Bala Shark Aquarium Fish: Care, Feeding, Breeding (Guide)

Bala Shark in natural conditions of nature lives in warm rivers, streams, and lakes of Southeast Asia with fresh waters, strong currents. Bears great resemblance to a small shark. Fish for aquariums are brought mainly from Indonesia and Thailand. There they are grown on specialized farms.

The fish is oblong in shape, has a high fin on the back, like in real sharks. Itself is silvery (the belly is lighter, the back is darker), the fins have a dark edging, and on the chest are colorless. Differs in large eyes and mouth. By itself, it is very nimble, when moving it “sparkles” very beautifully in the light.

bala shark aquarium fish
  • Size: 12-30 centimeters
  • Flock: Gregarious
  • Popularity: Common
  • Content temperature: 22-28 C
  • “Acidity” Ph: 6.5-7.5
  • Rigidity: 12-15

Bala Shark Care and maintenace in Aquarium and tank

Due to the fact that the fish is quite large and lives in schooling (at least five), a rather large tank will be needed to keep them. In small flocks, the strongest individuals can become aggressive towards other inhabitants of the aquarium, which leads to a nervous environment.

Fish love spaciousness, and therefore the container must also be chosen wide. In small aquariums, the fish will stop developing normally, grow, the risk of developing diseases increases, up to death. There are no special strict requirements for the content of the ball, but you should still adhere to the following basic rules:

  1. Although they are unpretentious, they need good aeration and filtration. Be sure to weekly need to replace a quarter of the entire volume of the tank. Shark balu loves clean water, well saturated with oxygen.
  2. You can’t do without a top cover with these fish because of their jumping ability.
  3. Although they love living vegetation, at the same time, the tightness will prevent the fish from frolicking. Density should be avoided.
  4. They do not need special shelters: only a few stones, snags along the walls. It is better to do without plants with soft, delicate leaves, which fish can damage, and give preference to hard leaves (clinum, anubias, moss, elodea).
  5. If you choose only artificial decorations, you will need to provide a phyto filter to purify water from phosphorus, nitrogen and oxygen enriching the container.
  6. It is better to have high-power filters that create the effect of strong natural currents.
  7. The nature of the substrate is not so relevant here, since the fish do not touch it when searching for food; but will look better aesthetically against a dark background.
  8. They do not like too bright light, it is enough to recreate soft “natural” lighting.

If the Bala Shark begins to look for food in the ground, it means that it does not have enough food.

With good care and proper maintenance, they can live up to 10-12 years.

What do you need to know about Bala Shark behavior?

All shark barbs are caught and brought from their natural habitat, that is, they are not at all adapted to being kept in a closed container. They need several weeks to get used to it completely until they stop being afraid of either a loud sound or a sudden movement, and they stop “banging” against the walls of the aquarium.

In the first month, they will experience a lot of stress trying to get out of the reservoir. Therefore, their feeding at first should take place without stress factors.

Bala Shark Food and Feeding

A distinctive feature of almost all cyprinids is a good appetite, even gluttony: they are almost constantly busy looking for food. But they have a rather weak stomach, so it is not recommended to give, for example, bloodworms containing chitin (which is difficult for them to digest), which can cause digestive upset. Full growth and development of the ball cannot be achieved without maintaining a correct, and most importantly, balanced diet:

Dry food:Live food:Plant food (should make up 10% of the total diet):
Tetra granulesArtemiaDry nettle leaves
FlakesDaphniaDry spinach leaves
CrispsShrimp meat, finely choppedDried Dandelion Leaves
Dry feeds of other companies (“Sera”)Mussel piecesDried lettuce leaves
Chopped wormsFruits
InsectsGreen pea

It is a live food that can be the source of fish infection with various parasites or infections.

This type of fish loves to pick up food in the thickness of the aquarium. It is more convenient to feed in such a way that the pieces slowly sink to the bottom. Dry food has high qualities, supports the immunity of fish, it is convenient to store and use, only after use, close the package tightly to avoid microbial contamination.

It is necessary to give just enough food so that the fish have time to eat it all in two or three minutes, and the leftovers do not have time to settle to the bottom of the aquarium.

Bala Shark Breeding and Reproduction

In aquariums, fish breeds very rarely and reluctantly. This process is costly, long and often fails without special hormonal injections. First, the fish will only reach sexual maturity by the age of four. And secondly, you will need a special spawning box of a fairly large capacity (minimum 1200 liters) in length of at least two meters, where two mature males and one mature female are deposited.

bala shark breeding and reproduction

Make the water in the spawning box colder, but softer than in the main aquarium (then you need to increase the temperature), cover the bottom with a thick layer of moss or a net. It is advisable to feed the female with rich plant food, and males with rich protein, animal food.

During spawning, one individual produces 10 thousand pieces of eggs. Then the fish need to be transplanted back. To protect against fungal diseases, it is recommended to add methylene blue (or another antifungal drug) at this stage. On the third day, the methylene blue is removed with the help of coal. The appearance of fry can be expected in two days, and after three days they already swim in a flock and willingly eat live dust. Not every aquarist decides on such a difficult breeding and further care. Many admit that it is much cheaper to buy or order them on purpose.

Bala Shark Compatibility with fish in Tank

By its nature, Bala Shark is considered peaceful, albeit cocky. The exception is the spawning time. Compatibility is mainly influenced by the size of the fish.

Compatible: Bala Shark Tank MatesIncompatible:
other types of barbs;cichlids;
iris;scalars ;
gourami ;veil fish;
tetras ;zebrafish;
non-aggressive cichlids;notobranchius;
swordsmen ;piranhas.
mollies ;

The table shows that too small fish species or viviparous fish can simply be eaten by a larger Bala Shark. And with larger fish, if the shark is able to cope with it, constant stress will negatively affect its health and longevity.

But fish of the same size will coexist happily for a long time. The exception is, perhaps, the aggressive species of cichlids, which are able to “drive” them to death. And phlegmatic scalars will simply be irritated by the restless, extremely mobile ball.

difference between male and female Bala Shark

It is simply impossible to distinguish them among young fish, differences begin to appear only after the fish reach 14 cm, practically after four years of life. In the female, the abdomen is rounded, and the males become much cockier, look larger than the females. Most of their holders believe that Bala Shark does not have sexual dimorphism.

Immediately before spawning, you can see peculiar dances between them.

Bala Shark Diseases and Treatment

Shark barb is rightfully considered one of the resistant species of fish with good immunity, but still it is worth adhering to the elementary rules for their maintenance and care. Otherwise, such diseases may appear:

  1. Ichthyophthiriosis (another name for “semolina”). The disease is characterized by white grains throughout the body, fins. The culprit is live food (ciliates) or insufficiently disinfected plants, soil. Extreme stress or poor maintenance (overcrowded, cramped aquarium) can also be the cause. Treatment consists in treatment with salt, iodine solution, malachite greens, or in the use of special medicines (antipar).
  2. Aeromonosis, which is characteristic of all cyprinids. The causative agent of the disease is a gram-negative bacillus, which can get into your tank with sick fish or through inventory, equipment. The body of the fish becomes inflamed, hemorrhages appear, the scales take on a disheveled appearance, pop-eyes, dropsy may even begin. At the initial stages of the disease, sick fish can be treated with a saline solution (5-6 grams per liter of water), and at later stages one cannot do without the use of drugs such as chloramphenicol, synthomycin, methylene blue.
  3. Poisoning, which is often provoked by a high content of ammonia. In this case, the fish are mostly in the upper layers of the reservoir, “greedily” swallow air. Bulging may appear. To improve the well-being of pets, it is urgent to improve the quality of the water.
  4. Obesity. Since the shark Bala Shark is very gluttonous, it can eat large amounts of poured food, even die from gluttony.
  5. Hypoxia. Caused by insufficient oxygen content in the water. The problem is solved by improving aeration in the aquarium.

Bala Shark Interesting facts

  1. They are “long-livers”: the life expectancy of barbs can be 10-12 years with good care.
  2. Their most characteristic feature is their gluttony: they can eat huge amounts of food. This must always be remembered, as their appetite can mislead the owner. Do not feed more than 2-3 times a day.
  3. During puberty, males become unusually cocky. It is advised at this time even to deposit them from the common tank, if there are smaller cohabitants there.
  4. In pet stores, you can buy only imported caught specimens or grown on specialized farms.

Bala Shark will undoubtedly find its lover thanks to its beautiful appearance, unpretentiousness, bewitching and impetuous movements.

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