The Ultimate Guide To The Chinese High-Fin Banded Shark

If you are a collector of rare shark breeds, then the chances are that you might have already heard about the Chinese High-Fin Banded Shark.

This is a great fish that can be used in an aquarium, as it is very small and non-violent.

The Ultimate Guide To The Chinese High-Fin Banded Shark

This is a freshwater fish that is often very sought-after by collectors. Because of its mild temperament and peaceful nature, it can be put in a tank with a number of other fish and you won’t run the risk of them being eaten.

So what is the reason for getting a shark such as this? What does it eat? Is it easy to keep? Which fish should be paired with this shark?

How much room with this shark need? Well, if you are keen to know what this shark is all about, then keep reading.

What Else Is The Chinese Banded Shark Known As?

The first thing that should be pointed out about this shark is the fact that is not actually a shark, but rather a subspecies of fish that actually looks like a shark.

This is why so many aquarium specialists want this shark because it both has the majesterial look of a shark coupled with the docile temperament of a regular aquarium fish.

This shark has a whole host of names. Here is a list of them:

  • Chinese sailfin sucker
  • Asian sucker
  • High-fin banded loach
  • Chinese banded shark
  • High-fin shark
  • Chinese sucker
  • Wimple
  • Topsail sucker
  • Rough fish
  • Wimple carp
  • Chinese/Asian Zebra high-fin shark
  • Hilsa herring
  • Siamese sucker
  • Freshwater batfish
  • Chinese emperor
  • Chinese/Asian Zebra high-fin sucker

This is a testament to the various colors and traits of this unique fish.

Now that we have looked at some of the numerous names for this fish, let’s have a little look at the habitat.

Habitat Of The Chinese High-Fin Banded Shark

This fish is found predominantly in the Yangtze river basin in China. This fish will often head upstream to breed where the waters move a lot faster.

When they are not breeding, this shark will often stay in the deeper and slower-moving parts of the water. 

Sadly, this species has entered the endangered list because of overfishing for food and aquariums. If you are going to acquire one of these fishes, then you should make sure that you do so by legal means.

However, the chances are that you might not be able to get your hands on one, as these are some of the rarest fish that you can find on the market.

But how can you spot this fish? Well, here follows a list of some of its most distinctive features.

The Appearance Of A Chinese High-Fin Banded Shark

When this shark-fish is very small it will look a lot different from the way it will look when it is an adult.

When it is younger, this fish will come with very distinct black and white bands that you can be sure will mark it out from other fish of this kind. These bands will circle the body of the fish.

This fish also comes with a very high dorsal fin that extends all the way back to the fin above its anus.

This fish looks very attractive in the juvenile stage, however, it will not stay in this state for much longer.

The shark will grow to a length of around 12 – 14 inches, at which point they change their color entirely and completely lose the black and white stripes.

They also reach their sexual peak around the ages of 5 to 6 years old. The different males and females can be differentiated through their unique coloring during the breeding period.

The males are often red, while the females will be a more purplish color. The female also has a red coloring, which is usually found near the belly.

When the Chinese High-Fin Shark also reaches full adulthood it will lose the high dorsal fin that characterized it at a younger age. These fishes are very long and you’ll easily be able to spot them from other breeds.

They also have no barbels on their lips, although they do have minuscule papillae. They have a single row of teeth that they use for chewing on food (more of which later).

The arrangement of their teeth has often been described as a comb.

As they get older, this shark’s coloring will get much darker. This is another way breeders can tell the age of this sharkfish.

A lot of aquarium owners prefer this fish when it is smaller, as it has a much more distinctive coloring and pattern. However, some people prefer the fish throughout its whole cycle of life, which is very important.

How Fast Does This Fish Grow?

Within its first year, the High-Fin banded shark will grow by 8-inches in length. This is a moderate rate for a lot of fish to grow. Once it reaches 3 years, it will have grown by over 20 inches.

When this fish has gotten to complete sexual maturity, it will be around 24 inches in length. This will be at around 5 – 6 years of age.

The maximum length for one of these fish is around 4ft 5 inches, with a weight of around 40 kg.

What Type Of Tank You Will Need For A Chinese High-Fin Banded Shark?

The maximum size for this fish will be around 24 inches, so you will need a generous size of tank to accommodate that.

We would recommend that you get a tank that is around 300 gallons or higher. This will allow you fish plenty of movement, especially if it is sharing its tank with others.

There is plenty of fish that you can pair this one with, however, the best tank mates that you should have for the Chinese High-Fin Banded Shark are Koi Fish, Loaches and Goldfish.

The best temperature for this tank is anywhere between 55 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. It needs to have a pH level of around 6.8 to 7.5. It should have the same saline profile as a freshwater pond or stream.

This is a very docile creature, so you won’t have to worry about pairing it with other fish. However, it will eat small crustaceans, so you better watch when putting crabs and snails in with this shark.

This fish is omnivorous, which means it will eat a mixture of vegetation and organic matter.

If you are an intermediate aquarist or above, then this will be the perfect fish for you. It will need a modest level of care but should not be handled by beginners who have never owned fish before.

This fish is definitely not recommended for a home aquarium, as it will soon outgrow most indoor tanks. You should make sure that they are housed in a community tank or a large outdoor pond where they can roam freely.

If this fish is kept in a home aquarium it will stunt its growth. It will also become too stressed by its inability to move and it will soon die.

You should not keep more than 5 of these fish in a tank together. If you have more of them in an enclosed space, then you can be sure that they will get stressed and it will ultimately reduce their lifespan.

How Can You Choose The Best Sized Tank For The Chinese High-Fin Banded Shark?

Having the right-sized tank will be very important for this fish. However, it is a common mistake that some people get a tank that is too small, mainly because they are buying a juvenile fish that they don’t realize will get bigger.

This is why it is important to go to a reputable dealer, as they will not mislead you about what type of shark you are getting.

If you are completely aware of what size the adults will grow to, then you can go about preparing the tank to house them.

You’ll need to bear in mind the number of sharks that you’re getting and how to get a tank that will easily accommodate them all at full size.

You’ll need to make sure that you have a tank that is no less than 300 gallons for a single shark. You should use this as a guide for when you are getting multiple sharks.

However, you won’t have to pick the final tank for your Chinese High-Fin Banded shark. If you have a juvenile, then you can house them in a small tank before transferring them to a bigger pond when they outgrow it.

You’ll need to get the timing right for transferring this shark. This is because they can grow very rapidly. You won’t want your shark to be stuck in a smaller tank and die before it’s time.

Getting The Right Water For A Chinese High-Fin Banded Shark

Like every other fish, this one will need the right water conditions if it is to thrive and survive.

If you have low-quality water that is kept at the wrong temperature, then more than likely this fish will start to get sick, lethargic or even die.

The Ultimate Guide To The Chinese High-Fin Banded Shark 1

These fish thrive in temperate waters and often dwell at the bottom of freshwater rivers. This fish also likes a very cool temperature of water.

The Best Temperature

As we have mentioned above, this fish needs a cool level of water to survive. You should try and make sure the temperature of the water is somewhere between 55 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Getting the temperature somewhere between these two points is ideal.

This type of fish will be able to stay healthy even when the temperature of the water fluctuates, as long as it stays within this range.

If your temperature falls below the projected range, then you might see your sharkfish go dormant. This will also happen if you are keeping it in an outdoor pond during the winter.

If your water temperature falls below the 40 degrees Fahrenheit mark, then you can expect the stress level of your shark to increase significantly.

You should invest in a thermometer to keep track of the changes in your fish tank. This way you can rectify any temperature dips as quickly as possible to avoid causing your fish any undue stress.

The Best PH Level

The best water pH level to have is around 6.8 to 7.5. If you keep it at this level, then you can be assured of the good health of your shark.

If the pH level of your tank water suddenly changes, then you might see the health of your fish start to rapidly alter.

This might be some cause for concern with your sucker, so you need to buy a pH detector so that the levels don’t drop too dangerously.

You’ll need to avoid any activities that will alter the pH balance of your tank too much. This will be important for preserving the harmony in your tank.

The Right Hardness Of The Water

You should try and keep the water hardness between soft and medium-hard, as this will be the environment where your fish start to thrive.

The hardness levels should be anywhere between 4 – 20 dGH. If you are noticing a change in your fish’s behavior, then this could be due to the hardness level changing.

The Best Water Movement

If you have a device that can alter the movement of the water in your tank, then you should introduce it, as this will be one of the better methods of keeping your Chinese High-Fin Banded Shark happy and healthy.

You’ll need to make sure that the filtration of the tank is optimal and that the water stays nice and oxygenated for the entire time.

You might have to change the water levels of your tank regularly, as the Chinese High-Fin Banded shark will be very susceptible to nitrate changes in the water.

It is worth emphasizing that this shark is made for cold water environments and will not be suitable for tropical temperatures.

Buy a water testing kit and make sure that you are testing the balance of your water on a regular basis. This fish is really affected by abrupt changes and you should be careful to monitor the levels of your water.

What Is The Best Kind Of Aquarium Decoration For The Chinese High-Fin Banded Shark?

When you are setting up an aquarium for your Chinese High-Fin, then you’ll want to make sure that you have the right balance of sand substrate and fine gravel.

We would also recommend that you add driftwood or bogwood as well as some rock. This will give your fish a place to hide or shelter from the light.

You should be wary of overcrowding the tank, as this will be a certain method of causing your fish more anxiety. Make sure that they have enough space to move around, giving them plenty of openings where they can swim through.

You should not include any objects that will tamper with the oxygen levels in your tank. You should also make sure that there are no objects inside that will disturb the pH levels of your tank.

How Does A Chinese High-Fin shark Behave In The Tank?

This fish will not be an active swimmer, choosing instead to sit at the bottom of the tank. This is a very peaceful fish also, so you will not really see them interacting with much other fish.

Due to the fact that they are not very active, this means that they will live a hell of a long time. You can expect the Chinese High-Fin Banded Shark to live upwards of 25 years.

However, in captivity, this lifespan will decrease dramatically. You can only expect a shark in captivity to last around 15 years.

This fish might get lonely when it is housed alone in a tank. Experts have proved that this fish survives a lot better when kept in a tank with a small shoal. You should keep around 3 – 5 sharks in the tank at any one time.

You’ll need to make sure that your sharks are kept happy by giving them plenty of room to breathe, move and grow.

What Are The Best Tank Mates For Your Chinese High-Fin Banded Shark?

You can put this fish in with most species of fish, as it is very peaceful as is not prone to attack. You can pair this one up with loaches, koi and goldfish if you need to.

However, due to the fact that these are cold-water fish, the number of tank mates that you’ll be able to house them with will be few. Make sure that you pair them with other cold-water fish to avoid them from dying.

What Does A Chinese High-Fin Shark Eat?

This fish is technically classed as an omnivore, however, it is more of a herbivore that chooses to eat leaves and algae.

They will usually eat the algae that grow on rocks or logs that you can find in their pond. It will also feed on smaller invertebrates that are found on the bottom of the riverbed.

You can feed this fish with a wide range of materials that include living, dead and frozen foods. You can give them earthworms, bloodworms, insects, prawns, small molluscks and algae.

You can also feed them with regular fish food, so long as it is heavy enough to fall to the bottom of the tank.

When this fish is younger, you can feed them more bloodworms, which they’ll happily devour.

If your Chinese High-Fin Shark is not eating properly, this might be due to the fact that the quality of the water has decreased. You should make sure to check the water regularly if your sharkfish is not eating.

If your shark has stopped eating, only feed them with live food until they have resumed eating properly again.


We hope that this guide to the amazing and unique Chinese High-Fin Banded Shark has helped you to decide whether or not to buy one for your outdoor tank.

Mikayla Adams

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