Animal Stories - Silver-tipped Shark
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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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Beautiful fish! When small, they will thrive in a freshwater tank, but as they age more than a couple of years, you will need to transfer them to a brackish tank, or convert your tank to brackish. Even if they seem healthy and happy as they age in your FW tank, they are likely suffering from skin irritations and certainly a shorter lifespan. Take a good look at the condition of their skin as they age. I am in the process of converting a FW tank to brackish for my 2 9-inchers.
They are not as aggressive as they are thorough. They won't bully or injure like-sized fish, but will inhale food right from the lips of slower feeders. Anything smaller than their mouths, however, will end up dinner after lights-out; don't expect to see your mollies or barbs ever again!
The biggest mistake is buying these guys thinking they will stay a cute 3 inches forever. Please take care of your catfish. :)!
I have a large silver tip shark in a 55 gallon tank with may other species of fish (3 tiger barbs, 3 red skirt tetras, 2 mod. plecos, 1 lg silver shark, 1 cory green cory cat), and they all live in peace with each other. I absolutely love my catfish. Active and energetic throughout the entire tank. I also have a 20 gal tank that is just a tropical community tank. no problems at all with either tank.
i find them very cheekie fish and always happy, very social fish. i was told when i bought him that he was a tropical fish and only lived in tropical tanks. well, i have my silver cat fish in a cold water tank with other fish like clown fish and gold fish and also a bubblebee cat fish. they all get on fine, a happy bunch of fish. he likes to play a lot.
We put 2 of these babies into our 55 gallon with a few other fish (2 platys and a molly). After a few months, and another inch on each we added a couple danios (which the sharks promtly ate one of) and then added 3 snails (the sharks ate all 3). They've recently been picking on the fish that were in there before them so badly that we had to take them all to a separate tank.
If you've got these guys with any community fish and you start to notice aggressive behavior, my suggestion is to separate them quickly, before you lose a fish. It's been suggested to me to put aggressive fish in with them if we wanted them to have ANY tankmates so we'll soon be adding a few cichlids. Keep your fingers crossed.
P.S. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE these guys. =)
I have three of these little guys along with four silver dollars in a 55 gallon tank. I was doing regular cleaning today and a partial water change when all of a sudden my lil sharks decided to get all shy and sick looking. They decided to take over the total opposite corner of the tank then they are normally on. (Where the silver dollars play) And they have been just cuddled up next to each other laying on the rocks with their fins tucked into them. I figured maybe for some reason they were just a lil mad at me for cleaning the tank up a little today. So after several hours I went to feed them (about normal feeding time) and only the silver dollars ate anything. Which is also weird because normally the Sharks are the first ones to eat anything. Since then I went out to the storage shed and got out an old 10 gallon tank. Cleaned it up and put 10 gallons of water from the 55 gallon tank and the 3 little sharks in there. After about 10 minutes they are swimming around a little and I decided to try and feed them again. They ate like it was going out of style. I hope this is just them being moody for some reason and that things are going to go back to normal so I can put them back in the bigger tank. But for now I think I am going to leave them in the smaller one for a few more days. So I guess if anyone else has experienced this or know what my little guys are up to can you post a comment on here saying so. I would deff. like to have the info. Thanks,
Very active fish and entertaining to watch. I have 3 of them in a 30 gallon tank with 3 Freshwater Flounders, 3 Silver Dollers, and about 10 Ghost Srimp with a variety of plans in high numbers. They mostly stay swiming in the current from the power head, but sometimes they will swim through the plants serching for food. They also will sometimes search for the flounders in the sand, but not to eat them.
I know it says this fish likes the bottom and middle of the tank but all of my 3 are prone to be caught swimming up at the surface. They love to be either at the top or the bottom, they stay away from the middle.
I just got 2 silver tipped sharks and a pleco algea eater, all at the same size. if you get other fish make sure there the same size cuz they will kill and eat small fish. i keep mine in a 26 gallon freshwater tank. theyre cool and I feed them tropical flakes.
In the wild they start out life in freshwater, and as they grow they slowly make their way to the ocean. To breed they go back to freshwater. If you want to breed these fish start with a pair that is at least a foot long, in a large brackish or salt water tank and slowly convert it to freshwater.
I currently have two of these guys in a 55 gallon freshwater tank. The oldest one I have had for about a year and he is now 6 inches long. The youngest I've had for a couple of months and he's 3 inches. I've noticed over time that the older one has stopped eating from the top of the tank and will now only eat from the bottom. He loves Beefheart and wont eat much else. The smaller one will eat just about anything at any level of the tank... flake food, bloodworms, shrimp pellets, etc... Although, he doesnt swim upside down on the top of the tank anymore looking for food, when they are very young they seem to do that constantly.
As for disease, it helps tremendously for them to have plenty of room to swim in and be sure NOT to over-crowd. I have experienced ick before with these types of Sharks, but all cases were in a 10 gallon tank and I was just learning how to care for fish. They handle a wide range of PH (low or high). Having a freshwater tank has not seemed to hurt at all... both of my Sharks are thriving and growing at a nice rate. Keeping them well fed will also help to prevent against stress and disease. I keep mine VERY well fed!
As they get older they seem to become much more territorial with their own species. Be sure to keep some hiding spaces (driftwood, etc...) as they like to hide, they will eventually become very shy and less active the older they get. You can tell alot about this type of Shark's health by their color and fins. They seem to turn a darker shade (almost black) when feeling a bit under the weather. Your more healthy Columbian Sharks will be a nice shade of Silver. He will also keep his fins spread wide from his body when healthy... a sick Shark will pull his fins into his body and his dorsal fin will lay flat.
Tankmates: DO NOT keep them with Guppies! Even the younger Sharks will eat them (neon tetras too). Surprisingly though, I have been able to keep very small Cory catfish (smaller than some of the eaten Guppies) with them and the Sharks wont even take a second look.