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Bala shark - Balantiocheilos melanopterus

Bala shark - Balantiocheilos melanopterus

Scientific name: Balantiocheilos melanopterus

Common name: Bala shark

Family: Cyprinidae

Usual size in fish tanks: 30 - 40 cm (11.81 - 15.75 inch)


Recommended pH range for the species: 5.8 - 7.9

Recommended water hardness (dGH): 4 - 12°N (71.43 - 214.29ppm)

0°C 32°F30°C 86°F

Recommended temperature: 22 - 29 °C (71.6 - 84.2°F)

The way how these fish reproduce: Spawning

Where the species comes from: East Asia

Temperament to its own species: peaceful

Temperament toward other fish species: peaceful

Usual place in the tank: Middle levels


The Bala Shark comes from Thailand, Borneo and Sumatra in Southeast Asia. The Bala shark are becoming extinct in some of their natural habitats, no clear reason for this is known but the two main factors appear to be depletion if stocks due to overfishing to supply the aquarium industry and also many waterways have been dammed up reducing their natural habitat.


Bala shark can live up to 6 years in the aquarium.

Short Description

The Bala Shark can grow to be fairly large for an aquarium fish but it can be quite peaceful if given adequate space for swimming and places for hiding. They are often sold as small juveniles with potential keepers not realising their adult size so always make sure that your aquarium is large enough to allow for healthy growth and prevent overcrowding. It should also be noted that the Bala shark is a natural schooling fish so several should be kept together thus increasing the need for the larger aquarium.They are a very active species so provide plenty of swimming space in the aquarium and add rocks or wood to provide cover if they require it. The water will need to be well oxygenated and never let the temperature drop below the required range as this is sure to bring on the outset of whitespot in the fish.

Despite their large size they are suitable for a community set up but they will see smaller species of fish as a food source so always keep them with similar sized species of fish. In addition this fish has the tendency to jump very high so be sure to keep a tight lid on the top of the aquarium. Balantiocheilos melanopterus is also known as Silver shark. Pictures are provided by Louise. Other pictures were provided by Mihail of Romania.


The Bala Shark is omnivorous and should be fed a combination of flakes, live foods and veggie matter. They are definitely not a fussy eater and once settled into the aquarium they will have a voracious appetite. Do not be tempted to overfeed these fish as this can lead to digestive problems.


It is difficult to tell the difference between males and females.


Bala Sharks are egg scattering fish that should not be bred in the aquarium due to its large size. There are no confirmed reports of these breeding in the aquarium and are usually commercially bred in the far east by the use of hormones.


Due to merging with related pages, the following question and answer were added here on March 25th 2011.

Why does my Bala shark have a few black scales?

Answer: This is due to ammonia burns on the body, in time the scales will return to normal but water testing would have shown the high levels.

Bala shark, known as Silver shark as well, image 1 Bala shark, known as Silver shark as well, image 2 Bala shark, picture 3 Bala shark, picture 4 Bala shark, picture 5

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