animal to take prepared foods can be quite difficult and sometimes impossible.

2. Be sure the fish doesn't have any abrasions or injuries before you spend your money. Open wounds/lesions is a warning sign that this animal has health issues that can be difficult, expensive, and sometimes impossible for the average home aquarist to deal with.

3. Once you know the animal is eating, find out what foods it is taking and have that on hand when you get the animal at home. Introducing new foods can take time and marine animals can be a lot fussier about what they will eat. You'll want to be sure to have on hand something you know for sure they eat while you transition them to new/better foods.

4. Beyond the first animal (invert or otherwise) be sure you have a quarantine tank set up that can accommodate the sizes of the fish you will be bringing home. Medicating marine fish can be quite difficult, and dangerous to tank mates, and disease/illness issues are not always apparent at the time of purchase. Disease and illness spreads quickly in an aquarium.

5. Know and understand the environment these animals come from before you attempt to replicate it at home. This is something commonly missed, especially by newbies. Knowing that these animals are primarily coming from a wild environment, the best chance at success is to replicate their natural habitat as closely as possible. This includes foods, rock structure/formations, corals, tank mates, water chemistry, temp, light cycles, etc. A marine animal will need proper rock structures, caves, etc in their tank vs a bunch of plastic plants and sponge bob ornaments, which is another big difference between freshwater and marine keeping. Knowing and understanding their environment is a major factor, especially when you work with a shark species. (Adding the wrong substrate, such as crushed coral, for a bottom dwelling shark can quickly lead to the death of the animal when it rips its belly open on sharp crushed coral pieces, etc)

I hope this helps you sort through your options. Best of luck to you.

And to the rest of you.... keep up the good work!!! :-)

Pasfur 02-20-2010 05:53 PM

Have you considered some of the more readily available species? One of the best looking displays I have ever seen was a tank which housed only different species of Lionfish. You could fit 5 to 6 Lionfish in a tank of that size, and really have an impressive community.

As an alternative, you could stick with a single Lionfish, and then add some other predatory type fish, such as a Snowflake Moray (Echidna nebulosa) and a Frogfish (Antennarius maculatus). With this mix you could add a larger species of Angelfish as a real centerpiece fish. Something like a Emperor Angel (Pomocanthus emperator) or Blue Ring Angel (Pomocanthus annularis).

Regardless of what livestock you choose, the key to your success is going to be a good quality protein skimmer. Especially with larger fish, you are going to need a really good skimmer to remove the high amounts of organic waste produced in this system. I would carefully consider the filtration on this tank, based on the fish you want. This isn't your everyday marine system, so a lot of what you read may not apply to your tank. We can certainly walk you through the details, but lets wait until you make some livestock decisions before we proceed in that direction.

bvereschagin09 02-20-2010 05:55 PM

the marbled catshark is awesome! If that thing can live in a 200 gallon tank I'm going to try for one of those.

As for what I'm into, I guess a predator. Something you don't see often that will get some "ooohhs" and "ahhhs". Would that guy be able to live with any of the angelfish I've seen online? I think what I want is one "king" like that catshark and then a few (maybe 6-8) brightly colored fish in a variety of sizes. I hope this give a little insight as to what I want. Thanks for the replies guys I've already learned a lot!

Pasfur 02-20-2010 06:24 PM

Dawn, when it comes to fish selection I have no experience to help on this thread at this point. Your long term help will be needed on this one. Also, Dawn can you describe the physical environment that will be needed to house this species?

I am going to jump in on the filtration side of this, which is more of my niche anyhow. I think you are going to need to utilize a very specific type of filtration that I normally do not discuss. (Anyone reading this please sit down because you might pass out when I say this....)

You need a biological filter. This is extremely unusual in a marine system, but with the waste amounts produced by a shark, it would be unwise to use only live rock to process nitrogenous wastes. I would use a sump system, with all water flowing first into a very good quality protein skimmer. The exit water from the skimmer should flow over a baffle and trickle over biological filter media, such as bioballs. The output from here will then be pumped back into the display tank.

This type of filter allows you a huge benefit. By having all water flow into the protein skimmer before coming in contact with biomedia, you will allow the skimmer to remove the bulk of the organic waste, helping to reduce the buildup of nitrate. Any remaining waste will then enter the biomedia for breakdown into nitrate. If the skimmer is effective enough the nitrate buildup will be slow and water changes effective over the long term to keep nitrates at acceptable levels. (Dawn, can we use a 4'' to 6'' sand bed on this tank?)

This is a good example of the sump style:
CPR CY294 Filter

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