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Bala shark

Introduction To The Bala Shark

The Bala Shark, or Balantiocheilos melanopterus, is a species of freshwater fish native to Thailand, Indonesia, and other parts of Southeast Asia. While its native habitats often suffer from various human-induced pressures, such as deforestation, the fish is still able to thrive in many areas due to its adaptability and hardiness. Of particular interest is that the Bala Shark is highly valued for its colorful form and interesting patterns; it is a popular choice among aquarists who seek to keep interesting and active aquarium inhabitants. In addition, because of its large size, active behavior, and peaceful disposition, it is a well-known “community” fish, meaning that it makes a peaceful companion to other species in the aquarium.

Physical Attributes of the Bala Shark

The Bala Shark is a medium-large freshwater fish, reaching up to 24 inches in length, and it is quite slim in size. Its body shape is somewhat torpedo-like, and its fins are all quite slim. The fins on the Bala Shark are quite long and sweeping. Of particular interest are the two separate dorsal fins, each of which has an orange or yellow color. The Bala Shark has an elongated snout and its mouth is slightly upturned. It has several small scales distributed throughout its body, and its overall color is grey, black and silver. Patterns on the fish’s body are quite intricate, and changes in light often cause the patterns to change. Furthermore, the patterns on the fish can only be seen from a certain angle, making it a very attractive fish to observe.

Natural Habitat & Survival Strategies

As previously mentioned, the Bala Shark is native to Thailand, Indonesia and much of Southeast Asia. It prefers warm, slow moving streams and rivers where it can hide among plants, branches, and rocks. It is able to survive in habitats with varying water qualities and temperatures, which is why it has been able to thrive despite the environmental pressures in its native home. Like many other species of fish, it feeds on other creatures that are typically found in its stream and river habitats. Its diet consists of small invertebrates like insects and snails. Moreover, the Bala Shark has adapted a survival strategy that allows it to hide from predators. If a predator is near or approaching, the Bala Shark will use its large size and fast speed to outmaneuver and quickly outpace them.

Bala shark two

Behaviour & Interactions In The Aquarium

When introducing the Bala Shark to your aquarium, it is important to ensure that its tank conditions resemble those of its natural habitat. It should be placed in a large-enough tank that allows it to swim around freely, and the tank should include hiding places, such as rocks, plants, and branches. The tank should be well-aerated and filtered so that the water quality remains consistent. Overcrowding the tank should be avoided as this can cause unnecessary stress on the fish.

The Bala Shark is typically quite calm and peaceful, and is renowned for its inquisitive-nature. This means that it is quite active in exploring its surroundings and will often interact playfully with its tank-mates. It is important to check that any tank-mates are compatible with the Bala Shark, as some fish may be too aggressive and may harm it. Once the Bala Shark is comfortable in its surroundings, it will begin to exhibit its characteristic active behavior, often swimming swiftly in the tank.

Reproduction in The Aquarium

In order to reproduce the Bala Shark, it is important that the conditions in the aquarium replicate those of the wild environment. The temperature should range between 75-79 degrees Fahrenheit, and the pH levels should be between 7-7.5. Additionally, if the tank is large enough, it is best to add some hiding places in the form of rocks, plants, and branches. It is also important to ensure that there is plenty of space for the fish to swim around. When it comes to feeding, the Bala Shark will eat a variety of small crustaceans, worms, and insects.

The Bala Shark can be bred in the aquarium and will spawn a number of eggs, which will then be fertilized by the male. Mature adults can lay up to 500 eggs at a time. After the eggs have been fertilized, they will generally hatch within five days. The fry should be fed a high-quality diet that is rich in protein, as well as supplemented with vitamins and minerals. Within a few weeks, the fry should be mature enough to be introduced to the community aquarium.


The Bala Shark is often a popular choice among aquarists and can be kept in groups of three or more. It is an active and inquisitive species that is highly valued for its unique markings and attractive patterning. Furthermore, while it will adapt to varied water conditions, it is important to replicate its natural habitat when setting up the tank. Moreover, with proper care and feeding, the Bala Shark can be successfully bred in the aquarium and you can appreciate seeing the next generation of these fascinating creatures.

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