Bala shark fish is almost extinct in its natural habitat and there has been no data reported in the last 3 decades. Does it mean it is a rare fish, the answer is no it is being bred by many breeders in southeast Asia

Why need a beginner’s guide for Bala Shark? Even though they are commonly found fish in local fish stores there is so much misconception about Bala sharks and the beginner’s guide would provide the appropriate information required to upkeep one of the most active fishes Bala shark

Bala Shark Fish – Overview

Common NameBala shark or tricolor shark, silver shark, or shark minnow
Scientific NameBalantiocheilos melanopterus
Habitat or OriginLargely found in Southeast Asia
Average SizeAn adult fish can grow up to 12 inches
ColorationThey are found in Black, grey, and yellow colors in a local pet store
Life SpanOn average, they live up to 10 years
DietThe young ones feed on bloodworms, brine shrimps whereas
the adult ones feed on earthworms, prawns, and mussels.
The food should be thawed before feeding
Gender IdentificationFemale fishes have round bellies. The male ones grow slightly
bigger than the females
BehaviorThey are active swimmers and also can jump
CompatibilityThey are peace-loving fish hence can get along with other
Bala sharks. They can also be with other large fishes like
Rainbow fish, Gourami, Rasbora, Minor Tetra, Corydoras
Ideal Tank ConditionsThe tank should be a freshwater tank with plants and roots in
it. The tank size can be approximately 45 gallons per
Water ParametersThe pH level should be between 6.0-8.0 and water temperature should be between 72-82 degrees Fahrenheit
BreedingBreeding can be done at varying temperatures. Spawning can
be done by increasing the temperature to about 82 degrees F.
early morning around an hour or two, spawning happens
after which the males fertilize the eggs with milt.
After this, the parents should be removed from the tank. Later
30-50 %can be renewed
Common DiseasesIch, parasites, and dropsy are some of the diseases.
Ich can be observed when they rub their body against rocks
or gravel. They produce white spots on the body.
When the fluid inside the fish is built up, they cause the fish to
swell up. This is due to a parasite infection
Approximate CostThey cost an average of 3 USD to 5 USD depending on the size and in southeast Asia/India they cost almost half the price
What to look when buyingThe fishes should not have any white spots on them and they
should not appear swelled overall
Species in the MarketBala shark and Siamese Bala shark

Gallery of Bala Shark fish


  1. Humphrey, S.R. & Bain, J.R. (1990). Endangered animals of Thailand. Sandhill Crane Press, Gainesville, 468 pp.
  2. Samorn Muttamara, S. & Sales, C. L. (1994). Water quality management of the Chao Phraya River (a case study). Environmental Technology 15(6).
  3. Molle, F. (2005). Elements for a political ecology of river basins development: The case of the Chao Phraya river basin, Thailand. Paper presented to the 4th Conference of the International Water History Association, December 2005, Paris.