You are here:

Freshwater Aquarium/Pictus Catfish/Bala Sharks


Hi Richard! I'm planning on getting a freshwater aquarium and love the Bala Sharks and Pictus Catfish. At Petsmart they say the minimum size is 40 gallons for these particuar fish, but other places are saying that the minimum is 125 gallons. I'd like to know which would be best for 2-3 of each type of fish. I am unable to properly maintain or afford anything bigger than 60 gallons, and need to know if what i can give to the fish would be enough. I'd also like to know what type of filter and lights would be a good fit for these fish. Thank you

Hi Lauren

This probably isn't what you want to hear, but a 60g tank would only work for small fish. Long term, they will need at least 125g tank, but I recommend 180g for Bala Sharks as they are schooling fish who need to be in groups of 3 or more and grow to 12-14" long. A 60g would be fine for Pictus Cats, they can grow large too, but I've rarely seen one over 6" in captivity.

I use LED lights in all my tanks. The light is more natural, and they save on electric bill. For a filter, I recommend Fluval canister filters. The model depends on tank size. A 60g use Fluval 306, a 125g use Fluval G6, in my 180g I use a Fluval FX6. There are certainly more affordable filters out there that do a good job, these are just what I use and recommend. I also don't recommend a HOB (hang on back) filter in larger tanks, though I do use HOB filters in addition to the canister filters in my Oscar and other large Cichlid tanks as these fish can be messy.

Hope this helps you, good luck!


Freshwater Aquarium

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Richard Hight


I own and maintain several freshwater aquariums from 2 to 180 gallon. I can answer most questions about freshwater aquariums, including setup, cycling, maintenance, compatible tank mates, feeding. Moving? I've moved fish both across town and across the country and can help you get your little aquatic friends to their new home safely. I know and have experience with most freshwater community fish, South American Cichlids and African Cichlids. I don't answer questions about Goldfish or keeping Goldfish with Tropical Fish. I also don't answer questions about keeping crustaceans (shrimp, snails, crabs etc) with Tropical Fish, nor questions about saltwater fish or aquariums. I'm not available to answer questions on weekends, this is when I do maintenance on my own tanks.


Many years of personal experience with community tank fish, semi-aggressive fish (Barbs, Tetras, etc), Angels, South American Cichlids and African Cichlids.

HSG 2010-2011 prof

©2017 All rights reserved.