Betta Trading


Silver Shark

A Larger Than Usual Community Fish

The Silver Shark, Balantiocheilos melanopterus, is a bigger fish than most of the ones normally considered peaceful community fish.  It grows to about 14 inches (36 cm) long.  Despite its size it can be kept as a community fish with much smaller fish in a large aquarium.

It comes from Sumatra, Thailand, Borneo and Malaysia.  Alternative common names for the Silver Shark are: Bala Shark, Tricolor Shark and Shark Minnow.

The Life Span is about 10 years.

Water Conditions


Because the Silver Shark is a fairly big fish, it will need a big aquarium.  Although smaller ones will be quite all right in a small aquarium, and for convenience may well be sold from a small tank, when purchasing one you need to consider the size it will grow to.  I suggest that a minimum aquarium length for a Silver Shark is about 48 inches (120 cm).

The Silver Shark is a tropical fish, and although I have seen it suggested as a cold water fish, this would depend on how cold your water gets.  I suggest a temperature of between 22 and 29 degrees C (71 and 84 degrees F), with a moderate hardness and a pH near neutral.  As far as water conditions are concerned, it is quite compatible with most community fish.

Well Oxygenated water is recommended.  This fish can jump so a well fitting aquarium cover is a good idea.


Like most fish, the Silver Shark is an omnivore.  It will most dried fish foods as well as live food like small crustaceans like Daphnia, insect larvae like wrigglers and blood worms as well as frozen food.


The Silver Shark can be kept with most small and medium size fish.  People with experience with this fish are divided over whether they can be kept with Neon Tetras and other very small fish like Green Neons and Cardinal Tetras.  There is no doubt that Silver Sharks have sometimes eaten very small fish, but on the other hand I have seen very big Silver Sharks in a large aquarium with Neon Tetras and not bothering them at all.

Other, slightly bigger, community fish should be in little danger.  This includes fish like Cherry Barbs, Penguin Tetras, PristellaTetras, Glowlight Tetras, Siamese Fighting Fish, Red Eye Tetras, Silvertip Tetras, Gold Barbs, Rummy Nose Tetras, Scissortail Rasboras, Lemon Tetras, Emperor Tetras, Head and Tail Light Tetras, Glass Bloodfin Tetras, Swordtails, Platies, Mollies, Zebra Danios, Black Widow Tetras, Rosy Barbs, Tiger Barbs, Paraguay Tetras, Buenos Aires Tetras, Colombian Tetras and Splashing Tetras.



The Silver Shark is not one that many people have bred in a home aquarium, so there is incomplete information about it. I can only make the following suggestions.

It is an egg laying fish that will need a lot of space to breed. The females tend to be larger and plumper. In the wild it breeds in the monsoon, so imitating the water conditions which occur during the monsoon are worth trying.

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