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The Best Bala Shark Tank Size for Optimal Health

The Best Bala Shark Tank Size for Optimal Health

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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, also known as “Tricolored Minnowsharks”, are a great addition to your aquarium. However, since they grow big, you must make sure that you have enough space for them.

For that reason, the first thing you should consider before buying Bala Sharks is the tank size. So what is the best Bala Shark tank size?

In today’s guide, we’ll help you find the right answer to this question along with tips to create a comfortable habitat for your new fish. Let’s dive in!

What Is the Bala Shark’s Natural Habitat?

Bala Sharks get their name from their torpedo-shaped bodies and large dorsal fins. However, they’re not sharks at all.

Instead, they’re tropical freshwater fish species that belong to the Cyprinidae family. The original habitat of the fish is in Southeast Asia, particularly in countries like

  • Malaysia
  • Borneo
  • Sumatra
  • Cambodia
  • Thailand

The fish typically lives in medium and large-sized streams and rivers as well as some lakes with decent water currents.

The fish typically swims in midwater depths to feed on small crustaceans, aquatic insects, larvae, and suspended plankton.

Can a Bala Shark Live in a 10-Gallon Tank?

The short answer to this question is no. You can’t keep even a single Bala Shark in a 10-gallon fish tank for a variety of reasons.

For starters, Bala Sharks typically grow large, with full-sized adults reaching up to 14 inches long.

However, a 10-gallon fish tank is only suitable for fish that are between 1 to 2.5 inches long, such as Mollies, Guppies, Neon Tetras, Bettas, Dwarf Gouramis, etc.

Not only that, but you also need enough space to accommodate Bala Sharks’ swimming behaviors too.

Bala Sharks are active fish that love to swim fast from one point to another. In other words, a 10-gallon tank will feel too crowded for Bala Sharks.

In such a limited space, Bala Sharks may end up hitting the walls of the tank while swimming, which impacts the fish’s health and causes accidents.

Can a Bala Shark Live in a 20-Gallon Tank?

Ideally, each Bala Shark needs a space of around 20 to 25 gallons to swim comfortably. Yet, a 20 to 25-gallon tank still won’t work as a suitable habitat for your fish.

Although the tank would be enough to handle its swimming, Bala Shark is a shoaling fish. This means that it prefers living in large groups, so you need around 4 to 6 fish per tank to keep them happy.

If you keep a single Bala Shark in a 20-gallon fish tank, it will become aggressive towards other fish species in the tank, despite being a generally calm fish.

Can a Bala Shark Live in a 50-Gallon Tank?

A 50-gallon fish tank may accommodate Bala Sharks for a limited time, although it’s still too small for them.

50 gallons are typically enough for two Bala Sharks. Yet, if you keep two Bala Sharks in your tank, you’ll encounter various problems.

Although Bala Sharks are calm in large groups, they become extremely territorial when they exist in groups of 2, especially between males.

In that case, the more dominant Bala Shark will start bullying and attacking the weaker one, which creates a lot of hostility in the tank.

With that being said, 50 gallons can be a suitable size for a temporary spawning tank or a quarantine tank if you’re isolating your fish for any reason.

What Is the Bala Shark’s Minimum Suitable Tank Size?

Since you need at least 4 to 6 fish per tank, the minimum suitable tank size should be 120 to 150 gallons (545 to 568 liters).

As previously established, the ideal space per a single Bala Shark is around 25 gallons. So, this should be enough to keep your fish and other tank mates comfortable.

Some people argue that 100-gallon tanks may also work with Bala Sharks. However, it can get overcrowded if you have more than 4 Bala Sharks in addition to tank mates and decorations.

In addition to size, you should make sure that the tank also has enough depth. Bala Sharks like to swim in the middle so the walls should be at least 5 ft high.

As for young Bala Shark fry, you can keep them in a tank as small as 30 gallons, but you’ll need to upgrade to a larger one quickly because they grow fast.

Do You Need to Keep More Than One Bala Shark?

If you want your Bala Shark to stay happy and healthy, you should never keep it alone no matter how big the tank is.

Bala sharks feel more secure when there are more of their species around them. This is why you need to keep them in a group of at least 4 to 6 fish.

More than 6 Bala Sharks would be great for your aquarium but you’ll need an incredibly large tank.

As a golden rule, you need a minimum capacity of 120 gallons for the first 4 to 6 Bala Sharks.

You’ll need to expand the tank’s capacity by an extra 20 to 25 gallons for each additional Bala Shark.

What is the Size of the Bala Shark Breeding Tank?

During the mating season, you can isolate male and female Bala Sharks in a spawning tank.

The female will lay the eggs in the bottom and the male will spread his sperm over the eggs to fertilize them.

For this, you can use a tank as small as 100 to 120 gallons or slightly smaller.

Parent Bala Sharks don’t spend time with their young, so you should return them to their fish tank after breeding.

If you want the spawning tank to be the new fish’s accommodation, you must use a bigger tank of at least 150 gallons.

What Should You Put in a Bala Shark Tank?

The size of the tank isn’t the only thing you should consider while designing a habitat for your Bala Sharks.

You should also think about what you should put in it to make it a comfortable accommodation for your fish. Here’s a quick look at what you should put in the tank.


Bala Sharks typically don’t swim at the bottom of the tank., so they don’t need a particular type of substrate there.

Ideally, a 1/2-inch thick layer of dark-colored pebbles and small rocks should be enough for your Bala Sharks and their tank mates.

Some people may also add mud at the bottom to mimic the natural habitat of the fish but that’s not necessary.


As a tropical freshwater fish, keeping the temperatures warm is crucial for the well-being of your Bala Sharks.

For that, you’ll need a premium quality aquarium heater with enough power to sustain your large fish tank.

Adjust the heater so that it maintains the water temperature between 72 and 80 °F (around 22.2 and 26.7 °C respectively.

The best place to install the heater is near the source of flow, such as the powerhead. This guarantees an even distribution of the temperature in the water.


The filter is essential for keeping the water clean and also for creating a current that mimics the natural habitat of the Bala Sharks.

The relatively powerful current is essential for keeping your Bala sharks healthy and happy.

It also plays a significant role during the fertilization process, so you have to take extra care of it if you want to breed Bala Sharks.


Excessive decorations may overcrowd the tank and make it an unpleasant place for your Bala Sharks.

To avoid that, limit your decorations to a few plants around the tank in addition to some driftwood and caves to shelter the timid fish

Can You Keep Bala Sharks in Ponds?

Although ponds make for a perfect habitat for some fish, they’re rarely a good option for Bala Sharks.

As tropical fish, Bala Sharks need warm temperatures to thrive. So, unless it stays warm all year round outside where you live, you shouldn’t keep Bala Sharks in ponds.

Final Thoughts

The capacity of your Bala Sharks tank is critical for their well-being and also impacts their behavior, whether it’s towards tank mates or even each other.

Since you need to keep them in a group of 4 to 6, the tank should be at least 125 to 150 gallons with a minimum height of 5 ft tall.

You’ll also need to install a filter with a powerful powerhead to generate a current that mimics the fish’s natural habitat.

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