The Bala Shark (scientific name: Balantiocheilos melanopterus), commonly known as the silver shark, is a species of the cyprinid family Cyprinidae in the class of ray-finned fishes. This species is native to Asia, Thailand, Indonesia, Sumatra, and Kalimantan, and it was once listed as an endangered species by IUCN.
Bala Shark is a representative species of aquarium fish. Its body always shines with silver light, and its appearance resembles a tiny shark; Bala sharks are very gentle but sensitive and easily frightened, and it is good at jumping. So if you are considering keeping a tank of fish, Bala sharks may be one of the best options.
A group of Bala Sharks can make a dramatic addition to a large aquarium tank. These Southeast Asian fish are not true sharks, but their shark-like appearance and size make them intriguing pets. This post shares basic things about Bala Shark care you should know if you consider adding them to your aquarium setup.
Bala Shark General Descriptions
Bala Sharks are a large and interesting freshwater fish that many aquarium owners consider at one point or another. Native to Southeast Asia, the Bala Shark has been affectionately called "The Gentle Giant" due to its large size and easygoing temperament. This beautiful freshwater fish will make a wonderful addition to your freshwater aquarium if you have a bit of experience raising fish. Due to their peaceful nature, juveniles can get along well with other species in the aquarium. As they mature, they will eventually outgrow most tanks, continuing to grow for several years.
|Scientific Name||Balantiocheilos melanopterus|
|Common Names||Bala shark, silver shark, tricolor shark, tricolor sharkminnow|
|Color||Silver with gray or yellow and black fins|
|Breeding||Egglayer, not bred in home aquaria|
|Life Expectancy||Up to 10 years|
The Bala Sharks' body is spindle-shaped, the fins are triangular, and the caudal fin is deeply forked. The body is covered with silver scales, the abdomen is whitish, and the fins are slightly yellowish. They are colored yellow, black, and gray. In their native habitats, Bala Sharks are also known by other names that include Tricolor Shark, Silver Bala, Silver Shark, and Tri-Color Minnows due to their unique colors and markings.
The Bala Sharks can grow up to 12-14 inches(25-30 cm) in length, making them relatively large for aquarium fish. As these Bala Fish grow larger, they should be switched to larger-sized aquariums. Additionally, these fish should be closely watched as they grow to ensure continued compatibility with smaller fish.
The Bala Sharks inhabit streams or lakes in the Mekong River Basin, Chao Phraya River Basin, Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Indonesia, and Borneo. In some areas, the number has been drastically reduced or extinct. It is omnivorous, feeding on phytoplankton and small crustaceans.
Most experts agree that Bala Shark care is relatively easy. These fish tend to remain healthy as long as fish owners keep their aquariums clean and the water level and temperature stable. Bala Sharks can be somewhat vulnerable if their tank water becomes dirty or lowers the tank water level.
|Care Level||Easy to intermediate|
|Minimum Tank Size||120 gallons|
|pH||6.5 and 8 pH|
|Tankmates||Rainbowfish, Tetra, Rasbora, other Bala Sharks|
- The most common suggested range is between a 120 and 150-gallon tank, a rather large aquarium. The more fish you have, the more room they will need.
- Silver sharks do best when their water temperature is 72–82°F (22–28°C).
- The safe range of the pH levels in the tank is somewhere between 6.5 and 8 pH.
- It would be best if you feed them three times a day. Because Bala Sharks can grow to a large size, it is essential to give them plenty of protein in their diet to keep them growing strong.
- Some great tank mates for Bala Sharks are Rainbowfish, Tetra, Rasbora, and other Bala Sharks. There are some species of smaller fish that should be avoided as tankmates.
Today, Bala Sharks are considered an endangered species of fish and are thought to have become rare or extinct in many of their original freshwater habitats. Since these fish are rare in their natural abodes, most fish are bought from fish farms. The lifespan of a Bala Shark can be up to 10 years with the proper care.