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Bala Shark Lifespan and How to Maximize It

Bala Shark Lifespan and How to Maximize It

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This post is written to the author's best knowledge and is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. In addition, this post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Bala Sharks are among the most attractive additions to your fish tank. They’re large with a unique aesthetic and gentle temperament, so they go well with many other species.

Despite the fish’s popularity, a lot of people still don’t know how long it can live, so in today’s guide, we’ll take a closer look at the Bala Shark lifespan.

Additionally, we’ll provide you with critical tips and tricks to help you maximize your fish’s lifespan to the max. Let’s jump right in!

How Long Do Bala Sharks Live?

For starters, you should know that Bala Sharks are not actually sharks. Instead, they get their name from their torpedo-shaped bodies and large dorsal fins.

In other words, while sharks can live for 20 to 30 years, Bala Sharks don’t live as long. Instead, the tricolored fish, also known as “Balantiocheilos melanopterus”, have an average lifespan of 6 to 10 years.

In their natural habitat, Bala Sharks usually live about 5 to 6 years due to harsh conditions. In captivity, a healthy Bala Shark can live for anywhere between 8 to 10 years.

Providing your fish with extra care and keeping them healthy and comfortable is the key to extending their life to 10 years or slightly longer.

Why Do Bala Sharks Die Suddenly?

Although Bala Sharks may live up to 10 years, Bala Sharks are still prone to some issues that may cut their life short.

The most common reason for Bala Sharks to die quickly is fatal diseases, especially serious bacterial infections that don’t show any symptoms.

Bala Sharks may also die due to dehydration and suffocation if they accidentally leap out of the water.

This happens because Bala Sharks are extra active and like to dart around the tank and jump while swimming. This usually happens when the fish tank is small or too shallow.

Keep in mind that Bala Sharks may also play dead, but it’s usually due to unfavorable water conditions or accidents like hitting the walls fast while swimming.

How to Make Bala Sharks Live Longer

Now that you know more about Bala Sharks’ lifespan, you might be wondering how you can stretch their lifespan to 10 years.

Although genetics and other factors may play a significant role in determining your fish’s lifespan, there are a few essential tips to help you achieve that. Let’s check them out:

1 – Use a Large Water Tank

The first and most critical aspect of keeping your Bala Sharks happy and healthy is keeping them in a proper aquarium.

Since Bala Sharks are relatively large, you need a massive tank to keep them comfortable. Ideally, the tank should have a minimum capacity of around 150 gallons.

This capacity is enough to allow the Bala Sharks to stay active and swim around quickly, which is essential for their physical and mental well-being.

Additionally, you should make sure that the tank isn’t too shallow. For instance, the tank should be 5 ft high (around 150 cm).

2 – Don’t Overcrowd the Aquarium

Since Bala Sharks’ aquariums are quite large, a lot of people find it a great chance to use large and complex decorations.

Of course, nothing is wrong with keeping the aquarium attractive and similar to the Bala Sharks’ original habitat.

However, if you overfill the aquarium with items, it’ll get cluttered and crowded very quickly. This may prevent the Bala Sharks from swimming around freely.

Also, the fish may end up hitting them, which leads to injuries that might get infected and take a turn for the worse.

This also applies to having too many fish in the tank, which can lead to behavioral issues as well.

3 – Inspect Your Bala Sharks Regularly

A lot of Bala Shark diseases and health issues can be easily treated, especially during their first stages.

For that reason, you must always inspect your Bala Sharks and look for any signs of diseases or health problems, such as white spots, swelling, falling scales, deformities, etc.

You’ll also need to familiarize yourself with all the potential health issues that a Bala Shark may suffer from.

We’ve previously written a detailed guide about Bala Shark diseases, so make sure that you check it out for more information on how to diagnose and treat them.

4 – Invest in a Powerful Tank Filter

Bala Sharks are originally native to the running rivers and streams of Southeast Asia. This means that strong currents are very important for them.

For that reason, you must provide a current in the aquarium to keep them healthy. This can be quite tricky to produce in such a large tank.

That’s why you must buy a quality tank filter with a strong powerhead if you want to mimic their natural habitat.

5 – Choose the Tank Mates Wisely

Keeping a single Bala Shark in the tank can have negative effects on the fish and turn them aggressive against other species.

You should also avoid keeping two because it ends up with one of them bullying the other.

Instead, you should always keep Bala Sharks in groups of 4 to 6 per 150 gallon tanks. This keeps the fish calm and happy.

If you want to mix things up, always combine Bala Sharks with other peaceful species that Guppies, Gouramis, Corydoras, and Rainbowfish.

6 – Provide Them with Proper Nutrition

Food is very important for your Bala Shark’s health and well-being. Luckily, there are no special requirements when it comes to its food.

The fish can happily consume flakes and pellets if they are rich in nutrients and protein (especially during the growth phase).

Ideally, you need to feed them 3 times a day. However, you shouldn’t overfeed them because it can contaminate the water and cause health problems.

To avoid that, every meal serving should take around 2 minutes to finish.

7 – Use Tools to Stay on Top of Water Quality

Keeping track of the water conditions, such as pH level and temperature are critical to keep your Bala Sharks healthy and comfortable.

The perfect pH range for Bala Sharks is between 6.5 and 7.8 while the ideal temperature is between 72 to 80 °F (around 22.2 to 26.7 °C).

Luckily, there are various tools that can help you monitor and control these parameters and ensure that they’re withing range.

8 – Avoid Shocks By Gradual Changes

You’ll typically need to adjust the pH and temperature of the tank regularly. If you change these parameters suddenly, you may put your Bala Shark into a state of shock.

Instead, try to adjust these parameters over an extended period which helps in reducing the stress on the fish.

9 – Clean the Aquarium Regularly

Lastly, keeping the aquarium clean prevents bacteria and parasites from thriving in the tank. Besides using a large canister filter, remember to change 50% of the water every month.

Final Thoughts

This wraps it up for today’s guide that walks you through Bala Shark lifespan and all the reasons why they might die early.

As you can see, the average Bala Shark should live around 8 years. However, by taking extra care of your fish, you may extend its life by up to 2 more years!

The key here is providing proper nutrition and monitoring of the water conditions. Besides extending their lifespan, following the previous tips massively improves their quality of life!

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