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Arabian Bamboo Shark

(Chiloscyllium arabicum)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Expert   • Temperament: Semi-aggressive   • Maximum Size: 30"
• Minimum Tank Size: 350 gallons   • Water Conditions: 72-80° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
• Diet: Carnivore   • Origin: Indian Ocean, Arabian Gulf, Arabian Peninsula
• Family: Hemiscyllidae   • Species: Sharks   • Aquarium Type: Fish Only

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Native Habitat and Species Information

Arabian Bamboo Shark native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

The Arabian Bamboo Shark (Chiloscyllium arabicum) is a species of carpet shark, which is found living in the shallow coral reefs and rocky coastal waters from the Persian Gulf to the Indian Ocean. Arabian Bamboo Sharks grow to a little over 2 feet in length in the wild, which combined with their slender flexible bodies allows them to fit into tight rocky caves in crevices in search of small fish and crustaceans.

Their relative small size has also made the species very popular with aquarium hobbyists as well. While they are not considered a common species within the aquarium trade, Arabian Bamboo Sharks are available from time to time. Their natural habitat of shallow coral reefs and lagoons (usually in 30 to 50 feet of water) allows the Arabian Bamboo Shark to acclimate well to large aquariums.

Despite their relative small size, the Arabian Bamboo Shark has a nice "shark" look to it as compared to some of the cat shark species which are almost eel-like in appearance. The Arabian Bamboo Shark body is slender which allows them to fit into the tight spaces found in a coral reef, but still thick enough to have a flattened shark-like appearance.

They have a long thick rounded snout with nostrils set back from the tip of the mouth. Eyes are set high on their head, which allows them a good field of vision for spotting prey and larger predatory species with which to avoid. Their large pectoral and pelvic fins combined with a large dorsal fin set midway back on the body also work to give the Arabian Bamboo Shark the look of a larger more proto-typical shark species.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Arabian Bamboo Shark in the home aquarium.

Like other shark species, the Arabian Bamboo Shark needs excellent water conditions, no stray electrical currents in the water, a soft sandy substrate, open room to swim and as large of tank as possible. Unlike many other shark species commonly seen within the hobby, Arabian Bamboo Sharks are small enough as an adult to be properly housed in larger aquariums ranging from 350 to 500 gallons depending on shape. It is important to maintain excellent water conditions when keeping Arabian Bamboo Sharks, thus aquariums housing this species should have excellent biological filtration, large efficient protein skimmer and a large sump to help augment water volume.

All shark aquariums should be securely covered in order to prevent sharks from jumping out and should be designed with maximum length and width in mind to create the largest possible aquarium footprint providing for maximum swimming area. Tropical sharks like the Arabian Bamboo Shark also required very high levels of dissolved oxygen in the water, thus there should be plenty of water surface agitation, additional power heads or air stones to provide as much dissolved oxygen as possible.

All sharks including the Arabian Bamboo Shark have thick bodies and will produce a much higher bio-load than a typical aquarium fish species. It is very important that aquariums housing sharks have excellent biological and mechanical filtration in order to maintain the water quality at a very high level. It is also very important to provide a very high level of dissolved oxygen in the water as the majority of tropical reef sharks live in water that is highly oxygenated and will have a very low tolerance for lower dissolved oxygen levels. High quality and highly oxygenated water will help the shark maintain a strong immune system and will greatly increase their lifespan within an aquarium environment.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to feed and provide proper nutrition for Arabian Bamboo Shark.

Wild Arabian Bamboo Sharks spend much of their time foraging amongst tropical reefs and within shallow lagoons looking for a variety of invertebrates like shrimp, small crabs & clams on which to feed, along with crustaceans and small fish. In the aquarium environment Arabian Bamboo Sharks will quickly adjust to eating prepared meaty foods including: fresh or frozen silver sides, clams, shrimp, clam, mussel and pieces of fish flesh. It is best to feed them a variety of marine based meaty foods in order to provide them with a complete nutritional diet, which will help them maintain a strong immune system.

Begin by feeding them 2 to 3 times per week, while keeping an eye on both their growth in length and girth. Adjust feeding accordingly so that the shark grows at a reasonable pace while maintaining a body girth that is not too skinny or overly plump. If well fed they tend to leave most other tank mates alone, but there is always the possibility of them consuming invertebrates or small fish species.

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