bala sharks have spots on them - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 21 Old 12-04-2006, 06:28 AM Thread Starter
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bala sharks have spots on them

I have two bala sharks that seem to have pinkish red circular spots on them and are afraid that I will loose them if I don't do something...appetite is minimal and they appear to have yellowish bodies. can anyone please help me?[/book]
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post #2 of 21 Old 12-04-2006, 06:56 AM
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Could you provide more details? A picture would definitely help.

What are you water parameters, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate. What size tank do you have and what other kinds of fish? Any sharp rocks/decorations?

Take a look at the pink spots, they could be lesions, cuts, or wounds. These should be treated with something like Melafix which will heal them faster making the fish less prone to disease. Do these pink spots look like growths? There is a chance it could be velvet. In most circumstances, fish with velvet possess a yellow or rusty film on their scales; however, Bala sharks should naturally have a slight tint of yellow. Is the fish breathing rapidly? Are its fins clamped against its body?

Again, a picture, and more information would help.
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post #3 of 21 Old 12-04-2006, 07:29 AM Thread Starter
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I am pretty new at this and what info you need..I will try to get the specifics for you....I have a 10 gallon tank, 2 bala sharks each aprox 5" long. I have minimal decor in the tank, yes 1 rock formation and a pillar formation and 1 tree decoration. The spots do not seem to be scrapes so much as circular raised spots...from what I read, velvet and ich are small white spots am I right? I have been reading alot on the fish I could have gotten mixed up with something else much a newbie you know. I have only the stick "quick dip" the readings are as follows:
Temp: 74
Nitrate:in the "safe" zone just below 20? on the chart
Nitrite:Safe....0 - .5
Hardness: with the use of water pillow it is 75 - 15 mid soft/hard
Alkalinity:180 - 300...between ideal and high
PH: neutral...between 6.8 & 7.2
fins seem fine and move fine. no jagged edges either.
I have always struggled with the Ph and the Alkalinity on a daily basis having to add ph 7.0 almost daily and salt almost daily.
The fish were very very rapidbreathers and the fish store sold me everything but....then I thought maybe they just nneded more oxygen so I bought an oxygen stick and put in across the back of the tank...they breathe much better now. I did notice since the beginning that the fish seem to dislocate their jaws occasionally opening their mouths super wide.
I tried to take som pics but they swim so fast that I can't seem to get a really good shot at the spots since you have to look at them at an angle to notice them. Plus I am not sure how to attach a photo to the post.
I hope this helps. If I left anything out let me know. They keep telling me my jpg file extention is not allowed
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post #4 of 21 Old 12-04-2006, 08:45 AM
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Upload your photos to or some similar site (its free :D ) and then you can easily embed the photos in your posts here.

Sorry i can't help with the disease but a 10 gallon tank is no way near big enough for balas, especially 5" ones. There appetite may be minimal due to stress of being in such a small tank, they are a shoaling fish so really need to be in a group of 5-6 or more to be comfortable and i would say a 55 gal tank as a minimum as they potentially can reach approx 15 inches.

Good luck with the problems, i hope you can help them

there's a storm a coming........
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post #5 of 21 Old 12-04-2006, 10:25 AM
i have 2 bala sharks you can have for nothing if your in the uk
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post #6 of 21 Old 12-04-2006, 10:42 AM Thread Starter
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I need to keep these alive before I try my hand at anything else first...But if I lived in the UK and not the USA I might....thanks though :D
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post #7 of 21 Old 12-04-2006, 11:16 AM
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what dimensions is a 10gal?

i think you may be fighting a losing battle with these 2 fish. If it hasn't happened already then the size (i think) of that tank will cause there growth to stunt, leading to internal problems etc....

I would speak to an LFS near you and see if they are prepared to exchange them for a fish more suitable to that tank... and go and give the person that sold you them a slap!!

there's a storm a coming........
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post #8 of 21 Old 12-04-2006, 11:58 AM
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What about your ammonia, you need to test that. But as stated before, these Bala Sharks need a much larger aquarium. I do not mean to sound harsh, but it is common for beginners to obtain small tanks and either stick a massive amount of fish in there, or get fish that are not supposed to be in a small aquarium. But there is still hope for the Balas....

The act of the fish opening their mouths wide, similar to how we yawn can either be good or bad. This entails that the fish is either 1. Happy, and very comfortable (which I highly doubt in such a small tank), or 2. Poor water quality. They are also stressed out from the lesions on their bodies as well. Have you seen any flashing? This is when they scrape their sides on rocks or decorations, this is also a sign of stress, disease, or poor water quality. You should really do the fish a favor if you care about them enough for them to be happy and healthy, to either invest in a larger tank, at LEAST 55 gallon. They are very fast swimmers and need ample room to dart around. As stated before they are fish that like to be in groups, so if you can get a large tank, get a couple more so they feel more comfortable. If you are unable to get a larger tank, I think it is best if you give back you fish to a quality fish store, or if you have friends that have a suitable tank. This would be a good opportunity to learn from your mistakes, and start over the right way too. Get only a few small fish at first. Do a little research about them prior to buying. Make the effort to have a good environment for your fish, they will appreciate it.

It would be much easier to come to a conclusion based on a picture. But red, circular, raised spots do not sound good. Sounds like either a bacterial/fungal infection, which should be medicated. Any more unusual traits of the pink/red spots? How many are there? How big are they? Any cottony looking substance on them?
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post #9 of 21 Old 12-04-2006, 12:47 PM Thread Starter
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Traits are about 7-10 on each side of the bodies...some look like scales have been removed...mostly you can only see them when the fish swim at an angle or as they swim away from you...head on side view you can't tell anything other than the bodies look alittle white cotton stuff... they are aprox 1/8" wide...I notice nothing with the fins that is abnormal other than one fish is loosing color in it's fins...the black line semms to be fading out.
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post #10 of 21 Old 12-04-2006, 01:55 PM
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I need to add a few notes here. For starters, the strip tests are the most inaccurate tests you can buy. I would never rely on those results as being the actual water quality.
As was mentioned, you will also need to know ammonia levels, so maybe a trip to your LFS with a water sample for testing is the answer? Ask them to write down exact results and the name brand of test kits they are using. This will help us to help you as soon as possible.
Be forewarned, many LFS's won't take fish while they are sick, so you will want to do the best you can to treat them and get them well before trying to take them back. In the very least, talk to a manager at the LFS, explain that someone sold you the wrong kind of fish for a 10 gallon tank and now the fish are sick and you don't have a large enough tank to accomidate them. Most places will replace them with something suitable and eat the loss if they can't treat the fish themselves succussfully.
However you go about it, 10 gallons won't sustain those fish. I didn't see mentioned about how long this tank has been set up, either. That is important information, and tells us some of what to look for in the water quality test results. Bala's are awesome fish, but they are very prone to stress issues, they're skittish, and very sensitive to water quality and medications. Are there any other fish in the tank with them? I would suggest floating some plants, live or fake, no matter, and increasing the decorations to help avoid stress. If you decide to move them into a larger tank, I can also suggest some safe medication options for you.
It was suggested to put them into a 55 gallon, but be aware that this, also, would be temporary. Balas reach 14 inches full grown, and if properly cared for, can reach that size in the first few yrs. For 1 or 2 of them to go to full grown, you're looking at 125 gallons or more.
Are the fish eating at this point? What kind of foods? How often?
Are there any other symptoms you can list? Do the sores appear to be "open sores"? Are they oozing or pussing?

Dawn Moneyhan
Aquatics Specialist/Nutritionist
Juneau, WI
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