Bala Sharks: Care Guide, Tank Size, Food, And Tank Mates

Bala shark

Are you looking for a stunning addition to your aquarium that will catch the eye of anyone who walks by?

Look no further than the Bala Shark.

The freshwater sharks are peaceful, far removed from their more predatory oceanic relatives, much more docile, and content with their tranquil freshwater habitat.

But before you rush out to buy one, knowing how to care for them properly is essential.

This article will cover everything you need about Bala Shark care, including tank size requirements, ideal food choices, and suitable tank mates.

Following our guide, you can ensure that your Bala Shark thrives in its new home and becomes a beloved member of your aquatic family.

Overview Of Bala Sharks

Bala Sharks are freshwater fish native to Southeast Asia, found explicitly in Sumatra, Kalimantan, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Thailand.

They belong to the Cyprinidae family of fish species and prefer fast-flowing rivers and streams.

These sharks have a unique yet beautiful appearance with yellow, black, and gray coloration on their body.

Breeding habits for Bala Sharks are not widely known, but they migrate upstream during the breeding season.

Habitat destruction is one of the biggest threats to these gentle giants.

The loss of their natural habitat due to deforestation or pollution can impact their survival rate drastically.

It’s vital to provide an environment similar to their natural habitat when keeping them in captivity.

Behavior And Activity Level


As previously mentioned, Bala Sharks are active fish that love to swim around.

They have a unique swimming pattern where they tend to swim at the water’s surface and dive down suddenly.

This makes them fascinating to watch as they move around in their tank.

Their social behavior is another aspect that sets them apart from other freshwater fish.

Bala Sharks thrive when kept with other fish species and enjoy having company. It’s recommended that aquarium owners keep at least three or four of these sharks together for a stimulating environment.

Since they’re such active swimmers, providing enough space for exercise requirements is essential.

Bala Sharks can reach a considerable size, so they may be tempted to snack on the food before the others, and this can be an issue when included in a tank with smaller fish that can’t compete for their share.

Fortunately, these fish usually cohabitate peacefully with many freshwater tank mates.

Providing hiding spots along with plants and roots helps create an exciting environment while allowing them to rest after swimming vigorously for long periods.

Bala Shark Size And Growth

These fish can grow up to a foot long, dwarfing many other species commonly kept as pets.

But with great size comes great responsibility – owners must be prepared to provide ample space and care for these majestic creatures.

Regarding habitat, Bala Sharks are native to Southeast Asia, where they inhabit rivers and lakes.

To mimic this environment, it is recommended that they be housed in an aquarium with plenty of open swimming space and lots of hiding spots such as caves or plants.

The lifespan of a Bala Shark can range from 8 to 10 years if given proper care, including regular water changes and a balanced diet consisting of commercial pellets and live foods like brine shrimp or bloodworms.

Compared to other popular freshwater fish like Guppies or Neon Tetras, there is no contest – the impressive size and beauty of Bala Sharks make them truly unique aquatic companions.

Proper Care And Maintenance

Bala Sharks can grow quite large, and It is essential to provide them with a tank that can accommodate their size and allow for proper growth.

The minimum recommended tank size for an adult Bala Shark is around 125 gallons.

Proper care and maintenance are crucial for ensuring the health of your Bala Sharks.

Regular water testing should be done to maintain the correct pH and ammonia and nitrates levels.

Filtration systems must also work efficiently to keep the water clean and free from harmful bacteria.

Tank decorations also play a role in maintaining healthy fish; they provide hiding spots and resting areas while making the aquarium visually appealing.

Establishing a cleaning schedule will help maintain good hygiene by regularly removing debris or waste products.

When you take care of your Bala Sharks correctly, it shows how much you value their lives.

Providing adequate space and tank conditions promotes growth and longevity.

Regular water testing ensures good health by keeping chemical balances in check.

Taking care of your pets goes beyond merely providing food and shelter; it’s about creating an environment where they can thrive physically and mentally.

By following these simple steps in caring for your Bala Sharks, you fulfill their basic needs and show love through responsible pet ownership.

Monitoring For Health Issues

No fish owner wants to see their beloved pets suffer from health issues.

It’s important to be aware of any signs of common fish ailments, such as dropsy, which causes swelling, or ich, which manifests as white spots on the scales.

These usually indicate a parasitic or bacterial infection and must be treated accordingly.

Ich can also be recognized by the fish’s tendency to rub against objects due to the itching sensation.

Watching your Bala Sharks’ symptoms and behaviors is essential, as early symptom recognition can mean the difference between life and death.

Act quickly if you notice anything unusual, such as changes in appetite or energy levels.

Disease prevention is also crucial in keeping your Bala Sharks healthy.

Regular water changes are one way to reduce the risk of bacterial and parasitic infections that could harm your fish.

Also, ensure not to overcrowd your tank and provide an adequate filtration system for waste management.

However, despite all our best efforts, some illnesses may still occur. When this happens, don’t hesitate to seek veterinary care immediately – fast treatment often equals faster recovery times!

By practicing good health maintenance habits like these, you can ensure that your Bala Sharks live long and happy lives with you.

Ideal Tank Size For Bala Sharks

Determining the ideal tank size for Bala Sharks is a challenge.

The size of an aquarium for Bala Sharks is a point of contention among aquarists.

Generally, a 120 to 150-gallon tank is the go-to size and is quite large.

Remember, more fish means more space. To be safe, starting with the larger end of this range is best.

However, it’s important to remember that this is a starting point, and larger tanks are always better.

One factor to consider when choosing the right tank size for your Bala Sharks is tank filtration.

These fish produce significant waste, so you’ll need adequate filtration to keep their environment clean and healthy.

Consider decor options and aquascaping ideas to make your tank functional and visually appealing.

Of course, cost considerations will also come into play as larger tanks tend to be more expensive upfront but can ultimately save money on maintenance costs over time.

Investing in a spacious and well-equipped tank is essential for providing your Bala Sharks with the best possible care.

When choosing an appropriate tank size for your Bala Sharks, prioritize their needs.

This means considering factors such as water quality, swimming space, and hiding places for them to retreat when feeling stressed or threatened.

While keeping these things in mind might require some extra effort and investment upfront, it’s worth providing your fish with a happy home where they can thrive for years.

With proper equipment like filters and heaters installed correctly from day one and plenty of room for movement around beautiful decorations explicitly tailored toward your fish’s liking, any owner should have no trouble creating an optimal habitat!

Water Conditions For Bala Sharks

Maintaining proper water conditions is crucial for the health and well-being of your Bala Sharks.

It goes beyond having a heater to keep the temperature stable at 77°F.

You need to ensure that the pH level remains within a safe range between 6.5 and 8 and maintain the general hardness of your water between 10-13 dGH.

You’ll need to invest in a reliable filtration system to help maintain these ideal water parameters.

One effective way to control pH level is by incorporating live aquatic plants into your tank setup.

These plants serve as natural filters and work towards stabilizing the pH levels within an aquarium while providing shelter for your fish.

Additionally, installing a reliable thermometer coupled with routine water testing will allow you to monitor temperature swings or unusual changes in the water quality that may impact your Bala Sharks’ health.

  • Use high-quality dechlorinated tap water
  • Avoid using any chemicals or additives which may affect the pH balance
  • Keep up with regular maintenance on your filtration system
  • Consider adding live aquatic plants to support healthy bacteria growth
  • Monitor water temperature and avoid drastic fluctuations

Lighting Requirements

Providing adequate lighting is crucial in keeping these fish healthy.

You can choose from the main lighting types, LED and fluorescent. While both options will work, LED lights are more energy-efficient and long-lasting than fluorescent bulbs.

When choosing a lighting schedule, provide your Bala Sharks with 8-10 hours of light per day and is essential to mimic their natural environment and help regulate their internal clocks.

Additionally, if you plan on having live plants in your tank, select a bulb that promotes plant growth, such as a full spectrum high-intensity light source.

By providing the right type and amount of lighting for your Bala Sharks, you can ensure they thrive in their aquatic home without much effort.

Incorporating proper lighting into your aquarium setup can initially seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be!

With just a basic freshwater lamp and some simple considerations about what kind of bulb meets your needs best, you can create an optimal environment for your fish – all while saving money!

Remembering these tips will help you create the perfect habitat with ideal water conditions and appropriate lighting so your beloved pets remain healthy and vibrant for years!

Feeding And Diet Recommendations

Bala Sharks are omnivores that need a balanced diet to stay healthy.

It is best to use good quality dry fish food like pellets or flakes as their main source of nutrition.

However, some experts recommend offering them more diversified options, such as live foods like plankton, bloodworms, vegetables, and fruits.

When feeding your Bala Shark, it is important to consider its nutritional requirements. These fish require plenty of protein in their diet for growth and development.

A feeding schedule should be maintained where they are fed three times a day with small amounts that take the fish roughly 2-3 minutes to eat.

Observing their feeding behavior can help ensure they get the right food portions.

It is also essential to note that live foods may carry diseases and parasites; therefore, it’s recommended not to feed them regularly.

Additionally, overfeeding can lead to health problems such as constipation and bloating.

By following a balanced diet regimen based on dried foods supplemented by occasional live or fresh produce supplements, you’re sure to have happy and healthy Bala Sharks!

Compatible Tank Mates For Bala Sharks

Finding compatible tank mates for your Bala Shark is about more than just picking other fish that won’t be eaten.

It’s important to consider their social interactions and the overall habitat replication within the aquarium.

Adding suitable tank decorations, such as caves or plants, can provide hiding places for smaller fish and reduce stress levels for your Bala Shark.

In addition to considering decor options, it’s crucial to maintain proper water quality in the tank, and clean water ensures a healthy environment for all aquarium inhabitants.

Add bottom-dwelling cleaners like Corydoras or Plecos to maintain clean water conditions when choosing additional species to coexist with your Bala Sharks.

Creating a well-balanced ecosystem will benefit both you and your beloved aquatic pets.

Consider these two nested bullet point lists when selecting new tanks mates:

Compatible Tank Mates: – Rainbowfish – Tetra – Rasbora – Gourami

Avoid These Fish Species: – Cichlids (predators) – Aggressive Fish

Remember to prioritize creating a peaceful and harmonious community within your aquarium while providing adequate space for each inhabitant to thrive.

By replicating their natural habitat as closely as possible, you can ensure that your Bala Sharks and their tank mates live happily together in a beautiful underwater world!

Breeding Bala Sharks


Breeding conditions must be perfect if you want your Bala Sharks to mate successfully.

Regarding mating behavior, Bala Sharks tend to spawn in groups and require plenty of space during this process.

The aquarium needs to be at least 65 gallons with a temperature of 77 degrees Fahrenheit.

Although unnecessary, special nets can be used at the bottom of the aquarium to monitor spawning activity.

Breeding challenges may arise when trying to determine the sex of the fish or when attempting to stimulate their breeding nature.

It can be tricky to differentiate between the sexes.

When kept in captivity, Bala Sharks can only reproduce when they have reached 3 years of age and grown to a minimum length of 5 inches.

Fishkeepers should be aware that fish in captivity are unlikely to reproduce or mate.

For a successful breeding process, Bala Sharks should be prepared before reaching maturity, and this preparation typically begins when they are 4 months old.

Hormone injections may be required to encourage reproduction. Once successful mating has occurred, fry care becomes crucial as they are extremely delicate and require specific food and water conditions.

Bala Sharks are known to reproduce in the early hours of the day, which takes a few hours.

Once the female has successfully spawned, the male will deliver the milt, a special substance, to fertilize the eggs.

Breeders must research and understand all aspects of Bala Shark breeding before attempting it themselves.

Tips For Encouraging Breeding

Breeding these beauties can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience.

Understanding their mating habits and breeding season is crucial in the ideal breeding tank setup.

Here are some tips for encouraging successful breeding techniques:

  • Firstly, ensure that you have a healthy male-female pair. You may need to purchase several young Balas and allow them to grow together until they reach sexual maturity at around two years old.
  • Then, slowly raise the water temperature from 77 degrees Fahrenheit to 82 degrees Fahrenheit over several days. This mimics their natural breeding season during warmer months.
  • As for the breeding tank setup, use an aquarium with plenty of swimming space, rocks, or caves where females can lay eggs, good water flow, and low lighting levels.
  • To encourage spawning behavior, introduce fresh live foods such as brine shrimp or bloodworms into their diet leading to mating season.

With patience and careful observation, you’ll soon see small larvae develop into tiny fry – congratulations on successfully breeding your own Bala Sharks!


In conclusion, Bala sharks can make a stunning addition to any aquarium when cared for properly.

They are active and playful fish that require plenty of space and a well-maintained environment.

By providing them with the right tank size, water conditions, and diet, they will flourish and thrive.

Monitoring their behavior and health regularly is essential to ensure they are happy and healthy in their surroundings.

These beautiful creatures can live up to 10 years or more with proper care!

So if you’re considering adding Bala sharks to your aquarium, be sure to do your research beforehand and provide them with everything they need to lead long, healthy lives.