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FAQs on Bala or Tri-Colored Shark Systems

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Related FAQs:  Bala Sharks, FW Shark Systems, Bala Shark Identification, Bala Shark Behavior, Bala Shark Compatibility, Bala Shark Selection, Bala Shark Feeding, Bala Shark Disease, Bala Shark Reproduction, Minnow Sharks 1, Minnow Sharks 2, FW Shark Identification, FW Shark Behavior, FW Shark Compatibility, FW Shark Selection, FW Shark Feeding, FW Shark Disease, FW Shark Reproduction, Redtail Sharks, Redfin Sharks, Black Sharks,


2 Unfriendly Bala Sharks - Cramped Quarters 8/25/12
<Hello Rheanne, Rick here.>
I have two Bala sharks, one is roughly 25cm and the other is about 11cm.
<Still small. Can get as large as 40 cm. Also said to prefer to be in groups of five or more.>
My tank is 180litres
and stocked with Mollies, Swordtails, Platys, Gouramis and Chinese Algae eaters.
<Too small for Bala sharks.  An 8-foot tank (240 cm) is recommended, but bigger than yours in any case.>
When I purchased the Sharks I had no clue they could get so huge.
<One of those fishes where the adult size is buried in the fine print. Research before buying, even if you have to use a book on the rack at the store.>
I've had some in the past and they did not get anywhere close to 25cm.
<Different species maybe?>
Anyway, my problem is that as soon as I turn the lights off my two Sharks begin acting extremely shark like, attempting to eat any fish in their sight.
<Trying to make space?>
They succeeded many a time, of course providing the fish is small (the size of a neon terra) enough to fit in their mouths whole. All my Mollies, Swordtails and Platys seem petrified at night, they all stay at the top away from the Sharks.
<Everybody is stressed. Bala sharks are in a constricted space, everyone else is terrified. Not sustainable.>
I feed my fish twice a day, my Sharks eat the algae wafers I drop in for the Chinese Algae eaters. So my theory is that the Sharks really shouldn't be hungry, surely if they were they would behave the same at day time.
Which they don't! Their so peaceful in the day. 
<Probably not hunger-motivated behavior.>
What I am wondering is if it is possible to transfer these two Sharks to a 90litre tank? I have a feeling this is too small but I thought it worth asking anyway.
<Larger, not smaller.>
My other option if that can't work is to sadly give them to the Pet Shop, which needless to say I don't want to do. I love my Sharks, but their behaviour towards the other fish at night is too stressful for the other fish (well from my observations).
<A larger tank is best.>
Oh and just to note both Sharks are still growing!
<The problem will only get worse.>
Thanks in advance for your time and advice.
<Good luck. - Rick>
Re 2 Unfriendly Bala Sharks - Cramped Quarters 8/25/12

Hello Rick,
Thank you very much Rick for your help.
<Sure thing.>
In future I will definitely look into the fish I buy in greater depth. 
<Good habit to form>
Just one more question if it is that their looking for space, why do they behave that way only at night? They look like they are hunting for food.
They follow fish around and peck after them.  They both sleep in nice open areas in the tank, so I thought they had space, I have a better understanding now, thanks. I'm just curious as to why they behave different with the light off.
<Animal behavior is the stuff on which entire careers are built. Maybe in daytime they are intimidated by a bigger fish (you).  They are still growing, so maybe food is still part of it even though they are well fed in daytime. Hard to say. Sometimes you have uncharacteristic behavior from one individual and others can learn that behavior. That's part of what makes keeping fish interesting.  Regardless of the reason, the problem will get worse as the balas grow.>
Also, roughly how many litres is in a 280cm tank?
<Very large, ~200 gallons/750 liters. Should you choose to go that route, be sure to understand what you are getting into.  Personally, I think there are more interesting choices than Bala sharks to populate a tank that size.>
Thanks again.
<Welcome. - Rick>

Minnow Sharks, sys...     8/31/11
Hello Hello,
I just got two Bala sharks and two rainbow sharks for my dorm tank all of which are around 2 inches right now.
<For now; healthy specimens should add an inch every month or two.>
It is 15 gallons (more long than high) and I figure it will hold me till spring when I plan to get something at least 55 gallons (preferably bigger).
<55 gallons is adequate for a single Rainbow Shark; two specimens can, will fight in such an aquarium, and won't really be at peace in anything less than 100 gallons. As for the Bala Sharks, these SCHOOLING fish get extremely large, 10-12 inches, within a couple years, and even a minimal group of three specimens would need well above 75, 100 gallons.>
In the mean time...I keep trying to find info online as to what kind of set up my tank should be to keep these fish happy, but just can't seem to find it. So if you have any suggestions, please let me know.
<Do read:
And also read here; sensible stocking options would be for a 10 gallon tank, but with a bit more space so perhaps slightly more (but the same sorts of) fish.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Moving Bala Sharks: Need Advice - 8/17/10
To Whom It May Concern:
I currently have an established tank with three balas in it. I love the fish! My dilemma is that I am about to move back to school, and I need advice on how to transport them (i.e. get them into smaller containers).
When I moved home for the summer, I had a heck of a time catching the three fish (took well over an hour) using a net to coral them into separate containers.
<Mmm, two nets... of size, soft mesh... and great care so these minnow sharks don't launch themselves out during the process... LARGE poly fish bags... and a source of oxygen (likely a friendly fish store)... and some sort of insulated container/s... fish box/es, cooler/s>
My concern is that they seem to have grown over the summer and are perhaps even more fidgety. Is there a method that ensures or at least greatly decreases the chance of injuring these fish in catching them?
Thank you in advance!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Should I keep my Bala Sharks? (RMF, six Balas in a 150 US gal.?)<Mmm, yes, can work>  2/18/10
I currently have a 55 gallon that has too many fish.
<Ah! So easily happens!>
Because of this I am in the process of moving to a 150 gallon tank I bought. I have two Bala sharks, approximately 6" in length, along with angels, gold barb minnows, Gourami's, etc. I have read that Bala sharks like to be with their own and need large amounts of space.
<Bala Sharks do need space, yes, but they're perfectly happy in community tanks. They are nervous, which is why they damage themselves if scared by nippy or aggressive tankmates. But if they're kept with peaceful tankmates, they're fine.>
Should I look into getting a few more to add to the two I already have or should I just keep the two I currently have for the tank I will be setting up (which wont be for another month or two)?
<Certainly, the more the merrier.>
I only ask because I have someone who has 4 small Bala sharks (about 3" long) who may be looking to rehome them and I wasn't sure if it was a good idea to add a total of 6 to a 150 gallon tank.
<It would be a bit of a squeeze, to be honest. As juveniles they'd be fine, but once above 20 cm/8 inches, six Bala Sharks will be putting a terrific strain on the aquarium and the filter, even without the Angels, Barbs and other things you already have. Do bear in mind Bala Sharks can exceed 30 cm/12 inches in length, though aquarium specimens that size are uncommon.
Adding a sump to expand water volume would be a relatively easy and unobtrusive way to increase water volume, but you'd still have big fish in a relatively short (left to right, front to back) aquarium.>
Thank you for your time!
<Cheers, Neale.> 

... Bala sharks... env.    1/31/2010
hi guys and gals.
<Nick... where's your grammar man?>
have a question or 2, regarding Bala sharks and a new tank setup I would like to do.
currently, I have a 75gallon tank with 2 Bala sharks and 4 large Tinfoils.
the Balas are about 4 inches now, just over year old. we lost 2 Tinfoils in a day, due to sudden ammonia increase.
<Insufficient biofiltration, circulation?>
got it under control, but too late for 2 fish. obviously we made an error in sizing here and these fish grew too big for the tank. even with 2 whisper filters, it cant cope. I love the Bala sharks and they didn't seem to bothered by it all, but they are only going to get bigger I know, so I'm planning on setting up a new tank. be the 5th tank running now...
id like to make a tank, just for the Balas, maybe get a few more, end up with 4 or 5. my questions are though. is length more important than width and height?
<Surface area most important>
I will probably build this tank myself and I know they like to swim.
2nd question. I have read conflicting reports on this, but seem to get impression from your site, they dont like fast running water, correct?
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/balasysfaqs.htm
and the linked files above>
I have caught mine playing in the smaller filters flow but not sure if they actually like some current or not. I had wanted to use real rock as a background and gravel base, almost like a river I suppose, but want to know if they would prefer it to flow, or be still. planned on using similar set up to my saltwater tank, but using wet/dry filter instead of sump/refugium.
have outflow one end and inflow the other. or be better if I rethink it so no flow?
any suggestions on other ideal environment they like that could be incorporated into a home aquarium. planned on just having Balas in there, unless they like company of another species. they get on well with Tinfoils but just too much for current tank.
any tips be great...
<Please run your writing through grammar, spell-checking before sending to us. Bob Fenner>

Fish (Potamotrygon and Balantiocheilos; cohabiting)   1/18/10
Can Bala sharks live with rays if in correct tank size? Thanks
<In theory, yes, but unless you're running the Shedd Aquarium it's hard to imagine you'll have a tank the correct size. I mention this because Stingrays need huge tanks to do well, a tank twice the disc width of the species front to back, and at least three times its disc width from left to right. This would be about 6 feet long and 4 feet wide for the "small" species usually sold, like Potamotrygon Motoro that get to 18-24 inches in disc width. Let's say you start with a tank 6 feet long, 4 feet wide, and 2 feet deep, that's 48 cubic feet, or 360 US gallons. Oh, you say to me, surely most people keeping stingrays don't have tanks that big? Indeed not.
And most people keeping stingrays end up with dead stingrays. Very, VERY few people keep them alive for anything like their natural lifespan, often losing them within the first year. Let's say a group of three or four Bala Sharks needs another 125 gallons on top of that (a conservative estimate, given their adult size and need for company of their own kind). We're then looking at a tank nearer 500 gallons. To be sure, you could get by with less volume if the filtration was extremely robust and you did massive water changes, but given the cost in RO water to reduce nitrate levels, plus the minerals you'd need to harden the RO to the appropriate water chemistry, it's still very expensive. So, think VERY carefully before embarking on a project like this. If you haven't already bought Richard Ross' excellent (and very cheap) book "Freshwater Stingrays", do so NOW; it's the best $9 you'll ever spend. If you can't afford that book, you can't afford to keep a stingray. Cheers, Neale.> 

Pictus Catfish disappearance 3/26/09
<Hello Michelle,>
I have had a ten gallon aquarium with a small pictus catfish and a small Bala shark for about a month now.
<Completely unacceptable for these fish, and any/all problems you have will come down to this. Both these fish are schooling species for a start, so need to be kept in groups. I'd recommend at least three of each, and ideally 5-6 of each, if you had the space. Pimelodus pictus gets to about 12 cm in length under aquarium conditions, so it isn't too big, but Balantiocheilos melanopterus is much bigger, easily 25+ cm. In other words, you'll need a 115 l/30 gallon tank for the Pimelodus, and a tank at least twice that size for the Balantiocheilos.>
They got along perfectly fine.
<Famous last words.>
I kept them on a diet of sinking shrimp pellets, flake food, and frozen brine and neither had trouble eating. I noticed both yesterday when I fed them, but today the pictus catfish is gone. I don't believe that the Bala shark attacked/killed/ate the pictus catfish overnight, especially when I've kept them comfortably fed.
<Likely jumped out, or simply died and the corpse was eaten.>
I've read that the pictus catfish doesn't jump, burrow, or hide, and to check I've searched all around the outside of the aquarium, stirred up the gravel, and pulled up the fake plants, but it is nowhere to be found.
<Perhaps it chose suicide over a long, lingering death? I don't mean to be harsh (though I admit that I am) but there is absolutely no way either of these fish could be maintained for long in this tank. They were going to die quickly one way or another.>
Also, it had a habit of circling up and down the wall by the filter, but I checked the filter (a long shot) and it wasn't there either.
<Any cats or dogs? Fish-flavored jerky would be gone in no time...>
Any theories?
Thank you for your time, Michelle
<Please do review the needs of your fish PRIOR to purchase. It's best for all concerned. Do see my article on stocking small tanks, here:
Return the Bala Shark and select a few small fish viable for the tank you have. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Pictus Catfish disappearance 03/26/09
Oh. Um, I don't know how it's possible, but I just found the catfish back in the tank, against all reason. Thank you for the advice; as much as I love them both, I'll return them both and get more suitable fish from your article. Lesson learned, I will never listen to the fish care/tank size labels at Petsmart again.
Sincerely, Michelle
<Hello Michelle. Well, today you've been [a] lucky and [b] wise, which isn't a bad way to be. I'm glad you've found the lost fish, and I'm even gladder you've returned them and are now all set to stock with some sensible fish. May I humbly suggest that no matter what you add, add some Cherry shrimps. These are about the most fun you can have with 10 gallons of water! They're colorful, easy to keep, active, and best of all, breed readily. Watching the newly hatched babies is quite the most darling thing! Cheers, Neale.>

Stressed Bala sharks... In a 5 gallon system? And more nonsense, no reading  03/19/2008 Hi, I have a 20l tank. <!? A twenty long, or twenty litres? A five gallon tank? NOT with Balas in it... they get/grow longer than this!> Recently i bought new fish, mollies. After introducing them i also upped the water temperature it was about 70 and i increased it to 74. This caused ich, <Mmm, no> both of my sharks showed signs of stress, constant swimming up and down the glass. I treated the ich with Maracide but both of the sharks stopped eating and soon died. <... you haven't read on WWM...> After treatment for the ich i did a full water test. Temp 74, ph. 7.2, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 40ppm. <Too high> All of these are good according to my test kit. <... incorrect> I reintroduced 2 new Bala sharks <Stop!> and used 20 ml of stress coat. <What!?> It has been 24h since then and both sharks are doing the same thing, up and down the glass and i fear losing them the same way as the others. The other occupants in the tank are 6 mollies, and 4 red eye tetras. Please help me figure out what is wrong and how i can de-stress the sharks. <... I take it this message is not a gibe... meant to pull my/our fins... Please... read on WWM re Balantiocheilos, Ich... Take your time, and become familiar with our general FW index: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsubwebindex.htm Is there a full moon out? Bob Fenner>

Re: stressed Bala sharks... And following directions if you want our help 3/19/08 No there is no full moon. I have a 20 gallon tank, sorry for the typo. What i wrote was not meant to be nonsense, I am not an expert and if i am not correct about my assessment of the situation or information i have given, your sarcasm has not helped me. I have obviously gone to the wrong place for help. <... and obviously not read where you were referred, nor the directions to proof your writing before sending... Good luck, good bye, good riddance! RMF>

Bala Shark hlth., sub terminal mouths   11/25/2007 Hi Bob- I was doing some web search and came across several advices from you on Bala Shark. My son has 20 gal tank with 4 Barbs and 2 Bala Shark for over a year. One of the Bala died about 5 months ago and we have not replaced it yet. The current Bala is about 1.5 in big. In the last 3 weeks or so, Bala Shark's mouth has developed a down ward spout like feature. First I thought that something must be stuck in the mouth but apparently fish is doing fine over 3 weeks and there seems to be no adverse effect on the fish. Have you seen this before or do you know what causes this? Should I be concerned about this or just enjoyed this "downward spout" view? Thanks for your advice. Regards, Jay <Greetings. Bala/Silver Sharks, Balantiocheilos melanopterus, do have somewhat turned-down, or at least under-slung, mouths anyway. So without seeing a photo of your fish I can't say whether this is within the range of normality or something unusual. Physical damage, such as fighting or jumping, can cause fish to dislocate their jaws, and it is possible that this is what has happened. If it is, there's nothing really that you can do. Re-articulating fish jaws is possible, but something for a vet, not a hobbyist, to do because of the fragility of the skeleton. On the other hand, provided the fish is feeding properly, I wouldn't worry about it too much. Do bear in mind that you cannot possibly keep a Bala Shark in a 20 gallon tank for much longer. Wild specimens reach 35 cm, and even in aquarium lengths of 20-25 cm are perfectly normal. The minimum aquarium for these fish would be 150 cm in length. Kept in tanks that are too small these fish become nervous and sooner or later jump out the tank. Cheers, Neale.>

Balas and pictus and sun cats in a 29 10/17/2006 Please I don't know what to do with this shark! I purchased 2 balas today and added them to my existing 29 gallon tank. <<Without quarantine to a 29 gallon tank? These fish get to 14 inches in length and school.  10x your tank size or return to the LFS.>> When I went to watch them this evening I noticed one of the balas has completely lost an eye and don't know to move him/her, leave him, or god forbid put him out of his misery. <<This fish is doomed in your tank either way.>> He seems to be twitching a little and staying relatively in one spot the other fish are so far leaving him alone however I don't know how long that will last as he is in with some African cichlids and 2 pictus cats/1 sun cat. <<Your tank is unbelievably improperly stocked.  Your pictus get to 4 inches plus each, and the Sun catfish to 18 inches.  Add that to the 2 balas, and Im sure you understand how utterly ridiculous this is.  Im sure your fish store told you they were fine, but theyre not. Please research before you buy animals.>> Should I move him or leave him, and will this cause infection with other fish?? <<Either return the catfish (all of them) and the balas, or acquire a tank of hundreds of gallons.>> Thanks for your help  - -TJ <<Glad to help. Lisa.>>

Balas in a 30 - Soon to be Silver Shark Sardines? Hi I have 3 Bala sharks that are at 2.5 inches... <Will get *much* larger. Say, 14 inches? I do hope that you have adequate housing for these fishes.> ...now with 4 neon tetras I was asking how many other fish could I get. <Well, that is a very subjective question. It depends on the size tank, what species you want more of, etc. For example, I could say that you could get 2 more fish, and you could get 2 glowlight tetras or two Oscars.> And if you have any suggestions of the fish I should get. <Again, depends on the size of the tank, though most peaceful catfishes, notably of the genus Corydoras, and small cyprinids would mix decidedly well with your current assortment of fish.> Oh yeah I have a 30 gallon tank <Disregard what I previously typed as to fish suggestions, look up at my first carroted response. Your 30 gallon tank is in no way adequate for the Bala, or Silver, Sharks you are currently keeping. You should not be looking to get more fish, but looking to find a new, more appropriate home for your current piscine stock, or at least the Sharks. Do see the following article for a bit of information on Balas: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/minnowshks.htm.  On a side note, please make a point to research purchases before you make them and to stock according to the adult, not current, size of the fish intended for purchase. If you cannot provide for an adult in your tank, don't buy the baby, no matter how attractive they may be. (I have long had a "thing" for Balas, but continue to refrain from making a purchase, for fear I could not adequately provide for them in even the largest of my aquariums). Best of luck to you, Mike G> <<Editor's note: PLEASE use proper capitalization!>>

Sand and balas Hi guys and gals, <A gal for ya today - Sabrina here> I found your site looking for info on Balas and got sucked in.  Here it is three hours later and I'm still reading, wonderful site!   <Thank you for the kind words!> I have two questions.  1. What is the growth rate of the Bala is there is one?   <Depends upon health, feeding, etc.> I've had one for about a year with some silver tip cats and a pleco in a 20g tall.  He is doing fine and has grown to about 3.5 inches and I want to put him in his own tank with some other Balas. I read they should be in groups of at least four.   <'Tis a good idea, they are definitely schooling fish.> I want the tank to last at least three years, what size should it be <I would aim for 75 gallons or more, if you can swing it, for a handful of these fish> and how big can I expect him to be by then?   <In three years?  Again, depends upon several factors, but assuming all is well, I would think that he may be fully grown by then, at or around a foot in length.> Secondly, this may sound dumb...I love the look of sand but don't know much about it.  Would the average play sand at Home depot stay on the bottom of the tank and not cloud the water?   <I don't know that I'd trust just any average play sand....  Talk to a good fish store in your area and ask if they carry sand in bulk.  I know one of the sands that I used to use in Kansas was marketed as a sandblasting sand, but was ideal for aquarium use, strangely enough.  Steer clear of aragonite sands, as that will alter your pH.> Balas are pretty quick and I'd imagine with the filter's currents and all sand would easily get blown throughout the tank. <Well, depending upon how large of a grain it is, that could be a huge issue, or none at all.  In your case, I'd probably try to find a sand that's very large.> Is it a hassle? <It can be.  It is my substrate of choice for planted aquaria (along with some other stuff), but in an unplanted aquarium, it will compact and create some water quality issues if it's not well stirred occasionally.  Try to find something that suits your tastes and is a large enough grain size that you can vacuum it easily.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina.> JayS Temporary Fish Housing (12/23/2003) Hi-ya thanks for any help you can give me. I am wanting to move my community tank upstairs as a larger tank has been bought for the living room to host Discus. The tank currently running is a 35 gallon community tank. With around 15 fish, biggest of which are silver sharks ( a pair ) around 3-4 inch in length. <Are these Bala "Sharks" (Balantiocheilos melanopterus) or Hemiodus? Either of these will get bigger and need a bigger home. Depending on the projected adult size of your 15 fish, your tank may be overstocked.> The other tank is a 75 gallon which is not set-up as yet. It will have a Eheim 2026 pro II for filtration. I am wanting to move the fish into this larger tank temporarily. So I have a couple of weeks to clean out and replace various parts of the old tank. Just  wondering how quickly I can move the fish into this new tank without risking their health. I will start with just a couple of the more hardy fish like the mollies and the green tiger barbs. The tank is quite large for the fish going into it. <not really> How long should I leave the tank before any fish go in? assuming its free from chlorine. <Seed it with water & filter material from the 35, it will cycle very quickly and you should be able to start after just a few days transferring a few fish every few days. And how quickly should I add the rest? <No clear-cut formula here. Maybe 1/4 of the fish every 3-4 days. If you can get some Bio-Spira (check Marineland's website for info), you can cycle the tank instantly.> I will then of course have to slowly move them back to the original. <Consider Bio-Spira> Would greatly appreciate any tips or hints you could give me, in this stressful time for my little friends!! <Your "sharks" would be better off in a 55G tank than a 35--they need the swimming room of a 48" long tank. Good luck, Steve Allen>

Balas in a 75? I have written several times recently about setting up a 75-gallon FW community. Your advice has been invaluable. I'm at a turning point now, I think. I started with three little Buenos Aires Tetras and I have added three little Bala "Sharks." I've had the Balas for a couple of weeks and I have a question about tank mates/tank size. I thought I would get a Rainbow Shark and a couple Clown Loaches and a Cory or something similar. But I'm afraid the tank is too small for that group of fish. Is my tank even big enough for the three Balas? <The Balas will easily reach sizes of around 12 each so you wont want to add more than another 15-20 of adult size fish to this tank, less would be better. The Clown Loaches can reach an adult size of around 11 each so these are not recommended unless you do get a bigger tank. The Corys and Tetras stay pretty small so should be OK if you go with just a few of each. The Rainbow Shark can get to around 6 so that one is kind of iffy.> I sort of wish I had made the tank a community of African Cichlids, but on the other hand the Balas are the reason I decided to keep fish in the first place. I'm looking for a bigger (used) tank. I'm considering putting the Balas in a bigger tank and converting the 75 to Africans. Does this make sense? Any suggestions? The Balas are only about three inches at this point. Thanks. --Charlie <Putting the Balas in a bigger tank and going with Africans would be a perfect solution. Ronni><<I would not place minnow-sharks with African Cichlids. RMF>>

Bala Sharks In a Planted Tank  - 03/12/2006 Hello Again, I wrote about this time last year with questions about filtration for 150 gal aquarium in which I was overwintering my 2 pond fish, a 12 in goldfish and 15 in koi.  I was (and still am) using a Magnum 350 canister, a HOT magnum filled with bio-media, an Emperor 400 and 3 400 gph powerheads pushing the UG filter.  I siphon 50 gal of the water each week using a python gravel vacuum and stir up the gravel so the filters can take out the suspended waste.  When I wrote last year I was complaining about not being able to keep up the amount of waste generated by the fish.  Bob Fenner suggested I clean the filters more often and add a couple of box filters and an air pump to aid in filtering the debris.  I added the filters and a Luft air pump.  When the weather warmed up enough to take the fish outside, I decided they were too big for my 400 gal stock tank so I gave them to friends who had in-ground ponds and I got a couple of smaller goldfish.  Naively, I figured my filtration set-up would be able to handle 2 goldfish.  I brought them inside in Oct. and have been faithfully cleaning the tank and the filters as described above (I swear) and am back with the same problem, I cannot keep up with the waste from the goldfish, they are between 6 to 8 inches.  SO,  I have decided to give up on keeping the goldfish in the aquarium over the winter.  I may give these fish to my pond friends and get some 'mosquito' fish for my stock tank.  Now I'm getting to my question - I have thought for a long time that Bala sharks are very attractive fish but never had a tank I thought was big enough to house them.  Several years ago I had a 75 gal plant tank with lots of tetras and had good luck, and since I have decided to forego the goldfish I am considering a tropical freshwater tank again.  But before I invest in more lighting and live plants, would you tell me whether 3 Bala sharks would create the same trouble with waste as the goldfish.  I have been thinking about  having a school of 12 to 15 rasboras, several Siamese algae eaters and 12 - 15 kuhlii loaches with 3 Bala sharks.  But I don't want to get it all set up and not be able to keep up with the waste.  I  kept tetras for many years and really do the maintenance I have described.  However, with the goldfish, the pleasure factor is greatly outweighed by the unsightliness of the waste.  Would you be willing to give me feedback about this plan or modifications that would make it feasible?  I'd sure appreciate the help.  Thanks a lot.  Kerry < Bala sharks get big. I have seen them personally up to 18". These of coarse were very old but very well cared for fish. They would be like a bull in a china shop disturbing the planted tank just by their movements. A better choice would be some roseline sharks. They have a similar body shape but a nice red streak to the body. They don't get too big but make a very nice addition to a larger planted tank. they are expensive but the prices are coming down. They would definitely be easier than a goldfish tank.-Chuck>

Bala sharks... sys., dis.   8/18/06 <<Hello. Tom here.>> I have a fifty-five gallon freshwater tank that is three years old and stable. I'm having a heck of a time introducing new Bala Sharks. I've got a healthy one in the tank that is over two years old but when I introduce new ones the new fish develop white scales and their eyes fog over. Temp. is 82 degrees and the PH is 6.8. Everyone else seems happy except the lonely shark. Any ideas? <<Strikes me as an acclimation issue, Bill. Have you asked your shark source as to what their parameters are? If your two-year-old is doing well, I suspect that you're introducing the new ones too quickly into an environment they aren't ready for. Far less likely a problem with temperature than it is with the pH. Get this information from the store and I'll bet you'll discover what the problem is.>> I used Mela fix to help but to no avail. <<Not likely to be at all effective if the cause is pH shock. Tom>>

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