Max Size: up to 35 cm

Bala Shark (Balantiocheilos Melanopterus) Species Profile & Care Guide

Due to their peaceful and hardy nature, Bala Sharks do well in a large community aquarium. As they get older, however, they will eventually outgrow most tanks, and they will continue growing for several years.

The eyes and mouth are disproportionately large compared to their torpedo-shaped bodies, and their scales display silvery-grey shades.

The pectoral fins are almost invisible because of their transparency.

The dorsal, pelvic, Caudel and anal fins are all light greys or yellow tones

edged in deep black.

The large triangular-shaped dorsal fin, located almost perpendicular to the body, plus the size they can grow to make them look like actual sharks.

Quick Facts
Scientific NameBalantiocheilos Melanopterus
Other NamesTricolor Shark, Silver Shark, Tricolor Sharkminnow, Shark minnow
OriginsSoutheast Asia
Aquarium LevelBottom - Middle
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 5+
Lifespan8 - 10 years
Water Conditions
Water TypeFreshwater
Temperature72 - 82 ℉ (22.2 - 27.8 ℃)
PH6.5 - 7.5
GH2 - 10

Natural Habitat of the Bala Shark

Bala sharks inhabit medium to large lakes and rivers in Thailand, Borneo, Sumatra, and the Malayan peninsula in Southeast Asia.

They have become rare in many places they originally lived and are believed to be extinct in some regions.

This declining of this species is due to the fact that they were possibly overfished, some believe that damming of the rivers was the cause and others think the pollution is the leading cause, either way, they are all possible factors in the demise of this fish that once was prolific in Southeast Asia.

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The expected growth of the shark is ensured by an enriched diet consisting of dry food such as flakes, pellets or granules as well as live food like artemia, daphnia, brine shrimp and mussels.

They will also need regular consumption of plant foods such as fruits, spinach, green peas, lettuce and nettle leaves.

Sexing the Bala Shark

It is almost impossible to sex this species, the majority of the time there is no noticeable external differences between the two. What we do know is during spawning season the females will develop a more rounded belly than the male.

Breeding the Bala Shark

Bala sharks are not known to have been successfully bred in the home aquarium. However, rare undocumented reports do surface.

The main problem is the fact that you need large tanks and the lack of information regarding the required conditions for breeding.

Interestingly though, this species is bred by commercial breeders in Asia using hormone injections to induce spawning, but again it is still mostly unidentified.

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Date Added: 8/28/2020 - Updated: 8/28/2020 5:47:58 AM