Can Bala Shark and Rainbow Shark Live Together? (No! Because of Aggression)

bala shark and rainbow shark

While both the Rainbow Shark and the Bala Shark are stunning in an aquarium, there are a lot of factors to consider if you are looking at having them in the same tank. 

Their fully-grown size, behavior, and other aspects are key when considering having Bala Sharks and Rainbow Sharks live together. Keep reading to find out more information about whether it is recommended to have both of these fish living together.

Can Bala Shark and Rainbow Shark Live Together?

Bala Sharks can live peacefully with many other tropical fish; however, it is a different story for Rainbow Sharks. Rainbow Sharks, in many cases, tend to show aggression towards other similar shark and fish species, including the Bala Shark. 

Because of this, it is not recommended to have Rainbow Sharks and Bala Sharks in the same tank.

Rainbow Sharks may also chase or even attack their own species if there is more than one kept in a tank. However, Rainbow Sharks can be placed with other tropical fish in the same tank as long as they are not (or do not appear) to be of the same species. 

Species Overview: Bala Shark Vs. Rainbow Shark

The Bala Shark, or Balantiochelios melanopterusis part of the Cyprinidae family. This family includes carps and minnows, which means that the Bala Shark name is a bit of a misnomer and is not actually considered to be a shark.

It may also be called the Tricolored Shark or Tricolored Minnow when you find them in stores. And because the juvenile fish may be only 3-4 inches, one might think that these fish do not grow very large. However, Bala Sharks can quickly increase in size and outgrow most standard tanks. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that many pet stores will not accept full-grown Bala Sharks back, as they can reach 13 inches (35 cm), which is too large for their tanks. So it is a good idea for you to do your research before selecting Bala Sharks and to make sure that your tank is large enough to accommodate them into maturity.

The Rainbow Shark (Epalzeorhynchos frenatum), sometimes referred to as the whitefin shark or ruby shark, is also part of the Cyprinidae family, meaning it is not considered a true shark as well. These do not grow as large as Bala Sharks, and typically only reach 6 inches (15 cm) in length.

Common Names:Bala Shark, hangus, Malaysian shark, silver bala, silver shark, tricolor shark, tri-color shark minnowRainbow Shark, ruby shark, red-fin shark, red-finned shark, rainbow sharkminnow, green fringelip labeo, whitefin shark and whitetail sharkminnow
Scientific Name:Balantiocheilos melanopterusEpalzeorhynchos frenatum
Origin:Southeast AsiaSoutheast Asia
Max Size:13 inches (35 cm)6 inches (15 cm)
Social:Peaceful schooling fish but may eat small fish.Peaceful juveniles, but adults can be aggressively territorial towards other similarly shaped.
Care:Easy to intermediate.Intermediate
Lifespan:10 years15 years
pH:6 to 86 to 8
Temperature:72 to 82 F (22 to 28 C)75 to 81 F (24 to 27 C)
KH: 5 to 12 dGH5 to 11 dGH
Tank Level:All levelsBottom to mid levels
Breeding:Egg-layer, is difficult in a home aquarium setting. Egg-layer, is difficult in a home aquarium setting.
Tank Size (Minimum)120 gallons50 gallons or 55 gallons

Behavior and Temperament

The main reason why it is not recommended to keep these two fish together, is because Rainbow Sharks have a tendency to act aggressively towards other similar species. However, the Rainbow Shark can be placed with other tropical fish species, such as barbs, and can live quite happily in an aquarium.

Interestingly, in the wild, Rainbow Sharks are not known to be aggressive with their own kind, however, tend to be more aggressive when placed into a home aquarium environment. 

While both fish are considered to be omnivores, it is also generally not a good idea to place Rainbow Sharks with any timid or small creatures, as they may act territorial and chase or even eat the smaller and slower fish. This may also create a stressful environment for the other inhabitants of your aquarium. 

Bala Sharks, on the other hand, can usually get along quite well in most aquariums and prefer to school with others of their kind. Be cautious though, as they eat shrimp and snails, and even smaller fish, and as mentioned above, they may grow too large for most household tanks. 

Fish Size, Age, and Gender

Bala sharks can grow up to 14 inches (35.5 cm), making them a large addition if you are looking to keep them in a tank. Also, they have a fairly long lifespan, with some Bala Sharks living to be 10 years old. Females and males of the species look similar in most instances, and can be difficult to tell apart even once they are grown. 

Bala Sharks are typically silver, with black marks on their fins. Rainbow Sharks bodies can be black or a variation of blue. Their fins are typically orange in color, making them a striking addition to aquariums. Rainbow Sharks grow quite a bit smaller than Bala Sharks, with an average grown length of 6 inches (15cm). 

There are also more variations between the Rainbow Shark females and males, as the males are typically thinner, with their tail fins hosting a more dark coloration than their female counterparts. These fish can live up to 8 years.

Tank Size and Dimension

As the size of the Balas can be quite large, and also because they do better in schools, it is suggested a tank that is at least 125 gallons would be necessary for multiple Bala Sharks. Some pet owners have also remarked that Bala Sharks may try to jump out of tanks, so having a lid for your aquarium is highly encouraged.

Rainbow Sharks are more modest and may be housed in a tank of 50 gallons. Rainbow Sharks can be helpful as they may clean up your tank by eating built-up algae off of the sides.


A school of bala shark

As mentioned above, Bala Sharks like to be with their own kind, and groups of 3 or more are preferred. 

Rainbow Sharks, on the other hand, should be kept as the only one of its species in a tank, or else may exhibit aggression towards their lookalikes. But when paired with fish such as barbs, cichlids, catfish, and gouramis can do quite well in a modest aquarium.

Water Conditions 

Both species in their natural habitat come from Southeast Asia, basically they share the same preferences for water conditions. However, Bala Sharks are slightly hardy and, in most cases, can withstand changes better than Rainbow Sharks.


Not much information is found on Bala Sharks being able to be bred in tanks, outside of the use of hormones for commercial breeding. They do lay eggs but have not been able to reproduce in an aquarium setting.

The same can be said for Rainbow Sharks; though they are also known to lay eggs, it is difficult to find information on the successful breeding of those kept in an aquarium.


In short, the Bala Shark and the Rainbow Shark should not be housed together due to the Rainbow Sharks possible aggressiveness. There is also an issue of tank size and schooling with the Bala Shark that needs to be considered, as Bala Sharks can grow over a foot long and like to be with similar species. 

In conclusion, Rainbow Sharks overall are not recommended to be in a tank with any similar species or fish that looks similar to them, as they can become territorial and attack their relatives. 

What Do Rainbow Sharks Eat?(3 Foods You Should Feed Your Fish)

What Do Rainbow Sharks Eat

Rainbow sharks may be one of the most brightly colored freshwater sharks, but they can be challenging to keep. One of the most important things to consider when owning a new rainbow shark is what you’ll feed them. Understanding what do rainbow sharks eat is essential as not all fish can eat all foods.

What Do Rainbow Sharks Eat in the Wild?

Just like humans, Rainbow Sharks thrive on a varied diet that’s closer to what they would be eating in the wild. The rainbow shark is a very versatile predator and has been found to be an omnivorous eater.

In the wild, they generally consume algae, decaying plants matter, as well as some live foods such as insect larvae, periphyton, and aquatic insects. As you can see, the weight of this diet is heavily dependent on vegetables. Yet protein found in insects and marine-based animals also plays a huge role in their nutrition.

What Should You Feed Your Rainbow Sharks in an Aquarium?

In captivity, their staple food should be very concentrated fish food that provides all their necessary nutrients in just a small amount per day, but this is far from the balanced diet that we are looking for. 

What exactly IS a balanced rainbow shark diet? 

In a short answer, a balanced rainbow shark diet includes high-quality fish food (flake & pellets), some real veggies, plus natural treats. 

The Staple Diet: Sinking Pellets or Flakes 

Although pellets or flakes may not be the most natural-looking choice, they are guaranteed to have all of their essential nutrients in one convenient bite-sized package! Compared with homemade fish food, they don’t tend to dissolve quickly in the tank water. The best fish food manufacturing companies formulate their products with the proper ratios of protein, fat, carbs, vitamins, and minerals to keep your sharks suffer from nutrient and vitamin deficiencies.

Considering their natural habitat, rainbow sharks tend to dwell near the bottom of your tank. For my albino rainbow shark, aside from he is feeding on what I add to the tank, he is constantly scavenging. I have fake plants that accrue algae on the leaves, and he will hover in place and clean every single leaf. These guys truly don’t get credit for what a good cleaner they are. He is constantly browsing for a free meal.

I like NSL Thera A+ 2mm sinking pellets because they contain high-quality proteins like squid, comes with extra garlic that can help fish resist stress better. What’s more, these pellets are preserved using natural preservatives, with no artificial preservatives, flavoring, or colors.

Pro tip: Instead of buying a huge jar of fish food for your rainbow shark, you should buy a little pot to feed and see if they are really enjoying the food. On the other hand, the fish food will grow old and stale with time from repeated exposure to moisture and oxygen, which could lead to health problems for your rainbow shark.


While most fish keepers will simply feed their rainbow sharks pellets or flakes that they were recommended at the pet store, some fish owners wonder if it is possible for a rainbow shark to eat veggies. The answer? Yes!

Fibrous veggies are great for rainbow sharks. You can add real veggies with their staple food a couple of times a week or so. I have used zucchini, cucumber, celery, and dark leafy lettuce. I weight them down with a rock and let them sink on their own.

Protip: Veggie clips are not recommended. These clips especially stacked a bunch of it together, can grab ahold of a fish leading to death.

If you’re looking for a safe way to feed veggies, I am in the same boat as you. I have heard of people blending the veggies up and freezing individual servings in the fridge, then using bag clips to hold the food and access to the fish. I think this method would work reliably, and I will definitely give it a try.

Hikari Algae Wafers

Photo: Hikari

An amazing vegetable matter fish food you might try, especially you noticed that the top or middle feeders in the community tank are capturing all the pellets. This original disc-shaped algae wafers product is specifically designed for hard-to-feed bottom dwellers. It’s rich in high levels of vegetable matter that your rainbow shark prefers, along with stabilized vitamin C to support immune health. What’s more, it sinks in water too fast and doesn’t pollute the water much.

Treats – Something Different & Nutritious

Just like us, variety is the spice of life. Nobody likes to eat the same thing every day. The same is true for the life of a rainbow shark. Feeding your sharks with a nutritious treat, such as daphnias, brine shrimp, or bloodworms per week can boost their brilliant colors and make them grow fast to full size. The best part? Your rainbow sharks love them!

Like feeding them vegetables, you might try pinching some below the waterline, making it sink right away.

How Often Should I Feed My Rainbow Shark?

As with most freshwater shark species, it’s better to feed your rainbow shark small amounts of food 2-3 times a day and more often, 5 days a week and skip two days or every other day, which will make him healthier and less susceptible to disease.

Don’t overfeed the treats, 1-2 times a week would be fine.


Can rainbow shark eat flakes in the tank?

Yes, if they are hungry enough, they’ll go after some flake for themself.

Do rainbow sharks eat algae?

Yes, they do eat algae while young then as it gets older, it moves to flakes and pellets.

Why my rainbow shark is a picky eater?

Some rainbow sharks get super picky about eating as they have gotten older. Try feeding your shark a different pet fish brand or frozen brine shrimp.

Why my rainbow shark doesn’t like treats?

Well, it’s rare, but some rainbow sharks are strictly vegetarian.

Why my rainbow shark is not eating?

  1. Try to feed your shark in tiny pieces.
  2. A variety will help things out, like bloodworm, tropical flakes, krill, brine shrimp, parboiled zucchini, and live crickets. 
  3. Is it a new shark? He could be picky a used fish food.  
Pro tip: If your rainbow shark refuses to eat, remember to keep an eye out for fish poop. Consider adding garlic extract (an excellent appetite booster) onto their regular diet in order encourage them back into eating habits!

Now it’s Your Turn

That’s all for now. I hope these tips prove useful to you! Anyone else has the best rainbow sharks food options and feeding tips, share with us in the comments below.

How Big Do Rainbow Sharks Get? (& How To Make Them Grow Faster!)

How Big Do Rainbow Sharks Get

If you need a single fish to make your aquarium stand out, the rainbow shark is just what you’ve been looking for. With their vibrant red fins and aggressive territorial nature, these little sharks will be sure to add some splash of color and spice up any tank with an attitude of their own!

If you’ve just brought home a beautifully colored rainbow shark or are considering getting one, there might be a question looming in your mind – how big do these sharks get eventually?

So without further delay, let’s get started!

How Big Do Rainbow Sharks Get?

Rainbow sharks are the sole shark, and they can grow up to 6 inches long. Although there are some differences between males vs. females, they tend to be about the same size in length. On the other hand, normal rainbow sharks and their albino varieties are all around about the same size when it comes to this measurement of length.

How Fast Do Rainbow Sharks Grow?

Rainbow Sharks grow pretty fast in the first year, then tapers off. My lovely red queen was 2″ when I bought her from the LFS 11 months ago and is now just over 5″. It seems to be growing at a slower rate. I have learned that it takes 2-4 years for a rainbow shark to get the full size by providing it with the proper care and diet.

How To Make Rainbow Shark Grow Fast

My lovely red queen
Photo: AquaMom

The best way to help your rainbow shark reach their maximum growth potential is simply by giving them the proper care and diet.


Diet is playing a most important part in your rainbow shark growth. As an omnivore, they are not particularly picky eaters in nature- generally eating decaying plants, algae, insect larvae or small chunks of meat that can be found in rivers such as Zooplankton.

Rainbow Sharks can eat flake food, frozen foods, pellets, and vegetables without complaint in an aquarium, but how do you make sure your shark gets all the nutrients he needs? To keep them happy in your aquarium, you need to offer various foods just like they would have access to if they were out in the wild. It’s not enough just feeding him canned corn-they need something more than vegetables from time to time too!

Feed them veggies in their diet, which will keep their immune system strong, include:

  • Zucchini
  • Cucumber
  • Dark Leafy Lettuce
  • Boiled Peas

Veggie chips are not recommended. It can grab ahold of a fish leading to death. I have tried to shred and blend the veggies up and then freeze them into individual servings in ice cube trays. It works for me! 

If you want to give your rainbow shark a brighter coloration, try to feed it a high-protein diet, such as good insects or crustaceans, include:

  • live bloodworms
  • artemias
  • Daphnias
  • brine shrimp

Make sure you don’t overfeed your rainbow shark, a few times a week would be fine. Feed them only what they can eat in a single meal and never try to make up for missed meals by feeding more food!

Juvenile Rainbow Sharks are a true treasure in the aquarium trade. They come with great colors and amazing shapes that make them one of the most sought after fish species. One thing to keep their colorful scales vibrant is never to restrict food intake, so it’s important to make sure your juvenile sharks’ diet be varied from time to time, or they will end up stunted and lacking color expression!

Tank Size

When starting as an aquarium hobbyist, you always want to find the perfect tank size for your fish. Have you heard the typical “one inch to one gallon rule” in the community? Honestly, I consider the rule is very bogus and misleading. Imagine a 6″ adult rainbow shark in a 6 gallon tank. That would be a disaster. 

The truth is rainbow sharks require a minimum of 55 gallons, and an aquarium of that size is suitable for one single rainbow shark. Don’t bother with the tanks smaller than 55 gallons, as mentioned above, rainbow shark grows fast in the first year and the aggression will come with age. Once reaching maturity(3 inches), it gets very aggressive overnight and started attacking the community fish. So stick to the recommended minimum tank size: 55 gallons. The long tank would be better. 

If you’re not experienced with rainbow sharks and planning on setting up a rainbow shark tank, you should keep a group of them or a single one, but never keep two rainbow sharks live together.  

For fish keepers who plan to introduce more than one rainbow shark, a 130g+ tank (at least a 6 foot long) can make sure each has at least a meter of separated territory. They will fight for control over their territories and inevitably injure themselves in the process.

Pro tip: I've found that sometimes my red queen becomes extremely aggressive and territorial. To calm her down, I move the decorations and plants around in the tank. It's kind of like giving her a new home (territory), which will 'reset' her behavior. You can try this, depending on what size tanks you have.

Tank Conditions and Care

The best way to take care of your rainbow shark is by providing it with an environment that mirrors the conditions in its natural habitat.

A healthy, thriving environment can affect how well your rainbow shark will grow. Before introducing a rainbow shark to a new tank, make sure the tank is fully cycled.  

The water temperature for your shark should be between 72 to 79℉, their prefer pH neutral waters between 6.5 and 7.5 and a water hardness of 5 to 11 DH.

Rainbow sharks are sensitive to pH level, sudden changes in the pH can make them more aggressive than usual.

Water quality is also crucial; be conscientious about algae growths, which will negatively affect fish habitats if left unchecked over time.

Protip: Rainbow sharks normally stay at the bottom, but they are renowned jumpers. So make sure you plug all excess holes and a hood is a must. The best way is put a cave to keeps its aggression in check. 

Final Thoughts

Rainbow shark growth depends on a variety of factors. Keeping your rainbow shark in a large tank, providing it with clean water and feeding it the proper diet will help grow to its full potential as quickly as possible. Good luck on growing your sharks into something even more amazing than before! 

Do you have any tips for getting your rainbow shark to get big? Share with us in the comments!

Rainbow Shark Tank Mates (5 Best & 5 Worst)

Rainbow Shark Tank Mates

Rainbow Sharks are fun and colorful fish to have at home, but there are several things to consider when keeping them with other fish.

Though not actual sharks, they get their name from the shark-like dorsal fin they have on top. Rainbow Sharks are originally Southeast Asian freshwater fish belonging to the Cyprinidae family and aren’t very aggressive in the wild. But they can be territorial while in captivity.

So, it’s essential to exercise caution before introducing tank mates for the Rainbow Shark. In this guide, we’re going to give you the complete low-down on the best Rainbow Shark tank mates.

Let’s dive in.

Can A Rainbow Shark Live Alone Without Tank Mates?

Behavior-wise, Rainbows can get somewhat territorial in close quarters, and this leads to them becoming aggressive. They are usually timid when young, but the aggressive side tends to become pronounced as they mature in proximity with other fish. 

In general, you’d need a larger tank (at least 75 gallons) to house a Rainbow Shark. Since they are territorial in nature, they don’t mind living alone without tank mates. If you’re thinking of introducing some mates, then make sure your tank has a lot of caves and hiding spots.

Rainbow Sharks are usually bottom dwellers, which means they can live in peace with top-dweller species. However, they don’t get along well with others of their kind and can exhibit hostile behavior such as biting, head-butting, and chasing.

Overall, we’d say a Rainbow Shark can live alone without mates very well. If you are thinking of introducing other fish in the same tank, make sure they are compatible with your Rainbow Shark. Otherwise, you’ll be facing severe trouble as it will attack other smaller fish.

How To Choose The Best Tank Mates For Rainbow Shark

Rainbow Sharks begin to show signs of aggression as they grow older. This is the time when you need to look out for them becoming hostile towards other fish in the tank. So, you’ll have to choose the tank mates rather carefully to ensure a peaceful aquarium environment.

Here’s a list of some of the considerations you need to keep in mind when selecting tank mates for Rainbows Sharks.

Fast Moving Fish

Fast-moving fish such as Harlequin Rasboras or Cherry Barbs are a good fit as tank mates for Rainbow Sharks. These fish can get away from Rainbow Shark territory faster and avoid any attacks coming their way. Faster fish can also compete well with Rainbow Sharks for food.

Don’t Have Long Fins.

When introducing mates into a Rainbow Shark tank, make sure they don’t have long fins. Since Rainbow Sharks themselves have a long dorsal fin, other fish with longer fins might obstruct their path, prompting violence from the Rainbow Shark.

Not The Same Or Similar Species

We recommend you don’t keep more than one Rainbow Shark in the same tank. These fish can be extremely aggressive towards the same species, or even other fish such as Red Tail Sharks, which look similar to them. We’ve observed Rainbow Sharks getting hostile with other freshwater shark species. 

The 5 Best Tank Mates For A Rainbow Shark In A 100g+ Long Tank

Here’s a list of the top five tank mates for a Rainbow Shark.

Cherry Barb

Cherry Barb

Cherry Barbs are an excellent choice as tank mates for Rainbow Sharks. These are peaceful freshwater fish that thrive in the tropical waters around Sri Lanka. They have an average lifespan of between 5 to 7 years and reach about 2 inches in length when they’ve fully grown.

These are active fish that live in schools, so you’ll have to introduce 4 or 5 of them in the tank. They are peaceful in nature, making them an ideal choice as tank mates for larger bottom feeders such as the Rainbow Shark. They are also fast swimmers, which is another reason they can survive in a tank with Rainbow Sharks.

Finally, the Barbs don’t like the bottom of the tank and prefer to stay towards the central region. This ensures that they won’t encroach upon the Rainbow Sharks’ territory in any way, causing it to feel threatened.

Scientific Name:Puntius titteya
Origin:Sri Lanka
Care Level:Easy
Color Form:Black, Red, White
Temperature:74-79° F
Minimum Tank Size:25 gallons

Harlequin Rasbora

Harlequin Rasbora

Harlequin Rasboras are another schooling fish that can be good tank mates for Rainbow Sharks. Rasboras are peaceful fish that live best in groups of 4 or 6; since they like to stay near the middle of the tank, it’s highly unlikely that a Rainbow Shark will see them as a threat.

Since Harlequin Rasboras grow to be at most around 2 inches, they are small enough not to bother the Rainbow Shark. At the same time, they can’t be easily gobbled up by it either. Further, the aquarium conditions preferred by Rasboras are also similar to those for Rainbow Sharks.

Scientific Name:Rasbora heteromorpha
Care Level:Easy
Color Form:Orange
Temperature:72-77° F
Minimum Tank Size:10 gallons

Clown Loach

Clown Loach
Photo: lews_tank

Clown Loaches are middle to bottom dwellers, so theoretically, you shouldn’t put them in the same tank as a Rainbow Shark. However, we’ve observed that Rainbow Sharks do get along well with Clown Loaches, maybe because they live in close proximity in the wild.

The trick to getting Clown Loaches to live peacefully with Rainbow Sharks is to provide a lot of hiding spots for both species. Also, Clown Loaches fall in the optimal size range, so they’re neither too big to obstruct, nor can they be easily eaten by a Rainbow Shark. 

However, a word of advice: different Rainbow Sharks have different temperaments, and some might not get along well with Clown Loaches and feel threatened. In that case, you’d need to move them to separate tanks immediately.

Scientific Name:Chromobotia macracantha
Care Level:Moderate
Color Form:Black, Orange, Red, Tan
Temperature:72-86° F
Minimum Tank Size:100 gallons

Zebra Danio

Zebra Danio
Photo: bob_jenkins

Zebra Danios are beautiful fish that have stripes similar to the animal they are named after. Also called Striped Danios or Zebrafish, they are usually found in South Asian waters. And since they are typically found at the top or middle of the tank, they are perfect as tank mates for a Rainbow Shark.

Small and naturally peaceful, Zebra Danios live in shoals. Also, they are relatively fast swimmers, which means they can get away from the Rainbow Shark before it can attack them. 

What’s more, their tank requirements and food habits are similar to Rainbow Sharks. And they grow to almost 3 inches, which is large enough for the Rainbow Shark to give them a miss as food.

Scientific Name:Danio rerio
Origin:Farm Raised – USA
Care Level:Easy
Color Form:Blue, Purple, White, Yellow
Temperature:64-75° F
Minimum Tank Size:10 gallons

Bristlenose Pleco

Bristlenose Pleco

The primary reason a Bristlenose Pleco makes for good tank mates with Rainbow Sharks is their larger size. This means, although they are usually bottom dwellers, the Rainbow Shark is unlikely to pick a fight with it due to its massive size of almost 2 feet.

Further, Plecos are an extremely tranquil variety of fish and aren’t likely to fight with your Rainbow Shark. Keep in mind that these choices will only work well if you have a wide enough tank of at least 100 gallons.

Scientific Name:Ancistrus sp
Origin:South America
Care Level:Easy
Color Form:Orange, Tan, White
Temperature:74-79° F
Minimum Tank Size:30 gallons

The 5 Worst Rainbow Shark Tank Mates To Avoid



Guppies are one of the most popular aquarium fish species and are great for beginner aquarists. They are very hardy fish and can be prolific breeders when provided with the right conditions.

However, they make for one of the worst tank mates for Rainbow Sharks. Rainbow Sharks are larger than Guppies and also much more aggressive. As a result, they can bully the Guppies if they’re put in the same tank.

Further, Guppies are livebearers, which means that the fry are already swimming freely at birth. This can become a severe problem as the Rainbow Sharks will most likely end up eating the fry.



Gouramis are slow-moving tropical freshwater fish that are found in the South Asian waters. They are an egg-laying species and are air breathers. So, you can usually find them towards the top of the tank.

Despite being top dwellers, Gouramis are not suitable fish for keeping with Rainbow Sharks for several reasons. For one, Gouramis (especially males) tend to be aggressive and territorial and can get into fights with the Rainbow Sharks.

Several species of Gouramis, such as the Giant Gourami, can get very large and may be unsuitable for keeping with Rainbow Sharks. Again, other Gourami species are too small to be kept with Rainbow Sharks as they might get eaten.

Also, since Gouramis are slow swimmers by nature, they won’t be able to compete with the Rainbow Sharks for food. 


Corys are usually great for freshwater community tanks, but you can’t keep them with a Rainbow Shark. Corys are a calm and peaceful species and can’t compete with the semi-aggressive Rainbow Sharks. 

Another reason for not keeping Corys and Rainbow Sharks together is that Corys are also bottom dwellers. This means the Rainbow Shark(s) will see them as encroachers on their territory and are most likely to attack.

African Cichlids

The African Cichlid comes in several species, each with its own distinct coloration and patterns. These are aggressive fish that grow up to 8 inches in size and can live up to 15 years, depending on the species and living conditions.

Since African Cichlids are similar in size and aggression to Rainbow Sharks, there’s a good chance that they will get into fights with each other. Further, as they are bottom dwellers and territorial, African Cichlids don’t go well with Rainbow Sharks.

Yet another reason for not keeping Rainbow Sharks with African Cichlids is the water condition. While Rainbow Sharks prefer a pH level of 6.5 to 7.5, Cichlids prefer pH levels of 7.5 and above. 

There’s also a temperature difference; Rainbow Sharks prefer waters between 72 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. African Cichlids like warmer temperatures in the range of 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. As a result, you might find it difficult to hit upon the ideal water parameters when keeping these fish together. Read more

Most Of Freshwater Sharks

In general, we recommend you keep only one Rainbow Shark in a tank at a time. Rainbow Sharks don’t take well to other freshwater sharks that look and behave similarly to them. We’ve even seen them become aggressive towards Albino Sharks.

Since Rainbow Sharks live a solitary and territorial life in the wild, the same behavior is reflected in captivity. As a result, they can’t tolerate other Freshwater Sharks such as the Red Tail Shark or even Bala Sharks. 

If you’re keeping any of these fish with a Rainbow Shark, be very careful and look out for bite marks or nipped fins. They can get extremely aggressive with each other.

Tips To Introduce Rainbow Shark Tank Mates

Introducing tank mates for Rainbow Sharks can be tricky, especially if your tank size is limited. Rainbow Sharks can be unpredictable, and temperaments vary from fish to fish. Still, here are a few general tips to keep in mind when introducing Rainbow Shark tank mates:

  • Always choose tank mates that are middle or surface dwellers
  • Never keep other freshwater shark species with Rainbow Sharks, especially the same species
  • Select fast-moving fish as tank mates that can quickly get away from the Rainbow Shark
  • Make sure the species have similar water parameter requirements
  • Be certain that the species is large enough so that the Rainbow Shark can’t eat them


Can rainbow sharks live with tetras?

Rainbow sharks can live with tetras in a big community tank, especially these tougher types of tetras, such as Serpae tetras, black skirt tetras, etc. DThe weaker tetras including rummy nose, neons and cardinals can easily be eaten by just about anything.

Will a rainbow shark eat other fish?

The rainbow shark is an semi-aggressive species that will pick a territory. such as a cave or anywhere it can hide and defend them from intruders. They are extremely savage with conspecifics and similar shaped fish like other sharks and and algae eaters.

Can 2 rainbow sharks live together?

No, never keep just two rainbow sharks in the same tank. Rainbow sharks can get aggressive with conspecifics. Either keep a group of them (5 or more) from fry or one rainbow shark in a single tank.


We hope you now have a better idea of the requirements you need to keep in mind when introducing tank mates for Rainbow Sharks.

As we’ve already mentioned once above, choosing tank mates for Rainbow Sharks can be rather a tricky task. They are temperamental fish that are known to bully other tank mates. In extreme cases, they can even go in for direct attacks.

However, if you can keep the suggestions and recommendations mentioned in this guide, we’re sure you’ll be able to find suitable mates for a Rainbow Shark. Just keep a close watch on the community for a while, and observe how the Rainbow Shark reacts.

Till then, enjoy your aquarium!