10 Best Bala Shark Tank Mates

The Bala shark is known for its peaceful nature that makes it compatible with a host of other peaceful aquarium inhabitants. The fish can grow to 12 inches, meaning that it needs a big tank to thrive.

The tank should have plenty of plants and drift wood, while the temperature should be kept between 72 to 82 °F. It is ideal to keep at least 4-5 Bala sharks in the same aquarium. You can also keep bala sharks with lots of other fish species.

Bala Shark Compatible Fish

Below, you can read about the top 10 bala shark compatible fish. At the end of the article, you can find a list of fish you should avoid keeping with bala sharks.

1. Angelfish



The stunning appearance of the angelfish makes them perfect candidates for community aquariums with Bala Sharks.

The Angelfish is a type of cichlid indigenous to South America. The name of the fish originates from the wing-like shape of its fins.

The Angelfish is not as aggressive as other kinds of cichlids, although they will create hierarchies and fight if threatened.

The fish require easy care, and you shouldn’t run into problems if you have kept other cichlids before. The challenge with maintaining angelfish comes in their size.

They can get to 6 inches in length, while their fins can extend to 8 inches. You will require at least 80 gallons to rear a small school.

Angelfish and Bala Sharks thrive in similar aquarium conditions. Both fish will thrive in temperatures of 72 to 82 °F, and among plants found in the river systems of South America.

2. Discus Fish

Discus Fish

Discus Fish

The discus fish may be a bit challenging to keep in an aquarium, but they are very rewarding when kept appropriately.

Aquarists have produced different color variations in discus fish through selective breeding, and it can even take six years for the fish to reveal their brightest colors.

You will have to pay more for rarer colors, although the common species average at $40.

When kept in a community aquarium, discus fish are quite peaceful, and they will quickly escape aggressive situations. They are also capable of intimidation, however, as they establish a hierarchy in their schools.

Discus fish originate from the Amazon, making them ideal tankmates for Bala Sharks. They require warm waters and a PH between 6 to 7. They love to forage for food, so you should use a soft substrate to protect their bodies.

Discus can reach 8 to 10 inches, and one fish needs at least seven gallons. Keep them in a school of at least 5, and a minimum of 50 gallons.

3. Kissing Gourami

Kissing Gourami

The kissing gourami, commonly known as a kisser, is another ideal tankmate for Bala sharks. They can be a bit aggressive if their environment is not conducive.

This gourami has been recorded on the island of Java in Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia.

The color variations of the fish included a mottled variety, a pink one, and a silver-green variety. The green coloration is abundant in nature, while the pink one is a consequence of a reduction in pigmentation.

Kissers, like Bala sharks, thrive in warm water. They have a labyrinth organ that empowers them to absorb oxygen from the air, and they can be seen gulping air at the water’s surface.

Be careful with the kind of live plants that you keep with kissers, however, as they feed on plant matter. Consider sturdy plants like Java Moss or Java Fern since they can withstand assault.

4. Boeseman’s Rainbowfish

Boeseman’s Rainbowfish

The non-aggressive temperament of the Boeseman’s rainbowfish makes it a perfect candidate for a community tank with Bala sharks. This small fish is coveted for its beautiful coloration.

The Boeseman’s rainbowfish inhabits the shallow waters of three Indonesian lakes. An aquarium size of 150 gallons will provide adequate space for a school of 5 Boeseman’s rainbowfish.

The fish are most comfortable when kept in a large shoal, and you will also notice that they reveal their best colors when swimming in a similar company.

The aquarium should be densely populated, with a large open area for swimming. This fish is quite active, and they have been known to jump from tanks.

You should also provide adequate hiding spots since the fish is generally peaceful and will avoid any confrontation.

The Boeseman’s rainbowfish can tolerate a range of water conditions, and will rarely get sick in a well-maintained setup.

5. Blood Parrot Cichlid

Blood Parrot Cichlid

Blood Parrot Cichlid

The Blood Parrot Cichlid is a fairly new hybrid with unusual physical characteristics. It is a cross between the Midas and redhead cichlid, and there is significant controversy around the species with some pet stores refusing to sell it.

This cichlid has an attractive orange coloration, although some species have yellow or red hues. It has a round body, large eyes, and a beak-shaped head.

Due to hybridization, the mouth of the cichlid cannot fully close, and their teeth are positioned in the throat. The fish are, therefore, unable to fight, and any aggression is settled by bumping into each other.

The Blood Parrot cichlid grows to eight inches, and you should keep one in a 30-gallon aquarium and add 10 gallons for every additional cichlid.

The fish produce a lot of waste, which is why you need a big tank and proper filtration. The temperature and PH should be at 76-80 °F and 6.5-7.4, respectively.

The cichlids require abundant hiding spaces, and you should decorate your tank with rocks, caves, driftwood, and clay pots.

They are active swimmers, but they need places to retreat to when they feel threatened. Plants like Hornwort, Java Fern, and Anubias Nana are other excellent additions.

6. Black Ghost Knife Fish

Black Ghost Knife Fish

The black ghost knife fish is another Amazonian fish that you can keep with Bala Shark. Most of its body is jet black, except for a white stripe on the nose and two white strings on the tail.

It has a flat elongated body and a continuous underside fin formed by the joining of the anal and caudal fin. The fish also uses low voltage electricity while navigating, and it can be seen moving gracefully in water.

The fish can reach 20 inches in length, and it will need at least 100 gallons to thrive. They prefer a temperature between 73.0 to 82.0ºF and a PH range of 6.0 to 8.0. Their body lacks scales, so you should use fine gravel or sand as a substrate.

The black ghost knife is quite sensitive to water parameters, and they need moderately experienced aquarists. They are active at night and will be extremely shy when introduced to a new aquarium.

7. Tinfoil Barbs

Tinfoil Barbs

The tinfoil barb is indigenous to South-East Asia, where it inhabits extensive river channels. Some aquarists buy the fish as juveniles without knowing that it can grow to 14 inches.

You will need at least 176 gallons to keep the tinfoil barb in an ideal environment.

Filtration is particularly crucial to this fish since it is susceptible to waste accumulation. It needs oxygen-rich waters, and temperatures between 72 to 77 °F.

You can keep stones in the substrates to mimic a natural river bed, although the fish has been known to destroy live plants.

The Bala shark makes an ideal tankmate for the tinfoil barbs because they are both large and non-aggressive. Keep at least 5 or 6 tinfoil barbs since it is a naturally schooling fish.

The fish may get aggressive and stressed if kept alone.

8. Clown Loaches


Clown Loach

The clown loach is indigenous to the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Borneo, and it’s common fish food in these areas.

It has a black and orange striped body and stunning red fins and whisker-like barbels for defense. The long and lean body of the clown loach enables it to cut gracefully through water.

Five adult clown loaches will require a minimum of 150 gallons. A large swimming area is needed since they are active pets, but they also like to retreat to caves.

You can add floating plants like Java Moss and Hornwort to subdue aquarium lights and make the loaches more comfortable.

9. Common Pleco Fish

Common Pleco Fish

The common pleco fish is a catfish classified in the Loricariidae family. It is indigenous to South America, where it inhabits slow-moving rivers.

The common pleco will mostly grow to 15 inches in the aquarium, although it can get to 24 inches in the wild.

You will require at least 150 gallons to accommodate the growth of the fish.

The common pleco is active at night, and you need lots of hiding spaces for them to hide in during the daytime.

The fish thrive in temperatures between 72 to 86ºF and a PH range of 6.5 to 7.5.

10. Tetras

Diamond Tetra

Diamond Tetra

Tetras are grouped in the Characidae family, and there are endless species to choose from. While smaller tetras are more popular, they are larger ones that can be kept in community tanks as well.

Some of these species include the Congo Tetra, Emperor Tetra, Colombian Tetra, Red Eye Tetra, and Diamond Tetra.

Tetras, like Bala sharks like warm water, in the range of 72 to 78 °F. Keep 10 to 12 tetras in your aquarium since they swim in active schools.

Tetras prefer planted tanks, and a darker substrate will contrast well with their brightly colored bodies.

Fish You Should Avoid Keeping with Bala Sharks

So here is the quick list of fish that are not compatible with bala sharks:

  • Red Tailed Shark & Rainbow Shark
  • Oscar Fish
  • Silver Dollar Fish
  • African Cichlids
  • Goldfish

Although some people keep red tailed sharks and rainbow shark with bala sharks, because of obvious reasons – they are all sharks, you should not do that. Both red tailed shark and rainbow sharks are aggressive and the often will attack bala sharks.

Oscar fish is another popular choice when it comes to big tanks. Oscars are also aggressive and can attack bala sharks, especially when bala sharks are still young and small. Therefore, I don’t recommend keeping bala sharks and oscars together.

Silver dollar fish, just like oscar fish are semi-aggressive. They can grow to about 6 inches in size, which is still small considered to the size of a full-grown bala shark. However, they can attack and with their sharp teeth they can hurt bala sharks.

Some African cichlids species are very aggressive, and you should avoid keeping them with bala sharks. African chichlids should be kept mostly in one-species aquariums, so they don’t go really well with other fish.

I’ve seen bigger goldfish in the same aquarium with bala sharks. It might be a good idea, and they will get along, though hey prefer different water temperature. So, in my opinion, goldfish is not a good tank mate to keep with bala sharks.


Bala sharks can co-exist with multiple fish species, provided they are non-aggressive and thrive in similar tank conditions.

It is best to keep them with equally larger fish since Bala sharks can make food out of smaller fish.

Sharks   Updated: April 22, 2020
avatar Hey, I'm Fabian, chief editor at Aquarium Nexus. I really enjoy the aquarium hobby and love sharing my experience with others. If you have any questions feel free to contact me or leave a comment below.

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