One of the biggest challenges aquarists face is selecting the perfect tank for large fish, like bala sharks. So what is the ideal tank size for bala sharks?
The ideal tank size for a small group of adult bala sharks is 150 gallons. This can vary depending on the number of fish in the tank. A large tank is recommended for bala sharks as they grow huge, are active swimmers, need to be in groups, and require more space compared to other aquarium fish.
It’s believed that the bigger the tank, the happier the fish. So let’s learn about this in more detail.
7 Factors To Consider While Determining The Ideal Tank Size For Bala Sharks
Choosing the right tank size is critical for keeping bala sharks happy and healthy.
A tank with too little space can lead to stress and aggression.
Given below are certain things that you should consider before determining the tank size for bala sharks.
1. Number of fish in the tank.
The number of fish you wish to have in the tank is the primary factor in determining the tank size.
The more fish you have, the more space they will need.
Hence, the tank should be large enough to accommodate all the fish and avoid territorial conflicts.
2. Size of the fish.
The size of the fish is another vital factor when deciding the tank size. Unlike some fish, bala sharks grow pretty large.
So the tank size should be sufficiently big for them to have ample room to move around without feeling cramped.
3. Active swimmers.
Bala sharks are active swimmers. They love to dart around the tank exploring their surroundings.
Therefore, a tank with more horizontal space than vertical is recommended for bala sharks.
The tank should also be big enough so that they don’t bump into each other or on decorations inside the tank.
Even though bala sharks grow large, they’re docile fish.
Their peaceful nature makes them an excellent choice for a community tank.
So you need to consider the space that the other fish will need while housing bala sharks in a community tank.
The tank size should be such that it allows enough space for all the inhabitants to swim around without feeling crowded.
5. Need to be in groups.
Bala sharks aren’t solitary fish. They’re schooling fish and need to be kept in a group of 4 or more.
Their schooling behavior and need to be in groups should be considered while finalizing the tank size.
The tank should be large enough for the bala sharks to indulge in their schooling behavior and feel secure.
Keeping a bala shark alone in a community tank can stress it and make it aggressive toward other fish.
6. Tank maintenance.
Tank maintenance is another crucial factor to consider when deciding the tank size for bala sharks.
Any fish tank needs vigilant maintenance for the fish to thrive.
The fish may suffer from health problems if the water quality is poor. So regular monitoring of the water parameters is necessary.
This helps maintain the health of the fish and prevents the build-up of ammonia levels.
Generally, large tanks are easier to maintain than smaller ones.
In the case of bala sharks, large tanks are also necessary due to their big size.
7. Essential equipment and decorations.
The size of the fish is not the only deciding factor in determining the tank size.
Various equipment and decorations are equally crucial for the healthy development of the fish.
Bala sharks need adequate cover to rest and feel secure.
Plants, rocks, caves, driftwood, etc., can provide them with ample hiding spots in a tank.
Similarly, an efficient filter, heater, air stone, air pump, etc., are required to keep the water clean and oxygenated.
The space required for all these equipment and decorative items should be considered when deciding on the tank size.
Installing the essential things shouldn’t result in a space crunch for the fish.
Ideal Tank Size For Bala Sharks
The tank size plays a pivotal role in creating a conducive habitat for bala sharks.
They grow pretty big, so large aquariums are better for them.
These fish are usually sold young when their size is between 3 to 4 inches.
This can mislead aquarists into thinking that they can comfortably keep these fish in a regular-sized fish tank.
However, not many realize that bala sharks are one of the largest freshwater species.
The average size of an adult bala shark is between 12 to 14 inches in length.
So a minimum tank size of 150 gallons is recommended to keep a small group of bala sharks.
The ideal tank size will be the one that is big enough to allow all the fish to swim freely and not feel cramped for space.
We always recommend a minimum tank capacity on the larger end of the spectrum as a starting point.
Ample swimming space and company of their kind make bala sharks feel relaxed and happy.
Why Do Bala Sharks Need A Large Tank?
Bala sharks grow quite large, up to 12 to 14 inches in length. Their huge size is one of the primary reasons for having a large tank.
A large aquarium allows the bala sharks to swim freely and explore their surroundings.
There will also be no territorial fights as each fish will get ample space to claim its territory and live peacefully.
Another reason for getting a large tank is that bala sharks must be kept in a group.
If kept alone or in a small group, bala sharks can feel stressed or aggressive toward other fish.
A large tank is also easier to maintain. There is less fluctuation in the water parameters, which results in healthier fish.
Lastly, a large tank also allows ample space for installing essential equipment and decorations without resulting in less space for the bala sharks.
A comfortable environment can ensure that bala sharks stay healthy for their entire life.
How Does A Small Tank Affect Bala Sharks?
Bala sharks kept in a small tank can suffer from stunted growth. They can’t reach their full size due to a lack of space.
If the tank is small, it can lead to overcrowding and stress for the bala sharks.
This can cause behavioral changes in them. Overcrowding can also lead to aggression, bullying, or severe injuries to other fish.
Bala sharks are active swimmers. They need ample space to explore their surroundings.
Hence, they can feel cramped for space in a small tank.
Shortage of space can irk them and make them aggressive toward other tankmates.
It can also lead to stress, thus weakening their immune system and making them prone to diseases.
Another disadvantage of housing bala sharks in a small tank is low oxygen levels.
They won’t get enough oxygen due to the lack of space which can lead to respiratory problems.
Cramping bala sharks in a small tank can affect the water quality too.
Fish excrete waste which increases the ammonia and nitrite levels of the water.
These two chemicals are harmful to the fish as they contaminate the water.
If the tank water isn’t changed frequently, it can prove fatal to the bala sharks as they need clean and well-oxygenated water to thrive.
Finally, providing lots of hiding places for bala sharks in a small tank can be difficult. Lack of hiding places can stress them.
Continuous stress for a prolonged duration due to space shortage, fewer hiding places, and poor water quality can adversely impact the health of bala sharks and shorten their lifespan.