The Silver Shark
The Silver Shark

The Silver Shark is also known as Bala Shark, Tri Color Shark Minnow, Hangus and Silver Bala. This exotic ornamental fish was imported from Thailand by the aquarium fish traders (Galib, 2010). Origin is Thailand and Malaysia (Aqualandpetplus, 2009). Life span 8-10 years and they are named sharks because of their appearance and the shape of their dorsal fin (Fishlore, 2009b). Available in aquarium shops of Dhaka, Khulna and Rajshahi city (Galib, 2010).

Systematic position

Class: Actinopterigii

Order: Cypriniformes
Family: Cyprinidae
Genus: Balantiocheilos
Species: B. melanopterus


Barbus melanopterus Bleeker, 1851
Puntius melanopterus (Bleeker, 1851)


Body elongated and laterally compressed. Body color is silvery with darkish above. Edges of dorsal, pelvic, anal and caudal fins are marked with black border. Lateral line scales are 35 in number (Galib, 2010).

Measurements of the different body lengths were obtained as follows: SL 74.67% of TL, FL 80.67% of TL, BD 22.67% of TL, HL 22.67% of TL, CP 8% of TL and Eye 35.29% of HL (Galib, 2010). Maximum size recorded 13 cm whereas 33 cm size was reported by Fishlore (2009).

Fin formula: D. 9; P1. 11; P2. 10; A. 6; C. 20.

Food and feeding

This fish is omnivorous in nature and feeds on phytoplankton, but mostly on small crustaceans, rotifers as well as insects and their larvae (Rainboth, 1996).

Breeding and gender differentiation

Gender is hard to determine, but the female may be smaller than a male Silver Shark of the same age (Fishlore, 2009).

Economic importance

The Silver Shark is commonly used as ornamental/aquarium fish. Retail price varied between BDT 150 and 200 per pair (Galib, 2010).



Aqualandpetplus. 2009. Caring for your new Bala Shark, Aqualand Pet Plus info on Balantiocheilus melanopterus, retrieved on December 16, 2009.

Fishlore. 2009. Tropical Fish Information, retrieved on December 12, 2009;

Galib, S.M. 2010. Cultured and Ornamental Exotic Fish Diversity of Bangladesh, MS dissertation, Department of Fisheries, University of Rajshahi, Rajshahi, Bangladesh, 169 pp.

Rainboth, W.J. 1996. Fishes of the Cambodian Mekong. FAO Species Identification Field Guide for Fishery Purposes. FAO, Rome, 265 p.

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Silver Shark, Balantiocheilos melanopterus (Bleeker, 1851)

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Shams Galib

Shams works in freshwater ecosystems, primarily on fish diversity in terms of their availability, and richness; he is also interested in aquatic invasive species and their impacts on ecosystem. Email: [email protected] More...

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