Rainbow Shark

How To Care For A Pet Rainbow Shark

The rainbow shark, also known as the red-fin shark, ruby shark, green fringelip labeo, rainbow sharkminnow, whitetail sharkminnow and white-fin shark is a popular freshwater aquarium fish.  Native to Thailand, Chao Phraya, Mekong and Indonesia, they find their home in sandy-bottomed water.

Traditionally, these extraordinary fish have greenish and dark black, elongated bodies, however, they can also have dark red fins and a light orange body.  They have a flattened abdominal area, a pointed snout and males are considerably thinner than females.  The male rainbow shark is also brighter in color with black lines on their tail fins.  These stunning fish have an average lifespan of four to six years and can grow to be six inches long.


Pet sharks require a minimum of a 50 gallon aquarium to thrive.  These fish enjoy their space so the larger your tank, the happier your shark will be.  They prefer water with a neutral pH range and an average temperature around 75 degrees Fahrenheit.  It is very important that your aquarium have a cover on it because sharks are known for jumping out of a tank and dying.  Also, never leave an aquarium light on all night as your rainbow shark requires rest, just as you do.

An electric aquarium heater is recommended to maintain the heat of your tank and you should check the temperature often to ensure that your shark remains healthy.  It is important to avoid extreme variances in temperature or your shark could end up sick.  Never place your aquarium over a heater vent or in direct sunlight as the water will become much too overheated.

A layer of smooth gravel should be placed in the bottom of the tank and it needs to be cleaned once a week.  Keep in mind that the rocks in the tank should be smooth so that your shark's belly won't get scratched.  It is also advised to change approximately 20 percent of the tank's water every 2 weeks.

Your shark will enjoy aquarium safe plants, caves and rocks being added to the tank to provide privacy and hiding places.  Be careful to not add too many things that will hinder their path of swimming.  If the decor gets dirty, it should be removed and cleaned and algae in the tank should be scraped away with an algae scrubber.


You can feed your rainbow shark shrimp, crap and black worms.  It is easiest to begin by feeding them live food, then you can train them slowly to eat thawed out, frozen seafood.  You must take care to not overfeed sharks because they will leave behind what they are not hungry enough to eat and your tank will end up extremely dirty.  You will want to keep a variety of food on hand because your shark enjoys a mixed menu.

Health And Disease

There are a few different diseases that can plague your rainbow shark.  Whitespot is a common disease that looks like white crystal clumps that are stuck to your shark and it is caused from bad filtration and an unsteady water temperature.  There is a treatment that you can put in the water for this parasitic infection that you can purchase from pet stores.

Another condition caused by poor water quality is fin rot.  This bacterial infection feeds on your shark's fin and can be remedied by using water treatment and by cleaning all debris out of the tank.  It is important to always check your rainbow shark daily for any sign of diseases or health concerns so that you can treat it immediately.  If you have more than one shark in your tank, you should move the sick shark to a separate tank so that the others do not become infected as well.