This Southeast Asian Bala Shark fish will not be true sharks, however, their shark-like look and size make them fairly an intriguing pet. Due to their peaceable nature, juvenile Bala sharks do nicely in a community aquarium. As they mature, nonetheless, they’ll ultimately outgrow most tanks, and they’ll proceed to develop for a number of years.
Bala Shark Fish Overview
Native to Southeast Asia, the Bala Shark has been affectionately referred to as “The Gentle Giant” attributable to its bigger size and easygoing temperament.
This lovely freshwater fish would make an exquisite addition to your freshwater aquarium in case you have a little bit of experience elevating fish.
This fish’s laid-back and calmer temperament makes it a really perfect tank mate with many different species of fish. It additionally implies that the care level is kind of manageable.
They’re colored yellow, black, and grey, they usually can develop as much as 12 inches, or 25-30 cm, in size making them comparatively massive for an aquarium fish. The lifespan of a Bala Shark will be as much as 10 years with the correct care.
A member of the Cyprinidae family of fish species, they (Balantiocheilus melanopterus) favor fast-flowing rivers and streams within the Southeastern Asia international locations of Sumatra, Kalimantan, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Thailand.
Bala Shark Fish Varying names
In their native habitats, Bala Sharks are additionally identified by different names that embody Tricolor Shark, Silver Bala, Silver Shark, and Tri-Color Minnows attributable to their distinctive colors and markings.
Today, Bala Sharks are thought of as an endangered species of fish and are thought to have grown to be uncommon or extinct in a lot of their unique freshwater habitats.
Although their name signifies a similarity to sharks, thought of to be aggressive predators, these peaceable freshwater sharks get their name because of the comparable body form and higher, triangular-shaped dorsal fin.
Origin and Distribution
Bala sharks originate from Southeast Asia in medium to large-sized rivers, in addition to lakes. At one time they have been present in Thailand, Borneo, Sumatra, and the Malayan peninsula.
However, they’ve grown to be uncommon in lots of areas that they initially inhabited and are believed to be fully extinct in some areas.
The reason behind this drastic discount of Bala sharks of their native lands remains to be underneath debate. Some consider they have been overfished for the aquarium trade.
Others assume damming of the rivers is responsible, whereas nonetheless others consider air pollution is the basis trigger. All of those fairly doubtless factored within the demise of this fish that at one time was fairly prolific in Southeast Asia.
Regardless of the explanations, there isn’t any query that the Bala shark is never present in its unique native habitats. In reality, since 1996 it has been on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Currently, this species is commercially farm-bred within the Far East, utilizing hormones to advertise spawning. Almost all specimens bought within the aquarium commerce have been captive-bred.
Colors and Markings
This species is thought by various names, all of which have one thing in frequent: the phrase “shark.” Even although the Bala shark will not be a shark in any respect, it has a big triangular-shaped dorsal fin and a torpedo-shaped body, giving it a distinctly shark-like look, however, that’s the place the similarity ends.
A member of the Cyprinid family, Balantiocheilos melanopterus has a shiny metallic silver body with well-defined scales, massive eyes, and a deeply forked yellow-tinged tail.
The dorsal, caudal, pelvic, and anal fins are all edged in deep black.1 This tri-color scheme of silver, yellow, and black provides rise to a different of its frequent names, the tri-color shark.
Perhaps a very powerful characteristic of this fish is its adult size. Usually bought as younger juveniles in pet retailers, they’re solely a mere three to 4 inches, giving potential house owners the impression that they’re appropriate for many tanks.
What isn’t readily obvious is the truth that this fish can develop to a foot or more in size, making it appropriate for less than very massive aquariums.
This is especially essential as a result of Bala sharks are schooling fish that have to be stored with others of their very own type.
Be conscious that many pet retailers won’t take massive fish back, so take that into consideration before bringing one residence. Ask the store if it makes trade-in preparations.
If all else fails, take a look at public areas, akin to medical workplaces or different companies that have massive aquariums that would use massive fish.
The one choice that ought to by no means be used is to drop a Bala shark, or some other nonindigenous fish, into native waterways. Unwanted fish needs to be euthanized before opting to launch them outside.
Bala Shark Fish Temperament and exercise level
These affable fish travel in colleges when within the wild, and fish house owners can purchase a number of of those Bala Sharks at a time as they like company. These are usually very energetic, they usually make great residence aquarium fish as they’re fascinating to look at.
They’re such energetic fish that there’s a very good probability they’ll soar now and again. This is why having a lid in your tank is a great concept.
It is advisable that aquarium house owners place hiding spots for Bala Sharks to relax in when bored with swimming. Plants and roots work fantastic.
Partly attributable to their potential for rising fairly massive, they are likely to be susceptible to hogging the meals with regards to meals. This is true particularly if stored with smaller fish who can’t maintain their very own.
Although not thought of as an aggressive fish species, Bala Sharks can eat smaller fish, particularly those which might be clean and glossy, as they get larger. However, these fish are inclined to get alongside nicely with many kinds of freshwater aquarium fish.
Bala Shark size
Since these fish are uncommon in their natural abodes, most of those fish are purchased from fish farms. These are usually simply three to four inches when first purchased, and fish house owners are sometimes stunned to study that the adult size will be as much as 1 foot or 13 inches.
As these Bala Fish develop bigger, they need to be switched to bigger-sized aquariums. Additionally, these fish needs to be carefully watched as they develop to make sure continued compatibility with smaller fish.
Most specialists agree that Bala Shark care is comparatively simple if the fish owner has some fundamental data on fish care. These fish have a tendency to stay wholesome, however, fish house owners ought to remember to maintain their aquariums clear and the water level and temperature stable for the greatest outcomes.
Bala Sharks will be considered susceptible if their tank water turns soiled or when the tank water level lowers.
When introducing them to a brand new tank they need to be given roughly a month to settle into their new residence. It is essential to have a very good water filtration system, and fish house owners ought to attempt to go away these fish undisturbed throughout this timeframe.
These fish need higher-high-quality meals, as they will get malnourished if fed poor high-quality meals. This might result in additional digestive issues that may make the fish more susceptible to the frequent fish ailments and illnesses normally seen.
Making positive that the fish have the right diet suited to their size and breed goes a long method in direction of guaranteeing their future health and lengthening their lifespan.
Bala Shark Fish Food and diet
When of their natural habitat, Bala Sharks are omnivores that eat bugs, larvae, algae, plant parts, and small crustaceans. When stored in an aquarium, they have a tendency to eat nearly any sort of fish meal together with each stay choice and dried flake meal alternatives.
It is advisable that Bala Sharks be given very good high-quality dry fish meals like pellets or flakes as their principal food source.
Some fish specialists like to offer a more diversified diet for his or her Bala Sharks to imitate their natural surroundings meals sources as carefully as possible.
Adding some plankton, bloodworms or applicable vegetable matter can enhance their general health. Many fish house owners additionally like so as to add a little bit of finely diced spinach and/or fruits as nicely.
Because Bala Sharks can develop to a big size, it’s important to present them loads of protein in their diet to maintain them rising robustly. Consider including shrimp or different higher protein-laden meals.
Overall, you ought to be feeding yours three occasions a day. This needs to be a small quantity that takes the fish roughly 2 to three minutes to eat. Monitoring this helps to make sure that they’re getting the right food parts.
These fish don’t need particular meals or dietary supplements, and fish house owners ought to merely try to feed them a balanced diet for continued good health.
Bala Shark Fish Care
As beforehand talked about, the important thing issue within the bala’s surroundings is tank size. An aquarium of 125 gallons is required to maintain a school of adult bala sharks, and since they’re energetic swimmers, an extended tank is advisable. These are energetic fish that startle simply.
In heat climates, ponds are additionally an option for this species, however, they need to solely be stored outside in areas the place it’s heated year-round.
They are delicate to water circumstances, significantly low water temperatures, and are vulnerable to white spot illness when temperatures drop too low.
The tank needs to be fitted with a good cover, as this species jumps when startled. Decorate with massive strong vegetation across the periphery of the tank, however, go away loads of open swimming house within the middle of the tank.
Floating vegetation is additionally appropriate to discourage fish from leaping out.
Provide clean rocks and driftwood to round out the décor. Filtration needs to be strong to make sure good water motion and high oxygen range all through the water column.
Smart Bala Shark care ought to embody monitoring them for indicators of frequent fish illnesses like dropsy that causes them to swell, and ich which leads to white spots on their scales. If that is seen, the fish usually has a parasitic or bacterial infection and needs to be handled.
With ich, fish house owners would possibly start to note that the fish rub up in opposition to objects because of the itching.
Most fish specialists suggest that about 25 to 35 % of the tank water be renewed every week to maintain them wholesome, snug, and joyful of their surroundings.
All-in-all, the Bala Shark makes a wonderful addition to nearly any freshwater tank. With regular upkeep and excellent care, these fish might stay as much as 10 years as they’re thought of principally hardy and susceptible to good health.
The actual tank size that’s greatest for Bala Sharks is considerably debated within the aquarium community. The commonest advised range is between a 120 and 150-gallon tank, which is a moderately massive aquarium.
Obviously, the more fish you’ve got, the more room they’ll need. To play it secure we all the time suggest a minimal tank size that’s on the bigger end of this spectrum as a place to begin.
Bala Shark Fish Tankmates
Some great tank mates for Bala Sharks are:
Other Bala Sharks
However, there may be the possibility that the Bala Shark will eat smaller fish once they grow to be bigger, so the tank ought to all the time be roomy sufficient for all.
There are some species of smaller fish that need to be averted as tankmates as nicely. These embody neon tetra, guppies, harlequin rasbora, and different smaller fish sorts. Always inquire whether or not a selected smaller fish is the perfect tank buddy before including it to the tank.
Fish house owners must also remember that these comparatively frisky fish have a tendency to maneuver around and swim for hours. This can stress out smaller fish that have a tendency to maneuver much less.
Also, the Bala Shark itself can grow to be susceptible to stress if there aren’t any locations within the tank the place they will disguise when desired.
When alone, they’re more prone to act a bit more aggressive. To keep away from this state of affairs, all the time have a number of them as they travel collectively in colleges when in natural environments.
There are some bigger fish species that are usually predators (like cichlids). These need to be averted or carefully monitored to make sure that your Bala Shark is secure with their tankmates. A bigger predator might nip or grow to be aggressive in direction of them
Bala Shark Fish Water conditions
Like we talked about above, there are particular water circumstances that you’ll need to offer if you would like your Bala Shark to thrive and stay a long and wholesome life.
The first is the baseline water temperature. Silver sharks do greatest when their water temperature is at 77°F. You can simply accomplish this with a strong heater.
You’ll additionally need to be aware of the pH ranges within the tank as nicely. The secure range for that is someplace between 6.5 and eight pH.
Anything outdoors of that may trigger critical health issues Bala Shark. Being in a position to persistently maintain the pH right in the course of this range (someplace simply above 7) gives you a secure window of flux within the occasion that any out of the strange water adjustments occur in your tank.
The water hardness is the final key piece of the puzzle with regards to water ranges. This is measured in dGH (degrees of basic hardness) and the window you’re aiming for is someplace between 10 and 13.
All of those ranges will be simply monitored with a thermometer and a fundamental water testing package. Making this a behavior will make it easier to present higher care on your Bala Sharks, and forestall you from having to take care of undesirable surprises.
The final issue with regard to tank circumstances is the lighting. Fortunately for aquarists, Bala Sharks are very low upkeep in this regard.
All you need to offer them with adequate lighting is a fundamental freshwater lamp that shouldn’t value you a lot of cash in any respect. Just maintain it on for a 3rd of the day (or eight hours) and you’ll have very joyful fish!
Bala Shark Fish Breeding
To breed your Bala Sharks, it is strongly recommended that you just decide the sex of the fish if possible. Females usually have a barely rounded stomach space and body sort. Males are sometimes a bit bigger in size.
It will be troublesome to inform aside the sexes. When in captivity, the Bala Sharks solely turn into a position to reproduce when they’re no less than three years of age and no less than 5 inches, or 13 cm, long.
Fish house owners must also remember that fish stored in captivity won’t sometimes reproduce or breed.
To fight this, particular hormone injections are necessary to spur and stimulate this breeding nature.
It is necessary to prep a Bala Shark before they’re of age to breed. This implies that the fish needs to be stored separated in one other tank before they attain puberty. This is when they’re around four months old.
Most fish breeders suggest that no less than 5 Bala Sharks be stored collectively through the breeding process to make sure that there may be each female and male fish within the holding tank.
It is essential to present the fish with sufficient house and room to swim throughout this process. Overcrowding can lower the possibilities of profitable breeding.
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Since these fish favor vegetation and different objects to cover in, it’s higher to position these alongside the perimeters of the aquarium to depart sufficient room for motion elsewhere.
The precise aquarium used when the spawning process occurs must be no less than 65 gallons, and the temperature needs to be stored at 77 degrees for the perfect breeding surroundings.
There are particular nets that may be positioned on the very backside of the aquarium that make it simpler to identify indicators of spawning. However, this isn’t completely necessary, and plenty of fish house owners merely go away the underside flooring space clear for higher viewing.
Bala Sharks are inclined to spawn within the morning, and this process can take a number of hours. After the feminine spawns, the male will then fertilize the spawned eggs with a substance referred to as milt. Read more about lionfish-in-Florida.