Brownbanded Bamboo Shark

Brown-spotted Cat Shark, Brown-banded Catshark

Family: Hemiscylliidae Picture of a Bamboo Shark or Brownbanded Bamboo SharkChiloscyllium punctatumPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy David Brough
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im looking for a bamboo shark to purchace.. please get back to me through email  Tabitha

  The Bamboo Shark is also called the Brown-spotted Cat Shark or Brown-banded Catshark. Juveniles like the one pictured here have the bands and occasionlly spots. The adult Bamboo Shark are often plain gray or brownish in color.

   This is one shark that is successfully kept, but needs a large aquarium for room to swim in and excellent filtration! These are among the smallest of sharks at about 40 inches. Adults of the Bamboo Shark, Brown-spotted Cat Shark, or Brown-banded Catshark can be kept reasonably well in a 150 gallon or larger aquarium.

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

Geographic Distribution
Chiloscyllium punctatum
Data provided by
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Actiniform
  • Class: Elasmobranchii
  • Order: Orectolobiformes
  • Family: Hemiscylliidae
  • Genus: Chiloscyllium
  • Species: punctatum
Survival of the Stillest: Predator Avoidance in Embryonic Bamboo Sharks

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Bamboo Shark (Chiloscyllium punctatum)

This video was incredible! It shows the birth of a Bamboo Shark, the juvenile stage then the adult coloration. What was very interesting is how the Bamboo Shark, while still in it's egg will react when a predator is near! The Bamboo Shark, while needing a large tank, is a great pet. Please do not think you can make this a freshwater fish, since this will slowly kill it over time. Let's keep are cool Bamboo Sharks alive and well, since we are the ones that bought it, we need to be the ones to care for it properly.

Maintenance difficulty:

   The Bamboo Shark, Brown-spotted Cat Shark, or Brown-banded Catshark gets too large for most aquariums but is otherwise easy to keep.


   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:

   Bamboo Shark, Brown-spotted Cat Shark, or Brown-banded Catshark are found in the Indo-Pacific region, specifically, the east coast of the Indian Peninsula to northern Australia and north as far as Japan..


   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.


   Egglayer, sometimes shark eggs are available for sale. More information on breeding can be found here: Banded Cat Shark.

Picture of a juvenile Blue-striped Angelfish
Banded Catshark (Adult) Photo Courtesy: Callie Mathews


   No special requirements.

Length/Diameter of fish:

   Bamboo Shark, Brown-spotted Cat Shark, or Brown-banded Catshark adults can grow to 104 cm ( 40 inches).

Minimum Tank Length/Size:

   A minimum 175 gallon aquarium is recommended.

Water Movement: Weak, Moderate, Strong

   No special requirements.

Water Region: Top, Middle, Bottom

   Usually found resting on the bottom.


   This fish is available from time to time.

Lastest Animal Stories on Bamboo Shark

Tabitha - 2016-05-24
im looking for a bamboo shark to purchace.. please get back to me through email

Brooke Dannar - 2016-02-25
I am in desperate need to find out what to do to help my shark! I have had my bamboo shark for about a year now and he has always been active and a very good eater. About two weeks ago I noticed a rash on his stomach that spread to the rest of his body so I treated it with an antibacterial. That did not help much so I changed out 20 gallons of water and the rash has gotten smaller. However, my shark has not gone a week without eating. If I place any food in front of him he swims away or backs away from it. He has also been showing some odd behavior. He will sit in one spot and it will look like he is swimming in place and then when he does try to swim to the top of the water like he usually he does, he does not appear to be able to swim like he has been which I'm assuming is from going so long without eating now. He has also started breathing harder and faster in the past week as well.

  • Grace - 2016-05-06
    Sorry hope he gets better
Megan - 2015-12-03
I have noticed some odd behavior in my bamboo sharks. #3 has had a lack of an appetite for several months but she is taking food but not at the rate she should. In fact she will occasionally take food and spit it out. On top of this I noticed her 'chasing' her tail this morning. She doesn't appear to be biting at it, I don't see any marks, it more looks like she is dragging it across her snout / hitting her snout with it. #5 Is typically an aggressive eater and this morning I would go as far as to say that she seemed weak while eating. She would come up for food and if i didn't get the feeding stick to her soon enough she would drop down to the bottom and rest on her side almost as if she was recuperating from expelling that amount of energy. Any ideas or tips please let me know! Thanks.

Matthew venth - 2015-09-03
Hi i need help i have a bamboo shark she was eating anything i gave her she it 3-4 months old always active she is in a tank with 3 other sharks they all get along fine but Yesterday i came home and went to feed the sharks and she wasnt moving so i picked her up her eyes were and still are closed she moves here tail back a fourth very slowly but cant swim and wont eat if any one has a answer please let me know thank you

  • Clarice Brough - 2015-09-06
    Be sure you water chemistry is within the proper parameters and watch the tank closely to see if there is some aggression going on. You must have a huge tank to house 4 sharks amd may possibly want to move the ailing bamboo into a tank of its own. You can try variety in its diet to entice it to eat, like human quality marine foods including squid, prawns, krill pieces, smelts, and anchovies. You can also try an appetite stimulant like soluble Vitamin B12. I hope your fellow starts feeding soon!
Tabitha - 2016-05-24
im looking for a bamboo shark to purchace.. please get back to me through email

jason - 2011-10-09
Just wondering were am I able to purchase one of these beautiful fish as I live in Australia?