The Ultimate Bala Shark Care Guide: Size, Diet, Habitat, and more!

Bala sharks are fascinating freshwater animals which some aquarium owners consider. Found in streams and rivers in Southeast Asia, from lotic environments to large rivers and natural lakes. This Bala Shark Care Guide explains Bala shark care in detail.

Bala Sharks – The Silver Shark

Silver body with black margins on dorsal, caudal, anal, and pelvic fins. The lower lip has a posterior groove forming an opening towards the back. Dorsal fin forming a triangle, characteristic, which, together with the shape of its body, gives it the common name of shark, due to such similarities with the actual shark. The Bala Shark is also known as the Silver Shark and is becoming much popular among fish hobbyists.

Bala Shark general

Bala sharks are freshwater species of Southeast Asia. These sharks are not actual sharks and were named for them due to their torpedo-shaped bodies and rigid fins. A bala shark’s health involves identifying the proper tanks ensuring the best water chemistry, finding pleasant neighbors, and cleaning and changing its water regularly. Our training team of reporters and researchers co-authored the article, who validated the report with accuracy and thoroughness.

Varying names

Bala Sharks are also known as Silver Bala and Tricolored Minnows. These freshwater fish do not have similar characteristics to sharks in saltwater oceans. Its name comes from its similar body shape and triangular-shaped dorsal fins. They are believed to have become rare or extinct in most of their native aquatic environment. Many consider this endangered fish species to be scarce in their native habitats. They bear an apparent resemblance to sharks, considered aggressive predators, but are peaceful freshwater fish. They also share similar body shapes with other shark-type freshwater fish.

Bala Shark Appearance

It carries a long elongated, torpedo-style body. Their fins have yellowish striped stripes with black lines. They do have two ventral fins, small and sometimes monocolored. Their bodies are grey and have slightly uneven gradients, mostly above and some lower left. Scales are surprisingly close to each other- this density, together with their size, makes light effortlessly slide away from its. They have big eyes ideal for hunting and allows them to focus on vast stretches of the ocean. They are typically smaller than their frontal fin.

Bala Shark Care Guide

Bala Shark size – Silver sharks can grow

Bala fish are rare in their natural homes. Many of the species are found in fish farms. Adult size can reach 1 foot or 13 inches. Sharks can grow so much. These “sharks” require large tanks because their maximum adult size is 13 inches. They are usually peaceful, but they could eat smaller fish like neon tetras when their size is too large. The aquarium must have a top glass cover to avoid fatalities with your fish. These fish grow more significantly; they must be moved to larger aquariums. It would help if you had an aquarium of reasonable length, as you are a fast swimmer. Well-oxygenated water is needed. You can create a lotic environment periodically, without exaggeration, by operating a circulation pump for this purpose, activating its extinction of excellent swimmers.

Bala Shark Care Guide

Origin and distribution of Silver shark

Bala sharks can be found in medium to large rivers as well as lakes in Southeast Asia. There were once discovered in Malaysia – Thailand, Borneo, Sumatra, and Malaysia. The Bala Shark is now in IUCN’s Red List – threatened species since 1996. Currently, this species was commercially bred in The Far East using hormones to encourage spawning.

Bala shark fish is endangered.

Almost every specimen sold by the aquaculture trade has been captive-bred. They are rare in many regions where they used to reside and have disappeared entirely in certain areas. Current, bullet sharks are rare in their natural habitats. Ng and Kottelat (2007) assume that the species may be extinct in the wild, although recent records need ratification. Its extinction in a natural environment is mainly due to the degradation of its Habitat and environmental changes such as river damming.

Are Bala Sharks extinct?

Bala Sharks used to be prolific in Southeast Asia, but their numbers were dwindling by an average of nearly 51% over the past ten years. Locals believe the Bala Sharks may be extinct in some areas. Many people believe this could be in part a result of over-fishing by the aquaculture industry. The ever-increasing pollution of waters is another factor considered for the death of Bala sharks. Still, the IUCN Red List was on the red list since 1996, but they’re still on the world’s most endangered species of fish and still pose significant threats to other species of marine.

Bala Sharks ideal Habitat

The species is sensitive to water conditions and shallow water temperatures and is exposed to white spot illness or bacterial infection at a high temperature. It would be best if you covered the fish tank tightly as this species jumps when disturbed. Decorate with huge, robust plants around the tank’s perimeter while maintaining plenty to allow pooling in the center. It would be best if you only kept the Bala shark outdoors in spots that are warm during the winter, for example, the warm ponds in cool climates, but you should preserve them in an area where they are vulnerable to water.

Bala Sharks Aquarium Tank size and gallon

A tank with approx 100 gallons is required. It is a large tank and many gallons of water. The choice of aquarium decoration can vary a lot; it is not a demanding species. Aquarium length is essential, as this species is an excellent swimmer, originating from fast water. Like any lotic environment, it should maintain regular water flow in the aquarium, creating currents and increasing the dissolved oxygen indexes in the water, which the species appreciate.

Are Bala Sharks Suicidal?

It’s been reported by some people on CBC that Bala sharks can swim between themselves, play dead or crash into glass walls. This erratic behavior often occurs when the parameters are off or when they lack the space to swim.

Take care with your fish tank.

Experts agree Bala shark care should be relatively simple provided the fish owner has some basic knowledge in fish farming practices. They remain healthy, but fish owners should keep their aquarium clean and water levels and temperatures stable to achieve the best results. Bala Sharks are very vulnerable to disease if their water supply starts getting murky at the bottom of the ocean – the depth of their Habitat. When they are introduced to a new unit, they should be given a month to settle into their new environment. Fish owners should try to keep these fish undisturbed in this period. They need fresher food as they can get malnourished with poorly prepared food.

Temperament and activity level

Despite the size they can reach, they are pacific with tank mates hardly eats smaller fish, except tiny fish or larvae. Given the size it comes, you can keep it with more extensive, peaceful fish. Gregarious behavior develops a rigid hierarchy when kept in an aquarium, which is why it should hold five or more specimens. When kept in smaller numbers, subdominant members can be constantly harrassed by dominant members, which is why you should avoid keeping them in a pair or a trio. This behavior is more evident when the fish reaches sexual maturity.

Reproduction of Balantiocheilus melanopterus

Silver sharks are oviparous, reach sexual maturity around 24 months. Free spreader, releasing eggs close to the substrate or leaves. Their reproduction is assumed to be similar to other cyprinids such as Barbos, where the female releases eggs relative to the substrate and the male fertilizes afterward. Parents do not care for the progeny. Its reproduction inbreeding occurs with the use of hormones.

Fish Gender Differences

Most of the time, there are no noticeable external differences between the sexes. However, during the spawning season, the female develops a rounder underbelly than the male shark.

Feeding your Shark

Bala sharks are omnivores, in its natural environment, it feeds on plants, benthic crustaceans, insects and their larvae, rotifers, small crustaceans, and other invertebrates. Small fish eventually. In captivity, it will accept any food, from dry to live. It would be best if you had a good diet to stay healthy. These freshwater fish can eat all types of fish food, including vitamin-filled flake food, frozen, dried pellets, and live foods. Therefore, your diet should be based on proteins such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, and other worms. Also, he must eat at least three times a day for it to grow correctly. Also include vegetables in your diets, such as peas with pods, cooked spinach, and chopped fruit.

Food and diet

When in their natural Habitat, Bala sharks are omnivores that eat algae, insects, larvae, and small crustaceans. When confined to aquarium tanks, they will eat almost any fish food, including alternatives such as live food and dry flake food selections. Many fish owners also prefer to add some spinach and finely cut fruit. These fish do not need special foods or supplements. Fish owners should strive for a balanced diet for continued good health. Consider adding shrimp to any high-protein diet to increase their growth. You must feed your fish at least three times a day.

Do Bala Sharks eat fish?

Bala shark starts eating fish once they have become adult size. Harlequin Rasboras Neon Tetras Guppies danios or any size fish are surprisingly often mistaken for food. Sharks also find it necessary to ingest and eat snails.

Are Bala Sharks aggressive?

Unless kept individually, the species may behave as an adult to defend itself or protect itself. The Bala shark is a peaceful animal.

Typical behavior

It is recommended to keep at least four (ideally 6) together for extra peace. They are pretty active but always prefer hiding in plant roots. They are sometimes afraid and easily frightened during initial days in tanks, especially in mud and sand. When the fish gets comfortable, it will take active swimmers and jump. They can be greedy for food, so it’s an important observation to keep when you plan to mix them with little fish. Despite their name, they are relatively stable fish that cause minimal difficulty. They sometimes jump and hide in plants and roots.

Water parameters

It would be best if you were careful about the conditions in the water. The safe range is between 6.5 and 8 pH, and the safe range of water hardness is between 10 – 13 dGH. Your aim should always be 12 dGH when the Water temperature is 76o to 80oF, but anything outside this range can cause serious health complications for your Bala Shark.

Keep an eye out for illness.

The Bala shark is one of the best fish for your tropical aquarium. If kept in good quality water and with good food, these fish would likely live for ten years, as they are generally considered resistant and are vulnerable to good health. Most aquarium experts recommend replenishing at least half of the tank water weekly to maintain good water quality and ideal parameters in between. Overall, Bala sharks are an excellent addition to many tropical freshwater tanks and make it easy to add your group of fish to your freshwater tank with regular attention and periodic replenishment. These fish are considered highly resistant.


Bala sharks constitute one of the most durable freshwater species. Give your fish about a month for its settlement in your aquarium. If your shark has careful monitoring, especially in the feeding seasons, it might notice a sign of a problem. Keep a diet, and your sharks will be active and balanced. They aren’t immune to commonly seen animal problem-like jumping in other fish that live there. You can even be required to clear the tank from view to avoid accidental harm to the sharks. You’ll never have issues with your water quality and temperature if you keep your tests and maintenance up to date.


Balas should never be housed with the invertebrates – such as shrimps or snails – as they usually form an integral part of the population in the wild. They scare slow-moving fish out of fear of their constant active life in the tank. Balas are mostly content in schools, preferably with four or more. When kept alone, their behavior tends to be timid and skittish. If only two or three balas can survive in any tank, the dominant fish emerges from it and bullies the other fish. If the tank is big enough for adults, Bala shark species can take in many types of fish to breed alongside larger-bodied fish. Therefore, be certified as being a large aquarium to carry this species and tank mates.

Bala Sharks like company

Bala Sharks are shy and stubborn upon their arrival, and they become happy when kept in groups. Consider buying a school of four or five fish when your aquarium is ready. As a shoaling species, these fish should bond in the wild as they look for food. One group has been established; it is prudent not to get another batch of Sharks even if you have a humongous tank. One pecking order will evolve as dominant parties pick up the inferior group. Sharks need love because of their kind and may create harmful habits in them.

Incompatible species

Balas eat invertebrates, including freshwater shrimp and snails. You also should avoid spawning in your private aquarium. Bala sharks love fish eggs, and they’ll grab anything they’re interested in seeing. Keep livestock on your tank unless you want to provide extra vitamins into your balanced diet. Balas don’t have the same temperament as cichlids, don’t like balas’ character, and don’t eat snails or crustaceans like snails or shrimp.

Bala Sharks will jump out of the tank.

Balas are graceful and solid swimmers, but they could instantly jump out of the tank if they get spooked. In the wild, jumping is a good defense. In captivity, jumping can only lead to falling down and even get eaten by an indoor cat. If your Bala manages to jump out of the aquarium and develops a white eye mark, you’ll need to treat this condition. It would restore slime coat of eyes and slime coat of eyes. If your sea shark died early in a pool at the house aquarium, get a tight lid on their food bowl to contain them.


Bala Sharks are usually bought very young in pets shops generally when it’s still about 3 to 4 inches in length. This cute shark can grow up to half feet by the middle of the season. Since Bala Sharks are schooling fish, they usually have big tanks that can hold several dozen of them.

Bala Shark Care Guide

How do you breed them in a home aquarium?

Bala Sharks can reproduce in captivity when they only reach 3 & 4 years old. They get a minimum length of 5 inches or 33 cm. That’s why a large tank is needed. Fish owners must also be aware that fish held in captivity will rarely reproduce or breed. It is also necessary that Bullets sharks mature for the breeding season when they’re healthy. The actual aquarium used for the spawning process must be at least 65-gallons, and the temperature should stay at 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 Celsius degree) for the ideal breeding environment. There are special nets put at the bottom of the aquarium. These will help you spot the spawning stages easier. A male fish shark then fertilizes the eggs.

Encourage the process

It is essential to provide a consistent water flow to ensure that the male fertilizing agent can travel farther than expected. After spawning and fertilization, the eggs must be removed from the main fish tank and placed in an aquarium for hatching. After that, fish owners can expect to see fry in another 3 or 4 days if the process is successful. The fingerlings are fed with the first ciliated cyclops or artemia nauplii. Bala sharks can develop different growth rates. It may be necessary to move them to other tanks to ensure sufficient space for growth and development. Some fish farmers recommend adding antibiotic treatment to tank water to ensure healthy eggs.


Bala sharks are freshwater species of Southeast Asia. These sharks are not actual sharks and were named for them due to their torpedo-shaped bodies and rigid fins. A bala shark’s health involves identifying the right tank size, ensuring the best water quality, finding tank mates, and cleaning and changing its water regularly.

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