Cat Shark

Arabian carpetshark

Family: Hemiscylliidae Picture of a Cat SharkChiloscyllium arabicumPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy David Brough
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Mine is doing very well. I started him feeding from a stick with squid, he now competes very well for food with other tank mates. Be sure to have a fine substrate,... (more)  Anonymous

   The Cat Shark is in the same genus, Chiloscyllium, as the Brownbanded Bamboo Shark, but it gets much larger. While the Brownbanded Bamboo Shark will grow to only 40 inches (104 cm), the Cat Shark will reach a whooping 87 inches (220 cm)! One good sized fish! Obviously too large for many marine aquariums!

   We acquired this shark from someone who could not keep it anymore so they gave it to us when it was about 2 feet long. Still very small for a Cat Shark!

   We kept it in a 400 gallon display pond with several other sharks and large groupers. You can see the Horned Shark just below the Cat Shark. You can also see why they call it a 'cat' shark since its barbels look like cat whiskers.

For more Information on keeping marine fish see:
Guide to a Happy, Healthy Marine Aquarium

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Actiniform
  • Class: Elasmobranchii
  • Order: Orectolobiformes
  • Family: Hemiscylliidae
  • Genus: Chiloscyllium
  • Species: arabicum
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Maintenance difficulty:    The Cat Shark gets too large for most aquariums but is otherwise easy to keep.

Maintenance:    Feed all kinds of large meaty foods like small pieces of fish, squid, shrimp, and live goldfish. Best to feed small amounts several times a day.

Habitat: Natural geographic location:   Western Indian Ocean: India, Pakistan, and the Persian Gulf between Iraq and the Arabian Peninsula.

Foods:    See 'maintenance' above.

Social Behaviors:    Gets along with other fish as long as they are large enough not to be thought of as food!

Sex: Sexual differences:     The medial edges of the male's pelvic fins are modified to form claspers. The claspers are tubelike organs designed to deliver sperm into the female's reproductive tract. As the males grow older the claspers become more pronounced. The females do not have these.

Light: Recommended light levels:    No special requirements.

Breeding/Reproduction:    Egglayer, sometimes shark eggs are available for sale. Babies that are born at Sea World in San Diego, California are also occasionally available for purchase.

Temperature:    No special requirements.

Length/Diameter of fish:    Cat Shark adults can grow to 220 cm ( 87 inches).

Minimum Tank Length/Size:    A minimum 400 gallon aquarium is recommended.

Water Movement: Weak, Moderate, Strong    No special requirements.

Water Region: Top, Middle, Bottom    Usually found resting on the bottom.

Availability:    This fish is available from time to time available.

Lastest Animal Stories on Cat Shark

Anonymous - 2007-12-19
Mine is doing very well. I started him feeding from a stick with squid, he now competes very well for food with other tank mates. Be sure to have a fine substrate, no crushed coral. They develop septecemia from scatches on their belly secondary to the wrong substrate

  • bob - 2011-10-05
    Hello fine sir,

    Where did you happen to buy your cat shark? If you could give me the name of local pet shop you bought it from that would be great!!!

    Talk to you soon good chap!

    Your Friend,
Charles C. - 2005-04-24
some one bought me 2 of these little monsters...they rest all day on the bottom and love to hide. they get along well with everything in the tank as long as u keep them full and happy. **THEY GROW BIG AND FAST** be carefull of the their growth potential when u purchase them.