Rainbow Shark Food | 3 Staple Food Items And 9 Snaks |

People often get confused with rainbow shark food. Some think of them as carnivore fish and provide meaty food. And some others don’t feed them at all, thinking they will feed themselves with the algae build-up.

But the truth is that rainbow sharks need a proper diet just like any other fish, and if not fed right, they will have a shorter life span.

There are some staple foods that can be fed to rainbow sharks, but some other treats once in a while are never harmful to them.

This article will give you an overview of the staple food and snacks you can provide to rainbow sharks. 

People often get confused with rainbow shark food. Some think of them as carnivore fish and provide meaty food

Rainbow shark diet

Rainbow shark and albino rainbow shark are omnivore freshwater fish, while some other reports state that they are carnivore fish because of their aggressive behavior.

Though they have been reported to eat meat in captivity ( or their tank mates ), it is not true for all rainbow fish.

Most may eat meaty food but not all, and the ones that don’t do are picky eaters. However, lucky for you, most rainbow sharks are not picky eaters and will accept any food you offer.

Although these fish can eat meat-based food, they prefer to eat other things like vegetables. Therefore you should include more vegetative food in the rainbow shark diet than meaty food. 

Is a rainbow shark a bottom feeder?

Yes. Rainbow shark is an omnivore bottom-feeder that mainly scavenges on food such as algae, small invertebrates, mollusks, and some other food on the bottom of the tank. They rarely prey on fish, but it is not impossible either.

Staple Foods for Rainbow Sharks

1. Fish pellets and flakes

As with most other fish, you can feed your rainbow shark with fish pellets and flakes as the staple food. However, they should contain more vegetable matter than meat matter.

These foods are usually very nutritious for rainbow sharks because they have all the necessary vitamins and minerals that are needed. Since these fish belongs to the Cyprinidae family, you can feed them with goldfish food.

2. Algae waters/ tablets

Rainbow sharks are known to eat algae in the wild. So, it is appropriate to feed them with algae wafers or tablets as the staple food.

The algae wafers are usually more nutritious, and the rainbow sharks enjoy eating them more than other food. 

3. Vegetables

Since rainbow sharks are more herbivores than carnivores, you must feed them more vegetable matters. This includes vegetables too.

While vegetables can be used as supplement food with fish pellets and flakes, you can feed vegetables to your fish as a staple food, and your fish will be fine.

Greens like leafy greens, peas, algae, and lettuce are all vegetables you can use to feed rainbow sharks.

However, the drawback of vegetables is that they tend to pollute water than pellets and flakes.

Note: Juvenile rainbow sharks require a variety of vegetation for proper growth and color. Otherwise, they will have stunted growth, and their colors won’t be bright as expected. Therefore, you must feed juveniles vegetables along with other staple food.

What vegetables can rainbow sharks eat?

Rainbow sharks can eat a wide variety of vegetables humans consume. However, some vegetables are more nutritious than others. Here is a list of vegetables that can be fed to rainbow sharks:

  • Broccoli
  • Beans
  • Cucumber
  • Peas
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Kale
  • Chard
  • Potatoes

Peas are considered one of the best vegetables you can feed to any fish as they can be easily digested and can cure constipation. 

Rainbow sharks enjoy eating vegetables. So, you won’t have any issues feeding them vegetables. 

Snacks for Rainbow Sharks

Though rainbow sharks can eat almost anything you offer them, their staple food is the main thing that keeps them healthy.

But, you can also treat them with some snacks occasionally. Offering some snacks also helps them to be healthy. So, here is a list of snacks you can feed rainbow sharks:

1. Bloodworms

Bloodworms are the larva form of the non-biting midge fly. Bloodworms are a good source of protein and fat and also have Omega 3 fatty acids, which are a must-have for your rainbow sharks.

If you want to feed bloodworms to your rainbow sharks, you can either buy them from the local pet store or breed them at home as they are very easy to breed.

You can feed either live or frozen bloodworms to your rainbow sharks. However, it is essential not to overfeed them with these worms as they have a high-fat content and can cause constipation if fed in large quantities.

2. Earthworms

Rainbow sharks love the taste of earthworms. So, you can feed them earthworms if you get an opportunity.

However, not all rainbow sharks are earthworm eaters. So it is important to find out whether your rainbow shark eats earthworms or not.

It is best to feed them with earthworms if they eat them as they can provide many nutrients for your rainbow sharks.

3. Small fish

If you want to give your rainbow sharks a small fish treat, they are usually happy to eat them. But, if you feed them with small fish, it is important to ensure that the fish are very small.

You can feed adult rainbow sharks with dead guppies. But, if you want to feed juveniles, it is best to use fry of other fish instead of guppies as they are too big for juveniles.

4. Brine shrimp

Brine shrimp is a good snack for adult rainbow sharks. The brine shrimp has many nutrients and can be easily digested by adult rainbow sharks.

However, it is not advisable to feed brine shrimp to juvenile rainbow sharks as it can cause constipation.

5. Insect larvae

Insect larvae are rich in nutrients and provide many vitamins to your rainbow sharks. They are not easy to find outside, but you can gather them at your home by setting up breeding tanks for them.

6. Tubifex Worms

Tubifex worms are good for rainbow sharks as they can provide many nutrients and proteins. However, they need to be fed with care as they can carry some parasites. 

7. Daphnia

Daphnia contains many nutrients and vitamins and rainbow sharks love eating them. However, you need to ensure that daphnia doesn’t carry any parasites as rainbow sharks are sensitive to some parasites.

8. Crustaceans

Crustaceans like krill and mysis are good for rainbow sharks as they can provide many nutrients. You can easily buy this food from the market as they are also available as frozen food.

However, you need to make sure that these crustaceans don’t carry any disease, as rainbow sharks are more susceptible to some diseases.

9. Aquatic insects

Aquatic insects are a good source of protein and can provide many other nutrients to your rainbow sharks.

They are easy to find in the wild and can be easily reared at home. However, it is essential to keep them safe from chemicals and pesticides as they can cause harm to rainbow sharks.

Rainbow Sharks Foods

Do rainbow sharks eat fish?

Yes. Rainbow sharks can and will eat fish if they are small enough for them to swallow.

However, they won’t bother upper and middle-dwelling fish even if they are small enough to eat if they get enough amounts of food from other sources.

Rainbow sharks are more of scavengers than predators. But, they won’t hesitate to predate on fish if they are starving.

Will rainbow sharks eat fry?

Yes, Fish fries usually stay on the bottom, especially if they are newborns. And they are small enough for rainbow sharks to eat.

It is best to remove fries from the tank if there is already a fully grown rainbow shark in the tank and if you want to keep fries.

What is the right amount of food for rainbow sharks?

The right amount of food to feed your rainbow shark depends on its size, metabolism, and natural diet.

It is best not to overfeed your rainbow sharks because overfeeding causes indigestion, resulting in their death.

As a general rule of thumb, you can feed your rainbow shark the amount they eat within 3 to 5 minutes.

If they leave some food after this time, you are overfeeding them. If they finish eating them within about a minute, you are not feeding them enough.

Still, things get a bit more complicated if you have other aquarium fish in your tank. If you have any fish that reside in the upper area of your tank, you will have to feed them first. Once they finish eating, you can provide food for your rainbow shark.

How many times should I feed my rainbow shark?

Fish in their natural habitat (wild) do not eat every day. So, it is not essential to provide several feedings daily basis. In captivity, Rainbow sharks will do best with two feedings per day. 

Not feeding them once in a while is fine as well. However, there is a high chance that they might not eat if you don’t feed them for too long. So, it is best not to skip more than two consecutive days of feeding.

Is it okay to put my rainbow shark on fasting?

If your shark has a bloating issue, fasting might be an option to cure your fish.

However, fasting is not a good option to lose weight as it might cause indigestion and bloating problems.

How often do rainbow sharks eat?

Rainbow sharks will mostly eat what they can find in the wild. In captivity, they will eat as they get food. If they find food all day, they will continue to eat as they digest food.

This may cause them more health problems, so it is essential not to feed them more than two times per day.

Final Notes

Rainbow sharks are omnivore fish that will accept anything you offer. However, it is vital to feed them only nutritious food to keep them healthy.

Although they will eat human food like rice and bread, they are not healthy for your fish. So, avoid feeding junk food (I mean everything other than vegetables and certain meats) at all costs.

If you choose to feed them live food, ensure that it is bought from a reliable source. Better yet, culture them by yourself.

Most pet stores sell wild-caught live food that can be dangerous to your fish as they may carry some parasites and diseases.

If you be careful about these points and feed a variety of food, your rainbow shark will have a longer, healthier, and happy life in your aquarium.

Credit to : Bay Area Aquatics
Read Next : 
Rainbow Shark Tank Mates (Can They Live With Other Fish? )
Albino Rainbow Shark (A Beautiful And Yet Aggressive Fish Care!)
Differences And Similarities Between Rainbow and Red Tail Shark

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About Dr.Chamika

Hello, I'm Dr. Chamika. I am a Researcher in Water quality, Aquatic organisms, and Environmental chemistry. I am a passionate fish keeper, with10 years of experience. My mission is to help other aquarists experience the joy of fish keeping.