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Banded Bamboo Shark

(Chiloscyllium punctatum)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Expert   • Temperament: Semi-aggressive   • Maximum Size: 40"
• 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: Indo-Pacific, Australia
• Family: Hemiscyllidae   • Species: Sharks   • Aquarium Type: Fish Only

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Native Habitat and Species Information

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

The Banded Shark is also commonly referred to as a Cat Shark because the barbells at the mouth look like cat whiskers; however, it is actually a species of bamboo shark and is generally known as the Brown Banded Bamboo Shark. The Banded Bamboo Shark is a very popular shark species for aquarium hobbyists as it does not attain as large a size as many other shark species do and it has a moderate temperament, which allows it to be kept with a variety of larger fish species.

While this species can be kept with many different fish species, it will eat any crustacean that it comes across. As will other bottom dwelling shark species, the Banded Bamboo Shark should only be kept with a soft substrate; such as, sand so as not to scratch or irritate its abdomen.

Banded Bamboo Sharks can vary in color from black and tan bands to brown and tan bands. While this species does have a shark look, it is a little less shark like in appearance than Horn, Nurse and Leopard sharks. The dorsal fin it set a ways back on the body which along with its narrow body gives this species a long slender look. There may be large, muted brown spots between the stripes when the fish gets larger.

Aquarium Care

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

The Banded Shark is a bottom dwelling shark that is common in the home aquarium because of its relatively small size (40") and moderate temperament. It will eat any crustacean or mollusk present in the aquarium and may eat small fish. The Banded Shark stays relatively small, but requires at least a 180 gallon or larger aquarium as an adult.

While most shark species require an aquarium that is at least as wide as the shark is long, the Banded Bamboo Shark does not have this requirement as its body is very slender and flexible. Unlike many shark species, the Banded Bamboo Shark can be kept easily with other hardy species ranging from large Tangs and Angelfish to Groupers. It requires sand as the substrate as the abdomen is easily scratched by a coarser substrate, which may lead to an infection. It should never be exposed to copper-based medications.

All sharks including the Brown Banded 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 Banded Bamboo Shark.

When the Banded Shark is first introduced to the aquarium, it may be difficult to feed in the beginning. When first introduced into the aquarium, small pieces of cleaned squid or live saltwater feeder shrimp should be used to entice this fish to eat. Then the Banded Shark should be fed shrimp, scallops or pieces of fresh marine fish. Feeding Banded sharks quality foods such as whole cockle in the shell, fresh shrimp and squid, and frozen mussel are ideal.

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