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shark or Balantiocheilus
belongs to the
and is the sole
member of the genus Balantiocheilos.
name “shark” refers directly to its torpedo or
shaped body. They have no relation to the shark
This is the case with all "freshwater sharks."
The term freshwater shark is a common misnomer.
The bala shark is also
commonly referred to as a silver shark or tri-color shark.
Bala sharks are indigenous to Southeast Asia. They swim the streams
and rivers of Thailand, Borneo, Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula. The
recent industrialization of these regions is threatening the Bala
shark’s natural habitat. Their numbers have diminished
wild over the past two decades. The bala shark does not normally breed
in captivity. Fortunately, for their guaranteed survival as a species,
they are commercially raised in Asia with the use of hormone
Bala sharks are typically sold is stores when they are young.
Despite their size at the time of sale, bala sharks are actually quite
large freshwater fish. An adult bala
shark can reach up to 14 inches in
length. They are shoaling fish. Meaning
they are best suited to
swimming in groups rather than alone. They are also very active
swimmers as far as fish species go. Keep all this in mind when
determining whether or not to add balas to your aquarium.
Very young Bala Sharks are often kept in smaller tanks. But their
size when fully grown, their schooling instincts and the rate at which
they swim, they will need much more room than your typical 10 gallon
aquarium. The debate continues on just what is an acceptable size
environment to house bala sharks in. Some experts recommend a minimum
of a six feet long fish tank. Still others contend that the bala is
just too large and too active a species to be suitable for anything
short of commercial aquaria. Indoor ponds are considered an acceptable
environment to raise bala sharks
The bala shark has little resemblance to its namesake in nature.
They are a docile fish and are the perfect addition to a community fish
tank provided you have a large enough aquarium to house them as adults.
You want to raise them with other larger species to avoid them
perceiving their fellow tank-mates as food. They swim at all levels of
an aquarium. A note of caution: They are jumpers. They should be housed
in a lidded aquarium.
One of the benefits of having bala sharks in your aquarium is that
although they are not bottom dwellers, they do have scavenger
tendencies. They will scour the bottom of your tank for bits of uneaten
food. And they will do so without disturbing the substrate. If you are
going to raise larger variety fish you might as well have ones that
help clean house.
The bala is tolerant of it environment. It can thrive in a wide
variety of temperatures and pH levels. But their premium environment is
a pH level from 6.8-7.2, and a water temperature between
Bala sharks are omnivorous. They eat both plant and animal matter.
A healthy diet includes a combination of both. Balas will eat tropical
fish flakes, frozen, freeze-dried and live foods.
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