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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got a freshly planted 60 gal corner tank and I really want to keep some bala sharks but was using aquadvisor.com to help figure out which species I can keep together and they don't recommend me keeping any bala's because my tank is too small apparently. Has anyone had any experience using this site and how accurate do you think that info is? thanks
 

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Aquadvisor is mostly garbage because it follows the inch per gallon format in some cases.
What is the footprint of your tank? If it's at least 5 feet long, you can possibly keep 2-3 balas, but be warned that I wouldn't be completely comfortable keeping them in anything less than at least 90 gallons.

EDIT:
Yeah, a bowfront would not be the best for these fish - they grow sideways and need room to swim.
I would recommend rummy noses or roseline sharks. Both are great schooling fish and you could have 5-8 of each without a problem.
 

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So basically AqAdvisor was correct is saying that tank is too small for Bala Sharks. It also recommends you keep at least 5 together and that they grow up to 12", so I wouldn't exactly call it garbage. It does have its problems but it can give a place to start if you know nothing about fish keeping. You still need to do your research.
 

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I don't know how any of these species would do in your tank, given its shape, but if you're looking for smaller alternatives to Balas, maybe another "shark" or a catfish?

Red Tailed Black Sharks and Rainbow Sharks have the shape, though you wouldn't be able to keep a group like you would with balas due to their temperament.
Denison Barbs, or "Roseline Sharks" have that shape as well, and are a bit closer in color to balas, but are much more docile than the RTBS and Rainbow Shark. They are another torpedo shaped fish, though, and would likely prefer more horizontal space.

As far as Catfish, there are the typical Corydoras, but I think a lot of Synodontis catfish have a fairly similar look to balas. I've never kept any myself, but I believe they tend to stick towards the bottom, so they wouldn't provide a bunch of movement in the upper levels of the tank like a group of bala sharks would. I am personally a fan of Synodontis petricola.

Actually, an even better substitute would be the Pictus catfish. They have a very similar look, are kept in schools, and I believe tend to be out and about more than other cats, but I've never kept any so I couldn't say for sure. The only issue with them is that they aren't that much of a jump down in size - much more reasonable the balas, but they may need more horizontal space than you can provide. I would probably look into these more, if you're interested in them.

You may also want to look into different species of barbs. My searches so far have turned up similar, smaller fish, though not as small as you would probably need.

Keep in mind with all these suggestions that I'm not sure how well they'd do in a corner tank or how they do with plants. But they are things worth considering and looking into more if you're looking for a good bala substitue.
 

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I always cringe a bit when I see bala sharks being sold at petsmart and even more when I see parents with kids holding a brand new 10g tank and buying one....Im pretty sure not that many people have tanks suitable for a grown bala shark but petsmart is still tyring to sell them...kinda sad
 

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I always cringe a bit when I see bala sharks being sold at petsmart and even more when I see parents with kids holding a brand new 10g tank and buying one....Im pretty sure not that many people have tanks suitable for a grown bala shark but petsmart is still tyring to sell them...kinda sad
Even worse for me are red tails and channel cats...poor giant fish...
 

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So basically AqAdvisor was correct is saying that tank is too small for Bala Sharks. It also recommends you keep at least 5 together and that they grow up to 12", so I wouldn't exactly call it garbage. It does have its problems but it can give a place to start if you know nothing about fish keeping. You still need to do your research.
Aq advisor is horrible for beginners, because it doesn't know that semi aggressive fish such as African Cichlids or Female bettas should be kept in good sized numbers to avoid crazy aggression. The best info is given by actual fishkeepers such as you or myself.

As a result, a friend of mine only kept 2 female bettas because the site told him any more would go over his bioload, and lo and behold, one of the females killed the other because you're supposed to keep 4 or more to curb aggression.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I always cringe a bit when I see bala sharks being sold at petsmart and even more when I see parents with kids holding a brand new 10g tank and buying one....Im pretty sure not that many people have tanks suitable for a grown bala shark but petsmart is still tyring to sell them...kinda sad
Petsmart is actually where I first saw bala's. They recommend something like a minimum of 40 gallons or so to keep bala's which excited me because they're such a cool looking fish. Glad I did some more research before I came home with some!
 

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Another potential problem with Balas: They can be quite skittish. They startle, bolt to the other end of the tank and crash into the end, and can kill themselves.
Best way to keep them is in a tank with some sort of cushion at each end, such as dense planting. So, to give them the room they need for swimming: 6', then add a foot of cushion at each end: 8' long tank minimum. These are usually a couple hundred gallons, but even so it is not much room for a school of foot long fish.

Suggest the most 'Bala Shark' looking fish might be some of the Giant Danios. They are much smaller (roughly 4"), can be kept in a good sized school, are highly active and are not so voracious plant eaters. There are several species, too, so do some research and find some that will work for you.
 

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Yes and no depends on the fish. Each fish is different. I have been able to keep 2 male bettas in a tank together with out fights 99% of people on here and i being one of them would not recommend trying that *i was a kid didn't know any better but i had fairly docile bettas*

Also depends on if you are willing to lose fish to your semi aggressive. So what kind of fish are you thinking of?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Yes and no depends on the fish. Each fish is different. I have been able to keep 2 male bettas in a tank together with out fights 99% of people on here and i being one of them would not recommend trying that *i was a kid didn't know any better but i had fairly docile bettas*

Also depends on if you are willing to lose fish to your semi aggressive. So what kind of fish are you thinking of?
Well I have 1 rainbow shark, 2 gourami, 3 German blue rams a d I've been thinking about some tiger Barbs

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Just remember that the tiger barbs need a school of at least 5 or 6, the more the better. That way they keep the fighting amongst each other. The mock battles are fun to watch.

I would be more wary of the type of gouramis you get. They can be very intolerant of their own species.

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