Can Clown Loaches Live with Bala Sharks?

Yes, Clown Loaches can live with Bala Sharks in the same aquarium as long as the tank is spacious enough to accommodate their adult sizes. It provides ample hiding spots and open swimming areas for both species to thrive together peacefully.

Clown Loaches (Chromobotia macracanthus) and Bala Sharks (Balantiocheilos melanopterus) are compatible tank mates when given the right conditions. Both species are peaceful and can coexist friendly without any harm.

In this article, I will break down everything related to Clown Loach and Bala Shark living with each other. You will discover almost everything while both of them are sharing the same tank. So read on and keep discovering.


Reasons & Benefits to Keep Clown Loach with Bala Sharks

There are several reasons & benefits why keeping Clown Loaches with Bala Sharks can be a great choice. Let’s find them out one by one.

Active and Lively Aquarium: Both Clown Loaches and Bala Sharks are energetic and active fish. Keeping them together can create a dynamic and vibrant aquarium display.

Complementary Behavior: Clown Loaches are bottom-dwellers, often sifting through the substrate and exploring the lower regions of the tank. Bala Sharks, on the other hand, occupy the mid to upper levels of the aquarium. Their different swimming patterns and behaviors can add variety and interest to the tank.

Schooling Fish: Both Clown Loaches and Bala Sharks are social species that prefer living in groups. Keeping them together allows for the formation of compatible shoals, promoting a natural and healthier environment for these fish.

Peaceful Nature: Clown Loaches and Bala Sharks are generally peaceful species. They are less likely to exhibit aggressive behaviors towards each other, reducing the risk of conflicts in the aquarium.

Compatibility in Water Parameters: Clown Loaches and Bala Sharks have similar preferences when it comes to water conditions. They both thrive in slightly acidic to neutral pH levels (around 6.5 to 7.5) and moderately warm temperatures (75-82°F or 24-28°C). This compatibility simplifies the task of maintaining suitable water parameters for both species.

Size Compatibility: While both Clown Loaches and Bala Sharks can grow quite large, their adult sizes are relatively compatible. Clown Loaches typically reach around 12 inches (30 cm) in length, while Bala Sharks can grow up to 14 inches (35 cm). As long as the aquarium is adequately sized to accommodate their growth, they can coexist comfortably.

Visual Contrast: Clown Loaches are known for their vibrant colors and striking patterns, with their signature black stripes standing out in the tank. Bala Sharks, with their sleek silver bodies and prominent dorsal fins, create a contrasting visual appeal. The combination of these two visually distinct species can enhance the overall aesthetics of the aquarium.

Mutual Sense of Security: Both Clown Loaches and Bala Sharks feel more secure and confident when kept in groups. By housing them together, they can provide companionship and a sense of safety to each other.

Varied Feeding Behaviors: Clown Loaches are known for their scavenging nature and willingness to eat various types of food, including algae and small invertebrates. Bala Sharks, being omnivorous, have a broader diet that includes flakes, pellets, and live or frozen foods. This difference in feeding behavior can lead to less competition for food resources in the tank.

Educational Value for Children: Keeping Clown Loaches and Bala Sharks together can be a great educational experience for children, as they can witness firsthand the diverse behaviors and adaptations of these fascinating aquatic creatures.

Natural Habitat Simulation: Both Clown Loaches and Bala Sharks originate from Southeast Asia, specifically riverine habitats. By replicating their natural environment in the aquarium, you can create a biotope setup that mimics their native region, promoting their overall well-being and providing a visually appealing setup.

Mutual Benefits in Disease Prevention: Clown Loaches are known for their ability to help control snail populations in the aquarium, as they actively consume snails and their eggs. Bala Sharks, being relatively larger and faster, can assist in maintaining a cleaner tank by consuming leftover food and detritus. This mutual benefit can contribute to a healthier and cleaner aquarium environment.

Clown Loach and Bala Shark: Tank Size & Quantity Calculation

When keeping Clown Loaches and Bala Sharks together, it is important to consider the appropriate tank size and quantity of each species properly. This ensures that the fishes have enough space to thrive and reduces the likelihood of territorial conflicts.

Let’s explore the ideal tank size and quantity calculations for maintaining a harmonious environment for both Clown Loaches and Bala Sharks.

Tank Size (Gallons)Clown LoachesBala Sharks

Note: The table serves as a general guideline. Factors such as fish size, behavior, and individual tank conditions should also be considered when determining the appropriate quantity.


  • 30-55 Gallons: In a smaller tank, it is recommended to have a group of 4-6 Clown Loaches. Bala Sharks should be limited to 1-2 individuals due to their larger adult size and need for ample swimming space.
  • 55-75 Gallons: With a slightly larger tank, a group of 6-8 Clown Loaches can thrive. Adding 2-3 Bala Sharks allows for a dynamic and visually appealing aquarium environment.
  • 75-100 Gallons: In a tank of this size, accommodating 8-10 Clown Loaches is ideal. Alongside them, 3-4 Bala Sharks can coexist comfortably, provided there is enough swimming space and hiding spots.
  • 100+ Gallons: A larger tank size of 100 gallons or more can support a group of 10 or more Clown Loaches. It is recommended to include 4-6 Bala Sharks, ensuring they have ample space to swim and exhibit their natural behavior.

It’s important to remember that the tank size and quantity recommendations are based on the adult size of the fish and their behavioral needs. Providing adequate hiding spots, plants, and open swimming areas within the tank helps create a stimulating and stress-free environment.

Additionally, maintaining good water quality through regular water changes, proper filtration, and monitoring ammonia and nitrate levels is crucial for the health and well-being of both species.

What Temperature Do Clown Loaches and Bala Sharks Need?

Both Clown Loaches and Bala Sharks thrive in tropical freshwater environments and require similar temperature ranges for optimal health and well-being. The recommended temperature for both species is typically between 75°F and 82°F (24°C to 28°C).

It is important to maintain a stable and consistent temperature within this range to ensure the comfort and proper metabolic function of Clown Loaches and Bala Sharks. Fluctuations or extremes in temperature can lead to stress, compromised immune systems, and other health issues for these fish.

Using a reliable aquarium heater with a thermostat is recommended to regulate and maintain the desired temperature. Regularly monitoring the water temperature and making adjustments as needed will help create a suitable and stable environment for Clown Loaches and Bala Sharks.

Perfect pH Level for Clown Loach with Bala Shark

Clown Loaches and Bala Sharks prefer a slightly acidic to neutral pH level in their aquarium water. The ideal pH range for both species is typically between 6.5 and 7.5.

Maintaining a pH level within this range helps create a suitable environment that mimics their natural habitats and promotes their overall health and well-being. pH levels outside of this range can cause stress, hinder nutrient absorption, and weaken the immune systems of these fish.

Regularly testing the pH level of the aquarium water and making adjustments when necessary using pH stabilizers or buffers can help maintain a stable and optimal pH level for Clown Loaches and Bala Sharks. It’s important to note that sudden and drastic changes in pH should be avoided, as gradual adjustments are generally better tolerated by the fish.

Things to Do While Keeping Clown Loach and Bala Sharks Together

When keeping Clown Loaches and Bala Sharks together in the same aquarium, there are several important considerations and actions to ensure their well-being and promote a harmonious environment. Here are several key things to do:

Maintain a Balanced Community: Carefully select tankmates that are compatible with both Clown Loaches and Bala Sharks. Opt for peaceful species that share similar water parameter requirements and won’t harass or outcompete them for food or territory.

Provide a Varied Diet: Along with feeding high-quality commercial foods, offer live or frozen foods like brine shrimp, daphnia, or bloodworms to mimic their natural diet. This variety promotes optimal health and satisfies their natural foraging instincts.

Maintain Consistent Water Conditions: Both species are sensitive to water quality fluctuations. Perform regular water tests, monitor ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels, and promptly address any issues to maintain stable and optimal water conditions.

Monitor Compatibility: Observe the interactions between Clown Loaches and Bala Sharks. While they are generally compatible, occasional aggression or territorial behavior may arise. If any signs of stress or aggression are observed, provide additional hiding spots or rearrange tank decor to create separate territories.

Add Substrate and Décor: Use a soft substrate such as sand or fine gravel to mimic their natural habitat and promote natural behavior like burrowing. Incorporate driftwood, rocks, and plants to provide hiding places, break lines of sight, and create a visually appealing environment.

Research and Mimic Natural Habitat: Gain knowledge about the natural habitat of Clown Loaches and Bala Sharks, such as rivers and streams in Southeast Asia. Try to replicate elements like water flow, lighting, and vegetation to make them feel more at home.

Observe Nocturnal Behavior: Both species exhibit some nocturnal behavior, so consider providing low-intensity lighting during nighttime to allow them to navigate and engage in their natural behaviors.

Provide Proper Filtration: Install an efficient filtration system suitable for the size of the aquarium to maintain clean water and remove waste. Clown Loaches and Bala Sharks produce a moderate amount of waste, so a strong biological and mechanical filtration system is recommended.

Maintain Ample Swimming Space: Ensure the aquarium has open swimming areas to accommodate the active nature of both Clown Loaches and Bala Sharks. Avoid overcrowding the tank to allow them to move freely and exhibit natural swimming behaviors.

Monitor Growth and Tank Size: Keep an eye on the growth of both species and be prepared to upgrade to a larger tank if needed. As they grow, they require more space to thrive and maintain optimal health.

By following these additional dos, you can create a suitable and enjoyable environment for both Clown Loaches and Bala Sharks, promoting their well-being and allowing them to exhibit their natural behaviors.

Things to Avoid While Keeping Clown Loach and Bala Sharks Together

When keeping Clown Loaches and Bala Sharks together, it’s important to avoid some factors that might cause serious issues. Here are some things to avoid:

Overstocking: Avoid overcrowding the aquarium. Both Clown Loaches and Bala Sharks require adequate space to swim and establish territories. Overstocking can lead to stress, aggression, and compromised water quality.

Aggressive Tankmates: Avoid adding aggressive or fin-nipping fish species to the same tank. Aggression can cause stress, injuries, and health problems for Clown Loaches and Bala Sharks. Research and select peaceful tankmates that won’t pose a threat to these species.

Unsuitable Tank Size: Don’t keep Clown Loaches and Bala Sharks in tanks that are too small. Inadequate space can restrict their movement and lead to stress-related health issues. Provide a tank size that accommodates their adult size and provides ample swimming space.

Poor Water Quality: Avoid neglecting water quality maintenance. Poor water conditions can compromise the health and immune systems of both species. Regularly test water parameters, perform routine water changes, and maintain efficient filtration to keep the water clean and stable.

Drastic Temperature Fluctuations: Sudden temperature changes can stress and harm Clown Loaches and Bala Sharks. Avoid exposing them to rapid fluctuations in water temperature. Gradual adjustments are better tolerated, and stable temperature conditions are essential for their well-being.

Improper Diet: Don’t rely solely on a single type of food. Provide a varied and balanced diet consisting of high-quality commercial foods, live or frozen foods, and occasional treats. Neglecting proper nutrition can lead to nutritional deficiencies and health problems.

Lack of Hiding Places: Avoid creating an environment without adequate hiding spots. Both Clown Loaches and Bala Sharks require hiding places to retreat and feel secure. Insufficient hiding spots can lead to stress and increased aggression.

Rough Handling: Avoid handling the fish unnecessarily or using rough methods during maintenance. Gentle and careful handling minimizes stress and reduces the risk of injury. Use appropriate equipment and techniques when catching or moving the fish.

Improper Quarantine Procedures: Neglecting quarantine procedures when introducing new fish can introduce diseases or parasites into the aquarium. Quarantine new fish in a separate tank to observe and treat them if necessary before introducing them to the main tank.

Ignoring Behavioral Changes or Signs of Illness: Stay vigilant and monitor the behavior of both species regularly. Look out for signs of stress, aggression, or any changes in appetite, coloration, or swimming patterns. Promptly address any signs of illness or abnormal behavior to prevent potential health issues from escalating.

By avoiding these potential pitfalls, you can create a healthier and more harmonious environment for both Clown Loaches and Bala Sharks

Will Clown Loach and Bala Shark Eat Each Other?

No, Clown Loaches and Bala Sharks do not typically eat each other. Both species are generally peaceful and have compatible diets. But keep in mind that maintaining a proper environment can keep them calm and survive for the long run.

Will Clown Loaches and Bala Sharks Kill Each Other?

No, Clown Loaches and Bala Sharks do not typically kill each other. Both species are generally gentle and can coexist without aggression or harm. 

However, as with any fish, individual behavior can vary, and there may be rare instances of aggression or territorial disputes. Providing a spacious aquarium with ample hiding spots, ensuring appropriate tankmates, and monitoring their interactions closely can help minimize the risk of any aggression and promote a harmonious environment for both Clown Loaches and Bala Sharks.

Clown Loach vs Bala Shark: Who Will Keep Aquarium Clean?

When it comes to keeping the aquarium clean, both Clown Loaches and Bala Sharks can contribute in their own ways. However, it’s important to note that neither of these species is solely responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of the tank. Here’s a breakdown of their contributions:

  • Clown Loach: Clown Loaches are known for their scavenging behavior and can help keep the tank clean by actively foraging for leftover food and small invertebrates. They are excellent algae eaters and can help control algae growth in the aquarium. However, their cleaning abilities may be limited to the substrate and lower parts of tank decorations.
  • Bala Shark: Bala Sharks are primarily herbivorous and mainly feed on plant material, including algae. They can contribute to maintaining a clean environment by consuming algae growth in the aquarium. However, their grazing behavior may be more focused on aquatic vegetation rather than the substrate or tank decorations.

While both Clown Loaches and Bala Sharks have some cleaning tendencies, it’s important to remember that they are not solely responsible for the overall cleanliness of the tank. Proper aquarium maintenance, including regular water changes, cleaning of filter media, and removal of excess waste, is essential to maintain a clean and healthy environment for all tank inhabitants.

Additionally, incorporating appropriate tankmates like snails or bottom-dwelling fish species that have specific cleaning behaviors can further contribute to the overall cleanliness of the aquarium.

Can Male Clown Loaches Live With Female Bala Sharks

Certainly! Male Clown Loaches can live with female Bala Sharks in the same aquarium without any major issues. These species are generally compatible and can live together peacefully.

However, as with any fishkeeping scenario, it’s important to monitor their behavior and ensure adequate space for both species to thrive.

By providing a suitable environment and proper care, male Clown Loaches and female Bala Sharks can share the same tank and add vibrancy to your aquatic setup.

Can Female Clown Loaches Live With Male Bala Sharks?

Yes, Female Clown Loaches can live with Male Bala Sharks without having any kind of difficulties.

Certainly! Introducing female Clown Loaches alongside male Bala Sharks can result in a fascinating and dynamic aquarium display. The graceful and swift movements of the Bala Sharks beautifully complement the playful and curious nature of the female Clown Loaches.

Can Clown Loach and Bala Sharks Eat the Same Food?

Yes, Clown Loaches and Bala Sharks can eat the same food when sharing the same tank. Both species have similar dietary preferences, making it convenient to provide them with a common diet.

A balanced diet for Clown Loaches and Bala Sharks typically consists of a combination of high-quality commercial foods, such as pellets or flakes, designed for tropical fish. These foods should provide a mix of protein, vegetables, and other essential nutrients to meet their nutritional requirements.

In addition to commercial foods, offering occasional live or frozen treats like bloodworms, brine shrimp, or daphnia can provide variety and simulate their natural feeding behavior. Both Clown Loaches and Bala Sharks will eagerly consume these types of food.


You might have discovered, it is possible to keep Clown Loaches and Bala Sharks together in the same aquarium. Both species can be one of your perfect pets when provided with a suitable environment that meets their needs. Even you can add other compatible friends that both of them love.

Clown Loaches are known for their playful nature, scavenging behavior, and ability to control algae growth. On the other hand, Bala Sharks bring elegance and grace to the tank with their swift swimming patterns and herbivorous feeding habits.

Now it’s your choice whether you will keep them together or not!

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