Deep Water Chain Dog Shark

Deep Water Chain Dog Shark
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Captive Bred Chain Dog Sharks

(Scyliorhinus retifer)

Chain Dogs, also known as Chain Dogfish and Chain Catsharks, are rare sharks that have a max size of 18” for males and 21” for females.  Their small size is why Scott Michael celebrates this shark as one of the best shark species for captivity. These Chain Dogs thrive and breed in tanks as small as 150G, providing they have adequate filtration.  They tolerate high stocking densities and do well with mixed sizes.  They have stunning yellow and brown chain patterns across their bodies, sit in the open, are occasionally active swimmers, and are extremely rare because they are only collected at between 200-feet to 1,200-feet deep.

One thing that is really unique about these sharks is that they have bio-fluorescence, and glow green under blue spectrums, just like coral do!  David Gruber, a National Geographic researcher and videographer, visited the Long Island Aquarium and photographed and filmed our sharks fluorescing green under his fancy blue LED fixture and gel filters.  You can see a link to his research on bio-fluorescent fish and sharks, including footage he took at the Long Island Aquarium, in this video here:

National Geographic Video:  "Sharks Light Up in Neon Colors"

The Long Island Aquarium was lucky enough to receive a breeding pair of these sharks from a fishermen.  These original Chain Dogs were by-catch and they  miraculously survived their ascent to the surface.   Joe Yaiullo has been the lead in keeping these sharks and has successfully bred them for several years now to produce beautiful captive bred pups.  Their eggs take 8-12 months to mature and hatch, but they are worth the wait because the babies are easy to raise eating frozen PE Mysis and krill in their early months but graduate to frozen sand eels and silverside as juveniles and adults.

Normally, these sharks are kept exclusively in 50-60 degree water, but the aquarium has succeeded in acclimating some of these sharks up to 70F, which they thrived at for over 2 years.   Currently, we only keep and sell these sharks at their natural temperature of 55°F.    These sharks can be acclimated to 70F over a two-week period.  We also offer fertile Chain Dog egg cases for those who would like to hatch their own sharks.  Unfortunately, we have very few males available and cannot accommodate sexing requests.  These are hardy and beautiful sharks for collectors, and we highly recommend them!

Fertile Egg: 3-4"

Coldwater Pup:  55F 4-7" pup 

Coldwater Adult:  55F 10-13" adult

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