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Maybe they want to go back to the dealer's tank as we suggested yesterday.

Seriously, after all we said, why are you trying to trouble-shoot when we told you there would be nothing but trouble?

They need to be in schools, John, ideally a good dozen of them in a large large tank. When kept among hostile tank-mates singly or in pairs, you will not see normal Bala Shark behavior. These fish swim actively almost non-stop when happy and in groups. Sometimes male barbs (and you can think of Balas as a large Barb) will display to one another by flaring fins side by side. But I doubt your little 2 inch Balas are mature, sexually. Some fish, when carrying a parasite like ich will twitch in order to relieve the irritation as it burrows into its skin. Any spots in the tank?
 

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:(

Maybe they want to go back to the dealer's tank as we suggested yesterday.

Seriously, after all we said, why are you trying to trouble-shoot when we told you there would be nothing but trouble?

They need to be in schools, John, ideally a good dozen of them in a large large tank. When kept among hostile tank-mates singly or in pairs, you will not see normal Bala Shark behavior. These fish swim actively almost non-stop when happy and in groups. Sometimes male barbs (and you can think of Balas as a large Barb) will display to one another by flaring fins side by side. But I doubt your little 2 inch Balas are mature, sexually. Some fish, when carrying a parasite like ich will twitch in order to relieve the irritation as it burrows into its skin. Any spots in the tank?
i really hate to say this, but i guess for anything to get through my brothers head. there just going to have to die off. he doesnt believe me at all and i dont theink he will anytime soon. i honestly dont have any say in what goes in there and what comes out. i did not pay for anything. its all from his money. i really do appreciate everyone help, but i just cant get anything through his head. so when i get my own tank soon. i will be sure to come to you guys and ask for fish before i even buy any. thanks a bunch for your help. but i guess they all have to die if he doesnt believe me :(
 

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Honestly, John, I hope you do, because now it is clear to me that you are upset by what you are seeing in the tank.

So, save your money and get a great tank of your own and read up on all the fish you like before you buy them and try to put them together. And any of the gang here, including me, will gladly help.

Sincerely

Randy
 

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John, it's unfortunate, but we come across people like your brother all the time. No matter what you do, you can't change their minds. It's sad because we see the fish suffer, but just can't change the opinion of the owner. A lot of us here have family members or friends like that.

When you do save your money for your own tank, make your tank the envy of your family. Lead by example and maybe he will follow. We'll be here with advice and support. :)

In the meantime, you can look here: Practical Fishkeeping and here: Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine for some great reading material about fish and aquariums!
 

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Great advice. When he sees your tank doing well, chances are he will either change is ways or give up. This hobby is not easily pursued by people who won't learn. Costs too much money for no return. Probably he'll just give you the tank and quit.
 

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John:

FYI, Petco is having a "Dollar a Gallon Sale" in september. They do these periodically. I bought a 55 gallon for 55 bucks in July. Larger size tanks go fast, so be ready for it. It's a great deal.
 

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Hi John
I had 2 Bala Sharks for 8-10 years. This was long before the internet or readily available info and with what I know now I would not buy them again without at least 120 gallon over 6 foot. They swim fast!! We housed the 2 in a 90 Gallon with 3 Oscars. All 5 eventually reached full size. I eventually found a home for the 2 Balas.
They always twitched or flinched as you call it. I would say this is common behavior having housed them for 10 years.
I would also say get the absolute longest tank you can afford and remember the weight of the tank and research where to put it. Water is approx 10lb a gallon plus rock, stand etc. So a 120 Gallon is min 1200 lbs.
Good luck and enjoy your new tank!!
 
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I wish more people could read and appreciate that story. I love balas, but they, like so many large fish, are mightily abused and poorly kept in this hobby. I think these should be special-order-only fish, not available by the tankful at every big box pet outlet seven days a week. There just aren't that many people willing or able to devote the required space to them. Other candidates for "special order only" : Pangasius cats, Columbian cats, Tinfoil barbs, Oscars, Koi, Common Plecos . . .
I can keep going.
 

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I would also add goldfish to that list. Most people just don't know how large they get.

But it's good the know the dollar-per-gallon sale is coming back in September. I missed the one in July and I need to pick up a 20 gal QT. It's a great way to get a tank, John. I'd aim for something like a 40 gal or a 29 gal. Big enough to be stable and offer you some choices with fish, but not too big as to overwhelm you with water changes.
 

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I was going to add goldfish, but I thought people would go crazy all over me! But you are absolutely right. No one has a large enough tank when they buy a cheap little goldfish. No one. Then, when you tell them what they really need they say "all that for a stupid one dollar fish?"

We have to get past the point where a fish's value is solely a function of its purchase price. They have value because they are alive. Even if you are keeping goldfish only in order to feed them to something else in a couple days, you still have to keep them well.

I am frankly tired of so many bettas being available all the time, too. They are the new goldfish. At every big box pet store: dozens upon dozens of bettas marinating in eight ounces of chilly water and their own waste. Enough already.
 
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