Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources (
-   Freshwater and Tropical Fish (
-   -   Question regarding bala shark (leaning to one side) (

brettxw 03-06-2009 01:17 AM

Question regarding bala shark (leaning to one side)
I've been using this forum to research the fish and care for the ones I have. I have recently just gotten into enjoying the whole "fish scene". Its very addictive.

I have a 30gallon tank. With in the next six months I plan on upgrading to a 100-150 gallon.

I have :
6 bala shark
6 glass catfish
1 pleco (spelling)
2 chinese sucker thingies
1 blue lobster

My water temperature is between 74-76 degrees F.
pH level is between 7.4-7.6.
Tested the water for Ammonium, Nitrate and Ammonium and they all turned up ok.
I feed them every other day, a pinch or two of tropical fish food. and 4 - 5 sinking wafers.

I know a lot of people are going to say my tank is overstocked I should not have those bala sharks in such a small tank. Yes, I know but for their size right now, they are fine. Like I said, I plan on upgrading to a much larger tank.


Just tonight I've noticed 5 of them are leaning to one side. Not swimming sideways but when they are just 'floating' I guess in place, they lean to their left side. It looks like their equilibrium is off. I've also noticed that their eyes are a lil blacker then usual and seem to be a lil bigger then what they used to be. Their coloring is fine, no red color, they are not white, their fins are a normal healthy dark black color. Does anyone have any idea? I really don't want to have them suffer and/or die. If they do, I also dont want to harm any other fish I get in the future in replace of them.

Please help. I appreciate the help and advise! Thanks!

1077 03-06-2009 04:20 AM

You say the the water test's you performed indicate everything OK but that does not tell those who might be able to help very much. Ammonia and Nitrites in an aquarium with fish, must read zero on your test. I, and others,, Have found that many of the test kits that use test strips are not very accurate and most prefer the test kits that use liquid solutions and test vials such as the API freshwater master kit that can be found online at or at some fish stores. If your tank is new and has not matured or cycled ,,then daily water changes of 20 to 25 percent will be needed to keep ammonia levels from rising and killing the fish, for your tank IS way over stocked. If your tank has cycled, then I would perform a 50 percent water change and possibly another after 12 to 24 hours but your test kit will tell you when changes should be made and this would be any time ammonia was above 0.25. Perhaps you could take a sample of water to fish store and ask them if they would test it for you to get a second opinion ,however,, If they use the strip type tests ,again,, the results may not be accurate. As stated ,,until you can get accurate reading ,I would perform a couple 50 percent water changes spaced at least twelve hours apart using a good dechlorinator that detoxifys ammonia,chlorine, and chloramines. PRIME is a good water conditioner and is used by many.
The sharks as well as other fish you have would probably prefer slightly warmer water. You might try raising the temp slowly over a day to near 80. They would also do well with maybe some frozen brine shrimp and or blood worms along with the foods you are offering. I would also consider increasing the filtration on this tank given the LARGE load. I would add another filter such as the EMPEROR 280 by marineland in addition to the filter you have presently. Rinse the filter cartridges out in old aquarium water that you take out during WEEKLY water changes that you should be performing if the tank has matured or cycled. Don't rinse them out with tapwater. As mentioned,, If this tank is new and has not properly matured or cycled .. daily water changes will be mandatory to keep ammonia levels in check and I would not rely on test strips to determine what the ammonia levels are. Your feeding schedule is good but be careful to see that they are eating all that you offer and that food is not laying on the bottom and decaying. I hope some of this helps.

Twistersmom 03-06-2009 07:00 AM

All good advice above, I just wanted to add to it.
I have three bala sharks.
They spend a a good amount of time swimming sideways. I would say its normal for this type of wish.
Also mine really enjoy some fresh veggies in their diet.
Balas are said not to deal well with poor water quality, any ammonia can stress them.

brettxw 03-06-2009 02:07 PM

Thank you for the information :) When I said my ammonium and nitrate were "ok" I did take them to the Pet Store here which is very well trust worthy store. They did the droplets and the guys words were exactly "its to perfect". This morning I did up the temperature so it will be 76-78 F. I actually thought that was to high thats why I did not keep it at that. I'm trying to go back and re-read and answer everything. My filter I actually just bought. I bought a Penguin filter for tanks up to 75 gallons. The guy at the store said this is a good filter, has the bio wheel if that really makes a difference. Hm, I just did 50% water change because I gravel vaccummed last week. As far as the food, i just put some blood worms in there and the glass fish and chinese sucker fish will be ok with that as well?

This morning I did notice one of the sharks front tip (mouth tip) is white or transparent. None of them where leaning sideways like they were last night. Any thoughts about that?

Again, I thank you again for the help, its much appreciated :)

Twistersmom 03-06-2009 02:54 PM

Are they leaning when the tank light are out?
The reason I ask, my fish lean mostly when their light are out, but there is a light on in the room.
I would buy an API test kit. Your tank being stocked with so many fish could quickly go from zero ammonia to deadly levels.

brettxw 03-06-2009 03:38 PM


Originally Posted by Twistersmom (Post 177964)
Are they leaning when the tank light are out?
The reason I ask, my fish lean mostly when their light are out, but there is a light on in the room.
I would buy an API test kit. Your tank being stocked with so many fish could quickly go from zero ammonia to deadly levels.

Ah really/ the ammonium level can change that quickly?? Gr. thats not cool.

And to answer your question about them leaning when the light is on or off. They do it at night around 2am. I don't turn the light off till about 230-330am. Going to sound stupid but could thye be leaning to one side cuz they are sleeping?

Also, if the ammonium levels are normal as well as the other levels, could this just be the fish got sick?

Twistersmom 03-06-2009 07:45 PM

Thats a possibility.
How many hrs do you leave the lights out for them?
Lights out does give them some nap time. They still swim around a bit, but less active.

brettxw 03-06-2009 08:04 PM

Ok well. I tested my water with the drops.

My ammonium is ok.

My nitrate is 5.0
My Nitrite is .25

Obviously that is not a good sign. What do I do?

Also, I just noticed today that my light has cracked the glass cover top to the fish tank. GR.

Twistersmom 03-06-2009 09:21 PM

Balas do not deal well with nirites.
I would do a 50% water change.

brettxw 03-06-2009 09:31 PM

Would that be the cause for the white nose on one of them?

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:41 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome