The Bala Shark Balantiocheilus melanopterus is also called the Silver Shark, Tricolor Shark, or Shark Minnow, but don't be fooled by the word "shark." This fish's name is derived solely from its rigid, upright triangular dorsal fin and torpedo-shaped body, which make it superficially resemble that ferocious and predatory ocean fish.
The Bala Shark is not really a shark at all. Although they look imposing, especially as they grow rather large, they do not tend to be aggressive. They make a good community fish with other peaceful tankmates and can even be kept with smaller fish as long as the little ones are too big to fit in the Bala Shark's mouth. They are quite hardy and easy to feed. The Bala Shark is a good choice for an intermediate fish keeper who can provide them with the right environment.
Though these fish have a gentle disposition, they are quite large. In the wild, they can grow to a length of almost 14 inches (35 cm) though they are a bit smaller in the aquarium where they usually reach about 10 to 12 Inches. They enjoy the company of a few of their own kind and should be kept in groups of at least 5. These shoaling fish will naturally form a hierarchy and establish a pecking order. If fewer than 5 are kept or they are kept as a pair, the less dominant fish may be bullied incessantly. If kept singly, they can become aggressive with other tankmates.
They are lively, but skittish and need lots of swimming space. Due to their size and need for companionship, they will also need a very large aquarium. Juveniles will need a tank of at least 70 gallons, and fully grown adults will require 150 gallons or more. The aquarium must be covered as they are high-strung and excitable, with a tendency to jump. Water should be changed regularly to maintain top quality, and as they are river fish, they need good water movement as well.
These fish aren't too concerned about the decor, but are very interested in swimming space. A spectacular show aquarium can be achieved by placing plants around the inside edges of the perimeter and adding a few pieces of driftwood. One of the benefits of keeping these fish is they will constantly browse along the substrate looking for food items, which helps keep the aquarium clean. Though they pick up leftover foods from the bottom of the aquarium, they do so daintily with very little disturbance to the substrate or the plants. They have also been known to make audible sounds.