Tankmates For The Bala
I kept my balas in a comunity tank for a long time. They tend to be a little skittish by nature, especially when they get big (and they will get big). they take a while to grow and like to school with other balas.
While balas like to school, they should do okay alone too. When they get big, you might want to give them bigger places to hide, like soft, tall plants. They don't like sudden movements, so you might want to put them with more laid-back fish. They don't eat their tankmates, though they sometimes enjoy meaty, pre-processed foods, like Wardley Shrimp Pellets.
Sounds like you're off to a great start. If you're interested in good tankmates for balas, I recomend Anabantoids (like gouramis) some of the larger tetra-family fish (try blind caves or dollars) and maybe even a few angels if your water is neutral. When balas get big, sharp objects can pose as a hazard to them. Also, I recomend having a horizontal, submersible heater. During a fit, a bala can smash around quite a bit and break and upright one. Tronic seems to work for me. They also like a little aquairum (non-marine) salt added to the water. Their wounds will heal more quickly an they won't get sick as easily.
Good luck, and I hope your tank does great!
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