What is Special About the Iridescent Shark?

The Juvenile iridescent shark can be purchased as an aquarium pet, although they can be difficult to care for. Iridescent sharks are sociable fish that travel in large schools.

There is a great deal of research and planning involved when deciding whether or not to introduce an iridescent shark to your aquatic ecosystem.

Keep reading to know more!


What Does the Iridescent Shark Look Like?

Iridescent Shark
Picture of the Iridescent Shark

The iridescent shark is easily recognizable by its distinctive sail-shaped dorsal fin, which can extend out in full-on shark mode or fold up neatly out of the way.

They lack the scales of true sharks and instead have skin that is a dull grey, but when they are young, their skin displays a beautiful iridescence that gives them their name.

The whiskery appearance of their prominent barbels helps these catfish of Southeast Asian rivers find their way in the darkness.

It’s odd that their eyes are so large if they have such terrible vision, yet as they grow bigger, their eyes become less noticeable.

Their agility in the water is due to their large, shark-like caudal fins and their lengthy anal fins (no laughing, guys), which extend from about halfway up the stomach to the beginning of the caudal fin.

A rare albino iridescent shark with white skin and red eyes may also be spotted by you.


Read also: What are Earth’s Top 8 Most Cute Sharks?


What is the Behaviour of the Iridescent Shark?

Iridescent sharks are mellow creatures that rarely become aggressive; nonetheless, they are often frightened when isolated from others, therefore it’s best to raise them in groups.

The concept of “safety in numbers” applies here. As a result, they feel confident enough to unwind.


Where Can the Iridescent Shark Be Found?

Although iridescent sharks were originally only found in the Mekong and Chao Phraya rivers in Asia, they have now been transported to other waterways for aquaculture purposes.

They are tropical freshwater fish that thrive in water with a pH of 6.5 to 7.5, a hardness of 2.0 to 29 dGH, and a temperature of 22 to 26 degrees Celsius (72 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit).

They are most at home in expansive bodies of water with deep waters, like the Mekong River.

In most areas, the iridescent shark is a migratory fish that swims upstream during the flood season when the waters are high in order to reproduce, and then swims back downstream in search of rearing grounds when the river levels drop.

When the migrations occurred was dependent on which rivers were in use at the time. From May to July, they travel upstream in the Mekong River basin, and from September to December, they travel back down.

From October to February, with a peak in November and December, upstream migration occurs south of the Khone Falls; this appears to be prompted by ebbing waters towards the conclusion of the flood season.

A Santander, Colombia, environmental group announced in August 2015 that iridescent sharks have been discovered in a Magdalena River tributary, perhaps as a result of unintentional introduction from nearby illicit farm fisheries.

Scientists and government authorities are alarmed by the discovery because the Magdalena River is home to over 200 native fish species, including 35 that are endangered.

Many other types of physical stress, including shear forces, fast decompression, blade impacts, and turbulence, can disrupt these sharks’ normal functioning.

A higher injury and fatality rate among these sharks is a direct result of these factors.

Hydropower initiatives, which are being put in place to fight the global climate catastrophe, can cause these injuries, which is a terrible truth.

Other Southeast Asian countries, including Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Myanmar, have introduced iridescent sharks for human consumption.

They are known as ikan patin in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia (where ‘ikan’ means fish in Malay and Indonesian), and they are most popularly prepared by steaming or baking whole in the cuisines of the Chinese Malays and Malay Muslims, respectively.


Read also: Finding Nemo Shark


What Does the Iridescent Shark Feed On?

Since they are omnivores, iridescent sharks are not picky eaters and will eat just about anything. They will rapidly get bored of the same munchies, so the challenge is to keep dinner time interesting.

The only catch is that it gets more complicated to monitor their dietary intake as their diet becomes more varied. You’ll have to figure out what foods go well together to provide them the nutrients they need to flourish.

You can still utilize flakes as the backbone of their food, but adding in some wriggly living goodies will give them a more natural habitat and enhance their life.

Below is a list of few foods that make up the diet of the iridescent sharks:

  • Worms
  • Brine Shrimp
  • Feeder Fish
  • Bloodworms


How Long Does the Iridescent Shark Live?

Iridescent sharks have a potential lifespan of 20 years under ideal conditions, however, this drastically decreases when they are confined and poorly cared for.


Read also: Bonnethead Shark: What You Did Not Know



According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, they are critically endangered. Humans hunting them for sustenance is the primary cause of their dwindling population.

Since they can’t see very well, any outside motion is likely to be interpreted as a threat. Their natural reaction to danger is to flee and in a confined space like an aquarium, that can be dangerous if they charge blindly.

Thank you for reading!

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