Rainbow sharks are interesting fish that you might be thinking about purchasing. Many fish tank enthusiasts like these fish because of how neat they look.
It’s true that rainbow sharks can be a bit tough to care for, though. So it’s generally best to buy these fish after you’ve gained a bit of experience in the hobby.
Before buying rainbow sharks, it’s also wise to learn more about them. Knowing a bit about diseases and illnesses that impact these fish will help you to know what to expect.
Keep reading to learn everything about common rainbow shark diseases and illnesses. After reading all of the information it’ll be easier to care for these fish with confidence.
1 – Ich
Ich is a very common illness that impacts aquarium fish. This is a type of parasitic infection that causes white spots to appear all over the body.
The white spots are actually parasites and they can be very uncomfortable for the fish to deal with. This isn’t a disease that is unique to rainbow sharks, and it can easily spread to other fish in the tank.
You’ll see white spots that look sort of like small pimples on the fish. These spots can appear on the body, the gills, the fins, and the mouth area.
It’s normal for them to rub against objects in the tank to try to find relief as well. Ich can be treated using various medications, but it’s important to solve any problems with the water parameters as well.
2 – Swim Bladder Issues
Swim bladder issues can be very tough for fish to deal with. Sometimes fish will eat too much food and this will cause them to become constipated.
Constipation can cause swelling that will make the fish’s belly grow large. This large belly will press against the swim bladder and keep it from working properly.
The swim bladder is an organ that helps fish to control buoyancy. It’s simply a gas-filled sac that inflates and deflates as necessary.
If something is pressing against this sac, it won’t be able to function normally. It makes it so the fish will swim in unusual ways.
You might see the fish swimming upside down or it might start swimming in circles. It can regulate its swimming properly and maintaining its balance and buoyancy will be impossible.
If the fish is constipated you can help it to poop by feeding it boiled peas. Swim bladder issues can also be caused by swelling due to intestinal infections.
So it’s possible that medication might be needed to get the fish back to normal. Monitor the situation and treat your rainbow shark accordingly.
3 – Fungal Infections
Fungal infections can impact rainbow sharks, but this will only be a problem when the water quality is poor. Poor water quality will make it so fungus can grow in the tank.
The fish might become infected by some type of fungus if you don’t take care of the water quality issues. Also, fish are more susceptible to infections when they become stressed.
Stressed fish have weakened immune systems. This opens them up to the potential of being infected by various types of bacteria or fungi.
You want to avoid problems such as this. The best thing to do is to monitor the water parameters closely while keeping a consistent tank cleaning schedule.
If your fish has some type of infection, you can treat it with antifungal medications. There are also simple antibiotics that can help fish to get better when they have bacterial infections.
Prevention is the best course of action to take for the future. Do a good job monitoring the water conditions in the tank to keep your rainbow shark safe.
4 – Skin Flukes
Skin flukes are another type of parasitic disease that can make rainbow sharks uncomfortable. Rainbow sharks will only be susceptible to problems like this when the water quality is bad.
These microscopic parasites can dig into the skin and the gills. They’ll cause skin irritation that will make your fish have little red spots.
When skin flukes get on the gills it’ll make it very tough for the fish to breathe. You’ll also notice that fish that have skin flukes will produce excessive amounts of mucus.
Typically, skin flukes will be treated by giving the fish medication and raising the temperature of the water. You can prevent this condition by focusing on keeping the tank clean and feeding your fish a healthy diet.
5 – Bloat
Bloating is a problem that doesn’t always have to be related to swim bladder issues. Generally, bloating will be caused by overeating or some type of intestinal blockage.
It could also be related to simple constipation or a bacterial infection. When fish become bloated their stomachs will swell and it’ll make it hard for them to get around normally.
Sadly, bloating does have the potential to kill the fish. It just depends on what the cause of the bloating issue is.
You might need to treat an infection with antibiotics or you could need to solve issues with blockages. If the fish has some type of tumor that is causing the blockage, it’s likely that the fish will simply die.
6 – Stress Is a Huge Problem
It’s very common for stress issues to cause these fish to get sick. So you need to do your best to keep your fish healthy by avoiding stress issues.
To keep your fish in good health, it’s important to put them in tanks that are big enough. One of the most common causes of stress among rainbow sharks is being kept in tanks that are too small.
You should buy a 55-gallon fish tank for your rainbow shark. A tank of this size will be appropriate for one rainbow shark so long as you don’t overcrowd it with fish.
It’s also important to monitor the water parameters in the tank. The pH balance in the tank must be between 6.5 and 7.5 while the water temperature should remain between 72 degrees Fahrenheit and 79 degrees Fahrenheit.
You must clean the tank regularly and do consistent water changes. This is an important aspect of keeping the water clean and safe for your fish.
Another thing to know is that these fish must have compatible tank mates. If you’re going to keep the fish in a community tank, it’s best to research compatible tank mates first.
They can get along with many popular fish such as bristlenose plecos, tetras, cherry barbs, and gouramis. They don’t get along well with various types of cichlids and bettas.
Keep your fish in a good fish tank environment and they will be less likely to get sick. You can enjoy your rainbow shark for longer if you put the effort into caring for it.
How Often Should Water Be Changed?
Changing the water is an important part of keeping the tank clean. You need to change the water often enough without going overboard.
If you change the water too often it’ll cause the fish unnecessary stress. To get the best results, change the water once every week.
One weekly water change of 25% should suffice. This will allow you to keep the water clean and you can avoid ammonia spikes.
Of course, this is meant to be paired with proper tank maintenance. Remember to clean the fish tank and do your best to remove excess food whenever you’re done feeding your fish.
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.