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Saltwater Fish

Best Sharks For Saltwater Tank

By April 17, 2020April 21st, 2020No Comments
best sharks for saltwater tank

If you are tired of clowns, corals, and Yellow Tangs, how about a shark for your marine aquarium? These are not common in aquariums, so it is good to know what are the best sharks for a saltwater tank before you go out and get one.

Getting a shark for your aquarium is not something that you should consider lightly. You will need to do your research, and you will need to understand as much as you can about the species you get, so make sure you ask the seller lots of questions.

What Kind Of Aquarium Do I Need For A Shark?

Before you even consider having a shark as a pet, you need to know if your aquarium is even big enough. Most shark experts agree that in order for you to have sharks in your tank, you need a minimum of 200 gallons, but 300 is an even better starting point. It is also better to have a tank that has more length and width over height.

Your tank will need to be established, and you should be an expert. Sharks are not intended for people who are new to saltwater tanks.

Some species also like to jump, so you will need a cover for the top of your tank, and possibly a chiller depending on your water.

You need to remember, that young sharks may fit in the smaller sizes when you get them, but they will obviously grow, and ultimately, they will outgrow your tank if not big enough.

They will need plenty of room to swim around, and you also need a a good hiding spot like a cave for them. It is obviously better to design a tank with the idea that it will house a shark. Adding a shark to an established tank that is not ideal, is not good for you or the shark.

Sharks that go in aquariums generally reach up to a maximum of 3 feet in length, so we are not talking about Mako’s and Nurse sharks here. You may be able to purchase an exotic baby shark, but do you really want to buy something that lives 20 years and grows 2 feet per year until it reaches full size? Most people will not be able to care for a creature like this but a few years.

The Top 5 Sharks For Your Aquarium

Wobbegong Shark

photo credit: Richard Ling via Flickr

This one is lower on the list because you will need a bigger aquarium for this one. It is recommended to have a 300 gallon tank to house these bad boys in.

The Wobbegong is a carpet shark that gets its name from “shaggy beard.” Most Wobbegongs species are too big for most aquariums, but you should be able to find a tasselled wobbegong. You can get a spotted one, but do know that these can get around 9 feet in length which will be too large for most tanks.

While they look quite unique, do keep in mind that they are slightly boring as they are bottom dwellers that are not that active. In addition, they are slow growers, so if you are looking for one that is more active that you can watch grow, this is probably not the one for you.

Estimated cost: Around $,1000 for a 6-12 inch size

Horn Shark

horn shark for aquarium
credit: Ed Bierman – Flickr

The Horn Shark, also known as a Bullhead Shark, is a slow moving sand bottom feeder. It scavenges for shrimp, clams, etc.

The mature length for the aquarium shark is around 3 feet, but you will need around 250 gallons at least, but 300 is better.

You should be able to purchase one for around $500

Cat Shark

If you are looking for a smaller shark for your saltwater tank, then take a look at the Banded Cat Shark.

You should be able to find a captive bred one, and they are relatively inexpensive coming in at under $400 usually.

If your tank is around the 200 gallon size, you should be able to keep a Captive Bred Banded Cat Shark. If you want something different, you can also purchase this shark as an egg to put in your tank!

Another type of Cat Shark is the Australian Marbled Cat Shark. They are generally one of the least expensive options at around $200, and they do not get too big. An average adult size is around 2 feet, so it will need around 250 gallons.

Epaulette Sharks

aquarium epaulette shark

Epaulette sharks are great for saltwater tanks if you are looking for a smaller shark species. You should also be able to find these as captive bred, so they will be more used to tank life and feeding. Their name comes from their 2 distinct dark circles on each side above its fins.

These are one of the most popular sharks for saltwater aquariums.

These bad boys like an easy going environment, so you need to make sure that is set up. They need a soft sand bottom, and at least 200 gallons of space.

You should be able to get one in the $500-$800 range.

Grey Smooth Hound Shark

hound shark for saltwater tank

When your average person thinks of what a shark looks like, this is the closest thing compared to the others mentioned here. It’s sleek, grey, fast, and muscular looking.

These sharks like to swim and they need plenty of room, so you will need over 500 gallons to get one of these. The younger ones can certainly do well in a 350ish size tank, but will soon outgrow it.

Summary Of Best Sharks For Your Saltwater Aquarium

best sharks for saltwater aquarium

These are some of the best options if you are looking at adding a shark to your tank. It is important to do a lot of research on these, and you should be an expert in saltwater aquariums, so these are definitely not for beginners.

You will need to make sure your tank is set up correctly, including the right sand, as most of these sharks are bottom dwellers and coarse sand can tear their flesh. This may lead to infections which is a whole other can of worms to deal with.

Some images found on Flickr.


My name is James, and I am the founder of Saltwatercoraltank. I love everything about the ocean, and my main hobby is saltwater aquariums. Currently, I have 3 tanks that I maintain. I have a 130 gallon mixed as my main, and I prefer softies.

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