The shark barbus (Balantiocheilus melanopterus) is a representative of the carp family; its habitats are bodies of water in Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Sumatra Island, Kalimantan. For Russians, this is a relatively new fish, because it only got to our country at the end of the 70s.
Rivers and streams should be clean, with a fast current, but in slow-flowing reservoirs barbs do not like to live.
Under natural conditions, these fish reach 35 centimeters, in an aquarium – a maximum of 20, they are unpretentious, their appearance is somewhat similar to roach. A shark ball has large eyes and a mouth, a narrow, flattened body on both sides.
This fish has no whiskers. The main color of the body is a silver-gray tint.
The fish is covered with large scales, which creates a mirror effect. If you keep a shark ball with other fish, against its background, even the most beautiful inhabitants of the aquarium will seem faded.
photo: Shark Barbus (bala)
The pectoral fins of the ball are colorless, the others are yellowish or light, bordered with black. As for the sexual dimorphism, in young individuals it is weakly expressed.
A male can be distinguished from a male by the fact that males are somewhat smaller and more slender than individuals of the opposite sex.
You can keep a shark ball with other peaceful large fish species. You can not put barbs in the same aquarium with veil fishes, otherwise the latter are at risk of losing fins, because the barbs are very active.
The character at the shark’s ball, despite the aggressive name, is quite peaceful, they can even get on with the guppy. Other barbs, corridors, minors, gourami, iris, loaches, tetras, plastcostomus, rasboru will be good neighbors.
You can not keep with predatory fish species, large cichlids or fry – barbs are prone to eating smaller individuals.
Photo: Shark Ball looks good against the background of light soil
- Shark barbs are quite voracious and enjoy eating both live and dry food with pleasure;
- This is a very shy fish that can die if frightened. Fish caught in nature, in captivity, may fear from jumping out of an aquarium or beating against glass – the adaptation period is often about a month, at this time it is better for a person not to disturb his pets once again;
- Spark ball is considered a long-liver – in the aquarium he lives up to 10 years;
- As soon as they do not call this subspecies of barbs – a ball, a fire tail fish, a silver or tricolor shark, a balantioheylus;
- At puberty, males can become snooty, so if you keep barbs with smaller fish, it is better to set them off.
Breeding shark barbs – the task is not so difficult. The main thing – to take care of a suitable reservoir for their pets.
The shark barbus is a very active fish, it needs a lot of swimming space, and if the aquarium is tight, the growth of the fish slows down, and the life expectancy is reduced. The optimum volume of an artificial reservoir is 150-200 liters.
photo: Male shark barb is smaller than females
Barbusses – jumping fish, it is better to cover the aquarium with glass or a lid in advance, otherwise it will be very disappointing if your pet jumps from a great height to the floor and breaks. It is necessary to provide a ball for shelter – fill the aquarium with various snags, stones, plant plants – it can be vallyseria, echinodorus, anubias, crinum, lintofill and others.
Plants must have rigid leaves and a strong root system.
Remember that in the natural environment, representatives of this species prefer running and clean water, so that the aquarium must be equipped with aeration and filtration. Once a week you need to change about 30% of the water.
It is better to maintain the temperature in the tank at the level of 24-27 degrees, the rigidity can be 12-15 °, and the acid reaction is slightly higher than neutral – 6.5-7.5. As the soil, you can use light or dark pebbles, layer thickness – 1 centimeter.
Shark Balu loves natural light, the duration of daylight should be at least 8-10 hours, so it is best to install an aquarium near the window.
photo: Shark barbus is also called the firetail fish
Barbs reach sexual maturity quite late – at 2–3 years, when the fish grow to about 13 centimeters. In the aquarium conditions, the shark ball is practically not bred, since they do not breed in aquariums with a volume of less than 120 liters.
Often the ball is imported from the south-east of Asia.
As for the diet, shark barbs have a weak digestive system, so it is not recommended to experiment with feed. These inhabitants of the aquarium should not be given to bloodworms or cheese, chitinous shells are not digested in their stomachs, which means that the digestive system is disturbed. The fry are fed with artemia or rotifers, gradually being transferred to larger feeds.
Be sure to give and vegetable food – dried or boiled water scalded leaves of nettle, dandelion, lettuce, spinach.
If you want to try your hand at breeding these fish, future producers need to be prepared before the onset of puberty. As soon as the young are 4 months old, you need to choose the brightest and largest individuals.
They should not have visible defects – deformation of the fins, skeletons and other species marriage. Selected shark balls are planted in a separate container and fed with high-quality feed. It should be remembered that puberty in females occurs several months earlier than in males, therefore males must be chosen for spawning older.
Observe the fish: the male should be active, with a bright color, and the female should have a well-rounded abdomen.
For breeding, you will need a spawner, a volume of 10-15 liters: it is better if it is rectangular in shape. At the bottom put a special grid or mesh.
Cells in size should be sufficient for eggs. It is possible to place a bunch of green fishing line or small-leaved plants – hatching or javanese moss over the grid.
Spawning should be equipped with a compressor, filter and thermostat.
Stimulation of spawning will be a gradual increase in water temperature to 25-28 degrees, and it should be slightly acidic to 6.5-7, the hardness decreases from 12 to 6-9 °. Most often, the spawning of fish takes place in the morning. Do not try to change the parameters of water in one day – the barbs do not tolerate such changes, soften and raise the temperature of the water gradually, over several days.
Before spawning, females should be given plant food, and males should be given live food, which is a good source of protein. After that, manufacturers for the night planted in spawning.
Breeding may be paired or group, the latter option is preferable, since several males will be able to fertilize more eggs. Spawning lasts several hours.
Like many fishes, it starts with mating games, and then the female begins to spawn, at one time she can sweep 1000 eggs, and the male fertilizes them. After spawning, the producers are removed from the aquarium, and the grid is removed by gently shaking off the eggs.
Spawning put in a shaded place, and after a few hours, you can remove the eggs, which turned white, that is, remained unfertilized.
After that, you can replace some of the water, turn on aeration, add antibacterial solutions. After 24 hours, the larvae appear, and after 3-4 days they turn into fry. Feed babies with lively dust and ciliates; after 4 days, you can give artemia and cyclops nauplii.
Barbs grow unevenly, so from time to time the offspring will need to be sorted and seated in separate aquariums.