Certain types of home aquarium sharks add a beautiful touch to any tank. But do your homework before purchasing one.
There are a few types of sharks for home aquariums commonly found in local pet stores. They are the Bala Shark, Iridescent Shark, Rainbow Shark, and the Red Tail Shark. This article aims to take a look at each type and how best to care for them.
The Bala Shark is a beautiful fish that is a shark in name only; it’s really a member of the carp and minnow family. It has: large eyes; silver body with black trim; and an upright dorsal fin. Its silver body shines and reflects light in a striking manner.
Before bringing a Bala Shark home, you should be aware of his special requirements. He does best when kept in a school of six or more, and can grow fairly large: 7 – 12 inches long. This means you’ll need an aquarium of at least 72 – 90 gallons.
The Bala Shark is a peaceful fish that is compatible with a wide range of other fish. They tolerate a temperature range of 72 – 82 degrees Fahrenheit, and will be content with a pH range of 6.0 – 8.0.
The Iridescent Shark is another one of the freshwater aquarium fish often seen in pet stores. It is not really a shark, but a type of catfish. They have a grayish, black body with an iridescent stripe running down their sides.
They do best when kept in schools of 5 or more, but really grow too large for a home aquarium. In the wild they can grow up to 4 feet long and weigh up to a hundred pounds. In home aquariums, they’re usually not given enough space to grow adequately, and so reach only about 6 – 12 inches long. In addition to stunted growth, they usually suffer premature deaths due to organ failure.
Rainbow sharks are another of the small aquarium sharks commonly seen in local pet stores. Once again, they’re not really a shark, but a type of minnow. Their body is a greenish black and their fins are orange or red. They can grow to a size of 4 – 6 inches and shouldn’t be kept with other Rainbows, because they’re very aggressive and territorial. If you’re thinking of adding a Rainbow Shark to a community tank, make sure the tank is large enough – at least 29 gallons or more, because these sharks can be terribly aggressive towards any tankmates.
A Rainbow Shark prefers temperatures between 70 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. They are fairly tolerant of a wide range of pH and water hardness levels.
The final type of home aquarium shark that is readily available in pet stores is the Red Tail Shark. They appear similar to the Rainbow shark, except their body is darker and only their tail is colored red. They typically grow to a size of 4 to 5 inches long and have the exact same compatibility issues as the Rainbow shark. They prefer the same temperature range as the Rainbow, but are a bit pickier about their pH requirements – 6.0 to 7.0.
So there you have it, the most common types of home aquarium sharks found in pet stores. All four types are very beautiful and fascinating additions to an aquarium. But the Iridescent Shark is probably a poor choice for all but the extremely largest of home aquariums.