SHARK POND!! EASIER THAN YOU MAY THINK.

Chinese Hi Fin Shark

So you’ve always wanted to tell people that you have a shark pond. The goldfish pond was too tame and the koi pond doesn’t feel edgy enough for you right? Now here is a way around that dilemma, without you having to build a 150,000 gallon saltwater heated backyard pond. The Chinese Hi Fin Banded Shark! This shark can easily make a home in your pond. This shark you will not have to feed seal lions and penguins for its daily meals. This shark you do not need to run from the waters edge to get away from. You might even want to step closer and get a good look because of the impressive bold markings on this fish. It’s strong symmetrical pattern with vertical bands of contrasting black and off-white colors make this fish a whole different type of eye catcher than your koi or goldfish are.
Yes it is from China, yes it is high finned, but no, it is not a shark. They certainly cannot play cards (I’ve tried) and they bear no close relation to any of the sea and ocean dwelling sharks that we think of when we hear “shark!” Myxocyprinus asiaticus, or the Chinese Hi Fin Banded shark is probably better known in the aquarium trade but it indeed makes a great addition to your pond population. Some of its best traits are that it is compatible with goldfish, koi, and a many other pond fish, it is cold tolerant for those pond owners in colder regions, and AND! they eat algae! An algae eating shark, c’mon… As a matter of fact they are more closely related to algae eating sucker fish of the aquarium trade than to an ocean dwelling shark.
Their cold tolerance is what makes them a good fish for pond keepers, the Yangtze River where they originate from prepared them well for cold water. Water temperatures in your pond within the range of 60F to 75F keep them very comfortable, but like your other pond fish during cold weather periods, the Chinese Hi fin Banded shark goes pretty much dormant with temperatures below 55F. Water temperatures lower than 40F in your pond will cause these fish stress so be aware of your pond temperatures; this goes for koi, goldfish, and all pond fish. Proper care of this fish will give them a very long life span of many decades. A large environment will allow them to grow to their potential, usually topping out at about 3’ for very large specimens. For that specimen type of growth they need a complete diet which thankfully includes algae that they like to scrape off pond surfaces like rocks, so they help to keep your pond looking better. But they eat all sorts of stuff that you need to provide; like offerings of krill, earthworms, and prepared fish foods like koi pellets as well. The “shark” will really enjoy treats of seaweed sheets like those used to roll sushi, or have some fun by offering quartered raw zucchini sticks for them to suck on; they’ll love it! When your not offering the Chinese banded shark treats you will see these fish staying very busy working over the bottom of your pond. By nature they are bottom dwelling fish but adapt well to coming to the surface for feeding time!
Also what sets them apart from their namesake is that these sharks don’t have teeth and they like to school; so keeping 3 or more will make them happiest. The shark moniker must come from the large dorsal fin these fish have. When these fish come into the trade they are usually around 4” with a deep body and the characteristic high fin. This body shape stays with them until about the 20”-24” size and then they begin to “outgrow” the big fin and their bodies elongate as they continue their growth to 3’+ range. These fish are slow growers even with great conditions so be patient! The impressive banding pattern of this fish also fades away as they age and grow. The adult Myxocyprinus asiaticus looks very different than the juvenile forms, but still a cool looking fish. Because of this size potential, I think that the Chinese Hi Fin shark is actually much better suited to being a pond fish than an aquarium fish. Since these are an endangered fish in China, and breeding programs for them is scant, a lot of consideration should be given to the care and environment necessary to successfully keep these fish; as with any fish. Cold water, lots of oxygenation, hiding places is its preferred habitat so a pond sounds pretty good for these guys.
So, there you go; a shark pond! Yes, a small technicality being that it is a toothless algae eating freshwater bottom dwelling river fish from China, but you know I won’t say anything. So there you go, lay your claim to your shark pond!
SHARK POND!
All copyrights to this material belong to Mike Gannon.

24 Comments

David

I’ve had a poor experience with these fish and I don’t know why. I have gold fish and koi that have lived years ever since I’ve started my pond, but I’ve had 3 of these die after about 6-8 months each.

They are really cool looking and I would like to have some remain. Any ideas on what may be my problem?

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Mgannon

Hey David, its hard to say what the issue may be without more information, but generally speaking these fish should do pretty well. Sorry, they are giving a challenge!

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Marty

I live in Central Oregon where the winter temperatures will dip below freezing – even into the teens. My pond is about 600 gallons and is 32” deep. The koi, goldfish, and catfish winter over nicely even though the surface will have as much as 3” of ice and sometimes a few inches of snow on top of that. Strangely enough the ice and snow actually acts as an insulator against the cold. I know that the surface gets to the freezing point, but I don’t know about 30” down. I suspect that it’s somewhere in the higher 30’s (maybe).

My question is: do you think the Chinese Hi Fin Banded Shark would withstand the same temperatures that my current fish do?

Of course the really hard part, should the fish be able to survive, is where to get them.

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Mgannon

Hey, thanks for checking out the blog. Yes, the Chinese Hi Fin Shark should do just fine in those winter conditions. The trick is finding them, I don’t have a source to refer but if I find one I will surely pass it along!!

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Rick

Hi David, I have several high fins in my pond. They do well in summer and winter and are growing very fast. You might check your water for high nitrite are nitrate. I do alot of water changes in my pond do to the fact I have large koi and large goldfish. Are they coming up with any wounds on them or are the dying with no visible signs?. Is there enough natural food in the pond?. Feel free to email me. wiseguy2266@aol.com

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Mike Gannon

Hi Art, thanks for checking out the blog! I am not aware of any fish of this type that are cold hardy. If you use tropical fish the options open up quite a bit. It depends on how cold your area gets! -Mike

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Mike Gannon

Hey Cyn, they are great fish, enjoy them! They typically hang at the bottom and do not come up much for food, but they are cool to watch and see them grow huge! Keep me updated! -Mike

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Lisa G

I have read this and am intrigued by these pretty fish. My question is this: several comments have been asked and addressed about cold water. How about WARM water? I live in the Houston area so the water in the hot summer can get quite warm. My pond is a converted non working in-ground hot tub. It is six feet across, with the benches for sitting, and four feet deep in the very center, where your feet go. I have 14 goldfish, and two channel catfish, along with countless gambusia. I would like an algae eater of some sort. Think the water will stay cool enough in the deep?

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Mike Gannon

Hey Lisa, I think they will do fine in more “tropical” temperatures. I first came across these fish while I was dealing fish many years ago and they were mostly used in the aquarium, so the warmer temps should be fine. It is just a very nice bonus that they can overwinter in colder climates too! Thanks for commenting! -Mike

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Cecelia Kett

Love them, had 3 for years, then 2, haven’t seen them for awhile, would like to purchase more but can’t locate a place to purchase, any ideas? Our koi pond is over 5,000 gallons, the sharks do a great job on the algae. Missing my sharks:'(

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Mike Gannon

Hey Cecelia! The best place I can suggest finding the sharks would be online. They can be hard to find for sure! -Mike

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chuck

Mike Gannon, places like Petsmart will order them for you, at least they did for me.

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Jeff

Mike,
I enjoyed your article, gave me some good in put on my newest fish. I knew it was a shark, but didn’t have the exact name. My pond is about 4000 gallons with plants and several nooks and crannies for it to hide until it gets bigger. I was surprised to see it swimming with my other Koi and goldfish also most immediately after introducing it into the pond. I live in So. Nevada, so not so cold in the winter, water stays around 50 degrees. But summer time the water can get up in the 70s and 80s on the top few inches. How well do they handle hotter environments?

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Mike Gannon

Hey Jeff, thanks for reaching out! If your pond is deep enough, 24+ inches deep, I don’t see them having any problems with higher water temps. Most fish will not be comfortable at temperatures above 78F. Temps between 78F – 82F are usually meant for treatment purposes and short duration. -Mike

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Beth Johnston

Does anyone know if there are many negatives to the hi fin shark in a koi pond ? I have a 5000 gallon pond but I’m really having a big algae problem. I was going to go with snails but after reading about the shark I wonder if both would be a good idea.?

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Mike Gannon

Hi Beth, I don’t think you will have any problem keeping the hi-fin shark and koi together at all. As far as “controlling” algae I would not rely on this fish or snails to control algae but both of them will help reduce the amount of algae in the pond. It is a good choice for your pond, but algae issues are usually related to filtration issues. If you can solve the filtration issue maybe by upping your filtration, your algae issues will begin to go away. -Mike

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clark J

I live in Seattle Washington and it freezes in the winter . I was wondering can hi fin sharks survive in a 10’000 gal outdoor pond here?

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Mike Gannon

Hello Clark, the hi-fin shark should have no problem handling winters in your area, they are pretty cold tolerant, and you have a large volume of water which also helps. Good luck! -Mike

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Vicki Parker

Hi Jeff! I have been battling a serious string algae problem in my 350 gallon in-ground pond. ( I have tried several times to choke them out with competing oxygenators but the string algae starts growing on those plants,too! ) It’s Time for an algae Eater! Can I buy just one Chinese high-fin? ( or is it preferable to get 2-3?)* Will they grow at a slower rate in a smaller pond? Otherwise in a few years I’ll have a huge fish MUCH too LONG for my pond!

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Mike Gannon

Hello Vicki, where are you located? The hi-fin shark will grow at a moderate rate, not too fast, not too slow. Enjoy!

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Keith

Where can i buy some shark koi from i would love to add some of those into my any idea where i can get some please reply back any one thank you.

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Mike Gannon

Hey Keith. Your best bet is just searching online from companies that sell aquarium fish and pond fish; they will ship them right to your door. Google!! Good luck. -Mike

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