Chinese High-Fin Banded Shark – Habitat, Care, Feeding, Tank Size, Breeding

The Chinese high-fin banded shark (Myxocyprinus asiaticus) is traded under many common names, including the banded loach, Chinese sailfin sucker, Chinese sucker, and the high fin loach. This fish is one of the two Asian suckers, with the other one being the Siberian Cotostomus rotratus.

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The fish is not related to sharks, although juveniles have a slight resemblance to sharks. Young Chinese high-fin banded sharks have brown bodies with three vertical stripes.

They will also display a high dorsal finnage. Adults will feature a smaller dorsal fin, and their colors will gradually fade.

Juveniles are stunning, and aquarists cannot help but admire them when they are in pet stores. Some fish-keepers will buy the juveniles without researching the requirements to keep the fish well into its adult life.

The fish can reach lengths of over three feet, and you should keep this in mind when purchasing it.

High-Fin Banded Shark Natural Habitat

The native populations of the fish have been recorded in the middle and upper regions of the Yangtze River System, including its primary tributary the Min River.

Although this fish is commonly sold as a tropical variety, it is actually a temperate species. It will not thrive in a tropical tank as it is used to cold water. You will have more luck keeping the fish in a well-oxygenated and cool aquarium.

The fish mostly swims in the main sections of the Yangtze River, but it migrates into shallower waters to spawn. Juveniles are adapted to the rockier and shallower sections where they use their sucker mouths to catch crustaceans and insects.

This fish is extensively cultured in China for the food industry, and most specimens in pet stores are a result of captive breeding. China has acknowledged the fish as an endangered species due to over-harvesting and pollution.

High-Fin Banded Shark Tank Requirements

Before estimating the tank size required for this fish, we must assess its adult size and growth rate.

The fish will typically grow to 8 inches in the first year and reach around 20 inches in three years. They will reach sexual maturity between 5 and 6 years, and they will be about 24 inches long. The maximum known size of the fish is 4 ft 5 inches.

You should prepare a tank of not less than 55 gallons to keep a juvenile Chinese high-fin banded shark. The fish likes to school, and you will need 300-400 gallons to keep several of them happy.

You should not buy this fish if you cannot set up a koi pond for their eventual transfer. The fish will thrive in an indoor or outdoor pond with the right conditions.

Use a gravel or sand substrate, and add some rocks and branches to the bottom. It is a bottom-dwelling fish, and you should avoid anything that can injure their bodies.

The Chinese high-fin banded shark likes to swim around, and do not overcrowd the aquarium with ornaments. Hardy plants are desired since they can nibble on softer ones. You can also add driftwood or bogwood.

This fish demands expert handling, and it can be an excellent algae-eater in a pond. It is popularly kept in zoos and public aquariums, and any fish-keeper who buys it should be ready to invest a lot of money to keep it comfortable.

High-Fin Banded Shark Water Conditions

The fish is tolerant of cold conditions, which is why it thrives in ponds. They will be comfortable with anything between 60-75 °F. The fish will become dormant if the temperature in your pond drops below 55 °F, and they will be susceptible to diseases in conditions below 40 °F.

Do not keep the fish in tropical aquariums as they will develop fungus problems in high temperatures.

Native populations prefer fast-flowing waters, but the fish will do well with a moderate current. They thrive in well-oxygenated water and pristine conditions. Regular water changes are necessary because the fish is susceptible to nitrate levels.

The ideal water hardness range is 4-20 dGH with the PH at 6.8-7.5.

High-Fin Banded Shark Diet & Feeding Schedule

In the wild, the Chinese high-fin banded shark is sustained by an omnivorous diet that includes plenty of vegetable matter. They will scrape off algae from rocks, and keep your tank clean. You can offer vegetables like broccoli and peas infrequently.

Wild banded sharks will also prey on insects, mollusks, and crustaceans. You can provide protein in the form of frozen and live foods like daphnia, bloodworms, annelids earthworms, and artemia. Buy high-quality omnivore flakes and pellets that can sink to the bottom. Feed the fish once or twice a day.

High-Fin Banded Shark Tank Mates

The Chinese high-fin banded shark likes to school in the wild, and you should keep 3-5 of them. They are not very active in the aquarium, and they are often seen resting. They roam around at the bottom, searching for food, and they will stay away from other inhabitants.

The peaceful nature of this banded shark makes it a great addition to a community pond. They are not aggressive, and you can expect a lifespan of 15 years.

The fish will thrive in a pond with Koi fish, goldfish, and loaches. Do not keep the fish with tropical species as one of them will suffer from unhealthy water conditions.

You can comfortably handle this fish as it will not attack humans. It lacks true teeth and has pharyngeal ones instead, and it will not bite you.

High-Fin Banded Shark Breeding

The source for specimens for the aquarium industry is not known, and they are thought to be bred in commercial fish farms. If this is the case, spawning is likely induced via hormonal injections.

There is no definitive breeding process for aquarium Chinese high-fin banded sharks. No hobbyist has recorded successful breeding with this fish, and it is not recommendable to even try. You can get them on online pet stores or in specialty fish stores where they are sold at moderate prices.


The Chinese high-fin banded shark is a lovely addition to a koi pond. They have a peaceful temperament, and they will co-exist well with any Koi fish or goldfish.

The only problem with keeping this fish is its giant size. While juveniles are attractive and small, adult banded sharks can reach three feet and are, therefore, not recommended for small aquariums.

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