Chinese high fin banded shark, Chinese sucker

Chinese high fin banded shark, Chinese sucker - Myxocyprinus asiaticus

Common names: Chinese high fin banded shark , Chinese High Fin Sucker, Sailfin Sucker, Topsail Sucker, Asian Sucker, Chinese Sucker, Wimple Carp, Freshwater Batfish, Hilsa Herring, Rough Fish
Scientific name: Myxocyprinus asiaticus
Max size: 39 inches – 1 m
Temperature: 61 - 72˚F (16.0 - 22.0˚C)
pH: 6.9 - 7.8

The Chinese high fin banded shark, or Chinese sucker as it is also called, is an odd looking and very beautiful fish when young. The adult fish looks very different from the young and juvenile fish but is according to me even more beautiful than the juveniles. The adult fish has a lower dorsal fin and a stunning wide red band running across its entire body. Look at the picture to see what juvenile specimens look like. Unfortunately these fishes usually die long before reaching maturity when kept in aquariums and even if they didn't they would require huge aquariums to house them due to their large size.

The Chinese high fin banded shark originates from the Yangtze River in China and is endangered in the wild. It is unknown whether the specimens in the trade are caught in the wild (in which case it can put a real strain on the wild populations as it is becoming popular) or if they are captive bred. If they are bred it is safe to assume that hormone treatment is used to breed them. There is no information on successfully breeding this species in aquariums.

This species is often sold as a tropical fish and I have read many care sheets that say that you can keep them in high temperatures but the truth is that this is a coldwater fish and the Chinese sucker should not be kept in tropical tank. In the wild they are fund in cold streams and will therefore do best in well oxygenated cooler water.

This fish is a popular oddball fish but is really not suitable for aquariums since they often dies and if they survive they grow too large to be kept in most aquariums especially since this is a schooling fish that should never be kept alone. Keeping them alone increases stress and might increase the risk of this fish dying.

The Chinese high fin banded shark is banned in the UK.

Chinese high fin banded shark aquarium

This species need a huge cold water aquarium do well. When I say huge I mean huge. They should only be kept in schools and each fish in that school will grow to 40 inches/ 1m in length. This means that a tank that often is consider huge such as a 400 gallon tank (1500L) doesn't even come close so suffice. I personally would say that you shouldn't even consider keeping this species if you can't provide them with at least a 1000 gallon / 4500 L tank and an even bigger tank is better. Don't buy this species if you can't house tem as adults.

Still haven't talked you out of getting a school of Chinese high fin banded shark? Ok then let’s talk aquarium decoration etc.

They are as I mentioned earlier found in streams and your aquarium should be setup to mimic this environment. This means a lot of open space to swim around in and some hiding places among rounded rocks. Hardy plants can be used but are not necessary as long as the fish can find other hiding places. They may eat softer plants.  The aquarium should be heavily circulated with some areas with less circulation where the fish can rest. It is strongly recommended that you add extra oxygenation to the water as the Chinese sucker prefers oxygen rich water.

The temperature should be kept between 61 - 72˚F (16.0 - 22.0˚C) and the pH should be neutral to slightly alkaline (6.9 - 7.8). I have said this before but will say it again. Do not keep this species in tropical aquariums, it is a coldwater species.

Feeding the Chinese sucker

The Chinese high fin banded shark is omnivorous in the wild it eats mostly vegetable matter. They accept most types of food and can successfully be fed sinking pellets and wafers. Sinking catfish pellets are generally good for the Chinese sucker as well.  Vary the diet by feeding them frozen foods, e.g. shrimps and vegetables such as frozen peas and broccoli, every now and then.

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