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9 Best Rainbow Shark Tank Mates (With Pictures)

Rainbow shark fish are beautiful aquatic pets that can make for an especially unique tank setup.

These aquatic pets require a standard amount of care and create great visuals in your home. They do not have any real relations to sharks, as their name might suggest.

Still, while rainbow sharks are not actually related to sharks, they do exhibit some of their features.

The fins of this creature resemble a shark. In addition, rainbow sharks can be aggressive to some other species of fish.

So, if you plan on having other fish or pets, you want to be careful about your selections. No one wants to deal with fish that fight all the time.

In this post, we will talk about the best rainbow shark tank mates. It won’t be nearly as easy finding a species of pet that can fit in with the rainbow shark.

The options will be more limited of course especially with the prickly personality of the rainbow.

But this does not mean your rainbows are doomed to be alone in their aquarium, we have done our best to come up with a suitable list of tank mates.

We will go through several great picks to find you an ideal pair. This way your tank community can stay headache-free and tranquil with your rainbow shark fish!

So keep reading to find the best rainbow shark tank mates!


Gouramis are the first rainbow shark tank mates we will talk about in this post. Rainbow shark owners want to pick out peaceful pets as tank mates.

This will lead to the best rainbow shark cohabitation in a tank.

And, the gouramis fish fits this requirement to a tee. Not all gouramis are suited to rainbows though.

So, just make sure that you get a big enough version of this fish to fit your tank setup. This way they do not get eaten or bullied by your rainbow.

Something over four inches will be safe enough to live with your shark, and should definitely be considered.

In addition, do not try to keep more than one gourami pet in a tank at a time. If they are together they will fight each other.

But luckily, they will not fight your shark fish.


Rasboras fish are one of the best rainbow shark tank mates out there. This is a schooling species, but they will not be an issue for the rainbow shark.

In fact, the harlequin version of this species is most suited to your tank with your shark fish.

Usually, you want to get around four to six of these fish in your tank setup. They are small, but because of their numbers, the risk to this fish’s safety is diminished quite substantially.

Some schooling fish like to roam all over tanks without abandon. This can annoy rainbow shark fish a lot though.

Rasboras do not follow this convention though. Usually, they stay near the center of the tank, far from your rainbow shark fish.

This is a huge advantage of having these pets in with your rainbow. Another plus of this fish is their size. The rasboras only grow a few scant inches.

So you will not have to increase your base tank size much either. So this can be a plus for rainbow owners.

Especially if you are trying to save some money with a smaller tank.

On the whole, though, rasboras are calm and peaceful which is a perfect personality type for your rainbow shark fish!

Freshwater Snails

ramshorn snail Planorbidae
Ramshorn Snail

Snails are a different rainbow shark tank mate you can go with. Snails are not as fun as having fish. But they are pretty inconspicuous in your tank.

Your rainbows will not really pay any attention to these types of aquatic pets.

They are small but not appealing as a source of food for a rainbow shark fish. You can also get snails in a lot of fun patterns and types.

You can even get bigger or smaller snails. Whatever is best suited to the tank you are attempting to build with your rainbow shark.

Most importantly, though, snails are good tank mates for any other fish you might have in your tank as well.

Their shells keep them safe from most pets and keep them away from the mouths of predators.


Like the rasboras, the barb fish will stay well away from your rainbow shark fish. They like the central area of your tank the same as the rasboras fish.

This is crucial because rainbow shark fish can often feel encroached upon in a tank.

As a result, they act aggressively towards certain fish. Usually the fish they don’t like tend to try and enter that bottom section of your tank. Barbs will not do this to your rainbow shark fish though.

The barb has a great personality that allows it to get along with a ton of pets including rainbow sharks. But this fish should be purchased with some other barbs for sure.

You do not want your pets to get lonely with only a rainbow to swim with. Especially since these species do not inhabit the same tank area at all.

Really, most barbs will be fine in the same aquarium as the rainbow shark fish. Even smaller barbs will live easily with your shark fish!

So you do not have to be super selective about which barb type you get. Even though there are many choices.


Danios are another small tank pet that can be kept with your rainbow shark fish.

Danios have the right temperament to fit in with shark type fish. And they are just the right size to live with rainbows.

They are only around two inches, but most tank owners do not report issues between these two species. So you will not have to worry about your danios being eaten by the larger rainbow shark fish.

You can get larger danios if you want to though. Like the barb, any type of danios will mesh with the rainbow. shark fish.

So the variety of danios you can add to your rainbow community is quite varied.

Generally, though, it is best to keep the danios with a school of fish. All fish have social needs, and the danios are no exception to this.

In addition, your rainbow will actually enjoy having company around in their aquarium.

These two fish will not interact much. But they will get along when they do see each other. This is because of the danios’ swimming pattern.

Since the danios like to stay away from the territory of the rainbow shark fish they will not fight.


Rainbowfish are similarly colorful to the rainbow shark fish. Both species have simmering scales and beautifully shaped bodies.

But this is where the similarities end in regards to these two species.

Firstly, rainbowfish are slightly smaller than the shark. The shark fish is around two inches longer than the rainbowfish and has a much slimmer appearance.

The rainbowfish, on the other hand, balloons out in a large circular shape.

Other differences include territory and swimming habits. The rainbowfish likes to be closer to the surface of the water.

They also like more central areas of your tank. Shark fish much prefer being at the bottom of the tank as you know.

This creates an ideal tank setup of course. Since these two fish will not be fighting over territory. They swim in different tank areas after all.

Both fish do have a strong personality though. When they keep out of each other way there are no problems with these pets.

But if something does happen, both fish will retaliate. So try and watch out for these pets when you can.

It is highly unlikely that they will get on one another nerves in the same community. Still, it does not hurt to be safe with your colorful rainbowfish.


Loaches by Linton Tuleja (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Loaches are one of the most popular pairing options for rainbow shark fish. Loaches are in fact, bottom dwellers. Usually, your rainbow does not get along with these types of fish.

They really are not fond of fish that stay near the floor of your tank because this is their area.

But loaches are an exception to the rule. Since they live in the same region as your shark in the wild, they are more likely to get along.

This won’t always be true of course. And we highly recommend monitoring this pair just in case. But overall, rainbow shark fish and loaches are a great choice for your tank.

One of the best rainbow shark tank mates we could recommend here!


Normally, you would not want a fish like a pleco paired with your rainbow shark. For one, this species is massive and will require a huge tank to house it.

In addition, your small rainbow already needs a big tank. This will not be an ideal setup for many people. But if you have the space for an aquarium that is large it could work out for you.

Really this is not a bad choice of fish in a large aquarium. Firstly, rainbows will not be capable of starting fights with the much bigger pleco pets.

Secondly, plecos like to stay to themselves and are generally tranquil.

Tetras (From Africa And South American Regions)

Bleeding Heart Tetra or Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma
Bleeding Heart Tetra

The final tank mates we will talk about here are tetras. There are a ton of tetras we could recommend here.

Really, rainbows and tetras are another good choice for your aquarium community. This is because schooling fish like the tetra like to stay out of the rainbow’s way.

Tetras generally stay closer to the surface of the water or around the middle region. So this is great for your fish community and will lead to less infighting and issues.

Still, we most recommend tetras and other school fish from South America or Africa. Fish from the same region as your rainbow will make much better tank mates.

The water conditions will be similar which is good.

Still, overall though, tetras are very peaceful and get along with more aggressive species well. You might think that your rainbow shark would consume your tetra fish.

But this is not something to worry about with your shark and tetra. This is a great pairing of species for rainbow sharks!

Rainbow Shark Tank Behavior

Rainbow shark fish share their living space with other freshwater fish and animals. You might think that this species was from the ocean given their name. However, they are solely a freshwater species.

Still, even though they do not live in the ocean no do they catch prey like their namesake, their personalities stay reminiscent of sharks.

They are not super aggressive like great whites or other large sharks. But they can get nasty with other fish.

Out in the open and free from a tank, these fish are not normally like this. In fact, they can be quite nice and friendly in the wild.

Everything changes when they enter your aquarium though. So, keeping this in mind. You want to get a proper tank for these finicky fish.

We will talk more about this in the next section though. This way you can make an amazing community tank for your rainbow sharks.

Other than this, you should know that rainbow shark fish can be very territorial. The rainbow likes to stay near the bottom of the tank. And when other fish get near this area, they can get a little aggressive.

They are not going to rip any of your fish or pets apart. But they can start fights easily. This behavior only intensifies as these fish get older or if they live in small tanks.

Rainbow Sharks And Other Aquatic Pets

So you have a general idea of how a rainbow shark might act in a tank.

But how will they be with your other pets in their tank?

Again, there can be some aggression with this species.

However, if you get a large enough tank this should offset any hostile or belligerent behavior. So, in most cases, you can calm down your rainbow shark.

Still, there are some pets that should absolutely not go in with a rainbow shark. For one, you want to avoid putting other rainbow shark fish into your tank. This is one of the worst pairings for this species possible.

Really, the rainbow is a solo fish that should not be with its own kind. You can try, but you will need a massive tank setup.

This can get annoying and expensive. Also, keep catfish out of a rainbow tank as well. Catfish get into the rainbows territory too much as do cichlids.

In addition, you want to have peaceful fish in your tank, not nippy ones. If a fish tries and bites the rainbow shark a fight will start up without a doubt. Other shark-like species of fish should be avoided at all costs.

Creating The Best Aquarium For Rainbow Sharks And Their Tank Mates

The best rainbow shark aquarium will be big, full of coverage, and kept clean. These can seem like simple requirements.

But they are fundamental to a successful fish community with rainbow sharks. Rainbows are not huge fish, but they like a lot of swimming areas.

So, at a minimum, a fifty-gallon tank should be purchased. If you plan on filling your tank with more fish though, the gallon size should go up for sure.

Long tanks are ideal for your setup as well. We also suggest putting plenty of coverage within a rainbow tank community. You can fill your tank with whatever you want. Rocks are good, as are plants and even larger structures.

Just ensure that you don’t fill up your tank so much that your pets can’t breathe. You want your rainbow to feel safe and feel like they have a place to hide. But you should never take up all the swimming space of a tank with decorations and tank fixtures.


The rainbow shark fish is small but can have quite a strong personality. It definitely lives up to its name with its aggression and shark-like fins. This does not mean that you cannot pair up your rainbow with other fish though.

In fact, there are quite a few options to pick from, especially when you have a bigger tank to house your fish community in.

We talked about a number of great tank mates for rainbow shark fish. We even introduced you to some of the best rainbow shark tank mates around.

Rainbows like to stay to themselves in their own territory of course. They also like fish that mind their own business. Remember this as you pick out your tank mates.

And really, with the information you have on this species, you should find a great tank mate for your rainbow shark fish pet!

Aaron Boyd
Aaron Boyd

Hello, I’m Aaron Boyd, the proud owner and author behind Aqua Movement. I hope my article was able to answer your questions. If you want to learn more about me, click the home icon above.

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