With their slender bodies and interesting shapes, Bala sharks are becoming more popular by the day in aquaculture.
They also make for fantastic tank fish whether you’re a professional or hobbyist.
It’s simple, Bala sharks are very easy to care for and keep healthy.
This brings us to today’s questions: what do Bala sharks eat? When should you feed them? Is it possible to give them too much food?
This guide answers all these and more, so keep reading to find out more about this fascinating fish species originally from the Indo-Pacific waters.
Bala sharks are an omnivorous fish species. This means they have no problem eating plants, vegetable matter, as well as the meat of other animals, fish, and crustaceans.
Generally speaking, Bala sharks will eat algae, shrimps, mollusks (oysters and clams), crabs, squid, shiners, catfish, minnows, octopuses, worms, and more. They’ll even eat eels while in season; from October to March.
Additionally, Bala sharks feed on insects and larvae in the wild. Daphnia and mosquitoes (also known as water fleas) are among their favorites.
Bala sharks are eager, non-fussy eaters. They’ll eat pretty much anything they can and they’ll often act excited about it mostly by jumping. If you’re a hobbyist and you notice such behavior, don’t worry as your Bala sharks are simply enjoying the food.
In the wild, Bala sharks rely on their eyesight and sense of smell to find food. They can visually spot prey from a large distance and also pick up on their scent from far away.
Bala sharks possess big mouths that are quite large relevant to their body size. This impressive capacity is paired with strong suction to help silver sharks munch on a wide variety of food and prey.
In the aquarium, you can’t provide your Bala sharks with the diet diversity they can receive in the wild.
However, this doesn’t mean you can’t offer your fish a varied diet that well maintains their health and vitality.
Ideally, the diet you should provide to Bala sharks needs to be balanced and diverse to deliver all the necessary nutritional elements. Here are the best types of food you can give your silver sharks:
High-quality dried foods should be the staple diet for Bala sharks in aquariums. These include pellets, flakes, and granules.
The best aspect of packaged food is that it’s specifically formulated to cater to the dietary requirements of aquarium fish.
Such food is also made from healthy components that deliver most of the nutrients that Bala sharks need to thrive and reach their optimal coloration and size.
When choosing pellets or flakes, make sure to pick something that features both plant and animal to suit the omnivorous nature of the Bala sharks.
Products that contain combinations of salmon, shrimp, herring, kelp, spirulina, larvae, and algae are great options.
Aside from high protein and fiber levels, keep an eye out for packaged foods that serve as sources of essential vitamins and minerals.
While proteins help Bala sharks develop quickly and fibers boost the efficiency of your fish’s digestive system, vitamins like A, C, E, and D3 support their immunity functions.
That said, you should be aware of the pollution risk that could arise from pellets and flakes if you don’t remove the uneaten portions right away.
Other than dried pellets and flakes, you should provide your Bala sharks with a supplemental diet to ensure they grow as healthy and vigorous as possible.
To this end, there are multiple food options that you can rotate each week to create a balanced, varied diet for your pets.
Bala sharks require plenty of protein to support their fast growth rate and large expected size. This is exactly where live food comes in.
Not only does it possess a high nutritional value for silver sharks, but it also promotes the natural coloring of their fins and skin. Live food also helps prepare them for breeding and highlights their predatory instincts.
Examples of live food you can give Bala sharks include brine shrimp, mussels, bloodworms, shrimp, earthworms, daphnia, mosquito larvae, tubifex worms, blackworms, and prawns.
Whatever the type of live food you decide to offer your Bala fish, make sure they eat it within 3 or 4 days from the date of purchase.
Otherwise, you may be risking feeding them items infected with bacteria and parasites that can easily harm your fish.
That’s why you should be mindful of the live food you provide. Purchasing live food from reputable stores instead of catching it from the wild is a good way to minimize the risk of disease transmission.
If you don’t want to worry about the risk of offering live food too often, you can alternate it with freeze-dried and frozen food.
Such items are more stable with a notably longer shelf life compared to live food. They’re also more affordable and easier to store, all the while containing all the same nutrients necessary for Bala sharks to thrive.
One thing you need to watch out for with this type of food is the thawing time.
Unless you let freeze-dried and frozen food thaw for a minimum of 10 minutes before you give it to the fish, your Bala sharks will need a longer time to digest it, which is likely to cause stomach upset.
Examples of meat-based freeze-dried and frozen food include shrimp, bloodworms, brine shrimp, and tubifex worms. Store freeze-dried and frozen food in a cool and dry place to preserve its quality.
While it may be a more convenient choice than live food, don’t give Bala sharks freeze-dried and frozen food every day as it’s more difficult to digest and absorb its nutrients. A couple of times a week should be enough.
A good source of plant-based food in your Bala sharks’ diet is none other than vegetables and fruits.
Lettuce, spinach, blanched zucchini, shelled peas, cucumber medallions, and non-acidic fruits like bananas and melons are all suitable to give to Bala fish.
Make sure you boil the hard veggies and fruits first to soften them up. Cut into small pieces and feed them your silver sharks in tiny portions.
I mentioned spirulina earlier when I talked about healthy food ingredients in dried pellets and flakes.
It’s a type of blue-green algae that offers many benefits to Bala fish. It’s a terrific plant-based addition to your silver sharks’ diet as it’s loaded with proteins and vitamins.
You can give your fish spirulina a few times a week. Commonly, you’ll find spirulina in the form of chunks coupled with freeze-dried brine shrimp.
Food with a high concentration of fillers such as gluten-based products.
Bala sharks can’t digest them, so they end up swelling inside their bodies leading to pain, constipation, lethargy, and sometimes death.
Bala sharks are bottom dwellers and that’s why they mostly eat small fish, crustaceans, insects, and plant remnants.
In an aquarium, they’ll scavenge any leftover food or algae that has settled at the bottom.
You should feed your Bala sharks 2 times a day if they’re adults and 3 times if they’re juveniles.
Providing a couple of small portions spread throughout the day is better than offering one large meal.
Also, try to schedule feeding at the same time daily to establish a healthy routine.
Feed your Bala sharks as much as they can eat in 3 to 5 minutes. This is considered a portion.
Once the time’s up, remove any leftover food right away. Don’t overfeed your fish to avoid obesity and digestive issues.
Bala sharks are eager or even greedy eaters. They can easily gobble up large quantities of food if you let them.
Bala sharks need food multiple times a day. Leaving them unfed for more than a day will cause them stress.
Your Bala shark may not be eating because of poor tank conditions, stress, or a non-enticing/varied diet. It could also be lonely, easily spooked, or still not adjusted to the new environment.
Bala sharks are omnivorous fish that’ll eat plants, vegetable matter, and decaying organic matter, along with a variety of meats from fish and animals.
In a tank, their staple diet should consist of dried pellets and flakes. Their supplemental diet should feature live food, freeze-dried/frozen food, spirulina, and veggies/fruits.
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.