Dog Breed Info Center(R) DBIC

Bala Shark

Information and Pictures

Close Up - A long silver with black shark looking fish is swimming in front of a broken vase

Five-inch Bala shark

Scientific Name

Balantiocheilos melanopterus

Type

Cyprinids

Family

Cyprinodontoidae

Subfamily

Cyprininae

Other Names

Tricolor Shark, Silver Shark, Tri Color Shark Minnow, Hangus, Silver Bala

Minimum Tank Size

50 gallons or more for young fish, 100 minimum for adult. 125+ is ideal, as these are schooling fish and will pine away if alone.

Tank Level

All levels

Care

Easy

Behavior

Peaceful if they are in a large enough tank and if they are kept with a full school of other Bala sharks (5 or more). Balas are schooling fish and need to be with others of their own kind. Tend to get agitated and semi-aggressive if kept alone or in a small tank. Active. Usually minds their own business. Can jump so tight-fitting lid is needed. Energetic, curious and aware of who's outside the tank.

Compatibility

Tends not to bother mildly aggressive cichlids. Angelfish, gouramis, large barbs (tinfoil), Rainbowfish, large danios (giant variety), larger tetras (pacus included). Adult-size tank is large enough for a shoal of clown or other Botiine loaches. Catfish (otocinclus excluded) are unobtrusive and well-tolerated. Omnivorous and herbivorous plecos will be ignored. Will eat smaller fish.

Life Span

8 - 10 years

Size

13 - 16 inches (33 - 40cm), females are on the smaller side. Grow fast.

Aquarium

Need large swimming area. Like live plants in the tank. Longer tank necessary.

Water Chemistry

Freshwater

pH

5.8 to 7.8

Hardness

dH: 5.0 - 15.0 (soft to medium)

Temperature

72º - 84º F (22 - 29° C)

Feeding

Not picky, will eat flakes, pellets and live food. Need some plant matter in food. Will also search for food on the bottom of the tank. Full-grown Balas have been known to eat very small fish such as neon tetras and guppies. Some Balas will make clicking noises while feeding.

Sexing

Males are larger, females are slightly smaller.

Breeding

Egg scatterer. Some have reported to have bred them in an aquarium, however, an exceptionally long aquarium is necessary for breeding. Current is necessary for males to appropriately scatter sperm. Balas do not guard eggs and will eat fry.

Origin

Sumatra, Thailand, Borneo and Malaysia

Extras

Not actually a true shark. They are called "sharks" for their appearance and the shape of their dorsal fin.

Two long silver with black Bala sharks swimming in an aquarium

A 5-inch and a 6-inch Bala shark—these two Balas were put in a 54-gallon corner tank with other peaceful community fish. They pal around together and do not bother any of the other fish. These fish were in a somewhat small tank along with a bunch of other fish at the pet store. They were swimming a tad franticly, bumping up against the sides of the glass. When brought home and put into the larger tank, they calmed down and stopped acting so skittish.

Close Up - A Bala Shark is swimming in front of a broken vase. There is another aquarium decoration near it

Five-inch Bala shark

Close Up - A Bala Shark is at the bottom of a fish tank

Five-inch Bala shark

Three Bala Sharks are swimming. Two are swimming to the left and One is swimming to the right

Juvenile Bala sharks

A Bala Shark is inspecting a rock

Juvenile Bala sharks

A Bala Shark is swimming downward

Juvenile Bala sharks

A Bala Shark is swimming over top of a rock

Juvenile Bala sharks

A school of Bala Sharks are swimming ober rocks white rocks in a blue tank

Juvenile Bala sharks

Three Bala Sharks are swimming to the right and Three Bala Sharks are swimming to the left. There is an algae ridden filter in the the middle of them

Juvenile Bala sharks

A School of Bala Sharks swimming to the right. There is an algae ridden filter in the middle

Juvenile Bala sharks

Two Juvenile Bala Sharks are swimming to the left

Juvenile Bala sharks

A School of Bala Sharks are swimmign around a rock

Juvenile Bala sharks

A School of Bala Sharks are swimming over a rock. The tank has a blue background.

Juvenile Bala sharks