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Tricolor Shark - Balantiocheilos melanopterus - Small

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The Tricolor Shark (Balantiocheilos melanopterus) is also known as the "Bala Shark". It is metallic silver with black edged fins. They can grow to be over a foot in length and should only be kept in a large tank when adult. Juveniles are often kept in smaller aquariums but they will eventually outgrow tanks under 125 gallons. These sharks can be kept in schools only if the tank is large enough.



Some of the most popular fish for the freshwater semi-aggressive community are the cyprinids known as sharks. These are not the cartilaginous carnivores you see in movies or on the Discovery Channel. These fish are found primarily in the waters of Southeast Asia and Thailand. There are several species that are often imported for use in the aquarium trade, and several species also referred to as sharks that are less common in the trade. Though from several different genera, these fish all have in common the pointed heads and large, curved dorsal fins that give them their misleading common names and are more closely related to carp, loaches or catfish than saltwater sharks.



Sharks make bold and interesting additions to freshwater semi-aggressive communities, as long as the tank is of adequate size and the conditions in the tank suit their needs. Though these fish lack teeth, some species can grow quite large and territoriality can make them troublesome as they mature. They are generally not suitable for tanks under 55 gallons (some not less than a 75 to 100 gallon tank). Sharks should only be housed with fish that can stand up to chasing and harassment from sharks, especially towards their own kind. Smaller fish may eventually be seen as food items as the fish grow. Suitable tank mates for most include fish like barbs, catfish, large tetras, and other fish of similar temperament.



If you are considering the addition of a shark to your community, there are several things to keep in mind. As far as the set-up goes (besides having an adequately sized aquarium) be sure that you provide plenty of cover like wood, plants or rock formations so these fish can hide and feel secure when they feel the need. A tightly fitting lid is also highly recommended as they tend to be terrific jumpers, especially if startled. Most common sharks prefer well-aerated, clean water with temps between 74 and 81 degrees (F) and a pH maintained between 6.5 and 7.5. Sharks do not tend to be finicky eaters, readily accepting flakes, pellets and frozen, freeze-dried or live treats like bloodworms, tubiflex, glass worms, plankton, brine shrimp or other meaty tidbits.
Common NameTricolor Shark - Small
Scientific NameBalantiocheilus melanopterus
OriginAsia
Max Size (in inches)14
Community SafeYes, with caution
pH Range6.5-7.5
DietOmnivore
Min Tank Size (in gallons)180
Temperature Range74-80
DifficultyModerate

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