Fish Facts: Bala Shark

Alantiocheilos Melanopterus, Tricolor Shark, Silver Shark, Shark Minnow

Species: Bala Shark- Balantiocheilos Melanopterus

AKA: Tricolor Shark, Silver Shark, Shark Minnow

Adult size:12-14 inches

Lifespan: avg 8-10 years

Water Temp: 72°F-82°F (22°C-28°C)

Water PH:6.0-7.9

Water Type: Fresh Water

Schooling: 2-6 fish

Recommended tank: 55 gallons for young and medium 90 plus for adults.

Good Tank-mates: Most non-aggressive fish will do well, even some semi-aggressive, because of the Bala sharks speed, agility, and size they are rarely abused by other fish.

Bad Tank-mates: Avoid Oscars and other aggressive Cichlid’s. While Bala’s are faster and more agile and may survive fine, Bala sharks are not aggressive fish, and so it would be cruel to put them with fish that will be towards them.

Diet: Omnivorous-in captivity will eat most flake foods, brine shimp, blood worms and other insects and larvae. In the wild their diet consists mostly of insects and larvae.

Habitat: Lots of vegetation to hide and swim, bottom rocks without outcrops these fish will need room to swim freely.

Pros: peaceful fish when schooled properly, hardy, can tolerate moderate changes in temperature and Ph resilient to ich and several other common aquarium diseases.

Cautions: This fish is a strong jumper, so closed top tank is a must! Often Bala’s can injure themselves by jumping out or against the top of a fish tank. Bala’s grow up to 12-14 inches, when buying one you must consider the size tank it will require to house 2-6 of them. Once large enough they may eat smaller fish like tetras one thing to keep in mind when selecting tank-mates.

Summary: Bala Sharks are commonly sold aquarium “fresh water sharks.” The Bala Shark is not a true shark, but part of a group of fresh water fish with a torpedo-shaped body similar to actual sharks. The other prominent features on this fish  are its silver body with black pigment on the ends of the dorsal pelvic, anal and caudal fins. These fish are usually mid tank swimmers, much like in their natural environment of medium sized lakes and rivers. They will need room to swim their speed is impressive, and they bolt around the tank a lot. Bala sharks are sociable and usually pleasant tempered fish as long as they are schooled properly, usually 2 to 6 fish, but because of their size most aquariums will not house them for long. Bala Sharks are often sold while very small and many times the owner does not realize that the fish can grow up to a foot long. Bala Sharks while common and popular as aquarium fish are an endangered species by the IUCN. Natively these fish come from southeast Asia and islands in the south pacific, but do to destruction of habitat and capture for pets the wild population has substantially dropped.

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