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Do sharks play nicely together?!

Discussion in 'Tropical Discussion' started by Shivan, Jun 9, 2019.

  1. Shivan

    Shivan New Member

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    I'm new to the forum and really looking forward to stepping up from tiny 40L coldwater tank we currently have to a 340L freshwater tropical tank that I'm ordering next week. The more I read, the more I realise I don't know but I'm very much enjoying learning!

    So, once our tank has arrived and is set up and operating nicely, we're looking forward to what fish we want to keep in it, which will partially dictate things like the 'aquascaping' e.g. enough hidey holes etc. I'm looking for any advice on keeping the following together in it:

    - 1 x Red Tailed Black Shark. Territorial I believe especially on the bottom of the tank and doesn't like being with others of its own kind.
    - 4 x Bala Silver Sharks. Apparently these get nervous and need to be in a group especially when little, although I understand that when they're at full size, I'll be lucky if I can keep just one in a 340L tank.
    - 1 x Golden Loach (a curveball, but he's been with us for two years now, definitely needs a bigger space despite being bought at a store that said that a 40L tank size was 'fine', apparently can tolerate warmer waters and should be able to hold his own against the sharks as he's 15-20cm now - I think?!)
    - Some combination of Angelfish, Gouramis and/or Tetras. I'd probably prefer a group of 20 neon tetra here, which I've read somewhere can be kept with the sharks as they are hardy, fast and like spending time in the upper part of the tank, although I'd worry they would become food?

    I'd hugely recommend any advice on whether this works or any other suggestions you might have!

    Many thanks!!
     
  2. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Hi and welcome to the forum :)

    What are the tank dimensions (length x width x height)?

    What is the GH (general hardness) and pH of your water supply. This information can usually be obtained from your water supply company's website or by telephoning them. If they can't help you, take a glass full of tap water to the local pet shop and get them to test it for you. Write the results down (in numbers) when they do the tests. And ask them what the results are in (eg: ppm, dGH, or something else).

    Can you post a picture of the golden loach so we can identify the species?
    If the pictures are too big for the website, set the camera's resolution to its lowest setting and take some more. The lower resolution will make the images smaller and they should fit on this website. Check the pictures on your pc and find a couple that are clear, and post them here. Make sure you turn the camera's resolution back up after you have taken the pics otherwise all your pictures will be small.

    -----------------------------
    Silver Sharks (Bala Sharks) can reach 1 foot long and need a big tank. They do best in groups of 6 (preferably 10) or more.

    Most loaches do best in groups of 6 (preferably 10) or more too.

    Neons will probably get eaten by the loaches (depending on species) and Bala sharks when they get bigger.

    If you go to a pet shop and make a list of fish and plants you like, then post it here along with the tank dimensions and GH & pH. Then we can offer advice on which will co-exist together
     
  3. Shivan

    Shivan New Member

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    Hi Colin_T - and thank you!

    So, my tank is going to be 36 x 24 x 24. From Severn Trent, my water is 'slightly hard' with a 'hardness Clark' level of 10.45 and an average pH of 7.7. I can't find a 'General Hardness' anywhere on their results, unfortunately.

    Photo of golden loach attached... it's meant to be a coldwater fish, but according to various sites, would be OK in a tropical aquarium, provided that it was at the lower end of the possible temperature range. Howevever, if this doesn't work out, that's not a problem - we can keep the current 40L tank, but I'm just conscious that he doesn't have much room to move about and I'd love it if he were able to be freer in a bigger tank.

    In terms of going to an aquarium to see the different fish available, we've done a number of these trips so far which have already resulted in us switching up the tank we want to buy from 200L to 340L, but we don't have any more room than that! There is keenness for at least one shark and I *think* we'll be keeping away from e.g. a species only Cichlid tank or Discus or anything like that. As far as I can tell, they don't play that nicely with others.

    Many thanks!

    I IMG_1653.jpeg
     
  4. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    The tank isn't big enough for Bala Sharks. They need a longer tank that is at least 4 foot long for young fish and 6 foot minimum for adult sharks.

    Length x width is more important than height for fish.

    The gold loach is a weather loach. They are cool water fish that can live in water up to 26C. They do best in water between 18-24C. These loaches won't harm neon tetras and will be fine in the 3ft x 2ft x 2ft tank.

    You could have a rainbow shark or redtail shark in the 3x2x2 tank. Get a small one and let it grow up with the other fish and it should be ok.
     
  5. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fish Fanatic

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    I may be wrong but I don't think any of your sharks are actual sharks - they all look like vertebrates to me. Real sharks are cartilaginous fish - evolutionary wise - much older than fish and basically just have one behavior - kill and eat. Sounds boring to me - but that's just my opinion.

    Everything I read about the Bala's recommend a 300+ gallon tank. So what are you going to do with them once they outgrow your tank? I'm curious why you are interested in this particular fish - other than growing large I'd think you might want to try something more exotic - since you'll probably never have the opportunity to have another tank this big.

    The Red Tailed shark is very attractive and also rated "very aggressive". but he's also small (6") so I think if he got territorial with Bala - they would just eat him. Even your loach could probably eat him. All of the other fish in your tank are peaceful fish except him - so again, I'm not sure why you would think of putting him in this tank.

    You sound attached to your loach (I would be too) So you've got this awesome large tank - why not use your loach as your starting point and pick other fishes compatible to him - perhaps more loaches? I wouldn't put any aggressive or semi-aggressive species that are small in with your large loach - they'll likely just get eaten, so I'd look for fish that are bigger than his mouth that are also peaceful.

    How about an Oscar? - probably one of the smartest freshwater fish? People say they act like dogs and can get very attached and friendly to their owners. It's my dream fish - but even in an aquarium the size of yours you could probably only house 1 Oscar (luckily they don't appear to get lonely) Like your Loach it too will eat any fish smaller than it's mouth - so all other fish need to be 6 inches or larger. Some of the Gourami's are that big (I just love this species although I'm finding that they are kind of competitive and nippy with each other - at least the 2 species that I have are.) But unlike most fish they seem to just want to stare at me whenever I'm in the room - and if I talk to them, they seem to pay attention. There are also Silver Dollar Fish that would fit well but are mostly vegetarian so they'll eat your live plants if you don't keep them well fed. Then I read about a Bristlenosed Catfish that gets pretty large but are really cool looking. I love catfish, plus they tend to eat everything nobody else wants so they are good at cleaning up your tank. They are so much smarter about finding food than some other "regular" fish that I swear could be hit on the head with food and not bother to eat it, even though they all scramble around like maniacs when being fed.

    I've had my current tank for not only 2 months and I'm already thinking about getting a big tank with one or two Oscars or a medium sized tank and try out reef systems.
     
  6. essjay

    essjay Moderator
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    The "hardness Clark" is the general hardness, or GH for short. Degrees Clark is not one of the units used in fishkeeping but we can convert it to the two that are used. 10.45 deg Clark converts to 8.3 dH and 150 ppm.

    This is where numbers are important - I would not call this 'slightly hard', but neither is it soft.
     
  7. Metalhead88

    Metalhead88 Fish Fanatic

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    I agree with the above. I'd say a 6ft tank is minimum for bala sharks.

    Those things get over a foot long. Imagine 4 of them in that tank?

    I'd also advise against angels and red tailed sharks in the same tank. Red tailed sharks can be aggressive and angels just wont be fast enough to get away if they go rouge.

    Certain tetras can work, they have the speed and strength of the school. But any larger and stronger fish can bully smaller ones at any point.

    I've seen some wild combinations over the years.... so anything is possible.
     
  8. Shivan

    Shivan New Member

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    Thank you all! I feel like there's a combination of lots to learn (I haven't even ventured into the pH and GH factors yet), combined with the last point Metalhead88 i.e. there are some wild combinations out there and I guess you can be unlucky or lucky with what you put together within the basic rules. I'm certainly enjoying researching it though!

    So I think the Balas are out! Having read the replies and all the info on them, my local aquatic store is keeping just one on its own in a tank way smaller than the recommended volume. But it does look healthy and absolutely fantastic in fact, which, to answer an earlier question, is the reason that I'd love one. But not to be. Will look at a baby red tailed shark or rainbow shark though.

    On our loach, we are all quite attached to him, but the tank was all about colourful tropical fish. I would massively prefer it to be able to put the loach in there as well to give him/her the freedom that feels like is needed rather than keeping a second coldwater tank, but there will be a risk on compatability, I'm sure. He/she is pretty nibbly of the other fish if they get in the way (danios mainly).

    Really interesting, Jan, on the Oscar. Have very much enjoyed researching them and they sound largely perfect except I'm worried about them being described as a very 'messy' fish that require more frequent water changes, gravel vacuuming etc. I'm committed to what I'll need to do, but I'd prefer not to have to do more than I might with other fish (that's just a general time point rather than being lazy before anyone comments on that!). However, definitetly still on the cards and I'm looking into the other varieties you mentioned as well - thank you.

    The only other route I've considered is full Cichlids. They seem great. They seem interesting. I think the downside they have is that they are unlikely to be compatible with my loach and that's off-putting, but I'm still considering just running two tanks in that case. I'm definitely up for any other suggestions. I think we're ultimately looking for like 10 medium fish rather than lots and lots of little ones or just one big one.... if that makes sense where everyone's 'medium' will be probably quite different!
     
  9. Metalhead88

    Metalhead88 Fish Fanatic

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    Remember that the local fish store doesn't keep the fish for the entirety of the fishes life (unless it's a display tank and even then they can be easily moved out) the bala might be in a 20 gallon tank for a few weeks, but it will be sold and hopefully moved to a much larger tank with its new owner.

    You are right, oscars are very messy fish. They eat a lot, and poop a lot. Water changes may or may not have to be done more frequently. I do water changes once a week, and you will likely have to do the same for your tank to maintain the healthiest tank.

    I've always kept cichlids and will recommend them heavily for anyone with a decent size tank. There are plenty of cichlids that would fit in nicely with your loach as far as temperament.

    I've never kept dojo (I think that's what you have) loaches before, but the only problem I can think of is temperature preference. Cichlids definitely prefer a higher temperature.

    Electric blue acara are great, have a lot of personality and are mostly peaceful. They would likely not bother your loach.

    Rams are very peaceful and colorful fish, I've heard that they can be hard to keep. I have not kept them.

    Firemouths are cool too. They flare up their gills and look mean, but rarely do they do any more then that.

    Some geophagus are peaceful and don't get too big.

    Pretty much when it comes to cichlids, your going to want to want something that isn't going to bully your loach, and also wont get too big that it'll eat it in one bite. A red tailed shark would fit in here as well in a cichlid tank.

    Or - you can go with angels and gouramis and kick the red tailed shark out and add something else in.

    To comment on your double tank setup, that's how I ended up with multiple tanks at one point. I set up a 2nd tank because of compatibility in the first tank and next thing you know, I had 6. It was awesome to hang in the room, but after a while water change days were just not fun and took too long. I'm now committed to just one big tank.
     
  10. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    The weather loach will be fine with tetras and are not renown for fin nipping. If you get a couple more they can all cruise around the tank at night and hide during the day. If you're really concerned about fin nipping, just feed the loaches at night before lights out, then they will have full bellies and won't be interested in nibbling on anyone.

    I wouldn't keep the loach with Oscars or any big cichlid. They should be fine with smaller peaceful cichlids like Keyholes, Kribensis, Bolivian rams, etc.
     
  11. Deanasue

    Deanasue Moderator
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    First, your loach is beautiful! I agree you should work around him. Neon Tetras are not very hardy anymore. Neon Tetra Disease is infecting a lot of farms. The overbreeding of these fish have weakened their immune system. I have one lonely neon tetra because all of his friends have died one by one. Fortunately, the green neons let him hang with them.
     

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