Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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unlimitedx 07-26-2007 05:45 PM

oscar cichlids and bala sharks
Hi all,

I already have an established 200gallon tank with several cichlids, two of which are oscars that are 9-11" big. would be plain stupid to put 1 or 2 bala sharks in there that are no more than 3-4" long? there are plenty of hiding spaces, but i'm afraid it won't be enough to stop the sharks from getting harrassed until they grow big enough.

edit: i had gone to my local petsmart to ask about this, and they said that the sharks will be continually harrassed. but being on this forum so long i've learned to take what they say with a grain of salt :)

mHeinitz57 07-26-2007 05:54 PM

haha having worked at petsmart I know they will usually tell you stuff by the books and they will be very conservative. However, i've seen oscars suck up pretty big meals and I wouldnt be surprised if you found a bala tail hanging out of one of their mouths at some point. Just cause they cant swallow the whole thing doesn't mean they wont try. Try to find bigger balas if you can and remember that the balas are schooling fish and would do better with at least 3 of them.

unlimitedx 07-26-2007 06:25 PM

the petsmart pricing for balas:

4" is $10
3-3.5" is $6
2-3" is $3

i'm tempted to buy 4 of the 2-3" ones. how fast do they grow? i've been trying to gather as much information as possible online, and some claim theirs have grown 1/2" in a few days!!

i think it would hurt me if one of my oscars swallow one of the $10 balas, where with the smaller ones i'd have a better chance

Gump 07-26-2007 06:31 PM

I'm with mHeinitz on the oscars will try to eat the balas more than harass them. I would get a group of 5 of the 3-3.5" and feed them good and do at least one big water change a week and they should put on size quickly. 5 should give you a little buffer if the O's eat one or two so you still have at least 3.

mHeinitz57 07-26-2007 06:36 PM

yeah, you may look to independant fish stores though and see if you can pick up larger balas though.

leifthebunny 07-26-2007 07:20 PM


Originally Posted by unlimitedx
i'm tempted to buy 4 of the 2-3" ones. how fast do they grow? i've been trying to gather as much information as possible online, and some claim theirs have grown 1/2" in a few days!!

Balas are slow growers, though when they do grow, it's in spurts.

Edit, Balas only reach 12" on average so you might still have issues later when the oscars get larger.

GW 07-26-2007 08:18 PM

If it can fit in their mouths...they will at some time try to eat it.
If you've been giving your O's any Feeders anytime while they have been growing up there's a real good chance that those size Bala's would just be fast snacks.

unlimitedx 07-26-2007 09:59 PM

i bought 18 feeder minnows (tiny ones), and i was expecting them to jump on them the moment i released them in; instead they ate one or two every 1/2 hour. there is still 1 left in the tank after 6 hours!

bf2king 08-05-2007 05:27 PM

if you can find a speacilty store in your area they will probably have them or can order them as i have a store in my area that has some 7 inch ones with a 2 foot arow and a 2foot+ clown knife and they are fast enough to out swim an oscar but just in case you dont want your oscars eatin all your fish.

dreesa 08-05-2007 10:10 PM

I agree with most of what has already been said. Balas are easy to swallow because of their body shape, so chances are they'll turn up missing. You best be would be trying to by a few large tinfoil barbs or silver dollars. Thier high body make them much harder to fit in a mouth, and they're extremely agile. Pacu could work too, although they get enormous. There are a lot of other options though.

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