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Are Rainbow Sharks Real Sharks? (And Are They Dangerous?)

Are Rainbow Sharks Real Sharks? (And Are They Dangerous?)

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This post is written to the author's best knowledge and is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. In addition, this post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Have you seen rainbow sharks in someone’s fish tank before? These fish are attractive and interesting options that appeal to aquarium enthusiasts.

Since they’re aggressive fish, many experts caution newcomers to the hobby when they inquire about buying them. Rainbow sharks can be a lot of fun to own, but they aren’t the easiest fish to care for.

You might be wondering why these fish are referred to as rainbow sharks. Are they truly sharks or do they belong to a specific fish category?

Continue reading to learn more about rainbow sharks and whether they’re related to real sharks. This should help you to better understand what these fish truly are.

Rainbow Sharks Aren’t Real Sharks

Rainbow sharks aren’t real sharks. Real sharks belong to a category of fish known as Chondrichthyes.

This fish category is also known as “cartilaginous fish.” Rainbow sharks aren’t cartilaginous fish and instead belong to a category of fish known as Actinopterygii.

Actinopterygian fish are also referred to as “ray-finned fish.” So there’s a distinction between true sharks and rainbow sharks.

Many people think of rainbow sharks as small sharks due to their appearance. In truth, they’re simply called sharks due to their appearance.

A rainbow shark is simply a type of small fish that has bones. It isn’t a cartilaginous fish at all.

The fact that rainbow sharks aren’t true sharks hasn’t made them any less popular. They’re rather popular fish that people like keeping in home aquariums.

Why Are Rainbow Sharks Called Rainbow Sharks?

The reason why rainbow sharks are called rainbow sharks has to do with their appearance. When looking at these fish, you’ll notice that they resemble sharks in certain ways.

Look at the dorsal fin on the top of the fish and you’ll see that it resembles that of a shark. When looking at the fish the right way, you can easily see why some people would think that these fish might be tiny sharks.

So someone thought that these fish resembled sharks enough that they deserved the name. They don’t fit the normal shark classification, but they have a rather striking appearance.

Another possible reason why people associate rainbow sharks with true sharks is how aggressive they are. These fish are rather aggressive and are known to fight each other quite a bit.

So the aggressive nature of rainbow sharks and how they look has caused people to associate them with true sharks. They’re not real sharks, but it’s easy to see why the name “rainbow shark” stuck.

Are Rainbow Sharks Dangerous?

The name “shark” often conjures images of fear among those who don’t know much about sharks. So you might assume that rainbow sharks are dangerous fish.

This isn’t necessarily true, but there are things you should know. Rainbow sharks are aggressive fish, but they aren’t dangerous to humans.

These fish have teeth and they can bite you. Getting bitten by this fish likely wouldn’t hurt that bad, but it’s still something you should avoid.

Rainbow sharks can become territorial and will bite or otherwise act aggressively to defend their turf. This can be a problem when keeping them in fish tanks.

You have to be careful when introducing rainbow sharks to community tanks. You need to give them enough space while also ensuring that they’re only kept with compatible tank mates.

Sometimes these fish will bully other fish in the tank if you don’t give them enough space. They can also be a menace when you put them in tanks with incompatible tank mates.

They’re known to fight each other quite a bit, too. This is why people generally don’t keep more than one rainbow shark in a tank.

Final Thoughts

Now you know that rainbow sharks aren’t real sharks. They’re simply a type of ray-finned fish that look a little bit like sharks.

Rainbow sharks have small bones and they’re fairly aggressive fish. The temperament of these fish and how they look have helped the “rainbow shark” name to stick.

Although rainbow sharks are very popular fish, they’re not good to keep if you’re a beginner. They’re so aggressive that they’re hard to keep in fish tanks together without encountering severe problems.

You can have a good experience with these fish, but it requires giving them proper care and setting up the tank just right. So make sure that you’re truly ready for rainbow sharks before deciding to buy some.

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