Iridescent Shark Aquarium Care Guide

Hi! Are you familiar with the Iridescent Shark? If you’ve heard a little about it and have built a curiosity within you to know much more than the necessary information, then I am quite sure this article has come to the rescue at the right time. Do not get frightened with the word shark on its name. Chill out bro; this is not the one that is going to bury its fangs in you. They are one among the peaceful community of large freshwater fishes. It pains us to know that Iridescent Sharks falls under the list of Endangered Species currently. Try to contribute your precious efforts by nurturing Iridescent Sharks to save this species in any way possible.

This particular speciesis called Iridescent as the young ones of this species are seen glowing bright, and it is called a shark because of its shark-like appearance. Iridescent Shark is a type of freshwater Catfish. It is also referred to by many other names like the Siamese shark and Siamese Shark.

This fish initially hails from the country Thailand and other parts of South-east Asia. The Iridescent Shark is cultivated mainly in the Chao Phraya River and the Mekong basin for functional and commercial purposes. Iridescent Sharks are always found to be animated while they are present in the pond. Their robust and zestful nature make them everybody’s favourite.

The binomial of Iridescent Shark is Pangasianodonhypophthalamus.The scientific classification of Iridescent Shark is cited below for you to know

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Actinopterygii
  • Order:Siluriformes
  • Family: Pangasiidae
  • Genus:Pangasianodon
  • Species: P. hypophthalamus

Iridescent Sharks are lustrous in appearance. The mature ones are grey or black in colour,and the young ones are known to be gleamy. Baby Iridescent sharks have two stripes running through the centre oftheir body.

Though they are catfishes, they do not have an outer shell body for which they came to be called as ‘naked catfish’, and they are active during the day, unlike other catfishes which are nocturnal beings. They also don’t loaf around in the lower layers of water like other catfishes. Instead, they are mostly found in the middle layer of water. They also come to the uppermost layer at times wanting to be petted.

Iridescent Sharks can live up to 20 years at a maximum and can grow up to a maximum length of four ft. Some people get attracted to the lustful appearance of baby iridescent Sharks and buy them without being aware of how big they can get.

Iridescent Sharks follow an omnivorous diet pattern and grow aggressively faster. It would help if you had a big tank or an aquarium to store this fish. These catfishes consume much food and produce much waste. Yeah, taking care of Iridescent Sharks is not an easy task.

They are hardy but a little timid in nature. They roam around in groups when they are young and separate themselves as they grow.

The meat of Iridescent Shark is regionally referred to as ‘swai’, ‘cream dory’, ‘panga’ and ‘basa’. The flesh of the Iridescent Shark is tasty and mild in texture. It is exported to many countries in the world from the regions where it is mainly available. A fully grown Iridescent Shark grows up to 44 kg.

Feeding Iridescent Shark

You can find thread-like structures calledbarbelsgrowing on the head of Iridescent Sharks; these structures help them to forage for food. They have poor eyesight, and hence, they have these additional sensory advantages.

As you have already read, Iridescent Sharks are omnivorous. Small Iridescent Sharks eat more meat, as they keep growing they lose their teeth and prefer plant-based food. They love pellets and flakes.

You can feed your Iridescent Sharks as much as three times per day. Set your timer to 5 minutes before you start feeding, let them eat whatever they can for five minutes and take off the excess food.

These are some food that you can try feeding your Iridescent Sharks.

  • Blood worms
  • Tetras
  • Guppies
  • Smelts
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Prawns
  • Brine shrimp
  • Crickets
  • Live fishes
  • Scallops
  • Pumpkin squash
  • Cucumbers
  • Lettuce
  • Kale

There is also a plethora of canned and preserved catfish food available on the market in the form of frozen food, flakes, pellets, tablets etc. You can try feeding them to your Iridescent Sharks. However, while selecting ready-to-consume food, try to be wise by avoiding foods with more percentage of chemical preservatives. Feeding these hazardous products to your fish can reduce their life-span by affecting their physical health.

Please give them a balanced diet which comprises enough of protein. When you give your Iridescent Sharks with live fishes, it triggers them to express their natural hunting behaviour in your private pond. Take time to change the pond water after you give them live food as the water would have been contaminated. It is good to switch between varieties of food like canned food, vegetables, frozen food and live food.

Breeding Iridescent Shark :

You can quickly identify the male Iridescent Sharks as they have slightly dull colouration. The female Iridescent Sharks possess a more prominent profile when compared to the male Iridescent Sharks.

 Breeding Iridescent Sharks is quite robust in an artificial environment. Mimicking their natural places for spawning cangive you a hard time. It is almost impossible to breed them in domestic aquariums successfully. So you have no other go, breeding ponds are the only choice.

The pond must be at least an acre wide. Release both male and female sexes into the pond and trigger them to mate. You can trigger them by arranging the exact conditions for breeding and spawning. The pond water must be running water as it can replicate Iridescent Sharks’ natural river habitat.

The temperature of the breeding pond must be set between 70 to 75 degrees F, which is the average tropical water temperature. The water must be of tropical temperature since the Iridescent Sharks are initially from tropical places such as Thailand. Set the pH level of the breeding pond water between 6.5 and 7.5.

 They eat whatever they find in the pond during the breeding season. They keep craving for more and more food. Feed them every day a little more than you would on the regular season. Give them plenty of protein and vegetable fibre side by side.

Observe the female during the spring and summer carefully to find out whether they have eggs in their stomach or not. The females will lay the eggs when times come, and the males will fertilise them. After fertilisation closely looks for the presence of small Iridescent Sharks in your breeding pond. If you spot some, be happy that breeding has taken place successfully.

Don’t be disheartened if your efforts end up being an utter failure. Since the breeding conditions of Iridescent Sharks are very challenging to achieve artificially, you will have to go through several trials before you could taste success. You will gradually learn to make all the necessary conditions favourable.It takes time, darling!

A significant disadvantage worth mentioning while nurturing Iridescent Sharks is they find it hard to breed in domestic aquariums as in its natural habitat it migrates during the breeding season which is impossible to do in a home aquarium. Moreover, so it hinders its breeding process.

Iridescent Shark Care:

The Iridescent Sharks are not hands down to be taken care of. They require quite an advanced level of care. Moreover, that is mainly because they are by nature confirmed to the rivers and so naturally their preferences are based on that habitat.

  Bearing this in mind,  a fish tank that is patterned on their natural habitat would be better suited for them such as a tank of at least 12 m. Provided there is no fixed tank size, it depends on the size of the fish and the numbers. What is interesting is that Iridescent Sharks prefer to swim in groups or schools. Keeping them in groups will aid in their happiness.

 Most of the times, these fishes are found to be quite active. The most significant disadvantage of raising them in a small tank is that it naturally stunts their growth and might cause premature death. However, with adequate space and routine maintenance, these Iridescent Sharks can grow up to around 1 m or more.

Unlike the majority of the catfish family, these sharks are active during the day and inactive at night. These sharks do not like change at all. So make sure that the temperature of the tank water is around 72 degrees Fahrenheit to 79 degrees Fahrenheit. It is best to maintain the pH level of the water at 6.5 to 7.5. All these factors do contribute to the well-being of the fish. If given proper care and robust livelihood, they can survive for about ten to twenty years.

Even a slight external movement scares them. Moreover, sadly, they assume it as a dangerous threat and immediately resort to bashing themselves around the aquarium as it tries to run away and protect itself. In such cases, it is essential not to disturb them and place them in a placid and peaceful place in your house. Don’t be too loud near them.

 Also, to make them feel like a home, you can place plants, driftwood, rocks, pebbles etc. Moreover, in doing so, make sure that you don’t arrange it in a way that hinders the movement of the fish. When it comes to adding substrate to the tan, it is best recommended to use a soft substrate for these sharks originates from the river. Both crushed rocks and sand are better preferences.

 Always ensure to close the top of the tank as these fishes tend to jump high. Avoid placing sharp objects inside the pond of Iridescent Sharks as these objects can hurt them. 

When you add a new fish to the pond, always keep a tab on them to check if they are bullied by bigger fishes for it will end up stressing them.

The Iridescent Sharks are omnivores, which makes the feeding job easier. As they grow older they become herbivores, which makes it even more convenient. These sharks are quite nasty and slovenly, mostly because of their food habits. So it is essential to keep the aquarium always clean and fresh, which in turn contributes to their sturdy happiness and overall well-being.

So a healthy aquarium means a healthy and happy fish. A sound filtration system should be installed in the aquarium in addition to cleaning the tank as often as possible as they tend to get untidy.

The average capacity of water required in a tank to cultivate and support the Iridescent Sharks are approximately 300 to 400 gallons of water(for a school of sharks). Now, this depends on the number and size of the sharks. Remember never to captivate them in tiny tanks as they might get congested and die prematurely.

Common Diseases suffered by Iridescent Shark :

Iridescent Sharks are highly prone to infections. Stress plays a significant role in causing diseases as they fail their immune system, and they become more vulnerable to infections. Always make sure to keep them comfortable and stress-free. It is also equally crucial to give them a feeling of home, so they don’t become stressed.

Some of the stress causing factors are an unhealthy diet, small space, overcrowding, bully fishes etc. The Iridescent Sharks are mainly prone to itch and fungal diseases.

The main reason is for the itch is being scaled- less, which makes them vulnerable to itch and other external damages. If you happen to spot any white patches on its skin or if you find them rubbing themselves against the glass, it is an indication that they are suffering from the itch.

Veterinary doctors suggest using half strength of the medicines which applies to all scale-less fishes. Melafix can be used to treat infections and itch. Raising the temperature of the water tank might help a bit too. Als, if you spot the white patch even on just one fish, it means that the entire container is contaminated or is on the verge of contamination. It is best recommended to treat the whole tank or pond in which fishes are kept.

Always keep the tank clean and neat. A slovenly tank would cause the tank to become cloudy, which stresses the sharks and so clean them often, especially when the number is enormous. If you notice any bigger fishes bullying the Iridescent Sharks make sure to eliminate them from the tank as soon as possible.

As said earlier extra care needs to be taken into account as they are scale-less bodies. Don’t forget to use a clean net whenever you are about to segregate them. Please do not disturb them or raise your voice when you are near them or bash the outer glass as they might scare them badly.

Avoid any drastic changes as they don’t go well with changes. Before placing the decor plants inside the tank, ensure that it has been cleaned thoroughly. Whenever you are about to add any new fishes to the aquarium, it is best advised to keep them in a quarantine tank for some time. Sterilise whatever tools you use before it makes contact with the tank water.

Just like the famous saying “Prevention is better than cure”, it would be uncomplicated and smoother for you if you can follow all the above mentioned preventive measures for a stress-free and long life-span of the Iridescent Sharks you own.

Iridescent Shark Aquarium mates:

It is not advisable to put Iridescent Sharks along with fishes that are smaller than them as smaller fishes can become a part of their meal. Also, be careful not to put them along with fishes that are immensely larger than them as they may end up being preyed upon. It is quite hard to select tank mates for Iridescent Sharks because of their large body size.

The Iridescent Sharks do peacefully co-exist with fishes that are larger than them or of their same size. Some of which I would like to recommend to be kept along are

  • Silver Dollars
  • Pacu
  • Oscar fish
  • Doradids
  • Synodontis Catfish
  • Cyprinids
  • Large minnows
  • Large carps
  • Common Pleco
  • Rainbow Shark
  • Roseline Torpedo Shark
  • Black Shark Marrow
  • Columbian Shark
  • Siamese Algae Eater
  • Bala Shark
  • Chinese High-fin banded Shark
  • Harlequin Shark
  • Silver Apollo shark
  • Black Shark Minnow
  • Red-tailed Black Shark

I hope that you have become more familiar with Iridescent Shark now. Though it is a bit tough to nurture them, to own them is fun overloaded. If you are a tropical fish lover who loves experimenting with adventurous fishes, then here is the one. Follow the instructions given in this article while feeding and breeding your Iridescent Sharks. I wish you all the very best!

Matt Hook

Matt hook has been a passionate aquarist since he was 5 and now he is professional aquarist. Through this blog he plans share his knowledge to beginners. Feel free to contact him if you have any queries.