Dreamed of keeping a small shark? Well then, the Columbian “Silver Tip” Sharks are just the ticket!

If it looks like a shark and swims likes a shark, then it must be a shark… right? Well actually, those long barbels and the underslung mouth give away its true identity. The Silver-tipped Shark is actually a Shark Catfish, though a very active and attractive “shark-like” looking fish.

This Shark Catfish is a member of the Ariidae family of Sea Catfish. Sea catfish are quite abundant and found along the coasts of every continent in the world. This fellow comes from the Eastern Pacific. They are found in Pacific-draining rivers and estuaries from the southern Gulf of California to northern Peru. Thus it is also commonly known as the Colombian Shark Catfish.


Adults are usually found in the brackish waters of the mouths of rivers emptying into the Pacific, but they are migratory. They move into the sea to spawn and then travel many miles inland to deposit their fry into freshwater. Thus as juveniles they are sold as freshwater fish, but as they mature, they need a brackish environment to thrive. They are fast growers too, usually reaching their full size in about 2 years.

Because this Colombian Shark is relatively small, in terms of a shark that is, it can be kept in a 100 gallon aquarium. It grows just shy of 14 inches in total length. It does need to be kept in a small group of three or more individuals though, because when kept alone it goes nuts. But a small school of these strong, active swimmers will give you all that “shark-like” delight!

Learn more about this Columbian “Shark” Catfish. See pictures and information for the Silver-tipped Shark Ariopsis seemanni, along with its habitat and aquarium care!

Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.