How to Keep Your New Chinese High-Fin Banded Shark
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Origin: Chinese high-fin banded sharks originate from the upper reaches of the Yangtze River where the locals consider them a tasty food fish. Due to recent dam-building in that area, Chinese High-fin banded sharks are now on the endangered species list. Still, they keep showing up on our wholesale lists (at higher and higher prices, of course). They also disappear from these lists from time to time.
What’s in a Name? In various areas people call these guys wimple carp, Hilsing herring, freshwater batfish, Chinese sucker fish (which they really are), but seem to sell best as Chinese high-fin banded sharks (because everyone loves sharks). Except for the shark part, the latter name fits them fairly well. They look nothing like a shark. Maybe it’s that high dorsal fin? If a group of those high fins were circling you in your local swimming hole, you’d maybe get a little nervous.
Maximum Size: Supposedly these rascals grow
over three feet long. I’ve never seen an
adult, so we can’t vouch for this fact from
Dawn deValk, Rochester, NY, August 8, 2007
Per our phone conversation. Here's my Chinese high fin banded shark -- over a foot long in a 50 high tank.
A: Nice pic. I've never seen a large one. I understood that their top fin shrank as they grew larger. Guess not. You didn't say how old he is. I'll add your report to my hi-fin shark page. LA
Dawn deValk, Rochester, NY, August 9, 2007
I bought him about a year and a half ago. He was only about 2 maybe 2 1/2 inches when I bought him. I don't think he's that old. His top fin has never shrunk though. He does school with my other shark breeds . They stay under him when he's swimming. It's really cool to watch. I will send you a better picture soon. I'm going to go get a ruler. Have A great day!!
A: Thanks. LA
Housing: Because they grow so huge, you really need a large tank to keep your Chinese high-fin banded sharks in -- especially since they do better when kept in groups. Luckily they are very slow growers, so you may never grow one to its potential “full size.”
Water Conditions: Coming from the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, you’d expect these rascals to fare best in cool, unpolluted waters. Right you are. You won’t need a heater for your Chinese high-fin banded sharks. If you keep them like goldfish, you and they will both be happier. Like goldfish, most suckers can adapt to stretches of warm weather but are happiest when kept cool.
Foods and Feeding: Very good eaters of most foods, Chinese high-fin banded sharks fare best when fed plenty of vegetable matter. They accept algae wafers and never turn up their noses at live or frozen foods. They also enjoy flakes, pellets, and food sticks. They will sift through their substrate for bits of food, dislodging and eating plants (as they grow in size), and re-arranging your aquascaping to their own personal “tastes.” If you’ve ever housed a koi in an aquarium, you know exactly how these suckers act.
Security: Like goldfish and koi, Chinese high-fin banded sharks don’t pester other fishes. And they don’t feel like they need to hide. They like to cruise your tank all day then go into suspended animation when you turn off their lights.
Longevity: Like goldfish and koi, think in terms of decades. These fish will live a long time. So, it’s no wonder they grow so large -- over a yard (just like koi). However, Chinese high-fin banded sharks grow much more slowly -- only an inch or two per year.
Attitude: Mellow lunkers. Chinese high-fin sharks act like big fish from the beginning. They come out front. Sure you can scare them with sudden moves but they readily adapt to you. They like to travel in groups (shoals) as they patrol their tank floor.
Color: These little rascals can change their colors (within limits, of course) from light to dark apparently at will. They lose their bars and their high top fin as they mature. Adults wind up looking very much like a dull brown carp.
Sexing: Males develop tubercles on their cheeks and side fins when they come into breeding condition (like goldfish and koi). The females probably get lumpier when they fill with eggs. I can’t locate any spawning reports so you can’t have the details. I would expect them to breed like koi, but no one reports any success. Still, although next to extinct in their original home, young Chinese high-fin banded sharks continue to hit the market every year. Apparently, somewhere in the upper reaches of the Yangtze, some canny Chinese fish farmer is cranking out enough of these guys to make them available in Des Moines (at ever-increasing prices). Probably they’d spawn in outdoor ponds in temperate climates. I await your personal breeding reports.
Words: Price and size will keep these guys out of most people’s
John Schieffler, August 24, 2007
Link of tons of pictures and discussion:
A: Since the discussion was in Mandarin Chinese, I had a difficult time with it. However, the pictures were excellent. LA
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