Chinese High Fin Banded Shark 101: The Complete Guide

When you hear the word “shark,” you immediately think of a sleek, powerful predator. 

Even if you’ve never seen the fish we’re talking about, you’ve probably already conjured up a mental image of it just by reading the title. So, get rid of those photos.

The Chinese high fin banded shark (Myxocyprinus asiaticus) is not a shark species, despite its prominent dorsal fin and shark-like profile as a Chinese sailfin sucker. Instead, it is a demanding, cold, peaceful aqua-loving algae eater. 

high fin banded shark

Chinese high fin banded calm demeanor allows it to coexist peacefully with ornamental fish in outdoor ponds and large community tanks. In the aquarium trade, the Chinese High-Fin Banded shark is a popular fish species. The Castomidae family includes these species.

However, if you’re thinking about becoming a shark keeper or looking to expand your collection, there’s a lot you should know about this particular shark. At the very least, before deciding to keep it. Continue to scroll to learn more about this loach sucker.

The Appearance of the High-fin Banded Shark

The appearance of the Chinese High Fin Banded Shark is one of the fascinating aspects of this species! Many knowledgeable fish keepers refer to this species as the “reverse ugly duckling.” It’s easy to see why if you’re fortunate enough to look after one. 

This fish species is stunning as juveniles’ topsail sucker. They are a few inches long and have a striking striped pattern when you find them in pet stores. The entire body is covered in black and white bands. 

A triangular dorsal fin complements the high-contrast coloration. Their name comes from their dorsal fin being very tall in length compared to their body. As Chinese high fin banded sharks are bottom-dwelling fish, their bellies are flat. The fish’s pectoral and pelvic fins jut out from the side of its body, giving it a shark-like appearance. 

The mouth, on the other hand, is very different from that of a shark. The lips are thick and fleshy. The Chinese High Fin Banded Shark does not have barbels, but it does have some tiny papillae. 

The Chinese high-finned shark has a single row of pharyngeal teeth on the inside. Chinese High Fin Banded Sharks are so famous in the fish trade because of their attractive appearance. However, as the juvenile Chinese grows older, that traditional beauty fades!

Aquarium Specifications for the Chinese Sucker

Chinese high fin banded are best suited to a community aquarium or a pond where they’ll have plenty of peaceful room. It will also have stunted growth and eventually die from stress if kept carelessly in a home aquarium. 

chinese sucker

You’ll probably need to keep them in a group of up to five people. This feature is done to alleviate their stress and make them feel more at ease. Now, let’s check out the specifications: 

Size of Tank Required to Keep a Chinese High-fin Banded Shark

Selecting the right tank size can be difficult as the juvenile shark’s small size could mislead an inexperienced shark keeper. However, now that you’re aware that these fish can grow to be quiet in length, you’ll want to make sure you’re ready before you go out and buy them. 

As a result, we recommend a tank size of at least 300 gallons for a juvenile Chinese High-fin. 

Banded shark to help you prepare. It isn’t the final tank size; it’s just a guide to help you appreciate the beauty of your juvenile pet sucker shark. 

Then, for the last transfer of this sucker shark, prepare a koi pond. As a result, once you notice this fish’s growth inches to the length, make sure to transfer it due to the shark’s relatively fast growth and metamorphosis rate.

Preparing Tank Water for the High-fin Banded Shark

Like any other fish kept in captivity as a pet, the Chinese high-fin Banded shark requires specific water conditions to survive and thrive. Myxocyprinus asiaticus is a freshwater bottom-dwelling fish that lives in temperate freshwater. 

It is found in calm rivers and streams with a lot of water flow. As a result, it can survive in freshwater if the following conditions are met:


For survival, the High-fin Banded shark prefers cool water. As a result, keep the temperature between 55f and 75 f. The ideal location will be somewhere in the middle of the size. 

Even if there are fluctuations in the temperature, your pet shark will be fine as long as it remains within the field. Your shark will become dormant if it falls below the recommended range. 

Expect this in the winter, especially if the High-fin Banded shark is kept in a koi pond. 

Also, keep an eye out for temperatures below 40 F, as this will make your shark more stressed. A simple thermometer will assist you in keeping track of the temperature changes in your tank. Make an effort to own one.

Tank pH Level

The High-fin Banded shark prefers water with a pH of 6.8 to 7.5. This range is critical for your pet shark’s overall health-related. As a result, remember to follow this advice. A sudden change in pH level will cause health complications for your Chinese high fin banded sharks. 

Just like it will for most other freshwater shark species. As a result, it’s essential to be cautious and avoid activities that could alter pH levels.

Hardness of Water

This shark should be kept in water with a hardness of 4 to 20 dGH. According to the water hardness chart, this means water that is somewhere between soft and medium-hard. 20 dGH is ideal for China-related batfish.

Water Movement

Your High-fin banded shark will be happy if you introduce some moderately moving water. Ensure that there is an adequate water filtration and that the water is well-oxygenated. This shark is particularly vulnerable to rising nitrate levels in the water. 

To keep your pet shark healthy, change partial water regularly. The Chinese High-fin Banded Shark should not be kept in a tropical aquarium. 

This shark lives in cold water. Changes in water quality also have an impact on them. As a result, while caring for this freshwater shark species, keep a basic water testing kit on hand.

Aquarium Decoration

It’s essential to keep things natural when decorating their tank or pond. Starting with a fine gravel substrate is recommended. Because Chinese High Fin Banded Sharks spend most of their time at the bottom of their habitat, choose a high-quality substrate material. 

To give it a more natural appearance:

  1. Mix in some rock or sand mix.
  2. Arrange the cold-water plants, rocks, and driftwood pleasingly.
  3. Make some hiding spots for the juveniles with these decorative items. 

But don’t go too far! They require a large number of hiding places, but swimming space is more important. Allow the fish to navigate freely through the habitat by leaving the majority of the area in the center open.

As you might expect, when these fish reach adult, they produce a lot of waste. Use a powerful filtration system to keep ammonia and nitrate levels under control. 

If you keep your fish in a habitat with thousands of gallons, you’ll need heavy-duty pond filters.

Your filter should also aid in the creation of a steady flow rate. In the natural habitat, these fish prefer a moderate amount of aqua movement. To accomplish this, use pumps and the filter outlet.

Tank Mates

In the wild, the Chinese high-fin banded shark prefers tank mates, and you should keep 3-5 of them. They don’t do much in the aquarium and are frequently seen resting. Scavenging food at the bottom of the ocean is their habit. They avoid contact with other creatures. 

This banded shark’s calm demeanor makes it an excellent addition to a community pond. Chinese sailfin sucker is not aggressive and has a 15 years lifespan.

In a pond with Koi fish, goldfish, and loaches are perfect tank mates. If you keep freshwater fish with them, one of them will suffer from poor aqua conditions. This fish is safe to handle because it does not attack humans. 

It has pharyngeal teeth instead of authentic teeth and will not bite you.

Typical Tank Behavior of the High-fin Banded Shark

Even in captivity, Myxocyprinus asiaticus is a peaceful fish, despite its size. They aren’t excellent swimmers. As a result, expect them to sleep the majority of the time. 

To put it another way, they will not swim around regularly. 

When they swim, they move slowly to the bottom of the tank, where they spend most of their time. Juveniles also live a long life, with an expected lifespan of up to 25 years due to their low activity level.

Though these fish species rarely live that long in captivity, expect a lifespan of 15 years or more. It is a significant amount of time to spend with your High-fin banded shark. This suckerfish is not aggressive in the least. 

As a result, they’d be ideal inhabitants of community tanks.

Some aquarists choose to keep only one species of Chinese sucker, and it may survive for as long as it can withstand the stress. When kept in small shoals, they have a better chance of surviving in captivity. 

In an aquarium, 3 to 5 of these sharks will make them feel safe and allow them to thrive for a long time. Your pet sharks will be content once you provide them with a large enough tank. 

Plus, you’ll be able to expand your horizons without feeling restricted.

Breeding and Reproduction

It is unknown where specimens for the aquarium industry come from, but it is assumed that they are bred in commercial fish farms. If that’s the case, spawning is almost certainly triggered by breeding hormonal injections.

The Chinese High-fin Banded shark spawns in shallow heads with fast water flow in the wild. However, no successful breeding of this shark species has been documented in captivity. 

Aquarists struggle to keep these species alive until they reach sexual maturity before considering breeding. 

The aquarium specimens are thought to have come from captive breeding in commercial fish farms due to the decrease in sexual maturity of this shark species and the protection law imposed on them.

This fish species does not have a well-defined sexual maturity process. If there are breeding animals, spawning includes hormonal injection. In the aquarium trade, the Myxocyprinus asiaticus is not widely available. 

Instead, they visit specialty fish stores or the online retail business on occasion, where you can buy Myxocyprinus asiaticus of any size at a reasonable price.

High-Fin Banded Shark Natural Habitat

The fish’s native populations have been discovered in the Yangtze River System’s middle and upper reaches, including the Min River’s main tributary. This fish is commonly marketed as a tropical species. But it is a temperate species. 

As it is accustomed to cold water, it will not thrive in a low tank. In a well-oxygenated and fantastic aquarium, you’ll have a better chance of keeping the fish alive. The fish primarily swims in the Yangtze River’s main channels, but it migrates to the shallower areas to spawn. 

Juveniles have adapted to the rockier and more external areas, where they catch crustaceans and insects with their sucker mouths. This fish is widely cultivated for the food industry in China, and most specimens sold in pet stores result from captive breeding. 

Because of overfishing and pollution, China has designated fish as an endangered species.

Can they live in ponds?

Yes, that is correct. These fish thrive in outdoor ponds with enough aqua to swim and grow to adult size. They are taking thousands of gallons of aqua in length as in a single row.

They can tolerate outdoor conditions year-round in many places because they are fantastic loach fish.

High-Fin Banded Shark Food & Feeding Schedule

The omnivorous diet of the Chinese high-fin-banded shark in the wild includes plenty of vegetable matter. This suckerfish will clean your tank by scraping algae off the rocks. Only once in a while, give peas and broccoli.

Insects, mollusks, and crustaceans are all food for wild-banded topsail sucker sharks. Daphnia, bloodworms, annelids, earthworms, and artemia are examples of protein-rich frozen and live foods. Purchase omnivore flakes and pellets that can sink to the bottom. Once or twice a day, feed the fish.

Despite having the mouth of an algae eater, this adult species is a scavenging omnivore. Their diet should include a variety of plant and protein-based foods to keep them healthy.

Algae (present in tank or pond) should form the basis of their 


Supplement it with sinking pellets and algae wafers.

Cut vegetables, such as zucchini, will also appeal to these loach fish. Finally, feed them foods that are high in protein, such as:

  • Brine shrimp
  • Tubifex
  • Bloodworms
  • Crustaceans
  • Insects
  • Prawn.

Brine shrimp can bring out a hint of pink in the coloration of your Chinese high fin banded shark. They’ll eat koi pellets and earthworms as well.

If your fish aren’t eating, water quality might be the problem. Replace a portion of the water and conduct a test on its parameters. 

Refeed your fish once the water conditions have returned to normal.

Common Possible Diseases

All of the diseases that affect freshwater fish can affect Chinese High Fin Banded Sharks. Ick, swim bladder disease, and dropsy can all affect your fish if they are kept in poor conditions.


Infections from bacteria and fungi are also reasonably common. The majority of diseases are caused by poor water quality. So, check your water parameters regularly to avoid this. Water changes should be done periodically and should be kept as clean as possible.


The temperature is one parameter that requires close attention. High-fin banded sharks from China can withstand temperatures as low as 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Any lower than that, however, and they tend to go dormant. If the temperature drops below 40 degrees in the winter, your fish is more likely to contract a potentially fatal disease! 

Invest in a heater, monitor water conditions, and regularly clean the tank or pond to avoid these problems.


If you’re thinking about getting this fish, keep in mind that it has specific water quality and tank size requirements. This freshwater aquarium fish has a beautiful appearance that makes it a great addition to any aquarium. 

It is also peaceful and unlikely to cause problems in captivity. This pet shark, on the other hand, is not suitable for most home aquariums. 

Of course, its adult size precludes it from being used in confined spaces. Adult Chinese High Fin Banded Sharks have a distinct appearance from their juvenile counterparts. 

While many people think adults are “ugly,” they’re attractive in their own right!

if you like to start an aquarium, then you need to check this article on beautiful fishes


How Quickly Do Hi Fin Sharks Grow?

Chinese High Fin Banded Sharks grow up quickly, even though they are only a few inches long as juveniles. Within a few years, they can grow to be eight inches long. They are usually about 24 inches long when they reach full maturity, around five or six.

Are There Sharks In The Yangtze River?

Although the Chinese high-fin-banded shark is present in almost every section of the Yangtze River, their spawning grounds are primarily limited to the Jinsha, Min, and Jialing River. They prefer to lay their eggs in a fast-flowing gravel bank. 
They also spawn below the dam after the construction of the Gezhouba Dam.

What is a high fin catfish?

The high fin catfish, also known as Berney’s catfish, Berney’s shark catfish, or lesser salmon catfish, is a freshwater sea catfish commonly kept in aquariums.

How Big Does A High Fin Banded Catshark Get?

The Chinese high-fin-banded shark (Myxocyprinus asiaticus) belongs to the Catostomidae family of freshwater aquarium fish. It reaches a maximum length of 1.35 m (4 ft 5 in) and is therefore unsuitable for most home aquariums.

About the author

I'm Gulshan, a passionate pet enthusiast. Dive into my world where I share tips, stories, and snapshots of my animal adventures. Here, pets are more than just animals; they're heartbeats that enrich our lives. Join our journey!thing.