Balanced coherent receivers perform substantially better than single-detector receivers in multichannel optical fiber FDM communications systems since the balanced approach eliminates the direct-detection and signal-cross-signal interference. The permissible channel spacing depends on the intermediate frequency fIF, on the bit rate Rb, and on the modulation/demodulation format. In particular, increases by 2 Hz for every 1-Hz increase of the fIF. The signal-to-interference ratio SIR, as defined in the text, provides a simple measure of the amount of the interference generated by undesired channels. The criterion SIR = 30 dB is selected in this paper and leads to the following minimum channel spacings: for heterodyne systems, for FSK, for ASK, and for PSK; for homodyne systems, for ASK and for PSK. Simultaneous transmission of several channels generates an excess shot noise studied here for the first time. If the local oscillator power is 40 dB above the received signal power and 2000 channels are transmitted without optical prefiltering, the excess shot noise power penalty is less than 1 dB.