Do Bala Sharks Eat Other Fish? [Reasons They Attack Other Fish]

Bala shark with other fish in the tank

Adult bala sharks will eat other fish if they fit in their mouth. Although bala sharks grow large, they’re peaceful fish that don’t attack others. However, bala sharks will eat smaller fish by sucking them in their mouth. But you can safely keep young bala sharks with smaller fish species.

Let’s now understand the feeding habits of bala sharks in more detail.

Food Items That Bala Sharks Eat

Bala sharks are omnivorous fish.

In their natural environment, they eat a varied diet consisting of algae, plant material, insects, larvae, and small crustaceans.

Similarly, you can feed them a varied diet even in captivity.

A proper mix will keep them healthy and assist in their overall development.

Given below is the list of food items that you can feed bala sharks.


Spirulina contains blue-green algae and is considered one of the most nutritious additions to a fish diet.

It contains the necessary vitamins and proteins, making it a fabulous plant-based diet for bala sharks.


Flakes are great for surface-feeding fish and those swimming in midwater.

Bala sharks prefer to swim at the mid-level of the aquarium. Hence, flakes are perfect for them.

Flakes are also designed to provide the fish with all the necessary vitamins and minerals, which can be difficult for the fish to get in captivity.

Flakes are low in starch too. So they prevent clouding and water discoloration.


Pellets are designed to deliver the kind of food every fish prefers to eat.

They’re made from a wide range of ingredients to help the fish grow to their full potential by providing the required nutrition.

Frozen And Live Food

Bala sharks love to eat frozen and live bloodworms in their diet. They’re protein-rich, and bala sharks can easily digest them.

Daphnia or water fleas are tiny crustaceans that bala sharks eat in their natural habitat.

So you can make them part of their diet along with larvae and brine shrimp.

Bala sharks need a well-balanced diet to satiate their hunger and get the essential nutrients that can help in their overall growth.

Do Bala Sharks Eat Smaller Fish?

Bala sharks can eat small fish if you don’t watch out for the safety of your smaller fish species.

Bala sharks are peaceful and social fish, but as they grow large, they can eat small fish that fit in their mouth.

If they perceive a smaller fish as their potential meal, they can devour the fish.

So it’s not recommended to keep small fish and bala sharks in the same tank unless the bala sharks are also young and small.

However, you must move the bala sharks to another tank as they grow bigger.

When Do Bala Sharks Attack Other Fish?

Bala sharks are peaceful and timid. They will get along with tankmates, except for small fish and invertebrates.

However, a stressful situation can make bala sharks aggressive and make them attack other fish.

Given below are some of the reasons that can stress the bala sharks and lead to aggressive behavior toward their tankmates.

Small Tank

Small fish tank

Bala sharks grow large. An average adult bala shark is approximately 12 to 14 inches long.

So they need a large tank to remain comfortable and happy.

The minimum tank size for keeping a group of adult bala sharks is 150 gallons.

These fish are active swimmers and will need a tank with more horizontal space for swimming.

Keeping them in a small tank will restrict their movement. As a result, they will feel stressed due to the lack of space.

This can make them aggressive toward their tankmates.

No School

Bala sharks are schooling fish and should be kept in a group of at least four or five.

If you keep only one bala shark in your tank, it will feel lonely, skittish, and stressed.

If two bala sharks are in the tank, there can be unnecessary aggression to exert dominance.

So it’s best to keep them in a group to help them thrive peacefully.

Inadequate Feeding

Bala sharks aren’t picky eaters and will happily eat the food given to them.

However, inadequate feeding can stress and make them aggressive toward the other fish in the tank.

Feeding them more often reduces the likelihood of them feeling stressed and aggressive.

Vary their diet to ensure that they get all the nutrients essential to remain healthy.

Small Tankmates

Bala sharks are gentle and timid for their large size. They can easily cohabitate with other tankmates.

However, like other fish, bala sharks will try to eat anything that fits in their mouths.

They’re active swimmers that can grow up to 12 to 14 inches.

So the large bala sharks can become aggressive and attack the shrimp, snails, and small fish as they will perceive these small creatures as a potential meal.


Bala sharks are susceptible to freshwater diseases when kept in poor tank conditions.

They can get infected with numerous bacterial and fungal infections.

An infected bala shark will get stressed and resort to erratic swimming.

It can show aggression by attacking other fish inside the tank.

Therefore, regular monitoring of the water quality and performing 20% to 30% water change once a week is necessary to reduce the chances of infections inside the aquarium.

Do Bala Sharks Eat Goldfish?

Bala sharks don’t eat goldfish. Both bala sharks and goldfish are peaceful fish.

They’re compatible with other fish species and are an excellent choice for community tanks.

However, both these fish have different water temperature requirements and are typically not kept in the same aquarium.

The ideal water temperature for goldfish is in the range of 65°F to 72°F (18.3°C to 22.2°C).

In contrast, bala sharks prefer water temperature in the range of 72°F to 82°F (22°C to 28°C).

So, bala Sharks need warmer temperatures, and goldfish prefer colder water temperatures.

Therefore, they’re not compatible tankmates and shouldn’t be kept together.

Do Bala Sharks Eat Guppies?

Young bala sharks can be excellent tankmates for guppies.

However, as they grow bigger, bala sharks will view the guppies as a potential meal and try to swallow them.

So you shouldn’t keep guppies with bala sharks because the guppies will become their snack.

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