Breeding the Bala Shark

By: Frances Stanford

Breeding The Bala shark - Balantiocheilus melanopterus

The Bala Shark, which is a freshwater fish, is one of the easiest to care for in captivity. In reality, this fish is not a shark. It is so named because its features resemble that of a shark, especially the shape of the dorsal fin. It does grow to about 14 inches long as an adult, which means you do need to have a large aquarium tank in which to hold it. These fish are relatively peaceful. Once they reach adulthood, though, they will eat any smaller fish that can fit inside their mouths, such as the neon tetra that are in the same tank.

It is essential to have a hood on your aquarium if you intend to keep Bala sharks. This is because they are excellent jumpers and could jump out over the tank. They also swim very quickly, which means that you should ensure that there are no sharp objects around the insides of the tank.

While it is easy to care for the Bala sharks in your tank, they are very difficult to breed in captivity. It is very hard to tell the gender of the fish. Most owners do not know whether they have males or females until the female starts to breed because it becomes plumper than normal. The female will scatter the eggs she lays in different parts of the aquarium. You should have lots of plants within the tank for this purpose and the water must be maintained between 73 and 79F. Because these fish do grow so large, you must have a really large tank to be successful in breeding them. For babies, you will need to have at least a 55 gallon tank and for adults, you will need a tank that holds at least 200 gallons of water.

The most successful attempts at breeding the Bala shark have occurred in Southeast Asia. Here the fish farmers use hormones to aid in the breeding. Other than that, there have been no reports of other successes in this area.

These fish will eat all kinds of flake food, as well as live and fresh foods. They do need a varied diet, which should include some flakes on a daily basis. You can feed them mosquitoes, fresh or frozen shrimp, blood worms and vegetable foods. Before you do buy a Bala shark, you should do your research on how these fish live in the wild, although they are just about extinct. This will help you replicate their natural habitat as closely as possible so that you may be the first successful breeder of the fish in captivity.

This is not a fish for the beginner in keeping tropical fish. They do like to be with schools of fish, which means that you need to have a wide sampling of fish in your tank.
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