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

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.

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