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Rainbow Shark Tank Mates (Can They Live With Other Fish? )

Rainbow sharks are among the most misunderstood fish species in the aquarium hobby because of their behavior. So, what are rainbow shark tank mates ? Let’s find out that in this article.

These fish have entirely different behaviors in their two stages of life; juveniles and adults.

Many beginners think rainbow shark tank mates can be any species of fish because they are bottom-dwelling fish, but in fact, they do not do well with much other fish like common plecos.

Rainbow Shark Tank Mates

Are rainbow sharks aggressive?

Rainbow shark juveniles are not aggressive. They are, in fact, friendly with any other tank mates in community aquariums because they are shy. Juvenile rainbow sharks do not attack any other tank mates except for food.

However, rainbow sharks can be dangerous during their adult stage because they are territorial and become a lot more aggressive.

They may chase other fish which do not belong to their species. Rainbow sharks will show aggression to any tank mates even if they have been in the community aquariums together since their juvenile stages.

Some people prefer keeping more than one rainbow shark in a single tank, but they should not be kept with other fish like common plecos because the latter is known for its peaceful and laid-back behaviors.

Rainbow fish do fine when they are in their juvenile stage in community aquariums. They behave peacefully and stay with various types of small fish species such as tetras and gouramis.

However, rainbow sharks may become aggressive during their adult stages because their preferences change as they grow.

Adult rainbow sharks are highly territorial and prefer to live in solitary. Because of this, they become more aggressive.

Can rainbow sharks live in a community tank?

Rainbow shark fish and their albino rainbow shark can live in community tanks. But, there are many exceptions when choosing a suitable tank mate.

First of all, these fish require a very large tank of at least 55 gallons to thrive. Since they are active fish, providing them with a spacious tank will prevent any conflicts occurring with other tank mates.

Secondly, these fish require pristine water conditions to live a healthy life. These fish indeed clean the tank by eating off leftover food, algae, and other decaying matter, but they also produce waste that releases Ammonia.

Like any other fish, Rainbow sharks can not tolerate even a tiny percentage of Ammonia and Nitrite in their water. If you fail to maintain the conditions, your rainbow sharks will get sick and eventually die.

The best way to keep clean water conditions is to keep the tank under-stocked. Although your tank will look emptier, your fish will appreciate the clean water they live in. Further, this will lead to a peaceful aquarium in the end.

How many rainbow sharks can live in a community tank?

Experts recommend only one rainbow shark in a community aquarium to avoid aggression toward other fish.

However, some fishkeepers say that their aggression reduces if kept in groups of five, with many hiding places on the bottom.

When kept in a group, they will have no time to focus on other fish species as they are busy establishing their territory from other rainbow sharks.

This method might work well in fish tanks that are large as 125 gallons at least but will never work in a 55-gallon tank. If you overstock rainbow sharks in a small fish tank, you will eventually end up with dead fish.

Rainbow shark tank mates

When choosing suitable tank mates for this freshwater fish, you need to be careful. Rainbow sharks do not get along well with any other bottom-dwelling fish.

As these fish are active swimmers that grow up to 6 inches long, they expect at least a meter wide territory to swim freely. However, these fish will live peacefully with other bottom dwellers if they are larger than rainbow sharks.

To provide them with the ideal living condition, do not keep other fish species with rainbow sharks in a small-sized tank of 55 gallons or less.

If you plan to keep multiple rainbow sharks in a large tank, always choose active fish species that often swim with the shark.

Rainbow sharks have no conflict with upper dwelling fish and middle dwelling fish as they do not interfere with these fish on the bottom.

Rainbow sharks do not often go to the upper area, so they do not show aggression to upper and middle dwelling fish.

We sympathize with any invertebrate that lives on the bottom of the tank, as we know that rainbow sharks surely will kill them.

This includes any shrimps and snails. So, if you want your shrimps or snails to live, DO not house them with rainbow sharks.

Rainbow Shark Tank Mates

Can rainbow sharks live with tetras?

Tetras are middle-dwelling fish, so rainbow sharks do not attack them.

If there is plenty of room for both fish species, rainbow sharks will have no problem living with tetras unless they are small-sized tetra species.

Small-sized tetra species will often become a good snack for rainbow sharks. However, if the tank is large enough to accommodate both fish species and you provide them with different hiding places, rainbow sharks and tetras can live well in a community tank.

Can rainbow sharks live with goldfish?

The size of the goldfish is the most important consideration when housing rainbow sharks with goldfish.

If you have a large tank with big enough hiding places, rainbow sharks will get along well with goldfish. However, rainbow sharks are active swimmers, so they will chase goldfish around the tank if both fish are of similar size.

This might end up with one of them being stressed out. Therefore, keeping goldfish with rainbow sharks is not recommended.

Can rainbow sharks live with guppies?

Yes. Although guppies are small fish compared with rainbow sharks, they do not visit the bottom half of the tank most of the time.

Because of that, rainbow sharks do not consider them as threats. A group of rainbow sharks and guppies will work well in a community tank as long as there are plenty of hiding places for both fish species.

Can rainbow sharks live with mollies?

Although rainbow sharks do not mind having mollies in their surroundings as they are upper-dwelling fish, cohabitating mollies with rainbow sharks is a bad idea.

Mollies are livebearers that reproduce every month. So, when you put some mollies in your tank, you will end up with more fish in the next month, which is not good for your rainbow shark as it increases Ammonia production.

Also, rainbow sharks will consider molly fries as snacks and attack them. So, if you want to keep mollies with rainbow sharks, make sure the tank is large enough for both fish species to live on their own lives.

Can rainbow sharks live with bettas?

Keeping betta and rainbow sharks is not a problem when it comes to water quality conditions. But, housing them together will create some issues, and you’ll have to lose your betta eventually.

The reason is both fish are aggressive. Although betta is aggressive, it doesn’t have the strength to defend itself from the rainbow shark. In this case, betta will be easy prey as rainbow sharks are insistent on attacking other fish.

If you don’t want to lose your betta, the only solution is to house them in separate tanks.

Can I put a rainbow shark with cichlids?

Housing rainbow sharks with cichlids would be a bad choice because cichlids are also bottom dwellers as well as aggressive and territorial.

This would leave only fights and stress for both fishes. So, even if you have a large tank, do not put rainbow sharks with cichlids.

Can a bristlenose pleco live with a rainbow shark?

Of course. Bristlenose pleco is a bottom-dwelling fish, but it is much larger than rainbow sharks. So, rainbow sharks won’t go to fight with bristlenose plecos.

Also, bristlenose plecos are peaceful fish that do not bother rainbow sharks. Both species can live well in a tank of at least 75 gallons with plenty of hiding places.

Can rainbow sharks live with cory catfish?

If you house cory catfish with rainbow sharks, the rainbow shark will bully them because of their small size.

Since rainbow sharks are much bigger than cory catfish and are highly territorial, corys won’t stand a chance against rainbow sharks.

Can I put a snail in with my rainbow shark?

Yes, you can put snails in the tank with your rainbow shark. Snails don’t bother rainbow sharks, and they do not even get near your fish.

Rainbow sharks just ignore them generally, but it’s possible that rainbow sharks suddenly eat the snails, so you have to be careful.

Can rainbow sharks live with glofish sharks?

Glofish sharks are genetically modified rainbow sharks, hence having the same behavior and requirements.

Regardless of their glowing appearance, rainbow sharks will still see them as threats and be aggressive to defend their territory.

The aggressiveness between these two species will be higher when kept in a tank that is not large enough.

If you want to keep these two species together in the same tank, you will have to provide at least a 125-gallon tank with plenty of hiding places to keep rainbow sharks safe.

Good partners

Good partners for rainbow sharks would be upper and middle-dwelling fish that can defend themselves if rainbow sharks attack them. Some examples are,

Additionally, rainbow sharks will do fine with bottom-dwelling fish that are larger than them, such as Plecos. They also don’t bother with slow-moving creatures like Snails.

On the other hand, Loaches are a neutral choice as rainbow sharks may or may not see them as competitors for food and bully them.

However, loaches are big enough to avoid being preyed upon by your rainbow sharks and have a good history of being OK with rainbow sharks in captivity.

Bad partners

You should not keep any aggressive bottom-dwelling fish or cichlids with rainbow sharks. They will either suffer an attack or end up in the stomach of your rainbow sharks. Some examples of these fishes are,

  • Cichlids
  • Rainbow sharks
  • Tiger sharks
  • Zebra sharks and
  • Black sharks.


Although rainbow sharks are magnificent fish that can color up your aquarium, they are not good community fish.

If you want to keep these fish in your community tank, you have to carefully choose rainbow shark tank mates so that no conflicts arise. Remember, no matter how you house your rainbow sharks, there is always a chance that they will attack their tank mates.

Credit to : AQUA STATION
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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.