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How to Breed Iridescent Sharks

| Updated September 26, 2017

Things You'll Need

  • Large, deep pond

  • Fish food

Iridescent sharks are not actually sharks, but rather a species of freshwater shark catfish. They cannot be bred in aquariums, as they are too large when full-sized. These catfish come from the rivers of Thailand and like to be in schools when young, but grow more solitary with age. They make great pets, and, unlike other catfish, do not stick to the bottom of a tank. They will hang out in the middle and have even been known to come to the surface to be petted. Iridescent sharks are notoriously hard to breed in captivity, but there are steps you can take to encourage mating.

Buy a school of iridescent sharks, of both sexes. Place them in a large pond (as in tens of thousands of gallons, or a pond covering at least an acre or more). This large swimming space will be important for mating, since their full adult size can be 3 feet or longer. Create a pond with running water in order to simulate the natural environment for iridescent sharks to spawn. This mimics the rivers that are their natural spawning habitat. To best simulate a river you may consider having two ponds, with water running in between an inlet and outlet for each.

Keep the pond at a tropical water temperature, at least 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Also keep a pH of 6.5 to 7.5. Feed your shark catfish every day with fish pellets, brine shrimp and other plants. Either dead or live foods will suffice, as they are omnivorous and not picky eaters.

Look for signs of females carrying eggs in the spring or summer months, once they are fully grown. Males will fertilize the eggs that the females lay.

Observe your pond to see if any tiny, young iridescent sharks have emerged, which means your fish have spawned successfully.


  • You will have much better luck if you try to breed iridescent sharks in a tropical or sub-tropical environment, as they are used to spawning in the tropical country of Thailand. Make sure you can heat your pond to the required temperature.


  • Breeding iridescent sharks in captivity will be extremely hard or virtually impossible. The conditions have to be just right and they have to have a huge amount of space and enough water depth to roam around in to mimic their natural environment. You could try many times and fail before you are successful in breeding iridescent sharks.