Aquarium and Pond Fish That Look Like Sharks


There are some species of freshwater aquarium and pond fish that resemble sharks. Some of them have long and streamlined bodies, while others have tall dorsal fins, made famous by movies. Keeping these fish is a great way to imagine you have sharks at home without actually having a real shark.

These fish are harmless to humans and can fulfill your fantasy of owning a pet shark. These fish species are of different shapes and sizes, so there’s something for everyone, irrespective of your aquarium / pond size.

All the fish species mentioned on this page should be kept by experienced aquarists who have kept fish successfully for at least 2 to 3 years. Beginners will have a hard time caring for them properly.

Fish Species That Look Like Sharks:

  1. Red tail shark
  2. Rainbow Shark
  3. Flying Fox
  4. Roseline Torpedo Shark / Denison Barb
  5. Harlequin Shark
  6. Silver Apollo Shark
  7. Violet Blushing Shark
  8. Silver shark / Bala shark
  9. Iridescent shark / Siamese shark
  10. Black Sharkminnow
  11. Chinese High Fin Banded Shark
  12. Siamese Algae Eater

Aquarium Fish That Look like Sharks

These fish are suitable for aquariums as they are small in size and require less space to live comfortably.

Red Tail Shark

Red Tailed Sharks are striking fish that are completely black except for the tail. The tails can be bright red or orange, providing a beautiful contrast to the rest of the body. The placement of their fins along the body reminds one of a shark.

They do not tolerate others of their own kind in the aquarium, and will fight constantly. They can be kept with most medium sized fish like Silver Dollars and semi-aggressive fish like Tiger Barbs. However, they will attack any fish with long and flowing fins like Goldfish.

Species NameRed tail shark (Epalzeorhynchos bicolor)
Water Temperature Range22 to 26 °C (72 to 79 °F)
Water Hardness Range (°d)5 to 15
pH Range6.0 to 8.0
Hobbyist LevelIntermediate
Max Adult Size7 in (18 cm)
Min tank size55 Gallons (208 L)
Min number of individuals to keep per tank1
TemperamentAggressive
Lifespan10 Years

Rainbow Shark

Rainbow Sharks have black bodies but all their fins and tails are coloured red or orange. Their bodies are also more streamlined than the Red Tail Sharks.

Like the Red Tailed Sharks, Rainbow Sharks are also aggressive towards others from the same species. Both these species are aggressive to each other as well. However, multiple fish of this species can be kept in the same tank if it is spacious enough.

Species NameRainbow Shark (Epalzeorhynchos frenatum)
Water Temperature Range24 to 27 °C (75 to 81 °F)
Water Hardness Range (°d)5 to 11
pH Range6.0 to 8.0
Hobbyist LevelIntermediate
Max Adult Size6 in (15 cm)
Min tank size50 Gallons (189 L)
Min number of individuals to keep per tank1
TemperamentAggressive
Lifespan8 Years

Flying Fox Fish

Flying Fox Fish have elongated streamlined bodies. Their dorsal, claudal and anal fins are fully or partially black. Their upper bodies are black with a pale yellow line in between. The lower body is silver.

Multiple Flying Foxes could be kept together, but they get territorial and may display aggression. If only one is kept in an aquarium, they can be kept with Angelfish, Loaches, Gouramis and Danios, among other species.

Species NameFlying Fox (Epalzeorhynchos kalopterus)
Water Temperature Range23 to 27 °C (73 to 81 °F)
Water Hardness Range (°d)2 to 12
pH Range6.0 to 7.5
Hobbyist LevelIntermediate
Max Adult Size6 in (15 cm)
Min tank size50 Gallons (189 L
Min number of individuals to keep per tank1 or 6
TemperamentSemi Aggressive
Lifespan10 Years

Roseline Torpedo Shark / Denison Barb

Commonly called Denison Barbs, these fish are very colourful compared to other species on this list. They have silver bodies and opaque fins and tails. The dorsal fin has a pink highlight that accentuates the fish appearance like a shark. The tails have black and yellow stripes towards the end.

They have a black line running laterally along the whole body and a bright pink stripe that goes from the face to just under dorsal fin.

These are active and fast swimming fish that need to be kept in schools. Keeping just 1 or 2 of these in a tank will stress them out, causing them to lose their colours.

Species NameRoseline Torpedo Shark / Denison Barb (Sahyadria denisonii)
Water Temperature Range18 to 26 °C (65 to 79 °F)
Water Hardness Range (°d)5 to 25
pH Range6.8 to 7.8
Hobbyist LevelIntermediate
Max Adult Size6 in (15 cm)
Min tank size60 Gallons (227 L)
Min number of individuals to keep per tank6
TemperamentSemi Aggressive
Lifespan5 Years

Harlequin Shark

Harlequin Sharks have eyes that are very large in proportion to their heads. They also have very large dorsal fins.

Their entire body has a shiny golden base, on which there is a black mottled pattern. This pattern extends to the fins and tail as well.

These guys tend to be aggressive towards similar looking fish like Red Tail Sharks and rainbow Sharks. They don’t get along well with their own kind either. They feed on algae and biofilm as well, lending a helping hand to clean the aquarium.

Species NameHarlequin Shark (Labeo cyclorhynchus)
Water Temperature Range21 to 27 °C (70 to 81 °F)
Water Hardness Range (°d)8 to 18
pH Range7.0 to 7.5
Hobbyist LevelIntermediate
Max Adult Size6.5 in (16 cm)
Min tank size50 Gallons (189 L)
Min number of individuals to keep per tank1
TemperamentAggressive
Lifespan8 Years

Silver Apollo Shark

Silver Apollo Sharks prefer to stay in schools. They can be kept with other fish species that are not too aggressive and are too large to be eaten.

They have streamlined bodies and are fast swimmers. Their bodies are shiny silver in colour and have a black stripe that runs laterally along the body and turns upwards on the tail. There is another line on the bottom of the tail as well.

Species NameSilver Apollo Shark (Luciosoma spilopleura)
Water Temperature Range24 to 28 °C (75 to 82 °F)
Water Hardness Range (°d)8 to 20
pH Range6.0 to 7.5
Hobbyist LevelIntermediate
Max Adult Size12 in (31 cm)
Min tank size100 Gallons (378 L)
Min number of individuals to keep per tank4
TemperamentSemi Aggressive
Lifespan10 Years

Violet Blushing Shark

Another semi-aggressive species, these also prefer to stay in schools. Their light colouration makes them stand out in a planted aquarium, or among dark coloured fish.

Their bodies are a pinkish silver, which is shiny. Their fins and tails are semi-transparent. Their gills are bright pink, and stand out.

Species NameViolet Blushing Shark (Labeo boga)
Water Temperature Range24 to 26 °C (75 to 79 °F)
Water Hardness Range (°d)5 to 12
pH Range6.0 to 8.0
Hobbyist LevelIntermediate
Max Adult Size12 in (31 cm)
Min tank size100 Gallons (378 L)
Min number of individuals to keep per tank4
TemperamentSemi Aggressive
Lifespan5+ Years

Pond Fish That Look Like Sharks

These fish are suitable for ponds as they are larger in size and require more space to live comfortably. These are tankbusters and should not be kept in aquariums. Click here to read what tankbusters are and the problems one faces when keeping them in home aquariums.

Silver shark / Bala shark

Bala Sharks also have a large dorsal fin, similar to marine sharks. Their bodies are silver, while the fins and tails are black at the outer edges and grey at the centre.

Their eyes are huge in proportion to their heads.

Species NameSilver shark / Bala shark (Balantiocheilos melanopterus)
Water Temperature Range22 to 28 °C (72 to 82 °F)
Water Hardness Range (°d)5 to 12
pH Range6.0 to 8.0
Hobbyist LevelIntermediate
Max Adult Size14 in (35 cm)
Min tank size120 Gallons (454 L)
Min number of individuals to keep per tank2
TemperamentPeaceful
Lifespan10 Years

Iridescent shark / Siamese shark

Capable of exceeding 4 Feet in length, these fish are truly giants. They should only be kept in the largest of ponds, with over a 1000 Gallons of water.

The upper bodies are black with the underbelly being white. When young, they have 2 silver stripes running through the black portion. As they grow older, these lines fade away. While the dorsal fin looks too small for their body size, all the other fins and tail are in proportion.

Species NameIridescent shark / Siamese shark (Pangasianodon hypophthalmus)
Water Temperature Range22 to 26 °C (72 to 79 °F)
Water Hardness Range (°d)2 to 20
pH Range6.5 to 7.5
Hobbyist LevelIntermediate
Max Adult Size51 in (130 cm)
Min tank size1000 Gallons (3785 L)
Min number of individuals to keep per tank1
TemperamentPeaceful
Lifespan20 Years

Black Sharkminnow

Black Sharkminnows are large fish, reaching up to 3 feet in length. The fins are large and flowing, which makes the fish appear even larger.

They are completely black in colour and have an aggressive disposition. So you can only keep one of this species in a pond. They can be kept with other large pond species though.

Species NameBlack Sharkminnow (Labeo chrysophekadion)
Water Temperature Range24 to 27 °C (75 to 80.5 °F)
Water Hardness Range (°d)10 to 15
pH Range6.5 to 7.5
Hobbyist LevelIntermediate
Max Adult Size35 in (90 cm)
Min tank size400 Gallons (1514 L)
Min number of individuals to keep per tank1
TemperamentAggressive
Lifespan10 Years

Chinese High Fin Banded Shark

These guys can reach a whopping 4.5 feet in length. Add the fact that they feel safe in groups of 3 or more. Then their massive dorsal fin will require space, so the pond will need to be really huge.

As they grow older, their dorsal fin shrinks in size and their bands fade away. They are gentle giants though, so other pond mates will be safe.

Species NameChinese High Fin Banded Shark (Myxocyprinus asiaticus)
Water Temperature Range18 to 28 °C (65 to 82 °F)
Water Hardness Range (°d)6 to 10
pH Range6.0 to 8.0
Hobbyist LevelIntermediate
Max Adult Size53 in (135 cm)
Min tank size2000 Gallons (7570 L)
Min number of individuals to keep per tank3
TemperamentPeaceful
Lifespan20 Years

Siamese Algae Eater

Because they look similar, Siamese Algae Eaters are often confused with Flying Foxes, since they look similar. However, they are completely different species.

Their bodies are silver with a thick black stripe running across laterally. Their fins and tails are almost completely transparent.

Species NameSiamese Algae Eater (Crossocheilus siamensis)
Water Temperature Range22 to 28 °C (72 to 82 °F)
Water Hardness Range (°d)5 to 20
pH Range6.0 to 7.5
Hobbyist LevelIntermediate
Max Adult Size15 in (38 cm)
Min tank size120 Gallons (454 L)
Min number of individuals to keep per tank1 alone or a group of 6
TemperamentSemi Aggressive
Lifespan10 Years

Syed Baseeruddin Hyder

I’ve been keeping fish and invertebrates in aquariums for over 5 years. Over the years, I’ve kept more than 15 different species of fish and invertebrates. Through ParadiseInATank.com, I hope to guide new and experienced fish keepers alike with as detailed information as I can get.

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