Adding a Shark to Your Tank

A shark in your tank can turn your aquarium from ordinary to extraordinary, but are you up to the challenge these unique fish present? It may not be as hard as you imagine to create a shark-friendly aquarium.

Sharks and Shark-Like Fish

Not all aquarium "sharks" are true sharks, but many different fish mimic the appearance and behavior of sharks. This makes these shark-like fish very desirable aquarium residents, and there are many different shark mimics that can become part of different tank setups. Some of the most popular of these shark mimics include…

  • Rainbow sharks
  • Bala sharks
  • Silver Apollo sharks
  • Redtail sharks
  • Iridescent sharks

In addition to these fish that seem to be sharks, there are several true sharks that can be kept in the appropriate aquariums, including…

  • Epaulette sharks
  • Wobbegongs
  • Bamboo sharks

Each of these fish – both fish-like sharks and true sharks – have distinct needs for a safe, healthy, comfortable tank habitat. To be the best shark-keeper possible, you will need to research the fish you want to keep and intimately understand its needs and preferences before adding it to any tank.

Tips for Keeping Aquarium Sharks

Sharks and any fish that display shark-like qualities are often more aggressive and territorial than other typical tank fish. To keep your sharks happy in your tank as well as safeguard other fish in the same aquarium…

  • Use as large a tank as possible. Not only will this give your shark plenty of room to roam, but it will also lessen any territoriality or aggression issues between different fish, allowing your shark to live in relative peace. Because sharks can grow quite large, a bigger tank will keep them much more comfortable.

  • Provide plenty of places to hide. Sharks can be quite shy, and any fish that may prefer to keep away from the shark will appreciate abundant hiding places to take advantage of. Caves, rock formations and plenty of plants are essential to create the nooks and crannies for different fish to feel safe and secure.

  • Meet your shark's preferred water balance and other environmental needs. This includes establishing the proper pH in the tank as well as keeping the temperature ideal for your shark's health and well-being. Some shark-like fish prefer freshwater or brackish water, while others are saltwater species, so be sure you have the proper environment for them to thrive.

  • Provide the appropriate diet for your shark's nutritional needs. Shark-like fish can eat a variety of plant material and will enjoy a snack of cucumber or zucchini slices. True sharks prefer more protein in their diet, and larger species will not eat as frequently, so be sure to avoid overfeeding that can pollute the tank and overwhelm the filter.

  • Be aware of your shark's compatibility with other tank residents. Some shark species are more easy-going than others and will peacefully coexist with other fish that occupy different levels of the aquarium. The size and shape of other tank-mates can affect a shark's behavior, and learning more about your shark will help you create a community it can be happy in.

Adding a shark to your tank can be a challenge, but it can also be very rewarding to have one of the highly desirable, unique aquarium residents swimming around your tank. With proper preparation and care, your shark can be just as happy and comfortable as any other fish in your tank.