Up to 14 Inches
Up to 10 Years
Up to 14 Inches
Up to 10 Years

Bala Shark is a freshwater fish with beautiful eye-pleasing features. It makes a perfect addition to an aquarium, considering the aquarium should be large enough to accommodate them. Due to their name, it becomes an obvious assumption that they are related to the family of sharks. However, Bala Sharks are not actual sharks. The only similarity they have is their appearance. It has a triangular-shaped dorsal fin accompanied by a torpedo-shaped body, which makes it look like a shark. 

However, the similarity ends here. In other aspects, they are entirely different. Unlike actual sharks, Bala Sharks are quite peaceful by nature which makes them perfect as a pet. However, due to their large appetite, they may end up attacking smaller fishes. Hence, their tank mates should be chosen wisely (someone they can see as a friend and not as a meal). Bala Sharks are not very difficult to care for. 

Also known as the gentle giant, they are beautiful, friendly, and not very picky about anything. But, they are sensitive to water conditions and need high-quality food. To ensure a longer lifespan and good health, owners with little experience are preferred. Well, there’s no need to stress about it. This article will provide sufficient insight to the owners regarding how to take care of Bala Sharks as their pet. 

Distinctive Features of Bala Shark

Scientific NameBalantiocheilos melanopterus
LifespanUp to 10 years
ColorSilver with black dorsal fin and tail
SizeUp to 14 inches
Health RiskLow
Tank SizeMinimum 75 gallons (larger for adult specimens)
Water pH6.5-7.5
Filter RequirementModerate to high
TankmatesPeaceful, similar-sized fish
Unique TraitShark-like appearance and active swimming
Famous ForIts sleek and elegant appearance
TemperamentGenerally peaceful but may show fin-nipping behavior
BehaviorGenerally good with supervised children
PersonalityActive and schooling fish
SocialBest kept in groups of 5 or more

Bala Sharks have a long torpedo-shaped body along with yellowish stripes and black edges on their fins. With a grayish body and a slight gradient at the top, they are totally a creature of beauty. Their looks are enhanced further when looked under simple LED lights adorning the aquarium. Apart from their appearance, there are various other features that are noteworthy. Before moving on to them, here’s a small list including some of their basic characteristics. 

Apart from all the basic features that have been discussed so far, there are several other features of Bala Shark that one must know about. Not only are they interesting but would be very helpful in knowing more about the fish. This will aid the owners to care better for their dear pet.

The first thing to note about Bala Sharks is their adult size. When juvenile, they would be only 2-3 inches long, making them look suitable for any tank. However, their size will increase as they grow up to 14 inches. Hence, they will require more space.

Bala Sharks can become aggressive when left alone. They tend to stay and move together in a group in their natural habitat. So, even in aquariums, they should be kept together with at least 4-5 other Bala Sharks. 
Coming to their gender, it is quite difficult to distinguish between a male and a female Bala Shark. They are almost the same. However, the males grow to be a little larger than the females. Also, females have a more rounded abdomen than their male counterparts. 

Bala Sharks have a very cool temperament. They are quite active but not at all aggressive (unless triggered, of course). They behave well towards smaller fishes too but the fish shouldn’t be small to the extent that they get eaten. 

How to Take Care of Pet Bala Shark? 

Bala Sharks don’t give a hard time to their owners. If some basic guidelines are followed, they are simple to keep as a pet. However, a little expertise is desired due to their sensitive nature. Maintaining a good diet and proper living conditions are of utmost importance. Usually, they take one month to settle down in a new setup. There are times when the fish feels like hiding itself.

In this scenario, the owner should make sure that their Bala Shark is getting enough me-time without any disturbance. Putting a lot of plants in your tank is also a good idea as it will create enough hiding space. Their tank should resemble their natural habitat as much as possible. It will make them adapt to their new environment quickly and happily. 

How to Setup a Tank for Pet Bala Shark? 

Setting up a tank for a Bala Sharks can be one of the major obstacles the owner will have to face. Due to their large adult size, they require a considerably large tank. Also, they remain only in groups of four or five (at least) and are very active swimmers. These factors only add further to the need for a large aquarium tank. The minimum tank size should be between 120-150 gallons. It’s preferred to go for the upper range, if possible. If there are other fishes as well, the tank size will have to be increased even more. Rainbowfish, gourami, rasbora, and tetra are some of the best tankmates for Bala Sharks.

Water temperature is another factor you need to be considerate about. Bala Shark struggles to survive in water with low temperatures. It is suggested to keep the temperature around 77°F. The pH level of the water should be between 6.5 to 8. Taking care of the pH level is essential because if it goes anywhere out of the range, the fish may get into some serious trouble (not something a good pet-owner would ever want). The water level in the tank should be high and the lid should be tight enough. Otherwise, there’s a good probability of Bala Shark jumping out of the aquarium. 

What to Feed Pet Bala Shark? 

Bala Shark is an omnivore and doesn’t cause much trouble to its owner when it comes to food. It can be fed with a wide range of fish food including pellets, frozen food, or flakes. Adding some fresh fruits and veggies to their meals is also highly recommended. Apart from that, they would love to be treated with some live food including brine shrimp, Daphnia, mosquito larvae, and bloodworms.

While deciding their diet, extra attention should be given that their meals include a good amount of protein. They need high levels of protein due to considerable growth in their body size. 

Bala Sharks tend to eat almost all sorts of food. However, it is essential to note that only high-quality food should be provided. Providing low-quality food can make them vulnerable to malnutrition and various other diseases. Remember, good food is the key to good health. As for the frequency, Bala Sharks should be fed three times a day.

However, the quantity of food each time should be low enough that they finish it up in 2-3 minutes. No additional supplement is required if they get a well-balanced diet on a regular basis.  

Health Concerns of Pet Bala Shark 

Bala Sharks are healthy fish and stay the same if provided with proper care. However, they are vulnerable to a few diseases and appropriate knowledge is essential in this regard.

Dropsy is the most common disease among Bala Sharks and is caused by a bacterial infection. The symptoms include swollen bellies and skin lesions. With the progress in the disease, various other symptoms develop as well. The condition worsens to the extent that it becomes fatal for the fish. 
Also known as white spot disease, ich is another common disease that Bala Sharks are vulnerable to.

It is caused by parasites present in the tank. The parasites can get inside the tank while tagging along with live food if proper hygiene is not maintained. Tiny white dots will begin to appear on the body and fins once it’s infected.

Bala Sharks are vulnerable to several bacterial infections. The tank accommodates different kinds of bacterias. While some of them are essential for healthy growth, others can become a reason for illness. These can be recognized by some common symptoms including red patches, bloody fins, sores, and skin ulcers.
Bala Sharks can also be attacked by fungal infections if there is a lack of cleanliness and hygiene. White fluffy growth can be seen on their bodies and fins in the case they are affected by a fungus. 

Learning about all these diseases may seem like a cause of worry to the owner. However, there’s no need to worry as all of them can be easily avoided. All one needs to do is to provide a good filtration system, adequate water conditions, a clean tank, and high-quality food. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Pet Bala Shark 

Some of the generally asked questions about Bala Sharks are answered below:

How many Bala Sharks should be kept together?

Bala Sharks tend to live in a group. It is recommended to keep at least 4-6 Bala Sharks together.

Are Bala Sharks friendly?

Bala Sharks are peaceful and friendly towards their tankmates. However, they must not be kept with considerably smaller fish.

How big will a Bala Shark get?

A Bala Shark grows up to 14 inches in size. The females are relatively smaller than their male counterparts.

What kind of tank does a Bala Shark need?

Due to their large adult size and tendency to live in a school, a large tank is required. The minimum size should be somewhere between the range of 120-150 gallons.