one moray eel. A more modest goal would be
to keep one small moray eel that “only” gets
about 3 feet long—like the snowflake moray
Echidna nebulosa—along with one bamboo
shark. Bamboo sharks are the favored sharks
for keeping in the aquarium because they are
hardy (for sharks), and compared to other
sharks they don’t get too large, but even the
smallest easily reach 3 feet in length.
I am not immune to the propensity to
test the limits for keeping large fish in the
aquarium—and two of my favorites are the
sharks and the morays—however, I want
you to be sure of the pitfalls of keeping big
fish. With size, the waste products increase
exponentially and will have a greater impact
on your water. That is worth repeating: waste
production increases exponentially with size,
and a 4-foot fish produces much more waste
than four one-foot fish do. With freshwater
fish, you can mitigate that problem with
copious water changes, but that is usually
more of a problem with ocean fishes because
of the expense.
Be aware that sharks are a large group that
includes many different families. Even the
group we call the “bamboo sharks” consists
of a number of different species, and they are
sometimes called “cat sharks” because of the
barbels on the sides of the mouth. Ironically,
one of the most common cat sharks is the
so-called dogfish, but that is a common name
that is applied to many small sharks (yet
another reason to use scientific names!).
In any case, you could probably keep one
small bamboo shark and a small moray
eel in a 250-gallon aquarium if it has
excellent filtration and skimming and
you make frequent partial water changes.
The dimensions of the tank are even more
important than its volume. A basic minimum
is: front-to-back greater than the length of
the fish and left-to-right several times the
length of the fish. For sharks the minimum
dimensions are even greater.
Can triggers and puffers
be kept together? Are they
The harlequin tuskfish Choerodon fasciatus.
Some triggers and some
puffers can be kept together.
It all depends on the level of
aggression. Anyone who has
kept puffers, freshwater or marine, knows that
Red-headed fairy wrasse Cirrhilabrus solorensis; fairy wrasses are active fish that require more
swimming room than a nano tank is able to provide.
different species vary greatly. Some species are I should point out that there is only one
quite peaceful toward tankmates, while you family of triggerfish, Balistidae, but there
have to worry about others biting the eyes out are several families of puffers, so there may
of their tankmates—or biting them in two, be more peaceful puffers, just on the basis
for that matter! Since triggerfish and puffers of numbers.
belong to the same order (Tetraodontiformes) As for formidability, it would be hard for
they all tend to have the same powerful me to compare. Each group tends to have
jaws—although some species in each family the small powerful jaws, so they are pretty
are less endowed in this respect than others, close to equal in that respect. The triggerfish
and some are less inclined to use them on is certainly more agile than most puffers,
other fish species. but many puffers can expand their bodies,