Shark in name and, superficially, in shape (but not in demeanor), the Bala Shark is a predominantly herbivorous species that can attain a substantial size. With the improvements in aquarium technology, and as the keeping of larger setups becomes more feasible, the Bala Shark is likely to remain popular among aquarists. It may even be possible to breed this attractive and active fish in aquaria before long.
The Bala Shark is a shoaling species and should be kept in groups. However, the average home aquarium will only be able to house a shoal of juveniles, which will soon outgrow their quarters. This species is bred commercially in the Far East, and it is these captive-bred stocks that meet most of the demand within the hobby.
Other common names
- Tri-color Shark, Silver Shark, Malaysian Shark
- Balantiocheilus melanopterus
- Southeast Asia; Kalimantan (Borneo), Thailand, Sumatra, and peninsular Malaysia.
- Usually sold as juveniles measuring 4in (10cm) or less, but can grow to around 14in (35cm) in roomy aquaria with good water quality and an appropriate diet.
- Nonaggressive; active shoaler.
- Will accept a wide range of livefoods and commercial diets, which should include vegetable matter. Likely to damage delicate plants.
- Roomy with ample swimming space and a well-fitting cover. Will tolerate a wide range of hardness and pH (but ideally keep between slightly acid and neutral). Temperature range: 72-82 F (22-28 C).
- Not reported in home aquaria. However, it is commercially bred in large numbers.