Brownbanded Bamboo Shark 101 (And Some Interesting Facts)

Brownbanded Bamboo Shark 101 (And Some Interesting Facts)

Brownbanded bamboo shark

Brownbanded bamboo sharks can be housed in home aquariums as they’re not too big like other marine shark species.

These fish do well in a captive environment.

However, aquarists must ensure that they’re well fed and receive timely attention to thrive in home aquariums.

Let’s learn about brownbanded bamboo sharks in more detail.

Brownbanded Bamboo Shark Species Overview

Brownbanded bamboo sharks, also known as the brown-spotted, brown-banded, or cat sharks, are native to the Indo-West Pacific Ocean.

These sharks reside in deep waters of the oceans, at depths of about 85 meters or 279 ft.

However, they regularly visit the coral reef in search of food.

Brownbanded bamboo sharks are often kept in public aquariums.

They’re also housed in home aquariums more than other sharks due to their relatively small size and docile nature.


Beautiful brownbanded bamboo shark

Brownbanded bamboo sharks have light brown to greyish brown bodies with no specific color patterns.

Their dorsal fins are larger than their pelvic fins.

On the other hand, young brownbanded bamboo sharks have black-white or brown-white banding.

The white bands turn into brown as these fish mature.

These fish have thin, slightly flattened, elongated bodies.

They’ve barbels on both sides of their snout that are used for navigation in search of food.


Brownbanded bamboo sharks have a life expectancy of 20 years.

However, these fish need proper care and attention when kept in a captive environment.

Poor water quality can be detrimental to their health.

These fish need stable water conditions and a well-balanced diet to improve their lifespan.

Average Size

Brownbanded bamboo sharks are known to grow as much as 12 inches in a year.

These fish can reach a maximum size of 41 inches in length.

However, brownbanded bamboo sharks are one of the smallest species compared to the other shark species that are significantly bigger and ferocious in behavior.

Brownbanded Bamboo Shark Tank Setup

Brownbanded bamboo shark in a tank

Brownbanded bamboo sharks live in deep waters with very little sunlight.

In captivity, you must create an environment that resembles their natural habitat to make them feel at home.

Let’s understand how to set up the fish tank for brownbanded bamboo sharks in detail.

Tank Size

Brownbanded bamboo sharks are large-sized fish compared to most marine fish in the aquarium hobby.

Therefore, the minimum tank size for these fish must be at least 180 gallons.

These sharks are less active than other aquarium fish but need shelter or a hiding place inside the tank.

So it’s essential to factor in these requirements while considering the tank size.

Tank Equipment and Decorations

In their natural habitat, brownbanded bamboo sharks inhabit the deeper parts of the oceans.

As a result, they’re sensitive to light and shouldn’t be exposed to bright lights.

These fish aren’t reef-safe and will nip at corals and devour crustaceans.

So it’s best to keep them in a fish-only aquarium with large fish species.

A soft sand substrate should be used to replicate their natural environment.

Use stable rock formations and secure your decor to avoid damaging the aquarium.

Given below are the items required in a brownbanded bamboo shark tank:

  • Soft sandy substrate,
  • Air pump,
  • Filter,
  • Heater,
  • Low lighting,
  • Thermometer,
  • PH testing kit, and
  • Hiding places like rock formations, caves, driftwood, etc.

These fish do well when kept in suitable conditions.

So maintaining water parameters within the acceptable range is essential for these fish to thrive in an aquarium.

Brownbanded Bamboo Shark Care

Healthy brownbanded bamboo shark

Brownbanded bamboo sharks are known to do well in marine aquariums.

However, you must ensure that they receive complete care to thrive in a captive environment.

Create an environment that is clean and uncluttered to avoid any possible injuries to them while moving around the tank.


Brownbanded bamboo sharks are predatory fish that eat crustaceans and small fish in the wild.

So you must give them a carnivorous diet that can satiate their dietary requirements.

Like their natural habitat, these nocturnal predators dwell at the tank bottom.

These slow movers will nibble at small invertebrates and fish inside the tank.

You will need to feed these carnivores a protein-rich diet.

However, serve them small pieces, or they will throw up the eaten food.

Feed your brownbanded bamboo sharks two to three times a week.

It’s challenging to feed the young ones, so use flavor enhancers to entice them to eat.

Add iodine supplements to the food to prevent goiter disease, which usually develops in these sharks due to the lack of iodine in their food.

Some of the live food that you must feed a brownbanded bamboo shark are:

  • Shrimp,
  • Scallops,
  • Squid, and
  • Marine fish.

A balanced diet is essential to ensure that they get enough nutrients to grow.

You can use a stick or tong to feed these sharks as they’re docile and can be outcompeted by other tankmates for food.

Water Parameters

It’s important to keep the water conditions stable for brownbanded bamboo sharks so that they don’t get stressed.

Poor water quality can create challenges for these fish.

They prefer warm water because they inhabit the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific region.

Therefore, it’s best to provide an identical environment in an aquarium.

The ideal water parameters for brownbanded bamboo sharks are:

Water Temperature: 72°F to 78°F (22°C to 25.5°C)

Water pH: 8.1 to 8.4

Specific Gravity (Salinity): 1.020 to 1.025

Water Hardness (dkH): 8 to 12

Tank Maintenance

Like most fish species, brownbanded bamboo sharks need stable water quality to thrive in a captive environment.

So, regular maintenance is required to provide suitable water conditions for these fish.

To keep your aquarium clean, you must perform 20% to 30% water change weekly.

Regular maintenance will prevent toxins from building up in the tank water.

Common Diseases

Brownbanded bamboo sharks need utmost care and attention.

The substrate used in their aquarium should be soft because rough surfaces can scratch their bellies, resulting in injuries and infections.

These fish need plenty of covers as they prefer to hide in bright lighting.

In the absence of adequate cover, they will feel stressed.

Given below are a few of the common diseases that can affect brownbanded bamboo sharks:

  • Goiter,
  • Fungal infections, and
  • Bacterial infections.

You must keep track of their feeding pattern.

If these fish receive iodine-deficient food, they may develop a goiter, a lump in the shark’s throat.

If this condition goes undetected, the lump will create trouble for the shark while swallowing the food.

In severe cases, it can also be fatal for the brownbanded bamboo sharks.

Brownbanded Bamboo Shark Behavior and Temperament

Brownbanded brown sharks aren’t reef-safe fish as they nibble on the coral. These fish are more suited for fish-only aquariums.

These sharks can cohabitate with other large tankmates that can withstand their aggression.

Small fish will get devoured by these predatory fish.

A large tank and adequate food are the most critical factors when keeping these sharks.

Brownbanded Bamboo Shark Tankmates

Brownbanded bamboo shark in a tank with tankmates

Brownbanded bamboo sharks are large-sized fish that can grow up to 41 inches.

Although they do well in captivity, they’re not compatible with all fish species.

You should house brownbanded bamboo sharks with large, aggressive fish that can defend themselves against the aggression of brownbanded bamboo sharks.

Some of the tankmates that you can keep with brownbanded bamboo sharks are:

  • Eels,
  • Groupers,
  • Hawkfish,
  • Hogfish,
  • Lionfish,
  • Large Angelfish,
  • Parrotfish,
  • Rabbitfish,
  • Rays,
  • Tangs, and
  • Sharks.

Brownbanded bamboo sharks aren’t reef-safe and shouldn’t be kept with coral, invertebrates, and small fish species because they will eat them.

Also, avoid keeping them with pufferfish and triggerfish as they’re known to nip the fins of these sharks, causing undue stress.

Given below are some fish that you shouldn’t keep with brownbanded bamboo sharks:

  • Crustaceans,
  • Pufferfish, and
  • Triggerfish.

Keep brownbanded bamboo sharks with large, semi-aggressive fish that can withstand their aggression.

Brownbanded Bamboo Shark Breeding

Brownbanded bamboo sharks are oviparous, which means they lay eggs.

The eggs develop within the female sharks, and the offspring feed off the yolk sacks present inside the eggs.

The yolk sac is attached to the shark’s stomach and disappears once the young sharks consume it.

You must avoid removing the young sharks from the egg cases while they’re present in the yolk sac.

It can harm their development and can also be fatal.

The young sharks can take between 77 to 123 days to develop before they hatch from the eggs.

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