Bala Shark Mouth Stuck Wide Open!

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reedith

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Hello all, this is my first post to the forum, and I come to you in need!

I've had two beautiful bala sharks in a 77 gal. for roughly a year and a half, and they are both about 3-4 inches long. I've noticed that the odd time their mouths stay open wide for a short while, but then they're able to shut them just as quickly. Over the last day, one of my balas has had his mouth open continuously, and he hasn't been able to shut it. He's being chased around a little bit by the other one, but he doesn't look too beat up at all. His gills may have a slightly more reddish tinge to them than the other bala, but other than that, he looks perfectly healthy. He tries to feed, but with his mouth facing down all the time he hardly gets anything. Now is it possible he has something (pebble, algae wafer, etc.) stuck in his mouth that will eventually work it's way out? Or is it an injury from hitting the side of the tank, or from a fight with another fish? There's very little information on the web about this, but a few others have seen it too. Anybody else have the same experience, or have any tips? Thanks!

I just posted this same thing on the bala shark profile, but I thought I'd sign up with the forum and gain some of everybody else's knowledge about aquariums. I'm looking forward to this!

Here is a picture of the little guy along with his friend. It's not the best picture, but it does show what I mean by the open mouth, and he also is in very good condition. He's been like this for two days now at least, so I'm just wondering whether this looks familiar to anyone else? Thanks

Well, looks like no one has replied yet, or maybe no one has never come across this. The fish still has his mouth stuck open (about a month or so after I found him like this), but he seems to be doing okay. Obviously he's not getting food as well as the other guys are because he can't grab it, so he has to suck it in or let it fall in. It's rather sad to watch as you see him trying to grab it the way he used to, but with no luck. Anyway, I'm still looking for any info or experience with the situation. Thanks again.
 

metal_man666

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wow thats an interesting pic. umm idk if this is a very good idea but maybe u could try and scoop it with a net try, u no, try and make it shut it or just poke its jaw i guess idk good luck
 

Stradius011

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Can you post a brighter picture? It's a bit dark so I can't see well.
 

talapia

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we have the same condition, any one know whats going on ?
 
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reedith

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I've tried to take a few more pictures, but I can't seem to to get any pictures that are any brighter than the other one.

Lately, this guy has been pitched up at about a 30-45 degree angle and constantly swimming, so it looks like he's struggling, but yet it's been such a long time that he's been like this so he must be getting food somehow. I feel sorry for him and I assume it's just a matter of time before the inevitable. Anyway, maybe bumping this topic to the top of the list might catch somebody's attention who's had the same problem.

Well, bad news , just as I said a couple of days ago... Just found my plectosomus having himself a tasty evening snack of bala shark. The same bala who was swimming around not four hours ago! But hey, that's how it goes. I gotta say that the fish looked healthy other than the swimming and mouth problems. He sure didn't look undernourished. Anyway, hopefully others have better luck with their open mouthed balas!
 

gmann21193

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i had a minnow in my crayfish tank that had his jaw ripped totally off by my cray. he lasted 2 months without the jaw... then the crayfish got him.

see the bottom minnow... his jaw is missing :-\
 

MagpieTear

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I recently had the same issue with one of my Bala's. His mouth locked like that a few weeks after I brought him home. He seemed fine in behaviors and appetite, but after about 6 weeks, he went to the great aquarium in the sky. I've had Bala's (or tricolors as the local shop calls them ) for years and I never saw such a thing before... Wonder if it is a genetic defect from less than careful breeding at the farms, or is it a disease?
 
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