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FAQs on the Freshwater Minnows called Sharks Systems

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

Related FAQs:  Minnow Sharks 1, Minnow Sharks 2, FW Shark Identification, FW Shark Behavior, FW Shark Compatibility, FW Shark Selection, FW Shark Feeding, FW Shark Disease, FW Shark Reproduction, Bala or Tri-Colored Sharks,


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

Re: New tank, Pangasius hypophthalmus, minnow shark, goldfish... stkg., reading  12/10/08 Hello dear Neale, Thank you so much for your quick response, Neale I am interested to keep a small pair of blue line shark, <Pangasius hypophthalmus? A bad choice. Too big for home aquaria, needs to be kept in groups of 6+ specimens.> albino shark, one red tail shark <Are we talking about albino Epalzeorhynchos frenatum and regular Epalzeorhynchos bicolor? They'll fight with each other. Best kept one specimen of whichever species, or in groups of 6+ specimens.> and one pair of Bala shark <Another big, schooling species. Six or more specimens, please.> with my red cap goldfish. <Nope; Goldfish should be kept on their own, especially "fancy" goldfish. Too easily damaged by other, bullying fish species.> Is this fine and under stocked? Neale how should I make my routine to change the water and what amount should I change and after how many days? <Much written on WWM on this topic. Would recommend 25% every week as a good starting point.> Please recommend me live plants so my aquarium looks more attractive and nice. <Goldfish will eat soft plants, but robust types such as Vallisneria, Crinum, Java fern, Echinodorus, Cryptocoryne ciliata etc should be fine.> Those plants which are not eaten by goldfish and sharks because when they eat they make huge mass. Thank you, Ali <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: New tank... minnow sharks, goldfish comp. -12/11/08 Hello dear Neale, Thank you so much for your time and help. Neale I am very much interested to keep sharks is there any kind which you can recommend me for my aquarium, or any other fresh water fish which is easy to keep and nice. Actually to keep goldfish is very hard job and they make huge mess. They are also very sensitive like fin rot and other diseases. As they take long time to cure the fin rot even after 3-4 months my one red cap is showing the sign of fin rot, I do not how it would end completely. I am very much upset. Although its fine, healthy and active but when I see fin rot sign I become upset. I think shark will be easy to keep as they do not mass a lot, I really do not please help me if you can. Ill be thankful to you. Thank You Ali <Hello Ali, Goldfish are indeed difficult fish to keep well. That is why I explain to people they need big tanks and good filters. Goldfish are excellent pets, and can be intelligent and friendly. But they are much easier when kept as pond fish. I wouldn't recommend keeping any "minnow sharks" (as we call these fish) with Goldfish. Do read over Bob's article on minnow sharks. Some species get big, some are aggressive, and all need good water quality. Until you can consistently ensure perfect water conditions with your Goldfish, then minnow sharks aren't an option. In other words, if you keep seeing Finrot and fungus, your tank isn't 100% perfect. Concentrate on this problem first! When you're happy the water quality is good, I'd recommend looking at other fish species that can live well alongside Goldfish, things like Plecostomus-type catfish and some of the gouramis. Cool water Corydoras such as Corydoras paleatus also work well. Cheers, Neale.> <Forgot to add the link for Bob's piece: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/minnowshks.htm Cheers, Neale.>

Re: New tank   12/15/08 Hello Dear Neale, Thank you so much Neale for time and help. God bless you, I will try to take care of my goldfish more so I could get rid of Finrot. Now they would have a lot of water and space. I hope they will enjoy more. Thank You Ali <Ali, thanks for your kind words, and I am glad to be able to help. Good luck to you and your fish! Once you've settled things down and all the fish are healthy, we can talk some more about companion species. Cheers, Neale.>

Albino Sharks too skinny... beh., systems   2/1/06 I have a 15 gal tank with 4 Albino Sharks, <Too small for these testy minnows> 2 Otos and 1 Chinese Algae Eater. One of the sharks looks very healthy, not fat but good sized. The other 3 look skinny, very skinny. <Typical... the one winner is bullying the others> I had a 5th shark in the tank that looked very good with the other 4 skinny. After I removed the normal looking one, 1 of the 4 skinny sharks then fattened up to look normal. Will one Albino Shark bully the others and eat more of the food thereby keeping them skinny? <Ah, yes!> That looks to be the case. If this is the case, is there any solution other than 1 shark per tank? <Mmm, a larger tank... at least sixty gallons. You can/could try to add "decor", plants to reduce visual stimulation... but this is only a short term solution... Bob Fenner> Thanks, David McGinnis

More than one red tailed shark?  9/1/05 Hello again. Quick question. I have a 108 gallon and have among other fish six "flying foxes". I just purchased a red tailed black shark about 1.5 inches. Settling in ok but have found him to be chasing the foxes now and then. Being similar in shape I understand why. Everything I've heard about this fish is to keep one specimen. This tank is heavily planted and I was wondering if I could or should keep a small school to stop the aggression toward the foxes? Could this work and what would you consider to be an acceptable number in this particular tank?  Leave as is or more sharks?  Your advice is the best out there!!!............Tanks a lot..............Craig P. <It is a very territorial fish, that will be more aggressive as it matures. You can keep the sharks in a small group when they are young, but it will be increasingly difficult as they mature. I would stick with one, unless you want to add 3 more and remove them as they get older and more aggressive. Good Luck, Oliver >

A Shark By Any Other Name....  Might Be A Cyprinid? - 08/04/2005 How fast does a tri-color shark grow. <Pretty quickly.  They do reach over a foot in length, as well.> Also how much synthetic sea salt is needed in the tank. <None.  These are not sharks, they are freshwater minnows so named because of the shape of their dorsal fin.> What type of lighting should be used for a Tri-color Shark. <I would recommend using a quality fluorescent light, but this is not essential.  As long as they've got enough to see by, that's probably enough light.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Chlorine Problems 8/5/05 Hello, First time participating in a web based FYI session.  I thought I would send along my experience with the Bala swimming inverted (simulating an infected swim bladder) and listless with heavy breathing and sometimes they dart in all directions. I have lost about 2 dozen fish in my experience and would like to share what I found.  I came across your page searching for albino Labeo chrysophekadion since I have a 16-18 year old fish and thought I would start searching for companions.  Anyhow,  I had 8 Bala's all around the 7-9 inch size in a tank which was fueled by well water.  I moved to city water and within the first two water changes lost all of them to toxic poisoning.  I change my water once every 2 - 4 weeks and about 1/3 to 1/2 the water at a time.  They were in a 70 gallon tank. This occurred 7 seven years ago and with experimentation and scientific methods I noticed it was mostly related to the chlorine levels in the supply water.  My pattern was that I restocked the Bala's in spring and every winter they would expire to poisoning.  Throughout the past seven years a water softener was added to minimize some of the incoming toxins, and to a point it did make a difference.  I found out that the cities water department was increasing their chlorine levels in the water supply for a failing pump and well.  Last summer the pump was replaced and I have had no casualties since when executing a water change.  I found out that silver scaled fish are more susceptible to toxic poisoning so I suppose that Arowana's and Silver Dollars are in this category also. I do take precautions when preparing to change my water especially in the winter. The city engineer reminded me that the chlorine levels will stay higher in colder temperatures since it doesn't have a chance to "burn off".  So when changing water in late November to the end of March I never change more than a 1/3 of water unless my chlorine test strip (made by Jungle) assures me that the level is safe.  I noticed that a lot of Bala Shark discussion occurs on the page http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwshkfaqs.htm and I think that Chlorine Levels (especially from government water supplies instead of private wells) could be the culprit.  Hope my experiences help and maybe provides longer lives for the sharks in the hobbyist tanks. Robert < We will pass this along so others may learn from your experiences.-Chuck>

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 won't 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>

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 48'x18'x20' 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 wasn't 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>

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

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!>>

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