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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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
Zach - 2011-03-28
My silver tipped shark seems like half paralyzed he's not using his front fin and his dorsal is down is there anything I can do for him? I'm really new at this, had the tank for 2 months he was added last week.

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  • Clarice Brough - 2011-03-29
    Sounds like he's not adjusting to the tank, try a partial water change and see if he perks up.
ryan - 2011-03-16
I recently purchased 4 fish for my new aquarium and all is well... except for today my silver tipped shark is acting strange.. he started off very energetic like the other catfish I had and they get along great.. but just about 48 hours in he is not swimming in the middle/top of tank sometimes with a steep upward angle and seems to have a small amount of white stuff on his tail fin and also a portion of the tail fin is much lighter in color then the more frontal part of it (not sure if that's related to white looking stuff).. it looks kinda icky but I'm fairly new into the aquarium world and was wondering if anyone had any good advice or insight.... the first day or so he was fine virtually mirroring the other catfish swimming vertically against the glass and flying around the whole tank... today not at alllllllll.

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  • Aaron - 2011-03-19
    I may have seen something like this before. Is the white stuff a bunch of spots? If so, there could be high levels of ammonia (what size is the tank?).
  • Jeff - 2011-03-25
    You said it looks icky..... exactly they have ick go get some stuff at the pet store or even walmart for that do it soon it will get worse.
mnrt5 - 2011-03-24
Hello I have 2 silver tip sharks. And we have had them for over a year. They are about 6 in. They have been doing great now they won't eat any of the food we put in there. Also 1 of them started swimming on his tail. Does anyone have any suggestions, for us so I don't lose them. I love sharks.

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  • Clarice Brough - 2011-03-24
    It sounds like your fish may be sick. Loss of appetite can be a first sign of illness. Beyond checking for ich (white spots) or other disease like parasites or fin rot, check your aquarium water for high levels of ammonia or nitrite. Do a large (say 25-50%) water change especially if you detect either of these. Make sure your filtration is working properly.
    If it has been a few days since you noticed it, you could try a general antibiotic treatment for finrot but since these guys are scaleless fish, don't add ich treatments with copper or malachite green. This includes Quick-Cure, Rid Ich, and Ich Guard. One of the accepted treatments for parasites (ich) in scaleless fish is to raise the temperature to around 84 degrees and add aquarium salt (about 1/4 teaspoon per gallon).
robert weyrough - 2011-03-17
How big of a tank do I need for my fish to grow full size? Have them in a 40 gallon tank now they are about 4 to 5 inches now the silver tipped shark or cat shark. Thank you.

Fran - 2006-01-01
Hi. I agree with comment about these silver-tips catching diseases easily. Out of all the catfish in my tank, they are the hardest to care for! They have gotten ick, fungus, and pop-eye! But, being the good mom that I am, I've managed to treat all of the diseases effectively and have not lost one fish! They do keep my on my toes, though. :)

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  • Chelsea - 2010-06-12
    Hey, I have just bought one of these guys at petsmart and soon found out that I wasn't really prepared! They sell them as freshwater fish but they actually need saltwater. I don't mind putting my cat ( I called him shishio :D ) in another tank with salt but when i looked at him today i think he has a skin disease!? :( He has these white marks all over his body that weren't there when I bought him about a month ago. I also have a pleco in the tank and a snail...I hope this disease isnt contagious..but I was really wondering if you could help me in treating this? I have become really attached to him :( Im open to any suggestions to help save little shishio!
  • vaughn - 2010-09-09
    Fran my silver tip has gotten like I think maybe a white fungus on its back what can I do to rid of this problem?
  • kyle - 2011-02-06
    Do your silver tips go up and down the glass of your take constantly?
  • me - 2011-02-04
    I find this false... My salver-tipped sharks have not been sick once in the entire year I've had them. Keep your aquarium in better condition and you can prevent them, which is ultimately more important than waiting until they get sick and then treating them. Figure out the cause so it won't happen.
  • me - 2011-02-04
    By the way, they're not saltwater... They just like salt in the water ('Brackish') more than regular fish.
  • israel - 2011-02-13
    Ours does the same thing, goes up and down. And tries to jump out too.
laurie - 2009-09-15
I have 2 silver-tip (catsharks). I have had them for about 1.5 yrs. I just put
them in a bigger tank and they are getting bigger. They were about 3 in., now they are about 6in or so, they won't stay still to measure, lol. They are my favorite "baby's". I just bought a black knife fish that is about 4in
and I was told it would get about 12-24in in a 30gal tank. Wow, maybe it won't
hide behind the filter anymore when it gets bigger. I love my sharks and they
know when it's close to the once a night feeding, they start roaming the aquarium
all crazy. I just read they are brackish? but I don't do anything special. I
do put aq. salt when I change the water. So far so good.

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  • Laurie - 2010-12-22
    Update: my 2 sharks are over 2.5 yrs old now and about 9 in. long.
    I love them they are great!
  • Anonymous - 2011-02-02
    That knife does not belong in a 30 gal tank minimum should be 75 gallons for a single knife nor should the silvertips. You're stunting their growth and they will die of organ failure.