Different Kinds of Shark Species for Aquarium Tanks

Written by brenton shields
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Sharks are undoubtedly one of the most recognisable animals on the planet, being featured in movies, games, TV shows and museum and as toys. Despite their popularity, most are extremely uncommon in home aquariums because of their rarity, expense, and the fact that they require expert care and large tanks. However, there are some sharks that are slightly more common in the pet trade and can be found at specialised retailers and some even at any local pet store.

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Small Saltwater Sharks

Some sharks are small enough to fit comfortably into home saltwater aquariums, reaching no more than a few feet in length. However, that does not mean the tanks can be small, and typically a minimum of 150 to 200 gallons is recommended. These sharks include bamboo sharks, which reach about 3 feet in length and have long, slender bodies; cat sharks, which typically reach about 2 feet long and have similar bodies with striking colour patterns; and horn sharks, which average about 4 feet in length and have short, stubby snouts. All of these sharks like to skim along the bottom and eat crustaceans and sinking meats.

Large Saltwater Sharks

Some retailers specialise in the sale of large sharks, most of which are far too big for home aquariums and are often only sold to private collectors or public marine parks. These sharks require expert care, sometimes from multiple people, and enormous tanks, often thousands of gallons, as well as specialised foods. These types of sharks include hammerhead sharks, which can reach anywhere from a few feet to over 10 feet in length and are known for their distinctive hammer-shaped heads. Other types include leopard sharks, which have a striking zebralike colour pattern and reach about 8 feet in length; sandbar sharks, which also reach around 8 feet; and nurse sharks, which are surprisingly common, but can reach up to 14 feet in length.

Freshwater Sharks

Many pet stores sell pseudo-sharks, which are tiny, freshwater fish that bear a slight physical resemblance to marine sharks but are typically either types of minnows or catfish. They are usually tiny, with bigger specimens only reaching about a foot in length, and are typically omnivores, eating fish flakes and occasional tiny feeder fish. Some of the more popular types of freshwater sharks include bala sharks (sometimes branded as silver or tricolour sharks), which reach about 18 inches in a large aquarium and are silver with black fins; rainbow sharks, which only reach about 4 inches in length and are black with red fins; and iridescent sharks, which are actually quite beautiful, with streamlined bodies and a silvery-bluish shine.

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