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Force feeding your shark or ray

Posted 01/02/2012 at 04:01 PM by alprazo

Anorexia is often a common problem in newly acquired elasmobranches. Capture, shipping, stress, foreign foods, new environment, exposure to medications, delivery of pups are all possible reasons why your shark won't eat. Short periods of fasting should be closely observed, but several weeks of anorexia, lasting a month, are a cause for concern. You need to consider the size of the animal and physical state when deciding to force feed. I would give a large inactive wobbegong a much longer leash than say a 5 inch coral cat pup.

Several items are required:

5 or 10 cc syringe
Airline or IV tubing
Blended fish, Krill or other high protein source
Fresh water
Two water baths of matching tank water

I also recommend tricaine or Finquel to sedate active species.

In a bath anesthetize the shak or ray until it becomes sluggish.

A chilled airline tube will be stiff enough to insert into the stomach of the shark.

At this point I will have preloaded the required amount of syringes, but dilute the food with fresh water so that it travels easily through the tubing.

When the shark becomes sluggish, I transfer it to another bath without the tricaine. You will now have about 60 to 120 seconds to feed the shark before it awakens.

Repeat daily or every other day until your shark has begun to eat on its own.

Good luck.
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    Posted 01/02/2012 at 06:31 PM by alprazo alprazo is offline

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