Tag Archive | "Balantiocheilus melanopterus"

Bala Shark (Balantiocheilus melanopterus)

Bala Shark (Balantiocheilus melanopterus)

Bala Shark (Balantiocheilus melanopterus) Catch

Bala Shark (Balantiocheilus melanopterus) Catch

The Bala Shark (Balantiocheilus melanopterus) is also known by tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the Tricolor Shark, Silver Shark, or Shark Minnow.

It is a semi aggressive mid water species that is found in large and medium size rivers and lakes of in the Malay Peninsula, Borneo, and Sumatra.  It has been misidentified as Balantiocheilos ambusticauda (the Burnt-Tailed Barb or Siamese Bala-Shark) which is found in the Mae Klong and Chao Phraya River basins in Thailand.

The Bala Shark has a metallic silver body with yellow to black margins on their dorsal, caudal, pelvic and anal fins.  Although it is not a true shark, it is called one because of its torpedo shaped body, big eyes and large fins.

Although the Bala Shark is classified as being semi aggressive, they are generally peaceful companions to many types of aquarium fish.

Bala Sharks are hardy and will tolerate a wide swing of temperature, pH, and water quality variations but prefer soft, slightly acidic water.  They are an active, fast swimming, shoaling species that grow quickly and should be kept in groups of at least five or more individuals in a large covered aquarium. Bala Sharks are great jumpers and are quite skittish.

Balantiochelius melanopterus do best in a large tank with a dark colored sandy or fine gravel substrate, rocks, driftwood, spots of densely planted vegetation for them to shelter in and a power head or two to provide moderate, well oxygenated water movement found in their natural habitat.

Although little is known about the breeding habits of Bala Sharks, they are egg scatterers. There are reports of them being bred in an aquarium environment but not commercially.   Bala Shark are farmed in Thailand and other countries through the use of hormones.

In the wild, Bala Shark feed on phytoplankton, crustaceans, insects, insect larvae, rotifers, algae, and other plants. In the aquarium they will eat all kinds of live, fresh, frozen or freeze dried and flaked foods. Give them a high quality flake food every day with occasional feedings of live or frozen brine shrimp or bloodworms as a treat.

They love mosquito larvae, daphnia, and vegetable foods and larger specimens can be fed chopped earthworms, mussels, or prawns. Chopped fruits, blanched spinach and shelled peas can also be fed as a dietary supplement.

Bala Sharks are grazers in their natural surroundings and shoud be offered food 2 or 3 times a day. Give them only what they can eat in less than 3 minutes. If you can only feed them once a day, give them only what they can eat in 5 minutes.

Bala Shark are usually sold as juveniles as small specimens from 3/4″ to 1-1/4″ in length, or larger at 1-1/4″ to 2″.  Because they attain a size of 14″, they should be housed in smaller schools in at least a 70 gallon aquarium and transferred to a larger tank as they grow out.

Bala Shark (Balantiocheilus melanopterus)

Bala Shark (Balantiocheilus melanopterus)








Minimum Tank Size: 150 gallon
Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Semi-aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 72-82° F, dGH 2 – 10, pH 6.5-7.8
Max Size: 1′ 2″
Color Form: Black, White, Yellow
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Not suitable for peaceful community tanks
Origin: Farm Raised, Thailand
Family: Cyprinidae
Life Span: 8 – 10 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Intermediate

Posted in Featured Articles, Freshwater Fish, Sharks, Tropical Fish SpeciesComments (4)

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