Bala sharks are omnivores and need a diverse and nutritious diet of plant and animal matter for optimal growth. You can feed packaged food like high-quality flakes and pellets to bala sharks. You can also feed them live, frozen, and freeze-dried food such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, daphnia, etc.
Bala sharks grow very large compared to some other aquarium fish. So it’s vital that they get a nutritious meal to meet their dietary requirements. Let’s talk about this in detail now.
Ideal Diet For Bala Sharks In Captivity
Bala sharks aren’t fussy eaters. They’re eager to eat anything that you feed them.
However, it’s best to feed them a varied and nutritious diet that closely resembles the diet in their natural habitat.
There are a lot of food options available for feeding bala sharks.
It’s best to rotate the food items each week so that they get a balanced diet.
Given below are the different types of foods that are ideal for bala sharks.
1. Packaged Food
Packaged food is specially formulated to meet the requirements of aquarium fish.
You can purchase high-quality commercial flakes and pellets from any pet store to feed bala sharks.
High-quality dried food should be the ideal staple diet of bala sharks.
You can select good-quality dried flakes and granules that don’t have gluten-type fillers.
Being omnivores, bala sharks need a well-balanced diet consisting of both plant and animal matter.
Hence, flakes that contain fish meal and spirulina algae are best for their overall development.
Flakes that closely resemble their natural diet are best for bala sharks.
The only disadvantage with flakes is that they can pollute the tank water if the uneaten flakes aren’t removed immediately.
Apart from flakes, pellets are also good for bala sharks.
Pellets look more natural than other food and are often used by aquarists for feeding bala sharks.
While selecting packaged food, look for nutritious food that provides the essential vitamins, protein, and minerals for bala sharks to grow to their full potential.
2. Live Food
Bala sharks are voracious eaters. Since they grow very large, feeding them a protein-rich diet is crucial to maintain their health and growth.
Live food is an excellent choice for bala sharks due to its high nutritional value.
It also helps maintain the natural color of their skin and fins, bring out their natural predatory behavior, and condition them for breeding.
Although live food is an excellent food source for bala sharks, you must feed it with caution.
Live food can contain harmful bacteria and parasites that can easily transmit to your fish.
So it’s better not to catch live food from the wild and feed it to bala sharks.
Instead, you can purchase live food from reputed stores to minimize the risk.
Feed the live food within 3 to 4 days from its purchase.
Some of the live food that bala sharks can eat are:
- Brine shrimp,
- Mosquito larvae,
- Tubifex worms,
- Prawns and mussels, etc.
3. Frozen And Freeze-Dried Food
Frozen and freeze-dried food is a good alternative for feeding bala sharks, especially if you don’t want to take the risk of feeding live food.
These food items contain all the essential nutrients that bala sharks need.
Frozen and freeze-dried food items are also more stable than live food as they don’t spoil quickly.
Another advantage of feeding frozen and freeze-dried food is that they’re inexpensive, easy to store, and can be used for long periods.
Frozen food items also contain the same nutritional value as live food and are a favorite among aquarists for their fish.
Frozen food like bloodworms, tubifex worms, shrimp, brine shrimp, etc., are meat-based and an excellent source of protein for bala sharks.
The only precaution to take is that you should thaw the frozen food before feeding it to bala sharks.
If the frozen food is not thawed, it takes longer to digest and can upset the stomach of your fish.
Similarly, freeze-dried food needs to be soaked in warm water for at least 10 minutes before feeding to bala sharks.
Freeze-dried food can quickly lose its quality when exposed to heat and moisture.
So it’s essential to store these food items in a dry and cool environment to maintain their quality.
You need to feed freeze-dried food in moderation to bala sharks as moisture is removed from them.
Feeding freeze-dried food daily can be difficult for bala sharks to digest.
You can feed frozen and freeze-dried food twice or thrice a week to bala sharks along with their staple diet.
It’s recommended to feed more fresh food to bala sharks to ensure proper digestion and absorption of the nutrients.
Spirulina is another alternative food that you can serve to bala sharks.
Spirulina is a blue-green algae that is a healthy addition to bala sharks’ diet.
You can opt for spirulina chunks that include freeze-dried brine shrimp as it can fulfill their protein requirement.
You can feed spirulina with their daily diet twice or thrice a week.
5. Veggies And Fruits
Bala sharks need plant matter and meat in their daily diet.
Vegetables and fruits are good for bala sharks as they provide the necessary nutrients for optimal growth.
You can feed bala sharks veggies such as spinach, shelled peas, lettuce, cucumber medallions, and blanched zucchini.
Similarly, you can also occasionally feed them non-acidic fresh fruits cut into small pieces.
You need to boil the veggies to soften them and then cut them into small pieces before feeding them to bala sharks.
You can give the veggies and fruits in small portions along with their daily diet.
How Often Should You Feed Bala Sharks?
You can feed adult bala sharks twice a day. Younger bala sharks need more food to grow, so you can feed them thrice a day.
You can set a time and feed at the same time every day. This will ensure that your bala sharks remain healthy and happy.
Feed them as much as they can eat in about 3 minutes.
Remember to remove any leftover food immediately from the aquarium to maintain the water quality.
It’s equally important not to overfeed your bala sharks. They’re greedy fish, so you can easily end up overfeeding them.
Overfeeding can lead to obesity and other digestive problems in bala sharks.
What Do Bala Sharks Eat In The Wild?
Bala sharks are omnivores. They eat plant and animal matter in their natural environment.
Their wild habitat diet mainly consists of any food that is found around them and that fits in their mouth.
Bala sharks primarily feed on insects and their larvae, small crustaceans, mosquitoes, and water fleas.
They also graze on algae, phytoplankton, and other plant matter.
Do Bala Sharks Eat Snails?
Bala sharks eat snails as part of their daily diet in the wild. So they also eat small creatures in the aquarium that fits in their mouth.
Snails being tiny compared to bala sharks, are an easy meal for them.
Do Bala Sharks Eat Plants?
Being omnivores, bala sharks eat plant matter along with meat.
They also eat plant detritus, algae, and phytoplankton in their natural environment.
Do Bala Sharks Eat Guppies?
Fully grown bala sharks can look upon guppies as a potential snack and eat them.
They also eat guppy fry due to their tiny size. Young bala sharks usually don’t eat guppies and can co-exist with them.
Do Bala Sharks Eat Ghost Shrimp?
Bala sharks are known to feed on small crustaceans. Hence, they will eat ghost shrimp when both are kept together.
Bala sharks grow very large, and ghost shrimp can easily fit in their mouth.