Species Profile Sections: Info, Discussions & Photos
Info  Quick Care, Species Info, Aquarium Care & Photos
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Description
Horn Shark
(Heterodontus francisci)
Quick Care FactsCare Level: Expert
Temperament: Semi-Aggressive
Maximum Size: 48"
Minimum Tank Size: 600 gallons
Water Conditions: 69-75° F, dKH 8-12, sg 1.020-1.025, pH 8.1-8.4
Diet: Carnivore
Origin: Eastern Pacific
Family: Heterodontidae
Species: Sharks
Aquarium Type: Fish Only
Species Information
The Horn Shark or as it is also known as within the aquarium trade as the Bullhead Shark is a good species of shark for aquarium life with its relatively small size (4 feet max) and slower swimming speeds. The Horn Shark has a spine at the front of the dorsal fin that it uses to protect itself from being swallowed by larger fish, but which can cause injury to people if not handled carefully. While the Horn Shark is smaller than many other shark species, it should be kept only by expert aquarists with very large aquariums.
Horn Sharks are generally tan in color with some blotchy darker tan or brown areas and they may have a series of small black spots marking the body. Horn Sharks have a very distinctive shark look to them, even though they only reach around 4 feet in length. The Horn Shark has its trademark spine at the front of the dorsal fin that it uses to protect itself from being swallowed by larger fish.
Aquarium Care
While the Horn Shark is a suitable species for aquarium life, it can be a little difficult to acclimate to the aquarium at first. 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. To properly house the Horn Shark, the aquarium should be very large (300 gallons +) and should have a sand substrate bottom and some rock work to provide hiding places. A sand substrate is crucial as the Horn Shark will lay on the bottom of the tank often and crushed coral or aragonite substrates will cause scratches and irritation on the Horn Sharks abdomen.
Be sure to keep only large hardy specimens with the Horn Shark and by no means keep any crustaceans or mollusk as the Horn Shark will eat them. In the wild the Horn Shark is a nocturnal feeder, if possible the tank lights should be dimmed when feeding the Horn Shark to help simulate its natural habitat. Horn Sharks should never be exposed to copper based medications.
Feeding & Nutrition
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. This is the best way to encourage the Horn Shark to begin eating as the squid has a strong odor, which helps entice the Horn Sharks appetite. Then it may be fed shrimp, scallops or pieces of fresh marine fish. Once eating well, it will eat virtually any crustacean or mollusk in the aquarium. It is a nocturnal feeder, and will also prey upon any sleeping fish small enough for it to eat whole.
Additional Photos