The Bala Shark, scientific name Balantiocheilos Melanopterus, isn't really an actual shark but was named as such because of its appearance, which features silver coloring and tall dorsal fins. They make an excellent addition to an aquarium due in part to their mild-temperament as well as their beauty and grace. These energetic fish also form gorgeous schools and are compatible with several different tank mates to add an interesting variety to your aquarium.
Bala Sharks can be started out in a larger aquarium of around 30 gallons of water, and always with a secure cover with no gaps or openings as they tend to be crafty jumpers. Water temperature for the Bala Shark can be anywhere from 71 and 83 degrees Fahrenheit for them to thrive and be healthy. The PH level should be kept around 7.0 as well.
An exterior power filtration system with about a ¼ inch of gravel will also provide the correct environment for the Bala Shark, also known as the Silver Shark or the Tri-Colored Shark. They should also have plenty of plants and rocks to hide among, especially until they are familiar and comfortable with their new surroundings.
The Bala Shark’s diet consists of freeze-dried blood worms, which are really the larvae of mosquitoes, and also floating, flake food. Both of these are found in pet stores or where ever fish and aquariums are sold. They also enjoy eating live black worms and either live or frozen brine shrimp. Bala Sharks are also known for making a distinct clicking noise, which can be startling until you know the source.
Eventually, a Bala Shark may need a 75 gallon aquarium, or possibly even larger, as they can grow quite a bit during their lifespan, which can be anywhere from eight to twelve years with proper care. It's imperative to provide the right tank size with plenty of room for the active Bala to swim and grow in order for them to reach full maturity.
A young shark may be around two inches long and grow to about seven inches in just a few years. The Bala Shark can get as large as 14 inches in length, but the average size seems to be around seven or eight inches. There is no way to determine the sex of the Bala, other than if you happen to see the females laying their eggs among the gravel as these fish are "egg scatterers". The females also tend to be a bit plumper during the breeding season than their male counterparts.
Bala Sharks are schooling fish and will fare best in groups of at least four to six other Balas. Some of the marine life that will make good tank mates with Balas are Barbs, including the Tinfoil Barb, Gouramis, Danios, Rainbow Fish and a few Spiny Eels. Even smaller Guppies and Tetras would be compatible with the Bala Shark due to their docile manner.
Although usually low-maintenance and easy to care for, these fish tend to be susceptible to disease and illnesses such as ich or shimmy, particularly if kept in crowded conditions. Learning the signs of stress or sickness in fish and how to treat it will make sure you enjoy your Bala Sharks for years to come.