Most people will often think of sharks and perceive them as a creature bound to become men’s worst enemy. Just like any other fish species, they also have the right to survive and being a predator in the sea eating mostly small fish, generally they don’t go the distance to search out human and destroy us as one would think. In fact, sharks are actually hunted for the fins and most of the time after the parts are removed, they were thrown back to the open sea and left to die. Well, you can judge for yourself whether it actually the humans or the sharks to be the enemies here and there has been a long-standing debate on this matter on whereby they deserve to be protected from such treatment.
Sharks kept in public aquariums are very sensitive to changes in water chemistry, salinity, temperature fluctuations and they are particularly fussy about having metal components that form the aquarium housing system. Filters or Protein skimmers sometimes will contain certain parts made up of alloys or metals and that will cause the fish to lose direction and dash aimlessly not knowing where to go. This condition can be life-threatening and it will wreck the whole aquarium system, injuring itself often by cutting through sharp edges during the frenzy. Apart from this problem, their huge appetite also means that the water will foul easily and that creates an unhealthy environment for the fish to live in.
In terms of breeding, different species of sharks are known to undergo different process of reproduction, with some laying eggs, some will give birth to live young fish and they have surprisingly low birth rates as well. Depending on species, generally young sharks are also slow-growing and their presence in the wild are being threatened by fishing activities that often get them caught in nets and ended up being thrown away. The fish is also highly susceptible to disease and their response using normal treatment chemicals and medications often produce poor results. In fact, they will resist any copper treatment which are often used to treat marine fish and the fish is also known to harbor parasites in their body that normally comes from unclean foods offered to them.
Again, my stand is that you should never attempt to keep and breed the sharks in your home aquarium even if it means constructing the best technologically advanced aquarium setup you can think of. Finally, if you still have the knack and enthusiasm to have something that resembles a shark, then you can even consider some freshwater shark family like the red tail black shark.
Other aggressive fish: The deadly red belly piranhas
Guest Post contributed by Larry Stewart (marine biologist, writer)