You likely think that rainbow sharks are pretty fish. It’s normal for people to start looking into rainbow sharks once they see how neat they look.
These fish have the potential to be great additions to your tank, but you need to be ready for them first. They’re not the easiest fish to care for overall, but that doesn’t mean you need to shy away from them.
There are some common rainbow shark problems that you should be aware of. Knowing about these issues ahead of time will allow you to make good choices.
You can have a simpler time preparing to care for these fish so that things will go well. Keep reading to learn all about the common problems with rainbow sharks and you’ll surely have a much better experience with them.
Why Do My Rainbow Sharks Keep Dying?
If your rainbow sharks keep dying, it’s likely that there are severe problems in your fish tank. The water quality is likely very poor in the tank.
Rainbow sharks are known to be a bit sensitive to water quality issues. They need the water to stay clean so they can keep on living.
They aren’t so fragile that they will die right away if you make a few mistakes. It’s generally severe water quality issues that will kill these fish.
When the water quality is so bad that the ammonia levels in the tank start to spike, this is when you’ll need to worry. Elevated ammonia levels in the tank can certainly kill rainbow sharks.
You need to monitor the water parameters by testing the water regularly. This can be done by using pH balance testing kits.
It’s also important to clean the tank often enough while doing weekly water changes. Ensure that you have a good filter and heater installed in the tank, too.
Why Do Rainbow Sharks Jump?
It’s very common for rainbow sharks to try to jump out of the tank. These fish normally stay at the bottom of the tank, but they might swim to the surface to try to jump out of the tank.
Fish often do this when there are problems in the tank. If the water quality is poor, they might try to escape to find better waters.
The fish don’t know that they’re jumping to their deaths. Also, you should know that fish don’t always need a reason to jump out of a fish tank.
It’s not that unusual for rainbow sharks to jump for no discernable reason. Knowing this, it’s best to keep a tight-fitting lid on the tank to prevent these issues.
Don’t give your rainbow sharks an opportunity to jump out of the tank. There’s no reason not to use a lid on the tank since it’ll help to keep the rainbow sharks safe.
Why Is My Rainbow Shark Not Growing?
There are a few reasons why your rainbow shark might not be growing as fast as it should. The most common reason has to do with dietary problems.
You might not be feeding the fish the right type of food. Rainbow sharks are going to eat things such as algae wafers, veggies, and live meaty foods.
If you’re not giving the fish the right food, it might not be getting the nutrients that it needs to grow. It could even be that you’re not feeding the fish often enough.
These fish do best when they’re fed two to three times per day. Feed the fish as much as it can eat in five minutes.
Note that keeping multiple rainbow sharks in the same tank can lead to problems. Rainbow sharks are known to fight and bully each other.
The fish might fight enough that the dominant shark will prevent the weaker one from being able to eat much. This will keep it from growing at a normal rate.
Generally, it’s not advised to keep more than one rainbow shark in a tank. If you’re going to attempt to do so you’ll want to buy a rather large fish tank.
Why Is My Rainbow Shark Swimming at the Top?
Have you noticed that your rainbow shark is swimming at the top of the tank? This is a common problem that causes many people to worry.
There are a few things that could be happening when this occurs. It could be that your fish is sick and is having a hard time breathing.
There’s a high concentration of oxygen near the top of the tank. So the fish would have an easier time swimming near the top when it’s gasping for air.
Fish will also swim to the top of the tank for food purposes. So it’s not completely out of the ordinary for rainbow sharks to leave the bottom of the tank to seek something out.
You should keep an eye on the fish to see if it’s sick, though. If the fish has some type of illness you’ll want to address it as soon as possible.
Why Is My Rainbow Shark Swimming Sideways?
Swimming sideways is likely a sign that something is amiss in the tank. If you see a rainbow shark swimming this way it could mean that the fish is dealing with water quality issues.
The water in the tank might not be as clean as it should be. There could be an ammonia level spike that is causing the fish to act strangely.
Test the water and do a water change of 25% to see if this helps. Do your best to solve any issues with the water quality so you can keep the rainbow shark safe.
Note that sideways swimming might also be associated with other stress issues. For instance, the fish tank could be crammed with too many fish.
Or you might be keeping the fish in a tank that’s too small. A single rainbow shark does best in a 55-gallon fish tank or something larger.
Why Is My Rainbow Shark Swimming Upside Down?
Upside down swimming usually indicates a problem of some kind in the tank. Note that this type of swimming is normal until the fish acclimates to the tank.
Sometimes rainbow sharks swim upside down to avoid predators in the wild. They might do this in the tank until they get used to their new surroundings, but it generally stops after a week or so.
When the fish does this after exhibiting normal swimming in the tank for quite some time, it’s a sign that something is off. The fish could feel threatened by a tank mate or there could be other issues in the tank that are stressing the fish.
Also, it’s possible for these fish to have swim bladder issues. Sometimes fish will get constipated and they will have swollen bellies.
These swollen bellies will press against the swim bladder and keep it from working normally. When this happens, the fish might only be able to swim upside down or it might swim in circles.
The swim bladder controls buoyancy and fish can’t get around normally when it’s malfunctioning. Intestinal tract infections are also known to cause swim bladder issues.
So there could be something wrong with the swim bladder. You might need to solve constipation issues or give the fish antibiotics to clear up an infection.
Fighting issues are very common among rainbow sharks. These fish are aggressive and territorial.
They don’t get along well with each other. So many people avoid keeping more than one rainbow shark in a tank.
When you keep rainbow sharks together they will usually come into conflict. It can be a huge issue and it’s not something you generally want to deal with.
Note that these fish will also be territorial toward other tank mates. If you plan to keep a rainbow shark in a community tank it’s important to give it more than enough room.
Also, you need to choose only compatible tank mates. There are many good tank mate choices that you can go with such as cherry barbs, tetras, gouramis, and bristlenose plecos.
You should feel more knowledgeable about rainbow sharks and their common problems now. These fish can be a handful, but many people still love them.
To care for these fish successfully, it’s best to focus on keeping the water quality high. Do your best to monitor the water parameters and perform regular tank maintenance.
Give these fish big fish tanks that have plenty of hiding spots. They can be excellent fish to own so long as you’re prepared to give them an appropriate environment.
Jeff has always enjoyed having pets, but as a child, he was drawn to his family’s fish tank. Being able to maintain a small ecosystem and observe the behaviors and interactions in the underwater world peaked his interest early on and has kept him hooked until this day. On Avid Aquarist, Jeff shares everything he’s learned about helping aquatic life survive and thrive in a home aquarium.