Chiloscyllium punctatum                                      Bamboo Shark

This is one of my favourite sharks, and one that many think is okay for a reef aquarium—yet how wrong they are! Also because of its relative small size, many try to keep them in 6 ft long tanks, again not a good situation for the aquarist or the shark. This arises because of the relative availability of the shark eggs.

Most people would want to hatch a shark in their aquarium, trouble then follows, a typical example being:

The egg is purchased, if it is exposed to air or floats then leave it allow, for the entrance of air to the egg can kill it, a floating egg indicates a build up of gas inside, indicating a dead egg. If your egg sinks then it is good, back home to your reef and then you wait and wait and wait up to 160 days before the egg starts to move around, one day you come downstairs from a good night sleep and there it is, now the trouble begins.

It will survive on the egg yolk for 5 days then you have to initiate a feeding response. Carefully place a small piece of fish under it’s snout with tongs, if it dose not feed leave it alone do not stress it. Leave it alone for one hour and try again, and try again and again until it snatches at the food. Hey presto—it’s feeding.

In one year your small shark has grown 30 cm now we have a big fish in a reef aquarium, the length is getting too much but what most people forget is the girth of the fish which is causing problems as it knocks off corals and tumbles rockwork. Your shrimp population has been eradicated with the loss of the cleaners and huge biological load on the system the reef is now suffering from rapidly deteriating water quality. The only place you can turn to are the public aquariums then you have to strip down your aquarium to get it out. A lovely reef destroyed for one egg, was it worth it?

This is a fantastic shark but only for fish only aquariums at least 3m x 1m x 1m, if you have such a system then they are great fun if given strong rock work and plenty of open sand to crawl over, peaceful tank mates, and what better conversation piece then to drop in the fact you have a shark at home.


Chiloscyllium punctatum
Western Pacific
Vitamin enriched meaty foods,
Reef Compatibility:
not recommended
Tank Mates:  
peaceful companions
up to 40 cm
Easy but needs a big home