Which fish can be Bala shark tank mates?

In this article, we will meet the 10 best Bala shark tank mates. We will also understand a little about the tank mates general biology and specifications.

Which fish can be Bala shark tank mates?

Best tank mates for Bala sharks are medium and large-bodied non-aggressive fish, for example, Barbs, Loaches, Angelfish, Rainbowfish, and Plecos.

While the Bala sharks are juvenile, they can be kept with many other fish species. However, when they are fully grown, the tank mates list is reduced a little due to their size and feeding habits. Accordingly, smaller fish such as Neon Tetras and Guppies should be avoided, as they could be eaten by the Bala sharks. Also, some small invertebrates such as snails and shrimps should be avoided as well. 

What to know about Bala sharks

Bala Sharks are very easy-going and calm fish. Thus, they can male great tank mates to several other fish species. Although, their size is restrictive. They are large-bodied fish that reach 12 inches long, and thus, smaller fish could be easily eaten. 

Bala sharks have schooling behaviours and should be kept in groups of at least 4 or 5 individuals. Also, they are very active swimmers and consequently, they require plenty of space to swim around. Additionally, as fast-swimming fish, they could stress slow-swimming tank mates.

They have an omnivorous diet and eat many types of food, from freeze-dried to industrialized flakes. Also, they appreciate some live food, such as bloodworms, shrimp, Daphnias, and some larvae. They can also be fed with vegetables, like spinach and peas.

What are the Bala sharks tank conditions and requirements? 

Tank size is very important for Bala Sharks, as they are large-bodied active fish.  Accordingly, the minimum tank size for a small group of 4-5 Bala sharks is 125-gallon. This is because, besides swimming behaviour and size, they also require lots of hiding and resting spots. Thus, plants and rocks are important in a tank with Bala sharks.

It is also important to have a tight cover in the tank, as they can jump and fall out from the tank. Some types of floating plants can also avoid this behaviour.  

This fish species is native to the tropical water in Southeast Asia. Thus, in a tank, temperatures should range from 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit and pH around 6.5-7. It is very important to keep water conditions under control as Bala sharks are very sensitive to parameters fluctuations.

Which fish are the 10 best tank mates for Bala sharks?

Bala sharks require medium to large-bodied tank mates with a peaceful and calm temperament. Here, we will list the 10 best Bala sharks tank mates and some of their requirements to match them together. 

Tinfoil Barbs

Tinfoil Barbs or Barbus schwanefeldi are peaceful schooling fish that have similar requirements to Bala sharks and are also large-bodied. They can grow up to 13 inches, which avoid being eaten by the Bala sharks. They are also active swimmers, thus, they require large tanks with a minimum of 150 gallons. Water temperature should range between 75 and 80°F. 

Similarly to the Bala sharks, they have a silvery colouration, an omnivorous diet, and should be kept in groups of at least 5 individuals.

Boesemani Rainbowfish

The Boesemani rainbowfish or Melanotaenia boesemani are very coloured medium-sized fish. They can grow up to 4 inches and should also be kept in groups of at least 5 individuals. They are very active and peaceful fish with an omnivorous diet. They require at least a 40-gallon tank with temperatures between 78 and 82°F. 

Emerald Rainbowfish

The Emerald rainbowfish or Glossolepis wanamensis are also great tank mates to Bala sharks. Similarly to the Boesemani rainbowfish, they are medium-bodied fish that grow around 4 inches and require at least a 40-gallon tank. They are also peaceful schooling fish with an omnivorous diet and their temperature requirements range from 75 to 82°F.

Clown Loaches

Clown Loaches or Chromobotia macracanthus also make good tank mates to Bala sharks. They are very peaceful and active bottom feeders. They are also schooling fish and should be kept with at least 8 conspecifics. They usually grow around 12 inches and require a tank with at least 120 gallons.


Angelfish (Pterophyllum sp.) can also make nice tank mates to Bala sharks. Their unique appearance is responsible for their popularity among aquarists. They are not classified as schooling fish but should be kept in pairs or small groups. They appreciate well-planted tanks and require space of at least 40 gallons with temperatures between 75 and 85°F. 

They are carnivores, and thus, similarly to the Bala sharks, should be kept only with medium and large-sized tankmates. They usually grow up to 6 inches long and 10 inches tall.

Black Ghost Knifefish

The Black Ghost Knifefish or Apteronotus albifrons are also a good choice for Bala sharks tank mates. They are also very good-looking fish that have solitary and nocturnal habits. They can grow up to 18 inches and consequently, require at least a 150-gallon tank. 

Their temperature requirement is between 73 and 80°F and require advanced expertise from the aquarist and have a carnivorous diet.


Swordtails are also known as Xiphophorous helleri and are very active livebearer fish. They are not schooling fish, however, if kept in groups the ratio male-female should be 1:2. They are omnivores that measure around 5.5 to 6 inches. Their tank size requirement is at least 30-gallon and temperatures between 65 and 85°F. 

Blood-Red Parrot Cichlid

Blood-Red Parrot Cichlid is also a very colourful and nice fish to be Bala sharks tank mates. They are also very peaceful fish and are not schooling fish, although they can be kept as many as the tank accommodate. They grow up to 8 inches and require a minimum tank size of 55 gallons. They are omnivores and are not demanding fish. Their temperature requirement is from 76 to 80°F.

However, as a hybrid species, they can be quite controversial with individual behavioural variations.


Plecos refer directly to the Family Loricariidae. There are several different Plecos species with a variety of colouration patterns. They are shy cave bottom-dwellers with a herbivore diet. They are not schooling fish and should be kept as the only one of its species in the tank. Larger Plecos can grow up to 18 inches and require a tank with at least 55 gallons of space. The temperature should range between 75 and 82°F.

Tankmates to avoid

Few tank mates should be avoided in a Bala Shark tank. Small organisms could be easily eaten by Bala sharks, as they are large-bodied omnivores. Thus, here are the animals that should be avoided with Bala sharks.

–       Snails;

–       Shrimp;

–       Smaller-fish: nano fish such as neon tetras and chili rasboras;

–       Big aggressive fish: Bala sharks could be bullied by larger aggressive fish, such as Oscars, Red Devils, and Jack Dempseys.


In this article, we met the 10 best Bala shark tank mates. We also understood a little about the tank mates general biology and specifications.

If you have any thoughts or doubts, feel free to drop us in a comment below!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Which fish can be Bala shark tank mates?

Can Goldfish and Bala sharks live together?

Although they might get along well due to their temperament, they are not recommended to be in the same tank. These fish species have different water requirements, mainly temperature. Goldfish are cold-water fish, while Bala sharks are warm-water fish

Can Bala sharks go with Angelfish?

Yes, Bala sharks and Angelfish are compatible species and can be housed together without any issue.

Can 2 Bala sharks live together?

Yes, it is possible to have 2 Bala sharks in the same tank since they have enough space to swim around.

Can Bala sharks live with Neon Tetras?

No, regarding their temperament, it would be possible to keep Bala sharks and Neon Tetras. However, due to the Bala shark size and diet, there is a great chance of the Bala sharks eating the Neon Tetras. 

Will Bala sharks eat snails?

Bala sharks will probably eat the snails when they meet them. Although Bala sharks are peaceful and gentle, their feeding habits include small fish and other animals.

How do you tell the gender of Bala sharks?

Male Bala sharks have a more streamlined shape when compared to females. Females have more rounded bellies. During breeding periods, this becomes more evident. 


Sheppard, M. 2020. Bala Sharks: Care Guide, Tank Size, Food, And Tank Mates. https://www.aquariumsource.com/bala-shark/

Stanton, L. 2021. 10 Best Tank Mates for Bala Sharks (Compatibility Guide 2021). https://www.itsafishthing.com/best-tank-mates-for-bala-sharks/

Fabian. 2020. 10 Best Bala Shark Tank Mates. https://www.aquariumnexus.com/bala-shark-tank-mates/

Morgan, K. 2021. Best Bala Shark Tank Mates (And Who You Must Avoid). https://modestfish.com/best-bala-shark-tank-mates/#Tank_Mates_to_Avoid