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Grey Smooth Hound Shark

(Mustelus californicus)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Expert   • Temperament: Semi-Aggressive   • Maximum Size: 49"
• Minimum Tank Size: 3000 gallons   • Water Conditions: 60-74° F, dKH 8-12, sg 1.020-1.025, pH 8.0-8.4
• Diet: Carnivore   • Origin: Eastern Pacific, Baja California
• Family: Triakidae   • Species: Sharks   • Aquarium Type: Fish Only

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Native Habitat and Species Information

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

Grey Smooth Hound Sharks originate in temperate waters of the eastern Pacific, primarily from California down to Mexico. They are generally found in water temperatures that range from the low 60's to low 70's and from depths as shallow as 20 to 30 feet down to near 150 feet in depth. In the wild they spend the majority of their time slowly swimming near the ocean bottom or rock formation in search of crustacean and small fish on which to feed.

While they are active fish that swim most of the time, they tend to stay near structures and the ocean floor in order to avoid larger more aggressive shark species that live in more open and deeper waters. Grey Smooth Hound Sharks have sharp teeth and are true sharks, but are not harmful to humans and will be highly unlikely to bite a human unless provoked. This species is considered suitable for expert marine aquarium hobbyists with very large aquariums due to their relatively small size (3 to 4 feet) and active but slower swimming style.

Grey Smooth Hound Sharks can tolerate a range of water conditions from water temperatures between 59-72 F and salinity ranges of 1.020-1.025 SG, with a pH range of 8.0-8.4, they are temperate water sharks that will do best with water temperatures between 62 F and 68 F. It is also very important to maintain very high levels of dissolved oxygen within the water (especially at temperatures over 68 F) as Grey Smooth hounds are used to high levels of oxygen in the water and will not tolerate lower oxygen levels. If dissolved oxygen levels are too low, the Grey Smooth Hound Shark will exhibit increased rapid gill movement, erratic or elevated swimming motion and will be more prone to jumping or thrashing about at the surface of the water.

Aquarium Care

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

In the home aquarium environment, Grey Smooth Hound Sharks should be provided an aquarium that can comfortably support their adult size of approximately 4 feet for female specimens and 3.5 feet for male specimens. They should be provided an aquarium that is at a minimum 4 times the length of the shark, twice the width of the shark and twice the height of the shark, thus this would mean an aquarium similar to 16 feet x 8 feet x 3 feet in size. Young Grey Smooth Hounds can live in aquariums as small as 450 to 500 gallons in size, but will need to be moved to a larger aquarium or pond within 1 to 2 years time. On average the Grey Smooth Hound Shark is born at around 9 to 12 inches, will grow 6 to 8 inches per year until reaching its adult size in 2 to 3 years and will live an average life span of 6 years for males and up to 9 years for females.

Like other shark species, the Grey Smooth Hound Shark should have a smooth sandy substrate, plenty of open swimming room with some rock or coral structures and a secure top to the aquarium to prevent the shark from jumping out. They have a thick muscular body for a shark their size and will put a significant load on both the mechanical and biological filtration. Therefore, filters for shark aquariums should be able to process large volumes of water and be able to efficiently remove large volumes of fish waste from the aquarium. It is recommended that a shark aquarium have a very large protein skimmer, significant biological filtration and regular water changes in order to maintain high quality water within the aquarium.

Feeding & Nutrition

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

Grey Smooth Hound Sharks feed primarily on crustaceans in the wild, ranging from crabs, shrimp, mollusks, clams, squid and small fish. In the home aquarium they will readily accept raw marine seafoods including: shrimp, small fish, chopped fish, clams, scallops, squid, mollusks or other similar uncooked marine meaty foods.

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