Rainbow Shark Best Care Guide: Facts, Characteristics & All | 2022

By: Martin McAdam
Updated: March 20, 2022

Rainbow shark, also known as redfin shark, is a fish that originates from Southeast Asia. This fish can grow up to 6 inches long and has a lifespan of 4 to 5 years. Rainbow shark is a schooling fish and should be kept in groups of at least 3.

Although Rainbow sharks are relatively new species to the aquarium hobby, they have been on the earth for over 50 million years. Most scientists agree that rainbow sharks live in fresh or brackish waters of eastern Asia, particularly China and Malaysia.

They have also been found in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, And Bangladesh. Rainbow Sharks are found only in Southeast Asia, in areas which are mostly coastal plains or river basins.

They are fairly rare to find in the wild and therefore have been very difficult to breed in captivity. A Dutch marine biologist discovered the first known rainbow sharks in 1928.

However, they weren't identified as a true species of difficult to breed in captivity. However, this has been achieved by a few dedicated breeders.

There are two known species of rainbow shark; Epalzeorhynchos bicolor and E. frenum. Bicolour is the more common of the two species found in pet stores, while Frenatum is much less common, yet it can be bred to produce many hybrid varieties.

Unlike their parents, who enjoy a wide range of water conditions, hybrids are much more demanding and must have stable water conditions to survive.

Rainbow sharks are relatively small fish who enjoy short bursts of energy followed by long periods of rest. They do not require a huge aquarium to survive healthily and happily.

Facts And Characteristics Of Rainbow Shark

Given below are a few facts and characteristics about rainbow sharks.

How Do Rainbow Shark Look Like?

Rainbow Sharks have many different color variations for sale in pet stores today.

  • High Redfin: High Redfin sharks have a green body with a red caudal and dorsal fin.
  • Green: Green sharks have a green body with a pale pink underbelly.
  • Albino: Albino sharks are completely white with red eyes.
  • Blue Tiger: Blue Tiger sharks have a blue body with light blue stripes running vertically down their body.
  • Red-finned: Red-finned sharks have a red body with white tips on the caudal and dorsal fins.
  • Hybrids: As their name suggests, hybrids are a cross between two different species of rainbow shark.

Rainbow sharks have torpedo-shaped body that is covered in small, dark spots. Juveniles have light blue stripes running vertically down their body which fade as they mature into adult coloration.

Rainbow Shark

Males are slimmer than females and tend to be more brightly colored with a deep redfin. Females are larger than males and typically have a green body with a pale pink underbelly.

They have two long, black barbels on their chin, which they use to find food in the dark. These barbels are also used for social interaction and can be a warning sign to other fish when the shark is feeling threatened or aggressive.

They have shiny scales that reflect light, giving them a beautiful metallic sheen in the right light. Their scales are iridescent, and this makes them seem as if they're glowing. They also have a small black dot on their tail fin.

Habitat Of Rainbow Shark

In the wild, they are usually found in the slow-moving, muddy waters of Southeast Asia. They inhabit freshwater rivers, canals, and ponds.

Rainbow Shark

Usually found in deep water, they move into flooded forests during the rainy season. The countries they are found in are Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

Rainbow Sharks are bottom-dwelling fish and can often be found resting on rocks or digging in gravel looking for food. They will only swim to the surface of the water if frightened or agitated.

They prefer places with a lot of hiding places such as caves, rocks, and floating plants. They should never be kept in an aquarium with aggressive fish as they will not be able to defend themselves.

Temperament Of Rainbow Shark

Rainbow sharks are considered to be semi-aggressive fish. They are territorial and will defend their space by attacking other fish. They should never be kept in an aquarium with aggressive fish as they will not be able to defend themselves.

Rainbow Shark

They can be skittish and are known to hide when they're afraid. They may also dart around the tank quickly when startled.

Rainbow sharks are schooling fish and should be kept in groups of 3 or more. If there is only one shark in the aquarium, it may become stressed and withdrawn.

Male rainbow sharks are known to be aggressive towards each other and should not be kept in the same fish tank. They may fight until one of them is severely wounded or killed.

Tankmates for a Rainbow Shark should be calm and peaceful fish who won't be threatened by the Rainbow Sharks' territorial behavior.

Lifespan Of Rainbow Shark

Rainbow Sharks have a lifespan of about 10 years in the wild. However, due to the stress of being kept in captivity, they usually only live for 2-5 years.

Rainbow Shark

If cared for properly, they can live for up to 10 years. The male shark lives up to 2 years less than the female shark. If you have one, you should always try mating it at least once a year to prolong its lifespan.

To increase their lifespan, provide your Rainbow Sharks with an aquarium of at least 6 gallons which is more than sufficient if it's only 1 male and 2 female sharks. If you have more, you can increase the amount of space accordingly to accommodate them.

Average Size Of Rainbow Shark

Rainbow Sharks may only grow to a maximum of 6 inches in length. They can be as small as 2 inches when they're born.

This extremely fun and active fish look much smaller than their actual size, making them an ideal fish for beginners who don't want anything too large or demanding in the tank.

They weigh about 2 ounces when they reach maturity. When born, they weigh about 0.5 ounces. Their size depends on the species. Red-finned species are smaller than green ones, a common type of rainbow shark in pet stores.

Their fin characteristics can also identify them; redfins have white tips on the caudal and dorsal fins, while green species have red caudal and dorsal fins.

To help them reach their maximum size, you should provide them with a high protein diet. They should be fed 2-3 times a day. However, this will reduce their lifespan.

Breeding

Male rainbow sharks reach sexual maturity at 2 years of age and females at 3 years. Rainbow Sharks are oviparous, meaning they lay eggs.

Rainbow Shark

The female will lay her eggs in a sheltered area such as a cave or under a rock. The male will then release his sperm over the eggs to fertilize them. The eggs will hatch in 2-4 weeks, and the fry will be on its own from then on.

Rainbow sharks can breed in captivity, but it is difficult to get them to do so. The eggs must be collected and placed in an aquarium where the fry can be raised.

Breeding them in captivity is difficult but not impossible with practice. They have to be separated into individual tanks once they reach sexual maturity, or they will fight to the death.

The female shark will lay her eggs in a sheltered area such as a cave or under a rock. The male will then release his sperm over the eggs to fertilize them. The eggs will hatch in 2-4 weeks, and the fry will be on its own from then on.

Social Structure

Rainbow sharks do best when kept in groups of 3 or more. They can be territorial and aggressive towards each other, so several tanks must be set up if there is a large amount of fish.

A dominant male and female will form the head of the school, and they will not associate with the other members. All other rainbow sharks are subordinate to the dominant pair and will be chased and bullied if they get too close.

Rainbow sharks are schooling fish and should be kept in groups of 3 or more. If there is only one shark in the aquarium, it may become stressed and withdrawn.

Socially, a group of 3 or more will form a stable school. All other rainbow sharks are subordinate to the dominant pair and will be chased and bullied if they get too close.

Rainbow Shark Care Guide

Rainbow sharks are generally hardy fish and don't require a lot of care. But there are a few things to keep in mind when caring for them.

Tank Requirements

The tank size should be at least 55 gallons for a single rainbow shark and 75 gallons or more for a group. The tank should be well decorated with caves, rocks, and aquatic plants to give the sharks hiding places.

Rainbow Shark

They should be housed in a planted tank so they can explore the area without getting lost or scared. Otherwise, they may become stressed, which can lead to health problems.

You should also provide plenty of rocks and driftwood for them to hide under and swim through. This will help them feel safe and secure in their surroundings.

The substrate (bottom of the tank) should be a dark color like black or brown to help them camouflage when they're swimming. Gravel is the most common type of substrate found in aquariums.

Tanks should have a secure lid with no holes or cracks that the fish can get out of. Rainbow sharks are curious and will try to jump out if they see an open space. They can also become entangled in netting, so make sure not to use it when keeping Rainbow Sharks.

To imitate their natural habitat, fill the tank at least halfway with water and add some driftwood, rocks, and live or plastic plants. They like to dig around in the gravel, so they use dark-colored gravel on the bottom of their tank.

Regular water changes are important to keep the water clean and healthy for your fish. A tank filter will also help keep the water clear. Aquarium filters help to keep the water clean and healthy for your fish.

The bottom of the tank should be cleaned at least once a week by siphoning out any old food or waste. This will help keep the water healthy and free of bacteria.

Regular water changes and tank cleanings are important to keep the water healthy for your fish. Rainbow sharks can be kept in both freshwater and saltwater tanks, but the other fish should be able to tolerate both types of water.

Feeding Rainbow Sharks

Rainbow sharks are carnivores and will eat meaty foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, and tubifex worms.

Rainbow Shark

They should be fed twice a day and should only be given as much food as they will eat in 2-3 minutes. Overfeeding can lead to health problems.

In the wild, Rainbow Sharks scavenge for food on the bottom of the river. They will eat anything they can find, including dead fish, insects, and plants. They like to dig in the gravel for food and will often move rocks to get to what's underneath.

Rainbow sharks are omnivorous and will eat a variety of foods. They should be fed a high protein diet to help them grow. Some good protein sources include brine shrimp, bloodworms, and krill.

They can also be fed a high fiber diet to help if they have any digestive problems. Good fiber sources include peas, cucumber, and zucchini.

Rainbow sharks eat a variety of foods, so be sure to give them high protein foods like brine shrimp, bloodworms, krill, and high fiber foods like peas, cucumber, and zucchini.

Rainbow sharks are not very picky eaters and will generally eat any type of food. But don't just leave their food in the tank. Like most fish, they will not eat food that has sunk to the bottom of the tank. They prefer to eat live or wet-frozen foods.

Tankmates Of Rainbow Sharks

Aquarium enthusiasts should be careful when selecting their tank mates for a rainbow shark. This fish is territorial and will attack other fish that it deems a threat.

Rainbow Shark

It is best to keep rainbow sharks in a large tank with plenty of hiding places. Rainbow sharks can be kept with other fish, but there are a few things to keep in mind.

Rainbow sharks are usually docile fish, but they can become territorial and aggressive when defending their territory. They should not be kept with other aggressive fish species, or they may get injured.

They are best kept in a community tank with other docile fish species. They will get along with most fish, but there are a few exceptions. Do not keep them with cichlids or fish that have long, sharp fins, as they may become injured.

First, the other fish should be large enough that they won't be eaten. Rainbow sharks can get up to 12 inches long and will eat smaller fish.

Second, the other fish should not be aggressive or territorial. Rainbow sharks can be aggressive and will fight with other fish if they're not compatible.

Third, the other fish should be able to tolerate a wide range of water conditions. Rainbow sharks can be kept in both freshwater and saltwater tanks, but the other fish should be able to tolerate both types of water.

Some of the compatible tankmates can be other large fish like Bala sharks, African knife fish, and Arowana. Rainbow sharks can be kept with other compatible tankmates like some species of catfish, eels, Loricariids plecos, gouramis, larger barbs, and tetras.

But make sure to avoid small schooling fish like neon tetras. Rainbow sharks can be housed with other compatible fish but should not be housed with small schooling fish like neons because they will become an easy meal for the rainbow shark.

Water Parameters

Rainbow sharks prefer a water temperature between 73 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit (23-26 Celsius), although they can tolerate a range of 70 to 82 F (21-28 C).

The pH should be between 7.0 and 8.5, although it can vary depending on the specific needs of the fish. Rainbow sharks should be given a water change of about 20% every week. This will help keep the water clean and healthy for them.

The ideal habitat for a Rainbow Shark would resemble their natural environment: lots of plant life and hiding spaces to provide seclusion and security. They enjoy areas with large amounts of open space as well as places to explore.

Common Possible Diseases And Their Treatments

Rainbow sharks are usually pretty hardy fish, but there are a few diseases they can acquire.

They can develop Ich, a disease caused by parasites that will leave them covered in white spots. If not treated, it can become fatal.

Rainbow Shark

Many diseases of this type are brought on by poor water quality or stress from being moved to a new tank.

If not treated, it can become fatal. This can be resolved by increasing the temperature of the water and adding an antibiotic to the food.

Many diseases of this type are brought on by poor water quality or stress from being moved to a new tank.

They may get velvet disease, which is caused by parasites that will leave them covered in orange or brown slime. This can be fatal but is usually treatable by increasing the temperature of the water and adding an antibiotic to their food.

For both diseases, it is best to increase the temperature of the water and add an antibiotic to their food. Make sure that any medicine added is safe for use with fish.

The most common diseases, their symptoms, and their possible treatment are as follows:

Hole-in-the-head disease (hole in the head, hole in the head fin rot, HITH)

This is caused by two types of parasites that attack the fish's head and fins. It usually starts with small red sores on the head or fins but may not appear until later. It can be treated by increasing the temperature of the water and adding an antibiotic to the fish's food.

Malawi bloat

This is caused by a bacterial infection in their digestive tract, usually due to a poor diet. It causes large amounts of gas to form in their stomach or intestines, which can make them bloated or cause them to float oddly.

Treating this disease can be difficult, but if caught early enough, it is treatable. If not treated, it can become fatal.

Swim bladder disorder (swim bladder, swim bladder infection)

This is caused by a bacterial infection that affects their swim bladder and causes them to float because they aren't able to control their buoyancy. It is treated by antibiotics and may require surgery to remove the infected tissue.

They can also develop Brooklynella, an infection that causes small cysts to form on their skin which will burst open if they are stressed, causing secondary infections. It is best to consult a veterinarian about treatment for this type of disease.

There are a few other diseases that can affect rainbow sharks, but these are the most common. If you notice any of these symptoms in your fish, it is best to take them to a qualified fish veterinarian for treatment.

Some types of medication can be found at your local pet store, but others you will only be able to get by visiting a fish specialist. Don't use human medications on fish unless it is the specific medication for fish.

Make sure to keep a close eye on your rainbow sharks and if you notice any of these symptoms, take them to a qualified fish veterinarian for treatment. By providing a healthy environment and keeping an eye on their health, you can help your rainbow sharks live a long and happy life.

Conclusion

The Rainbow Shark is a beautiful fish that is very easy to keep. They will be more comfortable in at least a 20-gallon tank. This fish needs 6-8 hours of lights on and off each day.

A filter that can handle 30 gallons per hour should be used. The pH level of the water cannot drop below 7 or rise above 8.5. The water temperature should be kept between 74-79 degrees Fahrenheit.

Feeding rainbow sharks are easy; they will eat most flake food and freeze-dried bloodworms. They like to be fed a variety of food, so it is best to give them a variety of food. They should only be fed what they can eat in 2-3 minutes.

Try meatier food such as frozen bloodworms or brine shrimp if they aren't eating. They like to eat in the evening, so make sure that their lights are off then and turn them on when feeding time is finished.

Keeping in mind the above points, one can take care of their Rainbow shark very well.

Disclaimer

AquaMarinePower.com does not intend to provide veterinary advice. We go to great lengths to help users better understand their aquatic friends. However, the content on this blog is not a substitute for veterinary guidance. For more information, please read our disclaimer.

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