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Brown Smooth Hound Shark

(Mustelus henlei)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Expert   • Temperament: Semi-Aggressive   • Maximum Size: 36"
• Minimum Tank Size: 900 gallons   • Water Conditions: 60-74° F, dKH 8-12, sg 1.020-1.025, pH 8.1-8.4
• Diet: Carnivore   • Origin: Eastern Pacific, Baja California, Sea of Cortez, Ecuador to Peru
• Family: Triakidae   • Species: Sharks   • Aquarium Type: Fish Only

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Native Habitat and Species Information

Brown Smooth Hound Shark native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

Brown Smooth Hound Sharks are a relatively small (3 feet) slender bodied Smooth Hound shark that are found living along the eastern pacific coast of California and Baja California and also along the coast of Ecuador and Peru. They live in shallow bays and coastal areas up to around 200 feet in depth that have sandy or muddy bottoms in which they can hunt for their staple food sources of crabs, shrimps, small fishes and other invertebrates. Brown Smooth Hound bodies are mostly a solid iridescent bronze brown coloration with a white belly and underside. They are mostly found living in cooler temperate waters that range from 60° F to 74° F.

Brown Smooth Hound Sharks can be found living singularly or in small schools of Brown Smooth Hounds and even with other similar shark species like the Leopard Shark (Triakis semifasciata) or Spiny Dogfish (Squalus acanthias). The Brown Smooth Hound Shark reaches sexual maturity at about 24 inches in length, which it can attain in about 2 to 4 years depending on abundance of food and water conditions. In the wild Brown Smooth-hound Sharks are believed to live on average about 15 years, with this increasing or decreasing in the home aquarium environment depending on aquarium conditions and quality of foods being fed.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Brown Smooth Hound Shark in the home aquarium.

While Brown Smooth Hounds are a relatively small shark in that they only reach lengths up to 3 feet, they are very active muscular fish that need plenty of open room to swim. Unlike reef dwelling sharks, Smooth Hound shark species are active strong swimmers that will require aquariums that are considerably longer and wider than the maximum length of the shark itself, with an aquarium length 4 times the length of the shark, a width of at least 2 times the length of the shark and lastly a depth of at least 2 times the height of the shark.

They are also a thick bodied species that will require a very strong filtration system that can handle the amount of bio-load that they will put on the system. It is for this reason that a protein skimmer is required along with a strong mechanical and biological filter. The bottom of the aquarium should be a soft sandy substrate so that this swift swimming species does not scratch or irritate its underside as it swims about the bottom of the tank.

The Brown Smooth Hound will need plenty of open swimming room, but the aquarium should also contain some rocky structures that the shark can use as cover if it feels threatened. Tank mates should be chosen carefully as they should not be too small so as not to be confused as a food item and also able to coexist comfortably with the strong swimming Brown Smooth-hound.

Lastly, Brown Smooth-hound Sharks come from cooler temperate waters that range from the mid 60's to low 70's depending on the time of the year, thus should be kept in similar conditions within the home aquarium. While it is possible to keep them in warmer conditions reaching into the high 70's this will likely shorten the lifespan of the shark and increase bio-load as the shark will need to consume more food in the warmer water conditions.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to feed and provide proper nutrition for Brown Smooth Hound Shark.

Brown Smooth Hounds will eat a variety of meaty foods including crab, shrimp, mussels, squid, pieces of fish, small fish (silversides or equivalent) or other similar meaty foodstuffs. Like all sharks, Brown Smooth Hounds are a predatory fish species and will consume most invertebrates or small fish that they come across within the aquarium environment. They should be fed every other day or 3 to 4 times per week in order to provide them with the necessary nutrition, but to not cause excessive growth from overfeeding.

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