13 Freshwater Aquarium Sharks For Your Home Aquariums

Last Updated on August 28, 2021 by cmoarz

In recent years, the popularity of freshwater aquarium sharks has risen dramatically. They’re simply impossible to resist!

We’re not exactly sure where the trend started, but we do know it sure is taking off, fast!

These prehistoric fish have been around for a very long time and it’s really cool to own part of that history.

Besides, It’s irresistible watching these clever girls swim around the tank in such a unique fashion.

So I decided to put together a list of the best freshwater sharks to keep in your aquarium. Most of these are fairly small and will be perfect for most aquarium hobbyists, While a few are on the larger side for those with larger tanks.

But one thing is for sure, They’re all incredible!

Bala Shark

Bala Sharks are considered to be gentle and community-friendly, despite their formidable appearances. They’re rather docile and get along with a wide range of fish. When they become larger, they become more aggressive towards smaller animals, but towards most fish, they are usually considerate.

Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center Bala Shark
“Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center Bala Shark” by watts_photos is licensed under CC BY 2.0

There’s a good chance they will eat your fry though, So watch out for that!

Bala sharks seemingly never stop swimming. They are always moving, and seem to enjoy swimming against the current. I’ve never seen a Bala Shark sleep!

For these reasons, they’re considered to be one of the most active sharks in the fish world. They can grow fairly large for a freshwater species too, Usually around 14 inches or so.

So make sure you have plenty of room for them!

The Bala shark colors are magnificent. The shark’s primary color is usually going to be gray with black. Color variants do exist, but they are generally quite similar.

If you are really lucky, You can find yourself an albino variation, But these fish are much rarer. They have mostly white/yellow bodies with red highlights and look gorgeous!

The Bala shark is an easy-to-care-for fish. They do, however, need certain water conditions and a nutritious diet to stay healthy.

The sharks like temperatures in the region of 77 degrees at all times. pH needs to remain fairly high around 7.5, but anywhere between 6.5 and 8 should be “comfortable” for them.

As omnivores, these guys will eat just about anything, But their true dietary needs are mostly protein-based. Blood worms and other larger protein live snacks are good. Brine shrimp when they are young, but you will likely need to gradually increase the size of their meals as they grow up.

Our stats for the bala shark:

Difficulty rating: Medium

Recommended Tank Gallonage: 120G

Minimum Tank Gallonage: 80

Size: Up to 14 inches

Rainbow Shark

Against a green-planted tank with a pitch-black substrate, the rainbow shark really pops like nothing else!

Fish: Gourami & Rainbow Shark
“Fish: Gourami & Rainbow Shark” by _neurotik is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The Rainbow Sharks (sometimes known as Ruby Sharks or Red-Finned Sharks) are a lovely accent to any freshwater aquarium. The Rainbow Shark’s fiery red tail stands out against a natural backdrop, much like the Red Tail Shark. These fish, on the other hand, have bright crimson fins and brilliant crimson tails.

The fins are semi-transparent, which adds to its aesthetically pleasing look. Every fin is crimson red with yellow highlights, which stands out incredibly well with their dark grey and black-colored bodies.

Rainbow Sharks are not recommended for novice aquarium enthusiasts.

This is due to aggressiveness on the part of the fish.

These are highly territorial fish that have been observed attacking other creatures in the tank. So they won’t do well in most community tanks and will need their own special setup.

However, there are some decent pairings that can live side by side with the Rainbow Shark, such as large species of cory catfish and other bottom feeders.

While this shark will mostly stay in the top water column, it will venture down from time to time and may still try and pick a fight, but usually shouldn’t be much of an issue.

As another omnivore species, they will eat just about anything – However, their main diet will consist of algae and sinking pellets, and other blanched vegetables. Don’t skimp on the bloodworms as they still need some protein in their diets.

They are very active fish so make sure you’re going to have the room for them before purchasing.

Water parameters for the rainbow shark should be 24-28c (75-82f) with a balanced ph of 6 to 7.5.

It’s very important the temperature remains stable, If the temperature drops below 22c your shark could become very ill.

Our stats for the rainbow Shark:

Difficulty rating: Can be Difficult

Recommended Tank Gallonage: 60g

Minimum tank gallonage: 40G

Size: 6-7 inches

Red Tail Shark

The Red Tail Shark has been popular in the aquarium trade for some time. They were originally discovered in Thailand’s numerous freshwater lakes and marshes.

Red-tailed Black Shark
“Red-tailed Black Shark” by HarlanH is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Unfortunately, they have been overfished to the point of becoming an endangered species and may be hard if not impossible to obtain outside of a designated breeder.

To add insult to injury, breeding these fish in captivity is not simple. It’s conceivable and has been done by some large commercial producers. However, no known at-home breeding technique has been identified.

It’s not difficult to understand why these fish are so revered. The Red Tail Shark has a distinctive red tail that is appropriately named.

It’s a stark contrast to the rest of the shark’s body, which is dark black. This species also has that distinctive shark profile that many fish keepers look for.

Because of this, it really pops on planted tanks and light or dark substrates!

These fish are very adaptable and can live in a larger variety of water parameters. 72f to 80f and a ph of 6-7.5 will keep them nice and happy.

The Red Tail Shark is a highly aggressive species. The Red Tail Shark is fiercely territorial, attacking anything that enters its territory.

To avoid conflict, the Red Tail Shark requires a lot of room to establish its own territory.

It should be the only shark inhabiting an aquarium. But that doesn’t mean you can keep these beauties with other fish!

Red Tail Sharks have been known to eat smaller tankmates. While not necessarily finicky eaters, they will certainly enjoy a variety of foods in their diet. Feed them algae wafers, sinking pellets, blanched veggies, and frozen or live bloodworms.

Our stats for the Red Tail Shark:

Difficulty rating: Can be Difficult

Recommended Tank Gallonage: 60g

Minimum tank gallonage: 40G

Size: 6-7 inches

Iridescent shark

Iridescent Sharks are difficult fish to acquire. Iridescent Sharks grow to be huge, and they’ve been documented to live for 20 years or more! As a consequence, Iridescent Sharks are considered an endangered species only to be taken by experts.

Iridescent shark - Wikipedia

Unless you live near an aquarium, you may never get the opportunity to observe one of these fish in person. Adult Iridescent sharks are generally dark gray in hue.

The subdued hue that they are named for is something that takes time to develop. The Iridescent Shark has dark shiny skin that gleams in the light as a youngster.

These are fascinating-looking freshwater sharks for your fish tank in terms of appearance, aside from their color. They have barbels and a catfish-like head with distinctive barbels. Their bodies, on the other hand, are rather bulbous. The fins are huge and fan-shaped, giving the fish a distinct profile.

In general, Iridescent Sharks are quite adaptable. They prefer temperatures ranging from 72 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit, normal pH levels of 6.5 and 7.5, and natural décor.

However, feeding may be an issue for most.

The amount of food required by these sharks is significant. Not only that but there must be some variety to ensure they are getting all of their nutrients. As omnivores, the fish will eat anything, so keep things varied.

Just remember, they can grow up to 4 feet long! So it takes a lot of food and money to keep them fed. That’s why these sharks are in the expert category!

Our stats for the Iridescent Shark:

Difficulty rating: Expert only with deep pockets

Recommended Tank Gallonage: 600+g

Minimum tank gallonage: 300g

Size: 4 feet

Violet Blushing shark

The Blushing Violet Shark, unlike other freshwater sharks, is a very docile animal. It doesn’t engage in the same territorial behavior that other species do. As a result, they grow best in the group community tanks.

Violet Blushing Shark | Aquarium fish, Fish pet, Fish

This is a very interesting species for many reasons. First of all, its coloration doesn’t resemble that of other sharks. It has a lot in common with Mbuna Cichlids and Rift Valley Cichlids.

Their colors have been described as “electric blue” or violet-blue.

Another fascinating feature that it shares with other Rift Valley Cichlids is their ability to change color in order to communicate.

They can also “blush” when they are excited or frightened.

The bodies are translucent, allowing you to view internal organs. The shark’s most prominent feature is its gills, which are visible through the body.

It’s critical for these fish to have a well-maintained aquarium. To thrive, they require temperatures that remain relatively steady at 68 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. That isn’t all, however.

The Violet Blushing Shark also requires a lot of swimming room. A minimum of 125 gallons is recommended.

They have a moderate appetite, but the Violet Blushing Shark requires good-quality flake food to stay healthy. You may also supplement with live or frozen foods such as bloodworms and daphnia.

Avoid overfilling or over planting the tank. To thrive, these sharks must have room to swim.

Our stats for the Violet Blushing Shark:

Difficulty rating: Intermediate

Recommended Tank Gallonage: 200+g

Minimum tank gallonage: 125g

Size: 12 inches

Columbian Shark

The Columbian Shark is one of the most difficult species to care for. The Columbian Shark has strict maintenance needs. There’s a lot of misinformation surfacing online lately about how to take care of this shark sadly.

Swarm of Fish
“Swarm of Fish” by Scott Kinmartin is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Contrary to some of that misinformation, these aren’t entirely freshwater sharks. They need brackish water as babies to survive.

You’ll need to add some marine salt to the tank when you’re setting it up so that the specific gravity is between 1.005 and 1.010.

When kept with other fish, Carcharhinid Sharks are aggressive. These are predators that target smaller fish species. As a result, you’ll need to avoid small passive fish.

Another approach to preventing predatory behavior is to make sure the fish are well-nourished. The Columbian Shark feeds on a high-protein diet that includes live and frozen food. Pellets and prepared dry foods are also acceptable. They prefer prey that they can track down, though, so live foods are best.

These fish are one of the most shark-like species available for your aquarium, with a large sail-like dorsal fin. Their bodies are generally gray, black, and silver in color.

On the fish’s heads, you’ll notice a lot of pairs of lengthy barbels. These barbs are utilized to guide the fish in its surroundings and look for food, much like a corydoras would.

The cooler the water temperature, the less happy Columbian Sharks are. Because it weakens their immune system and makes them more vulnerable to disease, cold water temperatures irritate these animals. The following water parameters are essential for this species to flourish: Water Temperature: 75°F to 80°F (24°C – 27°C) pH Levels: 7.0 to 8.0

Our stats for the Columbian Shark:

Difficulty rating: Beginner Friendly

Recommended Tank Gallonage: 100+g

Minimum tank gallonage: 70g

Size: 10 inches

Black Shark

The Black Shark is a large fish characterized by a semi-aggressive temperament. These fish are quite popular because of their frightening appearances, having been discovered in Malaysia.

Black Shark
“Black Shark” by Falashad is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The Black Shark has a similar profile to other freshwater sharks, which are covered in black. A huge dorsal fin adorns the fish. The fish’s large triangular body typically lays flat against the dorsal fin when it swims. However, the fish will occasionally raise its long and pointed tail as if to display itself off.

The Black Shark is a very aggressive and predatory fish. They should not be kept with tiny fish. Most aquarists will keep them with other aggressive species that can endure the bullying nature of the Black Shark.

To their credit, these fish do not need a diet consisting only of pure protein. Some protein is beneficial, but omnivores will consume whatever they can get their jaws on. They enjoy the taste of plant-based meals. These fish are notorious for eating vegetation.

The Black Shark is ideal for tanks that lack a lot of plant life. They love plenty of open swimming areas. Furthermore, numerous caverns are advised, allowing them to relax in their own space.

These fish are difficult and expensive to keep. Their diet, tank conditions, and maintenance needs are all very demanding. Because of their predatory nature, these animals should be kept by intermediate aquarists at the minimum. However, we wouldn’t recommend a beginner to attempt this task either!

Our stats for the Columbian Shark:

Difficulty rating: Intermediate

Recommended Tank Gallonage: 140+g

Minimum tank gallonage: 125g

Size: 24 inches

Roseline Torpedo Shark

The Roseline Shark may be found in three primary colors. It has several bright hues that look fantastic against a natural backdrop. Stripes of red, black, and gold are visible. Patches of green and yellow are also prevalent.

Puntius denisonii
“Puntius denisonii” by JohnInFlorida51 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Roseline Sharks have a distinctively shaped dorsal fin. The prominent dorsal fin is characteristic of all freshwater sharks. A brilliant crimson stripe runs down the center of the Roseline Shark’s distinctive dorsal fin.

The Roseline Shark is a dwarf barbel species that belongs to the Barb family and is one of the tiniest freshwater aquarium sharks available. When it comes to temperament, this can be a good thing.

These sharks are typically not aggressive, so they don’t pose a danger when it comes to aggression. They aren’t too active and aren’t concerned about other community fish. When kept in groups of four to six, the fish do even better, and they will engage in some playful behavior.

The Roseline Sharks are resilient. They may survive in temperatures ranging from 60 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit, although the middle is preferable. A powerful current is one thing they require. Because the fish are native to rivers and streams, recreating that with a powerful pump is critical.

Our stats for the Roseline Torpedo Shark:

Difficulty rating: Beginner

Recommended Tank Gallonage: 100+g

Minimum tank gallonage: 50g

Size: 4.5 inches

Harlequin Shark

Harlequin Sharks (Labeo cyclorhynchus) are a fascinating addition to freshwater aquariums scientifically known as Labeo cyclorhynchus. They’re really stunning. The fish, on the other hand, is noted for living a solitary existence.

Harlequin Shark | Florian Buckwheat | Flickr

They get frightened when they detect other fish. They are aggressive defenders of their home turf against identical-looking species, so you won’t be able to keep them in groups or with different freshwater sharks.

However, if you have enough area, keep them with some fish. The Harlequin Shark is a bottom-dwelling fish that spends the majority of its time hiding. As a result, they may be kept with larger species that reside near the top of the water column.

The Harlequin Skunk, also known as the Congo Perch or Sable Shark, is a species of fish that can be found in numerous African countries. Their native environment is the Congo River Basin’s densely wooded streams. To flourish, Harlequin Sharks require a lot of hiding places. Hardy plants and a series of nooks built from driftwood or rocks are required to survive.

It’s not difficult to feed Harlequin Sharks. They are algae-eaters that spend their time feeding on whatever they can find at the bottom of the tank, including algae, tiny animals, and plant waste.

So be sure to supplement their diet with algae wafers and other blanched veggies.

Our stats for the Harlequin Shark:

Difficulty rating: Beginner

Recommended Tank Gallonage: 80+g

Minimum tank gallonage: 40g

Size: 6 inches

High-Fin Banded Shark

The Chinese High-Fin Banded Sharks are a species that prefer enormous fish tanks or public aquarium systems. They’re quiet creatures who get on well with others. They may be kept with a variety of other fish without causing issues.

Chinese high-fin banded shark - Wikipedia

However, in order to reach this goal, a significant number of them must be maintained. These are schooling fish that like to hang out with their own species. Many aquarium keepers have had difficulties keeping these fish apart. Some of them have perished when kept alone!

The Chinese High-Fin Banded Shark has a unique appearance. However, it only refers to juvenile fish. When they are younger, these sharks have three vertical stripes on their bodies and are brown in color.

The spine’s prominent fin, which is known as the “dorsal fin,” is also quite large. The primary part of the dorsal fin rises to a stunning height. The fin tapers down to a smaller measurement after the sail-like form.

The strange thing about the Chinese High-Fin Banded Shark is that, as the fish grows older, those characteristics disappear. The color fades a bit. Some individuals become completely colored. The dorsal fin does not grow with the fish, making it appear smaller as an adult.

Our stats for the High Fin banded Shark:

Difficulty rating: Expert with deep pockets

Recommended Tank Gallonage: 2000+g

Minimum tank gallonage: 800g

Size: 4 feet + schooling fish

Silver apollo shark

The Silver Apollo Shark, on the other hand, prefers to stay above the water. It’s a fast-moving fish that cruises the surface of the aquarium in search of food. They’ll go as far down as possible to get something to eat.

To put it another way, the Silver Apollo Shark is a highly aggressive creature. It’s a voracious fish that stalks down smaller species at every chance! As a result, they should be housed in tanks with bigger semi-aggressive fish.

The Silver Apollo Shark is shoaling as well. They should be kept in groups of ten or more. In the tank, the fish will swim together and keep safe from other violent species.

Silver Apollo Sharks require a large swimming area. They dwell in swiftly flowing rivers in the wild, thus they are strong swimmers. For hours on end, they may be observed zipping across the tank.

The fish were specifically intended to swim. The majority of the time, they are dark green in hue. There is a deep vertical line down the length of the fish, as well. The fish’s snout is sharp and has a few whiskers on it.

The dorsal fin is comparable in size to other freshwater aquarium sharks. It’s positioned a little farther back on the body than typical, however, placing it much closer to the tail.

Our stats for the Apollo Shark:

Difficulty rating: Intermediate

Recommended Tank Gallonage: 150+g

Minimum tank gallonage: 120g

Size: 7 inches

Black Shark Minnow

The Black Shark Minnow sometimes referred to as the Gold Head Shark, prefers to swim in schools. It’s an active fish that requires an enormous tank in order to thrive.

But keep in mind, this species was created for breeding first and foremost. They have a small home range and they stay on the move most of the time. In short, they are best known for their endurance rather than their aggression!

This is another schooling fish that should be kept with its own kind in a large aquarium using at least three females for each male. Those ratios will help ensure minimal stress among school members while they are in captivity.

Its crucial individuals belonging to different schools aren’t put together under any circumstances! These minnows establish their own territories, so they have to be in a school for them to feel safe.

The Black Shark Minnow has an unusual and charming appearance. At the front of the body is a smallmouth that leads into its long head. It’s not very wide, but it is lengthy. The fish also has two black bands around its body much like other species belonging to the Cyprinidae family.

They are pale olive in tone with dark patches on the fins and tail fin. On their bellies, there are spots that range from red to green or yellowish hues! These banded patterns can sometimes alter slightly when juvenile fish go through puberty into adulthood. As far as coloration goes, this tank shark is really striking!

The dorsal fin of the Black Shark Minnow is long and wide. It’s positioned nearer to the tail than usual in this species. The body of the fish, while slender, has an easily discernible shape.

The High Fin Banded Shark, Silver Apollo Shark, and Black Shark Minnow are all unique species of tank sharks that require different care. If you’re a fish lover with the time and money to invest in these breeds, make sure their needs are met by considering how they behave in captivity. A little research goes a long way for pet owners who want thriving animals!

In conclusion:

If you’re looking for a freshwater shark species to stock in your tank, consider some of these amazing options!

If you have any more questions or would like to share some information about sharks, please comment below. Happy fish keeping!


Owner of AquariumGravel.com and also owner of actual Aquarium Gravel believe it or not! ;). Setting up beautiful aquarium sceneries and habitats since I was very young. Enjoy!