for Your New Bala Shark
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Name Origin: “Bala” comes from the first part of their scientific name. “Shark” comes from their high dorsal fin that makes them look like a saltwater shark. Of course, they’re not. Many cyprinids (minnows) with high dorsal fins earn the more sellable name “shark.” The melanopterus in their scientific name means black fins. Some folks call them “silver sharks” due to their basic body color.
Water Conditions: Bala sharks adjust to nearly any water conditions. They will fit into most community tanks with no little bite-size fishes.
Appeal: People like bala sharks because they look like sharks. They also get along fine with other fishes. They’re easy to keep and rarely stop patrolling the waters of their aquaria.
Size: Theoretically, these bala sharks grow to 14 inches. However, most people provide too small an aquarium to grow them to their maximum size.
Jumpers: You’d expect speedy swimmers to jump. Bala sharks will not disappoint you. They will bail from uncovered tanks – especially if spooked. One key jumping time – when you turn on their lights.
Schoolers: If given a choice these guys like to hang with their buds. The more the merrier. However, they will not pine away when kept as singles. Bala sharks will get better colors and swim more when kept in groups.
Breeding: Rates right in there with stacking B-Bs. You will not likely spawn bala sharks without the spawning hormone extracted from carp and access to very large aquaria or sizable ponds.
Breeding Suggestions: If you wish to try, bala sharks attain maturity at nine inches. The females are chubbier than the sleeker males. Separate the sexes to condition them. Then set up a spawning tank like a large barb spawning setup.
Foods: Bala sharks eagerly eat whatever you feed them. They need foods with algae in them. Balas also love live foods and frozen foods. Color foods will also make them turn darker.
Gravel Choice: Darker gravels will darken your bala sharks. Light gravels tend to bleach them out.
Great Tank Mates: Despite their totally different personalities, bala sharks fit well into tanks of angel fish. This silver/black color combo needs other fish to give it color. Add some of the more colorful gouramis. Think of your bala shark as a large, non-nippy barb. Feel free to mix them with any of the other barbs. Do not mix them with large, rough cichlids. Your shark can out run African cichlids but not forever.
Protective Plants: Some aquarists consider bala sharks a shy fish. Add some grassy plants such as Vallisneria or Sagittarius to make them feel more at home. Even plastic plants help.
Disease: Bala sharks catch “ich” fairly easily -- especially the baby balas. Always add an ich cure at half strength any time you add new bala sharks to your tank.
Bala sharks like clean water. Do not
overfeed. Add snails to
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