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FAQs on the Freshwater Minnows called Sharks 1

Related Articles: Freshwater Minnow SharksBala or Tri-Colored Sharks, Redtail Sharks, Redfin Sharks, Black Sharks,

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

Shark? Minnow? Asian? Myxocyprinus asiaticus asiaticus.

Albino Shark Hi, I am amateur fish owner.  I have an albino rainbow shark.  This fish likes to swim along the edges of the tank and is usually pretty mellow.  All of the sudden he's hiding a lot.  I check my water every other day and the quality is good.  What could this behavior be?  Thank you. <Not unusual for this minnow-shark species to be or become more reclusive. This is likely "nothing" to be concerned about. Just do make sure it is feeding (sinking pellets and wafers, cooked squash...). Bob Fenner>

One Eyed Shark 6.12.05 I have a few small sharks and when I cleaned the tank tonight I noticed that one of them have lost there eye. <uh oh> What would cause this? <Shark Attack?>  and should I take it out of the tank? <If this is the only damage and it looks like it is healing up I would leave him in the tank, if it gets weird and fuzzy or oozy looking I would quarantine him in a separate hospital tank.  He may have bumped into a decoration, gotten into a scuffle with the other sharks, damaged during transport, lost it to the net, really hard to say.>     I don't know what kind of sharks they are, I just got them from Pet land. <visit google.com and do an image search for freshwater shark or something similar, find a pic that looks like your fish, find out the name, then use fishbase.org for more information on your fish.  Gage>

Rainbow Shark Cannot Swim Well This morning when I woke up I turned on my aquarium light and discovered my rainbow shark at the top of the tank, she absolutely cannot stay down. She is very much a favorite of mine and I'm very worried about losing her. Can you please help me? >> Some fish that are not normally surface feeders will occasionally swallow air bubbles when they go for food. Usually this lasts for up to three or four days, before they swim normally again. Nothing you can really do but wait at this time. Good Luck, Oliver

Re: rainbow shark cannot swim well Oliver, thank you for your help, I am really grateful. She is still not doing well, but at least now I have an idea of what might be wrong. Thanks >> I hope she will get better, there are also some infections that cause this kind of symptoms, but I think that it is more likely that your fish's problem will pass. Good Luck, Oliver

Re: rainbow shark cannot swim well thank you again for your help, she did end up dying but at least I tried. Maybe she had one of those infections or something, I don't know. I'm pretty new to all of this.  You don't think the other fish I have will be at risk do you? thanks again, Angy >> Not likely. Often internal infections like this kill only one fish. If you get another fish with this problem let us know! Thanks, Oliver

Bala shark prob., environmental disease/poisoning My problem is with a Bala shark. I got two sharks about 2 weeks ago. I had been having some water problems, did a big partial change, <How big?> added BioSpira, and had water rechecked. Water was better, with the nitrates going from more than 250 to 200, and the nitrites are still high at 12. However, the ammonia is okay at 0.5, <?! Not okay... should be zero. Do not add livestock to an uncycled system...> and the buffering is good at 90. My Ph as of today is 7. My last Bala died before I started correcting my problem. The pet store said not to change my water for 4 weeks after adding BioSpira. My problem is this Bala, it has a cloudy eye, is breathing rapidly and color is a bit pale. I fear the worst is going to happen. The other Bala I got is okay. I got these two after my second water check. All other fish, angel fish, catfish, different tetras are all okay. What do I do? <... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm and the linked files at top. Bob Fenner>

Minnow full of eggs? Dear Bob  my shark has laid her eggs how long should it typically take for  them to hatch ??? she has black tipped fins  I bought her pregnant that night she laid her eggs hope you can help me thank you for your time. <Mmm, is this a "minnow shark?". Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/minnowshks.htm and learn how to use your spelling and grammar checkers... Bob Fenner> how long does it take for shark eggs to hatch??? And what should I be looking for if and when they do thank you for your time <See previous email>

FW Sharks and Decaying plants Chuck, Thank you for your quick feedback. Ok, I guess I will have to get another tank for the Cichlids when I know a little more about this incredible hobby. I am enjoying myself tremendously and this is such a stress reliever. I am puzzled by the last comment that was made, "BTW, when you start missing fish, it's the sharks that are doing it." The sharks seem to be the least aggressive of all the fish that are in there. Do they have a hidden temperament or something I should know about? < As your shark grows it will attempt to eat fish that it can swallow. Right now it will not bother any fish it cannot eat. It will get big and eventually the smaller fish will come up missing. Check your sharks out at fishbase.org.> One more question, I put live plants in the aquarium Friday night and I woke up Saturday and fed the fish. Everything was fine and about an hour later the tank was (and still is) extremely cloudy. What could be causing this and does it have anything to do with the plants?  < Maybe. Check the ammonia and the nitrites. They should both be zero. The nitrates should be under 25 ppm.> The cloudiness has a extremely faint greenish tint to it. I checked the PH and it is about a 6.5-6.8. I changed the filter last night in hopes that would solve the problem, but I woke up this morning and it's still cloudy. What do I do? Thank you so much. Sarah <Check the water quality. Do a 30% water change and vacuum the gravel. Don't overfeed. Feed once a day and only enough food so that all of it is gone in two minutes.-Chuck> 

Tight Tank Dear WetWebMedia Crew, I have lost three Bala sharks (out of five)- two just suddenly died with no signs of illness, and with the third death the only sign was a slight reddening on the lower fins and very slightly above one eye. Now another Bala has developed this red colouring to its two lower and one upper fin. Can you tell me what this is, and advise me on how to treat it, please? The tank is approx. 80 liters, and contains four Bristlenose catfish, four blue Gourami, three black angelfish, one Redtail shark and several breeding snails (although the breeding has stopped in the past eight weeks, prior to this the breeding was prolific). Last week we added a second filter, a BioWheel, to our primary filter and we vacuum and change the water irregularly but on an average of every four weeks. These fish have lived happily together for the last eight months and the only fish we seem to lose are the Bala sharks (which upsets my husband as they're his favorites). Robyn Johnsen <Your problems are stocking levels and general water maintenance. You have far too many fish in this tank. To maintain good water quality with this many fish, in this size tank, would require a stream being diverted through it! If you want to keep Bala Sharks you need to upgrade to at least a 55 gallon tank. Same for the Angelfish. The Redtail may be OK for now, but will become very aggressive as he matures. Not good in a small tank. And four Bristlenose? Find three a new home unless you plan to upgrade.  That leaves you with the 4 Blue Gourami, the Redtail, and a Bristlenose. About your limit. Then you must do more frequent water changes, always with a gravel vac. About 50%, once a week. Your Bala Sharks problem is known as bacterial hemorrhagic septicemia. Usually caused by poor water quality, especially high nitrates. Getting the water pristine will help. Oxytetracycline may be needed, but they will have to be treated in a hospital tank. Using a med in the main tank will nuke the beneficial bacteria your are trying to get established on that Bio Wheel. That will result in ammonia spikes and compound your problems. Don> 

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!>>

Sick Bala Shark We have a Bala shark about 10" long who has started swimming up side down and laying on the bottom of the tank all of a sudden.  Any suggestions? Thanks in advance John Sutherland <Yes... either move this fish NOW or change a very large part of its water... something is very wrong... with your water quality likely... Unless it rammed its head but good! Bob Fenner> 

Re: Sick Bala Shark Unfortunately the fish expired. We did a 20% water change and a double dose of Cycle but it didn't help. For some reason after a water change the Nitrates went through he roof. The other fish seem OK. Thanks for your quick reply though. John <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Balas are cyprinids Are you serious about the (Bala sharks) being (fresh water minnows)? <Yes, they are> Cause I have a Bala shark of my own and he actually does look like a minnow.  I was also wondering if when it gets older if I could feed it feeder fish. <Not suggested> I hope you right [write] back, I would really like to hear back from you and you could give me more advice that you know and I don't. <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ See the Google search tool? Put the term: "Bala Shark" in it... Bob Fenner> 

Bala shark twitching Hello We have a 29 gallon tank with one Bala shark, 3 painted tetras, 6 zebras, 1 baby angel, 1 rainbow, 1 gourami, 3 green cobra guppies, 3 red swords and 2 Cory cats.  Problem: Bala has been twitching since we got him 3 weeks now. We never see him eat- flakes so far. Now he is occasionally swimming nose down. Any suggestions?  smiley <Mmm, try different foods... this minnow shark is social, does like and require larger quarters when it's bigger, but rarely refuses food... Likely it is just unfamiliar with the format you are offering... try some frozen/defrosted meaty foods or live. Bob Fenner>

Colorless minnow sharks I have a 30 gal tank with 3 balas and 3 redtails (1/2 in each) and two of the three redtails actually are lacking color in their tails. Is there any particular reason for this? <Three principal possibilities (or a combination thereof)... Genetic... some are just not from colorful stock Nutritional... not fed enough of what it takes to color up Environmental... water conditions don't suit them.  Likely yours are just young... will color up given your good care, a mix of foods (some fresh, some green) and regular maintenance (water changes...). Bob Fenner>

Bala shark question I have 3 Bala sharks, and I noticed last week the dorsal fin on one of them has started turning pinkish red, and now the other two also have it.  Do you have suggestions to what is wrong with my fish, and ways to help them out? Jennifer <Good observation... reddening can be an indication of infectious disease... and/or environmental complaint... which is almost always the direct cause of such infections... I would check your pH, ammonia... and more importantly, change a good part of your water (25%) or so every three days... and see if this improves your fish's health. Bob Fenner>

Unusual behavior or RT Shark I have a guppy tank with 10 half inch guppy fry. My red tailed shark (2.5 inches) seems to be acting very strange. He sort of chases the guppies from his cave but he does this flicking thing, like he bolts for about 4 inches very quickly, turns sideways then swims to the bottom.  also he does this when there's no other fish to chase. My red-tailed shark also seem to like to be cleaned by the guppy fry. He'll lay on the bottom and the guppy fry will well pick on him like cleaning him. Is any of this behavior seem strange to you or the "flicking thing" unusual? <Not unusual... normal... but there is a concern going forward re compatibility... the Shark will likely cause your guppies trouble as it gets larger> P.S.  my tank for the freshwater barracuda (Ctenolucius hujeta) is 49 gallon tank that my cichlids used to be in. will this tank be ok and do I need to make any water adjustments? <Likely will be fine. Bob Fenner> 

Diamond Shark??? Hi there. I have a question about my diamond shark. I have noticed a white spot in front of his eye. Would you have any idea to what it might be? As far as I can see it is not ick. Your help would be nice. Thanks Nancy <Not sure what fish you have, common names being what they are. A Google search of an image of "Diamond Shark" netted no fish. A single spot may or may not be Ick. If you see a second spot or if the fish is "flashing" against the bottom or a rock then I would assume Ick and treat with salt. But without being sure of the type of fish this is I'm not sure salt is the best cure. Some shark-like FW fish are sensitive to high salt levels. Don>  Discus and Bala sharks Hi Bob: Here Ahmed from Pakistan.  I have some Bala Sharks in my 5 feet long tank. 2 of them are quite big nearly 8 inches and 5 are 4 inches in length. Now I intend to keep small Discus fishes in my aquarium. My question is that can I keep discus with these big Bala Sharks?  Thanks Ahmed < Your Bala sharks will get too big and be too fast for you discus to really feel comfortable and thrive.-Chuck>

Frogs and Bala sharks I recently began a small semi aggressive community of fish and aquatic frogs (2). After about 2 months, I am experiencing some problems with my tank. The frogs are faring just fine, but I am having problems keeping a Bala shark alive. I have gone through two now. The only other fish in the 2.5gallon tank is a Betta fish and he seemed to get along fine with the balas. I am aware that stress from the 2 albino African clawed frogs could have caused the shark's demise, but I am believe it had something to do with the water quality. It has become cloudy and foamy.  I used spring water that I treated before I put the fish in and I clean the tank monthly, using Aquasafe as a water conditioner.  Recently, the water took on a pungent, stale odor and became cloudy. I tried cleaning the tank and the cloudiness continued. A few days later, the surface of the water started frothing (or foaming) in front of the filter and circulating around the tank. My first question is: what causes this foaming and what can I do to alleviate it before it kills another of my fish? The 2nd Bala died yesterday 2 days after the foam started and the first one died almost immediately after purchase. The second question is: Is it wrong to keep those three species together?  Was the stress level too high for the Bala? My third question is: Even though these are small fish in a small tank with a filter, do I need a larger tank or perhaps an aerator? Thank you for any assistance you can provide.  Sincerely, Lauren >>>Hi Lauren, A few things. First it is generally not wise to keep herps and fish in the same system unless it's properly designed to accommodate them. Especially in such a small system. Second, what kind of filter do you have? When you say you clean the tank monthly, what exactly do you mean? Do you empty it an strip it down? Third, Bala sharks get HUGE, and are active and nervous fish. 2.5 gallons is too small *in the extreme* for this species. Long term, 55 gallon minimum. Without any other info, my advice would be to get a larger tank for your fish, and leave the frogs in the 2.5. Get a good hang-on BioWheel filter or a canister filter, and DO NOT break the tank down when you clean it. Any filter pads and such need to rinsed in water from the tank to avoid killing the bacteria in the filter. Jim<<<

FW shark Hi. I have a small shark about four inches long. He is black with a bluish neon stripe on his side. <Painted> Today he looked very thin and he looks pale (grayish) his (or her) eyes seem to be bulging out. <Good observation, bad sign> I don't know what's wrong could we be feeding him food that's not good enough we are feeding him Flakes (like for tropical fish) we also have mollies and other small fish in the tank he is very nice to them but he never gets any food (that I see) we have a plant in there also. I don't know what to do! He is usually energetic and swimming all around the tank but now he is just very low in one place. Please mail me back ASAP. Thanks, Lauren <Mmm, I would try some meatier food... that sinks... look into "sinking pellets" and wafers... and try some frozen/defrosted foods... quick! As per the note above... your fish's health may be impugned by its having been painted (the blue streak)... avoid painted fish. Bob Fenner>

Re: painted shark "Hi. I have a small shark about four inches long. He is black with a bluish neon stripe on his side. <Painted> Today he looked very thin and he looks pale (grayish) his (or her) eyes seem to be bulging out. <Good observation, bad sign> I don't know what's wrong could be be feeding him food that's not good enough we are feeding him Flakes (like for tropical fish) we also have mollies and other small fish in the tank he is very nice to them but he never gets any food (that I see) we have a plant in there also. I don't know what to do! He is usually energetic and swimming all around the tank but now he is just very low in one place. Please mail me back ASAP Thanks, Lauren <Mmm, I would try some meatier food... that sinks... look into "sinking pellets" and wafers... and try some frozen/defrosted foods... quick! As per the note above... your fish's health may be impugned by its having been painted (the blue streak)... avoid painted fish. Bob Fenner>" He is looking a little better today. We thought we would lose him but his color is back a little and his eyes aren't bulging out nearly as much. my mom is going out on her way home from work to try and find some better food. His Neon stripe you can only see like when he turns or swims fast but its definitely a neon stripe. thanks for all your advice. <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Where to buy a freshwater shark - 1/17/05 Hi, where can I buy a baby freshwater shark? <Brian, not really sure if you are aware of what you are asking but I think you may be asking about the freshwater minnow "sharks" that are not really sharks at all. In any event, we don't sell anything at this site but any of our online etailers and or local fish store (pet fish store in your area) should be able to assist you. If you are looking for a freshwater shark that looks similar in appearance to a saltwater shark well.....there just isn't anything available but I think you are interested in these: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/minnowshks.htm Hope this helps more than confuses. Thanks for being part of it all. ~Paul>

Fishy Questions... naturally jumpy Bala Hello. I am just another curious fish owner and I saw your email on wetwebmedia.com so I decided to email you my questions. First I have 8 Tiger barbs(2 are albino), 1 Bala shark, 2 Red tailed black shark(1 Albino), and a Pleco. All of my fish are in a 35 Gallon tank. The tank was recently heavily vegetated and had many hiding spots for the fish, however when I got tired of my Bala sharks weird behavior I took a good bit of Vegetation out of my tank to give him more room to swim hoping that would fix his strange behavior. Now let me explain the problem. All my other fish are very calm in the tank, even when I tap on the glass they just seem to ignore it. However, when ever I come about 1 or 2 feet close to the tank. My Bala shark goes nuts! He takes off from one side to the other swimming up and down the side of the aquarium, then he will dart behind something and hide or jam himself into a tight corner or position. After a while, he will calm down and stay in a corner. He t   hen jerks and shakes randomly and he looks like a dead fish. Whenever I leave the room and come back in later (but stay away from the tank) I can see from a distance he is just acting normal and swimming around, but when I get up close the whole cycle happens again. Do you know what is wrong?? I had two other Bala sharks and that didn't help at all. They soon died off though but  he survived. --Please email me at XXXX@excite.com < Your Bala shark gets to over a foot long and like lots of area to swim. I would try and get a few more and make a small school for him. Be prepared to get a much larger tank as they grow. You could also try smaller bulbs or put the tank in an area without so much foot traffic.-Chuck> Thanks --Puzzled in Louisiana

FW minnow shark/actually brackish water catfish (env.) disease Hello- I need a little help here. We have a 75 gallon freshwater tank. We have had what I think is an ongoing problem of some sort of disease. I have already had 2 Iridescent Sharks die. They begin to stop eating get really skinny and then just swimming all weird. Top of the tank bottom and middle. I'm a little confused I just don't see why its only the Iridescent Sharks, no one else seems to be showing any signs of disease. The first 2 died within a few days of each other,  now it has been about 3 weeks since we have had any problem and now we have it starting all over again. The tank includes 2 Bala sharks, 1 gold shark, 1 silver shark, 1 cigar shark, 2 glass cats, 1 ghost knife, 1 coolie loach, and 2 iridescent. We are running a Aqua Clear 500 and a Aqua tech 20-40. plus 2 Aqua clear 4000 power heads, for under gravel filtration. The tank has been running since June 25th of this year. When we set up the tank we started it with A miracle and a 700 gph pump (little giant). In about September we noticed a crack in the sump and immediately replaced it with the filtration that is on it now. About 3 weeks the filter crashed we first noticed the first iridescent swimming disoriented, and then he stopped eating, then died, The 2nd one followed shortly there after. We suspect the tank recycled causing stress to induce these deaths. It has now been about a month and we seem to be having the same problem again with another iridescent only this time there seems to be damage and some sort of spot on the top fin. If there is anything you can do to help or maybe give us an idea of what this might be please contact me by e-mail. < First of all we need to evaluate the overall health of the tank. For that you need to get some testing done. Measure the ammonia and nitrites. They should be zero all the time. Any readings mean that the nitrogenous wastes are not being completely being broken down by the bacteria and you will need to address that. Secondly is get a reading on the total nitrates . They should be less than 25 ppm but some fish may not be able to handle even that high of a reading and you iridescent sharks may fall into that category. They may not die out right but instead succumb to diseases for which they never recover from. The nitrates can be reduced by servicing the filter regularly and by doing weekly water changes. The amount of water is determined by the fish and how they are being kept. For general purposes we usually recommend about 25% per week.-Chuck> <<Is an ariid catfish... not freshwater... RMF>> Jamie Black Fin (ariid catfish) Sharks <FW?> Hello Crew, <Hi Greg, MacL here with you today> I love your site! I've been an avid reader of your website, recommended to me by our local salt water fish store, since I began work on my first salt water aquarium. My question pertains to 2 Black Fin sharks that I have in a 20 gallon brackish water aquarium. <<?>> I've had the sharks for about a year now and they are both about 4 inches long. They are very active and healthy.<That's great!> But reading on your site tells me that the 20 gallon will not hold them for much longer.<They grow soooo fast!> I also just read that they would prefer a saltwater environment once they get closer to adulthood. I have currently a 55 gallon saltwater with 60lbs of live rock, 2 1/2 inch sand bed, 1 Tomato Clown (1"), 1 Flame Angel, 2 Fire Fish, 1 cleaner Shrimp, 1 Sand Sifter Starfish, 1 4"Green Brain & a few frag corals all doing well. Water parameters in the salt water tank are PH 8.2, Salinity 1.024, Nitrates and Nitrites are 0. Can or should I add the 2 sharks to this environment? <You can but they most likely will eat your shrimp, and possibly your fire fish if the opportunity presents itself.> If I can, how long should I set up a drip to acclimatize the sharks to the saltwater salinity? <I would do it over as long a period as possible. At least 12 hours is my preference and if I could I would make it longer.  Slow acclimation is best.> <<RMF wonders if these are shark minnows... not cartilaginous fish>> Thanking you in advance, Greg Forrest

Bala Shark behavior Why do my Bala sharks shimmy and rub up against one another especially when I feed them? Also can I breed them and can you tell male from female? Amy <Hi Amy, Don here. I've never kept Bala Sharks so I did a little research. Seems this is a common behaviour for them, especially after feeding. Unless everyone happens to have a pair, I would think this is not linked to breeding, which is very rare in captivity. I know of know way to sex them. See link. http://www.suite101.com/discussion.cfm/16672/99195 >

ID of a friend's fish Hello,    I've got a identification question of a friend's fish that will probably be pretty easy for you guys--I just haven't run into this type of fish before in my freshwater fish experience.  The attached photo is a picture of my buddy's fish, it's about 5 inches long living in a 30 gallon tank.  I appreciate any help you can provide. Sincerely, Shay Harrison <It's one of the "shark-minnows" called a Black Shark in most places... Labeo (formerly Morulius) chrysophekadion... and it gets MUCH larger. http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?ID=12102&genusname=Labeo&speciesname=chrysophekadion Yep, ninety cm.! in the wild... times four cm./in... that's three feet! Keep that tank covered as they are great jumpers. Bob Fenner>

New Aquarium, filter, shark size/isolation <Don is having computer difficulties> Thank you for all of your help, we took back the UG Filtration system & bought a Fluval 304 canister filter. We now have 2 beautiful angelfish in our 36 gallon tank & hope to add more fish soon. As for our poor little shark, he is getting bigger, but he is still in the 5 gallon tank & doing well. I just couldn't bring myself to taking him back to the store. Not sure what I will do. I just can't believe they sold him to me & told me he would get to be 4 inches (not FEET) I could not believe that when you told me that. Until I saw some pix online. Wow! My daughter loves him, so what do you do... <More tanks!> Thank you for all of your help. I am so glad there are websites like yours for all of us to go to & people like you that take the time to answer emails. Gratefully yours, Amanda K. Follett <Glad to be of assistance. Bob Fenner> 

Red Tailed Shark A few days ago we noticed that our red tailed sharks bottom lip is protruding grotesquely and is bright red, he is hanging vertically headfirst at the top of the tank. He obviously is not feeling good. Coincidentally, or maybe not so coincidentally, we have a bacterial infection running through our angels right now, which has resulted in 7 deaths since Saturday. We are treating them, since Monday, with Nitrofurazone. Any ideas as to what the problem may be, and should we euthanize him and put him out of his misery? Thanks. Zak Barrett :'( < Do a 30% water change every day before treatment and make sure the filter is clean and the carbon has been removed . This will make the medication more efficient. You shark does indeed have a bacterial infection and the medication should have some effect. If the mouth does not heal properly then he may not be able to eat. If he survives the treatment watch him to see that he gets enough to eat. If the mouth is damaged beyond repair then put him in a glass and add a couple of Alka-Seltzer tablets. The co2 in the tablets will displace the oxygen in the water and your fish will slowly drown.-Chuck> Myxocyprinus asiaticus asiaticus "China Shark" 7/29/04 Hello. I recently bought a fish called a "China Shark". It has a sucker mouth, is freshwater, about 2 inches long (juvenile?), black with white vertical stripes not unlike a tiger barb (except for color), and a dorsal fin very much like an Orca whale, and is peaceful in my community tank (50 gallon long). I know I should have researched about it first before purchase like I have hundreds of times before in the last 20 or so years of this hobby but the fish was stunning and was kept with non aggressive fish in the store.   I just can't find any info. Can you help? Thanks. < I think you have a Myxocyprinus asiaticus asiaticus. They get over two feet long an prefer cooler water like goldfish. They do come from northern China and are not too particular on the chemistry of the water.-Chuck> Chinese shark ... actually a sucker/catostomid          I have a high finned Chinese shark. He is about 18-20" in length. What I'm looking for , or asking, is if you know where I can take him to preserve him? I have him in a 55 gal. tank, and don't have the space for anything bigger. <Which part of the world do you live in? Hopefully you're near public aquarium/s that might accept such an animal for display. Bob Fenner>

Injured Silvertip Hi there~ I have a baffling mystery. This evening when I was feeding my fish I noticed my [smaller] Silvertip shark had a red dorsal fin. Upon closer view I can clearly see it's filled with blood. None of the other fish were picking with him and he doesn't appear to have any bites out of any of his (I assume a he) fins. This is so disheartening! I removed him from the tank he was in (all the fish in there are semi-aggressive and I didn't want them to start messing with him) and put him in the smaller community tank. There is some swelling on his body around the base of the fin and no blood is oozing out. I can't imagine what happened. None of the rocks are out of place and he hasn't been swimming erratically and bumping into anything. The fin is almost completely upright but I can't help the feeling that it might be broken somehow. He is doing his best to swim and stay upright but I think he is getting tired. He will swim then ride the current and then swim some more. I don't know if he's going to make it but I'd like to try. Two out of six total Silvertips remain. I've had a hard time with these guys. The only thing I have at the moment to treat him with is Bio Coat. I put that in the water of the smaller tank before transferring him. Is there anything I can do? Some tank history: 60 gallon - 1 Betta, 1 Pleco (brown with spots), 2 Parrots, 2 Black Stripped Silver Dollars, 3 Tiger Barbs, 4 Barbs (Orange), 7 (Forgive me I don't know the name of these guys) clear (as in see through) with neon edging (each one has a different color: pink, green, orange, yellow, blue, purple, and black)...whew, if you know their name that would be great. For now I just call them Mr. [then their color], and 2 Silvertip Sharks. I originally had 2 spotted puffers (yellowish/green, black spots with a white underbelly) but they were very aggressive towards my Silvertips (that's how I lost the first one). <<These "sharks" are actually brackish to marine catfishes... the puffers are brackish to marine as well... RMF>> Now they have their own 10 gallon. (2nd) 10 gallon - 1 Pleco (same as above only much darker), 1 Black Skirt, 1 Scissor Tail, 3 Neon Tetras, 4 Goldfish, and a mysterious snail that appeared out of no where. This is the tank I put the injured Silvertip in. I apologize for the lengthiness of this email. I did search for a possible answer ahead of time...came close but no hits. I am a new fish mommy and love every minute of it. I even managed to nurse one of the Silvertip Sharks back to health after it had gotten picked on by the puffers only to have it die from high Nitrate stress. Very sad!! I don't want to loose another one if I can help it. I truly appreciate you taking the time to read this...trust I have tons more questions but first my wounded fish. Thanks, ~Nad  <<Hello. What do your nitrates measure in both tanks? Both your tanks seem overstocked to me. Also, neon tetras and goldfish absolutely do NOT belong in the same tank. Way different lifestyles, temp requirements, feeding, pH, etc, there. When any species of fish is kept in the wrong environment, it leads to stress, and eventually, disease. You should try to decide who to keep and who to part with. If you remove the goldfish and return them to your LFS, it would be easier to keep the 10g as a hospital tank where you can treat the shark. You could move the neons etc into the 60g temporarily until the shark is cured. A dose of Melafix or some salt should help him out if the infection is mild. If not, he may need something stronger, like an antibiotic, I can't tell without seeing him. You will need to use good judgment to decide that. Also, please do sufficient water changes in order to keep your nitrates low and your fish healthy! Use your test kits! :) -Gwen>> 

Eyeless shark id... adding more? Hi,  I recently inherited a 90 gallon freshwater aquarium with about 6 or 7 fish it in. The temperature of the aquarium is 80. I've never had fish before and i have these 4 sharks which are about 4 inches long. They are black with a silver stripe along their sides. The fish guy that I hired to set up the aquarium said that they all had no eyes, which he said they are supposed to, and that he had never seen anything like it. I was wondering if you might know what kind of shark they are. < Sorry, I have never heard of anything like it either.> Also I was thinking of getting some more fish for the aquarium, but am not sure what kind are compatible with the ones i already have (ones that the sharks might not eat). I want some with colour, but aren't too expensive. I have 4 sharks, a greyish angelfish, a guppies and an algae fish. < Over time your angelfish will end up eating your guppy. I would recommend some rainbow fish. They are fast open water swimmers that are attractive too. They come in many colors and get around 4 inches, but over time they may get as large as 6 inches.-Chuck> If you could email me back as soon as possible, as I want to buy some new fish in a couple of days, that would be great.

Bala Sharks  I have somehow paired up a loving pair of Bala Sharks. They really haven't had anything to do with each other, so I thought they must be females. But today, the are swimming, rubbing and everything in between! I've read about 100 internet pages about Bala  Sharks and 50 say they can be bred in captivity and 50 say they can't. Some said they have to be a certain age. Both are about five inches, and young, they were added to the tank about two weeks ago. I don't know what to think, they are my first set of Balas. If she will be pregnant, will you please email me with any info on the gestation and signs?  <<Hi, I'm sorry, I have NO idea. Maybe someone else on the crew can help? -Gwen>> >>Marina will be looking into it within the next few days.  These fish aren't "young" if they're already 5" long.  Check ya!  Marina

Amorous Bala Sharks - Marina's Reply >I have somehow paired up a loving pair of Bala Sharks. They really haven't had anything to do with each other, so I thought they must be females. But today, they are swimming, rubbing and everything in between! I've read about 100 internet pages about Bala Sharks and 50 say they can be bred in captivity and 50 say they can't. Some said they have to be a certain age. Both are about five inches, and young, they were added to the tank about two weeks ago. I don't know what to think, they are my first set of Balas. If she will be pregnant, will you please email me with any info on the gestation and signs? >>Ok, first, a Bala shark (a type of barb, minnow, or carp - Balantiocheilos melanopterus) that is 5" long is a "young" fish, but is at least approaching sexual maturity. If you can, take note of your water conditions, as this will be important in future. My guess is that their addition to your system two weeks ago simulated the right type of water condition changes to stimulate breeding. They are an egg laying species, which means the female can become full of eggs, but they are only fertilized externally from her body. They are considered to be endangered in their native waters. I would take the present information regarding breeding of other barbs (along with fry rearing techniques) and apply that here. As you've discovered, there isn't much published on breeding this particular fish. This means that if you keep good notations, you could add significantly to the database for this fish. Here's a place to start: http://www.adelaideaquariums.com.au/Faqs/freshwater/fish/cyprinids2.asp  http://fish.mongabay.com/cyprinds.htm  Quite literally, video, photographic, as well as written documentation of breeding overtures and final behavior is helpful. Marina

Bala Shark Community Fish?  Hi. I am new to this fish thing. I have set up a 55 gallon tank, and I have taken great patience in it. I'm proud of my usually inpatient self lol! I let it run for about a month with one blue platy (male) and three various female platys. Within the next month, I  had added three bloodfins, four glowlights, and another platy. In about another two and a half months, I added two more platys, three Corys, a frog, four Danios, and two Bala sharks. The pet store owner I had purchased the Balas from said that they would make a peaceful addition to the tank. I haven't had any problems, except one lover boy platy having every female in the tank pregnant, but that's a different story! A larger commercial pet store told me that the Balas are a very bad choice and they might attack or chase the others. Is this true and what should I expect? Another question I have is Do I have too many fish in the tank? I won't be adding any for a while, but could it hold more fish? By the way- the water quality is very good- PH- 7.4, Nitrite and nitrate are 0, and ammonia is 0.5- I'm doing a small water change tomorrow, its time. What should the hardness of the water be? Thank you for you help and I hope you don't mind if I e-mail you with more questions.  Rachel Fritz  <<Hey Rachel; Sounds like you are heading in the right direction. The best way to know if your tank is overstocked is to test your water, which you are doing. Normally we use nitrates to judge whether or not the tank is overstocked. If you cannot keep your levels low with regular partial water changes, then, yes, the tank would be considered overstocked. However, I see only ammonia readings in your tank, which bothers me because your tank should be cycled by now. Are you changing out your filter media? What type of filtration are you using? You really should not have any ammonia at this stage. Perhaps you just added a few too many fish the last time, and your tank is just spiking temporarily. Please keep track of all your water test results, it will give you a better idea of what is going on over time. Do not add any more fish right now! When you have no more ammonia and no nitrites, then it is safe to add fish, but never add too many at one time, and keep track of the nitrates to be sure you don't have too many fish.  As for hardness, your pH indicates the hardness should be somewhere in the medium range. It's not that important unless it tests either really high or really low. Carbonate hardness (buffering capacity) should be medium to high. And Bala sharks should be kept in schools, the more the better. They will grow to over a foot in length though, but are very peaceful fish. Be careful, they like to jump at times. Just make sure your tank is well covered and you keep your nitrates low. -Gwen>>

Rainbow Shark woes Hi! What a great web site! I'll keep this short... over the past 2 weeks I have been fighting Ich. It was 3 clown loaches that I bought that I did not quarantine that got sick. I have been a hobbyist ever since I was a kid and I have NEVER had Ich.  I treated the 20 gallon tank with Nox-Ich, elevated the temp to 82 F and the spots only became worse. I researched web sites and did the aquarium salt treatment 1 tsp/gallon leaving the water for 5 days.  I have now lost 10 smaller fish including the loaches. I was sorry to see them go but my main concern is my 4 year old 6" Rainbow shark.  I noticed yesterday that he is breathing fast through his mouth (he never does that) and his scales along his belly appear raised and he appears bloated. His color also has changed, instead of being dark black; he is now a grey color. I don't think it's dropsy because I've seen that before. I did a 50% water change but he still appears to be stressed. Please help because I will be so upset if I lose him. My filtration is an Aquaclear 300. Thanks, Liz <<Dear Liz, do you test your water? I recommend you get it tested for ammonia (should be zero), nitrites (should be zero) and nitrates (as low as possible, between 20-60ppm on average). If nitrates are too high, you need to do a bunch of waterchanges to bring it down. Half the battle is good water quality. The clown loaches are problematic when it comes to ich. They are extremely susceptible. I will assume you removed your carbon from your filter, and it's good that you raised the tank temp to 82 degrees. Keep it stable, though...keep a thermometer in the tank, cuz if your heater is malfunctioning and the temp fluctuates, it could make things worse. Also, the salt treatment takes time to work well, and Time is something you don't have when treating aggressive ich cases. Salt can take up to a couple of weeks to actually be effective. Get the temp up another notch, to 84F, add a respectable ich med, like Quick Cure or Super Ich Cure, and make sure you have adequate circulation. Also, cross your fingers. I hope it's not too late to save your fishy. Keep treating until the spots disappear, even if the medication indicates a two day treatment. Read and follow the instructions for dosage levels. When the spots are gone, do a 50% water change, paying strict attention to the water temperature, and replace your carbon. -Gwen>>

Injury to freshwater shark Dear WWM Crew...first let me say that I am an amateur so please excuse my very limited knowledge of freshwater species. My husband and I owned an Oscar for the last several years, who sadly passed on recently. In an attempt to repopulate our 30 gal. tank (Oscar was euthanized after trying diligently for one year to repair a damage swim bladder), we changed the water and slowly added some new freshwater species...we now have a Bala shark, a molly, a catfish, a "sucker" fish, a crab (who does nothing, but hang around at the top the heater), a huge goldfish, and two other minnow/shark varieties which I have been unable to identify. The first is small, black with an orange tail (quite aggressive chasing the Bala all around the tank) and the second, which is the subject of my question email) is silver with blue horizontal streaks and a snout that looks like a traditional shark.  This guy has been shy and skittish since we put him in the tank (he and the Bala were our first two additions, all the others came later)...about two weeks after a small sore appeared on one side near the rear of his body.  It looked like an injury and my husband thought that in panic he brushed up against an ornamental rock in the tank. The problem is that is has been several weeks and it is getting larger and not healing. I have spent a couple hours searching your FAQ, but I fear my inexperience isn't allowing me to properly identify this problem.  However, some basic info, there does not appear to be anything hanging from the wound, like parasites; he stays in one area of the tank floating closer to the top.  He seems to be interested in the food, but I don't actually see him eat.  I change the water at least once a week because I'm having a clouding problem too.  I've tried treating him with Maracyn, but not a complete course because I'm afraid for the crab. I've also tried the Stress Coat hoping the aloe will help.  I would be grateful for any guidance you can offer.  Kim <<Hello. It sounds like you have an iridescent shark with a bacterial infection. You will need to treat him with an antibiotic. Simply remove the crab and put him in a goldfish (or other type) of bowl for a couple of weeks, he will survive nicely, don't worry. You should go to your Local Fish Store, and ask them what they have on their shelves to help with this problem. Some good choices are Super Sulfa, Ampicillin, or even tetracycline. When you go to your LFS, take along a sample of your tank water, and have the LFS test your water for you. Get ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates tested. Ammonia and nitrite should be zero, nitrates should be low, in the 20ppm to 60ppm range for these fish. If your nitrates are too high, lower them with more frequent, partial water changes. How long has your tank been running? Have you changed any filter media lately? Do NOT change your media all at once, you need to stagger it to keep your good bacteria working. Also, if you can remove the shark to a small hospital tank, it would help greatly, since antibiotics will kill those good ole beneficial bacteria in your filter. Which means re-cycling your tank, which means high ammonia and nitrite problems. A small ten gallon with an Aquaclear Mini filter will do the trick, if you can.  BTW, your other shark, the gray with the red tail, is probably a red-tailed black shark. Also, your sick iridescent shark should be kept in a group, schooling fish will generally be skittish due to the stress of being alone. He will grow to around three feet in length. The 30 gallon you are keeping him in will not keep any large fish for their lifetimes, you will need to trade them in at your LFS when they get to be around 4-5 inches long. Once they get bigger, they become harder to transfer. No, they will not stop growing, they will become ill if not allowed to do so, and die. Just like your Oscar, who obviously got too big for your tank. Oscars grow to 15 inches, and any fish that is not allowed to grow will become stunted, sicken, and die. Please reconsider the fish you have, and please always RESEARCH your fish species before you add them to a small tank! Here is a link for you: http://www.aquariacentral.com/articles/isharks.shtml -Gwen>>

Injury? Freshwater Minnow/Shark Dear Gwen, Thank you for the advice and information.  I feel very badly that we were not more diligent in understanding the varieties of fish for the size of our tank.  I guess we incorrectly assumed that our LFS, knowing the size of our tank, would not have recommended such species.  Live and learn.  Thanks again.  Kim   <<Hey, Kim. Please do not feel badly about past mistakes, they were only mistakes. You now have the chance to learn about new species, and the Internet is also a great place to find help. Try not to depend on fish store help, many stores have under-qualified staff. Not all stores, though. Some are great. I work in a pet store myself and I know some extremely over-qualified people in the industry. What you should do is learn as much as you can on your own, use the google search, and also start asking questions at your local fish stores. Do not be afraid to ask questions! If the employee doesn't know, he/she should be able to direct you to someone who can. Ask specific questions, but take all answers with a grain of salt. Fishkeeping is very subjective. There are many gray areas, not all is black and white. But from asking, you will find out who knows what, and eventually you will find an employee you can trust. Many stores have people who tend to specialize in different areas. For example, our store has a cichlid person  who knows NOTHING about anything but, a goldfish person, one guy who is totally into tetras, three overly-efficient saltwater people, and some general help, etc. No one leaves our store without learning something :P But we have ALL made the mistakes you have made. The great thing about you is that you are willing to do something about it, and act on your new knowledge. You will become a better fishkeeper for it. You would be surprised and saddened if you knew how many people do not :( -Gwen>>

Bala Shark Missing? We have 3 Bala shark's as well as a few other types.  We have had them for about 2 months now.  Two of the Bala shark's over the last few weeks have started to stick to each other as they swim around the tank (we just figured they we mating or fighting with one another).  Today however one is missing!!  We saw the fish around 11am and around 1pm (few hours later) the fish was gone.  We have looked every where.  We have a full cover on the tank but we still checked all around in the pump, in the filter, looked around the stand (knowing these fish tend to jump) and the shark is no where!  I have had fish eat other one's in the past but never so fast without leaving a trace.  Does this sound like a mating or fighting issue? Do you think the other's could have eaten the fish soo fast without any of us noticing?  We are just baffled!  Thanks for any help. Williams Family >>Dear Williams Family; Sorry to hear of your lost fishie, it is possible he may still turn up alive. I have seen fish burrow into the substrate or beneath decor in order to avoid aggression, though I've never seen a Bala shark do so. You are correct in the fact that these fish jump, they can sail pretty far through the air. If I were you, I would check beneath all other furniture in the room, as he could have flopped quite a distance. What size is the tank? You should keep balas in groups of 5 or more, they will be much better off. Also, keep your nitrates as low as possible with regular partial water changes in order to prevent disease. Good luck, and I hope he was just hiding! -Gwen<<

Bala Shark Spazzing Out I currently own 1 Bala Shark in a 55 gallon with about 20 or so other community fish ranging from Dwarf Gouramis to a School of 8 Neons.  I bought the Bala about 8 months ago.  He's been real active, zips across the tank, sometimes chases other fish etc..  (I have a full hood, so no jumping)  I have had no problems with him whatsoever.  I bought him at about 3", he's now about 5 1/2" the last week, It was feeding time and I turned on the light.  He was spazzing.  He was zipping across the tank (sometimes upside down) crashing into the walls etc.  He then shot straight up, tried to jump out, hit the hood, dove straight down and buried himself in the 2" gravel at amazing speeds and smashed into the bottom of the tank . I thought he was dead and was real scared.  I grabbed my net, scooped him up and started moving him through the water (His gills were still moving) after about 2 minutes, he sort of woke up and went swimming off.  so It's almost as if he knocked himself out.  So anyways, next couple of days he's fine, swimming fast and active, but not crazy or anything. this morning, I turn on the light for feeding and he's spazzing again, it's very violent and a bit scary and my girlfriend won't even go near the tank when he does it.  He has no discolorations, no white spots, no "hole in the head" no slime on the skin, nothing unusual at all about him (or any other fish in the tank).  My PH is currently 7.0, heat is running about 81 degrees, I'm running a Penguin 330 dual bio wheel (which is rated for a 70 gallon tank) I do about a 15-20% water change every weekend (and use some water conditioner and ammonia/ammonium conditioner).  As well as vacuum the tank and clean the filter cartridges.  (Feeding them TetraMin flakes and sometimes bloodworms) (the Bala is not skinny and he is eating)  I'm wondering if this is normal? Is he spazzing because he's stressed out for some reason?  Any help or insight would be appreciated.  thanks Rob Gillespie  >>Rob, what are your ammonia, nitrite, and NITRATE readings? There are a few things that could be bothering your fish. One, aggression from another fish. Two, a parasite. Three, high ammonia/nitrite or nitrate readings. Four, stray current from a broken heater. Is your pH always at 7.0? What is your tapwater pH? If your tank pH is a lot lower, there could be a problem in the tank with DOC's. Once you have established that your NH3/4, NO2 and NO3 and pH readings are within normal parameters, we can think about other causes, like a parasite. If you think this is the problem, then you will need to treat with a good quality anti-parasitic medication, like Super Ich Cure or Quick Cure. Read the labels, since some fish need to be treated at half dosage. -Gwen

Erratic Bala Shark? Hi,   <Hello> I have had one Bala Shark for about 6 months now.  It gets along great with all of my other fish which are: 1 angel fish, 2 Cory cats, 1 pleco, 2 mollies, and 11 neon tetras.  About a week ago I noticed that the Bala sharks behavior was even more erratic than usual.  It is almost a hyper behavior.  It doesn't dart from one side of the tank to the other but it does dart around a bit and is overly erratic. <Some Balas go a bit "nutty" as they become older.  But, it might be some sort of parasite bothering the fish.  My large iridescent sharks had gill parasites and they would suddenly zip back and forth and kind of thrash a bit.> It used to be calmer than it is now. It is as if it might be stressed about something. It will jerk around like it is excited.  I went ahead and cleaned the tank and did a water change a few days ago. <Good plan, sometimes just making sure the fish have new fresh water cures them.> The pH is at 7 and the temp is at 80.  The temp usually stays in between 76-80.  I have a 38 gallon tank and I just bought a 5 gallon as an isolation tank. <Very Good!!!  An isolation tank is one of the best investments a hobbyist can make.> I put the Bala in the isolation tank and started treating it with Quick Cure.  Although, I see nothing physically wrong with it except for the unusual behavior.  I've never seen it act like this before.  Do you have any suggestions for me as to what is going on with it?     Thanks,   Stacy <Treat with a medicine a little more powerful (be sure to follow the instructions) I would use Maracide or CopperSafe, Use Maracyn-Two, Maracyn, Tetracycline or TriSulfa to prevent secondary infections from bacteria.  Good luck, and make sure the fish seems healthy before releasing it back into the show tank. -Magnus>

Black Shark and Fire Eel - Out of the Frying Pan and Into the Fire! Hello, hope you can help me!   <I will indeed try.> I have been looking for quite awhile and trying to decide what to purchase for my tank or if I need to buy a larger tank if it is needed!  I am wondering if a black shark 2" long and a fire eel 9" long will be good tank mates? <No, black sharks (Epalzeorhynchus bicolor) are said to be very hostile fish.  I've read many sites saying how their red tailed Black Sharks have really hurt some tank mates.  I would think that it would pester a fire eel.> I know that black sharks are aggressive, but are they to aggressive if they grow together! <They will eventually be mean... their nature won't allow them to be nice forever.  No sense putting an eel through that. Here is a quick bit of info on the black sharks.  http://aquarium.wendellarhoads.com/blshark.shtml They seem to list what had happened to their tankmates.> I have heard and red that balas, red tailed sharks, or rainbows and good possible tank mates,  what about black sharks?   <larger rainbows wouldn't bother an eel at all.  The others you run a risk.> Would a lot of hiding places for the eel make a difference or keeping the black shark well fed make a difference? <It would help, but wouldn't take care of the underlying issue that the fish would be mean to the eel.  I suggest that if you want these two fish, you think about having two separate tanks for them.  Then you can enjoy both without worry.  Good luck -Magnus.> Help Needed!!!  Thanks CHO, IA

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>

Black Shark Gage- you're right.  I finally found a less "mature" photo of this fish and that is definitely what I have. ( http://species.fishindex.com/species_2904labeo_chrysophekadion_black_shark.html)  I guess I better hurry up and get the big tank cleaned up and set up!  Sounds like from the description, it should be content with a couple of convicts and the smaller fish.  It also explains the jumping to escape in the beginning.  Thanks for the help! Shel <Yes, and plan for a larger tank in the future, with good water quality and proper diet he will be a monster in no time.  If the Convicts are much larger than him they may pick on him, just be prepared to separate them if things get ugly.  fishbase.org is also a good place to find info on these fish.  Best Regards, Gage. >

Black sharks.... hey, I just bought two black sharks, <Oh my....  are they all black, or do they have red tails?  The all-black ones are Labeo chrysophekadion, 'the' black shark, the red-tailed ones, Epalzeorhynchos bicolor, are usually sold as 'red-tailed black shark'.> how do you tell the sex of them? <For either of these, the females will be a bit more rounded in the belly, and the males may have slightly longer dorsal fins.> and how big of a tank do you recommend for them? the store told me a 3 gallon tank so that's what there in but it seems kind of small.. <Uhh....  Well, the store that sold them to you seems to have wanted to make a quick buck - the red-tailed ones get nearly five inches in length, which is far too large for a three gallon aquarium, I assure you!  But if you have the black shark, Labeo Chrysophekadion....  The black sharks get nearly three FEET long.  This is one fish suitable only for HUGE tanks - you could fit a couple 3g tanks IN one of these fish, rather than the other way 'round.> please e-mail me back and let me know.. thanks <My biggest recommendation, whichever species you have, is to take them back and get something that stays significantly smaller.  I have a three gallon tank with a few very small livebearers and a couple cherry shrimp; I used to keep a Betta and the shrimp in there.  You could also try white cloud minnows, if you want a few small schooling fishes.  There really are a lot of options for small tanks - but black sharks, unfortunately, aren't a great choice due to their size.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina.>

Big fish, more info Yeah, they're black sharks, not red tailed ones .. thanks for the help in answering those questions, the people at the petstore didn't seem like they knew what they were talking about at all.. <All too common an occurrence - please research future prospects before buying them, then you'll know ahead of time what you're getting into.> also.. how do you breed black sharks? .. <Well, being that this fish gets three feet long, and won't likely breed until it's quite a bit larger than what you've got, you'd first have to start with an enormous tank, possibly hundreds of gallons.  However, to my knowledge, there are no documented cases of this fish being successfully bred by hobbyists, so it's rather unlikely that they'll breed for you, even in the best of circumstances with a properly sized aquarium.  Here's some more info on them, from fishbase.org:  http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?genusname=Labeo&speciesname=chrysophekadion   thanks <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina.> More on black sharks I'm sorry to bug you again, but I keep reading about how people like give theirs like people food.. is that really good for them? <Some greens, like blanched zucchini or cucumber, shelled peas, romaine lettuce, etc., are acceptable for some fish, and your Labeo Chrysophekadion may appreciate these tremendously, but they should also eat good quality frozen/prepared fish foods, as well.> and what can you really give them?.. <As above.> my 2 are only about 3-4 inches right now but is there anything else I can feed them now? .. <As above.> their fish food is the pellets.. n the pellet just sit on the bottom, I don't know if there eating <Try frozen bloodworms, and some of the abovementioned greens; try high quality flaked foods, as well.> and am going to get them a bigger tank soon ... sorry, another question.. how big they have to be before you breed them? .. no am not thinking about it but I don't want to wake up tomorrow and see more little black sharks ... thanks! <I'm really concerned that you're missing the point here.  These fish get big.  REALLY, REALLY big.  Three feet long, seriously, no kidding.  Three.  Feet.  Long.  How big of a tank do you plan to keep them in??  I very strongly recommend saving yourself some grief and trade them in for a more manageably sized fish.  The best you could do for these black sharks is keep putting them in progressively larger tanks and pray that they're midgets of their species; not something I'd place any bets on.  To adequately house fully grown adult fish of this species would be difficult and very expensive, at best.  There are so many other wonderful, small fish available to you/us that it's a real shame to see these black sharks offered for sale - please reconsider your decision to keep them.  -Sabrina>

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 Myxocyprinus asiaticus - Chinese Hi-fin banded shark (FW) 10/8/03 I'm at work so I can't take part in a chat room.  E-mails are acceptable.  I have two banded sharks (yesterday there were 3).  Not sure why I lost the 3rd.   I've had the first one about 10 weeks; the others maybe 5 weeks. I have found very little information on them on the net.  I would like to sex them to know if I have two of one or one of both sexes.  They are going to a club show Saturday and I need to know how to classify them besides egg layers.  I know they get really large in the aquarium but I need more information to help them grow that large.  Linda Lou Corwin   :-) <the scientific name of your fish is Myxocyprinus asiaticus. Do use this name for a search on fishbase.org and abroad on the net to find an amazing amount of information on the species. Be sure to follow the many small links at the bottom of the fishbase page for this species. Much on reproduction, foods, natural conditions, etc. And FWIW... this fish grows to an enormous size. Best regards, Anthony>

FW Tank Stocking Can you please tell me what kind of shark can I put in my 10 gallon aquarium with my Cory catfish?  thanks!! <Unfortunately there are no sharks, or shark-like fish that will live in a 10gallon, most of the freshwater fish with shark in their name, Bala Shark, Silver Shark, Iridescent Shark, all grow way to big for a 10gallon.  I would stick with a good looking school of Tetras; Neons, Cardinals, Black Neons, Emperors, Lemons, Rummy Nose, Glowlights... the list goes on and on and on and on (seriously) those are just a few of my favs.  Search fishbase.org for tetra, you'll see.  Best of luck, an no overstocking. -Gage>

Sick Bala shark (08/02/03) <Hi! Ananda here today, with Phil helping out on this one...> I have recently put a Bala shark into my tank (about 5 days ago) to accompany the previous one I have because I heard they get over stressed sometimes while alone, but I am starting to think it may be getting sick. <Did you quarantine this fish before you put him into your tank?> Its nose seems to be pointing down at the bottom of the tank at a fairly steep angle. I looked over all you disease charts and couldn't find any other symptoms matching this. Could the fish still be adjusting to the tank? <How long has it been head standing? Five days should be sufficient to adjust to new surroundings. This kind of behavior could be indicative of a swim bladder problem, or be something caused by inadequate diet or water quality problems.> I have a 15 gallon hex aquarium containing 3 small Cherry Barbs 1 male Betta 3 Serpae Tetras 2 Bala sharks (other seems to be fine) 1 rainbow shark all the rest of the fish seem to be fine <That makes me think this was something the fish had before you got it... I would pull the sick fish immediately and put him in a quarantine tank. If you're concerned about him getting stressed from being alone in the tank, get a couple of small mirrors and put those against the glass on the outside of the tank. You'll need to do *daily* water changes to keep the water quality good. (And that's going to be particularly important, since the fish's problem could have been caused by poor water quality at the fish store.) Feed all of your fish a good quality food, one that's enriched with extra vitamins.> is this to many fish to have in a 15 gallon hex? (I know that this tank is to small to house the 2 balas but they are small and I will be moving them as soon as I get my 55 gallon up) <I would move the rainbow shark along with the balas. After that, you should be okay. With all the bottom feeders gone from the tank, though, I'd recommend getting a few ghost shrimp -- the clear/white shrimp usually sold as feeders -- to help with the janitorial duties.> The tank is filtered by a bio-wheel power-filter filter which I have recently replaced the cartridge. <I generally rinse out the cartridges every week or so, and replace them when it's no longer possible to get all the gunk out of the blue filter material.> also I recently did a major water change about 2 weeks ago (over 50%) because I read in the book that you should do a major water change every 6 months to a year, is this true and could that be the problem? <Hmmm. I've never heard of this major water change schedule idea. I do hope you're doing water changes every other week, rather than just every six months... smaller, more frequent water changes are better than less frequent large water changes. --Ananda> Greg Vanos

Bala Shark I have recently put a Bala shark into my tank (about 5 days ago) to accompany the previous one I have because I heard they get over stressed sometimes while alone, <Sometimes> but I am starting to think it may be getting sick. Its nose seems to be pointing down at the bottom of the tank at a fairly steep angle. <Also not unnatural, particularly in too-small settings> I looked over all you disease charts and couldn't find any other symptoms matching this. Could the fish still be adjusting to the tank? <Yes> I have a 15 gallon hex aquarium containing <... this tank is too small for this species... it gets about as long as this aquarium is wide...> 3 small Cherry Barbs 1 male Betta 3 Serpae Tetras 2 Bala sharks (other seems to be fine) 1 rainbow shark all the rest of the fish seem to be fine is this to many fish to have in a 15 gallon hex? <Mmm, just the Bala's should be moved. The Rainbow Shark may go after the Betta in time> (I know that this tank is to small to house the 2 balas but they are small and I will be moving them as soon as I get my 55 gallon up) <Ah, good> The tank is filtered by a bio-wheel power-filter filter which I have recently replaced the cartridge. also I recently did a major water change about 2 weeks ago (over 50%) because I read in the book that you should do a major water change every 6 months to a year, is this true and could that be the problem? <Possibly. I would hold off unless it's a dire emergency in doing any more than about a 25% water change... and then use water that was treated and stored for a week or more. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwh2ochgs.htm Bob Fenner> Greg Vanos

Bala Shark in heat? <Hello!  Ryan with you> I am sure this sounds a little silly. I am pretty sure the 2 Bala sharks in the aquarium were mating. They were swimming "together" shall we say for a few moments. Then the one shark swam away faster than I have ever seen that shark swim. That was it. I guess that's pretty obvious, but I just wanted to be sure. Also I would like to know some signs that they are mating and about how long I have until I should start expecting eggs, how to care for the babies, etc.. Thank You.   <Bala sharks are a great addition to the aquarium, where their antics are often enjoyed.  This is typical of Balas, and does not guarantee offspring.  It's like assuming you'll "breed" with every woman you've ever bought a drink!  Balas won't breed until they're at least 3-4 inches (more like a foot RMF).  Also, they're egg-scatterers.  If there are any hungry mouths in the tank, those eggs are long gone.  Your best chance for successful breeding is to separate them from the group, and feed them a high protein diet in conjunction with %25 weekly water changes.  Good luck! Ryan>

Tricolor (Bala) shark habits <Good morning! Ryan with you today> We recently purchased 4 tricolor sharks. <I assume you mean Balantiocheilus melanopterus, from the carp/minnow family> We have noticed that 2 of them seem to ALWAYS swim together and twitch and rub against one another. Is this normal? <Yep! Quite an interesting fish to watch, very hardy.  A good aquarium pick in most cases.> Is there anything we need to do? <Perhaps provide some coverage, they do like to hide a little.  It does breed in captivity.  Lots of great info on these guys.  Start with fishbase.org, and go from there!> Thanks <Sure>

Black Shark Could I maintain a Black Shark, (Labeo chrysophekadion) in a 48"x18"x20" tank, if it was the only inhabitant?  I love this species dearly, and I know that they can get up to around 2', but my LFS buys them from a certain retailer, and they have kept these sharks before, and NEVER had one grow past 16 inches.  So could I do it?  Thanks in advance for any answers! <Could likely go in this size/shape system for a good long while. Other than size considerations, do keep an eye on this fish for its tendency to "get mean" with size. Bob Fenner>

Re: Black Shark Hey Bob (or Anthony, or whomever may read this)! I was told by Bob Fenner (if this is you, than you already know) that I could maintain a Black Shark (Labeo Chrysophekadion) in a 48x18x20 tank for a good long while.  Is it possible for me to maintain this fish in there for its entire life? <Mmm, yes, but it will be a greatly foreshortened life if so. Have seen this fish at close to two feet in length> If not, how big of a tank would I eventually need.  I wasnt planning on upgrading in the future, but if I must, then I will.  Thanks in advance for any answers! <Take a look at the stat.s on this species on Fishbase.org Bob Fenner>

What do I feed  tri color sharks? >>Um, I'm assuming you're talking about a freshwater fish, in which case I don't see why they can't be provided a good quality, freshwater fish staple, along with supplemental feedings of frozen bloodworms, or other meaty foods they'll demonstrate an interest in.  Marina

Re: Diseased Sharks (Minnows) Hi sir,        Sir my silver sharks are loosing there tails and skin is tearing apart and as a result inner part of there body which is of white color is visible and they also stop eating. Hurry up as they are dying. ammonia 0 nitrite 0 temp 26C ph 7.5 37 gallon 18 fishes in it. I have used salt and RIDALL. <Please do a search using the Google search box at http://www.wetwebmedia.com and also do a search on your favorite search engine to find more info on these sharks. Also, check out http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfshparasites.htm to see if there is a description of the disease and treat your sharks accordingly. Ronni>

Re: Ich Hi sir,        There was a disease in my tank in which white spots appear on my goldfish lion head and I added a medicine name (RIDALL) plus salt and in seven days white spots disappear. But my silver sharks have white spots on their body and is not going. Tem 26C Ph 7.5 Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Tank size 37 gallon Fishes 17 What do I do now? Change of medicine or some thing else? The silver sharks are also loosing there balance. <Well, you really shouldnt have goldfish and tropicals mixed together. The temperature your tank is at is perfect for the tropicals but way too warm for the goldfish. But anyway, the disease you described is Ich. I would do a water change and then treat with a different medication. Ick Guard is a good one and so is Maroxy. Ronni>

Diseased Bala Shark >Hi, >>Hello! >I hope you guys can help me!   >>Me too. >I have a very sick looking Bala shark and don't know what else to do for it.   >>That's why we're here. >Here's the situation: I have an 18 gallon tank that has been doing very well for about seven months.  I'm using an undergravel filter and have lots of healthy plants in the tank.   >Current fish in the tank:   2 Bala sharks (largest one is about 8cm and looking very healthy - the smaller one's sick) 2 Clown loaches (fat and healthy) 1 Bristlenose catfish 2 Serpae tetras 9 black neon tetras 2 male dwarf Gourami 1 female dwarf Gourami 3 gold long-finned Danios All of these fish seem to be very healthy. But my poor shark:  It started with red streaks on the fins, then progressed to what looks like velvet all over its body and stiff fins.  The shark is still eating well and behaving normally.  I tried using Waterlife Protozin (protozoacide/fungicide) for the four day treatment - half dose because of the loaches.  But it's now a week later and there is no improvement (slightly worse! :-() >>Right.  Sounds as though he had a primary bacterial infection which left him susceptible to the velvet.   >I have checked ammonia, nitrate, pH - all is fine.  Temperature is stable at 26 degrees (78 degrees Fahrenheit?) What else can I do??  Should I try the medication again? Hoping you can help.  Amanda. >>Right, well, I would put him in his own hospital tank.  This doesn't need to be large at all, or even a fish tank, per se.  A container that is chemically inert (non-metal), of around 5-10 gallons, that you can put a small heater in would suffice.  Then, I would put him on Melafix or Spectrogram (both broad spectrum antibiotics), with the addition of Kosher (pure) salt at the ratio of 1tsp/gal.  The salt both helps the fish deal with the stress of osmotic pressure and seems to boost the effects of antibiotics. >>Please search our library here--> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm for more information, and check these next two links--they're charts on medications, uses, and dosages. here--> http://www.petswarehouse.com/Fishmed3.htm >>And here--> http://www.petswarehouse.com/Fishmed2.htm >>Hopefully this is of some help.  Marina

Re: Red Gills  4/17/03 The redness of the gills is on the inside of the gills so I guess they are ok.<OK>  The tank is a 10 gallon with heater and Whisper 30 filter.  White gravel with some blue sea glass mixed thru. I believe the sharks are ok and will transfer them soon.<Glad to hear that they are fine.  If anything changes please feel free to write back!> Thanks for the response,<No problem!> Kevin Kirrane<Phil>

Platies & Bala Shark Hi there, <Hello!> I have a 30 gallon tank with 5 platies, 4 tetras, 1 molly and a lobster. The lobster doesn't seem to bother the fish, but he has been known to try and catch them from time to time (when he's getting ready to molt). I know that seems mean, but the pet guy said it would be okay. <You may find that he will eventually catch one but for now its fine.> Two questions: (1) My platies tend to hang around the bottom of my tank - ignoring the lobster. They hide near the lobsters hideout, and under plants very near or even on the bottom. Is this normal? <Platies are generally a middle water column type fish but its not uncommon for them to hang around near the bottom. As long as their fins arent clamped and they are showing no signs of disease I wouldnt worry.> (2) I lost my Bala shark today. I haven't had much luck with them. I'm starting to get discouraged. I checked my nitrate and ph levels both fine. The rest of the fish are okay. I came home tonight to the horror of my shark floating upside down - still breathing a little. Am I doing something wrong? Any advice? <Unfortunately, your system is way too small for a Bala. They can get over a foot in length. In addition to testing Nitrate and pH you should also test Nitrite and Ammonia. Those are the ones to really worry about (dont discount the others though!) and are common killers of fish in many home aquariums. Another thing Ive noticed recently is the poor quality of Bala livestock that is available in stores. This didnt used to be the case but of the three stores (in 2 cities) that Ive checked recently, there wasnt a single Bala that I would have even considered bringing home. I have no idea what the cause of this is, it could be poor breeding or handling, or any number of other things. It really makes it tough for the people who are looking to buy healthy livestock. But anyway, for your system I would suggest sticking with what you have and not getting another Bala. If you want something a bit different than what you have, maybe get a few Blackline Penguinfish (often sold as Penguin Tetras). These are a nice active fish with the silver and black coloring but they stay small, under 2, so you could add several of them without overcrowding your system.> Thanks!!! Hayley <You're welcome! Ronni> PS Cool Web Site! <Thank you much!!>

Balas Tail-Down I have three young Balas (3 inches) in a 125-gallon tank with some Corys and some Buenos Aires Tetras. They all have been doing well until today the Balas seem to want to hang around the outlet of one of the Fluval 404 outlets. Also they have seemed in the past, when stationary in the water, to remain level of slightly nose-down. Today when they are not swimming, their tails seem to drop, possibly because they want to stick their noses into the outlet stream (underwater) or possibly because they are having difficulty remaining level. Ammonia and nitrites are zero. I don't have a nitrates kit.  pH is 8.4 (always that high). Carbonate hardness is 6. Any idea what the trouble could be? They are definitely behaving differently. They still dart around the tank, but when they are stationary, they seem to be in distress. Thanks for your continuing help. Charlie <Since this is happening to all three of them I would venture to guess its something in the water. Are they breathing heavily? Are there any other symptoms? To start with, I would do a partial water change and see if that helps, probably around 20-25%. And do some checking to see if you can get the ph down, that is way high for these types of fish. Go to http://www.wetwebmedia.com and do a search for lowering ph to see what you can find out. Ronni>

Re: Balas Tail-Down Ronni, thanks for your reply. <Good morning and youre welcome> I do know how to lower the pH. I had decided not to fool with it since my tap water is high and I didn't want to risk erratic changes when trying to keep it stable and low. The consensus seemed to be it might be better to leave it high and stable. Should I try to keep it lower? <I can definitely see the reasoning behind that. Ive successfully kept tetras and barbs at a pH of 8.2 and it is hard to lower it and keep it low consistently when your tap water is high so yes, go ahead and leave it alone. I was finally able to lower mine a bit by changing the substrate, the tank originally had crushed coral in it and by changing it to crushed granite I was able to drop the pH to 7.8 which is still high but at least a little better.> The fish are no better today. One seems to be having trouble keeping is tail up (his tail was a little deformed when I bought him--previous injury?and the other two are not behaving normally, either. <You know, I was at my LFS yesterday and noticed a tank of Balas that had deformed tails too. Several of them had tails that pointed upwards, some had tails that pointed down, and ones whole body was arched downward. I wonder if its something in the breeding now, possibly too much inbreeding like whats happening to the feeder goldfish?> I had done a (scheduled) 25% water change before I wrote to you...forgot to mention it. I did a scheduled filter cleaning today. Didn't see any problems there. Water parameters still are as usual--no ammonia or nitrites. Temp fine. Water clear. <Ah good.> All other fish are fine (sensitive Corys, too). One thing, this morning I did notice a small nick in one Bala's tail. I'm not sure it's new but I haven't seen it before. There was a young (new) pictus in the tank. Maybe he has been harassing them at night? I removed him. Seems like the tetras would have been easier prey for him though. <Was the Pictus quarantined before being added to the tank? And how big is he? Its possible that he was picking on them and that the Tetras were just too fast for him to catch but the Pictus generally dont pick on things until they get a little bigger than what is sold in most stores. If he wasnt quarantined its also possible that he carried some disease that the Balas got, they tend to be more sensitive to diseases than many other fish. Are they getting enough vegetable matter in their food? You should have some softer live plants for them to feed on continuously as they are mostly herbivorous. Also, they tend to be sensitive to nitrates in addition to ammonia and nitrites so you may want to get a Nitrates test kit or take a water sample to your LFS and have them test it. Take a look at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/minnowshks.htm theres a ton of info on minnow sharks there and you might be able to pinpoint something.> Should I do another water change today? <Possibly. Read the above URL and related FAQs first and go from there. Ronni>

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>

FW Sharks Thanks for your quick response. When adding fish to a tank this size (90-gal.), what would you consider "slowly." <One...then wait two weeks. Test the water. Add another etc> I want to get a group of Bala Sharks and some compatible fish to make a community. <No such thing as a shark with compatible fish. Please don't try this> I know Balas get quite large eventually. How many should I add right away? <I refuse to recommend/suggest that you buy any Bala sharks or any other species of sharks for that matter. It's a sucker purchase and the likely-hood that it will live long enough to grow large is slim to none. Why don't you "kill two birds with one stone?" 1) Save a fish's life by not buying any sharks and; 2) if you and others don't buy them, stores won't stock them. Now we're saving thousands/tens-of-thousands of sharks! I know they are cool to look at but they don't live.> How big a group is logical to add in the near future? --Thanks, <None, zero, zilch, nada. In Vegas there is a "Shark Reef" that has 6'+ sharks swimming around. Go check it out! Or go to Myrtle Beach South Carolina and check out the shark exhibit at the Ripley's aquarium. They have 12'+ sharks! Leave these creatures in the ocean or public aquariums. I apologize for being so blunt and repetitive but the truth isn't always pretty not is it necessarily what people want to hear. But it is the truth...none-the-less. David Dowless> Charlie

Oops.. I made a blunder I hope you had a good trip Bob. How was Belize? <Unfortunately we didn't go... Our friend/roomie/travel partner Pete was too sick. So Di and I and he traded in our tickets to go to Kona next month. A good cancellation as I was able to get a bunch done here> I wanted to tell you that I screwed up royally on a question last night. A guy wrote in and asked about stocking his tank with Bala sharks. Thinking that he was speaking of a saltwater species (that I hadn't heard of), I responded with the typical answer, "Don't buy any sharks!"...and like a fool...I rambled out my reasons. So now he's written back and I have apologized profusely and I'm feeling really stupid. I hate it when something like this slips through. <No worries David. These happen. Apologize to the querier and go on> I was also wondering...the response went out this morning and I would love for it not to appear within the website. I gave bad information and anyone that's in-the-know will recognize the information was incorrect. It's depressing enough that it will be on the daily facts but I really don't want to take the chance that this response would damage WWM's credibility by being permanently placed on the site. <Not to worry re our credibility. We're human... will place a further comment from you right after> I guess if I had finished the bio that you asked for you would know that I'm not very familiar with freshwater anything. I normally pass on these types of questions. I will finish the bio soon. Thanks for understanding that sometimes everything that can go wrong does go wrong. In the future, I'll be even MORE careful before responding to questions. <Ahh, please do send your bio. along, with the areas you feel most comfortable with. If there is/are difficulties in queries, feel free to move them back to the in-box, or into someone elses folder> Also...remember the New Wave CD Rom (Goemans) that you wanted me to review? I sent the review in and Susan wrote that a review had been completed by Moe and printed in October 2002!  <What?> Would you like to have my review for WWM's literature section? <Yes, will post tomorrow> I'll also tell you that Goemans and I had several enlightening and engaging discourses about this book. He seems like a great guy: very friendly, knowledgeable, loves the saltwater hobby, and willing to accept constructive criticism. He is also very impressed with WWM. I think I saved his final email. I send you a copy. David <Yes, have it. Bob.G is indeed a gentleman... and an actual scholar. Bob Fenner>
Bala Sharks <Craig...would you please help this gentleman out? Thanks. David Dowless> <Absolutely!> 90 gallon tank: I want to get a group of Bala Sharks and some compatible fish to make a community. I know Balas get quite large eventually. How many should I add right away? How big a group is logical to add in the near future? --Thanks, Charlie <Hi Charlie, These fish can reach 14" in length and can be "aggressive".  Compared to the other minnow sharks they are relatively peaceful, but still will chase/nip on occasion so stick with fish of a similar temperament that can stand up under the pressure or that live out of the water column and are also tougher fish. The group of Balas will make any other choices more important. In a 90 you could probably accommodate 3-5 Balas (they are shoaling type fish) and perhaps a Pleco (watch size here, some can become quite large) perhaps a few Clown Loaches. Some of the larger Barbs would likely do alright as well, they are feisty and fast.  It is best to avoid overcrowding (start slow) and introduce the aggressive fish last, concurrently if small, and change decorations/set-up to throw territories off during intros.  Make sure your tank is well covered, Balas are notorious jumpers.  Best of luck, Craig>     

Freshwater Shark and Algae Eater I'm looking to get a small shark and an algae eater of some kind. Are there any of these types of fish that can get along? I have a 60 gallon tank and I'm getting ready to add plants and other hiding places. <The shark is going to be a problem to your live plants. Most of the freshwater fish we call sharks are related to carp or catfish and can be destructive to plants. There are many excellent algae eaters available. Take a look at the following: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PlantedTksSubWebIndex/otosags.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PlantedTksSubWebIndex/saesags.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/loricariids.htm> Thanks, Mike Hodges <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Bala Shark & Oscars <<Greetings, JasonC here...>> First of all I really enjoy your web site, over the past 3 years I have started 3 tanks and your web site has given me the most helpful information. <<Glad we can be of service.>> I have a Bala Shark in a 42 gallon tall tank with an angelfish, in my second 73 gallon tank I have 3 Oscars and 2 Parrot fish, The Bala shark is around 5 inches, Could I move the Bala shark into the tanks with the Oscars? <<You could... but would you want to? Oscars really do their part to tax a filtration system, and by adding anything to that tank you're going to add to the bioload.>> The Oscars are around the same length as the Bala shark and the Parrot fish are smaller. <<It would likely work for a while.>> My second question involves my saltwater tank that has the ecosystem, Caulerpa a UV sterilizes, some bioballs and tribase carbon, my Koran angel has started to develop a slight case of lateral line on one side. I have just started to add vitamins to the their food and fish solution from ecosystems. Has my UV sterilizer killed some needed bacteria? <<Hard to say except that it is defiantly not part of the Ecosystem Aquarium as designed by Leng Sy which in my book is a "designed" system - anything else added to, or altered from the original designs will change the results. I would stick with the "system". Only way to know is to take it out of line. HLLE on the other hand is almost entirely nutrition-related. Your best option here is to make sure the angel gets a good mix of foods including something containing marine sponge [like, but not exclusively, Angel Formula] as that is what these eat most often in the wild. Success against HLLE is less likely to come from a bottle than from a well-balanced, natural diet - no terrestrial vegetables.>> Is my carbon removing some necessary trace mineral? <<I doubt that but you should also not leave the carbon in for extended periods of time - so it doesn't become a detritus trap, and the aforementioned reasons.>> Any thoughts would be appreciated Martin Rischall <<You got 'em. Cheers, J -- >>

International aquarium keeping Hi dear Anthony, How are you my friend? <very good my friend. I hope all is well with you too> Thank you for your help , I do your order and I have Mollie's babies, <I am so glad to hear it! It is a beautiful marvel of nature to see> I want to know How can I identify male and female in shark? How can I get the babies of them? how them reproduce? <most freshwater "sharks" are very difficult to tell their gender. In fact, nearly impossible to distinguish for most aquarists. Furthermore, they do not reproduce naturally in smaller aquariums (even larger aquariums!). They are bred commercially in large pools in Florida and Asia with the help of hormone injections. Alas, they are very unlikely to reproduce in our aquariums. You are best to stay with livebearing fishes like mollies, platys, swordtails and guppies for fun with reproducing fishes> please write me anything a bout shark, Thank you your sincerely Nader <with kind regards, Anthony>

Red tail sharks I have three red tail sharks 1 is big and the other small, My smaller ones are doing fine but my big is unusually is has a dark coloration nears it gills and for two days it was extremely big and no it is thinner but has a blackish colour by its gills all of my other fish are doing fine except for these one. <Alas, the symptoms are not very specific for diagnosis...please test overall water chemistry and look for deficiencies. Feed medicated flake food for precaution if you feel it is pathogenic. Anthony Calfo>

Shark Question... I bought what was described as a banded shark (fresh water) from my local aquarium centre. He is currently living in a small tank (about 31L) with 3 goldfish and is about 3 - 4 inches long. I have checked the internet for info on this species to find out more but can't readily identify exactly what it is. I found an article on the Hi Fin Banded Shark which looks similar but appears to grow much bigger Any ideas exactly what it is, how big it will grow and therefore what tank size I would need. Regards Christopher Marks <This may be the same species of Hi-Fin Banded Shark just young... the dorsal elongates with age/growth... or another of the Minnow family (Cyprinidae) that is similar looking, related closely or no... If you have time, enough interest, scroll through the MANY cyprinids listed and images associated with them on FishBase.org... a large pot of coffee or tea might help. Bob Fenner>

Tri color sharks I have three tri color sharks and recently I have noticed that one is bright red around his fins and is spotting. I have only noticed it on one and it's behavior has been a little weird also he opens and closes his mouth rapidly. If you have any idea what it could be please e-mail me back or if you know where I could find an answer. thank you, Frank  >> Not a good sign... generally this appearance is attributed to poor water quality or a trauma (these big minnows are big jumpers as you know, will know)... with septicemia, petecchia resulting (bloody markings as you relate). What I would do? A large water change, and add a teaspoon of non-iodized salt per ten gallons (just once, it doesn't go away, except with water changes), and hope for the best. This is a tough species, and if the specimen has hurt itself, it will almost assuredly heal. Bob Fenner


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