Is It Safe For Catfish To Live With Rainbow Shark?


If you are willing to raise several divergent fish in the aquarium you have a tremendous choice as there are tons of species. What you need to take into mind is that some fish are not able to live with each other and if you are a newcomer to this hobby, you should learn which species are compatible. By doing so, you will ensure the successful growth of every individual in the tank. In this article, we would like to talk about one of the most popular aquarium fish species – catfish and rainbow shark since a lot of people are wondering if it is safe for catfish to live with the rainbow sharks?

It is not safe for catfish to live with rainbow sharks and the general recommendation is that you should refrain from placing them together. Rainbow sharks grow very big and they get territorial so your catfish most likely will be bullied.

It’s extremely important to get information regarding their behavior before containing different species together in the aquarium. Fish resemble humans in some ways as we often are not compatible with everyone and we don’t get along well with certain types of people. Aquarium fish are exactly like this and you should know what species are able to live together comfortably in order to ensure successful growth. We are here to talk about the compatibility and differences between catfish and rainbow sharks. Let’s start!

Can Rainbow Sharks Live With Catfish?

As we have already noted, it is not recommended to keep catfish with rainbow sharks in the aquarium. First of all, you should know that rainbow sharks are highly aggressive and territorial individuals and we often encounter hostile behavior from them towards different species.

Rainbow shark and Catfish are bottom-dweller species and most probably they will start fighting for territory. Rainbow sharks grow relatively bigger and their superior aggressive nature will help them to outdo catfish. Therefore, the chances that your catfish will be bullied are extremely high.

Another reason is that rainbow sharks and catfish require different living conditions such as aquarium size, water temperature, decorations, tank attachments, and feeding diet. Your catfish will have a hard time to adapt the environment intended for rainbow sharks.

Is It Safe For Catfish To Live With Rainbow Shark
Is It Safe For Catfish To Live With Rainbow Shark

These factors drastically underlie their incompatibility and in the next part of this article, we would like to describe the behavior of these two species and inform you regarding their living requirements.

Are Rainbow Shark Aggressive?

Although rainbow sharks are peaceful creatures in their natural habitat, they show quite aggressive behavior when you place them in the tank. Usually, we witness this type of behavior as they mature and become extremely territorial.

They will definitely attack any fish who invades their space including their own kind and they always chase and bite hostile neighbors. Generally, they love to reside at the bottom of the aquarium and it will be good to refrain from containing other bottom-dweller species with them.

This is the most important reason behind our statement that it’s not safe for catfish to live with rainbow sharks as they are both bottom-dweller fish. Additionally, due to their aggressive nature, it’s difficult to breed and raise rainbow sharks so if you are a beginner this fish is not for you.

Are Cory Catfish Aggressive?

On the other hand, catfish are often recommended to rookies in the aquarium hobby as they are quite easy-to-care for individuals. They like to spend time at the bottom of the tank as well and their behavior depends on certain species of catfish.

Generally, they are not aggressive and don’t have a strong sense of territory, but you still have to consider several factors when placing catfish in the community aquarium. They love to eat much smaller fish so make sure to keep them with same-sized species.

There are lots of catfish species and you should remember to avoid placing them together with aggressive and territorial fish. They tend to hide in the plants and reside in rock caves at the bottom of the aquarium. However, some of them are pretty active swimmers and they might become prey of larger fish if you are not careful.

What Are Good Tankmates For Rainbow Sharks?

As we have mentioned above, rainbow sharks are extremely aggressive creatures, so you have to research compatible tank mates thoroughly. There is always a risk of fighting which may often end up with fatal reasons.

We would like to list some of the suitable neighbors that will live comfortably with your rainbow shark –

  • Danios – Although they are relatively small compared to sharks, danios will not be eaten by them. They love to reside in different parts of the tank and they have the same temperament to make good companions.
  • Rasboras – They are considered to be the most convenient tank mates for rainbow sharks as they stay far away from them.
  • Gouramis – You have to get at least the same-sized gouramis as your sharks and they will become very good neighbors due to their peaceful nature.
  • Plecos – They are extremely large individuals and you are going to need a big aquarium to live comfortably with sharks. Moreover, they can’t be eaten by them.
  • Barbs – They also like a central part of the tank and they won’t bother your bottom-dweller rainbow shark at all.

What Fish Can You Put With Catfish?

We have noted above that you should avoid placing catfish with smaller species as they will often become meals for them. Generally, they are non-aggressive and make good companions with the majority of friendly species.

There are many kinds of catfish and usually, they get along pretty well with each other. Also, excellent tank mates are different kinds of shrimps such as Bamboo shrimp, Amano shrimp, Vampire shrimp, and so on.

Other compatible species for your catfish include –

  • Danios
  • Gourami
  • Freshwater Snails
  • Tetras
  • Swordtails

How To Put Rainbow Shark And Catfish Together?

If you still want the collaboration between catfish and rainbow sharks to work then we would like to provide some suggestions for you. As we have said, they are both bottom-dweller individuals and sharks will always bully catfish for territory. In order to prevent this, you have to get a large aquarium with a lot of hiding places at the bottom.

You should try to give plenty of plants and rock caves to your catfish. This way, the rainbow sharks will have less chance of noticing them as your catfish will have a very convenient shelter.

One more piece of advice we can give you to avoid aggressive behavior from sharks is to place other fish in the tank first and only then introduce your rainbow shark. By doing so, it will less likely perceive the territory of its own and you will significantly reduce aggression.

If you are interested in learning more about your fish behavior, check out the links below:

Final Thoughts

In this article, we have described the relationship between very interesting fish species called catfish and rainbow sharks. The majority of people are wondering if it is safe for catfish to live with rainbow sharks?

Our answer is no as sharks are pretty aggressive individuals and they will most likely bully your catfish. Furthermore, they love to reside at the bottom of the tank so they will bump into each other often.

However, there are still some ways to make it work but don’t be too optimistic about it.

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