Animal Stories - Silver-tipped Shark


Animal-World Information about: Silver-tipped Shark

   Though this is a very attractive fish and fun to observe, the Silver-tipped Shark or Shark Catfish gets rather large, up to 14 inches (36 cm) and needs several companions. This equates to a rather large aquarium!
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Kristina - 2014-09-10
I got a silver tip shark about a month ago and I have it in a 5 gal tank. The fish mostly just sits in one corner of the tank and doesn't do much. why? is it because he's stressed or lonely? and how often do I need to clean/replace water in the tank. new at this fish thing.

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  • Clarice Brough - 2014-09-10
    It sounds like you fish is very unhappy, probably because the tank is way too small. If you check out the aquarium setup section for this fish, you'll get an idea of what to do to keep him not only healthy, but happy:)
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Jaymi Loobey - 2014-08-20
Okay. I am thoughrohly confused now. I saw this fish at petco and the card said nothing about it being brackish or slightly poisonous. The petsmart site you guys show as selling this fish says it's related to minnows, not catfish like you do. And you say it is a scaleless fish even though the picture you have of it clearly is of a fish with scales. I just want to know if one will go well with bala sharks and a koi. Sheesh!

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  • David Brough - 2014-08-20
    The point you make about confusion in the pet industry is a good one. The problem is compounded by the fact that different fish may have the same common names. That is why we always mention the genus-species. The fish at Petsmart has the same common name but is a different species. Animal-World is describing Ariopsis seemani while Petsmart is selling is something else... Im not sure what it is since I can't find it on their page. However, if you google Silver-tipped Shark you will find that a majority of write-ups describe it as a catfish. There are also actual sharks, a large species of requiem sharks with the same or similar name. The catfish on Animal-World may better be called a Columbian Shark Catfish, we will consider changing it. Sorry about the confusion.
  • Clarice Brough - 2014-08-20
    I think the retailer has the fish mis-labeled - and thus their care info pertains to a totally different fish. You can tell the difference between a minnow species and a catfish species by looking at the fins on their back. This fish, the Silver-tip or Columbian Shark, has two fins on top, a large dorsal fin in front followed by an adipose fin just in front of the tail. Minnows are not sharks or catfish, but Cyprinids, and although some types of minnows may have barbels (just like this fish does) no Cyprinid will ever have the second fin on its back... the adipose fin will be absent.

    As far as compatibility, the Bala Shark (which is a Cyprinid) is a good sized fish, and peaceful but skittish. It gets along with most fish, even smaller fish, just as long as they are too large to fit in its mouth. This Silver-tip is a catfish, and it too is peaceful with other fish as long as they are the same size or larger. Minnows would be fine with either of these two fish, as they too are peaceful... but watch the size when keeping them, especially with a catfish. If you add a fish that is tiny, it could become lunch.
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david - 2008-11-29
I just bought a silver tipped shark at petco yesterday and now im really worried because I was told that they get about twenty four inches and that they will eat any fish thats smaller then him. I really love this shark but I dont want him to eat all my fish in the tank. He;s only about an inch or two now but should I return him??? I have swordtails, platties, mollies, yo-yo loach, rainbow shark, and tetras. I am doomed right? This fish will eat all my fish when it gets bigger right??? Please help me before it's too late for me to return the shark. Thanks Dave

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  • *Brianna* - 2010-04-02
    My Silver Tip Does Fine With The Other Tank Mates In My 29 Gal. They Include Swordtails, Platties (3 Really Small Ones), Indian Ghost Fish (With Are Like Tetras) Danios, And Also Ive Had A Few Little Guppies In There. They Did Fine. And My Silver Tip Is About 5 Inches. =) For Everyone Els eI Havent Had Any Killings Yet So I Think They Would Do Fine With Smaller Fish. He Also Has A Few Other Same Size Fish He Swims With.
  • Jeremy Roche - 2013-05-25
    The biggest issue you may have is tank sive.  They can out grow the tank depending on size.  They are not very aggressive fish and do well most of the time with smaller fish.
  • Jay - 2013-05-21
    I have 2silver tip and 4 tiger barb went missing my sharks r only 3 inches
  • Toni - 2013-08-20
    Do you know what might cause my silver tipped shark to swim using only his tail fin? He won't use any of his other fins. I'm afraid he might eventually die. :-(
  • Anonymous - 2014-08-11
    Silver tipped sharks are calm and non agrresive creatures your fish are fine
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kye turnbull - 2013-05-12
my friend said that he went swimming some where and saw Australian shark catfish that were about 1.75 metres long! im going to get some of the Australia species on the week end, there the easiest to find here because there native ( also these fish were seen in freshwater, they grow even bigger in salt!)

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  • kye turnbull - 2013-05-13
    anyone got suggestions on what keep it with? im thinking maybe with my tandus tandus catfish, hopefully they will be good friends ( unlike what happened to my bristle nose catfish )
  • Clarice Brough - 2013-05-14
    I think you'll have better luck with this combo, as they occupy different areas of the tank and don't look alike. Have fun!
  • kye turnbull - 2013-05-15
    Tandanus catfish don't look anywhere near what bristle nose look like, they look like silver tipped sharks but brown and have a tail.
  • kye turnbull - 2013-05-15
    an ell tail
  • 7bar7 - 2014-08-01
    I just bought 2 silver tipped shark.... My fish supplier would not sell only one... they HAVE to have another silver tip with them or they will not be happy... Sounds like some of the problems I read here may be from loneliness....
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James - 2010-02-26
Hey. These catsharks are really cool fish. I never knew they were brackish! My dad had some of these a while back. Oh yea, they do not get up to 24 inches, they only get up to 12, usually 6-8.

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  • CichlaDude - 2010-05-18
    I don't want to sound rude but you're wrong...I have 2 that are over 12 inches. Go check out monster fish keepers and you will see.
  • marko - 2011-08-05
    Hey thanks for the info
  • lvmblfkdmb - 2011-08-28
    Mine are 13 in.
  • Minisip - 2011-10-27
    While this fish *can* get up to 24 inches in size, it is actually quite rare. I have kept several of these over the years in various tanks and setups and the largest I have had was 15 inches long. Most of them actually topped out at approx. 10 inches. I've kept them in larger and smaller setups, and even with lots of room to grow and feeding regimens geared towards growth, I've only had the one that hit 15 inches; (150 Gallon setup). Normally I'll get them as babies, move them from fresh to brackish, eventually ending with them fully converted to a marine setup as in the wild, they are born in freshwater, as they move to the coast, salt gets in the water putting them into brackish, then they find their way to sea, spending periods at sea, eventually returning to spawn.
  • Carrie - 2011-12-30
    James, I agree with you. They are cool, and I own four that are three years old, and they're only one foot long
  • Anonymous - 2014-05-18
    I have four that are more than 18 inches in length in full marine saltwater.
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Sam - 2014-05-16
I got one in my 12 gal about half a year ago and I know it sounds crazy, but I was a beginner and I didn't know. Died in 4 days :(. Scared to get one ever since.

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ana - 2014-03-10
So I've had a silver tip for about 3 weeks now. It's about 2 inches and is at salt water level 1.004 in a 30 gal. He was very active till I woke up and noticed he was very light, the black on its fins were discolored and it was in the bottom corner of the tank not even moving. I tried feeding it and it won't swim up, I threw in a tablespoon of salt along with quick start liquid stress coat and stress enzyme and still nothing. Any suggestion or opinions? I really care about it and don't want it to die on me.

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  • Jasmine Brough Hinesley - 2014-03-13
    What color have his fins turned to? It sounds like it may be a fungal infection and you may want to treat for that. Also, is your tank setup relatively new? (the water balance may not be optimal yet), and do you do regular water changes? Make sure you change about a quarter of your tank at least monthly to keep the water in good condition.
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Steven Cole - 2014-02-05
we bought a silver tipped shark. he is small, only a few inches. currently in a 10 gal fresh water tank. we have had him for a month now with 2 small koi, a rainbow shark, a bala shark and pleco. lately he has taking to swimming circuits around the tank. depth varies during these circuits but it's mostly closer to the top.what's wrong with him? we replace about 2/3 of the tank water every week. and filter operates perfect. plenty of oxygenation happening. is he just entertaining himself?

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  • Clarice Brough - 2014-02-06
    It doesn't sound like he's sick, however these are very active fish. They get very big, at least 14' in length, and they grow large quickly. See the 'Aquarium Setup' section above, your tank is way to small for this fish, as well as most of your other fish. The tank is overcrowded and the problem will only get worse as the fish grow. A very general rule is 1'of fish per gallon or water, but the Silver-tipped Shark will need at least a 75 gallon tank.
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brent samson - 2014-01-16
my silvertip catfish shark is swimming at the top of my tank back and forth all the time why is this

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  • Clarice Brough - 2014-01-17
    It may be that the tank has low oxygen. Check your filtration to make sure it is working properly and you have good water movement at the surface for oxygen exchange. Also check the temperature...  higher the water temperature the less oxygen the tank will have.
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Nan - 2008-10-02
We have had a silver tip shark for 9 months now. It's between 4-5 inches and it is always swimming at the top back corner of the tank with its mouth out of the water and seems to try to stretch itself out of the tank, it's extremely hyper. It NEVER leaves the top of the corner, even if you look in the middle of the night. Does anyone have one with the same type of behavior - it seems quite strange since they are supposed to be middle to bottom dwellers.

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  • Kelly - 2013-11-05
    Mine is doing the same thing. But recently noticed a red mark on him, like he scrapped along something. I don't know what to do about it???
  • Terta - 2013-11-08
    I have seen the behaviour before and it was stress. They live best with minimum of 3 tank mates and when young I gave mine lots of plants and hiding spots, they calmed down and are growing faster.
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