Rainbow shark, often referred to as red finned, red tail shark is a freshwater shark that has it’s origin to Philippian. They’re lively and aggressive fish and they make nice pets in an aquarium. Betta fish are also a freshwater, aggressive and slow fish. If you’re very fond of these two fish and want to have them in a single tank, then you must be here to know if they can really stay in a tank without one harming the other. This article will answer your question and guide you on how to achieve your aim.
Can Rainbow Sharks live with Betta Fish? Naturally, Betta Fish and Rainbow Sharks don’t get along because both of them are aggressive and could harm each other.
I know you’ll be so disappointed now, but hey! don’t give up because there are some tricks to achieve this.
You might be wondering why some people claim to keep these two creatures together and peacefully or should I say ‘successfully’ well you will learn it here.
The truth is, naturally, two or more aggressive fish can hardly stay in a single tank without having one trouble or the other, so I was right when I said they can’t live together naturally.
What I mean to say is, you can’t just pick a random Betta or rainbow and put them in a tank, then start feeding them, well, it doesn’t work like that, but that is what normal fish keeping is.
In this case, it’s different if you really want them to stay together, or the rainbow or red tail shark will definitely end up chasing the Betta all over the tank, causing them stress and nipping at their fins.
So you don’t want to do that, but don’t worry, I will tell you how to go about it in this article.
But first, let’s examine their various suitable water conditions temperaments.
Rainbow/Red Tail Shark Water Conditions and Temperament
This shark thrives in a freshwater with low current and substrates, plants.
So consider getting them a low powered filter and aquarium plants to replicate their natural habitats.
They live in a temperature of 75-80°F with a pH of 6-8.
Their water hardiness is 5-8dh, and they could get really big to occupy a 30 gallon or more per fish, depending on the size.
They’re semi aggressive and are voracious eaters, at the same time omnivores.
They can eat anything edible including other fish, worms, shrimps, etc, but they love eating plants and vegetables, so add that to their meal on a regular basis.
They love chasing other fish and even their own species too.
Betta Fish Water Conditions and Temperament
Bettas are tropical fish that prefer calm water with a pH between 6.8 and 7.5.
While they may seem to tolerate cooler temperatures, they will be inactive and more susceptible to disease, therefore it’s best for their overall health to keep the temperature between 76° and 85° F.
They dwell in freshwater with very low salinity and do prefer a calm water with a hardiness of GH 5-20.
Providing them with a small heater of about 5 watts power and aquarium plants is best for them.
Just like any other fish, they are omnivores and could eat both meat, plants and fish foods.
They are aggressive in nature although slow, but also aggressive eaters too.
Can Red Tail/Red Fin Shark Live with Betta?
From the above, you can see that the water conditions the two fish can live in comfortably are almost the same, so they can be able to live in the same water condition and environment and still be okay.
Can Red Tail Shark live with Betta? No, although they can live comfortably in the same water condition, but they can’t tolerate each other’s aggression.
Now that we have seen that naturally, the two aggressive fish can hardly coexist.
The question is, how do they then manage to stay together, as some people claim to make them do, or as you might have seen the two in a tank before.
Relax, I will tell you about it.
We all know that apart from nature, what amplifies aggression in animals sometimes is the poor living condition of some animals and unsuitable environment.
So imagine providing your Sharks with an environment that will interest and keep them busy, do you think they will still have the time to be aggressive?
Some Possible Ways to Keep Rainbow Sharks with Bettas are:
Provide hiding places: If you must keep a big and semi aggressive fish like rainbow shark and Betta, then you must surely put in place hiding places for the Betta.
This is due to the fact that Rainbow sharks loves chasing their tank mates about in the tank and nipping their fins.
Although Betta fish could do that too, but they can only do that to less aggressive fish and smaller fish.
Again Bettas don’t like being stressed, so getting stressed from the rainbows chasing them about could make them sick.
So put in for them hiding places like caves, aquarium plants, PVC pipes, gravels, substrates etc which they can be able to hide and rest.
Introduce Juvenile Rainbow Sharks to Adult Betta tank: This method works alot according to many fish keepers.
It has to do with introducing juvenile red tail Sharks to a tank with already has grown-up Bettas and allow them to develop some level of intimacy.
According to them ( fish keepers) Growing up with the Bettas and sharing foods etc will tame them to some level, that even when they grow, they won’t be aggressive to the Bettas or even if they are, it will be very minimal.
So doing this might domesticate them to some extent.
Keeping them in a very big tank: This is the commonest idea to keep any species of aggressive animals together.
This is very important if you want to keep your Betta with rainbow sharks.
We all know that both Betta and rainbows could get pretty big, and one of the sources of animals aggression is living in an uncomfortable environment.
Fish as big as rainbow sharks and Bettas will need a bigger tank when keeping them together.
For instance, one rainbow shark will live comfortably in a tank that’s up to 55galllons, and Betta 30 gallons.
So imagine keeping 2 or 3 rainbows and the same number of Bettas, then you will be needing nothing less than 175 gallons for them to live comfortably, or they will end up being aggressive to each other.
So giving them enough space will make them stay out of each others way, thereby reducing the level of aggression.
Dividing their tank: This is the safest way to keep these two types of fish in the same tank without anyone harming the other.
It’s all about getting a very big tank, then dividing it half and half by barricading the center, then place the sharks on one part, and the Bettas on the other part.
With this, both won’t see a way to cross and get to the other, so if I may advise, then I will certainly recommend this because it’s the surest way to go about it.
Keeping less males and more females in the tank: As we might have learned, male species of every fish are the most aggressive and the female are the less aggressive.
So keeping only the female Bettas and rainbow sharks is the key to achieving peace in their tank.
Or keeping lesser number of males than females, for instance, keeping 3 female Bettas and 1 male Betta, also doing the same to the rainbow sharks too.
By doing this, there will be lesser aggression in the tank because the males are the main source of the aggression and fin nipping etc.
Keeping more of Bettas than Rainbow Sharks: This is also a strategy to intimidate the sharks, thereby curbing their aggression.
The aim of this method is to use larger population of the Bettas to intimidate the few sharks in the tank, thereby making the sharks to stay out of their way.
When using this strategy, make sure it’s for only female rainbows and Bettas, because it won’t work on their male ones.
Feeding them their separate foods: We all know that both fish could eat almost the same thing.
So the issue of food might be a slight problem as one will definitely bully the other, so how do you feed them?
Bettas are mid and surface dwellers and the sharks are bottom dwellers.
So to feed them, give the sharks sinking pellets or any food that could easily sink to the bottom of the water while feeding the Bettas with floating pellets on the other side of the tank.
This will give the sinking pellets a chance to successfully sink before the Bettas will finish theirs and turn to the sinking ones,
Again the sharks will be ok with the plants by eating them.
They love plants and vegetables.
Always check their water parameters: One of the greatest things that could easily stress any aquarium animal and make them aggressive is wrong water parameters.
Always check the nitrate and ammonia level in the tank and make sure they are below 0.20ppm.
Change water if the pH is wrong.
Also check the water temperature and always keep a heater in their tank, which will regulate their water temperature, because when they get too cold, then they will become uncomfortable and might become aggressive.
Can Rainbow Sharks Live with Female Bettas
Also, you might be interested to know if female Bettas can live with rainbow sharks.
Can Rainbow Sharks live with female Bettas? No, although their water parameters and habitat are almost the same, but keeping any type of Bettas with rainbow shark is very risky because of their aggression.
So they can’t be able to coexist with even the female Bettas, Unless you follow the guidelines I gave above.
Although they can’t live together, but only the female version of each of the two fish could be able to coexist, as 80% of aggression are mainly perpetrated by the males.
Are Rainbow Shark Fin Nippers?
You might be wondering why rainbow sharks are aggressive and what they really do.
Are Rainbow Shark Fin Nippers? Yes, rainbow sharks are semi aggressive, and are very fond of bitting other fish at their fins and tails.
So rainbow sharks are fine nippers.
They will eat both the fins and tails of any unsuitable fish they see in their tank.
They use this to weaken and kill other fish around them, so this is why it’s very dangerous to keep slow and smaller fish with rainbows because they will definitely go for their fins and rails.
Can Rainbow Sharks Live Together?
Since this shark is naturally intolerant of many fish, can they be kept with each other?
No, rainbow sharks prefer to live alone than having another of it’s kind in the same tank.
This is because they will always fight each other if kept together, and both will not be comfortable in that tank.
This is more on the male side.
2 females could live together without much aggression, but the male ones will fight against their fellow males.
So they are not fit to be kept with each other in the same tank, unless the females.
Betta Fish Suitable Tank Mates
Also if you are interested to know the kinds of fishes that are suitable to have in your Betta tanks, they’re:
Neon and Ember Tetras.
Rainbow Shark Suitable Tank Mates
Also you might be interested to know the types of fish that could possibly be kept with rainbow sharks in the same tank, here they are:
Also avoid adding other aggressive fish that primarily live at the bottom of the tank, as they will stand on the shark’s way.
Bettas and Rainbows are not suitable tank mates, unless you follow the instructions above.
Disclaimer: I can strongly suggest dividing their tank and keeping them at different parts.
The other tricks might not be very effective and aggression might still happen. So follow your heart.