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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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.
I ENJOY MY SHARK CATFISH SO MUCH THAT I AM BUYING A 60 GALLON TANK JUS TO HAVE MORE OF THEM
I recently bought two of them and they enjoy swimming back and forth through the bubbles in the back a lot. these are great fish to have for show.
Everyone that i talk to at various pet stores gives me a funny look when i ask them if they carry this fish. The place that I picked the two that i had was wal-mart. thanks for posting this page full of useful information so i can send it to my friends
I have 6 of these great fish. I have been researching sex difference. I see differences in a couple of mine and this is what I have noticed and my thoughts. The 2 have bigger bodys and their pectoral fins are larger and whiter with a flap of skin over top a bit looking like a double fin. They also have a larger anal area. all my silvertips are same age. These 2 I am guessing are females. The rest have normal size fins and just white strip. They don't have the skin flap over them looking like a double fin. Their anal area is not as large. I am guessing the signs are for male and female. I am hoping to breed and looking for info on breeding. I have bred asian needle noses which also no documentation on so I am hoping for miracle again with these sharks.
These fish almost require saltwater, infact, a fish store I went to in the past had two in a saltwater setup and they were really healthy and about ten to twelve inches. The owner told me that they definitely need saltwater and that is why they die really easy in freshwater. Every one I've ever had just die mysteriously. So in other words, I would not recommend these fish as community fish as to some stores market them as. If you do get them, they will most likely die! Don't do that. Thank you!
These fish, at adult stage, require at least a 180 gallon (6 ft x 2ft x 2ft) aquarium, with brackish water. I have 2 currently in an 85g (5ft x 1.5ft x 1.5ft), they are about 8 inches long. A great fish but require a very large tank!
I was recently given 2 columbian sharks. They seem like little clowns. I sit and watch them for the longest time. They swim kinda crazy though, in circles and doing flips side ways. I will be putting them in a 150 gal. tank in a couple of weeks.
I have an 11 inch plecostomus, and my brother has 2 silver tipped sharks. He got one yesterday, and it is a lot smaller than his other one, but it follows the bigger one around like it's his leader. We just changed from a 10 gallon tank to a 20 gallon tank. They were very crowded in the smaller fish tank, and my pleco had barely any room to swim around. The betta and and my frog were happy about their new home, too. My little sister moved her goldfish and her 2 inch plecostomus from her 5 gallon tank to the 10 gallon tank. We just hope we won't have to be moving them into a bigger tank any time soon.