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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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
Scott - 2011-09-25
My shark has suddenly developed a white body fungus and appears distressed. What medications are safe for this species along with botias and red-tailed sharks?

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-09-26
    Sounds like a fungus to me. Here is a link for Fish Diseases and Treatments so just scroll down to symptoms and they are clear and the recommended treatment is there.
  • Scott - 2011-09-26
    Thanks Charlie. I had always learned to be a bit cautious treating scaleless fish like sharks and loaches, but apparently that's "old school". Unfortunately my white tip succomed last night but I still need to protect the rest of my tank. What ever it was attacked quickly and ruthlessly. You'd think after 40+ years of being a breeder and avid hobbiest I'd know better. SM
  • Charlie Roche - 2011-09-26
    I've done birds for years and years and sometimes something happens that I just can't figure out. Weird. I am sorry your little fella went though.
Randy Brown - 2011-07-06
Hello, I love these fish, but they will not eat! Anything seemingly, whether it be tropical flakes or Blood worms. Any suggestions or alternate sources of food I should try??

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-07-07
  • Timika - 2011-07-29
    Try sinking pellets. Mine wait for them to get soggy and then suck them right in their mouth.
  • ryan - 2011-09-01
    Try neon tetras they ate mine all six
  • Alainn - 2011-09-04
    Mine love the freeze dried brine shrimp. And I have a few plants that float on top of the water and I sprinkle the shrimp the sharks seem to enjoy hunting in the plants. gl hope this helps.
  • Charles - 2011-09-09
    Try ghost shrimp, I have four of them and they love it when I feed them ghost shrimp, they will actually chase them all around my tank.

    90 gal tank, 4 cichlids, 3 silver tipped sharks, 1 Placo, 1 (not sure of the name, but fat little orange and black guy that grunts when he is out of the water)
Jenn - 2011-04-16
We have had a grand total of 4 of these awesome little guys, and only 1 has survived (so far!). One we had in our 40G long with our cichlids, and 3 in a 55G L with emperor tetras, rasbora hets, and angels. So far, all but one in the big tank has died. My husband LOVES these guys, and I agree that they are cool and interesting to watch around the tank. They don't seem to die of any disease, or because of our water levels (we have yet to lose a fish due to our errors). They just randomly up and die. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, as we sincerely adore this fish, and the money we keep spending on them!

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-04-18
    There is usally a reason for things. Did you get them all at the same time? Did you get them from the same place? Attached is some information on the silver-tipped shark. Read the info and if you have additional questions, I'll get you to the owners here cuz they have a trillion years on fish. OK?
  • floyd - 2011-09-08
    They need to be in a brakish tank they are dieing because of this. They will not eat because of lack of salt in the water quality and die slowly.
zoe - 2011-07-20
Hey everyone...I just got 3 three silver tipped sharks ,and I just want to know if my sharks are ok or freakin out. All they are doing is swimming back and forth on the surface of the tank....?any sugg....

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-07-20
    It isn't normal for silver tipped sharks to just go back and forth on the surface. Now what I don't know is how long it takes them to acclimate to a new tank. Also, if fish are behaving unusually, it is usually the tank conditions. Check your temperature and PH etc. Filter working? This is a link on U-tube which I thought might be of interest to you. If you go to U-tube and enter silver tipped shark you will see how the silver tip normally swims around. There are several videos. I thought the hand feeding was awesome. Animal World Article on Fish Disease and treatment which includes behavior issues may help also. Check Diseases and Symptoms and treatment is recommended. Probably tank conditions though.
Pouncer - 2009-03-06
I wish I had stopped by this site before I bought my silver tipped shark. While at PetCo, the girl assisting me told me that this shark only grows to be about 12inches long, not 24. I also got 2 yellow guppies, and she never mentioned that they may end up being like feeders. I think it's interesting that there are so many comments about how the little fish will become food for this kind of shark. It's completely true that when the lights go out, your little fish go missing. Only 2 days later, and both my guppies are gone. Thanks for having a really well maintained site, as I now have a better understanding of my shark. ^_^

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  • heeed - 2010-03-06
    So true and not knowing how these fish are, I end up learning the hard way!

    Every morning, I notice some fish are gone... until lately that I finally woke up and used my head. I only have one silvertip for about 3-4 months now and grown up to 5 inch's. As mad as I am, I have to admit, they're beautiful fish and mine has so far taken about 30 small fish ( guppies, neon's, mollies, medium various tetras,...). Yesterday, I put him in my small tank till I decide whether I should give him/her away or what. I wish I knew what to do!
  • james - 2010-06-27
    12 is the more likely length for them lol the people at the pet store don't always know every thing don't flame them.
Kayla Hird - 2011-06-23
I just got two silver-tipped sharks yesterday and a pictus catfish. I have them in a 10 gallon tank which I am just figuring out is too small for when they start to grow. I dont really know anything about them, the walmart associate didn't know anything, he told me a 10 gallon would be fine for my fish when they're full grown but I'm finding out now that it won't be. Are they salt water fish? Is there anything I need to know about them?

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  • Jasmine Brough Hinesley - 2011-06-23
    No these are not saltwater fish, however they technically are brackish water fish - meaning they would do best with some salt added to the water. 1-1.25 teaspoons of non-iodized salt is recommended to be added to the water. And yes, a 10 gallon aquarium will not be sufficient when they are full-grown. As a general rule, you will need 1 gallon for every 1 inch of fish. But you will usually need more for larger fish. With two full-grown silver-tipped sharks, you will need a minimum of a 60 gallon once they are grown, but more would be better, especially with another pictus cat and other fish that may be added as well. I wouldn't say you need to go out and buy a larger aquarium right this instant, but it is something you would want to plan for down the road.
Dinza - 2011-06-02

I have two of these sharks and I am looking to upgrade their tank. My sharks like to hang out in their cave/castle currently and will come out at night to swim or when we feed them; is this normal behavior for these fish? When we tried not having the cave or a place for them to hide they seemed to panic a little bit.
Therefore my question is, what kind of tank environment do these sharks like best and does anyone know a good place online (the pet stores in my area do not carry large caves) that sell large caves or places that they would be able to hide? or should I add more plants?
I'm open to anyones advice

thank you!

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-06-02
    Silver-tipped sharks are nice guys and do well with other fish as long as they are around the same size. They can be agressive to smaller fish, considering them as food. Yes, they like their caves. They like plants and various places to hide and that is natural behavior. You are looking for a cave and these guys can get pretty large - about 2 feet - so I would think pretty difficult to find a cave that large. However, do not fret - make one. You can make caves all sorts by firmly stacking rocks together. You have to make very sure the rocks are held sturdy and do not fall with any kind of knock but make the hideaways from large rocks for the tank. So yes, I don't know how many plants you have in your tank but more probably wouldn't hurt but the cave is the best solution. Now just for the fish (given they will be 2 feet) and general rule is 1 gallon per inch when grown - you would need a 50 gallon tank at least because you have to subtract gallons for the caves and plants. I can see easily how this can be done with bricks but don't know if bricks have anything toxic in them that would hurt fish. I will ask the expert and write you back.
  • Charlie Roche - 2011-06-02
    Talked to the experts and they said "When building caves, they can use silicon that is aquarium safe to adhere the structure" That would prevent the stones from falling and would be safe. I had asked about bricks and they said not safe. Good luck and have fun. OK
Lor - 2011-04-07
I have 5 of them in my 75 gallon with some Peacock Cichlids. They're all doing great. These sharks are very active during the day. They school almost all the time and cause no problems in the tank. You probably don't want to keep them with smaller fishes that fit in their mouth. They have a very big appetite and will eat almost anything. They will not eat Algae discs, so the Pleco gets to eat too!

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  • Mike - 2011-05-22
    I'm sorry but you are wrong on the last part where you said the sharks dont eat the pleco food. From my experience they do. I currently have three sharks in a 60gal (soon going to a 75) and all three of them eat the plecos food. I always have to add more pleco food because they eat them too.
Erin - 2011-04-22
Being an aquarist since I was 6 and now am 29 making it 24 years I've been into this. These shark cats can grow up to 2 feet, I have 2 dozen in my 1200 gallon freshwater tank. Yes, they do eat smaller fish, but they've never harmed my Goldfish or any others. I feed them neon Tetras. They down a lot of them as soon as they are added to the tank. To anyone who reads any website saying that shark cats can live in water mixed with canning/kosher/freshwater salt, is dead wrong. Shark cats can and will die from being in water mixed with any of those salts. They can successfully live in marine brackish saltwater of specific Gravity of 1.003-1.005 if they are slowly acclimated. They are brackish fish.

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-04-23
    Thanks for the input. We need folks like you on this site with woirking knowledge of what is real. No matter how many years a person has spent doing things with pets, there is always someone who has specific knowledge relating to an incident or question. I have 20 years with birds but I know very little to nothing about parakeets. I never had one. Please stay with us. Thank you