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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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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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. :-(
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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
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Charlotte - 2012-06-08
Hi can anyone tell me why my shark cat fish are losing the black off them and are just silver now, bit worried as 1 died few days ago from white spot which I've treated and the 2 are clear of it. Wondering if it could have anything to do with the treatment I put in the water. They are also not eating like they usually do lots of?  

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  • Jeremy Roche - 2012-06-08
    Check your amonia levels.
  • Desiree - 2013-05-09
    they are called silver tip sharks and there also called columbian sharks.. i have had a few of them they do loose there black when they get older hints the name silver tips. they also do way better in a brackish water. they do eat differently when they get older.. hope this helps you
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Soumaya findlay - 2012-11-24
Hi can anyone help I brought a Catshark two weeks ago its seems to do most of it's swimming once the light is off when light is on it mostly sits lays in the same corner moving every now and them, Is this normal

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  • Clarice Brough - 2012-11-24
    These fish don't tend to settle down until their environment is right. As in your example, if they are uncomfortable they will tend to stay in a corner, often near a filter. This fish is quite lively when young, and can be kept in freshwater for awhile, but as it ages it will need an increasingly more brackish, even marine environment.



    They are not difficult to keep as long as they have the proper tank setup. They are nocturnal, predatory, and migratory fish. This makes them very active, especially at night. They need a good sized tank with a large filter that creates a good current. Provide them with some caves for hiding, a dark substrate, and subdued lighting. They grow rather large, reaching at least 8' (20 cm) in length, and are a schooling fish, so its best to keep at least three.



    The tank should have a turn over rate of about 8x's the water volume, and about 10-12 times a day. As they mature this species requires a high salinity brackish water. They will need a specific gravity of 1.010 or above to keep them healthy. Start with a bare minimum specific gravity of 1.005 and slowly raise it. Use a hydrometer to measure the salinity and use only marine aquarium salt, not aquarium salt.
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KatiJ - 2012-08-25
I bought two silver tipped cat-sharks a few days ago. They were acting quite erratically, swimming side to side in the tank bouncing off of the glass. When I left my house this afternoon both fish were doing fine and ate with my other fish as usual. When I returned home a few hours later, they were both upside down at the top of the tank. One of them was clearly dead, and the other was laying there twitching quite a bit (kind of looked like a seizure). So I removed them from the tank and looked closer. The one fish looked pretty much normal aside from looking like it had a loose piece of skin here and there, and a small hole on the top of its head, nothing that looked really violent like an attack from another fish. Then I looked at the second one, it had a beige-ish looking semi see through substance on it, also there was a hole on the top of its head between its eyes like the other fish but it was ragged looking with the weird substance on it. Their nostrils looked a little beaten up from hitting the glass also. I tested the PH, Nitrite, Nitrate, and Ammonia levels: all were normal except the PH and Ammonia. I checked the PH this morning and it was 7.5 ppm, then it jumped to 8 ppm. and the ammonia was at 4 ppm. I have no idea what happened here and I know its a lot of information, but any help would be greatly appreciated.

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  • Clarice Brough - 2012-09-17
    I'm guessing they were sick when you got them... possibly a parasitic infection.
  • The Cat - 2012-10-29
    The hole in the head is probaly hole-in-head disease. But the other things I don't know.
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Anonymous - 2012-08-23
I have one of these sharks, my son bought him 18 years ago when he was only 3' long, in a 10 gallon tank. Now he went from a 10 gal, to a 20 gal, to a 55 gal and now he is in a 75 gal. tank. From 3' to 24 plus' now. No other fish can be with him, can't have anything in the tank with him ( plants, rocks, etc. ). Have pumps that pump 160 gallons a hour, change 5 gallons of water every other day. Change 6 filters every week. Great fish but one problem, every so often he gets frightened and goes crazy in the tank, water goes every where. Thinking about letting him go in a river, getting tried mopping water up.

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