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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Well, I just bought an bamboo shark egg about two days ago. I am waiting for it to hatch. I presently have a 90 gallon tank with about 60 lbs of rock and a few... (more)  rob fusco

  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

Report Broken Video
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

rob fusco - 2009-01-30
Well, I just bought an bamboo shark egg about two days ago. I am waiting for it to hatch. I presently have a 90 gallon tank with about 60 lbs of rock and a few corals, but in about a week I am getting a 265 gallon reef ready setup from a friend who lost intrest in it. I plan on having the tank built into a fake wall in my basement that is being finished off. This will be my first shark so hopefully things go well for me. He/she will be living with a blonde naso tang, a cole tang, powder blue tang, a yellow tang, and a scribbled rabbit. Wish me luck and possible other sharks to come in the future. My 90 gallon will remain in my master bedroom.

  • Jon - 2010-08-10
    I am a master in the shark field and study them in very large tanks. I would not recommend you keep sharks with other fish. Sharks can be very aggressive towards other fish. Be very cautious of your fish tank and I hope everything gets along well.
  • jim D. - 2014-08-13
    i am also thinking of getting a shark . i heard tangs tend to pick at the sharks eyes.i have a 250 gal going back together because of leak,leak repaired.have snow flake eel,niger trigger,2 large clown fish.Lost large lion&sailfin tang.Running a sump system with ehiem protien skimmer,anything else i may need.OH and plenty of live rock.Remaining fish in quarintine tank at moment.
David Jones - 2009-12-05
Chiloscylliums need to be feed once to twice WEEKLY, not daily. This is covered in publications such as Scott Michael's "Aquarium Sharks and Rays" as well as many online resources. Keeping one in a tank as small as a 150 would be very inhumane, considering this shark is capable of getting large enough that it couldn't even lay straight by the end of it's 20+ year natural lifespan. Using goldfish as feeders will ultimately cause a very malnourished shark with an incredibly short lifespan, and it does NOT do well with mixed communities of fish... these sedentary sharks tend to fall prey to many agile fish (angels and tangs will peck their eyes)

  • chris - 2010-09-02
    Thanks for the info, I am recently looking into buying a bamboo shark and your information is and was very helpful.
Robert - 2008-09-16
I purchased a banded cat shark egg from my LFS and about a little over 3 months it finally hatched. Now "JAWS" is a month old and 7 inches long from head to tail and loves to cruise the tank at night and just hangs out during the day unless she is feeding. I recommend these sharks to anyone that can afford a large tank to house them in (175 or larger). The bigger the tank the more comfortable the shark will feel and the more comfortable any other tank mates will feel. I hand feed her Ghost Shrimp soaked in Vitality vitamin liquid and Frozen Shark Formula. This is the best fish I have ever owned. Ever since I was little I wanted a pet shark, but always do your research before you buy any fish. It will help you in the long run to avoid any problems.

Michael Phillips - 2006-12-21
I have kept Bamboo Cat Sharks without trouble with White Tip Reef sharks. My tank is 6,700 litres (17.5 foot by 4 foot by 5 foot) or 5.1 metres by 1.25 x 1.1 metres.

The two White tips and two cat sharks went well together.

If anyone thinks they are upset, please visit.
They eat out my hand, appreciate visitors and enjoy games of interaction. Following cloths, chasing bait fish and wrestling with octopus legs.

They are fed three times per week.
If they get gators a little iodine on their squid or cuttlefish helps.

  • chrissy - 2013-09-21
    hey micheal i have a beautiful bamboo shark called bambi. lately she is swimming upside down and lauing and quivering in same position, sometimes she is upright and ok. She is eating well raw prawn every day bout 3 small pieces off a skewer. love her very much worried please email me back would appreciate some insight to what may be wrong thx Chrissy
pat - 2007-11-15
I bought the egg and "Shamu" hatched Christmas Eve, 2006. She is doing very well (9" from snout to tail) & my water parameters are very good. She adores eating live ghost shrimp (once a week) and defrosted silversides. She lives with a white ribbon eel, an engineer goby, a clarki clown, a blue chromis, a blue velvet damsel, a percula clown, a pencil urchin and a coral banded shrimp. She sleeps all day, & cruises all night. Temp is currently at 72.5 degrees, specific gravity at .23, pH at 8.2. I have crushed coral substrate and multiple live rock with a wet/dry filter & protein skimmer. I will be adding a refugium shortly, because I would like to add soft corals to my live rock

Ben compton - 2006-09-05
I have successfully hatched a banded cat shark and was the healthiest fish in my tank. After 2 months he died due to a lionfish sting. These fish are very fragil creatures and need soft sand and near to perfect water quality. I do think a 125gal could house it for some years. Watch what kind of fish you put in the tank with the shark, some may pick at the fins. My trigger never touched him. I recommend people to buy the shark in a egg.


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