Bala sharks are native to Southeast Asia but make great pet fish because of their intriguing size wherever they are.
These fish aren’t really sharks, but the fins’ shape makes them look like mini pet sharks that you can keep with other community fish.
So, can you keep bala sharks in a pond? We’ll answer this question in our article, so keep reading.
Bala sharks are common freshwater fish that homeowners keep in large tanks.
A 150-gallon tank is an excellent enclosure when they’re still young. But these fish continue to grow to reach a length of 12 to 14 inches, eventually outgrowing their tank.
Moreover, you need to keep at least 5 of these fish together, so finding a tank that is big enough to accommodate them can be a bit problematic.
You can definitely keep bala sharks in a pond, and they will be an excellent addition for the following reasons.
- Bala sharks and other fish keep the water moving, making it healthier for all aquatic animals you choose to keep.
- The moving water will be more appealing as it contrasts with the static elements like plants and stones in your pond.
- Keeping bala sharks in a pond will provide them with enough space to swim and mate without feeling stressed in an overcrowded tank.
- Bala fish are known to display some eccentric behavioral patterns when they’re confined, like jumping out of a tank or ramming themselves into the tank’s walls. They’re less likely to display this behavior in a big pond.
- These fish will help control the number of aquatic insects and mosquitoes that might infest your pond as they feed on them.
- Seeing the fish moving in the pond will improve the landscape’s appeal by adding more colors.
Bala sharks have become endangered and almost extinct in the wild, mainly because these beautiful fish were overfished for the aquarium industry.
Moreover, they tend to jump quickly out of home tanks, which is the leading cause of their death.
So, by giving them a chance to live and populate a pond, you’ll increase their number and allow them to enjoy a peaceful life.
But before you add them to your pond, there are a few things you need to take into consideration.
Bala sharks survive in warm subtropical climates, so these fish will die unless your garden stays warm all year long.
It’s essential to choose a sunny spot for your pond while adding plants and rocks to provide shade whenever needed. This will help these fish stay healthy and grow to their mature size.
It’s important to pick the right plants to grow above and under the water. In addition to providing shade, plants will increase the level of oxygen in the water and help with algae control.
Bala sharks are known to jump out of the water whenever they’re kept in unhealthy environments. To avoid this type of animal cruelty that leads to early death, you can start by growing some plants in the water before adding any fish.
You should also avoid using any chemical fertilizers in the pond. If you have used them in the past, you must drain and clean your pond before adding any fish.
Bala sharks represent a long-term commitment to homeowners and aquarists because these fish will live up to 10 years in the right conditions.
You should also consider their current, and future size as these sleek fish grow to be gentle giants in your pond.
So, although juvenile fish can be about 3 to 4 inches long, bala sharks continue to grow throughout their lives. In tanks, they usually reach a length of 12 inches, but in your pond, they can become a little bigger.
This is why many homeowners usually return bala sharks to pet stores once they start growing so big. This shouldn’t be a problem if you keep them in a suitable pond.
You should also know that you’ll have to keep at least a shoal of five or six fish in the tank to maintain their calm and peaceful behavior. Adding more will be better, of course, as long as the pond is big enough to accommodate them.
Despite being relatively docile, bala sharks can attack sleek fish like tetra neons. So, you should be careful before adding other fish to the pond with your balas.
Juvenile bala sharks won’t attack other fish in the pond, but they might feed on smaller fish as they get older and bigger.
Balas don’t get along with overly aggressive or territorial fish. So, picking other peaceful fish will be a good decision.
Since they can grow to be big, it’s best not to add other big fish to your pond.
They move pretty fast, so they’ll probably be the first to feed, so you don’t want to add fish that will compete with your balas for food. Their fast movement can also scare other shy and slow-moving species like bettas.
Finally, these fish are pretty hardy and can withstand different water parameters. As long as you maintain a neutral pH level, maintain adequate temperature and hardness levels, and keep your pond clean, your balas won’t show any aggressive or eccentric behavior.
Tiger barbs are active fish and won’t be intimidated by the larger balas. Bristlenose pleco fish are also good mates for bala sharks, spending most of the time near the bottom like them.
Blood red parrot cichlids can also be good bala sharks’ companions because they’re too big to be eaten by them. Moreover, their active lifestyle and bright colors make your pond look more attractive.
Keeping bala sharks in a pond is a great decision, as these fish usually outgrow their tanks.
But before adding them to a pond, you need to think carefully about their future size and the other fish you’ll add to be their companions.
Jeff has always enjoyed having pets, but as a child, he was drawn to his family’s fish tank. Being able to maintain a small ecosystem and observe the behaviors and interactions in the underwater world peaked his interest early on and has kept him hooked until this day. On Avid Aquarist, Jeff shares everything he’s learned about helping aquatic life survive and thrive in a home aquarium.