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Bala Shark Help Needed


El Pez

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I finally got my huge tank set up in the new apartment. However, I found a bala shark at my lfs who had just been brought in. Apparently he was in a tank with chiclids and other mean fish who beat the crap out of him so he is missing scales and is very sketchy. I felt bad so i took the 4.5 inch guy home. He swims against the glass following his reflection and during feeding he won't eat. I got 2 tinfoil barbs to try to make him feel more comfortable. He schools with them so they got him away from his reflection for awhile but during feeding he goes striaght back to the glass while everyone else eats. So... i got a small bala shark to try to give him a friend he could relate to. This is still not working. I've seen him eat 1 flake off the ground since i've gotten him so 4 days now. I've heard that it is common for balas to take awhile to adjust to new tanks but he is pretty messed up from his previous home. btw the other bala is doing fine and eating but he is about 2 inches however is not schooling with the others due to his smaller size i imagine. Any help on how to get him eating and feeling more comfortable would be appreciated.

Thanks.

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What size tank is that? Whatever size it is, always be thinking of when you'll be getting them a larger tank, cuz it'll never be big enough :) Also post what your water params are; temp, ph, etc. And other than the missing scales (which is pretty common in balas that have been harassed like yours was) are there any other symptoms? And finally, does he seem to be loosing weight or is his stomach mishapen at all, either shrunken or enlarged?

You're right on balas taking a while to adjust to their new homes. You also did right to get the tinfoil barbs and another bala to school with, that'll definitely help him relax. Are you sure he's not eating at all? They are definitely scavengers, always searching the sides and bottom of the tank for something to eat. Try something other than flakes to feed them if possible. They'll eat almost anything, but given a choice, mine will eat anything else before they'll go after the flakes. They really like the sinking pellets and the freeze-dried shrimp and bloodworms, also algae wafers and fresh veggies they really seem to enjoy.

Also, your little guy looks pretty good in the pic. No torn or tattered fins that I can see. Good luck with him! and keep me posted.

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My bala never ate either and eventually died from it :( I had guppies in with him, so there were always algae wafers, bloodworms, and baby shrimp dropping in with the flakes, but it didn't touch anything. When it did eat a flake, it just spit it right back out again.

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Here's an update:

Got a pic and videos of all 4 of them although it's hard considering they're never all stopped at once. I would tend to agree with you that he is probably scavenging at night however with the barbs around there would never be anything on the ground for him to eat. They are extremely quick at feeding and if anything actually gets to the bottum it is quickly vacummed up by them. I see him putting his mouth on the slate rocks but there shouldn't be anything on them. The jr. version of my trouble shark is eating just fine and getting along with everyone so hopefully that sparks the big guy to begin eating. I imagine once he is hungry enough he'll start eating hopefully.

please comment your opinions and suggestions

close up video

Full Video of tank

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I have Balasharks to and they go mad for fresh food especially bloodworm and brine shrimp.

Like Justin said your little guy looks fine. Just give him time :)

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One more update:

I took the rocks out of the tank and it seemed to clear things up a bit. The slate made a fine dust it seemed. Anyways, today i saw him try to get into the swing of things and bite at some food. However, he just held it for a few seconds and spat it out and then would go after it again. It appears to be a start but each time he spits it out the tinfoilds try to eat it before he puts it back in his mouth. Any ideas as to why he wouldn't be able to swallow them?

I got a video of the new look to the tank. I got a couple guppies to brighten things up and an extra onion plant today so enjoy and take a look and see if you can spot anything wrong w/ Auto the big bala or Hank the smaller one. Pictures also.

Enjoy

Video Link

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  • 2 weeks later...
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Bad news... neither of them are eating the flakes or sinking pellets i've been putting in the tank. However, they must be eating something considering they are still around. I put some lettuce in the tank and they may have nibbled at that but i am very unsure about them. Has anyone else had this problem? My little bala used to eat but he has taken on the traits of the big one and now both arn't eating.

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Are they loosing weight or bellys sinking in? And keep in mind that as they grow, they'll go through spurts where they look long and thin, then their bodies 'catch-up' and broaden out.

How often do you feed them now, and what kinds of foods are you using? Do you leave the lights on or turn them off? Also, balas can be shy eaters, sometimes mine wait until I leave the room to start eating (though I can always hear them eating :) ) so you may not be seeing them eat, but I'm thinking they've got to be finding something to eat if they still look ok. But in the mean time, keep trying different foods til you find some they really like.

They aren't acting lethargic or anything like that, right?

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I have nutramax tropical flakes and wardley shrimp pellets. I feed about twice a day (mainly for the tinfoils). I try to over feed a bit so some gets to the bottum so the balas can pick at it later. They're bodies arn't caving in at all but they're not looking plump either. I'm guessing that they scrounge around at night. If they wern't eating at all they probably wouldn't be swimming upright at the moment. They should be fine but this can't be healthy for extended periods of time... I moved all the little guys out of the tank because the tinfoils were eating them if they wern't promptly feed haha. I got 3 tiger barbs today (2 albino or yellow and a normal) to replace the smaller guys. Hopefully the eatra activity in the tank sparks the balas up a little bit. They're none aggressive it seems, mostly due to the size of the tinfoils i'm guessing. Everyone seems to get along. I'll post a new pic soon.

mike

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