Fun, interesting, and hardy, Bala sharks are very popular pet fish. They can get pretty large, but their shy nature earned them the nickname “gentle giants.”
Being docile and not at all territorial like real sharks, Bala sharks are compatible with many other peaceful species.
Today’s guide covers information on the best and worst Bala shark tank mates so you can choose the most suitable aquarium inhabitants to pair with the silver sharks.
A single Bala shark will get quite lonely, which can cause stress and lead to health issues.
If you keep only 2 Bala sharks, there’s a high chance they can get aggressive toward each other to determine who’s the dominant fish.
As such, it’s best to keep Bala sharks in groups of 4 more to feel secure and remain peaceful. Additional tank mates will help keep their docile behavior in check.
Ideal tank mates for Bala sharks should be large enough to avoid getting intimidated or eaten, yet peaceful enough that they won’t bully or attack the silver sharks.
Luckily, this isn’t a very tough nut to crack. I’ve put together the following list to help you choose suitable fish species to accompany your Bala sharks.
Scientifically known as Puntigrus tetrazona, Tiger barbs are perfect roommates for bigger peaceful fish like Bala sharks. They’re also good companions for Clown loaches and Platys.
Tiger barbs grow to reach a size of 4 inches as adults and require a tank capacity of at least 30 gallons. They prefer a water temperature between 77 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit.
Additionally, Tiger barbs are no-fuss fish. They’re easy to care for and offer a fun personality with vibrant colors and intriguing patterns.
Another type of barbs you can pair with Bala sharks is Tinfoil barbs.
Scientifically known as Barbus schwanenfeldii, these fish get their name from their highly reflective, silver skin. They also feature a unique bright red color on the tips of their fins.
Tinfoil barbs grow to reach a size of 13 inches as adults and require a tank capacity of at least 150 gallons. They prefer a water temperature between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Tinfoil barbs are medium-level when it comes to maintenance. They’re mellow but active fish that need to live in schools of at least 5 members.
Plecos belong to the most prominent family of catfish known as Loricariidae, with more than 680 species and 90 genera.
These fish are generally great tank mates for Bala sharks thanks to their shy nature and big size. However, I want to focus on the Bristlenise pleco.
Its scientific name is Ancistrus cirrhosus but it’s commonly known as the Jumbie Teta. Like other members of the family, it’s a bottom-dwelling fish that loves spending time cleaning the tank.
Bristlenise plecos grow to reach a size of 4 to 5 inches as adults and require a tank capacity of at least 20 gallons. They prefer a water temperature between 73 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bristlenise plecos are easy to take care of and will probably never interact with your Bala sharks. They also get along well with Platy fish, Guppy fish, and Molly fish.
Referred to as Glossolepis wanamensis in the scientific scene, Emerald Rainbowfish is a peaceful fish that serves as an ideal tank mate for Bala sharks.
It has a bit of an odd look with a pointy head, a strong back arch, and a tapered tail. Its color is beautiful nonetheless, with vivid metallic green scales and reddish hues on the fins and belly.
Emerald Rainbowfish grow to reach a size of 4 to 5 inches as adults and require a tank capacity of at least 40 gallons. They prefer a water temperature between 75 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
Emerald Rainbowfish are also hassle-free to care for. They’re omnivores, active species that should live in groups of 5.
Additionally, they’re good companions for Barbs, Danios, and Rasboras.
Also known as Symphysodon, Discus fish are pretty much the most laid-back tank mate you can find for your Bala sharks. However, they need to live in schools of at least 4 or 5 members.
Discus fish grow to reach a size of 6 inches as adults and require a tank capacity of at least 75 gallons. Similar to Bala sharks, they prefer a water temperature between 76 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit.
Care-wise, Discus fish are medium-level. They’re a very pretty species that also get along with Tetras, Loches, and Catfish.
If you’re looking for a gorgeous Bala shark tank mate, the Boesemani Rainbowfish should be on top of your list.
Scientifically referred to as Melanotaenia boesemani, this species has a relatively small head on a thick body and a deep chest. Its skin is covered in luminous hues that start with a vibrant blue at the front and end with bright orange.
Boesemani Rainbowfish grow to reach a size of 4 inches as adults and require a tank capacity of at least 40 gallons. They prefer a water temperature between 77 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
When it comes to maintenance, Boesemani Rainbowfish is a breeze. It’s docile and active, thriving in schools of 5 members or more.
Aside from Bala sharks, Boesemani Rainbowfish also make nice roommates for Bettas, Gourami, and Angelfish.
When the words active and Bala shark tank mates are mentioned together, Green Swordtail fish are bound to come up.
This species is known as Xiphophorus hellerii in the scientific scene. Members have a strong tendency to race through the tank non-stop, so you better be ready to keep up.
The Green Swordtail fish has an elongated body with a deep chest and a dorsal fin. The males of the species feature a distinct ray of caudal fins that form the signature sword-like structure on their tails.
Green Swordtails grow to reach a size of 5 to 6 inches as adults and require a tank capacity of at least 15 gallons. They prefer a water temperature between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you’re worried about their maintenance, you’ll be happy to know that Green Swordtails are very easy to care for. They don’t need to live in schools but if you want to keep them in groups, the preferred ratio of females to males is 2:1.
Besides Bala sharks, Green Swordtails also make good companions for neon Tetras, Molly fish, Platy fish, Guppy fish, and Cory catfish.
If you’re in the market for a Bala shark tank mate that’ll catch the eye of all your visitors, then you should consider the Blood Red Parrot Cichlid.
Its scientific name is Amphilophus citrinellus x Paraneetroplus synspilus, and it can be tricky to get your hands on if you don’t know an established supplier.
This species typically possesses a bulbous head, large eyes, and a nose that curves downward to make it look like it has a parrot’s beak, which is the inspiration behind the name. Its body is thick and rounded with a tail showing a triangular outline.
As for the color of its skin, this fish is unique thanks to the bright shades of orange, red, and yellow it displays.
Blood Red Parrot Cichlid fish grow to reach a size of 8 inches as adults and require a tank capacity of at least 50 gallons. They prefer a water temperature between 76 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit.
Caring for Blood Red Parrot Cichlids is an easy job. breeze. They’re friendly, sociable, and active, yet they don’t have to live in groups.
Other than Bala sharks, this species gets along with Tetras, Oscars, and Angelfish.
Also referred to as Helostoma temminckii, Kissing Gouramis are masters of social interaction among fish.
They get their names from possessing a puckered-looking mouth that they use to literally lock up with other fish in the aquarium as if they were kissing them.
Kissing Gouramis grow to reach a size of 12 inches as adults and require a tank capacity of at least 50 gallons. Much like Bala sharks, they prefer a water temperature between 72 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Kissing Gourami requires minimal care efforts. They’re easygoing and also pair up well with Swordtails, Loaches, and Barbs.
Scientifically known as Paracheirodon innesi, neon Tetras are an excellent choice for a Bala shark tank mate.
They’re very sociable and friendly with a fun-loaded personality that also couples well with Loaches, Cory catfish, and Guppies.
Neon Tetras come in bright shades of luminescent blue, green, and orange. Using a dark substrate will help their brilliant colors pop even more!
Neon Tetras grow to reach a size of 1.5 to 2 inches as adults and require a tank capacity of at least 10 gallons. They prefer a water temperature between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you’re after a smaller Bala shark tank mate, Rasbora fish make for fantastic candidates. Despite their size, they won’t clash with Balas thanks to their peaceful nature.
Rasbora grows to reach a size of 4 inches as adults and requires a tank capacity of at least 10 gallons. They prefer a water temperature between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
While they’re easy to look after, Rasboras do need a mild current underwater that you should generate using a filter/pump. They can be somewhat active and will also get along with Tetras, Catfish, and Guppies.
Don’t pair your Bala sharks with tiny fish such as chili rasboras and nano fish. They’ll easily eat them!
The same goes for shrimp and snails. Bala sharks will grow way bigger and can’t help but snack on them.
You should also avoid pairing Bala sharks with Oscars, Jack Dempseys, Rainbow sharks, Red-tailed sharks, Silver Dollar fish, or hostile cichlids.
These fish can get pretty aggressive and are likely to hurt Bala sharks.
Unlike Blood Red Parrot Cichlids, some cichlid species are too aggressive to room with Bala sharks. Examples include Red Devil Cichlids and Jewel Cichlids.
No, because Goldfish prefer a different temperature range.
No, because Oscar fish are hostile and can attack Bala sharks even as adults.
Yes. Unlike other aggressive cichlids, Angelfish are very peaceful.
This depends on the temperament of the Betta fish. Some prefer living alone while others can tolerate having tank mates like Bala sharks.
There you have it, a comprehensive list of the 11 best Bala shark tank mates. As you can tell, the docile nature of these silver sharks allows them to get along with many species, so you should be able to build an aquarium around them with ease.
Jeff has always enjoyed having pets, but as a child, he was drawn to his family’s fish tank. Being able to maintain a small ecosystem and observe the behaviors and interactions in the underwater world peaked his interest early on and has kept him hooked until this day. On Avid Aquarist, Jeff shares everything he’s learned about helping aquatic life survive and thrive in a home aquarium.