Tropical Fish Site

Profiles Reviews Guides for Tropical and Marine

Silver Bala Shark – Balantiocheilus Melanopterus


Common name: Silver Bala Shark

Scientific name: Balantiocheilus Melanopterus

Average Adult Fish Size: 14 inches /  35 cm

Place of Origin: The rivers of Thailand, Borneo and Sumatra

Typical Tank setup: Asian riverine biotope with sturdy live plants, rocks, and driftwood / bogwood. Rocks, wood, and decorations should be kept in the lower half of the aquarium. This fish can be extremely active and can injure itself if startled. Give them plenty of unobstructed swimming space.

Recommended Minimum Aquarium Capacity: 40 gallon / 160 litre for fish up to 4 inches / 10 cm and 100 gallon / 400 litre or larger for a school of adult fish.

Compatibility: They are a very active and peaceful fish if kept in schools of 5 or more and in aquariums of sufficient size. If kept with less active fish make sure the slower fish get enough food.

Temperature: 72 – 82 Deg. F / 22 – 28 Deg. C

Water chemistry: pH 6.5 – 7.0

Feeding: Omnivorous, and will eat most foods. Feed a varied diet of flakes, pellets, and frozen foods when smaller and a diet of larger pellets, chopped meaty foods such as market shrimp, frozen brine shrimp, and chopped earthworms when larger. They can be a very active feeder and splash water out of the aquarium when feeding.

Sexing: Unknown except females tend to be wider when viewed from above while males are more slender.

Breeding: They are known to be egglayers, but other breeding information is unavailable.

Additional Information: Large specimens need a large tank! Bala sharks can be very active and need room to swim. They do very well in schools of 5 or more, but are sometimes aggressive to other tanks mates if kept in smaller schools. The aquarium they are housed in needs to have a tight fighting cover with no gaps, as they can and will jump out of an uncovered aquarium. Keeping Bala Sharks at cooler temperatures (76 – 78 Deg. F ) will keep them from being too hyperactive. Larger specimens require a large aquarium that is heavily filtered along with regular partial water changes. A well fed Bala Shark should have a rounded belly and not be torpedo shaped. When viewed from above the fish should be thick and not skinny.